Infomotions, Inc.The Memories of Fifty Years Containing Brief Biographical Notices of Distinguished Americans, and Anecdotes of Remarkable Men; Interspersed with Scenes and Incidents Occurring during a Long Life of Observation Chiefly Spent in the Southwest / Sparks, William Henry, 1800-1882



Author: Sparks, William Henry, 1800-1882
Title: The Memories of Fifty Years Containing Brief Biographical Notices of Distinguished Americans, and Anecdotes of Remarkable Men; Interspersed with Scenes and Incidents Occurring during a Long Life of Observation Chiefly Spent in the Southwest
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): jackson; georgia; mississippi; new orleans
Contributor(s): Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 201,554 words (longer than most) Grade range: 12-15 (college) Readability score: 51 (average)
Identifier: etext15872
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

Discover what books you consider "great". Take the Great Books Survey.

The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Memories of Fifty Years, by William H.
Sparks


This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net





Title: The Memories of Fifty Years
       Containing Brief Biographical Notices of Distinguished Americans, and Anecdotes of Remarkable Men; Interspersed with Scenes and Incidents Occurring during a Long Life of Observation Chiefly Spent in the Southwest


Author: William H. Sparks

Release Date: May 20, 2005  [eBook #15872]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MEMORIES OF FIFTY YEARS***


E-text prepared by Bill Tozier, Barbara Tozier, and the Project Gutenberg
Online Distributed Proofreading Team



THE MEMORIES OF FIFTY YEARS:

Containing

Brief Biographical Notices of Distinguished
Americans, and Anecdotes of
Remarkable Men;

Interspersed with Scenes and Incidents Occurring
during a Long Life of Observation Chiefly
Spent in the Southwest


by

W. H. SPARKS

Philadelphia:
Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger.
Macon Ga.: J. W. Burke & Co.
Stereotyped by J. Fagan & Son.
Printed by Moore Bros.

1870







TO

MY BROTHER AND NEPHEW,
THE HONORABLE OVID GARTEN SPARKS,
AND
COLONEL THOMAS HARDEMAN,
OF MACON, GEORGIA.

This Volume is Dedicated

BY THEIR AGED AND AFFECTIONATE RELATIVE, TRUSTING
THEY WILL ESTEEM IT, WHEN HE SHALL HAVE
PASSED TO ETERNITY, AS SOME EVIDENCE
OF THE AFFECTION
BORNE THEM BY

THE AUTHOR.




PREFACE.


In the same week, and within three days of the same date, I received
from three Judges of the Supreme Court, of three States, the request
that I would record my remembrances of the men and things I had known
for fifty years. The gentlemen making this request were Joseph Henry
Lumpkin, of Georgia; William L. Sharkey, of Mississippi, and James G.
Taliaferro, of Louisiana.

From Judge Sharkey the request was verbal; from the other two it came
in long and, to me, cherished letters. All three have been my intimate
friends--Lumpkin from boyhood; the others for nearly fifty years.
Judge Lumpkin has finished his work in time, and gone to his reward.
Judges Sharkey and Taliaferro yet live, both now over seventy years of
age. The former has retired from the busy cares of office, honored,
trusted, and beloved; the latter still occupies a seat upon the Bench
of the Supreme Court of Louisiana.

These men have all sustained unreproached reputations, and retained
through their long lives the full confidence of the people of their
respective States. I did not feel at liberty to resist their appeal: I
had resided in all three of the States; had known long and intimately
their people; had been extensively acquainted with very many of the
most prominent men of the nation--and in the following pages is my
compliance.

I have trusted only to my memory, and to a journal kept for many
years, when a younger man than I am to-day--hastening to the
completion of my seventieth year. Doubtless, I have made many mistakes
of minor importance; but few, I trust, as to matters of fact. Of one
thing I am sure: nothing has been wilfully written which can wound the
feelings of any.

Many things herein contained may not be of general interest; but none
which will not find interested readers; for while some of the
individuals mentioned may not be known to common fame, the incidents
in connection with them deserve to be remembered by thousands who knew
them.

These Memories are put down without system, or order, as they have
presented themselves, and have been related in a manner which I have
attempted to make entertaining and instructive, without being prolix
or tedious. They will be chiefly interesting to the people of the
South; though much may, and, I hope, will be read by those of the
North. Some of my happiest days have been passed in the North: at
Cambridge some of my sons have been educated, and some of my dearest
friends have been Northern men. Despite the strife which has gone far
toward making us in heart a divided people, I have a grateful memory
of many whose homes and graves were and are in New England.

Would that this strife had never been! But it has come, and I cannot
forego a parent's natural feelings when mourning the loss of sons
slain in the conflict, or the bitterness arising therefrom toward
those who slew them. Yet, as I forgive, I hope to be forgiven.

There are but few now left who began the journey of life with me.
Those of this number who still sojourn in our native land will find
much in these pages familiar to their remembrance, and some things,
the reading of which may revive incidents and persons long forgotten.
In the West, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas, there are
many--the descendants of those who participated in events transpiring
fifty years ago--who have listened at the parental hearth to their
recital. To these I send this volume greeting; and if they find
something herein to amuse and call up remembrances of the past, I
shall feel gratified.

To the many friends I have in the Southwest, and especially in
Louisiana and Mississippi, where I have sojourned well-nigh fifty
years, and many of whom have so often urged upon me the writing of
these Memories, I commit the book, and ask of them, and of all into
whose hands it may fall, a lenient criticism, a kindly recollection,
and a generous thought of our past intercourse. It is an inexorable
fate that separates us, and I feel it is forever. This sad thought is
alleviated, however, by the consciousness that the few remaining sands
of life are falling at the home of my birth; and that when the end
comes, as very soon it must, I shall be placed to sleep amid my
kindred in the land of my nativity.

THE AUTHOR.




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.
REVOLUTIONARY TRADITIONS.

Middle Georgia--Colonel David Love--His Widow--Governor Dunmore--
Colonel Tarleton--Bill Cunningham--Colonel Fannin--My Grandmother's
Bible--Solomon's Maxim Applied--Robertus Love--The Indian Warrior--
Dragon Canoe--A Buxom Lass--General Gates--Marion--Mason L. Weems
--Washington--"Billy Crafford"

CHAPTER II.
PIONEER LIFE.

Settlement of Middle Georgia--Prowling Indians--Scouts and their
Dogs--Classes of Settlers--Prominence of Virginians--Causes of
Distinction--Clearing--Log-Rolling--Frolics--Teachers Cummings and
Duffy--The Schoolmaster's Nose--Flogging--Emigration to Alabama

CHAPTER III.
THE GEORGIA COMPANY.

Yazoo Purchase--Governor Matthews--James Jackson--Burning of the Yazoo
Act--Development of Free Government--Constitutional Convention--Slavery:
Its Introduction and Effects

CHAPTER IV.
POLITICAL DISPUTATIONS.

Baldwin--A Yankee's Political Stability--The Yazoo Question--Party
Feuds and Fights--Deaf and Dumb Ministers--Clay--Jackson--Buchanan--
Calhoun--Cotton and Free Trade--The Clay and Randolph Duel

CHAPTER V.
GEORGIA'S NOBLE SONS.

A Minister of a Day--Purity of Administration--Then and Now--Widow
Timberlake--Van Buren's Letter--Armbrister and Arbuthnot--Old
Hickory Settles a Difficulty--A Cause of the Late War--Honored Dead

CHAPTER VI.
POPULAR CHARACTERISTICS.

A Frugal People--Laws and Religion--Father Pierce--Thomas W. Cobb--
Requisites of a Political Candidate--A Farmer-Lawyer--Southern
Humorists

CHAPTER VII.
WITS AND FIRE-EATERS.

Judge Dooly--Lawyers and Blacksmiths--John Forsyth--How Juries were
Drawn--Gum-Tree _vs._ Wooden-Leg--Preacher-Politicians--Colonel
Gumming--George McDuffie

CHAPTER VIII.
FIFTY YEARS AGO.

Governor Matthews--Indians--Topography of Middle Georgia--A New
Country and its Settlers--Beaux and Belles--Early Training--Jesuit
Teachers--A Mother's Influence--The Jews--Homely Sports--The Cotton
Gin--Camp-Meetings

CHAPTER IX.
PEDAGOGUES AND DEMAGOGUES.

Education--Colleges--School-Days--William and Mary--A Substitute--
Boarding Around--Rough Diamonds--Caste--George M. Troup--A Scotch
Indian--Alexander McGilvery--The McIntosh Family--Button Gwinnett
--General Taylor--Matthew Talbot--Jesse Mercer--An Exciting Election

CHAPTER X.
INDIAN TREATIES AND DIFFICULTIES.

The Creeks--John Quincy Adams--Hopothlayohola--Indian Oratory--Sulphur
Springs--Treaties Made and Broken--An Independent Governor--Colonels
John S. McIntosh, David Emanuel Twiggs, and Duncan Clinch--General
Gaines--Christianizing the Indians--Cotton Mather--Expedient and
Principle--The Puritanical Snake

CHAPTER XI.
POLITICAL CHANGES.

Aspirants for Congress--A New Organization--Two Parties--A Protective
Tariff--United States Bank--The American System--Internal Improvements
--A Galaxy of Stars--A Spartan Mother's Advice--Negro-Dealer--
Quarter-Races--Cock-Pitting--Military Blunders on Both Sides--Abner
Green's Daughter--Andrew Jackson--Gwinn--Poindexter--Ad Interim--
Generals by Nature as Civil Rulers

CHAPTER XII.
GOSSIP.

Unrequited Love--Popping the Question--Practical Joking--Satan Let
Loose--Rhea, but not Rhea--Teachings of Nature--H.S. Smith

CHAPTER XIII.
INFLUENCE OF CHILDHOOD.

First Impressions--Fortune--Mirabeau B. Lamar--Dr. Alonzo Church--Julius
Caesar--L.Q.C. Lamar--Texan Independence--Colquitt--Lumpkin--What a Great
Man Can Do in One Day--Charles J. Jenkins

CHAPTER XIV.
A REVOLUTIONARY VETERAN.

Tapping Reeve--James Gould--Colonel Benjamin Talmadge--The Execution
of Major Andre--Character of Washington--A Breach of Discipline--
Burr and Hamilton--Margaret Moncrief--Cowles Meade

CHAPTER XV.
CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT.

Governor Wolcott--Toleration--Mr. Monroe--Private Life of Washington
--Thomas Jefferson--The Object and Science of Government--Court
Etiquette--Nature the Teacher and Guide in all Things

CHAPTER XVI.
PARTY PRINCIPLES.

Origin of Parties--Federal and Republican Peculiarities--Jefferson's
Principles and Religion--Democracy--Virginia and Massachusetts
Parties--War with France--Sedition Law--Lyman Beecher--The Almighty
Dollar--"Hail Columbia" and "Yankee Doodle"

CHAPTER XVII.
CONGRESS IN ITS BRIGHTEST DAYS.

Missouri Compromise--John Randolph's Juba--Mr. Macon--Holmes and
Crawford--Mr. Clay's Influence--James Barbour--Philip P. Barbour--
Mr. Pinkney--Mr. Beecher, of Ohio--"Cuckoo, Cuckoo!"--National Roads
--William Lowndes--William Roscoe--Duke of Argyle--Louis McLean--
Whig and Democratic Parties

CHAPTER XVIII.
FRENCH AND SPANISH TERRITORY.

Settlers on the Tombigbee and Mississippi Rivers--La Salle--Natchez
--Family Apportionment--The Hill Country--Hospitality--Benefit of
African Slavery--Capacity of the Negro--His Future

CHAPTER XIX.
THE NATCHEZ TRADITIONS.

Natchez--Mizezibbee; or, The Parent of Many Waters--Indian Mounds--
The Child of the Sun--Treatment of the Females--Poetic Marriages--
Unchaste Maids and Pure Wives--Walking Archives--The Profane Fire--
Alahoplechia--Oyelape--The Chief with a Beard

CHAPTER XX.
EXPLORATION OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.

Chicago--Crying Indians--Chickasaws--De Soto--Feast of the Great
Sun--Cane-Knives--Love-stricken Indian Maiden--Rape of the Natchez
--Man's Will--Subjugation of the Waters--The Black Man's Mission--Its
Decade

CHAPTER XXI.
TWO STRANGE BEINGS.

Romance of Western Life--Met by Chance--Parting on the Levee--Meeting
at the Sick-Bed--Convalescent--Love-Making--"Home, Sweet Home"--
Theological Discussion--Uncle Tony--Wild, yet Gentle--An Odd
Family--The Adventurer Speculates

CHAPTER XXII.
THE ROMANCE CONTINUED.

Father Confessor--Open Confession--The Unread Will--Old Tony's
Narrative--Squirrel Shooting--The Farewell Unsaid--Brothers-in-Law--
Farewell Indeed

CHAPTER XXIII.
WHEN SUCCESSFUL, RIGHT; WHEN NOT, WRONG.

Territorial
Mississippi--Wilkinson--Adams--Jefferson--Warren--Claiborne--Union of
the Factions--Colonel Wood--Chew--David Hunt--Joseph Dunbar--Society of
Western Mississippi--Pop Visits of a Week to Tea--The Horse "Tom" and
his Rider--Our Grandfathers' Days--An Emigrant's Outfit--My
Share--George Poindexter--A Sudden Opening of a Court of Justice--The
Caldwell and Gwinn Duel--Jackson's Opposition to the Governor of
Mississippi

CHAPTER XXIV.
THE SILVER-TONGUED ORATOR.

John A. Quitman--Robert J. Walker--Robert H. Adams--From a Cooper-Shop
to the United States Senate--Bank Monopoly--Natchez Fencibles--Scott
in Mexico--Thomas Hall--Sargent S. Prentiss--Vicksburg--Single-speech
Hamilton--God-inspired Oratory--Drunk by Absorption--Killing
a Tailor--Defence of Wilkinson

CHAPTER XXV.
A FINANCIAL CRASH.

A Wonderful Memory--A Nation Without Debt--Crushing the National
Bank--Rise of State Banks--Inflated Currency--Grand Flare-up--Take
Care of Yourself--Commencing Anew--Failing to Reach an Obtuse
Heart--King Alcohol does his Work--Prentiss and Foote--Love Me,
Love my Dog--A Noble Spirit Overcome--Charity Covereth a Multitude
of Sins

CHAPTER XXVI.
ACADIAN FRENCH SETTLERS.

Sugar _vs._ Cotton--Acadia--A Specimen of Mississippi French Life--
Bayou La Fourche--The Great Flood--Theological Arbitration--A
Rustic Ball--Old-Fashioned Weddings--Creoles and Quadroons--The
Planter--Negro Servants--Gauls and Anglo-Normans--Antagonism of Races

CHAPTER XXVII.
ABOLITION OF LICENSED GAMBLING.

Baton Rouge--Florida Parishes--Dissatisfaction--Where there's a Will,
there's a Way--Storming a Fort on Horseback--Annexation at the Point
of the Poker--Raphignac and Larry Moore--Fighting the "Tiger"--Carrying
a Practical Joke too Far--A Silver Tea-Set

CHAPTER XXVIII.
THREE GREAT JUDGES.

A Speech in Two Languages--Long Sessions--Matthews, Martin, and Porter
--A Singular Will--A Scion of '98--Five Hundred Dollars for a Little
Fun with the Dogs--Cancelling a Note

CHAPTER XXIX.
AMERICANIZING LOUISIANA.

Powers of Louisiana Courts--Governor William C.C. Claiborne--Cruel
O'Reilly--Lefrenier and Noyan Executed--A Dutch Justice--Edward
Livingston--A Caricature of General Jackson--Stephen Mazereau--A
Speech in Three Languages--John R. Grymes--Settling a Ca. Sa.--Batture
Property--A Hundred Thousand Dollar Fee

CHAPTER XXX.
DIVISION OF NEW ORLEANS INTO MUNICIPALITIES.

American Hotel--Introduction of Steamboats--Faubourg St. Mary--Canal
Street--St. Charles Hotel--Samuel J. Peters--James H. Caldwell--Fathers
of the Municipality--Bernard Marigny--An Ass--A.B. Roman

CHAPTER XXXI.
BLOWING UP THE LIONESS.

Doctor Clapp--Views and Opinions--Universal Destiny--Alexander Barrow
--E.D. White--Cross-Breed, Irish Renegade, and Acadian--A Heroic
Woman--The Ginseng Trade--I-I-I'll D-d-die F-f-first

CHAPTER XXXII.
GRADUAL EXTINCTION OF THE RED MAN.

Line Creek Fifty Years Ago--Hopothlayohola--McIntosh--Undying Hatred--A
Big Pow-wow--Massacre of the McIntoshes--Nehemathla--Onchees--The Last
of the Race--A Brave Warrior--A White Man's Friendship--The
Death-Song--Tuskega; or, Jim's Boy

CHAPTER XXXIII.
FUN, FACT, AND FANCY.

Eugenius Nesbitt--Washington Poe--Yelverton P. King--Preparing to
Receive the Court--Walton Tavern, in Lexington--Billy Springer, of
Sparta--Freeman Walker--An Augusta Lawyer--A Georgia Major--Major
Walker's Bed--Uncle Ned--Discharging a Hog on His Own Recognizance
--Morning Admonition and Evening Counsel--A Mother's Request--
Invocation--Conclusion




THE MEMORIES OF FIFTY YEARS.




CHAPTER I.

REVOLUTIONARY TRADITIONS.

MIDDLE GEORGIA--COLONEL DAVID LOVE--HIS WIDOW--GOVERNOR DUNMORE--
COLONEL TARLETON--BILL CUNNINGHAM--COLONEL FANNIN--MY GRANDMOTHER'S
BIBLE--SOLOMON'S MAXIM APPLIED--ROBERTUS LOVE--THE INDIAN WARRIOR--
DRAGON CANOE--A BUXOM LASS--GENERAL GATES--MARION--MASON L. WEEMS--
WASHINGTON--"BILLY CRAFFORD."


My earliest memories are connected with the first settlement of Middle
Georgia, where I was born. My grandparents on the mother's side, were
natives of North Carolina; and, I believe, of Anson county. My
grandfather, Colonel David Love, was an active partisan officer in the
service of the Continental Congress. He died before I was born; but my
grandmother lived until I was seventeen years of age. As her oldest
grandchild, I spent much of my time, in early boyhood, at her home
near the head of Shoulderbone Creek in the county of Green. She was a
little, fussy, Irish woman, a Presbyterian in religion, and a very
strict observer of all the duties imposed upon her sect, especially in
keeping holy the Sabbath day. All her children were grown up, married,
and, in the language of the time, "gone away." She was in truth a lone
woman, busying herself in household and farming affairs. With a few
negroes, and a miserably poor piece of land, she struggled in her
widowhood with fortune, and contrived, with North Carolina frugality
and industry, not only to make a decent living, but to lay up
something for a rainy day, as she phrases it. In her visits to her
fields and garden, I ran by her side and listened to stories of Tory
atrocities and Whig suffering in North Carolina during the Revolution.
The infamous Governor Dunmore, the cruel Colonel Tarleton, and the
murderous and thieving Bill Cunningham and Colonel Fannin, both
Tories, and the latter natives to the soil, were presented graphically
to me in their most hateful forms. In truth, before I had attained my
seventh year, I was familiar with the history of the partisan warfare
waged between Whig and Tory in North and South Carolina, from 1776 to
1782, from this good but garrulous old lady. I am not so certain she
was good: she had a temper of her own, and a will and a way of her
own; and was good-natured only when permitted this way without
opposition, or cross. Perhaps I retain a more vivid memory of these
peculiar traits than of any others characterizing her. She permitted
no contradiction, and exacted implicit obedience, and this was well
understood by everything about her. She was strict and exacting, and
had learned from Solomon that to "spare the rod was to spoil the
child." She read the Bible only; and it was the only book in the
house. This Bible is still in existence; it was brought by my
grandfather from Europe, and is now covered with the skin of a fish
which he harpooned on his return voyage, appropriating the skin to
this purpose in 1750. She had use for no other book, not even for an
almanac, for at any moment she could tell the day of the month, the
phase of the moon and the day General Washington captured Cornwallis;
as also the day on which Washington died. Her reverence for the memory
of my grandfather was idolatry. His cane hung with his hat just where
he had habitually placed them during his latter days. His saddle and
great sea-chest were preserved with equal care, and remained
undisturbed from 1798 to 1817, precisely as he left them. I ventured
to remove the cane upon one occasion; and, with a little negro or two,
was merrily riding it around in the great lumber-room of the house,
where scarcely any one ever went, when she came in and caught me. The
pear-tree sprouts were immediately put into requisition, and the whole
party most mercilessly thrashed. From that day forward the old
buckhorn-headed cane was an awful reminder of my sufferings. She was
careful not to injure the clothing of her victims, and made her
appeals to the unshielded cuticle, and with a heavy hand for a small
woman.

It was an ill-fashioned but powerfully-built house, and remains a
monument to this day of sound timber and faithful work, braving time
and the storm for eighty-two years. It was the first framed house
built in the county, and I am sure, upon the poorest spot of land
within fifty miles of where it stands. Here was born my uncle,
Robertus Love, who was the first white child born in the State west of
the Ogeechee River.

Colonel Love, my grandfather, was eccentric in many of his opinions,
and was a Puritan in religious faith. Oliver Cromwell was his model of
a statesman, and Praise-God Barebones his type of a Christian. While
he was a boy his father married a second time, and, as is very
frequently the case, there was no harmony between the step-mother and
step-son. Their jarrings soon ripened into open war. To avoid
expulsion from the paternal roof he "bundled and went." Nor did he
rest until, in the heart of the Cherokee nation of Indians, he found a
home with Dragon Canoe, then the principal warrior of the nation, who
resided in a valley amid the mountains, and which is now Habersham
County. With this chief, who at the time was young, he remained some
four years, pursuing the chase for pleasure and profit. Thus
accumulating a large quantity of peltries, he carried them on
pack-horses to Charleston, and thence went with them to Europe. After
disposing of his furs, which proved profitable, he wandered on foot
about Europe for some eighteen months, and then, returning to London,
he embarked for America.

During all this time he had not heard from his family. Arriving at
Charleston he made his way back to the neighborhood of his birth. He
was ferried across the Pedee river by a buxom lass, who captured his
heart. Finding his father dead, he gathered up the little patrimony
left him in his father's will, should he ever return to claim it: he
then returned to the neighborhood of his sweetheart of the ferry; and,
being a fine-looking man of six feet three inches, with great blue
eyes, round and liquid; and, Othello-like, telling well the story of
his adventures, he very soon beguiled the maiden's heart, and they
were made one. About this time came off the battles of Concord and
Lexington, inaugurating the Revolution. It was not, however, until
after the declaration of independence, that he threw aside the plough
and shouldered the musket for American independence.

That portion of North Carolina in which he resided had been mainly
peopled by emigrants from Scotland. The war progressing into the
South, found nearly all of these faithful in their allegiance to
Britain. The population of English descent, in the main, espoused the
cause of the colonies. With his neighbors Love was a favorite; he was
very fleet in a foot-race, had remarkable strength; but, above all,
was sagacious and strong of will. Such qualities, always appreciated
by a rude people, at that particular juncture brought their possessor
prominently forward, and he was chosen captain of a company composed
almost to a man of his personal friends and acquaintances. Uniting
himself with the regiment of Colonel Lynch, just then organized, and
which was ordered to join the North Carolina line, they marched at
once to join General Gates, then commanding in the South. Under the
command of this unfortunate general he remained until after the battle
of Camden. Here Gates experienced a most disastrous defeat, and the
whole country was surrendered to the British forces.

South Carolina and North Carolina, especially their southern portions,
were entirely overrun by the enemy, who armed the Tories and turned
them loose to ravage the country. Gates's army was disorganized, and
most of those who composed it from the Carolinas returned to their
homes. Between these and the Scotch Tories, as the Loyalists were
termed, there was a continual partisan strife, each party resorting to
the most cruel murders, burning and destroying the homes and the
property of each other. Partisan bands were organized by each, and
under desperate leaders did desperate deeds. It was then and there
that Marion and Fanning became conspicuous, and were respectively the
terror of Whigs and Tories.

There were numerous others of like character, though less efficient
and less conspicuous. The exploits of such bands are deemed beneath
the dignity of history, and now only live in the memories of those who
received them traditionally from the actors, their associates or
descendants. Those acts constitute mainly the tragic horrors of war,
and evidence the merciless inhumanity of enraged men, unrestrained by
civil or moral law. Injuries he deems wanton prompt the passions of
his nature to revenge, and he hastens to retaliate upon his enemy,
with increased horrors, their savage brutalities.

As the leader of a small band of neighbors who had united for
protection and revenge, Colonel Love became conspicuous for his
courage and cruelty. It was impossible for these, his associates, as
for their Tory neighbors and enemies, to remain at their homes, or
even to visit them, except at night, and then most stealthily. The
country abounds with swamps more or less dense and irreclaimable,
which must always remain a hiding-place for the unfortunate or
desperate. In these the little bands by day were concealed, issuing
forth at night to seek for food or spoils. Their families were often
made the victims of revenge; and instances were numerous where feeble
women and little children were slain in cold blood by neighbors long
and familiarly known to each other, in retaliation of like atrocities
perpetrated by their husbands, sons, or brothers.

It was a favorite pastime with my grandmother, when the morning's work
was done, to uncover her flax-wheel, seat herself, and call me to sit
by her, and, after my childish manner, read to her from the "Life of
General Francis Marion," by Mason L. Weems, the graphic account of the
general's exploits, by the venerable parson. There was not a story in
the book that she did not know, almost as a party concerned, and she
would ply her work of flax-spinning while she gave me close and
intense attention. At times, when the historian was at fault in his
facts--and, to say the truth, that was more frequently the case than
comports with veracious history--she would cease the impelling motion
of her foot upon the pedal of her little wheel, drop her thread, and,
gently arresting the fly of her spool, she would lift her iron-framed
spectacles, and with great gravity say: "Read that again. Ah! it is
not as it happened, your grandfather was in that fight, and I will
tell you how it was." This was so frequently the case, that now, when
more than sixty years have flown, I am at a loss to know, if the
knowledge of most of these facts which tenaciously clings to my
memory, was originally derived from Weems's book, or my grandmother's
narrations. In these forays and conflicts, whenever my grandfather was
a party, her information was derived from him and his associates, and
of course was deemed by her authentic; and whenever these differed
from the historian's narrative, his, of consequence, was untrue.
Finally, Weems, upon one of his book-selling excursions, which simply
meant disposing of his own writings, came through her neighborhood,
and with the gravity of age, left verbally his own biography with Mrs.
McJoy, a neighbor; this made him, as he phrased it, General
Washington's preacher. He was never after assailed as a lying author:
but whenever his narrative was opposed to her memory, she had the
excuse for him, that his informant had deceived him.

To have seen General Washington, even without having held the holy
office of his preacher, sanctified in her estimation any and every
one. She had seen him, and it was the especial glory of her life. Yes,
she had seen him, and remembered minutely his eyes, his hair, his
mouth and his hands--and even his black horse, with a star in his
face, and his one white foot and long, sweeping tail. So often did I
listen to the story, that in after boyhood I came to believe I had
seen him also, though his death occurred twenty days before I was
born. My dear, good mother has often told me that but for an attack of
ague, which kept the venerable lady from our home for a month or more,
I should have been honored with bearing the old hero's name through
life. So intent was she in this particular, that she never liked my
being named after Billy Crafford (for so she pronounced his name) for
whom the partiality of my father caused him to name me. Few remain to
remember the horrors of this partisan warfare. The very traditions are
being obliterated by those of the recent civil war, so rife with
scenes and deeds sufficiently horrible for the appetite of the curious
in crime and cruelty.




CHAPTER II.

PIONEER LIFE.

SETTLEMENT OF MIDDLE GEORGIA--PROWLING INDIANS--SCOUTS AND THEIR
DOGS--CLASSES OF SETTLERS--PROMINENCE OF VIRGINIANS--CAUSES OF
DISTINCTION--CLEARING--LOG-ROLLING--FROLICS--TEACHERS CUMMINGS AND
DUFFY--THE SCHOOLMASTER'S NOSE--FLOGGING--EMIGRATION TO ALABAMA.


The early settlement of Middle Georgia was principally by emigrants
from Virginia and North Carolina. These were a rough, poor, but honest
people, with little or no fortunes, and who were quite as limited in
education as in fortune. Their necessities made them industrious and
frugal. Lands were procured at the expense of surveying; the soil was
virgin and productive; rude cabins, built of poles, constituted not
only their dwellings but every necessary outbuilding. Those who first
ventured beyond the Ogeechee generally selected some spot where a good
spring of water was found, not overlooked by an elevation so close as
to afford an opportunity to the Indians, then very troublesome, to
fire into the little stockade forts erected around these springs for
their security against the secret attacks of the prowling and
merciless Creeks and Cherokees.

Usually several families united in building and living in these forts.
As soon as this protection was completed, the work of clearing away
the surrounding forest was commenced, that the land should afford a
field for cultivation. While thus employed, sentinels were stationed
at such points in the neighborhood as afforded the best opportunity
for descrying the approach of Indians, and the watch was most careful.
When those employed in hunting (for every community had its hunters)
discovered, or thought they had discovered signs of the presence of
the savages, scouts were immediately sent out to discover if they were
lurking anywhere in the neighborhood. This was the most arduous and
perilous duty of the pioneers, and not unfrequently the scout, or spy
as he was usually termed, went to return no more. When seed-time came,
corn, a small patch of cotton and another of flax were planted, and
cultivation continued under the same surveillance.

The dog, always the companion of man, was carefully trained to search
for the prowling Indians; and by daylight every morning the clearing,
as the open lands were universally termed; was passed around by a
cautious scout, always preceded by his dogs, who seemed as conscious
of their duty and as faithful in its discharge as was their master. If
he reported no Indians, the work of cultivation commenced, and the
sentinels repaired to their posts. These were usually changed whenever
the slightest sign of Indians anywhere in the country could be found,
lest their posts might have been found and marked, and ambushed at
night. Yet, despite this prudent caution, many a sentinel perished at
his post. The unerring arrow gave no alarm, and the sentinel slain,
opened an approach for the savages; and not unfrequently parties at
labor were thus surprised and shot in full view of those in the fort.

Occasionally an emigrant brought with him a slave or two: these were
rich, and invariably were the leading men in the communities. Those
from Virginia were more frequently possessed of this species of
property than those from the Carolinas, and, coming from an older
country, had generally enjoyed better opportunities and were more
cultivated. A common necessity harmonized all, and the state of
society was a pure democracy. These communities were usually from
twenty to fifty miles apart, and about them a nucleus was formed,
inviting those who sought the new country for a home to locate in the
immediate vicinity. Security and the enjoyment of social intercourse
were more frequently the incentives for these selections than the
fertility of the soil or other advantages. One peculiarity was
observable, which their descendants, in their emigration to the West,
continue to this day to practise: they usually came due west from
their former homes, and were sure to select, as nearly as possible, a
new one in the same parallel, and with surroundings as nearly like
those they had left as possible. With the North Carolinian, good
spring-water, and pine-knots for his fire, were the _sine qua
non_. These secured, he went to work with the assiduity and
perseverance of a beaver to build his house and open his fields. The
Virginians, less particular, but more ambitious, sought the best lands
for grain and tobacco; consequently they were more diffused, and their
improvements, from their superior wealth, were more imposing.

Wealth in all communities is comparative, and he who has only a few
thousand dollars, where no one else has so much, is the rich man, and
ever assumes the rich man's prerogatives and bearing. All experience
has proved that as a man estimates himself, so in time will the
community esteem him; and he who assumes to lead or dictate will soon
be permitted to do so, and will become the first in prominence and
influence in his neighborhood, county, or State. Greatness commences
humbly and progresses by assumption. The humble ruler of a
neighborhood, like a pebble thrown into a pond, will continue to
increase the circle of his influence until it reaches the limits of
his county. The fathers speak of him, the children hear of him, his
name is a household word; if he but assumes enough, in time he becomes
the great man of the county; and if with impudence he unites a modicum
of talent, well larded with a cunning deceit, it will not be long
before he is Governor or member of Congress. It is not surprising,
then, that in nearly every one of these communities the great man was
a Virginian. It has been assumed by the Virginians that they have
descended from a superior race, and this may be true as regards many
families whose ancestors were of Norman descent; but it is not true of
the mass of her population; and for one descendant from the nobility
and gentry of the mother country, there are thousands of pure
Anglo-Saxon blood. It was certainly true, from the character and
abilities of her public men, in her colonial condition and in the
earlier days of the republic, she had a right to assume a superiority;
but this, I fancy, was more the result of her peculiar institutions
than of any superiority of race or greater purity of blood. I am far,
however, from underrating the influence of blood. That there are
species of the same race superior in mental as well as in physical
formation is certainly true. The peculiar organization of the brain,
its fineness of texture in some, distinguish them as mentally superior
to others, as the greater development of bone and muscle marks the
superiority of physical power. Very frequently this difference is seen
in brothers, and sometimes in families of the same parents--the males
in some usurping all the mental acumen, and in others the females. Why
this is so, I cannot stop to speculate.

Virginia, in her many divisions of territory, was granted to the
younger sons of the nobility and gentry of England. They came with the
peculiar habits of their class, and located upon these grants,
bringing with them as colonists their dependants in England, and
retaining here all the peculiarities of caste. The former were the
governing class at home, and asserted the privilege here; the latter
were content that it should be so. In the formation of the first
constitution for Virginia, the great feature of a landed aristocracy
was fully recognized in the organic law. The suffragist was the landed
proprietor, and in every county where his possessions were this right
attached. They recognized landed property as the basis of government,
and demanded the right for it of choosing the lawmakers and the
executors of the law. All power, and very nearly all of the wealth of
the State, was in the hands of the landlords, and these selected from
their own class or caste the men who were to conduct the government.
To this class, too, were confined most of the education and learning
in the new State; and in choosing for the Legislature or for Congress,
State pride and the love of power prompted the selection of their
brightest and best men.

Oratory was esteemed the first attribute of superior minds, and was
assiduously cultivated. There were few newspapers, and the press had
not attained the controlling power over the public mind as now.
Political information was disseminated chiefly by public speaking, and
every one aspiring to lead in the land was expected to be a fine
speaker. This method, and the manner of voting, forced an open avowal
of political opinion. Each candidate, upon the day of election, took
his seat upon the bench of the judge in the county court-house, and
the suffragist appeared at the bar, demanding to exercise his
privilege in the choice of his representative. This was done by
declaring the names of those he voted for. These peculiar institutions
cultivated open and manly bearing, pride, and independence. There was
little opportunity for the arts of the demagogue; and the elevation of
sentiment in the suffragist made him despise the man, however superior
his talents, who would attempt them. The voter's pride was to sustain
the power of his State in the national councils, to have a great man
for his Governor; they were the representatives of his class, and he
felt his own importance in the greatness of his representative. It is
not to be wondered at, under these circumstances, that Virginia held
for many years the control of the Government, furnishing Presidents of
transcendent abilities to the nation, and filling her councils with
men whose talents and eloquence and proud and independent bearing won
for them, not only the respect of the nation's representatives, but
the power to control the nation's destinies, and to be looked upon as
belonging to a superior race.

There were wanting, however, two great elements in the nation's
institutions, to sustain in its pride and efficiency this peculiar
advantage, to wit, the entailment of estates, and the right of
primogeniture. Those landed estates soon began to be subdivided, and
in proportion as they dwindled into insignificance, so began to perish
the prestige of their proprietors. The institution of African slavery
served for a long time to aid in continuing the aristocratic features
of Virginia society, though it conferred no legal privileges. As
these, and the lands, found their way into many hands, the democratic
element began to aspire and to be felt. The struggle was long and
severe, but finally, in 1829 or 1830, the democratic element
triumphed, and a new constitution was formed, extending universal
suffrage to white men. This degraded the constituent and
representative alike, and all of Virginia's power was soon lost in the
councils of the nation. But the pride of her people did not perish
with her aristocracy; this continued, and permeated her entire people.
They preserved it at home, and carried it wherever they went. Those
whose consideration at home was at zero, became of the first families
abroad, until Virginia pride became a by-word of scorn in the western
and more southern States. Yet despite all this, there is greatness in
the Virginians: there is superiority in her people,--a loftiness of
soul, a generosity of hospitality, a dignified patience under
suffering, which command the respect and admiration of every
appreciative mind.

Very soon after the Revolution, the tide of emigration began to flow
toward Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. Those from Virginia who
sought new homes went principally to Kentucky, as much because it was
a part of the Old Dominion, as on account of climate and soil. Those
from North Carolina and South Carolina preferred Tennessee, and what
was then known as Upper Georgia, but now as Middle Georgia; yet there
was a sprinkling here and there throughout Georgia from Virginia. Many
of these became leading men in the State, and their descendants still
boast of their origin, and in plenary pride point to such men as
William H. Crawford and Peter Early as shining evidences of the
superiority of Virginia's blood.

Most of these emigrants, however, were poor; but where all were poor,
this was no degradation. The concomitants of poverty in densely
populated communities--where great wealth confers social distinction
and frowns from its association the poor, making poverty humility,
however elevated its virtues--were unknown in these new countries. The
nobler virtues, combined with energy and intellect, alone conferred
distinction; and I doubt if the world, ever furnished a more honest,
virtuous, energetic, or democratic association of men and women than
was, at the period of which I write, to be found constituting the
population of these new States. From whatever cause arising, there
certainly was, in the days of my early memory, more scrupulous truth,
open frankness, and pure, blunt honesty pervading the whole land than
seem to characterize its present population. It was said by Nathaniel
Macon, of North Carolina, that bad roads and fist-fights made the best
militia on earth; and these may have been, in some degree, the means
of moulding into fearless honesty the character of these people. They
encountered all the hardships of opening and subduing the country,
creating highways, bridges, churches, and towns with their public
buildings. These they met cheerfully, and working with a will,
triumphed. After months of labor, a few acres were cleared and the
trees cut into convenient lengths for handling, and then the neighbors
were invited to assist in what was called a log-rolling. This aid was
cheerfully given, and an offer to pay for it would have been an
insult. It was returned in kind, however, when a neighbor's
necessities required. These log-rollings were generally accompanied
with a quilting, which brought together the youth of the neighborhood;
and the winding up of the day's work was a frolic, as the dance and
other amusements of the time were termed. Upon occasions like this,
feats of strength and activity universally constituted a part of the
programme. The youth who could pull down his man at the end of the
hand-stick, throw him in a wrestle, or outstrip him in a footrace, was
honored as the best man in the settlement, and was always greeted with
a cheer from the older men, a slap on the shoulder by the old ladies,
and the shy but approving smiles of the girls,--had his choice of
partners in the dance, and in triumph rode home on horseback with his
belle, the horse's consciousness of bearing away the championship
manifesting itself in an erect head and stately step.

The apparel of male and female was of home-spun, woven by the mothers
and sisters, and was fashioned, I was about to say, by the same fair
hands; but these were almost universally embrowned with exposure and
hardened by toil. Education was exceedingly limited: the settlements
were sparse, and school-houses were at long intervals, and in these
the mere rudiments of an English education were taught--spelling,
reading, and writing, with the four elementary rules of arithmetic;
and it was a great advance to grapple with the grammar of the
language. As population and prosperity increased, their almost
illiterate teachers gave place to a better class; and many of my
Georgia readers will remember as among these the old Irish preachers,
Cummings, and that remarkable brute, Daniel Duffee. He was an Irishman
of the Pat Freney stripe, and I fancy there are many, with gray heads
and wrinkled fronts, who can look upon the cicatrices resulting from
his merciless blows, and remember that Milesian malignity of face,
with its toad-like nose, with the same vividness with which it
presents itself to me to-day. Yes, I remember it, and have cause. When
scarcely ten years of age, in his little log school-house, the
aforesaid resemblance forced itself upon me with such _vim_ that
involuntarily I laughed. For this outbreak against the tyrant's rules
I was called to his frowning presence.

"What are you laughing at, you whelp?" was the rude inquiry.

Tremblingly I replied: "You will whip me if I tell you."

"And you little devil, I will whip you if you don't," was his
rejoinder, as he reached for his well-trimmed hickory, one of many
conspicuously displayed upon his table. With truthful sincerity I
answered:

"Father Duffy, I was laughing to think how much your nose is like a
frog."

It was just after play-time, and I was compelled to stand by him and
at intervals of ten minutes receive a dozen lashes, laid on with
brawny Irish strength, until discharged with the school at night.
To-day I bear the marks of that whipping upon my shoulders and in my
heart. But Duffy was not alone in the strictness and severity of his
rules and his punishments. Children were taught to believe that there
could be no discipline in a school of boys and girls without the
savage brutality of the lash, and the teacher who met his pupils with
a caressing smile was considered unworthy his vocation. Learning must
be thrashed into the tender mind; nothing was such a stimulus to the
young memory as the lash and the vulgar, abusive reproof of the gentle
and meritorious teacher.

There was great eccentricity of character in all the conduct and
language of Duffy. He had his own method of prayer, and his own
peculiar style of preaching, frequently calling out the names of
persons in his audience whom it was his privilege to consider the
chiefest of sinners, and to implore mercy for them in language
offensive almost to decency. Sometimes, in the presence of persons
inimical to each other, he would ask the Lord to convert the sinners
and make the fools friends, first telling the Lord who they were by
name, to the no small amusement of his most Christian audience; many
of whom would in deep devotion respond with a sonorous "Amen."

From such a population sprang the present inhabitants of Georgia; and
by such men were they taught, in their budding boyhood, the rudiments
of an English education;--such, I mean, of the inhabitants who still
live and remember Duffy, Cummings, and McLean. They are few, but the
children of the departed remember traditionally these and their like,
in the schoolmasters of Georgia from 1790 to 1815.

At the close of the war of 1812-15, a new impetus was given to
everything throughout the South, and especially to education. The
ambition for wealth seized upon her people, the high price of cotton
favored its accumulation, and with it came new and more extravagant
wants, new and more luxurious habits. The plain homespun jean coat
gave way to the broad-cloth one; and the neat, Turkey-red striped
Sunday frock of the belle yielded to the gaudy red calico one, and
there was a sniff of aristocratic contempt in the upturned nose
towards those who, from choice or necessity, continued in the old
habits.

Material wealth augmented rapidly, and with it came all of its
assumptions. The rich lands of Alabama were open to settlement. The
formidable Indian had been humbled, and many of the wealthiest
cultivators of the soil were commencing to emigrate to a newer and
more fertile country, where smiling Fortune beckoned them.

The first to lead off in this exodus was the Bibb family, long
distinguished for wealth and influence in the State. The Watkinses,
the Sheroos, and Dearings followed: some to north, some to south
Alabama. W.W. Bibb was appointed, by Mr. Madison, Territorial Governor
of Alabama, and was followed to the new El Dorado by his brothers,
Thomas, John Dandridge, and Benajah, all men of substance and
character.

For a time this rage for a new country seemed to threaten Georgia and
South Carolina with the loss of their best population. This probably
would have been the result of the new acquisition, but, in its midst,
the territory between the Ocmulgee and Chattahoochee was ceded by the
Indians, and afforded a new field for settlement, which effectually
arrested this emigration at its flood. The new territory added to the
dominion of Georgia was acquired mainly through the energy and
pertinacity of George M. Troup, at the time Governor of Georgia.

I have much to record of my memories concerning this new acquisition,
but must reserve them for a new chapter.




CHAPTER III.

THE GEORGIA COMPANY.

YAZOO PURCHASE--GOVERNOR MATHEWS--JAMES JACKSON--BURNING OF THE YAZOO
ACT--DEVELOPMENT OF FREE GOVERNMENT--CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION--SLAVERY:
ITS INTRODUCTION AND EFFECTS.


The grant by the British Government of the territory of Georgia to
General Oglethorpe and company, comprised what now constitutes the
entire States of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, except that
portion of Alabama and Mississippi lying below the thirty-first degree
of north latitude, which portions of those States were originally part
of West Florida.

The French settlements extended up the Mississippi, embracing both
sides of that river above the mouth of Red River, which discharges
into the former in the thirty-first degree of north latitude. The
river from the mouth of the Bayou Manshac, which left the river
fourteen miles below Baton Rouge, on the east side, up to the
thirty-first degree of north latitude, was the boundary line between
West Florida and Louisiana. Above this point the French claimed
jurisdiction on both sides; but Georgia disputed this jurisdiction
over the east bank, and claimed to own from the thirty-first to the
thirty-sixth degree of latitude. There were many settlements made by
Americans upon this territory at a very early day,--one at Natchez,
one at Fort Adams, and several on the Tombigbee, the St. Stephens, at
McIntosh's Bluff, and on Bassett's Creek. These settlements formed the
nucleus of an American population in the States of Mississippi and
Alabama. The lands bordering upon these rivers and their tributaries
were known to be exceedingly fertile, and proffered inducements to
settlers unequalled in all the South. Speculation was very soon
directed to these regions. A company was formed of citizens of Georgia
and Virginia for the purchase of an immense tract of territory,
including most of what is now Mississippi and Alabama. This company
was known as the Georgia Company, and the territory as the Yazoo
Purchase. It was a joint-stock company, and managed by trustees or
directors. The object was speculation. It was intended to purchase
from Georgia this domain, then to survey it and subdivide it into
tracts to suit purchasers. Parties were delegated to make this
purchase: this could only be done by the Legislature and by special
act passed for that purpose. The proposition was made, and met with
formidable opposition. The scheme was a gigantic one and promised
great results, and the parties concerned were bold and unscrupulous.
They very soon ascertained that means other than honorable to either
party must be resorted to to secure success. The members to be
operated upon were selected, and the company's agents began the work.
Enough was made, by donations of stock and the direct payment of money
by those interested in the scheme, to effect the passage of the Act
and secure the contract of purchase and sale. The opposition denied
the power of the Legislature to sell; asserting that the territory was
sacred to the people of the State, and that those, in selecting their
representatives, had never contemplated delegating any such powers as
would enable them to dispose by sale of any part of the public domain;
that it was the province of the Legislature, under the Constitution,
to pass laws for the general good alone, and not to barter or sell any
portion of the territory of the State to be separated from the domain
and authority of the State. They insisted that the matter should be
referred to the people, who at the next election of members to the
Legislature should declare their will and intention as to this sale.

On the other side they were met with the argument, that the
Legislature was sovereign and the supreme power of the State, and
might rightfully do anything, not forbidden in the Constitution,
pertaining to sovereignty, which they in their wisdom might deem
essential to the general welfare; that the territory included in the
grant to Oglethorpe and company was entirely too extended, and that by
a sale a new State or States would be formed, which would increase the
political power of the South--especially in the United States Senate,
where she greatly needed representation to counterbalance the
influence of the small States of the North in that body. These
arguments were specious, but it was well understood they were only
meant to justify a vote for the measure which corruption had secured.

The Act was passed by a bare majority of both branches of the
Legislature, and the sale consummated. Before the passage of this
measure, the will of the people had been sufficiently expressed in the
indignant outburst of public feeling, as to leave no doubt upon the
minds of the corrupt representatives that they had not only forfeited
the public confidence, but had actually imperilled their personal
safety. Upon the return to their homes, after the adjournment, they
were not only met with universal scorn, but with inappeasable rage.
Some of the most guilty were slain; some had their houses burned over
their heads, and others fled the State; one was pursued and killed in
Virginia, and all not only entailed upon themselves infamy, but also
upon their innocent posterity; and to-day, to be known as the
descendant of a Yazoo man is a badge of disgrace. The deed, however,
was done: how to undo it became an agitating question. The Legislature
next ensuing was elected pledged to repeal the odious Act; and upon
its convening, all made haste to manifest an ardent zeal in this work.

At the time of the passage of this Act, the Legislature sat in
Augusta, and the Governor who by the Act was empowered to make the
sale was George Mathews. Mathews was an Irishman by birth, and was
very illiterate, but a man of strong passions and indomitable will.
During the war of the Revolution he had, as a partisan officer, gained
some distinction, and in the upper counties exercised considerable
influence. Many anecdotes are related of his intrepidity and daring,
and quite as many of his extraordinary orthography. At the battle of
Eutaw Springs, in South Carolina, he was severely wounded, at the
moment when the Continental forces were retiring to a better position.
A British soldier, noticing some vestiges of a uniform upon him,
lifted his musket to stab him with the bayonet; his commander caught
the weapon, and angrily demanded, "Would you murder a wounded officer?
Forward, sir!" Mathews, turning upon his back, asked, "To whom do I
owe my life?" "If you consider it an obligation, sir, to me," answered
the lieutenant. Mathews saw the uniform was British, and furiously
replied, "Well, sir, I want you to know that I scorn a life saved by a
d----d Briton." The writer had the anecdote from a distinguished
citizen of Georgia, who was himself lying near by, severely wounded,
and who in one of his sons has given to Georgia a Governor.

General Wade Hampton, George Walker, William Longstreet, Zachariah
Cox, and Matthew McAllister were the parties most active in procuring
the passage of the Yazoo Act. That bribery was extensively practised,
there is no doubt, and the suspicion that it even extended to the
Executive gained credence as a fact, and was the cause of preventing
his name ever being given to a county in the State: and it is a
significant fact of this suspicion, and also of the great unpopularity
of the Act, that to this day every effort to that end has failed. No
act of Governor Mathews ever justified any such suspicion. As Governor
of the State, and believing the sovereign power of the State was in
the Legislature, and consequently the power to dispose of the public
domain, he only approved the Act as the State's Executive, and
fulfilled the duties assigned to him by the law. But suspicion
fastened upon him, and its effects remain to this day.

The pertinacious discussions between the parties purchasing and those
opposed to the State's selling and her authority to sell, created
immense excitement, and pervaded the entire State. The decision of the
Supreme Court of the United States was invoked in the case of Fletcher
_versus_ Peck, which settled the question of the power of the
State to sell the public domain, and the validity of the sale made by
the State to the Georgia Company. In the meantime the Legislature of
Georgia had repealed the law authorizing the Governor to sell. This
decision of the Supreme Court brought about an amicable adjustment of
the difficulties between the Company and the State, with the
Government of the United States as a third party.

The excitement was not so much on account of the sale, though this was
bitter, as of the corruption which procured it. The test of public
confidence and social respect was opposition to the Yazoo fraud. Every
candidate at the ensuing election for members of the Legislature was
compelled to declare his position on the subject of repealing this
Act, and, almost to a man, every one who believed in the power of the
State to sell, and that rights had vested in the purchasers and their
assigns, was defeated.

James Jackson, a young, ardent, and talented man, who had in very
early life, by his abilities and high character, so won the public
confidence that he had been elected Governor of the State, when he was
ineligible because of his youth, was at this time a member of
Congress. He made a tour through the State, preaching a crusade
against the corrupt Legislature, and denouncing those who had produced
and profited by this corruption, inflaming the public mind almost to
frenzy. He resided in Savannah, and was at the head of the Republican
or Jeffersonian party, which was just then being organized in
opposition to the administration of John Adams, the successor of
Washington. His parents had emigrated from England, and fixed their
home in Savannah, where young Jackson was born, and where, from the
noble qualities of his nature, he had become immensely popular.

Talent and virtuous merit at that period was the passport to public
confidence. Had it continued to be, we should never have known the
present deplorable condition of the country, with the Government
sinking into ruin ere it has reached the ten o'clock of national life.

His Shibboleth was, that the disgrace of the State must be wiped out
by the repeal of the Yazoo Act; and _repeal_ rang from every
mouth, from Savannah to the mountains. Jackson resigned his seat in
Congress, and was elected a member of the Legislature. Immediately
upon the assembling of this body, a bill was introduced repealing the
odious Act, and ordering the records containing it to be burned. This
was carried out to the letter. Jackson, heading the Legislature and
the indignant public, proceeded in procession to the public square in
Louisville, Jefferson County, where the law and the fagots were piled;
when, addressing the assembled multitude, he denounced the men who had
voted for the law as bribed villains--those who had bribed them, and
the Governor who had signed it; and declared that fire from heaven
only could sanctify the indignation of God and man in consuming the
condemned record of accursed crime. Then, with a Promethean or convex
glass condensing the sun's rays, he kindled the flame which consumed
the records containing the hated Yazoo Act.

Jackson was a man of ordinary height, slender, very erect in his
carriage, with red hair and intensely blue eyes. His manners were
courteous, affable, and remarkable for a natural dignity which added
greatly to his influence with the people. He was the model from which
was grown that chivalry and nobility of soul and high bearing so
characteristic of the people of Southern Georgia. In truth, the
essence of his character seemed subtilly to pervade the entire circle
in which he moved, inspiring a purity of character, a loftiness of
honor, which rebuked with its presence alone everything that was low,
little, or dishonest. Subsequently he was elected Governor of the
State, bringing all the qualities of his nature into the
administration of the office; he gave it a dignity and respectability
never subsequently degraded, until an unworthy son of South Carolina,
the pus and corruption of unscrupulous party, was foisted into the
position. Strength of will, a ripe judgment, and purity of intention,
were the great characteristics distinguishing him in public life, and
these have endeared his name to the people of Georgia, where now
remain many of his descendants, some of whom have filled high
positions in the State and United States, and not one has ever soiled
the honor or tarnished the name with an act unworthy a gentleman.

The Revolutionary struggle called out all the nobler qualities nature
has bestowed on man, in those who conceived the desire and executed
the determination to be free. The heroic was most prominent: woman
seemed to forget her feebleness and timidity, and boldly to dare, and
with increased fortitude to bear every danger, every misfortune, with
a heroism scarcely compatible with the delicacy of her nature. To
this, or some other inexplicable cause, nature seemed to resort in
preparation for coming events. In every State there came up men, born
during the war or immediately thereafter, of giant minds--men
seemingly destined to form and give direction to a new Government
suited to the genius of the people and to the physical peculiarities
of the country where it was to control the destinies of hundreds of
millions of human beings yet unborn, and where the soil was virgin and
unturned, which nature had prepared for their coming. This required a
new order of men. These millions were to be free in the fullest sense
of the word; they were only to be controlled by laws; and the making
of these laws was to be their own work, and nature was responding to
the exigencies of man.

The early probation of independent government taught the necessity of
national concentration as to the great features of government, at the
same time demonstrating the importance of keeping the minor powers of
government confined to the authority of the States. In the assembling
of a convention for this purpose, which grew out of the free action of
the people of each State, uninfluenced by law or precedent, we see
congregated a body of men combining more talent, more wisdom, and more
individuality of character than perhaps was ever aggregated in any
other public body ever assembled. From this convention of sages
emanated the Constitution of the United States; and most of those
constituting this body reassembled in the first Congress, which sat as
the supreme power in the United States. It was these men and their
coadjutors who inaugurated and gave direction to the new Government.
Under its operations, the human mind and human soul seemed to expand
and to compass a grasp it had scarcely known before. There were
universal content and universal harmony. The laws were everywhere
respected, and everywhere enforced. The freedom of thought, and the
liberty of action unrestrained, stimulated an ambition in every man to
discharge his duties faithfully to the Government, and honestly in all
social relations. There was universal security to person and property,
because every law-breaker was deemed a public enemy, and not only
received the law's condemnation, but the public scorn. Under such a
Government the rapid accumulation of wealth and population was a
natural consequence. The history of the world furnishes no example
comparable with the progress of the United States to national
greatness. The civilized world appeared to feel the influence of her
example and to start anew in the rivalry of greatness. Her soil's
surplus products created the means of a widely extended commerce, and
Americans can proudly refer to the eighty years of her existence as a
period showing greater progress in wealth, refinement, the arts and
sciences, and human liberty, than was ever experienced in any two
centuries of time within the historical period of man's existence. My
theme expands, and I am departing from the purposes of this work; yet
I cannot forbear the expression of opinion as to the causes of this
result. I know I shall incur the deepest censure from the professors
of a mawkish philanthropy, and a hypocritical religion which is
cursing with its cant the very sources of this unparalleled progress,
this unexampled prosperity.

Slavery was introduced into the Colonies by English merchants about
two centuries since: this was to supply a necessity--labor--for the
purpose of developing the resources of this immense and fertile
country. The African was designed by the Creator to subserve this
purpose. His centre of creation was within the tropics, and his
physical organization fitted him, and him alone, for field labor in
the tropical and semi-tropical regions of the earth. He endures the
sun's heat without pain or exhaustion in this labor, and yet he has
not nor can he acquire the capacity to direct profitably this labor.
It was then the design of the Creator that this labor should be
controlled and directed by a superior intelligence. In the absence of
mental capacity, we find him possessed of equal physical powers with
any other race, with an amiability of temper which submits without
resistance to this control. We find him, too, without moral, social,
or political aspirations, contented and happy in the condition of
servility to this superior intelligence, and rising in the scale of
humanity to a condition which under any other circumstances his race
had never attained. I may be answered that this labor can be had from
the black as a freeman as well as in the condition of a slave. To this
I will simply say, experience has proved this to be an error. Such is
the indolence and unambitious character of the negro that he will not
labor, unless compelled by the apprehension of immediate punishment,
to anything approaching his capacity for labor. His wants are few,
they are easily supplied, and when they are, there is no temptation
which will induce him to work. He cares nothing for social position,
and will steal to supply his necessities, and feel no abasement in the
legal punishment which follows his conviction; nor is his social
status among his race damaged thereby. As a slave to the white man, he
becomes and has proved an eminently useful being to his kind--in every
other condition, equally conspicuous as a useless one. The fertility
of the soil and the productions of the tropical regions of the earth
demonstrate to the thinking mind that these were to be cultivated and
made to produce for the uses and prosperity of the human family. The
great staples of human necessity and human luxury are produced here in
the greatest abundance, and the great majority of these nowhere else.
The white man, from his physical organization, cannot perform in these
regions the labor necessary to their production. His centre of
creation is in the temperate zones, and only there can he profitably
labor in the earth's cultivation. But his mental endowments enable him
to appropriate all which nature has supplied for the necessities of
life and the progress of his race. He sees and comprehends in nature
the designs of her Creator: these designs he develops, and the
consequence is a constant and enlightened progress of his race, and
the subjection of the physical world to this end.

He finds the soil, the climate, the production, and the labor united,
and he applies his intelligence to develop the design of this
combination; and the consequence has been the wonderful progress of
the last two centuries. I hold it as a great truth that nature points
to her uses and ends; that to observe these and follow them is to
promote the greatest happiness to the human family; and that wherever
these aims are diverted or misdirected, retrogression and human misery
are the consequence. In all matters, experience is a better test than
speculation; and to surrender a great practical utility to a mere
theory is great folly. But it has been done, and we abide the
consequences.

In all nations, a spurious, pretentious religion has been the
_avant-coureur_ of their destruction. In their inception and early
progress this curse exercises but slight influence, and their growth
is consequently healthy and vigorous. All nations have concealed this
cancerous ulcer, sooner or later to develop for their destruction.
These wear out with those they destroy, and a new or reformed religion
is almost always accompanied with new and vigorous developments in
a new and progressive Government. The shackles which have paralyzed
the mind, forbidding its development, are broken; the unnatural
superstition ceases to circumscribe and influence its operations; and
thus emancipated, it recovers its elasticity and springs forward
toward the perfection of the Creator. Rescued from these baleful
influences, the new organization is vigorous and rapid in its growth,
yielding the beneficent blessings natural to the healthful and
unabused energies of the mind. But with maturity and age the webs of
superstition begin to fasten on the mind; priests become prominent,
and as is their wont, the moment they shackle the mind, they reach out
for power, and the chained disciple of their superstition willingly
yields, under the vain delusion that he shares and participates in
this power as a holy office for the propagation of his creed--and
retrogression commences.

The effects of African slavery in the United States, upon the
condition of both races, was eminently beneficial to both. In no
condition, and under no other circumstances, had the African made such
advances toward civilization: indeed, I doubt if he has not attained
in this particular to the highest point susceptible to his nature. He
has increased more rapidly, and his aspirations have become more
elevated, and his happiness more augmented. With his labor directed by
the intelligence of the white race, the prosperity of the world has
increased in a ratio superior to any antecedent period. The production
of those staples which form the principal bases of commerce has
increased in a quadruple ratio. Cotton alone increased so rapidly as
to render its price so far below every other article which can be
fashioned into cloth, that the clothing and sheeting of the civilized
world was principally fabricated from it. The rapidity of its
increased production was only equalled by the increase of wealth and
comfort throughout the world. It regulates the exchanges almost
universally. It gave, in its growth, transportation, and manufacture,
employment to millions, feeding and clothing half of Europe--increasing
beyond example commercial tonnage, and stimulating the invention of
labor-saving machinery--giving a healthy impulse to labor and enterprise
in every avocation, and intertwining itself with every interest,
throughout the broad expanse of civilization over the earth. To cotton,
more than to any other one thing, is due the railroad, steamboat, and
steamship, the increase of commerce, the rapid accumulation of
fortunes, and consequently the diffusion of intelligence, learning, and
civilization.

Sugar, too, from the same cause, ceased to be a luxury, and became a
necessity in the economy of living: coffee, too, became a stimulating
beverage at every meal, instead of a luxury only to be indulged on
rare occasions. How much the increased production of these three
articles added to the commerce and wealth of the world during the last
two centuries, and especially the last, is beyond computation. How
much of human comfort and human happiness is now dependent upon their
continued production, and in such abundance as to make them accessible
to the means of all, may well employ the earnest attention of those
who feel for the interest and happiness of their kind most. If these
results have followed the institution of African slavery, can it be
inhuman and sinful? Is it not rather an evidence that the Creator so
designed?

But this is not all this institution has effected. Besides its
pecuniary results, it has inspired in the superior race a nobility of
feeling, resulting from a habit of command and a sense of
independence, which is peculiar to privileged orders of men in
civilized society. This feeling is manifested in high bearing and
sensitive honor, a refinement of sentiment and chivalrous emprise
unknown to communities without caste. This is to be seen in the
absence of everything little or mean. A noble hospitality, a scorn of
bargaining, and a lofty yet eminently deferential deportment toward
females: in this mould it has cast Southern society, and these traits
made the Southern gentleman remarkable, wherever his presence was
found.

These were the men who led in the formation of the Government of the
United States, and who gave tone and character to her legislative
assembly, so long as they held control of the Government. A peer among
these was James Jackson, and many of his confederates, of whom I shall
have occasion to speak in the progress of this work.




CHAPTER IV.

POLITICAL DISPUTATIONS.

BALDWIN--A YANKEE'S POLITICAL STABILITY--THE YAZOO QUESTION--PARTY
FEUDS AND FIGHTS--DEAF AND DUMB MINISTERS--CLAY--JACKSON--BUCHANAN--
CALHOUN--COTTON AND FREE-TRADE--THE CLAY AND RANDOLPH DUEL.


Among the early immigrants into Georgia were Abraham Baldwin and
William H. Crawford. Baldwin was from Connecticut, Crawford from
Virginia. Baldwin was a man of liberal education, and was destined for
the ministry; indeed, he had taken orders, and was an officiating
clergyman for some time in his native state. His family was English,
and has given many distinguished men to the nation. After he arrived
in Georgia, where he came to engage in his vocation, he very soon
ascertained his profession was not one which in a new country promised
much profit or distinction; and possessing in an eminent degree that
Yankee "_cuteness_" which is quick to discover what is to the interest
of its possessor, he abandoned the pulpit for the forum, and after a
brief probation in a law office at nights and a school-house by day,
he opened an office, and commenced the practice of law in Augusta. He
had been educated a Federalist in politics, and had not concealed his
sentiments in his new home.

Mr. Jefferson and his political principles were extremely popular in
Georgia, and though there were some distinguished Federalists in
Augusta who were leaders in her society, their number in the State was
too insignificant to hold out any prospect of preferment to a young,
talented, and ambitious aspirant for political distinction. Baldwin
was not slow to discover this, and, with the facile nature of his
race, abandoned his political creed, as he had his professional
pursuits. He saw Crawford was rising into public notice, and he knew
his ability, and with characteristic impudence he thrust himself
forward, and very soon was made a member of Congress. Here he was true
to his last love, and became a leading member of the Republican party.
By his conduct in this matter he made himself odious to his New
England friends, who were unsparing of their abuse because of his
treachery.

For this he cared very little; but bore well in mind that "the blood
of the martyrs was the seed of the church," and that the hate of the
Federalists was the passport to Republican favor. His zeal was that of
the new convert, and it won for him the confidence of his party, and
rapid preferment in the line of distinction. He was a man of decided
abilities, and seemed destined to high distinction; but dying early, a
member of the United States Senate, his hopes and aspirations here
terminated. The State has honored and perpetuated his name by giving
it to the county wherein is situated her seat of government.

Crawford, like Baldwin, taught, and studied law at the same time. He
was usher in a school taught by his life-long friend, Judge Yates.
When admitted to practise law, he located in the little village of
Lexington, in the County of Oglethorpe, and very soon was not only the
leading lawyer, but the leading man of all the up-country of Georgia.

Eminence is always envied: this was conspicuously the fortune of
Crawford. The population of the State was increasing rapidly, and
young aspirants for fame and fortune were crowding to where these were
promised most speedily.

The Yazoo question had created deep animosities. General Elijah
Clarke, and his son John, subsequently governor of the State, were
charged with complicity in this great fraud. The father had
distinguished himself in repelling the Indians in their various forays
upon the frontiers, and was a representative man. With strong will and
distinguished courage, he, without much talent, was conspicuous among
a people who were, like himself, rude, unlettered, but daring, and
abounding in strong common-sense.

There was a young man at the same time, a devoted friend of young
Clarke, and follower of his father: he was an emigrant from one of the
Middle States. Violent in his character, and incautious in the use of
language, he very soon became offensive to his opponents, and sought
every opportunity to increase the bad feeling with which he was
regarded. Siding with the Yazoo Company, he soon made himself odious
to their enemies. The parties of Republicans and Federalists were
bitter toward each other, and feuds were leading to fights, and some
of these of most deadly character. The conflicts with the Indians had
kept alive the warlike spirit which the partisan warfare of the
Revolution had cultivated at the South, and no virtue was so
especially regarded by these people as that of personal courage. The
consequence was that no man, whatever his deportment or
qualifications, could long fill the public eye without distinguishing
himself for the possession of personal bravery.

The Clarkes were the undisputed leaders of public opinion in the
up-country, until Crawford came, and, by his great abilities and
remarkable frankness of manner, won away to his support, and to the
support of his opinions, a large majority of the people. This was not
to be borne; and young Van Allen was willingly thrust forward to test
the courage of Crawford. Duelling was the honorable method of settling
all difficulties between gentlemen, and Crawford was to be forced into
a duel. If he refused to fight, he was ruined. This, however, he did
not do; and Van Allen was slain in the affair.

This but whetted the rage of the Clarkes, and John Clarke was not long
in finding an excuse to call to the field his hated foe. In this duel
Crawford was shot through the left wrist, which partially disabled
that arm for life. But this did not heal the animosity; its rancor
became contagious, and involved the people of the State almost to a
man; nor did it end until both Clarke and Crawford were in the grave.

The history and consequences of this feud, and the two factions which
grew out of it, would be the history of Georgia for more than forty
years. Each had an army of followers; and all the talent of the State
was divided between and leading these factions. There were many young
men of decided talent rising into distinction in the professions, who
were of necessity absorbed by these factions, and whose whole
subsequent career was tainted with the ignoble prejudices arising out
of this association. Among the most prominent and talented of these
was John Forsyth, Peter Early, George M. Troup, the man _sans peur,
sans reproche_, Thomas W. Cobb, Stephen Upson, Duncan G. Campbell, the
brother-in-law of Clarke, and personally and politically his friend,
and who, from the purity of his character and elevated bearing, was
respected, trusted, and beloved by all who knew him; Freeman Walker,
John M. Dooly, Augustus Clayton, Stephen W. Harris, and Eli S.
Sherter, perhaps mentally equal to any son of Georgia.

With the exception of Upson and Troup, these were all natives of the
State. Upson was from Connecticut, and was the son of a button-maker
at Watertown, in that State. He was a thorough Yankee in all the
qualities of perseverance, making and saving money. He was a pure man,
stern and talented; and as a lawyer, was scarcely equalled in the
State. He and Cobb were students, and _proteges_ of Crawford, and both
signalized their whole lives by a devotion, amounting almost to
fanaticism, to Mr. Crawford and his fortunes.

George Michael Troup was born at McIntosh's Bluff, on the Tombigbee
River, in the State of Alabama. His father was an Englishman, who,
during the Revolution, removed to the place since called McIntosh's
Bluff. Mr. Crawford soon became prominent as a politician, and
adopting the party and principles of Jefferson, was transferred in
early life to the councils of the nation. In the United States Senate
he was the compeer of Felix Grundy, John C. Calhoun, Harrison Gray
Otis, Rufus King, Daniel D. Tompkins, William B. Giles, Henry Clay,
and many others of less distinction; and was the especial friend of
those remarkable men, Nathaniel Macon and John Randolph.

At this period, there was an array of talent in Congress never
equalled before or since. The aggressions of English cruisers upon our
commerce, and the impressing of our seamen into the English service,
had aroused the whole nation, and especially the South; and the fiery
talent of this section was called by the people, breathing war, into
the national councils.

Crawford was in the Senate from Georgia, and was a war-man. John
Forsyth, John C. Calhoun, David R. Williams, George M. Troup, John
Randolph, Philip Doddridge, James Barbour, Henry Clay, and William
Lomax from South Carolina, were all comparatively young men.

Lowndes, Calhoun, Clay, and Troup were little more than thirty years
of age, and yet they became prominent leaders of their party,
exercising a controlling influence over the public mind, and shaping
the policy of the Government. Crawford was the Mentor of this ardent
band of lofty spirits--stimulating and checking, as occasion might
require, the energies and actions of his young compeers. So
conspicuous was he for talent, wisdom, and statesmanship, that he was
proposed by the Republican party as a proper person to succeed Mr.
Madison; and nothing prevented his receiving the nomination of that
party but his refusal to oppose Mr. Monroe. His magnanimity was his
misfortune. Had he been nominated, he would have been elected without
opposition. The golden opportunity returned no more. He had succeeded
Chancellor Livingston as minister to France, and of these two, Napoleon
said "the United States had sent him two plenipotentiaries--the first
was deaf, the latter dumb." Livingston was quite deaf, and Crawford
could not speak French. At the court of Versailles, he served
faithfully and efficiently the interests of his country, and returned
with increased popularity. He filled, under Mr. Monroe, the office of
Secretary of War for a short time, and then was transferred to the
Secretaryship of the Treasury.

In the Cabinet of Mr. Monroe there were three aspirants for the
Presidency: Adams, Crawford, and Calhoun. Between Crawford and Calhoun
a feud arose, which was mainly the cause of Mr. Calhoun's name being
withdrawn as a candidate, and the substitution of that of General
Jackson. Crawford was one of the three highest returned to the House,
and from whom a choice was to be made.

Some twelve months anterior to the election he was stricken with
paralysis; and both body and mind so much affected that his friends
felt that it would be improper to elect him. Nevertheless he continued
a candidate until Mr. Adams was chosen.

Mr. Clay had been voted for as a fourth candidate, but not receiving
electoral votes enough, failed to be returned to the House. Being at
the time a member of the House of Representatives, it was supposed he
held the control of the Western vote; and consequently the power to
elect whom he pleased. Mr. Clay was a great admirer of Mr. Crawford,
though their intimacy had been somewhat interrupted by a personal
difficulty between Mr. Randolph and Mr. Clay. Mr. Randolph being an
especial friend and constant visitor at Mr. Crawford's, it would have
been unpleasant to both parties to meet at his house.

Only a few years anterior to Mr. Clay's death, and when he was
visiting New Orleans, the writer had frequent interviews with him, and
learned that he preferred Mr. Crawford to either Adams or Jackson; and
was only prevented voting for him by the prostration and hopeless
condition of his health.

The political friends of Mr. Clay from the West knew of this
preference, and would have acted with him, only upon condition that
Mr. Crawford should make him a member of his Cabinet. This was
communicated to Mr. Clay, who assigned his reasons for declining to
vote for Mr. Crawford, and avowed his intention of giving his vote for
Mr. Adams. Upon this announcement, it was urged upon Mr. Clay that Mr.
Adams was uncommitted upon the policy which he had inaugurated as the
American System; that he stood pledged to the country for its success;
and that, without some pledge from Mr. Adams upon this point, he would
be hazarding too much to give him his support--for this would
certainly make him President. Mr. Clay's reply was:

"I shall, as a matter of necessity, give my vote for Mr. Adams: Mr.
Crawford's health puts him out of the question, and we are compelled
to choose between Adams and Jackson. My opinion with regard to General
Jackson is before the nation, it remains unaltered. I can never give a
vote for any man for so responsible a position whose only claim is
military fame. Jackson's violent temper and unscrupulous character,
independent of his want of experience in statesmanship, would prevent
my voting for him. I shall exact no pledge from Mr. Adams, but shall
vote for him, and hold myself at liberty to support or oppose his
administration, as it shall meet my approval or disapproval."

Mr. Adams was elected; and the friends of Mr. Clay insisted that he
should accept the position of Secretary of State in the new Cabinet,
which was tendered him by Mr. Adams. Mr. Clay thought it indelicate to
do so. Whether true or not, the nation awarded to him the making of
Mr. Adams President.

General Jackson had received a larger vote in the electoral colleges
than Adams, and his friends urged this as a reason that he was more
acceptable to the nation, and the voting for Adams on the part of Clay
and his friends was a palpable disregard of the popular will; and that
Clay had violated all his antecedents, and had thus deserted the
principles of the Republican party.

The friends of Mr. Crawford were silent until the organization of the
new Cabinet. There had been a breach of amicable relations between
Crawford and Jackson for some years, and of consequence between their
party friends; and it was supposed from this cause that Mr. Crawford
would unite in the support of the Administration; and when it was
known that Clay had accepted the premiership, this was deemed certain,
from the friendship long existing between Clay and himself. The
terrible paralysis which had prostrated Mr. Crawford extended to his
mind, and he had ceased to hold the influence with his friends as
controller, and had become the instrument in their hands.

General Jackson received a hint that it would be well to have healed
the breach between himself and Crawford. This it was supposed came
from Forsyth, and it is further believed this was prompted by Van
Buren. It may or may not have been so: Mr. Jackson's acuteness rarely
required hints from any one to stimulate or prompt to action its
suggestions. All Washington City was astounded, one Sunday morning, at
seeing the carriage of Jackson pull up at the residence of Mr.
Crawford; for their quarrel was known to every one, and it was
heralded through the newspapers that a reconciliation had taken place
between these great men. The interview was a protracted one: what
occurred can only be known by subsequent developments in the political
world.

Van Buren had supported Crawford to the last extremity, and was
greatly respected by him. His intense acuteness scented the prey afar
off. Mr. Calhoun had been elected by the electoral colleges
Vice-President, and this position, it was thought, notwithstanding his
devotion to Jackson, would identify him with the Administration. He
was young, talented, extremely popular, ambitious, and aspiring, and
it was the opinion of all that he would urge his claims to the
succession.

The indignation which burst from the Southern and Middle States, and
from many of the Western, at Mr. Clay's course, and the great
unpopularity of the name of Adams, was an assurance that without great
changes in public opinion Mr. Adams' administration would be confined
to one term. Mr. Crawford was out of the question for all time, and it
was apparent the contest was to be between Calhoun, Clay, and Jackson.

They had all belonged to the Jeffersonian school of politics--had
grown upon the nation's confidence rapidly through their support of
and conducting the war to its glorious termination. But this party was
now completely disrupted; and from its elements new parties were to be
formed. It only survived the dissolution of the Federal party a short
time, and, for the want of opposition from without, discord and
dissolution had followed. The political world was completely
chaotic--new interests had arisen. The war had forced New England to
manufacturing; it had established the policy of home production, and
home protection; the agricultural interest of the West was connected
with the manufacturing interest of the North, and was to be her
consumer; but the planting interest of the South was deemed
antagonistic to them. Her great staple, forming almost the sole basis
of the foreign commerce of the country, demanded, if not free trade,
an exceedingly liberal policy toward those abroad who were her
purchasers.

The war had given a new impetus to trade, new channels had been
opened, the manufacture of cotton in England had become a source of
wealth to the nation, and was rapidly increasing. America was her
source of supply, and was the great consumer of her fabrics, and this
fact was stimulating the growth of cotton into an activity which
indicated its becoming the leading interest of the South, if not of
the nation. The course of trade made it the great competitor of home
manufactures: this would seem unnatural, but it was true--the one
demanding protection, the other free trade. The source of supply of
the raw material to both was the same, and America the great consumer
for both. Protection secured the home market to the home manufacturer,
compelling the consumer to pay more, and sell for less, by excluding
the foreign manufacturer from the market, or imposing such burdens, by
way of duties, as to compel him to sell at higher prices than would be
a just profit on his labor and skill under the operation of free
trade, and which should exempt from his competition the home
manufacturer in the American market.

All these facts were within the purview of the sagacious politicians
of the day; and were evidently the elements of new parties. Mr. Clay
had already given shape to his future policy, and had identified the
new Administration with it. It was certain the South with great
unanimity would be in opposition, and the sagacity of Van Buren
discovered the necessity of uniting the friends of Jackson and
Crawford. Should he, after feeling the political pulse of his own
people, conclude to unite with the opposition, such a union would
destroy Mr. Clay in the South, but might greatly strengthen Mr.
Calhoun; his destruction, however, must be left to the future. He was
not long in determining. The reconciliation of Crawford and-Jackson
made the union of their friends no very difficult matter. Mr.
Randolph, Mr. Macon, Mr. Forsyth, and Mr. Cobb had expressed
themselves greatly gratified at this restoration of amity; and at an
informal meeting of their friends, Randolph said, in allusion to this
adjustment:

"I have no longer a fear that the seat first graced by Virginia's
chosen sons will ever be disgraced by a renegade child of hers."

Soon after the inauguration of Mr. Adams, and the adjournment of
Congress, the nation was startled with the charge of corruption in the
election of Mr. Adams. At first this was vague rumor. Mr. Clay was
charged by the press throughout the country with bargaining with the
friends of Adams, to cast his vote, and carry his influence to his
support, upon the condition of his (Clay's) appointment to the
premiership in the Administration, should Adams be elected.

There was no responsible name for this charge; but at the ensuing
session of Congress, a member from Pennsylvania, George Creemer,
uttered from his seat the charge in direct terms. This seemed to give
assurance of the truth of this damaging accusation. There was no
public denial from Mr. Clay. The press in his support had from the
first treated the story as too ridiculous to be noticed other than by
a flat denial; but the circumstances were sufficiently plausible to
predicate such a slander, and the effect upon Mr. Clay was beginning
to be felt seriously by his friends. In the mean time, rumors reached
the popular ear that the proofs of its veracity were in the hands of
General Jackson, whose popularity was running through the country with
the warmth and rapidity of a fire upon the prairies.

There was now a responsible sponsor, and Mr. Clay at once addressed a
note to Creemer, demanding his authority for the charge. This was
answered, and General Jackson's was the name given, as his authority.
Mr. Clay sent his friend, General Leslie Combs, with a note to
Jackson, with a copy of Creemer's communication. Combs was a weak,
vain man, and so full of the importance of his mission that he made no
secret of his object in visiting Jackson at the Hermitage; and it was
soon running through the country in the party press, each retailing
the story as he had heard it, or as his imagination and party bias
desired it. It was soon current that Mr. Clay had challenged General
Jackson, and a duel was soon to occur between these distinguished men.
General Jackson, however, gave as his author, James Buchanan, of
Pennsylvania. In turn, Mr. Buchanan was called upon by Clay, but he
denied ever having made any such communication to General Jackson; at
the same time, making certain statements under the seal of secrecy to
Mr. Letcher, Clay's friend. What these revelations were will never be
known: death has set his seal on all who knew them; and no revelation
disclosed them in time. Long after this interview between Letcher and
Buchanan, the former called on the latter, and asked to be relieved
from this imputation, and for permission to give to the public these
statements; but Mr. Buchanan peremptorily refused. Mr. Letcher
insisted that they were important to the reputation of more than Mr.
Clay: still Buchanan refused; and to this day the question of veracity
remains unsettled between Jackson and Buchanan. The public have,
however, long since declared that General Jackson was too brave a man
to lie.

Toward the close of Mr. Clay's life, one Carter Beverly, of Virginia,
wrote Mr. Clay some account of the part he himself had taken in the
concoction of this slander, craving his forgiveness. This letter was
received by Mr. Clay while a visitor at the home of the writer, and
read to him: it dissipated all doubts upon the mind of Mr. Clay, if
any remained, of the fact of the whole story being the concoction of
Buchanan. Creemer was a colleague of Buchanan, and was a credulous
Pennsylvanian, of Dutch descent; honest enough, but without brains,
and only too willing to be the instrument of his colleague in any
dirty work which would subserve his purposes.

Beverly was one of those silly but presumptuous personages who thrust
themselves upon the society of men occupying high positions, and feel
their importance only in that reflected by this association; and ever
too fond of being made the medium of slanderous reports, reflecting
upon those whose self-respect and superior dignity has frowned them
from their presence. Creemer died without divulging anything; probably
under the influence of Buchanan, and it is not improbable he was in
ignorance of the origin of the slander. Beverly knew of its utter
falsity, and was as guilty as the originator, and his conscience smote
him too sorely to permit him to go to the grave without atonement, and
consequently he made a clean breast of it to Mr. Clay.

Mr. Clay and Mr. Buchanan entered public life about the same time,
when they were both young and full of zeal. They belonged to the same
political party, and became warmly attached. They were, however, men
of very different temperaments. The professions of Mr. Clay were
always sincere, his love of truth was a most prominent feature in his
nature, and his attachments were never dissimulations: to no other
person of his early political friends was he more sincerely attached
than to Buchanan--he was his confidential friend; he was never on any
subject reserved to him; and so deep was this feeling with him that he
had called a son after his friend--the late James Buchanan Clay. When
he learned that all his confidences had been misplaced, and that the
man whom he so loved had sought to rob him of his good name, he was
wounded to the heart. He struggled to believe Buchanan was wronged by
General Jackson; but one fact after another was developed--he could
not doubt--all pointing the same way; and finally came this letter of
Beverly's, when he was old, and when his heart was crushed by the loss
of his son Henry at Buena Vista, of which event he had only heard the
day before: he doubted no more. I shall ever remember the expression
of that noble countenance as, turning to me, he said: "Read that!"
Rising from his seat, he went to the garden, where, under a large
live-oak, I found him an hour after, deeply depressed. It was sorrow,
not anger, that weighed upon him. In reply to a remark from me, he
said:

"How few men have I found true under all trials! Who has a friend on
whom he can rely, and who will not, to gratify his own ambition,
sacrifice him? I was deeply attached to Buchanan; I thought him my
friend, and trusted him as such--through long years our intimacy
continued. You see how unwisely this attachment was indulged; I have
misplaced my confidence; I am willing to disbelieve this statement of
Beverly; he is known to you; I believe he is a miserable creature, but
his testimony is but a link in the chain of evidences I have of
Buchanan's being the author of this infamous story. It was artfully
concocted and maliciously circulated. He was too shrewd to commit
himself, and employed this creature to go to Jackson, who lent a
willing ear to it; and he communicated it to Creemer. Yet it was
settled upon him by Jackson. Beverly told Jackson he was sent by
Buchanan, and now the world has the story denied by Buchanan, and I
have it confessed by Beverly. All the mischief it could do, it has
done; and this death-bed repentance and confession must command my
forgiveness of poor old Beverly.

"I was not unaware of the hazards of accepting office under Mr. Adams,
and yielded my judgment to gratify my friends. I was deeply solicitous
of rendering the country independent: our population was increasing; I
was sure large immigration would add to the natural increase; and I
felt it was the true policy of the Government to commence the
manufacture of all articles necessary to its population, and
especially the articles of prime necessity, iron and clothing. We had
the minerals, the coal, and the cotton; and the sad experience of the
recent war warned us to prepare against the same consequences should
we unfortunately be again in a similar condition. I was satisfied that
this policy would meet powerful opposition by those who supposed their
interests affected by protection; and I knew, to build up the
manufactures at home, they must be protected against foreign
competition--at least for a time. Once capital was abundant and
largely invested in manufacturing, with an abundance of educated
skill, this protection could be withdrawn; as home protection would
not prevent home competition, and high prices would stimulate this
competition to the point of producing more than was necessary for home
consumption; which would force the manufacturer to find a market
abroad for his surplus; this would bring him into competition with the
European manufacturer, and he would be compelled to be content with
the prices he could obtain under this competition; this would
necessarily, by degrees, reduce prices at home, and finally obviate
the necessity of protection. Already this has come to pass. The good
of the country I thought demanded this; and for this I exerted all my
powers and all my influence; never for a moment doubting but that in
time and from results the whole people would approve the policy. Nor
did I ever anticipate any political result to my own interest. I have
never thought of self, in any great measure of policy I may have
advocated. I have looked to final results in benefits to the country
alone, with a hope that my name should not be a disgrace to my
children, who should witness the working and the effect of measures
connected with my public life. With an honest purpose, I feared no
consequences; and desiring, above temporary popularity, the good of
the country, I assumed all the hazards and consequences which my
enemies could torture out of the act of accepting office under Mr.
Adams. I have never regretted it, and have lived to see the slanderers
of my fame rebuked by the whole country.

"This terrible Mexican war now raging, I fear, is to result in
consequences disastrous to our Government. That we shall drive Mexico
to the wall there cannot be a doubt. We will avail ourselves of the
conqueror's right in demanding indemnity for the expenses of the war.
She has nothing to pay with, but territory. We shall dispossess her of
at least a third, perhaps the half of her domain; this will open the
question of slavery again, and how it is to be settled God only knows.
For myself, I see no peaceful solution of the question. The North and
the South are equally fanatical upon the subject, and the difficulties
of adjustment augmenting every day. You will agree with me that the
institution violates the sentiment of the civilized world. It is
unnatural, and must yield to the united hostility of the world. But
what is to be done with the negro? You cannot make a citizen of him,
and clothe him with political power. This would lead rapidly to a war
of races; and of consequence to the extinction of the negro. He will
not labor without compulsion; and very soon the country would be
filled with brigands; the penitentiaries would not hold the convicts;
and the public security would ultimately demand that they should be
sent from the country.

"To remove such a number, even to the West Indies, would involve an
expense beyond the resources of the Government; to force them into
Mexico would make her a more dangerous and disagreeable neighbor than
she is; besides, this would only be postponing the evil, for I
apprehend we shall want to annex all of Mexico before many years. As I
remarked, I can see no peaceful solution of this great social evil;
but fear it is fraught with fatal consequences to our Government."

John Randolph, soon after the election of Mr. Adams, was sent to the
United States Senate by Virginia. His enmity to Mr. Clay had received
a new whetting through the events of the year or two just past; and
the natural acerbity of his nature was soured into bitter malignity.
He believed every word of the story of Creemer, and harped upon it
with the pertinacity of the Venetian upon the daughter of Shylock. He
was scarcely ever upon the floor that some offensive allusion was not
made to this subject. It was immaterial to him what the subject-matter
was under discussion: he found a means to have a throw at the
Administration, and of consequence, at Clay; and bargain and
corruption slid from his tongue with the concentration of venom of the
rattlesnake. The very thought of Clay seemed to inspire his genius for
vituperation; his eye would gleam, his meagre and attenuated form
would writhe and contort as if under the enchantment of a demon; his
long, bony fingers would be extended, as if pointing at an imaginary
Clay, air-drawn as the dagger of Macbeth, as he would writhe the
muscles of his beardless, sallow, and wrinkled face, pouring out the
gall of his soul upon his hated enemy. It was in one of these
hallucinations that he uttered the following morsel of bitterness, in
allusion to the story of bargain and corruption: "This, until now,
unheard-of combination of the black-leg with the Puritan; this union
of Luck George with Blifell," (an allusion from Fielding's novel of
"Tom Jones.") Language could not have been made more offensive. But
the fruitful imagination of Randolph was not exhausted, and he
proceeded with denunciation which spared not the venerable mother of
Mr. Clay, then living--denouncing her for bringing into the world
"this being, so brilliant, yet so corrupt, which, like a rotten
mackerel by moonlight, shined and stunk."

This drew from Mr. Clay a challenge, and a meeting was the
consequence. There was no injury sustained by either party in this
conflict, the full particulars of which may be found in Benton's
"Thirty Years in the Senate;" and I have Mr. Clay's authority for
saying that this account is strictly correct.

In General Jackson's letter to Carter Beverly, he states that Buchanan
came to him and stated that the friends of Mr. Adams had made overtures
to Mr. Clay, to the effect that, if Mr. Clay would with his friends
support Mr. Adams, and he should be elected, then he would appoint
Clay to the position of Secretary of State; and that Buchanan
recommended Jackson to intrigue against this intrigue.

Buchanan denied the statement _in toto_. Beverly wrote a letter, in
1841, admitting the falsehood of a former letter of his; and again,
another to Mr. Clay, in 1844 or 1845, asking Clay's forgiveness for
the part he had acted in the matter.




CHAPTER V.

GEORGIA'S NOBLE SONS.

A MINISTER OF A DAY--PURITY OF ADMINISTRATION--THEN AND NOW--WIDOW
TIMBERLAKE--VAN BUREN'S LETTER--AMBRISTER AND ARBUTHNOT--OLD HICKORY
SETTLES A DIFFICULTY--A CAUSE OF THE LATE WAR--HONORED DEAD.


Immediately upon the inauguration of Mr. Adams, Mr. Crawford left
Washington, and returned home. His residence was near Lexington,
Georgia, upon a small farm. It was an unostentatious home, but
comfortable, and without pretensions superior to those of his more
humble neighbors. Mr. Crawford had held many positions in the service
of the country, and had honestly and ably discharged the duties of
these for the public good. As a senator in Congress, he won the
confidence of the nation by the display of great abilities; and gave
universal satisfaction of the pure patriotism of his heart, in all he
said, or did. He was distinguished, as minister to France, for his
open candor and simplicity of manners--so much so, as to cause
Napoleon to remark of him "that no Government but a republic could
create or foster so much truth and honest simplicity of character as
he found in Mr. Crawford."

For years, he had served the nation as financial minister, and at a
time when the method of keeping, transferring, and disbursing the
moneys of Government afforded infinite opportunities for
peculation--when vast amounts of money arising from the sale of the
public domain in the West and the South was under his control, and
when he had the selection of the depositories of this, and when these
deposits were of great value to the local or State banks, so that they
would have paid handsomely for them; yet this noble being came out of
the furnace without the smell of fire upon his garments.

There was but one man who ever imputed dishonesty to him, or selfish
motives in any act. When the claims of Mr. Adams and Mr. Crawford for
the Presidency were being discussed, and party asperity sought to slay
its victims, Ninian Edwards, a senator of Congress from Illinois,
charged Mr. Crawford with impropriety of conduct in depositing, for
selfish and dishonest purposes, the public moneys arising from the
sale of lands in Illinois, in banks notoriously insolvent. Edwards had
been appointed minister to Mexico, had left the Senate, and had gone
to his home, preparatory to his leaving for Mexico; and from his home
made this attack upon Mr. Crawford. The son-in-law of Edwards, a man
named Cook, was the representative in Congress from Illinois, and, if
I remember correctly, was the only representative who at the time
reiterated these charges from his seat. Mr. Crawford immediately
demanded an investigation of his conduct. This was had, and the result
was a triumphant acquittal from all blame; and so damaging was this
investigation to Edwards that the President recalled the commission of
Edwards as minister to Mexico, and appointed Joel R. Poinsett, of
South Carolina, in his stead. Edwards was at New Orleans when the
letter of recall from the President reached him, that far on his way
to Mexico: he returned in disgrace, and soon faded from public notice
forever. At the time, it was asserted he was the brother-in-law of Mr.
Adams, and knowing that some of the banks in which Crawford had
deposited the public treasure had failed, he imagined complicity of a
dishonest character, on the part of Crawford, with the officers of the
banks, and expected to injure him and subserve the interest of Adams.
In what contrast does this transaction place the purity of the
Government, as then administered, with its conduct of to-day, and how
peerless were those who were trusted then with public confidence and
high places, in comparison with the public men who fill their places
now!

Georgia has given to the nation two Secretaries of the
Treasury--William H. Crawford and Howell Cobb; they were citizens of
adjoining counties. Cobb was born within a few miles of Crawford's
grave. They were both administering the office at a time in the
history of the nation when she was surrounded with perils. The one,
when she was just coming out of a war with the most powerful nation on
earth; the other, when she was just going into a war, civil and
gigantic. Both were afforded every opportunity for dishonest
peculation, and both came out, despite the allurements of temptation,
with clean hands and untainted reputation. They were reared and lived
in the atmosphere of honesty; they sought the inspiration from the
hills and vales, blue skies, and clear pure waters of Middle Georgia.
The surroundings of nature were pure; the honest farmers and
mechanics, her professional men and merchants, were and are pure. It
was the home of Upson, Gilmer, Thomas W. Cobb, Peter Early, Eli S.
Sherter, Stephen Willis Harris, William Causby Dawson, Joseph Henry
Lumpkin; and now is the home of A.H. Stephens, Ben. Hill, Robert
Toombs, Bishop Pierce, and his great and glorious father, and in their
integrity and lofty manhood they imitate the mighty dead who sleep
around them.

Glorious old State! though long trodden with the tyrant's foot, there
is a resurrectionary spirit moving thy people, which will lift thee
again to the high pinnacle from which thou wast thrust, purified and
reinvigorated for a career of brighter glory than thou hast yet
known--when the men who plague you now shall be driven from your
State, and the sons of your soil, in the vigor of their souls,
undefiled and untrammelled, shall wield your destinies.

Like a Roman of latter days, Mr. Crawford retired from the service of
his country poorer than when he entered it. There was sweet seclusion
in his retreat, and honest hearts in his humble neighbors to receive
him with "Come home, thou good and faithful servant; we receive thee,
as we gave thee, in thy greatness and thy goodness, undefiled." He had
only partially recovered from his, paralysis, though his general
health was much improved; rest and retirement, and release from public
duties and cares, served to reinvigorate him greatly. His estate was
small, his family large, and his friends, to aid him, secured his
election to the bench of the Superior Court, the duties of which he
continued to discharge until his death. He survived to see General
Jackson elected President, to whom he gave a cordial support. Mr.
Calhoun had been nominated and elected Vice-President with General
Jackson, both with overwhelming majorities. Crawford had carried all
his strength to the support of the ticket, and the friends of Crawford
and Calhoun were found acting in concert, notwithstanding the
hostility yet unappeased between their chiefs. It was the union of
necessity, not of sympathy or affection. At this juncture, there was
perhaps as cordial a hatred between the people of South Carolina and
those of Georgia, as ever existed between the Greek and the Turk.

Mr. Calhoun, it seemed now to be settled, was to be the successor of
General Jackson. The new parties were organized, and that headed by
General Jackson assumed the name of Democrat, and now held undisputed
control of more than two-thirds of the States. Mr. Calhoun had broken
away from the usage of former Vice-Presidents, which was to retire,
and permit a president of the Senate _pro tem._ to be chosen to
preside over the deliberations of that body. He determined to fulfil
the duties assigned by the Constitution, and in person to preside. His
transcendent abilities and great strength of character by this course
was constantly kept before the nation. His manners and presence gave
increased dignity and importance to the office, daily increasing his
popularity with the Senate and the nation. His position was an
enviable one, and was such as seemed to promise the power to grasp, at
the proper time, the goal of his ambition, the Presidency of the
republic.

From the commencement of General Jackson's Administration there was a
powerful opposition organized. It consisted of the very best talent in
the Senate and House. The Cabinet was a weak one. Mr. Van Buren was
premier, or Secretary of State, with John H. Eaton, a very ordinary
man, Secretary of War; Branch, Secretary of the Navy, and Ingham,
Secretary of the Treasury; with John M. Berrien, Attorney-General.
Eaton was from Tennessee, and was an especial favorite of General
Jackson. He had been in the Senate from Tennessee, and had formed at
Washington the acquaintance of a celebrated widow of a purser in the
navy, Mrs. Timberlake. This woman had by no means an enviable
reputation, and had been supposed the mistress of Eaton, prior to
their marriage. She had found her way to the heart of Jackson, who
assumed to be her especial champion. The ladies of the Cabinet
ministers refused to recognize her or to interchange social civilities
with her. This enraged the President, and it was made a _sine qua
non_, receive Mrs. Eaton, or quit the Cabinet. Van Buren was a
widower, and did not come under the order. He saw the storm coming,
and, to avoid consequences of any sort, after consultation with
Jackson, resigned. His letter of resignation is a literary as well as
a political curiosity. General Jackson, it is said, handed it to
Forsyth, with the remark "that he could not make head or tail of it;
and, by the eternal, Mr. Forsyth, I do not believe Van Buren can
himself." This was the forerunner of a general dismissal of the entire
Cabinet, save Eaton, who resigned. This rupture startled the whole
nation, but nothing Jackson could do, seemed capable of affecting his
growing popularity. A new Cabinet was organized, and soon after Mr.
Van Buren was sent minister to England, and Eaton minister to Spain.

The opposition were in a majority in the Senate, led on by Clay and
Webster. These were confronted by Forsyth, Benton, and Wright: the
wrestle was that of giants. The world, perhaps, never furnished a more
adroit debater than John Forsyth. He was the Ajax Telemon of his
party, and was rapidly rivalling the first in the estimation of that
party. He hated Calhoun, and at times was at no pains to conceal it in
debate. In the warmth of debate, upon one occasion, he alluded in
severe terms, to the manner in which Mr. Crawford had been treated,
during his incumbency as Secretary of the Treasury, by a certain party
press in the interest of Mr. Calhoun. This touched the Vice-President
on the raw: thus stung, he turned and demanded if the senator alluded
to him. Forsyth's manner was truly grand, as it was intensely fierce:
turning from the Senate to the Vice-President, he demanded with the
imperiousness of an emperor: "By what right does the Chair ask that
question of me?" and paused as if for a reply, with his intensely
gleaming eye steadily fixed upon that of Calhoun. The power was with
the speaker, and the Chair was awed into silence. Slowly turning to
the Senate, every member of which manifested deep feeling, he
continued, as his person seemed to swell into gigantic proportions,
and his eye to sweep the entire chamber, "Let the galled jade wince,
our withers are unwrung," and went on with the debate.

The cause of the animosity of Jackson, toward Crawford was a report
which had reached Jackson, that Crawford, as a member of Mr. Monroe's
Cabinet, had insisted in Cabinet meeting upon the arrest of Jackson
for a violation of national law, in entering without orders, as the
commanding general of the army of the United States, the territory of
a friendly power, and seizing its principal city by military force.
General Jackson had entered Florida, then a dependency of Spain, with
which power we were in amity, and seized Pensacola.

A band of desperate men had made a lodgment in Florida, headed by two
Scotchmen, Ambrister and Arbuthnot. These men had acquired great
influence with the Indians, and were stimulating them to constant
depredations upon the frontier people of Georgia. When pursued, they
sought safety in the territorial limits of Florida. Remonstrances with
the Government of Spain had produced no effect. It could not, or would
not expel them, or attempt any control of the Indians; and it became
necessary to put a stop to their aggressions. Jackson commanded, and
was the very man for such a work. He placed before the President the
difficulties, but said he could and would break up this nest of
freebooters, if he had authority from the President to enter the
territory, and, if necessary, take possession of it. It would be an
act of war to authorize this course, he knew; but he was prepared for
the responsibility (he generally was.) "I do not ask for formal
orders: simply say to me, 'Do it.' Tell Johnny Ray to say so to me,
and it shall be done." Johnny Ray was a member of Congress at that
time from East Tennessee, and devoted to Jackson. This was done, and
the work was accomplished. The two leaders were captured and summarily
executed, claiming to be British subjects.

Mr. Monroe in some things was a weak man; he was surrounded by a
Cabinet greatly superior to himself; he had not counselled with them,
and he feared the responsibility he had assumed would not be
sanctioned or approved by his constitutional advisers, and he timidly
shrank from communicating these secret instructions to them. The
matter was brought before the Cabinet, by a remonstrance from the
Spanish Government, in the person of her representative at Washington.
In the discussion which arose, a motion was submitted to arrest and
court-martial Jackson. Calhoun was indignant that as Secretary of War
he had not been consulted. General Jackson was sent for, and very soon
the matter was quieted, and Spain satisfied.

It was in this discussion, or Cabinet meeting, that Mr. Crawford was
represented to General Jackson as moving his arrest. Mr. Adams
defended Jackson most strenuously, and it is not improbable that the
President may have informed him, _sub rosa_, of what had been
communicated to Jackson. The intimacy between Mr. Monroe and Mr. Adams
was close, and it was thought he preferred him, and gave him more
unreservedly his confidence than any of his ministers.

I believe it was in the early part of the year 1829, or 1830, (I have,
where I write, no means of reference, and will not pretend to great
accuracy in dates,) when Mr. Crawford received a visit from Mr. Van
Buren, and his friend, Mr. Cambreling, at his home in Oglethorpe. What
transpired during that visit, I do not pretend to know; but soon
after, Mr. Forsyth received a letter from Mr. James Hamilton, of New
York, making certain inquiries with regard to this move in Mr.
Monroe's Cabinet. Mr. Forsyth appealed to Mr. Crawford, who responded,
and in detail revealed the proceedings in council upon this matter,
charging, without equivocation, Mr. Calhoun as being the secretary who
had moved the arrest and trial of Jackson. At the time of this
development, General Jackson was absent from Washington, on a visit to
his home in Tennessee, and Mr. Calhoun was in South Carolina. A
correspondence ensued between the President and Vice-President of the
most acrimonious character. Mr. Calhoun denied _in toto_ the charge.
Mr. Crawford appealed to the members of the Cabinet, Adams and
Crowninshield, who sustained the truth of Mr. Crawford's statements,
and Mr. Calhoun clearly implicated himself, by accusing Crawford of a
breach of honor in disclosing cabinet secrets. It is not my purpose to
enter into the minutiae of this affair, further than to show the part
taken in it by Mr. Crawford. Mr. Van Buren did not appear in this
imbroglio; he doubtless had his agency, as his interest, in bringing
this matter to General Jackson's knowledge. Mr. Calhoun was identified
with the popularity of Jackson and his party, and was now, by common
consent of that party, the prominent man for the presidential
succession. Mr. Van Buren had been the Secretary of State of General
Jackson, had studied him well, and knew him well. He knew also the
temper of the Democratic party: through his agency the political
morality of New York politicians had permeated the Democracy from one
end of the country to the other: the doctrine subsequently enunciated
by Mr. Marcy, that "to the victors belonged the spoils," was in full
operation throughout the nation as the Democratic practice. This was
the cement which closely held the politician to party fealty. Jackson
rewarded his friends, and punished his enemies; Jackson was an
omnipotent power; Jackson was the Democratic party. To secure his
friendship was necessary to success; to incur his enmity, certain
destruction. Van Buren was as artful as ambitious: he had
indoctrinated Jackson with his own policy, by inducing him to believe
it was his own; and the frankness of Jackson's nature prevented his
believing anything was not what it professed to be. It was the
ambition of Van Buren to be President, and his sagacity taught him the
surest means to effect this end was to secure effectually and beyond
peradventure the friendship and support of Jackson. Mr. Calhoun was
between him and the aim of his ambition: to thrust him from Jackson's
confidence was to effect all he desired. This was done; the breach was
irreparable. Van Buren was sent, in the interim of the session of
Congress, minister plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James.

Mr. Clay had come back into the Senate, and was heading and leading an
opposition, then in the majority in the Senate; and the nomination of
Van Buren was rejected. Jackson, assured that Calhoun had deceived
him, was bitter in his denunciations of him, and Calhoun was
sympathizing with this opposition. Jackson denounced Calhoun as his
informant of Crawford being the Cabinet minister who had in Cabinet
council moved his arrest. Calhoun gave the lie direct to the
assertion; and that Jackson was capable of lying, referred as evidence
to his statements relative to the charge of bargain and intrigue
against Mr. Clay. But enough had been done to crush out the popularity
and the hopes of Calhoun, beyond the limits of South Carolina. There
never has been so sudden and so terrible a fall from such a height of
any man in this nation--not excepting that of Aaron Burr. John C.
Calhoun, in talent, learning, and statesmanship, was greatly superior
to Jackson, and unsurpassed by any man of the age. But the breath of
Jackson was the blight which withered his laurels, and crushed his
prospects, and destroyed his usefulness forever, in a night.

What consequences have grown out of this quarrel, I leave for the pen
of the historian. Yet I cannot forbear the speculation that the late
and most disastrous war was one, and of consequence the ruin and
desolation of the South, and the threatened destruction of the
Government at this time. The agitation which led to these terrible
consequences, commenced with Mr. Calhoun immediately subsequent to
these events. Does any man suppose, if Mr. Calhoun had succeeded to
the Presidency, that he would have commenced or continued this
agitation? For one, I do not. The measure of his ambition would have
been full: his fame would have been a chapter in the history of his
country--his talents employed in the administration of the Government,
the honor and boast of her people, and her preservation and prosperity
the enduring monument of his fame and glory. But, wronged as he
believed, disappointed as he knew, he put forth all his strength, and,
Samson-like, pulled down the pillars of her support; and, disunited,
crushed, and miserable, she is a melancholy spectacle to the patriot,
and in her desolation a monument of disappointed ambition.

That Mr. Calhoun anticipated any such results, I do not believe. To
suppose he desired them, and to the end of his life labored to produce
them, would be to suppose him little less than a fiend. Blinded by his
prejudices and the hatred natural toward those who had accomplished
his political ruin, he could not calmly and dispassionately weigh the
influence of his acts upon the future of his country.

Mr. Crawford was now rapidly declining, his nervous system was
completely undermined, and he felt the approach of death calmly and
without fear. Still, he continued to give his attention to business,
and was sufficiently strong to go abroad to calls of duty. In one of
these journeys he stopped to spend the night in the house of a friend,
and was found dead in his bed in the morning, after a quiet and social
evening with his friend and family.

William Holt Crawford was a native of Virginia: his family were
Scotch, and came early to the United States, and have been remarkable
for their talents and energy. Since the Revolution, there has scarcely
been a time that some one of the family has not been prominently
before the public as a representative man. Mr. Crawford was an eminent
type of his race, sternly honest, of ardent temperament, full of
dignity, generous, frank, and brave. Plain and simple in his habits,
disdaining everything like ostentation, or foolish display--strictly
moral, firm in his friendship, and unrelenting in his hatred, his
sagacity and sincerity forbade the forming of the one or the other
without abundant cause. He was never known to desert a friend or
shrink from a foe. In form and person he was very imposing; six feet
two inches in height; his head was large, forehead high and broad; his
eyes were blue and brilliant, and, when excited, very piercing. His
complexion was fair, and, in early life, ruddy; he was, when young,
exceedingly temperate in his habits, but as he advanced in years he
indulged too freely in the luxuries of the table, and his physicians
attributed mainly to this cause his attack of paralysis, which
ultimately destroyed him. His mind had been very much excited during
the Presidential canvass; the attacks of his enemies were fierce and
merciless, and very irritating to him; and this doubtless had much to
do with it. He lies buried in the garden of his home, without a stone
to mark the spot. It is a reproach to the people of Georgia that her
most eminent son should be neglected to sleep in an undistinguished
grave. But this neglect does not extend alone to Mr. Crawford. I
believe, of all her distinguished men, James A. Meriwether is the only
one whose grave has been honored with a monumental stone by the State.
Crawford, Cobb, Dooly, Jackson, Troup, Forsyth, Campbell, Lumpkin,
Dawson, Walker, Colquitt, Berrien, Daugherty, and many others who have
done the State some service and much honor, are distinguished in their
graves only by the green sod which covers them.




CHAPTER VI.

POPULAR CHARACTERISTICS.

A FRUGAL PEOPLE--LAWS AND RELIGION--FATHER PIERCE--THOMAS W. COBB--
REQUISITES OF A POLITICAL CANDIDATE--A FARMER-LAWYER--SOUTHERN
HUMORISTS.


The plain republican habits which characterized the people of Upper
Georgia, in her early settlement and growth, together with the fact of
the very moderate means of her people, exercised a powerful influence
in the formation of the character of her people. She had no large
commercial city, and her commerce was confined to the simple disposal
of the surplus products of her soil and the supply of the few wants of
the people. It was a cardinal virtue to provide every thing possible
of the absolute necessaries of life at home. The provision crop was of
first necessity, and secured the first attention of the farmer; the
market crop was ever secondary, and was only looked to, to supply
those necessaries which could not be grown upon the plantation. These
were salt, iron, and steel, first; and then, if there remained
unexhausted some of the proceeds of the crop, a small (always a small)
supply of sugar and coffee; and for rare occasions, a little tea.

The population, with the exception of mechanics, and these were a very
small proportion, and the few professional men and country merchants,
was entirely agricultural. This rural pursuit confined at home and
closely to business every one; and popular meetings were confined to
religious gatherings on Sunday in each neighborhood, and the meeting
of a few who could spare the time at court, in the village
county-seat, twice a year. There were no places of public resort for
dissipation or amusement; a stern morality was demanded by public
opinion of the older members of society. Example and the switch
enforced it with the children. Perhaps in no country or community was
the maxim of good old Solomon more universally practised upon, "Spare
the rod and spoil the child," than in Middle Georgia, fifty years ago.
Filial obedience and deference to age was the first lesson. "Honor thy
father and mother, that thy days may be long in the land," was
familiar to the ears of every child before they could lisp their a, b,
c; and upon the first demonstration of a refractory disobedience, a
severe punishment taught them that the law was absolute and
inexorable. To lie, or touch what was not his own, was beyond the pale
of pardon, or mercy, and a solitary aberration was a stain for life.

The mothers, clad in homespun, were chaste in thought and action;
unlettered and ignorant, but pure as ether. Their literature confined
to the Bible, its maxims directed their conduct, and were the daily
lesson of their children. The hard-shell Baptist was the dominant
religion; with here and there a Presbyterian community, generally
characterized by superior education and intelligence, with a preacher
of so much learning as to be an oracle throughout the land.

The Methodists were just then beginning to grow into importance, and
their circuit-riders, now fashionably known as itinerants, were
passing and preaching, and establishing societies to mark their
success, through all the rude settlements of the State. These were the
pioneers of that truly democratic sect, as of the stern morality and
upright bearing which had so powerful an influence over the then
rising population.

It is more than sixty years since I first listened to a Methodist
sermon. It was preached by a young, spare man, with sallow complexion,
and black eyes and hair. I remember the gleam of his eye, and the
deep, startling tones of his voice--his earnest and fervent manner;
and only yesterday, in the Baronne Street (New Orleans) Methodist
Church, I listened to an old man, upward of eighty years of age,
preaching the ordination sermon of four new bishops of the Methodist
Church. It was he to whom I had first listened: the eye was still
brilliant, the face still sallow, but wrinkled now, and the voice and
manner still fervent and earnest; and the great mind, though not the
same, still powerful. It was that venerable, good man, Lovie Pierce,
the father of the great and eloquent bishop. What has he not seen?
what changes, what trials, what triumphs! Generations before his eyes
have passed into eternity; the little handful of Methodist communicants
grown into a mighty and intelligent body; thousands of ministers are
heralding her tenets all over the Protestant world--mighty in learning,
mighty in eloquence--yet none surpass the eloquence, the power, and the
purity of Lovie Pierce.

When I first heard him, Bishop Asbury, William Russell, and he were
nursing the seed sown by John Wesley and George Whitefield, a little
while before, upon the soil of Georgia. All but Pierce have long been
gathered to their fathers, and have rest from their labors. He still
remains, bearing his cross in triumph, and still preaching the
Redeemer to the grandchildren of those who first welcomed him and
united with him in the good work of his mission. How much his labors
have done to form and give tone to the character of the people of the
State of Georgia, none may say; but under his eye and aid has arisen a
system of female education, which has and is working wonders throughout
the State. He has seen the ignorant and untaught mothers rear up
virtuous, educated, and accomplished daughters; and, in turn, these
rearing daughters and sons, an ornament and an honor to parents and
country. Above all, he has seen and sees a standard of intelligence,
high-breeding, and piety pervading the entire State. The log-cabin
gives way to the comfortable mansion, the broad fields usurping the
forest's claim, and the beautiful church-building pointing its taper
spire up to heaven, where stood the rude log-house, and where first he
preached. He has lived on and watched this growing moral and physical
beauty, whose germs he planted, and whose fruits he is now enjoying in
the eighty-fourth year of his age, still zealous, still ardent and
eloquent, and a power in the land. Should these lines ever meet his
eye, he will know that the child whose head he stroked as he sat upon
his knee--the youth whom he warned and counselled, loves him yet, now
that he is wrinkled, old, and gray.

From parents such as I have described, and under the teaching of such
men, grew up the remarkable men who have shed such lustre upon the
State of Georgia.

The great distinguishing feature of these men was that of the masses
of her people--stern honesty. Many families have been and continue to
be remarkable for their superior talents and high character;
preserving in a high degree the prestige of names made famous by
illustrious ancestry. The Crawfords, the Cobbs, and the Lamars are
perhaps the most remarkable.

Thomas W. Cobb, so long distinguished in the councils of the nation,
and as an able and honest jurist in Georgia, was the son of John Cobb,
and grandson of Thomas Cobb, of the County of Columbia, in the State
of Georgia. His grandfather emigrated from Virginia at an early day,
when Georgia was comparatively a wilderness, and selecting this point,
located with a large family, which through his remarkable energy he
reared and respectably educated. This was an achievement, as the
facilities for education were so few and difficult as to make it next
to impossible to educate even tolerably the youth of that day. This
remarkable man lived to see his grandson, Thomas W. Cobb, among the
most distinguished men of the State. He died at the great age of one
hundred and fifteen years, at the home of his selection, in Columbia
County, the patriarch pioneer of the country, surrounded by every
comfort, and a family honoring his name and perpetuating his virtues;
and after he had seen the rude forest give way to the cultivated
field, and the almost as rude population to the cultivated and
intellectual people distinguishing that county.

Thomas W. Cobb, in his education, suffered the penalties imposed in
this particular by a new country; his opportunities, however, were
improved to their greatest possible extent, and he continued to
improve in learning to the day of his death. In boyhood he ploughed by
day, and studied his spelling-book and arithmetic by night--lighting
his vision to the pursuit of knowledge by a pine-knot fire. This
ambition of learning, with close application, soon distinguished him
above the youth of the neighborhood, and lifted his aspirations to an
equal distinction among the first men of the land. He made known his
wishes to his father, and was laughed at; but he was his grandfather's
namesake and pet, and he encouraged his ambition. The consequence was
that young Cobb was sent to the office of William H. Crawford at
Lexington, to read law. He applied himself diligently, and won the
respect and confidence of Mr. Crawford, which he retained to the
day of his death. When admitted to the bar, he located with his
fellow-student in Lexington; thus taking the place of Mr. Crawford,
who was now in political life. He rose rapidly in his profession, and
while yet a young man was sent to Congress as one of the
representatives of the State.

At this time the representation in Congress was chosen by general
ticket. The consequence was the selection of men of superior talent
and character: none could aspire to the high position whose names had
not become familiar for services to the State, or for the display of
talent and character at the bar, or other conspicuous positions, their
virtues and attainments distinguishing them above their fellow-men of
the country. Throughout the State, to such men there was great
deference, and the instances were rare where it was not deserved. The
discipline and trickery of party was unknown, nor was it possible that
these could exist among a people who, universally, honestly desired
and labored to be represented by their best men. To attain to the high
position of senator or representative in Congress was so distinguishing
a mark of merit, that it operated powerfully upon the ambitious young
men of the State, all of whom struggled to attain it by laboring to
deserve it.

The standard of talent established by Crawford, Jackson, and Baldwin
was so high, that to have public opinion institute a comparison
between these and an aspirant was a sure passport to public favor; and
this comparison was in no instance so likely to be made as between him
and the pupils of his teaching. This fact in relation to Jackson and
Crawford is remembered well by the writer.

In the low country of Georgia, the fiat of James Jackson fixed the
political fate of every young aspirant. In the up-country, Crawford
was as potent. In Crawford's office the student was required to apply
himself diligently, and give promise of abilities, or he could not
remain. The writer remembers to have heard the question asked of Mr.
Crawford, in his later days, why a family in his own county,
distinguished for wealth, had uniformly opposed him politically. In
the frankness of his nature he said: "Aleck came, when a young man, to
read law in my office, and though he was diligent enough, he was
without the brain necessary to acquire a proper knowledge of the law.
I liked his father, and in reply to an inquiry of his relative, as to
Aleck's capacity, I told him 'his son would doubtless succeed as a
farmer, for he was industrious; but he had not sense enough to make a
lawyer.' He thanked me; and Aleck left the office, and, profiting by
my advice, went to the plough, and has made a fortune, and a very
respectable position for himself; but from that day forward, not a
member of the family has ever been my friend. I think I did my duty,
and have got along without their friendship."

Jackson had his _proteges_, and they were always marked for talent. In
early life he discerned the germ of great abilities in two youths of
Savannah--George M. Troup and Thomas U.D. Charlton. Through his
influence, these young men, almost as soon as eligible, were sent to
the Legislature of the State, and both immediately took high
positions. Talent was not the only requisite to win and retain the
favor of Jackson: the man must be honest, and that honesty of such a
character as placed him above suspicion.

Under the operation of the Confiscation Act, many who had favored the
mother country in the Revolutionary struggle had fled with their
property to Florida. Conspicuous among these was one Campbell Wiley, a
man of fortune. This man applied to the Legislature to be specially
exempted from the penalties of this act, and to be permitted to return
to the State. A heated debate ensued, when the bill was being
considered, in which Charlton was silent, and in which Troup made a
violent speech in opposition to its passage, ending with the sentence,
"If ever I find it in my heart to forgive an old Tory his sins, I
trust my God will never forgive me mine." This speech gave him an
immediate popularity over the entire State. Charlton in secret favored
the bill; but knowing its unpopularity with his constituents, he
contrived to be called to the chair, and was forced to vote on a
material motion which was favorable to the bill. The wealth of Wiley,
and Charlton's equivocation, attached suspicion to his motives, and
brought down upon him the wrath of Jackson, blighting all his future
aspirations. As a member of the bar he attained eminence, and all his
future life was such as to leave no doubt of his purity, and the cruel
wrong those suspicions, sustained by the frown of Jackson, had done
him.

Thomas W. Cobb was eminently social in his nature, and frank to a
fault; his opinions were never concealed of men or measures; and these
were, though apparently hasty, the honest convictions of his judgment,
notwithstanding their apparent impulsive and hasty character. Like his
tutor, Mr. Crawford, he cared little for ceremony or show; and in
every thing he was the kernel without the shell: his character was
marked before his company in five minutes' conversation, whether he
had ever met or heard of them before; and in all things else he was
equally without deceit. This openness to some seemed rude; and his
enemies were of this class. He expressed as freely his opinion to the
person as to the public; but this was always accompanied with a manner
which disrobed it of offence. But human nature will not in every
individual excuse the words because of the manner; and sometimes this
peculiarity made him sharp enemies. It will be supposed such traits
would have rendered him unpopular. At this day, when social
intercourse is less familiar, they certainly would have done so; but
they seemed a means of great popularity to Cobb, especially with those
who were most intimate with him, as all who met him were, after an
hour's acquaintance. His public life was as his private, open and
sincere; he never had a sinister motive, and this relieved him from
duplicity of conduct. His talents were of a high order: in debate, he
was argumentative and explicit; never pretending to any of the arts of
the orator; but logically pursued his subject to a conclusion; never
verbose, but always perspicuous. As a lawyer, he was well read; and
the analytical character of his mind appeared to have been formed upon
the model of Judge Blackstone. Before the juries of the country he was
all-powerful. These, in the main, were composed of men of very limited
information--and especially of legal lore. But they were generally men
of strong practical sense, with an honest purpose of doing justice
between man and man. Cobb with these was always sincere; never
attempting a deception, never seeking to sway their judgments and
secure a verdict by appealing to their passions or their prejudices,
or by deceiving them as to what the law was. Toward a witness or a
party of whose honesty he entertained doubts, he was sarcastically
severe; nor was he choice in the use of terms. As a statesman, he was
wise and able--and in politics, as in everything else, honest and
patriotic. In early life he was sent to the House of Representatives,
in the Congress of the United States, and soon distinguished himself
as a devoted Republican in politics, and a warm supporter of the
Administration of Mr. Monroe. Here he was reunited socially with Mr.
Crawford and family, and so close was this intimacy that he was on all
political measures supposed to speak the sentiments of Mr. Crawford.
Associated with Forsyth, Tatnal, Gilmer, and Cuthbert, all men of
superior abilities, all belonging to the same political party, and all
warm supporters, of Mr. Crawford, he led this galaxy of talent--a
constellation in the political firmament unsurpassed by the
representation of any other State. Nor must I forget, in this
connection, Joel Crawford and William Terrell, men of sterling worth
and a high order of talent. Mr. Cobb was a man of active business
habits, and was very independent in his circumstances: methodical and
correct, he never left for to-morrow the work of to-day.

He was transferred from the House to the Senate, and left it with a
reputation for integrity and talent--the one as brilliant as the other
unstained--which falls to the lot of few who are so long in public
life as he was. Unlike most politicians whose career has been through
exciting political struggles, the blight of slander was never breathed
upon his name, and it descended to his children, as he received it
from his ancestry, without spot or blemish.

Toward the close of his life, he was elected by the Legislature of the
State to the Bench of the Superior Court, then the highest judicial
tribunal of the State. This was the last public station he filled.
Here he sustained his high character as a lawyer and honest man;
carrying to the tomb the same characteristics of simplicity and
sincerity, of affability and social familiarity, which had ever
distinguished him in every position, public or private. He assumed
none of that mock dignity or ascetic reserve in his intercourse with
the Bar and the people, so characteristic of little minds in elevated
positions: conscious of rectitude in all things, he never feared this
familiarity would give cause for the charge of improper bias in his
decisions from the bench or his influence with the jury.

Mr. Cobb died at the age of fifty, in the prime of his manhood and
usefulness. In person, he was a model for a sculptor--six feet in
height, straight, and admirably proportioned. His head and face were
Grecian; his forehead ample; his nose beautifully chiselled; gray
eyes, with sparkling, playful expression, round, and very beautiful;
his head round, large, and admirably set on; the expression of his
features, variant as April weather, but always intellectual, they
invited approach, and the fascination of his conversation chained to
his presence all who approached him. In fine, he was a type in manner
and character of the people among whom he was born and reared; and I
scarcely know if this is the greater compliment to him or them.

With few exceptions, this peculiar population of Middle Georgia has
furnished all of her distinguished sons, and to the traits which make
them remarkable is she to-day mainly indebted for her exalted
prominence among her sister States of the South. The peculiar training
of her sons, the practical education and social equality which
pervades, and ever has, her society, acquaints every one with the
wants of every other; at the same time it affords the facility for
union in any public enterprise which promises the public good. All
alike are infused with the same State pride, and the equality of
fortunes prevents the obtrusion of arrogant wealth, demanding control,
from purely selfish motives, in any public measure.

This community of interests superinduces unity of feeling, and unity
of action; and the same homogeneous education secures a healthy public
opinion, which, at last, is the great controlling law of human action.
Thus the soil is one, the cultivation is one, the growth is one, and
the fruit is the same. Nowhere in the South have these been so
prominent as in Middle Georgia, and no other portion of the South is
so distinguished for progress, talent, and high moral cultivation.
There is, perhaps, wanting that polish of manners, that ease and grace
of movement, and that quiet delicacy of suppressed emotion, so
peculiar to her citizens of the seaboard, which the world calls
refinement; which seems taught to conceal the natural under the
artistic, and which so frequently refines away the nobler and more
generous emotions of the heart. I doubt, however, if the habit of open
and unrestrained expression of the feelings of our nature is not a
more enduring basis of strong character and vigorous thought and
action, than the cold polish of refined society. Whatever is most
natural is most enduring. The person unrestrained by dress grows into
noble and beautiful proportions; the muscles uncramped, develop not
only into beauty, but strength and healthfulness. So with the mind
untrammelled by forms and ceremonies; and so with the soul unfettered
by the superstition of vague and ridiculous dogmas. The freedom of
action and familiarity of language, where there are few social
restraints to prevent universal intercourse, familiarizes every class
of the community with the peculiarities of each, and forms an outlet
for the wit and humor of the whole. This was the stimulant to mirth
and hilarity, for which no people are so much distinguished as the
Georgians of the middle country. At the especial period of which I now
write, her humorists were innumerable. Dooly, Clayton, Prince,
Longstreet, Bacon (the Ned Brace of Longstreet's Georgia Scenes), and
many others of lesser note, will long be remembered in the traditions
of the people. These were all men of, eminence, and in their time
filled the first offices of the State. The quiet, quaint humor of
Prince is to be seen in his Militia Muster, in the Georgia Scenes; and
there too the inimitable burlesque of Bacon, in Ned Brace.




CHAPTER VII.

WITS AND FIRE-EATERS.

JUDGE DOOLY--LAWYERS AND BLACKSMITHS--JOHN FORSYTH--HOW JURIES WERE
DRAWN--GUM-TREE _vs._ WOODEN-LEG--PREACHER-POLITICIANS--COLONEL
CUMMING--GEORGE McDUFFIE.


John M. Dooly was a native of Lincoln County, Georgia, where he
continued to reside until his death, and where he now lies in an
undistinguished grave. He was the son of a distinguished Revolutionary
soldier, whose name, in consideration of his services in that struggle,
has been given to a county in the State. In early life he united
himself to the Federal party, and from honest convictions continued a
Federalist in principle through life. But for his political principles,
his name in the nation to-day would have been a household word,
familiar as the proudest upon her scroll of fame. In very early life he
gave evidence of extraordinary powers of mind. With a limited
education, he commenced the study of the law when quite young. But
despite this serious defect, which was coupled with poverty and many
other disadvantages incident to a new country impoverished by war, and
wanting in almost everything to aid the enterprise of talent in a
learned profession, soon after his admission to the Bar he attracted
the attention of the community, and especially the older members of the
Bar, as a man of extraordinary capacity, and already trained in the
law. So tenacious was his memory of all that he read or heard, that he
not only retained the law, but the author and page where it was to be
found. His mind was eminently logical and delighted in analytical
investigation. In truth, the law suited the idiosyncrasy of his mind,
and it was most fortunate for his future life, that he adopted it as a
lifetime pursuit. Nature, it seems, gives to every mind a peculiar
proclivity, as to every individual a peculiar mind: to pursue this
proclivity is a pleasure; it makes work a delight, and this secures
success. Hence it is fortunate to learn this peculiarity, and to
cultivate it from the beginning. When the mind is strong and vigorous,
this peculiar proclivity is generally well-marked to the inquiring
observer in very early life.

It is related of Benjamin West, the great painter, that at five years
of age he was continually soiling the floor of his good and sensible
mother with charcoal sketches of the faces of the different members of
the family; and of Napoleon, that in early childhood his favorite
amusement was to build forts and array his playmates into column, and
charge these, and assault and enter them. Stevenson, the great
engineer, spent all his idle time, when a boy, in attempts at
constructing machinery and bridges.

In these great minds this natural trait was so strongly marked, and so
controlling in its influence, as to defy and overleap every obstacle,
and develop its wonderful energy and capacity in the most stupendous
manner. In such as these, this manifestation is early and palpable. Yet
the same peculiarity exists wherever there is mind sufficient to
connect cause and effect; but it is proportionate with the strength of
the mind, and in ordinary or feeble minds it is less conspicuous, and
requires close observation to discern it in early life.

The folly and ambition of parents and adverse circumstances too often
disappoint the intentions of nature, and compel their offspring, or the
victims of circumstance, to follow a pursuit for which they have a
natural aversion, and absolutely no capacity: hence we see thousands
struggling painfully through life in a hated avocation, and witness
many a miserable lawyer whom nature designed to be a happy blacksmith.
His toil of life is always up hill, without the possibility of ever
attaining the summit. Sometimes the rebellion of nature is successful,
and the misdirected will shake off the erroneously imposed vocation,
and dash away in the pursuit for which the mind is capacitated; and
immediate success attests the good sense and propriety of the act.

Fortunately, John M. Dooly, selected, under the guidance of natural
inclination, the profession of law. His eminence was early in life, and
the public eye was directed to him as one worthy any public trust. He
was frequently chosen a member of the Legislature from his native
county, and was distinguished for extraordinary ability in the capacity
of a legislator. His conspicuous position and commanding talents
pointed him out as one to take a foremost rank with the first of the
nation; and his friends urged his name as a fit representative in
Congress for the State. At this time the acrimony of party was intense;
the Republican, or Jeffersonian party, was largely in the ascendant in
the State, and would accept no compromise. It was willing to receive
new converts and prefer them according to merit, but would accord no
favor to an unrepentant enemy. At this time there were many young,
talented men rising to distinction in the State, who were Federalists.
With some of them ambition was superior to principle; they recanted
their principles, and, in the ranks of their former opponents, reaped a
harvest of political distinction. Prominent among these was John
Forsyth. He had delivered a Fourth of July oration at Augusta,
distinguished for great ability and high Federal doctrines. Abraham
Baldwin, who, with the astuteness of the Yankee--which he was--had
renounced Federalism, and was now a prominent leader of the Republican
party, spoke of this effort of Forsyth as transcendently great, and
always, when doing so, would add: "What a pity such abilities should be
lost to the country through the influence of mistaken political
principle!" Whether this had any effect upon the views of Forsyth or
not, certain it is that very soon after he repudiated Federalism, and
published a formal renunciation of the party and its principles. From
that time forward his march was onward, and now his name and fame are
embalmed as national wealth.

Dooly was less facile: his convictions were honest and strong, and he
clung to them. He won the confidence not only of his party, but of the
people, for high integrity; but this was all. Out of his county he was
intrusted with no political position, and those who most prized his
talents and integrity could never be persuaded to aid in giving these
to the country. He was more than once beaten for the Senate of the
United States; and once by Forsyth, who was not announced as a
candidate, and who was at the time minister plenipotentiary of the
nation at the Spanish Court. His great legal abilities were, however,
complimented by the Republican Legislature, by placing him upon the
bench of the highest judicial tribunal of the State, where his
usefulness was transcendent, and where most of his life was spent.

As a wit, Dooly never had an equal in the State, and there might now be
written a volume of his social and judicial wit. Its compass was
illimitable--from the most refined and delicately pungent to the
coarsest and most vulgarly broad; but always pointed and telling.
Nature had given him a peculiarity of look and voice which gave edge to
his wit and point to his humor.

The judicial system of Georgia at this time was peculiar. The State was
subdivided into districts, or circuits, as they were denominated; and
one judge appointed to preside over each. These were elected by the
Legislature, on joint ballot, for a term of three years; and until
faction claimed the spoils of victory, the judge who had proven himself
capable and honest was rarely removed, so long as he chose to remain.
Dooly was one of these. Party never touched him, and both factions
concurred in retaining him, because it was the universal wish of the
people of his circuit. The law of the country was the common law of
England and the statutes of the State. In the expounding of these, the
judges frequently differed, and the consequence was that each circuit
had, in many particulars, its own peculiar law, antagonistic to that
which was received as law in the adjoining circuit. The uniformity of
law, so essential to the quiet and harmony of a people, and so
necessary in defining the title and securing the tenure of property, by
this system was so greatly disturbed, that it led to the informal
assembling of the judges at irregular periods, and upon their own
responsibility, to reconcile these discrepancies. This in some degree
obviated the necessity of a supreme court for the correction of errors;
but was very unsatisfactory to the Bar, who were almost universal in
their desire for the establishment of a tribunal for this purpose. But
there was another feature peculiar to the judicial system of the State,
to which her people were greatly attached: that of special juries. They
feared the creation of a supreme court would abolish this, and for many
years resisted it. This system of special juries, in the organization
of her judiciary, was intended to obviate the necessity of a court of
chancery. The conception was a new one, and in Georgia, with her
peculiar population, its effects were admirable. It was an honest,
common-sense adjudication of equity cases, and rendered cheap and
speedy justice to litigants. It was unknown in the judiciary system of
any other State, and I will be excused by the reader, who may not be a
Georgian, for a brief description of it here.

By direction of the law of 1798, the justices of the Inferior Court
took the tax list, which contained the name of every white man of
twenty-one years and upwards in the county, and, from this list,
selected a certain number of names, and placed them in a box marked
"The grand-jury box." The remaining names were placed in another box
marked "The petit-jury box." Those selected as grand jurors were chosen
because of their superior intelligence, wealth, and purity of
character. These selections were made at certain stated periods; and
the jurors thus chosen from the mass never served on the petit jury,
nor were they liable even as talesmen to serve on that jury. The same
act made it the duty of the presiding judge of each circuit to draw, at
the termination of each term of his court, and in open court, a certain
number of names from each box, which were entered as drawn upon the
minutes of the court, to serve as grand and petit jurors at the ensuing
term of the court. The special juries, for the trial of cases in
equity, and appeals from the verdicts of petit juries, were formed from
the grand juries, and after the manner following: A list was furnished
by the clerk of the court to the appellant and respondent. From this
list each had the right to strike a name alternately--the appellant
having the first stroke--until there remained twelve names only. These
constituted a special Jury, and the oath prescribed by law far these
jurors was as follows; "You shall well and truly try the issue between
the parties, and a true verdict give, according to law and equity, and
the opinion you entertain of the testimony." Under the pleadings, the
entire history of the case went before this jury, and their verdict was
final. It was this method of trial which prevented so long that great
desideratum in all judicial systems--a court for the correction of
errors and final adjudication of cases.

Dishonest litigants feared this special jury. Their characters, as that
of their witnesses, passed in review before this jury, whose oaths
allowed a latitude, enabling them frequently to render a verdict,
ostensibly at variance with the testimony, but almost always in aid of
the ends of equitable justice.

The system was eminently promotive of honesty and good morals, as well
as the ends of justice; for men's rights before it were not
unfrequently determined by the reputation they bore in the community in
which they lived. This fact stimulated uprightness of conduct, and
often deterred the wrong-doer. It has passed away; but I doubt if what
has replaced it has benefited the interests or morals of the people of
the State.

Like Mr. Crawford, Judge Dooly relied more upon the practical good
sense of the people as jurors, for justice between man and man, than
upon the technicalities of the law; and especially upon that of special
juries. Dooly had great contempt for petit juries, and evinced it upon
one occasion by declaring in open court that he thought, if there was
anything not known to the prescience of the Almighty, it was what the
verdict of a petit jury would be, when they left the box for the
jury-room. Dooly was an opponent of Crawford through life--a friend and
intimate of John Clark, Crawford's greatest enemy. But his character
was devoid of that bitterness and persistent hatred characteristic of
these two. Crawford and Judge Tate were intimate friends, and between
these and Clark there was continual strife. Tate and Clark were
brothers-in-law; but this only served to whet and give edge to their
animosity. Dooly, in some manner, became entangled with Tate in this
feud; and an amusing story is told of the final settlement of the
difficulty between these men.

Tate, it seems, challenged Dooly to mortal combat. Mr. Crawford was
Tate's friend. Dooly, contrary to all expectation, accepted, and named
General Clark as his friend, and appointed a day of meeting. Tate had
lost a leg, and, as was usual in that day, had substituted a wooden,
one. On the appointed day, Tate, with his friend, repaired to the place
of meeting, where Dooly had preceded them, and was alone, sitting upon
a stump. Crawford approached him, and asked for his friend, General
Clark.

"He is in the woods, sir."

"And will soon be present, I presume?" asked Crawford.

"Yes; as soon as he can find a gum."

"May I inquire, Colonel Dooly, what use you have for a gum in the
matter we have met to settle?"

"I want it to put my leg in, sir. Do you suppose I can afford to risk
my leg of flesh and bone against Tate's wooden one? If I hit his leg,
why, he will have another to-morrow, and be pegging about as well as
usual. If he hits mine, I may lose my life by it; but almost certainly
my leg, and be compelled, like Tate, to stump it the balance of my
life. I cannot risk this; and must have a gum to put my leg in: then I
am as much wood as he is, and on equal terms with him."

"I understand you, Colonel Dooly; you do not intend to fight."

"Well, really, Mr. Crawford, I thought everybody knew that."

"Very well, sir," said Crawford; "but remember, colonel, your name, in
no enviable light, shall fill a column of a newspaper."

"Mr. Crawford, I assure you," replied Colonel Dooly, "I would rather
fill every newspaper in Georgia than one coffin."

It is scarcely necessary to say, that Tate and Crawford left the field
discomfited, and here the matter ended.

Dooly never pretended to belligerency. When Judge Gresham threatened to
chastise him, he coolly replied he could do it; but that it would be no
credit to him, for anybody could do it. And when he introduced his
friend to another as the inferior judge of the Inferior Court of the
inferior County of Lincoln, and was knocked down for the insult, he
intreated the bystanders not to suffer him to be injured. When released
from the grasp of his antagonist, he rubbed his head, and facetiously
said: "This is the forty-second fight I have had, and if I ever got the
best of one, I do not now recollect it."

Judge Dooly was much beloved by the younger members of the Bar, to whom
he was ever kind and indulgent, associating with them upon his circuit,
and joining in all their amusements. His wit spared no one, and yet no
one was offended at it. His humor was the life of the company wherever
he was, and he was never so burdened with official dignity as to
restrain it on the bench. Unbiassed by party considerations or personal
prejudices, and only influenced by a sense of duty and wish to do
right, it was impossible he could be otherwise than popular. This
popularity, however, was personal, not political, and could never
secure to him any political distinction. He was ambitious of a seat in
the United States Senate, a distinction to which he more than once
aspired; but here the grinning ghost of Federalism always met him,
frightening from his support even the nearest of his social friends.
Mr. Crawford's wishes controlled the State, through the instrumentality
of those he had distinguished with his countenance. None doubted the
patriotism or capacity of Dooly for the position; but he was a
Federalist, and the friend of many of the prime movers of the Yazoo
fraud; and these were unpardonable sins with Crawford and his friends.
No one ever charged upon Dooly the sin of a participation in this
speculation, or the frauds through which it became a fixed fact, as a
law of the State, by legislative act. But it was, for a very long time,
fatal to the political aspirations of every one known to be personally
friendly to any man in any way concerned in the matter. They were
pariahs in the land, without friends or caste.

Of all the men prominent in his day, George M. Troup was the most
uncompromising in his hostility to those engaged in this speculation.
It certainly was the work of a few persons only, and did not embrace
one out of fifty of the Georgia Company. All, or nearly all of these,
honestly embarked in the speculation, not doubting but that the State
had the power to sell, and knowing her pecuniary condition required
that she should have money. Had they known that it required bribery to
pass the measure, they would have scorned to become parties to such
corruption; nevertheless they were inculpated, and had to share the
infamy of the guilty few who thus accomplished the purchase, as they
shared the profits arising therefrom. But it did not stop with the
participants. Their personal friends suffered, and no one individual so
fatally as Dooly. He asserted the power of the Legislature to sell--he
was sustained by the decision of the Supreme Court--he was not a
stockholder--he afforded no aid with his personal influence; yet the
public clamor made him a Yazoo-man, and Troup was foremost in his
denunciation of him. On this account it was that, upon a memorable
occasion, Dooly declared that Troup's mouth was formed by nature to
pronounce the word Yazoo. It had been proposed to Dooly, at the time
Forsyth abandoned the Federal party, to follow his example; but he
refused to part with his first love, and clung to her, and shaded,
without a murmur, her fortunes and her fate, which condemned him to a
comparative obscurity for all the future.

It was long years after, and when Mr. Forsyth was in the zenith of his
popularity, that the friends of Dooly proposed his name for the Senate
of the United States. His was the only name announced as a candidate to
the Legislature, but, on counting the ballots, it was found Forsyth had
been elected. Dooly was present, and remarked to a friend that he was
the only man he ever knew to be beaten who ran without opposition. He
saw the aspiring companions of his youth favorites of the people, and
thrust forward into public places, winning fame, and rising from one
position to another of higher distinction. He witnessed the advance of
men whom he had known as children in his manhood, preferred over him;
and, in the consciousness of his own superiority to most or all of
these, rather despised than regretted the prejudices of the
public--influenced by men designing and selfish--which consigned him to
obscurity because of an honest difference of opinion upon a point of
policy which ninety out of every hundred knew nothing about. While the
companions of his early youth were filling missions abroad, executive
offices at home, and Cabinet appointments, he was wearing out his life
in a position where, whatever his abilities, there was little fame to
be won. Still he would make no compromise of principle. In faith he was
sincere, and too honest to pretend a faith he had not, though honors
and proud distinction waited to reward the deceit. As true to his
friends as his principles, he would not desert either, and surrender
his virtue to the seductions of office and honors. Toward the close of
his life, his friends got into office and power. His friend, John
Clarke, was elected Governor, upon the demise of Governor Rabun; but
his day had passed, and other and younger men thrust him aside. Parties
were growing more and more corrupt, and to subserve the uses of
corruption, more tractable and pliant tools were required than could be
made of Dooly.

The election of Clarke was a triumph over the friends of Crawford, who
was then a member of Mr. Monroe's Cabinet, and had long been absent
from the State. It revived anew the flame of discord, which had
smouldered under the ashes of time. The embers lived, and the division
into parties of the people of the United States, consequent upon the
disruption of the Federal and Republican parties, and the candidacy of
Mr. Crawford for the Presidency, caused a division of the old
Republican party in Georgia. Clarke immediately headed the opposition
to Crawford, and his election was hailed as an evidence of Mr.
Crawford's unpopularity at home. This election startled the old friends
of this distinguished son of Georgia, and revived the old feeling.
Clarke was a man of strong will, without much mind, brave, and
vindictive, and nursed the most intense hatred of Crawford constantly
in his heart. The long absence of Crawford from the State, and the
secluded retirement of Clarke, had caused to cool in the public mind
much of the former bitterness of the two factions in the State, but now
it was rekindled. There were very many young men, who had been too
young to take any part in these factions, but who were now the active
and ambitious element in the State. Many persons, too, had immigrated
into the new-settled parts of the State, who were strangers to the
feuds which had once divided her people, and which now began to do so
anew. Each party sought to win and secure this element. Every newspaper
in the State, every judge upon the bench, every member of Congress was
in the interest of Crawford; and yet there was a majority of the people
of the State attached to the Clarke faction. He and his friends had
long been proscribed, and they pleaded persecution. The natural
sympathies of the heart were touched by these appeals, and it was
feared the State would be lost to Crawford in the coming Presidential
election. Every effort was now to be made to defeat this faction
against him, headed by Clarke. The election of Governor at this time
was by the Legislature; and it was not anticipated that there would be
any difficulty in the re-election of Rabun, and, consequently, there
had been no agitation of the question before the people at the recent
election of members of the Legislature. Scarcely a tithe of the people
had even heard of the candidacy of Clarke when his election was
announced; and, at the time, so little interest was felt on the
subject, that very few objected to his election. Clarke was a man of
violent passions, and had been, to some extent, irregular and
dissipated in his habits. When excited by any means, he was fierce; but
when with drink, he was boisterous, abusive, and destructive. Many
stories were related of terrible acts of his commission--riding into
houses, smashing furniture, glass, and crockery--of persecutions of his
family and weak persons he disliked. This had aroused in the pious and
orderly members of society strong opposition to him, and at this time
all his sins and irregularities were widely and loudly heralded to the
public. The preachers, with few exceptions, denounced him, and those
who did not were very soon with him denounced. Very soon after his
inauguration, the celebrated Jesse Mercer--the great gun of the Baptist
denomination in Georgia--was invited to preach the funeral sermon of
Governor Rabun. Mercer was an especial friend of Mr. Crawford, and a
more especial enemy of Clarke. In many respects he was a remarkable
man--a zealous and intolerant sectarian, and quite as uncompromising
and bitter in his political feelings. His zeal knew no bounds in
propagating his religious faith, and it was quite as ardent in
persecuting his political opponents. It was doubtful which he most
hated--the Devil or John Clarke. Rabun had been his neighbor, his
friend, and, above all, a member and elder in his church. It was quite
fitting under the circumstances that he should be selected to officiate
in the funeral services in honor of the late Governor. From respect,
Clarke and the Legislature were present. The moment Mercer's eye, from
the pulpit, descried Clarke, he threw open his Bible violently, and for
many minutes was busy searching from page to page some desired text. At
last he smiled. And such a smile! It was malignant as that of a
catamount. Turning down the leaf--as was the custom of his church--he
rose and gave out to be sung, line by line, his hymn. This concluded,
he made a short and hurried prayer--contrary to his custom--and, rising
from his prayerful position, opened his Bible, and fixing his eye upon
Clarke, he directed his audience to his text, and read:

"When the wicked rule, the land mourns."

The expression of his countenance, the twinkling of his eye, all
pointed so clearly to Clarke as to direct the attention of every one
present to the Governor. This was followed by a sermon half made up of
the irregularities of Clarke's life. This was the tocsin to the church,
and it came down in force with the opposition to the Governor elect. It
was, too, the slogan of the Crawford party to rally for a new conflict.

Mr. Crawford's conduct as a representative of the State in Congress,
and the representative of her people in his foreign mission, had been
eminently satisfactory; and his present elevated position as Secretary
of the Treasury of the United States was exceedingly gratifying to
their pride. When it was determined by his friends to present his name
to the nation as a candidate for the Presidency, it was supposed his
support would be unanimous in Georgia. Time had given opportunity for
the prejudices and hatreds of youth to wear out with the passions of
youth. Those, however, who knew John Clarke, were not deceived when he
successfully rallied a party in opposition. So little interest had been
felt in the personal difficulty formerly existing between Clarke and
Crawford, that even those who remembered it attached to it no
importance, and they did not suppose Clarke's election was to be the
commencement of an organized opposition to Crawford's election, and of
the bitterness which was to follow.

There was scarcely the show of opposition to the election of Clarke.
Those who remembered the old feud, and how completely it had pressed
down all the ambitious hopes and aspirations of Clarke, were willing to
forget the past, and, though warm friends of Mr. Crawford, to vote for
Clarke, and honor him with the first office in the State. Some felt his
treatment had been too harsh, and that for his father's Yazoo
antecedents he had been made to pay quite too severe a penalty, and
were desirous to manifest their feelings in their votes. Besides, his
family connections were most respectable. Griffin Campbell and Dr. Bird
were his brothers-in-law, and were men of high character and great
influence. The friends of these gentlemen united in his support. And
there was still another, whose influence, to the writer's knowledge,
carried four young, talented members of the House to the support of her
father--Ann Clarke, the only daughter of John Clarke, who had no
superior among her sex in talent, beauty, and accomplishments, in the
State. During the incumbency of her father she did the honors of the
executive mansion with a dignity, grace, and affability which won all
hearts, and added greatly to the popularity of the Governor. She
married Colonel John W. Campbell, and all her after-life has justified
the promise of her girlhood. Left a widow with many children, she has
reared and educated them to be an honor to their mother, and, as she
was, an ornament to society. She is now an aged woman, and resides in
Texas, honored and beloved by all who know her.

The election of Clarke was illy received by the old and tried friends
of Crawford throughout the State. They knew him. His stern, inflexible
character and indomitable will were sure to rally about him a party;
and his personal bravery and devotion to his friends would greatly aid
in keeping and inspiring these. His position now was one of strength,
with the capacity to increase it, and the material was abundant; yet
there were formidable difficulties in his way. All, or very nearly all
of the leading families of the State--the Lamars, Cobbs, McIntoshes,
Waynes, Telfairs, Cummings, Tatnals, Dawsons, Abercrombies, Holts,
Blackshears, and many others--were Republicans, and active in the
support of Crawford for the Presidency. These apparently insurmountable
difficulties were to be overcome in the organization of new parties.
The complete breaking up of the Republican party of the nation was
favorable; and there was another element which the sagacity of Campbell
soon discovered and laid hold upon. There were many ambitious and
disappointed men and families in the State beside Clarke and his
family.

The overwhelming popularity of Crawford as the head of the Republican
party in the State had enabled his friends to monopolize all the
offices, and give direction to every political movement and fix the
destiny of every political aspirant. Under this _regime_ many had been
summarily set aside, and were soured. The talents of Troup, Forsyth,
Cobb, Berrien, Tatnal, and some others, pointed them out as men to be
honored, because they honored the State. They seemed to hold a
possessory right to the distinguished positions, and to dictate who
should be elected to the minor ones. Young ambition submitted, but, was
restless and impatient to break away from this dominion. Party
stringency had enforced it, but this was loosened, and all that was now
wanting was a head to rally them into a new and formidable party. Every
old Federalist in the State who had clung to his principles attached
himself to Clarke. There were many strong families, wielding a potent
influence in their neighborhoods, attached to Federal principles. The
Watkins, Hills, Walkers, Glasscocks, and Adamses all soon sided with
the new party. A press in its support was greatly needed, and was soon
established, and given in charge of Cosein E. Bartlett, than whom no
man was better calculated for such a service as was demanded of him.

There were not at this time a dozen newspapers in the State. With all
of them had Bartlett to do battle for the cause in which he had
enlisted, and right valiantly did he do it. He was a fluent and most
caustic writer, and was always ready, not only to write, but to fight
for his party, and would with his blood sustain anything he might say
or write. Like most party editors, he only saw the interest of his
party in what he would write, and would write anything he supposed
would further the ends of his party. Almost immediately after the
election of Clarke, the opposition presented the name of George M.
Troup, who had been voted for as an opposing candidate at the time of
Clarke's election. It was but a little while before the State trembled
with the agitation which seemed to disturb every breast. None could be
neutral. All were compelled to take sides or be crushed between the
contending parties or factions; for this division of the people was
only factious. There was no great principle upon which they divided; it
was men only. Clarke and his friends favored the pretensions of Mr.
Calhoun to the Presidency solely because he was the enemy of Crawford,
and they were subsequently transferred to the support of Jackson as
readily as cattle in the market.

For two years was this agitation increasing in intensity, and so bitter
had it made animosities arising out of it, that reason seemed to reel,
and justice to forget her duty. Men were chosen indiscriminately to
office because of party proclivities. Intelligence and moral worth were
entirely disregarded--families divided--husbands and wives
quarrelled--father and sons were estranged, and brothers were at deadly
strife. There was no argument in the matter; for there was nothing upon
which to predicate an argument. To introduce the subject was to promote
a quarrel. Churches were distracted and at discord, and the pulpit, for
the first time in Georgia, desecrated by political philippics. Pierce
then, as now, was the leading minister of the Methodist Church in the
State, and abstained in the pulpit, but made no secret of his
preferences upon the street. Duffie travelled everywhere. He had by
unkindness driven from him his wife with her infant child, and, in her
helpless and desperate condition, she had taken refuge with the Shaking
Quakers in the West, and remained with them until her death. His son
came to him after maturity, and was established by him on a plantation
with a number of slaves; but, having inherited all the brutal ferocity
of his father, it was not long before he murdered one or two of them.
Incarcerated in the county jail, his father invoked party aid to
release him, openly declaring it was due to him for party services in
opposing that son of the Devil--John Clarke. Whether his party or his
money did the work I know not; but the miserable wretch escaped from
jail, and was never brought to trial.

Peter Gautier was another prominent preacher-politician, and exercised
his talents in the service of Clarke. He was by birth an American, but
his parents were French. He was a bad man, but of eminent abilities,
and exercised great influence in the western portion of the State.
After Pierce, he was the superior of all of his denomination as a
pulpit orator; and in will and energy unequalled by any other. Bold,
unscrupulous, and passionate, he, regardless of his profession, mingled
freely, at county musters and political barbecues, with the lowest and
vilest of the community, using every art his genius suggested to
inflame the mad passions of men already excited to frenzy. In after
life the viciousness and unscrupulousness of his nature overmastered
his hypocrisy and burst out in acts of dishonesty and profanity, which
disgraced and drove him from the State. He sought security from public
scorn in the wilds of Florida; but all restraint had given way, and
very soon the innate perfidy of his nature manifested itself in all his
conduct, and he was obliged to retire from Florida. At that time Texas
was the outlet for all such characters, and thither went Gautier, where
he died.

Every means which talent and ingenuity could devise was put into
requisition by both parties to secure their ascendency. The men of
abilities greatly preponderated in the Troup faction; and the pens of
Cobb, Gumming, Wild, Grantland, Gilmer, and Foster were active in
promoting the election of Troup, and thereby regaining the lost power
of the old Crawford or Republican party. Many young men of talent had
espoused the Clarke faction, and, under the guidance of Dooly,
Campbell, and Clarke, were doing yeomen's work for the cause. Among
these was Charles J. McDonald, whose fine character and family
influence rendered him conspicuously popular. This popularity he
retained to the end of his life. It elevated him to the Gubernatorial
chair, after serving in the United States Congress and for years upon
the bench of the Superior Court. His talents were not of the first
order, but his honesty, sincerity, and goodness made him beloved.

Bartlett was struggling with all his energies to write up the
administration and to defend the Governor against the fierce and
reiterated attacks of the opposition. About this period there appeared
some articles in a paper in Augusta, Georgia, reflecting upon Mr.
Crawford, in reply to several papers signed "C.," which were written by
Richard H. Wild, then a member of Congress from Georgia. These articles
were attributed to Colonel William Gumming, of Augusta, and "C.," in
reply, attacked him severely. He was not a man to be badgered by an
anonymous writer in a newspaper. He demanded immediately of the editor
the name of his correspondent, and that of George McDuffie, of South
Carolina, was given. A challenge ensued--a meeting followed, in which
McDuffie was seriously wounded, and which ultimately caused his death.
This affair increased the hatred between the Georgians and Carolinians,
as it did not cease with a single meeting. Gumming renewed his
challenge in consequence of a statement made by McDuffie in a paper to
the public, narrating offensively--as Cumming felt--the particulars of
the affair. A second meeting was the consequence, at which a difficulty
arose between the seconds, and it was adjourned to another day and
another place. At this third meeting, in an exchange of shots,
McDuffie's arm was broken, and this terminated the difficulty; but it
did not appease the animosity of the friends of the parties.

These combatants were both men of remarkable abilities. Colonel William
Cumming was a native of Augusta, Georgia. Born to the inheritance of
fortune, he received a liberal education and selected the law as a
profession. He read with the celebrated Judges Reeve and Gould, at
Litchfield, Connecticut. At the period of his study this was the only
law-school in the United States. Many anecdotes of his peculiarities
during his residence at the school were related by his preceptors to
the young gentlemen from Georgia who followed him in the office in
after years. A moot court was a part of the system of instruction, in
which questions of law, propounded by one of the professors, were
argued by students appointed for the purpose. On one occasion, Cumming
was replying to the argument of a competitor, and was so caustic as to
be offensive. This was resented by insulting words. Turning to the
gentleman, and without speaking, Cumming knocked him down. Immediately,
and without the slightest appearance of excitement, addressing the
presiding professor, he remarked: "Having thus summarily disposed of
the gentleman, I will proceed to treat his argument in like manner."

Upon his return to Georgia, the war with England having broken out, he
procured the commission of a captain and entered the army. He was
transferred to the northern frontier--then the seat of active
operations--and soon distinguished himself amid that immortal band, all
of whom now sleep with their fathers--Miller, Brook, Jessup, McCrea,
Appling, Gaines, and Twiggs. Cumming, Appling, and Twiggs were
Georgians. At the battle of Lundy's Lane he was severely wounded and
borne from the field. He was placed in an adjoining room to General
Preston, who was also suffering from a wound. Cumming was a favorite of
Preston's, and both were full of prejudice toward the men of the North.
Late at night, Preston was aroused by a boisterous laugh in Cumming's
apartment. Such a laugh was so unusual with him that the general
supposed he had become delirious from pain. He was unable to go to him,
but called and inquired the cause of his mirth.

"I can't sleep," was the reply, "and I was thinking over the incidents
of the day, and just remembered that there had not in the conflict been
an officer wounded whose home was north of Mason and Dixon's line.
Those fellows know well how to take care of their bacon."

He was soon promoted to a colonelcy, and was fast rising to the next
grade when the war terminated. In the reduction of the army he was
retained--a compliment to his merits as a man and an officer. He was
satisfied with this, and, in declining to remain in the army, wrote to
the Secretary of War:

"There are many whose services have been greater, and whose merits are
superior to mine, who have no other means of a livelihood. I am
independent, and desire some other may be retained in my stead."

He was unambitious of political distinction, though intensely
solicitous to promote that of his friends. His high qualities of soul
and mind endeared him to the people of the State, who desired and
sought every occasion which they deemed worthy of him, to tender him
the first positions within their gift; but upon every one of these he
remained firm to his purpose, refusing always the proffered preferment.
Upon one occasion, when written to by a majority of the members of the
Legislature, entreating him to permit them to send him to the Senate of
the United States, he declined, adding: "I am a plain, military man.
Should my country, in that capacity, require my services, I shall be
ready to render them; but in no other." He continued to reside in
Augusta in extreme seclusion. Upon the breaking out of the war with
Mexico he was tendered, by Mr. Polk, the command of the army, but
declined on account of his age and declining health, deeming himself
physically incapable of encountering the fatigue the position would
involve.

The habits of Colonel Cumming were peculiar. His intercourse with his
fellow men was confined to a very few tried friends. He never married,
and was rarely known to hold any familiar intercourse with females. So
secluded did he live, that for many years he was a stranger to almost
every one in his native city. He was strictly truthful, punctual to his
engagements in business matters, and honest in all things. In person,
he was very commanding. In his walk the whole man was seen--erect,
dignified, and impetuous. Energy and command flashed from his great,
gray eyes. His large head and square chin, with lips compressed,
indicated the talent and firmness which were the great characteristics
of his nature. Impatient of folly, he cultivated no intercourse with
silly persons, nor brooked for a moment the forward impertinence of
little pretenders. To those whose qualities of mind and whose habits
were congenial to his own, and whom he permitted familiarly to approach
him, he was exceedingly affable, and with such he frequently jested,
and hilariously enjoyed the piquant story in mirthful humor; but this
was for the few. He was a proud man, and was at no pains to conceal his
contempt for pert folly or intrusive ignorance, wherever and in
whomsoever he met it.

In early life he was the close intimate of Richard Henry Wild, and was
a great admirer of his genius, and especially his great and interesting
conversational powers. Unexceptionable in his morals, he was severe
upon those whose lives were deformed by the petty vices which society
condemns yet practises in so many instances and universally tolerates.

It is greatly to be regretted that the talents and learning of such a
man should not be given to mankind. Every one capable of appreciating
these great attributes in man, and who knew Colonel Cumming, will, with
the writer, regret that he persistently refused every persuasion of his
friends to allow them to place him in such a position before the
country as would bring his great qualities prominently forward in the
service, and for the benefit of his fellow-men. His proud nature
scorned the petty arts of the politician; and he doubtless felt place
could only be had or retained by the use of these arts; he was of too
high principle to descend to them, and held in great contempt those
whose confidence and favor could only be had by chicanery. He was not a
people's man, and had in his nature very little in common with the
masses; and, like Coriolanus, scorned and shunned the great unwashed.
He lived out his threescore years and ten, hiding the jewel God had
given him, and appropriating it only to the use of his own happiness in
the solitude he loved.

George McDuffie was a very different man. Born of humble parentage in
one of the eastern counties of Georgia, he enjoyed but few advantages.
His early education was limited: a fortuitous circumstance brought him
to the knowledge of Mr. Calhoun, who saw at once in the boy the promise
of the man. Proposing to educate him and fit him for a destiny which he
believed an eminent one, he invited him to his home, and furnished him
with the means of accomplishing this end. His ambition had often
whispered to his young mind a proud future, and he commenced the
acquisition of the education which was, as he felt, essential as a
means of its attainment. In this he made rapid progress, and at the age
of twenty-five graduated at the university of South Carolina. It was
not long after graduating before he was admitted to the Bar, and
commenced the practice of law in company with Eldridge Simpkins, at
Edgefield Court House, who was, if I mistake not, at the time, a member
of Congress.

The rise of McDuffie at the Bar was rapid; he had not practised three
years before his position was by the side of the first minds of the
State, and his name in the mouth of every one--the coming man of the
South. It was probably owing to the defence made by him of William
Taylor for the killing of Dr. Cheesboro, that he became famous as it
were in a day. This case excited the people of the whole State of South
Carolina. The parties were, so far as position was concerned, the first
in the State. William Taylor was the brother of John Taylor, who at the
time of the killing was Governor of the State. John Taylor, his
grandfather, was a distinguished officer in the army of the Revolution:
the family was wealthy, and extensively connected with the first
families of the State. Cheesboro was a young physician of great promise
and extensive practice. Jealousy was the cause of the killing, and was
evidently groundless. The deed was done in the house of Taylor, in the
city of Columbia, and was premeditated murder. Mrs. Taylor was a lovely
woman and highly connected. In her manners she was affable and cordial;
she was a great favorite in society, and her universal popularity
attracted to her the host of friends who so much admired her. Dr.
Cheesboro was one of these, and the green-eyed monster made him, in the
convictions of Taylor, the especial favorite of his wife. McDuffie was
employed in his defence, and he made a most triumphant success against
evidence, law, and justice. His speech to the jury was most effective.
The trial had called to Columbia many persons connected with the
family; and all were interested to save from an ignominious death their
relative. This, it was thought, could only be done by the sacrifice of
the wife's reputation. This would not only ruin forever this estimable
lady, but reflect a stain upon her extensive and respectable
connections. She was appealed to, to save her husband's life with the
sacrifice of her fame. In the consciousness of innocence, she refused
with Spartan firmness to slander her reputation by staining her
conscience with a lie. Her friends stood by her; and when hope had
withered into despair, and the possibility gone forever of saving him
by this means, the eloquence of McDuffie and the influence of family
were invoked, and successfully.

In the examination of the witnesses he showed great tact, and
successfully kept from the jury facts which would have left them no
excuse for a verdict of acquittal. But it was in his address that his
great powers made themselves manifest. The opening was impassioned and
powerful. Scarcely had he spoken ten minutes before the Bench, the Bar,
the jury, and the audience were in tears, and, during the entire
speech, so entirely did he control the feelings of every one who heard
him, that the sobs from every part of the courtroom were audible above
the sounds of his voice. When he had concluded, the jury went weeping
from the box to the room of their deliberations, and soon returned a
verdict of acquittal.

This effort established the fame of McDuffie as an orator and man of
great mental powers. Fortunately at that time it was the pride of South
Carolina to call to her service the best talent in all the public
offices, State and national, and with one acclaim the people demanded
his services in Congress. Mr. Simpkins, the incumbent from the
Edgefield district, declined a re-election, that his legal partner, Mr.
McDuffie, might succeed him, and he was chosen by acclamation. He came
in at a time when talent abounded in Congress, and when the country was
deeply agitated with the approaching election for President. Almost
immediately upon his entering Congress an altercation occurred upon the
floor of the House between him and Mr. Randolph, which resulted in the
discomfiture of Mr. Randolph, causing him to leave the House in a rage,
with the determination to challenge McDuffie. This, however, when he
cooled, he declined to do. This rencontre of wit and bitter words gave
rise to an amusing incident during its progress.

Jack Baker, the wag and wit of Virginia, was an auditor in the gallery
of the House. Randolph, as usual, was the assailant, and was very
severe. McDuffie replied, and was equally caustic, and this to the
astonishment of every one; for all supposed the young member was
annihilated--as so many before had been by Randolph--and would not
reply. His antagonist was completely taken aback, and evidently felt,
with Sir Andrew Ague-cheek: "Had I known he was so cunning of fence, I
had seen him damned ere I had fought him." But he was in for it, and
must reply. His rejoinder was angry, and wanting in his usual biting
sarcasm. McDuffie rose to reply, and, pausing, seemed to hesitate, when
Baker from the gallery audibly exclaimed: "Lay on, McDuff, and damned
be he who first cries hold, enough!" The silence which pervaded the
chamber was broken by a general laugh, greatly disconcerting Randolph,
but seeming to inspire McDuffie, who went on in a strain of
vituperation witheringly pungent, in the midst of which Mr. Randolph
left his seat and the House. Here was a triumph few had enjoyed. Not
even Bayard, in his famous attack upon Randolph, when the latter first
came into Congress, had won so much. Every one seemed delighted. The
newspapers heralded it to the country, and McDuffie had a national
reputation. Everything seemed propitious for his fame, and every friend
of Mr. Calhoun felt that he had a champion in his _protege_, who, in
good service, would return him fourfold for his noble generosity to the
boy.

The contest with Cumming whetted more sharply the edge of the animosity
between Georgia and South Carolina. The two were considered the
champions of their respective States, as also the chosen knights of
their respective friends--Crawford and Calhoun. The States and the
friends of the parties in this quarrel very soon arrayed themselves in
antagonism, which was made personal on many occasions, and between many
parties. The young were especially prominent in their demonstrations of
hostile feeling, not excepting the belles of the respective States.
Between them, I believe, it never went beyond words; but they were
frequent in conflict, and sometimes very bitter and very witty ones
escaped from lovely lips, attesting that the face of beauty was
underlaid with passion's deformity. With the young gallants it went to
blows, and, on a few occasions, to more deadly strife; and always
marred the harmony of the association where there were young
representatives of both States. On one occasion of social meeting at a
public dinner-party in Georgia, a young South Carolinian gave as a
sentiment: "George McDuffie--the pride of South Carolina." This was
immediately responded to by Mirabeau B. Lamar, the late President of
Texas, who was then young, and a great pet of his friends, with
another: "Colonel William Cumming--

  "The man who England's arms defied,
    A bar to base designers;
  Who checked alike old Britain's pride
    And noisy South Carolina's."

The wit of the impromptu was so fine and the company so appreciative,
that, as if by common consent, all enjoyed it, and good feeling was not
disturbed.

McDuffie was not above the middle size. His features were large and
striking, especially his eyes, forehead, and nose. The latter was
prominent and aquiline. His eyes were very brilliant, blue, and deeply
set under a massive brow--his mouth large, with finely chiselled lips,
which, in meeting, always wore the appearance of being compressed. In
manners he was retiring without being awkward. His temperament was
nervous and ardent, and his feelings strong. His manner when speaking
was nervous and impassioned, and at times fiercely vehement, and again
persuasive and tenderly pathetic, and in every mood he was deeply
eloquent.

In the after period of life these antagonists were, through the
instrumentality of a noble-hearted Hibernian, reconciled, and sincerely
so--both regretting the past, and willing to bury its memory in social
intimacy. McDuffie married Miss Singleton, of South Carolina, one of
the loveliest and most accomplished ladies of the State.

Owing to the wound received in the duel with Cumming, his nervous
system suffered, and finally his brain. The ball remained imbedded in
the spine, and pressed upon the spinal chord. An attempt to remove it,
the surgeons determined, would be more hazardous to life than to permit
it to remain. There was no remedy. From its effects his mind began to
decay, and finally perished, leaving him, long before his death, a
melancholy imbecile. In all the relations of life this great man was
faithful to his duties--a devoted husband, a sincere friend, a kind
neighbor, and a considerate and indulgent master to his slaves. He was
one of those rare creations for which there is no accounting. None of
his family evinced more than very ordinary minds; nor can there be
traced in his ancestry one after whom his nature and abilities were
marked. His morals were as pure and elevated as his intellect was grand
and comprehensive, and his soul was as lofty and chivalrous as the
Chevalier Bayard's. His fame is too broad to be claimed alone by South
Carolina. Georgia is proud of giving him birth, and the nation
cherishes his glory.




CHAPTER VIII.

FIFTY YEARS AGO.

GOVERNOR MATHEWS--INDIANS--TOPOGRAPHY OF MIDDLE GEORGIA--A NEW COUNTRY
AND ITS SETTLERS--BEAUX AND BELLES--EARLY TRAINING--JESUIT TEACHERS--A
MOTHER'S INFLUENCE--THE JEWS--HOMELY SPORTS--THE COTTON GIN--
CAMP-MEETINGS.


Immediately subsequent to the Revolution, all the country northwest of
the Ogeechee River, in the middle portion of the State of Georgia, was
divided into two counties, Franklin and Wilkes. It was a wilderness,
and contiguous to both the Creek and Cherokee Indian nations. No
country in the world was more beautiful in its topography, and few more
fertile in soil. Governor Mathews had purchased a home in this region;
and being at this time the principal man in the up-country, attracted
to his neighborhood the emigrants who began to come into the country.

Mathew's Revolutionary services in the command of a regiment in the
Virginia line were eminent; and his character for intrepidity naturally
made him a leader among such men as were likely to seek and make homes
in a new country.

Surrounded not only with all the difficulties presented to him by the
unsubdued wilderness, but the perils of savage warfare, he
unflinchingly went forward in his enterprise, daring and conquering
every obstacle nature and the savages interposed. He was an uneducated
man; but of strong mind, ardent temperament, and most determined will.
Many anecdotes are related of his intrepidity, self-respect, and
unbending will. He was a native of Augusta County, Virginia, and
emigrated to Georgia about the same time that Elijah Clarke came from
North Carolina and settled in that portion of the new territory now
known as Clarke County.

These two remarkable men formed a nucleus for those of their respective
States who came at subsequent periods to make a home in Georgia. They
were models to the youth of their respective neighborhoods, and gave
tone to the character of the population for many years after they were
in their graves. About the same time, the Earlys came from Virginia,
and the Abercrombies from North Carolina, and located respectively in
the new counties of Greene and Hancock. They were all men of strong
character, and all exercised great influence with those who accompanied
or came to them at a subsequent period.

Among the very first to locate in Greene County was Colonel David Love,
from North Carolina, and soon after came the Nesbits, Jacksons, and
Hortons; all of whom settled upon the head-waters of the Ogeechee and
upon Shoulderbone Creek.

The country was very attractive, the soil very generous, the water
good, and the health remarkable. The general topography of Middle
Georgia (as that portion of Georgia is now termed) is unsurpassed by
any other portion of the State for beauty--hill and dale, the one not
rising many feet above the other, generally with beautiful slopes, and
scarcely at any place with so much abruptness as to forbid cultivation.
Upon these lovely acclivities were built the cabins of the emigrants,
at the base of which, and near the house, was always to be found a
fountain of pure, sweet water, gushing and purling away over sand and
pebbles, meandering through a valley which it fertilized, and which
abounds in shrubs flowering in beauty, and sheltered by forests of oak,
hickory, pine, and gum.

Those who first came were frequently compelled to unite in a settlement
at some selected point, and, for defence against the inroads of the
savages, were obliged to build stockade forts, with blockhouses.

Nature seems to have prepared, during the Revolution, men for subduing
the wilderness and its savage inhabitants. They cheerfully encountered
all the difficulties and hazards thus presented, and constantly pursued
their object to its consummation. They came from every section of the
older communities, and all seemed animated with the same spirit. They
were orderly, but rude; and though beyond the pale of the law, they
were a law unto themselves; and these laws were strictly enforced by a
public opinion which gave them being and efficiency. With remarkably
simple habits and very limited opportunities, their wants were few; and
these were supplied by their own industry and frugality upon the farm.
Their currency was silver coin, Spanish milled, and extremely limited
in quantity. The little trade carried on was principally by barter, and
social intercourse was confined almost exclusively to the Sabbath. The
roads were rough and uneven, consisting almost entirely of a way
sufficiently wide for an ox-cart to pass, cut through the forest, where
the stumps and stones remained; and in soft or muddy places, the bodies
of small trees or split rails were placed side by side, so as to form a
sort of bridge or causeway, so rough as to test and not unfrequently to
destroy the wheels of the rude vehicles of the country. These obtained
and to this day receive the sobriquet of Georgia railroads or corduroy
turnpikes.

Very few of these immigrants were independent of labor; and most of
them devoted six days of the week to the cultivation of a small farm
and its improvement. Children learned early to assist in this labor,
and those who were sent to school, almost universally employed the
Saturday of each week in farm-work.

Man's social nature induces aggregation into communities, which
stimulates an ambition to excel in every undertaking. From this
emulation grows excellence and progress in every laudable enterprise.
These small communities, as they grew from accessions coming into the
country, began to build rude places for public worship, which were
primitive log-cabins, and served as well the purposes of a
school-house. Here the adult population assembled on the Sabbath, and
the children during the week. This intercourse, together with the
dependence of every one at times for neighborly assistance, was greatly
promotive of harmony and mutual confidence. Close and familiar
acquaintance revealed to all the peculiar character of every one--the
virtuous and the vicious, the energetic or the indolent, the noble and
the ignoble--and all very soon came to be appreciated according to
their merit.

Rude sports constituted the amusements of the young--wrestling,
leaping, and hunting; and he who was most expert at these was the
neighborhood's pride: he rode from church with the prettiest girl, and
was sure to be welcomed by her parents when he came; and to be selected
by such an one was to become the neighborhood's belle. At log-rollings,
quiltings, and Saturday-night frolics, he was the first and the most
admired.

The girls, too, were not without distinction--she who could spin the
greatest number of cuts of cotton, or weave the greatest number of
yards of cloth, was most distinguished, and most admired; but
especially was she distinguished who could spin and weave the neatest
fabric for her own wear, of white cloth with a turkey-red stripe--cut,
and make it fit the labor-rounded person and limbs--or make, for
father's or brother's wear, the finest or prettiest piece of jean--cook
the nicest dinners for her beau, or dance the longest without fatigue.

The sexes universally associated at the same school, (a system
unfortunately grown out of use,) and grew up together with a perfect
knowledge of the disposition, temperament, and general character of
each other. And, as assuredly as the boy is father to the man, the girl
is mother to the woman; and these peculiarities were attractive or
repulsive as they differed in individuals, and were always an influence
in the selection of husbands and wives. The prejudices of childhood
endure through life, particularly those toward persons. They are
universally predicated upon some trait of manner or character, and
these, as in the boy perceived, are ever prominent in the man. So, too,
with the girl, and they only grow with the woman. This is a paramount
reason why parties about contracting marriage-alliances should be well
aware of whom they are about to select. The consequence of this
intercommunication of the sexes from childhood, in the primitive days
of Georgia's first settlement, was seen in the harmony of families. In
the age which followed, a separation or divorce was as rare as an
earthquake; and when occurring, agitated the whole community. For then
a marriage was deemed a life-union, for good or for evil, and was not
lightly or inconsiderately entered into.

The separation of the sexes in early youth, and especially at school,
destroys or prevents in an eminent degree the restraining influences
upon the actions of each other, and that tender desire for the society
of each other, which grows from childhood's associations. Brought
together at school in early life, when the mind and soul are receiving
the impressions which endure through life, they naturally form
intimacies, and almost always special partialities and preferences.
Each has his or her favorite, these partialities are usually
reciprocal, and their consequence is a desire on the part of each to
see the other excel. To accomplish this, children, as well as grown
people, will make a greater effort than they will simply to succeed or
to gratify a personal ambition to that effect. Thus they sympathize
with and stimulate each other. Every Georgia boy of fifty years ago,
with gray-head and tottering step now, remembers his sweetheart, for
whom he carried his hat full of peaches to school, and for whom he made
the grape-vine swing, and how at noon he swung her there.

  'T is bonny May; and I to-day
    Am wrinkled seventy-four,
  Still I enjoy, as when a boy,
    Much that has gone before.

  Is it the leaves and trees, or sheaves
    Of yellow, ripened grain,
  Which wake to me, in memory,
    My boyhood's days again?

  These seem to say 't is bonny May,
    As when they sweetly grew,
  And gave their yield, in wood and field,
    To me, when life was new.

  But nought beside--ah, woe betide!--
    Which grew with me is here--
  The home, the hall, the mill, the all
    Which young life holds so dear.

  The school-house, spring, and little thing,
    With eyes so bright and blue,
  Who'd steal away with me and play
    When school's dull hours were through,

  Are memories now; and yet, oh! how
    It seems but yesterday
  Since I was there, with that sweet dear,
    In the wild wood at play.

  The hill was steep where we would leap;
    The grape-vine swing hung high,
  And I would throw the swing up so
    That, startled, she would cry.

  But though she cried, she still relied
    (And seemed to have no fear)
  On me to hold the swing, and told
    Me "not to frighten her."

  But I was wild, and she no child,
    And not afraid, I deemed;
  So tossed as high the swing as I
    Could--when she fell and screamed.

  She was not harmed; but I, alarmed,
    Ran quickly to assist,
  And lifted her, all pale with fear,
    Within my arms, and kissed

  Her pallid cheek, ere she could speak:
    But I had seen, you know,
  (Ah! what of this? that sight and kiss
    Was fifty years ago,)

  That little boot and pretty foot,
    So neatly formed and small--
  The swelling calf, and stifled laugh--
    How I remember all!

  That lovely one has long since gone,
    Is dust, and only dust, now;
  Yet I recall that swing and fall,
    As though it had been just now.

Take these lines, reader, if you please, as an evidence of how the
memories growing out of the associations of boyhood's school-days
endure through life. This association of the sexes operates as a
restraint upon both, salutary to good conduct and good morals. Such
restraints are far more effective than the staid lessons of some old,
wrinkled duenna of a school-mistress, whose failure to find a
sweetheart in girlhood, or a husband in youthful womanhood, has soured
her toward every man, and filled her with hatred for the happiness she
witnesses in wedded life, and which is ever present all around her. Her
warnings are in violation of nature. She has forgotten she was ever
young or inspired with the feelings and hopes of youth. Men are
monsters, and marriage a hell upon earth. Girls will not believe this,
and will get married. How much better, then, that they should
cultivate, in association, the generous and natural feelings of the
heart, and during the period allotted by nature for the growth of the
feelings natural to the human bosom, as well as to the growth of the
person and mind, than to be told what they should be by one
disappointed of all the fruits of them, and hating the world because
she is! It is the mother who should form the sentiments and direct the
conduct of daughters, and in their teachings should never forget that
nature is teaching also. Let their lessons always teach the proper
indulgences of nature, as well as the proper and prudent restraints to
the natural feelings of the human heart, and so deport themselves
toward their daughters from infancy as to win their confidence and
affection. The daughters, when properly trained, will always come with
their little complaints in childhood, and seek consolation, leaning
upon the parent's knee, and, with solicitude, look up into the parental
face for sympathy and advice. Home-teaching and home-training makes the
proper woman. When this is properly attended to, there needs no
boarding-school or female-college finish, which too frequently uproots
every virtuous principle implanted by the careful and affectionate
teaching of pious, gentle, and intelligent mothers. But few mothers,
who are themselves properly trained, forget nature in the training and
education of their daughters; and a truly natural woman is a blessing
to society and a crown of glory to her husband. I mean by a natural
training a knowledge of herself, as well as a knowledge of the offices
of life and the domestic duties of home. Every woman in her girlhood
should learn from her mother the mission and destinies of woman, as
well as what is due to society, to their families, to themselves, and
to God. The woman who enters life with a knowledge of what life is, and
what is due to her and from her in all the relations of life, has a
thousand chances for happiness through life unknown to the belle of the
boarding-school, who, away from home influences, is artificially
educated to be in all things prominent before the world, and entirely
useless in the discharge of domestic duties. She may figure as the
lady-president or vice-president of charitable associations, or the
lady-president of some prominent or useless society; but never as a
dutiful, devoted wife, or affectionate, instructive mother to her
children. Her household is managed by servants, and about her home
nothing evinces the neat, provident, and attentive housewife.

The whole system of education, as practised by the Protestants of the
United States, is wrong; religious prejudice prevents their learning
from the Catholics, and particularly from the Jesuit Catholics, who are
far in advance of their Protestant brethren. They learn from the child
as they teach the child. In the first place, none are permitted to
teach who are not by nature, as well as by education, qualified to
teach; nature must give the gentleness, the kindness, and the patience,
with the capacity to impart instruction. They learn, first, the child's
nature, the peculiarities of temper, and fashion these to obedience and
affection; they first teach the heart to love--not fear; they warn
against the evils of life--teach the good, and the child's duties to
its parents, to its brothers and sisters, to its teachers, to its
playmates, and to its God. When the heart is mellowed and yields
obedience in the faithful discharge of these duties, and the brain
sufficiently matured to comprehend the necessity of them, then
attention is directed to the mind; its capacities are learned and
known, and it is treated as this knowledge teaches is proper: it is, as
the farmer knows, the soil of his cultivation, and is prepared by
careful tillage before the seed is sown. The vision of the child's mind
is by degrees expanded; the horizon of its knowledge is enlarged, and
still the heart's culture goes on in kindness and affection. The pupil
has learned to love the teacher, and receives with alacrity his
teaching; he goes to him, without fear, for information on every point
of duty in morals, as on every difficult point of literary learning. He
knows he will be received kindly, and dealt with gently. Should he err,
he is never rebuked in public, nor harshly in private; the teacher is
aggrieved, and in private he kindly complains to the offender, whose
love for his preceptor makes him to feel, and repent, and to err no
more. All this is only known to the two; his school-fellows never know,
and have no opportunity for triumph or raillery. Thus taught from the
cradle, principles become habits; and on these, at maturity, he is
launched upon the world, with every safeguard for his future life. So
with the girl. With the experience of forty-five years, the writer has
never known a vicious, bad woman, wife, or mother trained in a Jesuit
convent, or reared by an educated Catholic mother.

The daughters of the pioneers of Georgia's early settlements received a
home education; at least, in the duties of domestic life. In the
discharge of these duties, they gained robust constitutions and
vigorous health; they increased the butcher's bill at the expense of
the doctor's; and such women were the mothers of the men who have made
a history for their country, for themselves and their mothers. I may be
prolix and prosaic, but I love to remember the mothers of fifty years
ago--she who gave birth to Lucius Q.C. and Mirabeau B. Lamar, to
William C. Dawson, Bishop George Pierce, Alexander Stuart, Joseph
Lumpkin, and glorious Bob Toombs. I knew them all, and, with
affectionate delight, remember their virtues, and recall the social
hours we have enjoyed together, when they were matrons, and I the
companion of their sons. And now, when all are gone, and time is
crowding me to the grave, the nobleness of their characters, the
simplicity of their bearing in the discharge of their household duties,
and the ingenuousness of their manners in social intercourse, is a
cherished, venerated memory. None of these women were ever in a
boarding-school, never received a lesson in the art of entering a
drawing-room or captivating a beau. They were sensible, modest, and
moral women, and their virtues live after them in the exalted character
of their illustrious sons. Their literary education in early life was,
of necessity, neglected, because of the want of opportunities; but in
the virtues and duties of life, they were thoroughly educated; and none
of these, or any of their like, was ever Mrs. President or Secretary of
any pretentious or useless society or association.

The little education or literature they acquired was in the old log
school-house, where boys and girls commingled as pupils under the
teaching of some honest pedagogue, who aspired to teach only reading,
writing, and arithmetic, in a simple way. It must not be supposed, from
the foregoing remarks, that I object to female education; on the
contrary, I would have every woman an educated woman. But I would have
this education an useful and proper education; one not wholly
ornamental and of no practical use, but one obtained at home, and under
the parental care and influence--such an one as made Mrs. Ripley, of
Concord, Massachusetts, the wonder and admiration of every sensible
man. She who studied La Place's _Mecanique Celeste_ when she was making
biscuit for her breakfast, and who solved a problem in the higher
mathematics when darning her stockings; an education where the useful
may be taught and learned to grace the ornamental--where the harp and
piano shall share with the needle and the cooking-stove, and the
pirouettes of the dancing-master shall be only a step from the laundry
and the kitchen.

The duties of wives and mothers are to home, husband, and children; and
this includes all of woman's duty to the country, and in the
intelligent and faithful discharge of which the great ends of life are
subserved. Good neighborhood, good government, and happy communities
secure the implanting and cultivation of good principles, and the
proper teaching of proper duties. The wise direction of literary
education to sons and to daughters, all comes within the range of home,
and home duties especially incumbent upon mothers. The domestic duties
and domestic labors should be a prime consideration in the education of
daughters. The association of the mother and child from birth, until
every principle which is to guide and govern it through life is
implanted, makes it the duty of the mother to know the right, and to
teach it, too. Example and precept should combine; and this necessity
compels a constant watch, not only over the child's, but over the
mother's language and conduct. All these duties imply a close devotion
to home: for here is the germ which is to grow into good or into evil,
as it is nursed and cultivated, or wickedly neglected. Begin at the
beginning, if you would accomplish well your work; and to do this,
application and assiduity are indispensable; and these are duties only
to be discharged at home. They admit of a relaxation of time sufficient
for every social duty exacted by society, if that society is such as it
should be; and if not, it should neither occupy time not attention.

In this is comprised all woman's duties, and they are paramount; for
upon their successful application depend the well-being of society and
the proper and healthful administration of wise and salutary laws. The
world is indebted to woman for all that is good and great. Let every
woman emulate Cornelia, the Roman mother, and, when a giddy, foolish
neighbor runs to her to exhibit newly purchased jewels, be found, like
the Roman matron, at her tambour-work; and like her, too, when her boys
from school shall run to embrace her, say to the thoughtless one,
"These are my jewels!" and Rome will not alone boast of her Gracchi and
their incomparable mother.

The duties of home cultivate reflection and stimulate to virtue. For
this reason, women are more pious than men; and for this reason, too,
they are more eminent in purity. Contact with the domestic circle does
not contaminate or corrupt, as the baser contact with the world is sure
to do.

The home circle is select and chaste--the promiscuous intermingling
with the world meretricious and contaminating. The mother not trained
to the appreciation and discharge of the domestic duties, was never the
mother of a great representative mind; because she is incapable of
imparting those stern principles of exalted morality and fixity of
purpose essential in forming the character of such men. The mother of
Cincinnatus was a farmer's wife; of Leonidas, a shepherdess; and the
mothers of Washington, Webster, Clay, Calhoun, William H, Crawford, and
Andrew Jackson were all the wives of farmers--rural and simple in their
pursuits, distinguished for energy and purity; constant in their
principles, and devoted to husband, home, and children. They never
dreamed it was woman's vocation or duty to go out into the world and
mingle in its strifes and contentions--but at home, to view them,
reflect upon their consequences to society, and upon the future of
their sons and daughters, and warn them what to emulate and what to
shun. They, as did their husbands, felt the necessity of preserving
that delicacy of thought and action which is woman's ornament, and
which is more efficient in rebuking licentiousness and profligacy in
the young and the old than all the teaching of the schools without such
example. Such were the mothers of the great and the good of our land,
and such the mothers of those men now prominent and distinguished in
the advocacy and support of the great principles of natural rights and
humanity.

It is a mooted question whether the purposes of human life demand a
high, classical education among the masses; or whether the general
happiness is promoted by such education. In the study of the human mind
in connection with human wants, we are continually met with
difficulties arising from the want of education; and quite as
frequently with those resulting from education. So much so, that we
hear from every wise man the declaration that as many minds are ruined
by over-education as from the want of education.

Man's curse is to labor. This labor must of necessity be divided to
subserve the wants of society--and common sense would teach that each
should be educated as best to enable him to perform that labor which
may fall to his lot in life. But who shall determine this lot? Every
day's experience teaches the observant and thinking man that no one
individual is uselessly born. To deny this proposition would be to call
in question the wisdom and goodness of the Creator. Every one possesses
proclivities for some one avocation, and should be educated for its
pursuit. This is manifested in very early life; in some much more
palpably than in others. This is always the case when the aptitude is
decisive. In such cases this idiosyncrasy will triumph over every
adverse circumstance, educational or otherwise; but in the less
palpable, it will not; and the design of nature may, and indeed
constantly is, disappointed, and improper education and improper
pursuits given. In these pursuits or callings, the person thus
improperly placed there never succeeds as he would had his bent or
mental inclination been observed, and his education directed to it, and
he given to its pursuit. Such persons labor through life painfully;
they have no taste or inclination for the profession, business, or
trade in which they are engaged; its pursuit is an irksome, thankless
labor; while he who has fallen into nature's design, and is working
where his inclinations lead, labors happily, because he labors
naturally. These inclinations the parent or guardian should observe;
and when manifested, should direct the education for the calling nature
has designed. Idiosyncrasies are transmissible or inherited. In old and
populous communities, where every pursuit or profession is full, the
father generally teaches his own to his son or sons. Where this has
extended through three or four generations, the proclivity is generally
strongly marked, and in very early childhood made manifest. Thus, in
the third or fourth generation, where all have been blacksmiths, the
child will be born with the muscles of the right arm more developed
than those of the left, and the first plaything he demands is a hammer.
So, where a family have been traders, will the offspring naturally
discover an aptness for bargaining and commerce. This is illustrated in
the instincts of the Jews, a people of extraordinary brain and
wonderful tenacity of purpose. Five thousand years since, a small
fragment of the Semitic race, residing in Mesopotamia between the
waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris, consisting of two families,
came into the land of Canaan, in Asia Minor; from them have descended
the people known as Jews. The country over which they spread, and which
is known as Judea, is not more than four hundred miles long by two
hundred and fifty in breadth, situated between two populous and
powerful empires, the Assyrian and Egyptian, who, waging war too
frequently, made the land of Judea their battle-field, and its people
the objects of persecution and oppression. The earnings of their labor
were deemed legitimate prey by both, and taken wherever found: they
were led into captivity by the Assyrians and by the Egyptians,
enslaved, and denied the legal right to possess the soil--which, to the
everlasting disgrace of Christian Europe, was a restriction upon this
wonderful people until within the present century. A blind bigotry
would have blotted them from the face of the earth, but for that
energy, talent, and enterprise possessed by them in a superior degree
to any people upon the globe. Inspired by a sublime belief that they
were the chosen people of God, no tyranny nor oppression could subdue
their energies. They prayed and labored, went forward with untiring
determination, upheld by their faith, and always, under the direst
distress, found comfort from this belief and the fruits of incessant
labor. The soil of their loved Canaan was barren, and yielded
grudgingly to the most persistent labor. This drove them to trade, and
an extended intercourse with the world. Without a national government
of sufficient power to protect them when robbed by the people or the
governments surrounding their own, they were compelled, for
self-protection, to resort to every means of concealing the earnings of
their enterprise and superior knowledge and skill from Christian and
pagan alike. They gave value to the diamond, that in a small stone,
easy of concealment, immense wealth might be hidden. They invented the
bill of exchange, by which they could at pleasure transfer from one
country to another their wealth, and avoid the danger of spoliation
from the hand of power and intolerance. Without political or civil
rights in any but their own country, they were compelled to the
especial pursuit of commerce for centuries, and we now see that
seven-tenths of all Jews born, as naturally turn to trade and commerce
as the infant to the breast. It has become an instinct.

To these persecutions the world is probably indebted for the
developments of commerce--the bringing into communication the nations
of the earth for the exchange of commodities necessary to the use and
comfort of each other, not of the growth or production of each,
enlarging the knowledge of all thus communicating, and teaching that
civilization which is the enlightenment and the blessing of
man--ameliorating the savage natures of all, and teaching that all are
of God, and equally the creatures of His love and protection; and
leading also to that development of mind in the Israelite which makes
him conspicuous to-day above any other race in the great attributes of
mind--directing the policy of European governments--first at the Bar,
first in science, first in commerce, first in wealth--preserving the
great traits of nationality without a nation, and giving tone, talent,
wealth, and power to all.

A few men only are born to think. Their minds expand with education,
and their usefulness is commensurate with it. This few early evince a
proclivity so strong for certain avocations as to enable those who have
the direction of their future to educate them for this pursuit. This
proclivity frequently is so overpowering as to prompt the possessor,
when the early education has been neglected, to educate himself for
this especial idiosyncrasy. This was the case with Newton--with
Stevenson, the inventor of the locomotive-engine, who, at twenty years
of age, was ignorant even of his letters. Arkwright was a barber, and
almost entirely illiterate when he invented the spinning-jenny. Train,
the inventor of the railroad, was, at the time of its invention, a
coal-heaver, and entirely illiterate.

These cases are rare, however. The great mass of mankind are born to
manual labor, and only with capacities suited for it. To attempt to
cultivate such minds for eminent purposes would be folly. Even
supposing they could be educated--which is scarcely supposable, for it
would seem a contravention of Heaven's fiat--they could no more apply
this learning, which would simply be by rote, than they could go to the
moon. Such men are not unfrequently met with, and are designated, by
common consent, learned fools. Nature points out the education they
should receive. In like manner with those of higher and nobler
attributes, educate them for their pursuits in life. It requires not
the same education to hold a plough, or drive an ox, that it does to
direct the course of a ship through a trackless sea, or to calculate an
eclipse; and what is essential to the one is useless to the other.--But
I am wandering away from the purpose of this work. Turning back upon
the memories of fifty years ago, and calling up the lives and the
histories of men, and women too, I have known, I was led into these
reflections, and ere I was aware they had stolen from my pen.

The rude condition of a country is always imparted to the character of
its people, and out of this peculiarity spring the rough sports and
love of coarse jokes and coarse humor. No people ever more fully
verified this truth than the Georgians, and to-day, even among her best
educated, the love of fun is a prevailing trait. Her traditions are
full of the practical jokes and the practical jokers of fifty years
ago. The names of Dooly, Clayton, Prince, Bacon, and Longstreet will be
remembered in the traditions of fun as long as the descendants of their
compatriots continue to inhabit the land. The cock-fight, the
quarter-race, and the gander-pulling are traditions now, and so is the
fun they gave rise to; and I had almost said, so is the honesty of
those who were participants in these rude sports. Were they not more
innocent outlets to the excessive energies of a mercurial and
fun-loving people than the faro-table and shooting-gallery of to-day?
Every people must have their amusements and sports, and these,
unrestrained, will partake of the character of the people and the state
of society. Sometimes the narrow prejudices of bigoted folly will
inveigh against these, and insist upon their restraint by law; and
these laws, in many of the States, remain upon the statute-book a
rebuking evidence of the shameless folly of fanatical ignorance. Of
these, the most conspicuous are the blue-laws of Connecticut, and the
more absurd and criminal laws of Massachusetts against amusements not
only necessary, but healthful and innocent. Even in the present
advanced state of knowledge and civilization, do we occasionally hear
ranted from the pulpit denunciations of dancing, as a sinful and
God-offending amusement. Such men should not be permitted to teach or
preach--it is to attenuate folly and fanaticism, to circumscribe the
happiness of youth, and belie the Bible.

The emigrants to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia were all persons of
like character, combining a mixture of English, Irish, and Scotch
blood. They were enterprising, daring, and remarkable for great good
sense. Rude from the want of education and association with a more
polished people, they were nevertheless high-principled and full of
that chivalrous spirit which prompts a natural courtesy, courts danger,
and scorns the little and mean--open-handed in their generosity, and
eminently candid and honest in all their intercourse and dealings with
their fellow-men. These elements, collected from various sections,
combined to form new communities in the wild and untamed regions. In
their conflicts with the savages were shown a daring fearlessness and a
high order of military talent in very many of the prominent leaders of
the different settlements. They had no chronicler to note and record
their exploits, and they exist now only in the traditions of the
country.

The names of Shelby and Kenton, of Kentucky; of Davidson and Jackson,
of Tennessee; of Clarke, Mathews, and Adams, of Georgia; Dale, of
Alabama, and Claiborne, of Mississippi, live in the memory of the
people of their States, together with those of Tipton, Sevier, Logan,
and Boone, and will be in the future history of these States, with
their deeds recorded as those whose enterprise, energy, and
fearlessness won from the wilderness and the savage their fertile and
delightful lands, to be a home and a country for their posterity.

The children of such spirits intermarrying, could but produce men of
talent and enterprise, and women of beauty, intelligence, and virtue.
In the veins of these ran only streams of blue blood--such as filled
the veins of the leaders of the Crusades--such as warmed the hearts of
the O'Neals and O'Connors, of Wallace and Bruce, and animated the
bosoms of the old feudal barons of England, who extorted the great
charter of human liberty from King John. There was no mixture of the
pale Saxon to taint or dilute the noble current of the Anglo-Norman
blood which flowed through and fired the hearts of these descendants of
the nobility and gentry of Britain. They were the cavaliers in chivalry
and daring, and despised, as their descendants despised, the Roundheads
and their descendants, with their cold, dissembling natures,
hypocritical in religion as faithless in friendship, without one
generous emotion or ennobling sentiment.

It is not remarkable that conflict should ensue between races so
dissimilar in a struggle to control the Government: true to the
instincts of race, each contended for that which best suited their
genius and wants; and not at all remarkable that all the generous
gallantry in such a conflict should be found with the Celt, and all the
cruel rapacity and meanness with the Saxon. Their triumph, through the
force of numbers, was incomplete, until their enemies were tortured by
every cruelty of oppression, and the fabric of the Government dashed to
atoms. This triumph can only be temporary. The innate love of free
institutions, universal in the heart of the Celtic Southerner, will
_yet_ unite all the races to retrieve the lost. This done, victory is
certain.

The descendants of these pioneers have gone out to people the extended
domain reaching around the Gulf, and are growing into strength, without
abatement of the spirit of their ancestors. Very soon time and their
energies will repair the disasters of the recent conflict; and
reinvigorated, the shackles of the Puritan shall restrain no longer,
when a fierce democracy shall restore the Constitution, and with it the
liberty bequeathed by their ancestors.

With this race, fanaticism in religion has never known a place.
Rational and natural, they have ever worshipped with the heart and the
attributes of their faith. Truth, sincerity, love, and mercy have ever
marked their characters. Too honest to be superstitious, and too
sincere to be hypocrites, the concentrated love of freedom unites the
race, and the hatred of tyranny will stimulate the blood which shall
retrieve it from the dominion of the baser blood now triumphant and
rioting in the ruin they have wrought.

In the beginning of the settlements, and as soon as fears of the
inroads from the savages had subsided, attention was given to the
selection of separate and extended homes over the country, to the
opening of farms, and their cultivation. The first consideration was
food and raiment. All of this was to be the production of the farm and
home industry: grain enough was to be grown to serve the wants of the
family for bread, and to feed the stock; for this was to furnish the
meat, milk, and butter. Cotton enough to serve the wants of families,
together with the wool from the flock, and some flax, were of prime
consideration. All of this was prepared and manufactured into fabrics
for clothing and bedding at home. The seed from the cotton was picked
by hand; for, as yet, Whitney had not given them the cotton-gin. This
work was imposed most generally upon the children of families, white
and black, as a task at night, and which had to be completed before
going to bed; an ounce was the usual task, which was weighed and spread
before the fire; for it was most easily separated from the seed when
warm and dry. Usually some petty rewards stimulated the work. In every
family it was observed and commented upon, that these rewards excited
the diligence of the white children, but were without a corresponding
effect upon the black; and any one who has ever controlled the negro
knows that his labor is only in proportion to the coercion used to
enforce it. His capacity, physically, is equal to the white; but this
cannot be bought, or he persuaded to exert it of himself, and is given
only through punishment, or the fear of it. The removal of restraint is
to him a license to laziness; and the hope of reward, or the cravings
of nature, will only induce him to labor sufficiently to supply these
for immediate and limited relief.

Stock of every kind except horses was left to find a support in the
forest, and at that time, when their range was unlimited, they found it
in abundance. Increasing wants stimulated the cultivation of a market
crop to supply them, and indigo and tobacco were first resorted to.
Tobacco was the principal staple, and the method of its transportation
was extraordinary. As at the present day in Kentucky, it was pressed
into very large hogsheads. Upon these were pinned large wooden felloes,
forming the circle of a wheel around the hogshead at either end, and in
the centre of each head a large pin was inserted. Upon these pins were
attached shafts or thills, as to a cart, and to these teams, and thus
the hogshead was rolled along rough roads and through streams for
sometimes ninety miles to Augusta, for a market. When sold, the shafts
were reserved, and upon these was then erected a sort of box, into
which the few articles purchased were placed, and dragged home. These
articles almost universally consisted of some iron and steel, and a
little coffee and sugar, and sometimes a quarter of a pound of
tea--universally termed store-tea, to distinguish it from that made
from the root of the sassafras and the leaf of the cassia or
tepaun-bush.

Cotton was, to some little extent, cultivated near the seaboard in
Georgia and South Carolina, and cleaned of the seeds by a machine
similar to that used at the present day for preparing the sea-island
cotton for market. This was a tedious and troublesome method, and was
incapable of doing the work to any very great extent. Indigo, of a
superior quality to the American, was being produced in British India
and Central America, and the competition was reducing the price to the
cost of production. The same difficulty attended the growing of
tobacco. Virginia and Maryland, with their abundance of labor, were
competing, and cheapening the article to a price which made its
production unprofitable. At this juncture, Whitney invented the
cotton-gin, and the growth of cotton as a marketable crop commenced
upon a more extended scale. In a few years it became general--each
farmer growing more or less, according to his means. Some one man, most
able to do so, erected a gin-house, first in a county, then in each
neighborhood. These either purchased in the seed the cotton of their
neighbors, or ginned it and packed it for a certain amount of toll
taken from the cotton. This packing was done in round bales, and by a
single man, with a heavy iron bar, and was a most laborious and tedious
method; and the packages were in the most inconvenient form for
handling and transportation.

Up to this time the slave-trade had been looked upon most unfavorably
by the people of the South. Among the first sermons I remember to have
heard, was one depicting the horrors of this trade. I was by my
grandmother's side at Bethany, in Greene county, and, though a child, I
remember, as if of yesterday, the description of the manner of
capturing the African in his native wilds--how the mother and father
were murdered, and the boys and the girls borne away, and how England
was abused for the cruel inhumanity of the act. Although unused to the
melting mood, the old lady wiped from her eyes a tear, whether in
sorrow or sympathy for outraged humanity, or in compliment to the
pathos and power of her favorite preacher, I was too young to know or
have an opinion. I remember well, however, that she cried, for she
pinched me most unmercifully for laughing at her, and at home spanked
me for crying. Dear old grandmother! but yesterday I was at your grave,
where you have slept fifty-two years, and if I laughed above thy mould
at the memory of the many bouts we had more than sixty years ago, and,
from the blue bending above, thy spirit looked down in wrath upon the
unnatural outrage, be appeased ere I come; for I should fear to meet
thee, even in heaven, if out of humor! The roses bloomed above
you--sweet emblems of thy purity and rest--and there, close by you,
were the pear-trees, planted by your hands, around the roots of which
you gathered the rods of my reformation; for I was a truant child. You
meant it all for my good, no doubt; but to me it was passing through
purgatory then, to merit a future good in time. Ah! how well I remember
it--all of it. _Requiescat in pace_. I had almost irreverently said,
"Rest, cat, in peace."

It was at this period that the competition for accumulating money may
be said to have commenced in Middle Georgia. Labor became in great
demand, and the people began to look leniently upon the slave-trade.
The marching of Africans, directly imported, through the country for
sale, is a memory of sixty-five years ago. The demand had greatly
increased, and, with this, the price. The trade was to cease in 1808,
and the number brought over was daily augmenting, to hasten to make
from the traffic as much money as possible before this time should
arrive. The demand, however, was greater than could be supplied. From
house to house they were carried for sale. They were always young men
and women, or girls and boys, and their clothing was of the simplest
kind. That of the men and boys consisted of drawers, only reaching
midway the thigh, from the waist. The upper portions of the person and
the lower extremities were entirely nude. The females wore a chemise
reaching a few inches below the knee, leaving bare the limbs. This was
adopted for the purpose of exposing the person, as much as decency
would permit, for examination, so as to enable the purchaser to
determine their individual capacity for labor. This examination was
close and universal, beginning with an inspection of the teeth, which
in these young savages were always perfect, save in those where they
had been filed to a point in front. This was not uncommon with the
males. It was then extended to the limbs, and ultimately to the entire
person. They were devoid of shame, and yielded to this inspection
without the slightest manifestation of offended modesty. At first they
were indifferent to cooked food, and would chase and catch and eat the
grasshoppers and lizards with the avidity of wild turkeys, and seemed,
as those fowls, to relish these as their natural food.

From such is descended the race which our Christian white brothers of
the North have, in their devotion to their duty to God and their hatred
to us, made masters of our destiny. Our faith in the justice and
goodness of the same Divine Being bids us believe this unnatural and
destructive domination will not be permitted to endure for any lengthy
period. Could the curtain which veiled out the future sixty years ago,
have been lifted, and the vision of those then subduing the land been
permitted to pierce and know the present of their posterity, they would
then have achieved a separation from our puritanical oppressors, and
built for themselves and their own race, even if in blood, a separate
government, and have made it as nature intended it should be to this
favored land--a wise and powerful one.

Sooner or later these intentions of Divine wisdom are consummated. The
fallible nature of man, through ignorance or the foolish indulgence of
bad passions in the many, enable the few to delude and control the
many, and to postpone for a time the inevitable; but as assuredly as
time endures, nature's laws work out natural ends. Generations may pass
away, perhaps perish from violence, and others succeed with equally
unnatural institutions, making miserable the race, until it, like the
precedent, passes from the earth. Yet these great laws work on, and in
the end triumph in perfecting the Divine will.

To the wise and observant this design of the Creator is ever
apparent; to the foolish and wicked, never.

John Wesley had visited Savannah, and travelled through the different
settlements then in embryo, teaching the tenets and introducing the
simple worship of the church of his founding, after a method
established by himself, and which gave name and form to the sect, now,
and almost from its incipiency known as Methodist. This organization
and the tenets of its faith were admirably suited to a rude people, and
none perhaps could have been more efficient in forming and improving
such morals. Unpretending, simple in form, devoid of show or ceremony,
it appealed directly to the purer emotions of our nature, and through
the natural devotion of the heart lifted the mind to the contemplation
and inspired the soul with the love of God. Its doctrines, based upon
the purest morality, easily comprehensible, and promising salvation to
all who would believe, inspiring an enthusiasm for a pure life, were
natural, and naturally soon became wide-spread, and as the writer
believes, has done more in breaking away the shackles of ignorance and
debasing superstition from the mind, than any other system of worship
or doctrine of faith taught by man; and to this, in a great degree, is
due the freedom of thought, independence of feeling and action,
chivalrous bearing, and high honor of the Southern people. Inculcating
as it does the simple teachings of the gospel of Christ,--to live
virtuously--do no wrong--love thy neighbor as thyself, and unto all do
as you would be done by,--a teaching easy of comprehension, and which,
when sternly enforced by a pure and elevated public sentiment, becomes
the rule of conduct, and society is blessed with harmony and right.
This moral power is omnipotent for good, concentrating communities into
one without divisions or dissensions, to be wielded for good at once
and at all times. Nothing evil can result from such concentration of
opinions being directed by the vicious and wicked, so long as the moral
of this faith shall control the mind and heart.

Camp-meetings, an institution of this church, and which were first
commenced in Georgia, are a tradition there now. Here and there through
the country yet remains, in ruinous decay, the old stand or
extemporized pulpit from which the impassioned preacher addressed the
assembled multitude of anxious listeners; and around the square now
overgrown with brush-wood and forest-trees, prostrate and rotten, the
remains of the cabin tents may be seen, where once the hospitality of
the owners and worshippers was dispensed with a heartiness and
sincerity peculiar to the simple habits, and honest, kindly emotions of
a rude and primitive people.

How well do I remember the first of these meetings I ever witnessed! I
was a small lad, and rode behind my father on horseback to the ground.
It was sixty-five years ago. The concourse was large, consisting of the
people of all the country around--men, women, and children, white and
black. Around a square enclosing some six acres of ground, the tents
were arranged--arbors of green boughs cut from the adjoining forest
formed a shelter from the sun's rays. In front of all of these, shading
the entrance to the tent, under this friendly sheltering from the heat
of the sun, assembled the owners and the guests of each, in social and
unceremonious intercourse. This was strictly the habit of the young
people; and here, in evening's twilight, has been plighted many a vow
which has been redeemed by happy unions for life's journey, and to be
consummated when the cold weather came. In the rear of the tents were
temporary kitchens, presided over in most instances by some old,
trusted aunty of ebon hue, whose pride it was to prepare the meals for
her tent, and to hear her cooking praised by the preachers and the less
distinguished guests of master and mistress. The sermons were preached
in the morning, at noon, and at twilight, when all the multitude were
summoned to the grand central stand in the square of the encampment by
sounding a tin trumpet or ox-horn. My childish imagination was fired at
the sight of this assemblage. My wonder was, whence come all these
people? as converging from the radius around came the crowding
multitude, without order and without confusion--the farmer and his
brusque wife side by side, leading their flock and friends: he with an
ample chair of home manufacture slung by his side for the wife's
comfort as she devoutly listened to the pious brother's comforting
sermon--the guests and the young of the family following in respectful
silence, and at a respectful distance, all tending to the great arbor
of bushes covering the place of worship. Over all the space of the
encampment the under-brush had been carefully removed; but the great
forest-trees (for these encampments were always in a forest) were left
to shade as well as they might the pulpit-stand and grounds. All around
was dense forest, wild and beautiful as nature made it.

How well the scene and the worship accorded! There was congruity in
all--the woods, the tents, the people, and the worship. The impressions
made that day upon my young mind were renewed at many a camp-meeting in
after years; and so indelibly impressed as only to pass away with
existence.

The preacher rose upon his elevated platform, and, advancing to the
front, where a simple plank extending from tree to tree, before him,
formed a substitute for a table or desk, where rested the hymn-book and
Bible, commenced the service by reading a hymn, and then, line by line,
repeating it, to be sung by all his congregation.

Whoever has listened, in such a place, amidst a great multitude, to the
singing of that beautiful hymn commencing, "Come, thou fount of every
blessing," by a thousand voices, all in accord, and not felt the spirit
of devotion burning in his heart, could scarcely be moved should an
angel host rend the blue above him, and, floating through the ether,
praise God in song. In that early day of Methodism, very few of those
licensed to preach were educated men. They read the Bible, and
expounded its great moral truths as they understood them. Few of these
even knew that it had been in part originally written in the Hebrew
tongue, and the other portion in that of the Greeks; but he knew it
contained the promise of salvation, and felt that it was his mission to
preach and teach this way to his people, relying solely for his power
to impress these wonderful truths upon the heart by the inspiration of
the Holy Spirit. For this reason the sermons of the sect were never
studied or written, and their excellence was their fervor and
impassioned appeals to the heart and the wild imaginations of the
enthusiastic and unlearned of the land. Genius, undisciplined and
untutored by education, is fetterless, and its spontaneous suggestions
are naturally and powerfully effective, when burning from lips
proclaiming the heart's enthusiasm. Thus extemporizing orations almost
daily, stimulated the mind to active thought, and very many of these
illiterate young Methodist preachers became in time splendid orators.

It was the celebrated Charles James Fox who said to a young man just
entering Parliament, if he desired to become a great orator, and had
the genius and feeling from nature, all he had to do was to speak often
and learn to think on his feet. It is to this practice the lawyer and
the preacher owe the oratory which distinguish these above every other
class of men. And yet, how few of them ever attain to the eminence of
finished orators. Eloquence and oratory are by no means identical: one
is the attribute of the heart, the other of the head; and eloquence,
however unadorned, is always effective, because it is born of the
feelings; and there is ever a sympathy between the hearts of men, and
the words, however rude and original, which bubble up from the heart
freighted with its feelings, rush with electrical force and velocity to
the heart, and stir to the extent of its capacities. Oratory, however
finished, is from the brain, and is an art; it may convince the mind
and captivate the imagination, but never touches the heart or stirs the
soul. To awaken feelings in others, we must feel ourselves. Eloquence
is the volume of flame, oratory the shaft of polished ice; the one
fires to madness, the other delights and instructs.

Religion is the pathos of the heart, and must be awakened from the
heart's emotions. The imagination is the great attribute of the mind,
gathering and creating thought and inspiring feeling. Hence, the
peculiar system of the Methodists in their worship is the most
efficient in proselyting, and especially with a rude, imaginative
people.

The camp-meeting was an admirable device for this purpose, and its
abandonment by the sect is as foolish as would be that of a knight who
would throw away his sword as he was rushing to battle. Fashion is
omnipotent in religion, as in other things, and with the more general
diffusion of education, camp-meetings have come to be considered as
vulgar and unfashionable. To be vulgar, is to be common; to be common,
is to be natural. The masses, and especially in democratic communities,
must always be vulgar or common--must always be, in the main,
illiterate and rude; and it is for the conversion and salvation of
these multitudes the preacher should struggle, and in his efforts his
most efficient means should be used.

The camp-meeting, at night, when all the fire-stands are ablaze, and
the multitude are assembled and singing, is beyond description
picturesque: when, too, some eloquent and enthusiastic preacher is
stimulating to intense excitement the multitude around him with the
fervor of his words, and the wild, passionate manifestations of his
manner, to see the crowd swaying to and fro, to hear the groans and
sobs of the half-frenzied multitude, and, not unfrequently, the
maddened shriek of hysterical fear, all coming up from the
half-illuminated spot, is thrillingly exciting. And when the sermon is
finished, to hear all this heated mass break forth into song, the wild
melody of which floats, in the stillness of night, upon the breeze to
the listening ear a mile away, in cadences mournfully sweet, make the
camp-meeting among the most exciting of human exhibitions. In such a
school were trained those great masters of pulpit oratory, Pierce,
Wynans, Capers, and Bascomb. Whitfield was the great exemplar of these;
but none, perhaps, so imitated his style and manner as John Newland
Maffit and the wonderful Summerfield.

Like all that is great and enduring, the Methodist Church had its
beginning among the humble and lowly. Rocked in the cradle of penury
and ignorance, it was firmly fixed in the foundations of society,
whence it rose from its own purity of doctrine and simplicity of
worship to command the respect, love, and adoption of the highest in
the land, and to wield an influence paramount in the destinies of the
people and the Government. Its ministers are now the educated and
eloquent of the Church militant. Its institutions of learning are the
first and most numerous all over the South, and it has done for female
education in the South more than every other sect of Christians,
excepting, perhaps, the Roman Catholic. In the cause of education its
zeal is enlisted, and its organization is such as to bring a wonderful
power to operate upon the community in every section of the South and
West. That this will accomplish much, we have only to look to the
antecedents of the Church to determine. Like the coral insect, they
never cease to labor: each comes with his mite and deposits it; and,
from the humblest beginning, this assiduity and contribution builds up
great islands in the sea of ignorance--rich in soil, salubrious in
climate, and, finally, triumphant in the conceptions of the chief
architect--completing for good the work so humbly begun.




CHAPTER IX.

PEDAGOGUES AND DEMAGOGUES.

EDUCATION--COLLEGES--SCHOOL-DAYS--WILLIAM AND MARY--A SUBSTITUTE--
BOARDING AROUND--ROUGH DIAMONDS--CASTE--GEORGE M. TROUP--A SCOTCH
INDIAN--ALEXANDER McGILVERY--THE McINTOSH FAMILY--BUTTON GWINNETT--
GENERAL TAYLOR--MATTHEW TALBOT--JESSE MERCER--AN EXCITING ELECTION.


The subject of education engaged the attention of the people of Georgia
at a very early day subsequent to the Revolution. Public schools were
not then thought of; probably because such a scheme would have been
impracticable. The population was sparse, and widely separated in all
the rural districts of the country; and to have supplied all with the
means of education, would have necessitated an expense beyond the power
of the State. A system was adopted, of establishing and endowing
academies in the different counties, at the county-seat, where young
men who intended to complete a collegiate education might be taught,
and the establishment and endowment of a college, where this education
might be finished, leaving the rudimental education of the children of
the State to be provided for by their parents, as best they could.
Primary schools were gotten up in the different neighborhoods by the
concentrated action of its members, and a teacher employed, and paid by
each parent at so much per capita for his children. In these schools
almost every Georgian--yes, almost every Southerner--commenced his
education. It was at these schools were mingled the sexes in pursuit of
their A, B, C, and the incidents occurring here became the cherished
memories of after life. Many a man of eminence has gone out from these
schools with a better education with which to begin life and a conflict
with the world, than is obtained now at some of the institutions called
colleges.

Young men without means, who had acquired sufficient of the rudiments
of an English education, but who desired to pursue their studies and
complete an education to subserve the purposes of the pursuit in life
selected by them, frequently were the teachers in the primary schools.
From this class arose most of those men so distinguished in her earlier
history. Some were natives, and some were immigrants from other States,
who sought a new field for their efforts, and where to make their
future homes. Such were William H. Crawford, Abram Baldwin, and many
others, whose names are now borne by the finest counties in the
State--a monument to their virtues, talents, and public services,
erected by a grateful people.

These primitive schools made the children of every neighborhood
familiar to each other, and encouraged a homogeneous feeling in the
rising population of the State. This sameness of education and of
sentiment created a public opinion more efficacious in directing and
controlling public morals than any statutory law, or its most efficient
administration. It promoted an _esprit du corps_ throughout the
country, and formed the basis of that chivalrous emprise so peculiarly
Southern.

The recollections of these school-days are full of little incidents
confirmatory of these views. I will relate one out of a thousand I
might enumerate. A very pretty little girl of eight years, full of life
and spirit, had incurred, by some act of childish mischief, the penalty
of the switch--the only and universal means of correction in the
country schools. She was the favorite of a lad of twelve, who sat
looking on, and listening to the questions propounded to his
sweetheart, and learning the decision of the teacher, which was
announced thus: "Well, Mary, I must punish you."

All eyes were directed to William. Deliberately he laid down his books,
and, stepping quickly up to the teacher, said, respectfully: "Don't
strike her. Whip me. I'll take it for her," as he arrested with his
hand the uplifted switch. Every eye in that little log school-house
brightened with approbation, and, in a moment after, filled with tears,
as the teacher laid down his rod and said: "William, you are a noble
boy, and, for your sake, I will excuse Mary." Ten years after, Mary was
the wife--the dutiful, loving, happy wife of William; and William,
twenty years after, was a member of the Legislature, and then a
representative in Congress, (when it was an honor to a gentleman to be
such,) and afterwards was for years a Senator in the same body--one of
Georgia's noblest, proudest, and best men.

Can any one enumerate an instance where evil grew out of the early
association of the sexes at school? In the neighborhoods least
populous, and where there were but few children, the pedagogue usually
divided the year into as many parts as he had pupils, and boarded
around with each family the number of days allotted to each child. If
he was a man of family, the united strength of the neighborhood
assembled upon a certain day, and built for him a residence contiguous
to the school-house, which was erected in like manner.

These buildings were primitive indeed--consisting of poles cut from the
forest, and, with no additional preparation, notched up into a square
pen, and floored and covered with boards split from a forest-tree near
at hand. It rarely required more than two days to complete the
cabin--the second being appropriated to the chimney, and the chinking
and daubing; that is, filling the interstices with billets of wood, and
make these air-tight with clay thrown violently in, and smoothed over
with the hand. Such buildings constituted nine-tenths of the homes of
the entire country sixty years ago; and in such substitutes for houses
were born the men who have moved the Senate with their eloquence, and
added dignity and power to the bench of the Supreme Court of the
nation, startled the world with their achievements upon the
battle-field, and more than one of them has filled the Presidential
chair.

Men born and reared under such circumstances, receive impressions which
they carry through life, and their characters always discover the
peculiarities incident to such birth and rearing--rough and vigorous,
bold and daring, and nobly independent, without polish or deceit,
always sincere, and always honest.

However much the intellect may be cultivated in youth--however much it
may be distinguished for great thoughts and wonderful attainments,
still the peculiarities born of the forest cling about it in all its
roughness--a fit setting to the unpolished diamond of the soul.

The rural pursuits of the country, and the necessities of the isolated
condition of a pioneer population, which necessities are mainly
supplied by ingenuity and perseverance on the part of each, creates an
independence and self-reliance which enter largely into the formation
of the general character. The institution of African slavery existing
in the South, which came with the very first, pioneer, and which was
continually on the increase, added to this independence the habit of
command; and this, too, became a part of Southern character. The
absolute control of the slave, placed by habit and law in the will of
the master, made it necessary to enact laws for the protection of the
slave against the tyrannical cruelties found in some natures; but the
public sentiment was in this, as in all other things, more potent than
law. Their servile dependence forbade resistance to any cruelty which
might be imposed; but it excited the general sympathy, and inspired,
almost universally, a lenient humanity toward them.

They were mostly born members of the household, grew up with the
children of each family, were companions and playmates, and naturally
an attachment was formed, which is always stronger in the protecting
than the protected party. It was a rare instance to find a master whose
guardian protection did not extend with the same intensity and effect
over his slave as over his child: this, not from any motive of
pecuniary interest, but because he was estopped by law from
self-defence; and, too, because of the attachment and the moral
obligation on the master to protect his dependants. Besides, the
community exacted it as a paramount duty. It is human to be attached to
whatever it protects and controls; out of this feeling grows the spirit
of true chivalry and of lofty intent--that magnanimity, manliness, and
ennobling pride which has so long characterized the gentlemen of the
Southern States.

Caste, in society, may degrade, but, at the same time, it elevates.
Where this caste was distinguished by master and slave, the distinction
was most marked, because there was no intermediate gradation. It was
the highest and the lowest. It was between the highest and purest of
the races of the human family, and the lowest and most degraded; and
this relation was free from the debasing influences of caste in the
same race. An improper appreciation of this fact has gone far to create
with those unacquainted with negro character the prejudices against the
institution of African slavery, and which have culminated in its
abolition in the Southern States.

The negro is incapacitated by nature from acquiring the high
intelligence of the Caucasian. His sensibilities are extremely dull,
his perceptive faculties dim, and the entire organization of his brain
forbids and rejects the cultivation necessary to the elimination of
mind. With a feeble moral organization, and entirely devoid of the
higher attributes of mind and soul so prominent in the instincts of the
Caucasian, his position was never, as a slave, oppressive to his mind
or his sense of wrong. He felt, and to himself acknowledged his
inferiority, and submitted with alacrity to the control of his
superior. Under this control, his moral and intellectual cultivation
elevated him: not simply to a higher position socially, but to a higher
standard in the scale of being, and this was manifested to himself at
the same time it demonstrated to him the natural truth of his
inferiority. This gratified him, promoted his happiness, and he was
contented. The same effect of the relation of master and servant can
never follow when the race is the same, or even when the race is but
one or two degrees inferior to the dominant one.

The influence of this relation upon the white race is marked in the
peculiarities of character which distinguish the people of the South.
The habit of command, where implicit obedience is to follow, ennobles.
The comparison is inevitable between the commander and him who obeys,
and, in his estimation, unconsciously elevates and degrades. This
between the white man and negro, is only felt by the white. The negro
never dreams that he is degraded by this servility, and consequently he
does not feel its oppression. He is incapable of aspiring, and
manifests his pride and satisfaction by imitating his master as much as
is possible to his nature. The white man is conscious of the effect
upon the negro, and has no fear that he is inflicting a misery to be
nursed in secret and sorrow, and to fill the negro's heart with hate.
This, however, is universally the effect of the domination of one man
over another of the same race. The relation was for life, and the
master was responsible for the moral and physical well-being of his
slave. His entire dependence makes him an object of interest and care,
and the very fact of this responsibility cultivates kindness and
tenderness toward him. But this is not all; it carries with it a
consciousness of superiority, and inspires a superior bearing. These
influences are more potent in the formation of female than male
character. The mistress is relieved absolutely from all menial duties,
and is served by those who are servants for life, and compulsorily so.
She is only under the obligations of humanity in her conduct toward
them. They must do her bidding. She is not afraid to offend by giving
an order, nor is she apprehensive of being deserted to discharge her
household labor herself by offending them. It is their duty to
please--it is their interest--and this is the paramount desire. The
intercourse is gentle, respectful, and kind; still, there is no
infringement of the barrier between the mistress and the servant. This
habit is the source of frankness and sincerity, and this release from
the severity of domestic labor the fruitful source of female delicacy
and refinement, so transcendently the attributes of character in the
ladies of the South. It gives ease and time for improvement; for social
and intellectual intercourse; creates habits of refinement, and a
delicacy seen and heard in all that is done or said in refined female
society in the South. Something, too, I suppose, is due to blood. There
are many grades in the Caucasian race. The Anglo-Norman or Anglo-Celtic
is certainly at the head. They rule wherever left to the conflict of
mind and energy of soul. Sometimes they are conquered for a time, but
never completely so. The great constituents of their natures continue
to resist, and struggle up, and when the opportunity comes, they strike
for control and supremacy--

  "And freedom's battle, once begun,
  The cause bequeathed from sire to son,
  Though baffled oft, is ever won."

The Southern woman's soul is chivalry. From the highest to the
humblest, the same lofty purpose, pride, and energy animate them. They
have contrasted the free and noble with the mean and servile. Its magic
has entered their natures and quickened their souls. In all there is a
lofty scorn for the little and mean. The same withering contempt for
the cringing and cowardly is met in every one of them. Their impulses
are generous, and their aspirations noble, with hearts as soft and
tender as love, pity, and compassion can form. Yet in them there is,
too, the fire of chivalry, the scorn of contempt, and the daring of her
who followed her immortal brother, the great Palafox, at the defence of
Saragossa, her native city, and, standing upon the dead bodies of her
countrymen, snatched the burning match from the hand of death, and
fired the cannon at the advancing foe, and planted Spain's standard, in
defiance of the veterans of Soult--a rallying point for her
countrymen--and saved Saragossa. They were born to command, and can
never be slaves, or the mothers of slaves.

The same influences powerfully operate in producing that bearing of
chivalrous distinction, which is seen everywhere in the deportment of
the Southern gentlemen toward ladies. They are ever polite, respectful,
and deferential. This, however, is only one of many elements in the
peculiar character of Southern people. Their piety is Christian in its
character. The precepts of the Bible are fashioned into example in the
conduct of the older members of society, and especially in the female
portion. This is, perhaps, the predominant element. The Bible is the
guide, not the fashion, in religious duty. Its doctrines are taught in
purity, and in their simplicity enter into the soul, as the great
constituent of character.

The chivalrous bearing of man toward woman inspires her with elevated
and noble sentiments--a pride and dignity conservative of purity in all
her relations--and, reflecting these back upon society, producing most
salutary influences. It is woman's pride to lean on man--to share his
love and respect--to be elevated by his virtues, and appreciated by the
world because of his honors--to be a part of his fame. The mother, the
wife, the sister, the relative should share with the husband, the son,
the brother, the kinsman, in the world's honors, in the sufferings,
sorrows, and miseries incidental to all. They are part and parcel of
man, and partake of his nature and his position, as of his fortune.
When man shall cease to view woman, and so deport himself toward her as
a purer, more refined, and more elevated being than himself, that
moment she will sink to his level, and then her prestige for good is
gone forever. That delicacy, refinement, and chasteness, so restraining
and so purifying to man in her association, is the soul of
civilization--the salt of the earth. In its absence, no people are ever
great; for, as it is the spirit of man's honor, so is it a nation's
glory. It must be cherished, for it inspires man's honor by man's
chivalry. Thus she becomes a people's strength; for their crown of
glory is her chastity and angelic purity.

These virtues distinguished the pioneer women of Middle Georgia sixty
years ago. As their husbands were honest and brave, they were chaste
and pious; and from such a parentage sprang the men and women who have
made a history for her pre-eminent among all her sister States. Her
sons have peopled the West, and are distinguished there for their high
honor and splendid abilities; and yet at home she boasts Toombs, Colt,
Stephens, Hill, Johnson, Campbell, and a host of others, who are proud
specimens among the proudest of the land. They have measured their
strength with the proudest minds of all the Union, and won a fame
unequalled, adorning her councils, its Cabinet, its Bench, and were the
first everywhere.

George Michael Troup, one of the most distinguished of Georgia's sons,
was the son of an English gentleman, who emigrated to Georgia anterior
to the Revolution. He married Miss McIntosh, of Georgia, sister of
General John McIntosh, of McIntosh County. He took no part in the
Revolution. England was his mother country; to her he was attached, and
in conscience he could not lift his hand in wrath against her. This
course did not meet the approval of the McIntoshes, and he retired from
the State and country. First, he went to England, but not contented
there, he came to the Spanish town of Pensacola. Here he met the
celebrated Indian chief, Alexander McGilvery, who was hostile to the
Americans, and who invited him to take refuge in his country. McGilvery
was a remarkable man; his father was a Scotchman, his mother a
half-breed; her father was the celebrated French officer who was killed
by his own men in 1732 at Fort Toulouse--his name was Marchand,--and
her mother a full-blooded Creek woman.

McGilvery supposed him an English emissary, and invited him to go into
the Creek nation and reside with his people. From Pensacola he went to
Mobile, and thence to a bluff on the Tombigbee, where he remained
during the war. This bluff he named McIntosh's Bluff, and it bears the
name yet. Here George M. Troup was born. At the close of the war he
returned to Georgia, and fixed his residence among the relatives of his
wife. The McIntosh family were Highland Scotch, and partook of all the
intrepidity of that wonderful people. They immigrated to Georgia with
General Oglethorpe in company with a number of their countrymen, and
for one hundred and thirty years have continued to reside in the county
named for the first of their ancestors who settled and made a home in
the colony of Georgia. It is a family distinguished for chivalry as
well in Europe as in Georgia. At the commencement of the Revolution
they at once sided with the colonists. Lachlin and John McIntosh became
distinguished as leaders in that protracted and doubtful conflict,
meeting in battle their kinsman in high command in the British army. On
one occasion, when John McIntosh had surrendered at the battle of Brier
Creek, a British officer, lost to every sentiment and feeling of honor,
attempted to assassinate him, and was only prevented from doing so by
Sir AEneas McIntosh, the commander of the English army, whose promptness
arrested the blow by interposing his own sword to receive it.

Lachlin McIntosh was the commander of the first regiment raised in
Georgia to aid in the Revolution. In 1777, a difficulty arose between
Button Gwinnett (who, upon the death of Governor Bullock, had succeeded
him as Governor,) and McIntosh. A duel was the consequence, in which
Gwinnett was killed. Tradition says this difficulty grew out of the
suspicions of McIntosh as to the fidelity of Gwinnett to the American
cause. He was an Englishman by birth, and, upon the breaking out of the
war, hesitated for some time as to the course he should pursue. This
was a time when all who hesitated were suspected, and Gwinnett shared
the common fate. Eventually he determined to espouse the revolutionary
party, and was elected to the Convention, and was one of the immortal
band who signed the Declaration of Independence emanating from that
Convention. Until his death he was faithful and active. McIntosh
doubted him, and he was not a man to conceal his opinions. McIntosh was
severely wounded in the conflict.

This family was one of remarkable spirit; and this has descended to the
posterity of the old cavaliers even unto this day. Colonel McIntosh,
who fell at Molino del Rey, in our recent war with Mexico, was one of
this family. He had all the spirit and chivalry of his ancestors. I
remember to have heard Generals Taylor and Twiggs speaking of him
subsequently to his death, and felt proud, as a native of the State of
Georgia, of the distinguished praise bestowed on him by these gallant
veterans. General Taylor was not generally enthusiastic in his
expressions of praise, but he was always sincere and truthful. On this
occasion, however, he spoke warmly and feelingly of the honor, the
gallantry, and intrepidity of his fellow-soldier--his high bearing, his
pride, his proficiency as an officer in the field, and the efficiency
of his regiment, its perfection of drill and discipline, and coolness
in battle--and, with unusual warmth, exclaimed: "If I had had with me
at Buena Vista, McIntosh and Riley, with their veterans, I would have
captured or totally destroyed the Mexican army."

Captain McIntosh, of the navy, was another of this distinguished
family. He had no superior in the navy. So was that ardent and
accomplished officer, Colonel McIntosh, who fell at Oak Hill, in the
late war in Missouri. In truth, there has not been a day in one hundred
and thirty years, when there has not been a distinguished son of this
family to bear and transmit its name and fame to posterity. Through his
mother, to George M. Troup descended all the nobler traits of the
McIntosh family. He was educated, preparatory to entering college, at
Flatbush, Long Island. His teacher's name I have forgotten, but he was
a remarkable man, and devoted himself to the instruction of the youth
intrusted to his care. He seems to have had a peculiar talent for
inspiring a high order of ambition in his pupils, and of training them
to a deportment and devotion to principle which would lead them to
distinguished conduct through life. Governor Troup, in speaking to the
writer of his early life and of his school-days on Long Island, said:
"There were twenty-one of us at this school fitting for college, and,
in after life, nineteen of us met in Congress, the representatives of
fourteen States."

Troup, after leaving this school, went to Princeton, and graduated at
Nassau Hall, in his nineteenth year. Returning to Savannah, he read
law; but possessing ample fortune, he never practised his profession.
His talents were of an order to attract attention. James Jackson, and
most of the leading men of the day, turned to him as a man of great
promise. The Republican party of Savannah nominated him to represent
the county of Chatham, in the Legislature of the State, before he was
twenty-one years of age. Being constitutionally ineligible, he, of
course, declined; but as soon as he became eligible, he was returned,
and, for some years, continued to represent the county. From the
Legislature he was transferred to Congress, where he at once became
distinguished, not only for talent, but a lofty honor and most polished
bearing. While a member of Congress, he married a Virginia lady, who
was the mother of his three children. Soon after the birth of her third
child, there was discovered aberration of mind in Mrs. Troup, which
terminated in complete alienation. This was a fatal blow to the
happiness of her husband. She was tenderly beloved by him; and his
acute sensibility and high nervous temperament became so much affected
as not only to fill him with grief, but to make all his remaining life
one of melancholy and sorrow. He had been elected to the United States
Senate, but, in consequence of this terrible blow, and the constant
care of his afflicted lady, to which he devoted himself, he lost his
health, and resigned. He retired to his home, and to the sad duties of
afflicted love.

About this time the people of Georgia became divided upon the political
issues of the day. William H. Crawford was nominated by his friends for
the Presidency. This aroused his enemies' hatred, who organized an
opposition to him in his own State. This opposition was headed by John
Clarke, his old enemy, and was aided by every old Federalist and
personal enemy in the State. Crawford's friends were too confident in
the popularity which had borne him to so many triumphs, and were slow
to organize. The election of Governor devolved, at that time, upon the
Legislature, and Clarke, upon the death of Governor Rabun, was
announced as the candidate. The event of Rabun's death occurred only a
very short time before the meeting of the Legislature. Matthew Talbot,
the President of the Senate, assumed, under the Constitution, the
duties of Governor, but sent the message already prepared by Rabun to
the Legislature, and immediately an election took place, whereupon
Clarke was elected. Troup had been solicited to oppose him, but was
loath to embark anew in political life. Ultimately he yielded, and was
defeated by thirteen votes. The friends of Crawford were now alarmed,
and the contest was immediately renewed. The canvass was one of the
most rancorous and bitter ever known in the State, but of this I have
spoken in a former chapter. At the ensuing election, Troup was again a
candidate. Again the contest was renewed, and, if possible, with
increased violence and vigor. Clarke, in obedience to usage, had
retired, and his party had put forward Matthew Talbot, of Wilkes
County, as the competitor of Troup. This contest had now continued for
four years, and Troup was elected by two votes.

The memory of this election will never fade from the minds of any who
witnessed it. At the meeting of the Legislature it was doubtful which
party had the majority. Two members chosen as favorable to the election
of Troup, were unable from sickness to reach the seat of Government,
and it was supposed this gave the majority to Talbot. There was no
political principle involved in the contest. Both professedly belonged
to the Republican party. Both seemed anxious to sustain the principles
and the ascendency of that party. There were no spoils. The patronage
of the executive was literally nothing; and yet there was an intensity
of feeling involved for which there was no accounting, unless it was
the anxiety of one party to sustain Mr. Crawford at home for the
Presidency, and on the other hand to gratify the hatred of Clarke, and
sustain Mr. Calhoun.

During the period intervening between the meeting of the Legislature
and the day appointed for the election, every means was resorted to,
practicable in that day. There was no money used directly. There was
not a man in that Legislature who would not have repelled with scorn a
proposition to give his vote for a pecuniary consideration; but all
were open to reason, State pride, and a sincere desire to do what they
deemed best for the honor and interest of the State. The friends of
either candidate would have deserved their favorite instantly upon the
fact being known that they had even winked at so base a means of
success. Every one was tenaciously jealous of his fame, and equally so
of that of the State. The machinery of party was incomplete, and
individual independence universal. There were a few members, whose
characters forbade violence of prejudice, and who were mild,
considerate, and unimpassioned. These men were sought to be operated
upon by convincing them that the great interests of the State would be
advanced by electing their favorite. The public services of Troup, and
his stern, lofty, and eminently pure character, were urged by his
friends as reasons why he should be chosen. The people of the State
were becoming clamorous for the fulfilment of the contract between the
State and General Government for the removal of the Indians from the
territory of the State, and Troup was urged upon the voters as being
favorable in the extreme to this policy, and also as possessing the
talents, will, and determination to effect this end. Finally the day of
election arrived. The representative men of the State were assembled.
It was scarcely possible to find hotel accommodations for the
multitude. The judges of the different judicial districts, the leading
members of the Bar, men of fortune and leisure, the prominent members
of the different sects of the Christian Church, and especially the
ministers of the gospel who were most prominent and influential, were
all there. The celebrated Jesse Mercer was a moving spirit amidst the
excited multitude, and Daniel Duffie, who, as a most intolerant
Methodist, and an especial hater of the Baptist Church and all
Baptists, was there also, willing to lay down all ecclesiastical
prejudice, and go to heaven even with Jesse Mercer, because he was a
Troup man.

The Senate came into the Representative chamber at noon, to effect, on
joint ballot, the election of Governor. The President of the Senate
took his seat with the Speaker of the House, and in obedience to law
assumed the presidency of the assembled body. The members were ordered
to prepare their ballots to vote for the Governor of the State. The
Secretary of the Senate called the roll of the Senate, each man, as his
name was called, moving up to the clerk's desk, and depositing his
ballot. The same routine was then gone through with on the part of the
House, when the hat (for a hat was used) containing the ballots was
handed to the President of the Senate, Thomas Stocks, of Greene County,
who proceeded to count the ballots, and finding only the proper number,
commenced to call the name from each ballot. Pending this calling the
silence was painfully intense. Every place within the spacious hall,
the gallery, the lobby, the committee-rooms, and the embrasures of the
windows were all filled to crushing repletion. And yet not a word or
sound, save the excited breathing of ardent men, disturbed the anxious
silence of the hall. One by one the ballots were called. There were 166
ballots, requiring 84 to elect. When 160 ballots were counted, each
candidate had 80, and at this point the excitement was so painfully
intense that the President suspended the count, and, though it was
chilly November, took from his pocket his handkerchief, and wiped from
his flushed face the streaming perspiration. While this was
progressing, a wag in the gallery sang out, "The darkest time of night
is just before day." This interruption was not noticed by the
President, who called out "Troup!" then "Talbot!" and again there was a
momentary suspension. Then he called again, "Troup--Talbot!" "82--82,"
was whispered audibly through the entire hall. Then the call was
resumed. "Troup!" "A tie," said more than a hundred voices. There
remained but one ballot. The President turned the hat up-side down, and
the ballot fell upon the table. Looking down upon it, he called, at the
top of his voice, "Troup!" The scene that followed was indescribable.
The two parties occupied separate sides of the chamber. Those voting
for Troup rose simultaneously from their seats, and one wild shout
seemed to lift the ceiling overhead. Again, with increased vim, was it
given. The lobby and the galleries joined in the wild shout. Members
and spectators rushed into each others' arms, kissed each other, wept,
shouted, kicked over the desks, tumbled on the floor, and for ten
minutes this maddening excitement suspended the proceedings of the day.
It was useless for the presiding officer to command order, if, indeed,
his feelings were sufficiently under control to do so. When exhaustion
had produced comparative silence, Duffie, with the full brogue of the
County Carlow upon his tongue, ejaculated: "O Lord, we thank Thee! The
State is redeemed from the rule of the Devil and John Clarke." Mercer
waddled from the chamber, waving his hat above his great bald head, and
shouting "Glory, glory!" which he continued until out of sight. General
Blackshear, a most staid and grave old gentleman and a most sterling
man, rose from his seat, where he, through all this excitement, had sat
silent, folded his arms upon his breast, and, looking up, with tears
streaming from his eyes, exclaimed: "Now, Lord, I am ready to die!"
Order was finally restored, and the state of the ballot stated, (Troup,
84; Talbot, 82,) when President Stocks proclaimed George M. Troup duly
elected Governor of the State of Georgia for the next three years.

This was the last election of a Governor by the Legislature. The party
of Clarke demanded that the election should be given to the people.
This was done, and in 1825, Troup was re-elected over Clarke by a
majority of some seven hundred votes. It was during this last contest
that the violence and virulence of party reached its acme, and pervaded
every family, creating animosities which neither time nor reflection
ever healed.




CHAPTER X.

INDIAN TREATIES AND DIFFICULTIES.

THE CREEKS--JOHN QUINCY ADAMS--HOPOTHLAYOHOLA--INDIAN ORATORY--SULPHUR
SPRING--TREATIES MADE AND BROKEN--AN INDEPENDENT GOVERNOR--COLONELS
JOHN S. McINTOSH, DAVID EMANUEL TWIGGS, AND DUNCAN CLINCH--GENERAL
GAINES--CHRISTIANIZING THE INDIANS--COTTON MATHER--EXPEDIENT AND
PRINCIPLE--THE PURITANICAL SNAKE.


During the administration of Troup, a contest arose as to the true
western boundary of the State, and the right of the State to the
territory occupied by a portion of the Creek tribe of Indians. In the
difficulty arising out of the sale by the Legislature of the lands
belonging to the State bordering upon the Mississippi River, a
compromise was effected by Congress with the company purchasing, and
Georgia had sold to the United States her claim to all the lands in the
original grant to General Oglethorpe and others by the English
Government, west of the Chattahoochee River. A part of the
consideration was that the United States should, at a convenient time,
and for the benefit of Georgia, extinguish the title of the Indians,
and remove them from the territory occupied by them, east of the
Chattahoochee River, to a certain point upon that stream; and from this
point, east of a line to run from it, directly to a point called Neckey
Jack, on the Tennessee River. The war of 1812 with Great Britain found
the Creek or Alabama portion of this tribe of Indians allies of
England. They were by that war conquered, and their territory wrested
from them. Those of the tribe under the influence of the celebrated
chief William McIntosh remained friendly to the United States, and were
active in assisting in the conquest of their hostile brethren. The
conquered Indians were removed from their territory and homes, into the
territory east of Line Creek, which was made the western boundary of
the Creek Nation's territory. Many of them came into the territory
claimed by Georgia as her domain.

This war was a war of the Republican party of the United States, and
the State of Georgia being almost unanimously Republican, her people
felt it would be unpatriotic, at this juncture, to demand of the
Government the fulfilment of her obligations in removing the Indians
from her soil. The expenses of the war were onerous, and felt as a
heavy burden by the people, and one which was incurred by Republican
policy. That party felt that it was its duty to liquidate this war debt
as speedily as possible. To this end the sale of those conquered lands
would greatly contribute; relieving, at the same time, the people to
some extent, from the heavy taxation they had borne during the progress
of the war. Consequently, they had not pressed the fulfilment of this
contract upon the Government. But now the war debt had been
liquidated--the United States treasury was overflowing with surplus
treasure--Indian tribes were being removed by the purchase of their
lands in the northwest, and a tide of population pouring in upon these
lands, and threatening a powerful political preponderance in opposition
to Southern policy and Southern interests. Under these circumstances,
and the recommendation of Governor Troup, the Legislature of the State,
by joint resolution and memorial to Congress, demanded the fulfilment
of the contract on the part of the United States, and the immediate
removal of the Indians.

John Quincy Adams was at that time President of the United States, and,
as he had ever been, was keenly alive to Northern interests and to
Federal views. Though professing to be Republican in political faith,
he arrayed all his influence in opposition to the rights of the States.
In this matter he gave the cold shoulder to Georgia. He did not
recommend a repudiation of the contract, but interposed every delay
possible to its consummation. After some time, commissioners were
appointed to negotiate a treaty with the Indians for the purchase of
their claim to the lands within the boundaries established by the sale
to the United States--or so much thereof as was in possession of the
Creek tribe. To this there was very serious opposition, not only from
that portion of the tribe which formerly allied themselves to Great
Britain, but from missionaries found in the Cherokee country, and from
Colonel John Crowell, who was United States agent for the Creek
Indians. These Indians were controlled by their chief, Hopothlayohola,
a man of rare abilities and great daring. He was a powerful speaker,
fluent as a fountain, and extremely vigorous in his expressions: his
imagery was original and beautiful, apposite and illustrative; and his
words and manner passionate to wildness. To all this he added the
ferocity of his savage nature.

Crowell was an especial friend of Governor Clarke, and was influenced
by his party feelings of hatred to Troup--in his opposition to a
treaty, openly declaring that Georgia should never acquire the land
while Troup was Governor. He was an unscrupulous man, of questionable
morals, and vindictive as a snake.

The persevering energy of Troup, however, prevailed. A treaty was
negotiated, and signed by Crowell, as agent, and a number of the chiefs
headed by McIntosh. No sooner was this done, than Crowell, with a
number of chiefs, hurried to Washington to protest against the
ratification and execution of the treaty, charging the United States
commissioners with fraud in the negotiation, under the influence of
Troup, prompted by W. H. Crawford and friends. The fraud charged was in
giving presents to the chiefs, and a couple of reservations of land to
McIntosh--one where he resided, and the other around and including the
famous Sulphur Spring, known as the Indian Spring, in Butts County.

This habit of giving presents to the chiefs when negotiating treaties
has always been the custom of the Government. They expect it; it is a
part of the consideration paid for the treaty of sale, for they are
universally the vendors of territory and the negotiators of treaties
for their tribes. This charge was simply a subterfuge, and one that was
known would be influential with the mawkish philanthropists of the
North, Mr. Adams, and the senators and representatives from New
England. Upon the assumption of fraud, based upon these charges alone,
the treaty was set aside by the action of the President and Cabinet
alone; and by the same authority a new one made, with a change of
boundary, involving a loss of a portion of territory belonging to
Georgia under the stipulations of the contract between the State and
United States. The previous or first treaty had been submitted to the
United States Senate, and duly ratified, thereby becoming a law, under
which Georgia claimed vested rights.

It was under these trying circumstances that the stern and determined
character of Troup displayed itself. Holding firmly to the doctrine of
State rights, he notified the President that he should disregard the
latter treaty, and proceed to take possession of the territory under
the stipulations of the former one. Upon the receipt of this
information, General Gaines was ordered to Georgia to take command of
the troops stationed along the frontier of the State, and any
additional troops which might be ordered to this point, with orders to
protect the Indians, and prohibit taking possession of the territory,
as contemplated by Governor Troup. A correspondence ensued between
General Gaines and Governor Troup of a most angry character. It
terminated with an order to General Gaines to forbear all further
communication with the Government of Georgia. This was notified to the
President, (if my memory is correct, for I write from memory,) in these
terms:

  "JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, President of the United States:

  "SIR: I have ordered General Gaines to forbear all further communication
  with this Government. Should he presume to infringe
  this order, I will send your major-general by brevet home to you in
  irons.      GEORGE M. TROUP, Governor of Georgia."

The surveyors previously appointed by the Legislature were directed to
be on the ground, in defiance of United States authority, on the first
day of September succeeding, and at sunrise to commence the work of
surveying the lands. A collision was anticipated as certain between the
troops of the United States and the authorities of Georgia. But there
was a difficulty in the way not previously contemplated. Colonels John
S. McIntosh, David Emanuel Twiggs, and Duncan Clinch, each commanded
regiments in the South. Twiggs and McIntosh were native Georgians.
Clinch was a North Carolinian, but was a resident of Florida. Zachary
Taylor was the lieutenant-colonel of Clinch's regiment. He was a
Virginian by birth, but resided in Mississippi. All were Southern men
in feeling, as well as by birth, and all Jeffersonian Republicans,
politically. McIntosh and Twiggs were fanatical in their devotion to
the State of their birth. The ancestors of both were among the first
settlers, and both were identified with her history. The three wrote a
joint letter to the President, tendering their commissions, if ordered
to take arms against Georgia. This letter was placed in the hands of
one who was influential with Mr. Adams, to be delivered immediately
after the order should be issued to General Gaines to prevent by force
of arms the survey ordered by Governor Troup. Troup had classified the
militia, and signified his intention to carry out, if necessary, the
first-negotiated treaty, by force of arms, as the law of the land.

It was, unquestionably, the prudence of this friend which prevented a
collision. He communicated with Mr. Adams confidentially, and implored
him not to issue the order. He assured him that a collision was
inevitable if he did, and caused him to pause and consult his advisers,
who declared their conviction that the first treaty was the law of the
land, and that Georgia held vested rights under it. In obedience to
this advice, Mr. Adams made no further effort to prevent the action of
Georgia, and the lands were surveyed and disposed of by the State,
under and according to the terms of the first treaty, and she retains a
large strip of territory that would have been lost to her under the
last treaty. My information of these facts was derived from Twiggs,
Clinch, and Henry Clay. Who the friend was to whom the letter was
intrusted, I never knew. I mentioned to Mr. Clay the facts, and he
stated that they were true, but no knowledge of them ever came to him
until the expiration of Mr. Adams' Administration. General Taylor
stated to me that long after these events had transpired, and after the
resignation of Colonel Clinch, General Twiggs had made the
communication to him. As nearly as I can remember, Twiggs made the
statement to me in the language I have used here. On returning from the
ratification meeting, at Canton, of the nomination of Mr. Clay for the
Presidency, in 1844, before we reached Baltimore, I was in a carriage
with General Clinch and Senator Barrow, of Louisiana, and stated these
facts, and Clinch verified them.

General Gaines was, of all men, the most unfit for a position like that
in which he was placed. He was a good fighter, a chivalrous, brave man;
but he was weak and vain, and without tact or discretion. His
intentions were, at all times, pure, but want of judgment frequently
placed him in unpleasant positions. The condition of the minds of the
people of Georgia, at this time, was such, that very little was
necessary to excite them to acts of open strife, and had Mr. Adams been
less considerate than he was, there is now no telling what would have
been the consequence. He was extremely unpopular at the South, and
this, added to the inflamed condition of public opinion there, would
assuredly have brought on a collision. Had it come, it might have
resulted in a triumph of Southern principles, which, at a later day,
and under less auspicious circumstances, struggled for existence, only
to be crushed perhaps forever.

It was universally the wish of the people of Georgia to have possession
of the land properly belonging to her, and but for their factious
divisions, the hazards of a conflict between the troops of the United
States and those of Georgia would have been more imminent. It was
believed by both these factions, that whoever should, as Governor of
the State, succeed in obtaining these lands, would thereby be rendered
eminently popular, and secure to his faction the ascendency in the
State for all time. The faction supporting Clarke believed he would
certainly triumph in the coming contest before the people, and assumed
to believe that then the matter of acquisition would be easy, as the
Administration of Mr. Adams supposed that faction could, by that means,
be brought into the support of the party now being formed about it.
Clarke and many of his leading friends were coquetting with the
Administration. He was--as was his brother-in-law, Duncan G.
Campbell--a strong friend of Mr. Calhoun, who was then the
Vice-President. National parties were inchoate, and many politicians
were chary of choosing, and seemed to wait for the development of
coming events, ere they gave shape and direction to their future
courses. It was certain that Mr. Clay was identified with the American
System, and that would, in a great degree, be the leading policy of the
Administration. Mr. Calhoun, when Secretary of War, under Mr. Monroe,
had made a strong report in favor of internal improvements by the
General Government, within the limits of the States, and, while a
member of Congress, had made an equally strong one in favor of a
national bank. These were two of the prominent features of the American
system, and it was generally believed that this policy would be too
popular to combat. It had originated during the Administration of
Monroe, and if it had the opposition of any member of his Cabinet, it
was unknown to the country. Mr. Crawford and Mr. Calhoun, as well as
Mr. Adams, were members of that Cabinet, and were all, in some degree,
committed to this policy; for Mr. Crawford, as a Senator from Georgia,
during the Administration of Mr. Madison, had sustained the doctrine of
the constitutionality and the policy of a national bank, in one of the
very ablest speeches ever made upon the subject, saying everything
which could or can be said in favor of such a government financial
agent, and refuting every objection of its opponents. From this speech
is derived every argument and every idea of both the reports of Calhoun
and McDuffie, which were heralded to the nation as greater even than
that of Mr. Dallas, who, with Robert Morris, may be said to be the
fathers of this institution. Mr. Clay had, in one of his ablest
speeches, opposed the bank at a former time, and his change of opinion
was now well known.

It was very well understood that the coming men were Clay, Jackson, and
Calhoun. Clarke and his friends were ardent supporters of Calhoun, and
it was thought they had won the favor of the Administration. Mr. Clay
was strongly opposed to the execution of the old treaty, and had, by
this means, drawn upon himself the opposition of the Crawford, or Troup
party. These facts show the condition of public opinion in the State,
and conclusively establish the fact, that but for this division of the
people, and the check held by this upon the action of the masses and
their leaders, fearful consequences would assuredly have ensued.

The reasons influencing the joint action of Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay in
opposition to the execution of the old treaty were very different. Mr.
Clay was honest and patriotic. He had no ulterior views to subserve.
His policy was national. He desired the prosperity and advancement of
his country to greatness and power among the nations of the earth. His
fame was that of the nation; already it was identified with it. His
ambition was a noble and a grand one. He wished his name identified
with his acts, and these to constitute the fame and glory of the
nation. He ever felt what subsequently he so nobly expressed, "That he
would rather be right than be President." He had no petty
selfishness--no pitiful revenges to exhaust with the hand of power--no
contemptible motives for elevating or advancing the interests of one
section of his country by oppressing another. "All his aims were his
country's," and his whole country's. He desired that every act of that
country should bear the broadest light, and challenge the closest and
most searching scrutiny; that each should be a new and brighter gem in
the diadem of her glory, and that her magnanimity should be most
conspicuous in her transactions with the weakest. This he especially
desired, and labored to effect, in all her transactions with the
Indians. He viewed these as the primitive proprietors of the soil, and
possessors of the entire country. He knew they were fading away before
a civilization they were by nature incapacitated to emulate, and this,
he felt, was in obedience to the inexorable laws of Divine Providence;
and, in the wonderfully capacious compassion of his nature, he desired,
in the accomplishment of this fate, that no act of national injustice
to them should stain the nation's escutcheon, and determined to
signalize this desire in every act of his when giving form and shape to
national policy. He had generously lent a listening ear to the protests
of the chiefs, seconded by that of their agent, and sincerely believed
the treaty had been effected by fraud, and was wrong and oppressive,
and, therefore, he opposed its execution, and was the main instrument
in forming a new one. The draft of this was from his own pen, and he
was solicitous that it should supersede the old one, as an expression
of the Indians' desire.

Mr. Adams was, equally with Mr. Clay, opposed to the treaty as
ratified, though, as was his constitutional duty, he had sent the
instrument for the action of the Senate. In heart he was opposed to any
treaty which would remove the aborigines from this territory at this
time, and, in consequence of the action of Georgia, it was anticipated
that, at no very distant day, the entire Indian population east of the
Mississippi River, in the South, would be removed, unless some policy
of the Government should be adopted which would prevent it; and those
of the North, who felt desirous of crippling the territorial progress
of the South, and, of consequence, her augmentation of population,
supposed the most effectual means of accomplishing this would be to
educate and Christianize the Indian. To do this, they insisted he must
remain upon the territory he now occupied. This would bring him into
immediate contact with the civilized white, where he could be most
readily approached by missionaries and schoolmasters, and be instructed
by the force of example. At the same time, he was to remain under the
sole protection of the United States Government, without any of the
privileges of civil government to be exercised as a citizen of the
United States or the State upon whose soil he was located. This was
ennobled as the sentiment of Christian benevolence, while its real
intention was to withhold the land from the occupancy of the people of
Georgia, and in so much retard the growth and increase of the white
population of the State. To carry out this scheme, missionary
establishments sprang up among the Indians in every part of the South,
but especially within the limits of the State of Georgia, filled with
Northern fanatics, who employed themselves most actively in prejudicing
the minds of the savages against the people who were their neighbors,
and preparing them to refuse to treat for the sale of any of their
territory.

It has ever been the practice of the Puritan to propagate the vilest
heresies, and for the vilest purposes, under the name of philanthropy
and religion. It has burned its enemy at the stake, as, assembled
around, they sang psalms, and sanctified the vilest cruelties with the
name of God's vengeance. It was their great prototype, Cotton Mather,
who blasphemously proclaimed, after the most inhuman massacre of
several hundred Indians, that they, the Puritans of Massachusetts, "had
sent, as a savory scent to the nostrils of God, two hundred or more of
the reeking souls of the godless heathen."

This, ostensibly, was deemed a pious act, and a discharge of a pious
duty, when, in truth, the only motive was to take his home and country,
and appropriate it to their own people. It seems almost impossible to
the race to come squarely up to truth and honesty, in word or act, in
any transaction, as a man or as a people. Sinister and subtle,
expediency, and not principle, seems to be their universal rule of
action. Cold and passionless, incapable of generous emotions, he is
necessarily vindictive and cruel. Patient and persevering, bigoted and
selfish, eschewing as a crime an honorable resentment, he creeps to his
ends like a serpent, with all his cunning and all his venom.

John Quincy Adams, in his nature, was much more like his mother than his
father. His features were those of his mother, and the cold, persevering
hatred of his nature was hers. From his boyhood he was in the habit of
recording, for future use, the most confidential conversations of his
friends, as also all that incautiously fell from an occasional interview
with those less intimate. Had this been done for future reference only
to establish facts in his own mind, there could have been no objection
to the act; but this was not the motive. These memoranda were to rise
up in vengeance when necessary to gratify his spleen or vengeance. He
was naturally suspicious. He gave no man his confidence, and won the
friendship of no one. Malignant and unforgiving, he watched his
opportunity, and never failed to gratify his revengeful nature, whenever
his victim was in his power. The furtive wariness of his small gray
eye, his pinched nose, receding forehead, and thin, compressed lips,
indicated the malignant nature of his soul. Unfaithful to friends, and
only constant in selfishness--unconscious of obligation, and ungrateful
for favors--fanatical only in hatred--pretending to religious morality,
yet pursuing unceasingly, with merciless revenge, those whom he supposed
to be his enemies, he combined all the elements of Puritan bigotry and
Puritan hate in devilish intensity. He deserted the Federal party in
their greatest need, and meanly betrayed them to Mr. Jefferson, whom,
from his boyhood, he had hated and reviled in doggerel rhymes and the
bitterest prose his genius could suggest.

The conduct of Mr. Adams, after he had been President, as the
representative of Massachusetts in Congress, is the best evidence of
the motives which influenced his conduct in the matter of these two
treaties. He never lost an opportunity to assail the interests and the
institutions of the South. He hated her, and to him, more than to any
other, is due the conduct of the Northern people toward the South which
precipitated the late war, and has destroyed the harmony once existing
between the people.

His father had been repudiated by the South for a more trusted son of
her own. This was a treasured hatred; and when he shared his father's
fate, this became the pervading essence of his nature.

He returned to Congress, after his defeat for the Presidency, for no
other purpose than to give shape and direction to a sentiment which he
felt must ultimately result in her ruin, and to accomplish this he was
more than willing to hazard that of the Government. He felt, should
this follow, his own people would be in a condition to dictate and
control a government of their own creation, and which should embody
their peculiar views, rather than the pure and unselfish principles
enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, and preserved in the
Constitution of the United States.

The sagacity of George M. Troup was the first to discover this in his
conduct as President, and to sound the alarm as Governor of Georgia. He
came directly in contact with him, and determined he should be defeated
in one of his means for injury to the South. Troup knew and felt the
right was with him, and maintained it with the honest boldness of a
true man. He triumphed, and the doctrine of State rights was rescued
from a fatally aimed blow, and reaffirmed, gave renewed popularity and
strength to its supporters. The election of General Jackson soon after
followed, and, as the embodiment of the principle, rallied around him
its supporters from every section. With these, and his immense
popularity personally, he scotched, for a time, the Puritan snake; but,
true to its instincts, it struggled to bite, though its head was off.

Mr. Adams saw in Troup a strong and uncompromising foe; he knew, too,
the right was with him, and that if pushed to extremities the result
would be damaging to his fame, as having, in persevering for the wrong,
destroyed the Government, and at a time, too, when every benefit from
such destruction would inure to the South. Under the circumstances his
course was taken: he dared not consult or trust Mr. Clay with the real
motives which influenced him to yield, and made a virtue of patriotism
and magnanimity which cloaked his pusillanimity, and shielded from
public view his envenomed chagrin.

It was doubtless this triumph which secured the second election of
Troup. Personally he was unpopular with the masses. His rearing had
been in polished society, and though he was in principle a democrat, in
his feelings, bearing, and associations he was an aristocrat. He
accorded equality to all under the law and in political privilege, but
he chose to select his associates, and admitted none to the familiarity
of intimacy but men of high breeding and unquestioned honor. In many
things he was peculiar and somewhat eccentric. In dress, especially
so--often appearing in midwinter in light, summer apparel; and again,
in summer, with a winter cloak wrapped carefully about him. When he
appeared first before the assembled Legislature, and many of the first
citizens of the State, to take the oath of office, it was a raw, cold
day in November; his dress was a round jacket of coarse cotton, black
cassimere vest, yellow nankeen pantaloons, silk hose, and
dancing-pumps, with a large-rimmed white hat, well worn. In his
address, which was short and most beautiful, he made his hat
conspicuous by holding it in his right hand, and waving it with every
gesture. In person, he was below the middle size, slender, though
finely formed; his hair was red, and his eyes intensely blue and deeply
set beneath a heavy brow; his nose was prominent and aquiline; his
mouth, the great feature of his face, was Grecian in mould, with
flexible lips, which, while in repose, seemed to pout. His rabid
opposition to those engaged in the Yazoo frauds, and his hatred for
those who defended it, made him extremely obnoxious to them, and
prompted Dooly to say: "Nature had formed his mouth expressly to say,
'Yazoo.'" Its play, when speaking, was tremulous, with a nervous
twitching, which gave an agitated intonation to his words very
effective.

The form of his head, and especially his forehead, indicated an
imaginative mind, while the lines of his face marked deep thought. He
was strictly honest in everything; was opposed to anything which wore
the appearance of courting public favor, or seemed like a desire for
office. His private life was exemplary, kind, and indulgent to his
children and servants, and full of charity; severe upon nothing but the
assumptions of folly, and the wickedness of purpose in the dishonest
heart. In every relation of life he discharged its duties
conscientiously, and was the enemy only of the vicious and wicked. He
continued to reside upon his plantation in Lawrence County with his
slaves, carefully providing for their every want until his death. He
had attained the patriarchal age of threescore years and ten, and sank
to rest in the solitude of his forest-home, peacefully and piously,
leaving no enemies, and all the people of his State to mourn him.




CHAPTER XI.

POLITICAL CHANGES.

ASPIRANTS FOR CONGRESS--A NEW ORGANIZATION--TWO PARTIES--A PROTECTIVE
TARIFF---UNITED STATES BANK--THE AMERICAN SYSTEM--INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS
--A GALAXY OF STARS--A SPARTAN MOTHER'S ADVICE--NEGRO-DEALER--QUARTER
RACES--COCK-PITTING--MILITARY BLUNDERS ON BOTH SIDES--ABNER GREEN'S
DAUGHTER--ANDREW JACKSON--GWINN--POINDEXTER--AD INTERIM--GENERALS AS
CIVIL RULERS.


The remarkable excitement of the political contest between Troup and
Clarke had the effect of stimulating the ambition of the young men of
education throughout the State for political distinction. For some time
anterior to this period, all seemed content to permit those who had
been the active politicians in the Republican struggle with the Federal
party to fill all the offices of distinction in the State without
opposition. It would have been considered presumptuous in the extreme
for any young man, whatever his abilities, to have offered himself as a
candidate for Congress in opposition to Mr. Forsyth, R.H. Wild, Thomas
W. Cobb, Edward F. Tatnal, and men of like age and political faith. The
members of Congress were elected by general ticket; and the selection
of candidates was not by a convention of the people or party. The names
of candidates were generally recommended by influential parties, and
their consent to become candidates obtained through solicitations
addressed to them, and then published to the people. The State was so
unanimous in political sentiment, that for many years no opposition to
the Republican party was thought of.

But now parties were organizing upon principles, or rather policies,
entirely new; there was a fusion of the old elements of party, and
Federalists and Republicans were side by side in this new organization.
Men who had been under the ban, for opinion's sake, were coming into
public view and public favor, and disclosing great abilities. At the
head of these was John McPherson Berrien, who, to the end of his life,
was so distinguished in the councils of the nation. At the same time,
in every part of the State, young men were rising up as men of promise
for talent and usefulness. These men arrayed themselves with either of
the two parties, as inclination or interest prompted. Active and
assiduous, they were soon prominent before the people, and a new era
was commencing. With the election of John Quincy Adams, the State was
in a blaze and politics a furor. Opposition immediately commenced to
the leading measures of the Administration, and the Legislature of 1825
was filled with young men of talent, who were enthusiastic and fierce
in their sentiments and feelings. They had been divided as partisans of
Troup and Clarke, and met as antagonists in the Legislature; but really
without any defined policy in opposition to that of the administration
of the General Government of the nation. A suspicion filled every one
that this policy was disastrous to Southern interests, and sectional in
its character, although designated as national.

Few men of the South had given much attention to the effect a tariff
for revenue had upon the commercial and manufacturing interests of the
North. The war with England had created a debt, and this tariff had
been imposed solely for the purpose of securing, not only a sufficient
revenue for the current necessities of the Government, but a surplus,
which should in a short time liquidate the public debt. It was
sufficient to afford protection to the manufacturing interests of the
North, to increase this into a formidable revenue, and to enlist a
national party in its support. It was now, when the public debt was
liquidated, that another reason was necessary for continuing a policy
which had grown up from the necessities of the nation--consequently it
was assumed to be a national policy to promote national independence,
and protection was claimed for national industry against European
competition. This policy in the Government would encourage
extravagance, waste, and corruption--such a bane to republics--because
it would create an immense surplus in the national treasury, unless
some scheme for its expenditure could be devised which should seem to
promote the national interest. To this end, the party of the
Administration claimed a constitutional power in Congress to carry on a
system of internal improvements; and heavy appropriations were made for
this purpose, not only absorbing the surplus revenue, but creating a
necessity for more--and this necessity was an excuse for increasing the
tariff.

The Bank of the United States was the depository of the moneys of the
nation and her disbursing agent. The constitutionality of this
institution had been a mooted question from the day it was first
proposed by Robert Morris. Mr. Madison, who was a Republican, had at
one time vetoed it; at another, approved it. Mr. Crawford, a most
inveterate States-rights man and strict constructionist of the
Constitution, had uniformly supported it. Mr. Clay had both supported
and opposed it. The question was finally adjudicated by the Supreme
Court, and, so far as that decision could make it, was decided to be
constitutional. This, however, did not satisfy the Republican or
States-rights party; a large majority of whom always insisted upon its
unconstitutionality. At the time of its creation, a necessity existed
for some such institution, to aid the Government in its financial
operations, and at the time of the renewal of its charter the
Government had just emerged from a war; every State was creating banks,
and the country was flooded with an irredeemable and worthless
currency, disturbing commerce, unsettling values, and embarrassing the
Government. A power was wanted somewhere to control these State banks,
and to give a redeemable and uniform currency to the country.

The State banks had proved destructive to the public interest; with no
power to restrain their issues except that imposed by their charters
and the honesty of their officers--a frail security for the public, as
experience had attested. The example of Washington was pleaded by the
advocates of the bank. At the very outset it had been opposed for want
of constitutionality. Washington had doubted it, and submitted the
question to two of his Cabinet--Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Hamilton. They
were divided in opinion--Mr. Jefferson opposing, and Mr. Hamilton
sustaining the constitutionality of the measure. The opinion and
argument of Hamilton prevailed, and the act creating a bank received
the Executive approval.

It answered admirably the object of its creation, and the Republican
party (then in embryo) acquiesced. Indeed, at this time, there could
scarcely be said to be a party separate from the Government. Mr.
Hamilton and Mr. Jefferson were the leaders of the parties which
divided the people upon the adoption of the Constitution, and these
parties, though at this time inchoate, were concreting about these two
wonderful men. Upon the renewal of the charter of the United States
Bank, during the Administration of Mr. Madison, the Republican party
again mooted its constitutionality; but its undisputed usefulness had
won for it immense popularity, and there were many who, though acting
with the Republicans, were willing (as Washington had approved it, and
the Supreme Court had pronounced it constitutional) to view the
question as settled, and vote to renew the charter.

It was subsequent to the veto of Mr. Madison (when he had reconsidered
his action, and recommended the re-chartering of the bank,) that
debates ensued, in which the question was exhausted. In these debates,
Mr. Crawford, Mr. Clay, Felix Grundy, William B. Giles, and Mr. Calhoun
led. They were continued through several sessions, up to 1816, when
they ultimated in the chartering of the last bank of the United States.
This charter expired during the Administration of General Jackson, and
by him the bank was finally crushed.

Three great measures constituted what was then termed the American
System--the United States Bank, a protective tariff, and internal
improvements within the States by the General Government. An opposition
to this party was formed at the very outset of the Adams
Administration. This opposition denied the constitutional power of
Congress to create or sustain either.

The South, at the commencement of this opposition, was almost alone.
The North was a unit in its support of the Administration, because its
policy was vital to her interests. The West, influenced by Mr. Clay,
was greatly in the majority in its support. The Southern opposition
seemed almost hopeless; and to this cause may, in a great degree, be
ascribed the bringing forth to public view the transcendent abilities
of the young men aspiring for fame in Georgia, and in the South
generally. McDuffie, Hamilton, Holmes, and Waddy Thompson, of South
Carolina; Colquitt, Cobb, Toombs, Stephens, Johnson, Nesbit, and John
P. King, of Georgia; Wise, Bocock, Hunter, Summers, Rives, and others
of Virginia; Mangum, Badger, and Graham, of North Carolina; Bell,
Foster, Peyton, Nicholson, and James K. Polk, of Tennessee; King and
Lewis, of Alabama; Porter, Johnston, White, and Barrow, of Louisiana;
Ashley, Johnson, and Sevier, of Arkansas; Chase, Pugh, Pendleton, and
Lytell, of Ohio; and Douglas, Trumbull, and Lincoln, of Illinois, were
all men of sterling talent, and were about equally divided in political
sentiment. Kentucky had Tom and Humphrey Marshall, Crittenden, Menifer,
Letcher, Breckinridge, and Preston.

General Jackson was now the avowed candidate of the States-rights
party, which soon after assumed the name of Democratic, and his
political principles and great personal popularity were not only
dividing the West, but the Middle States, and even those of New
England.

During the entire administration of Adams, there was a majority in
Congress supporting his policy. It was then and there that the great
battle for supremacy was fought. Berrien and Forsyth, from Georgia, in
the Senate; McDuffie and Preston, from South Carolina; Cass, from
Michigan, and Van Buren and Silas Wright, from New York--all giants in
intellect. But there were Webster and John Davis, from Massachusetts,
George Evans, from Maine, and others of minor powers, but yet great
men. Between these great minds the conflict was stupendous. Every means
were put into requisition to sustain the Administration and its policy,
but all were unavailing--General Jackson was elected by an overwhelming
majority. Mr. Clay was immediately returned by Kentucky to the Senate,
and organized an opposition upon the policy of the late Administration,
led on by himself and Webster. The memory of those days, and the men
who made them memorable, flits vividly before me; but I am not writing
a history, and can attempt no order, but shall write on as these
memories of men and events shall seem to me most interesting in their
character to the general reader.

General Jackson was one of those rare creations of nature which appear
at long intervals, to astonish and delight mankind. It seems to be
settled in the public mind that he was born in South Carolina; but
there is no certainty of the fact. His early life was very obscure, and
he himself was uncertain of his birth-place, though he believed it was
South Carolina. He remembered the removal of his family from South
Carolina, and many of the incidents of the war of the Revolution
transpiring there; but more especially those occurring in North
Carolina, to which the family removed. Judge Alexander Porter, of
Louisiana, was an Irishman, and from the neighborhood where were born
and reared the parents of Jackson. His own father was brutally executed
at Vinegar Hill, by sentence of a drum-head court martial, in 1798, and
his family proscribed by the British Government. With his uncle, the
Rowans, the Jacksons, and some others, he emigrated to America, and
settled at Nashville, Tennessee. The Jacksons were of the same family,
and distantly connected with General Jackson. Great intimacy existed
between this family and General Jackson for many years.

Judge Porter, of whom I shall hereafter have something to say, visited
Europe a short time before his death, and made diligent search into the
history of the Jackson family, without ascertaining anything
positively: he learned enough to satisfy his own mind that Andrew
Jackson was born in Ireland, and brought to the United States by his
parents when only two years old. This was also the opinion of Thomas
Crutcher, who came with General Jackson to Nashville, and it was also
the opinion of Dr. Boyd McNary and his elder brother, Judge McNary, who
believed he was four years older than he supposed himself to be.

The McNarys came with him from North Carolina. On the trip a difficulty
occurred between Boyd McNary and Jackson, which never was
reconciled--both dying in extreme old age. Boyd McNary stopped at
Lexington and read medicine, forming there the acquaintance of Mr. Clay
and Felix Grundy. The intimacy which sprang up between Clay and McNary
was as ardent and imperishable as the hatred between himself and
Jackson, enduring until death. Jackson was enterprising and eminently
self-reliant; in all matters pertaining to himself, he was his own
counsellor; he advised with no man; cool and quick in thought, he
seemed to leap to conclusions, and never went back from them. An
anecdote relative to his parting from his mother in his outset in life,
illustrates this as prominent in the attributes of his nature at that
time. The writer heard him narrate this after his return from
Washington, when his last term in the Presidential office had expired.

When about to emigrate to Tennessee, the family were residing in the
neighborhood of Greensboro, North Carolina.

"I had," said he, "contemplated this step for some months, and had made
my arrangements to do so, and at length had obtained my mother's
consent to it. All my worldly goods were a few dollars in my purse,
some clothes in my saddle-bags, a pretty good horse, saddle, and
bridle. The country to which I was going was comparatively a
wilderness, and the trip a long one, beset by many difficulties,
especially from the Indians. I felt, and so did my mother, that we were
parting forever. I knew she would not recall her promise; there was too
much spunk in her for that, and this caused me to linger a day or two
longer than I had intended.

"But the time came for the painful parting. My mother was a little,
dumpy, red-headed Irish woman. 'Well, mother, I am ready to leave, and
I must say farewell.' She took my hand, and pressing it, said,
'Farewell,' and her emotion choked her.

"Kissing at meetings and partings in that day was not so common as now.
I turned from her and walked rapidly to my horse.

"As I was mounting him, she came out of the cabin wiping her eyes with
her apron, and came to the getting-over place at the fence. 'Andy,'
said she, (she always called me Andy,) 'you are going to a new country,
and among a rough people; you will have to depend on yourself and cut
your own way through the world. I have nothing to give you but a
mother's advice. Never tell a lie, nor take what is not your own, nor
sue anybody for slander or assault and battery. _Always settle them
cases yourself!_' I promised, and I have tried to keep that promise. I
rode off some two hundred yards, to a turn in the path, and looked
back--she was still standing at the fence and wiping her eyes. I never
saw her after that." Those who knew him best will testify to his
fidelity to this last promise made his mother.

The strong common sense and unbending will of Jackson soon made him
conspicuous in his new home, and very soon he was in active practice as
a lawyer. His prominence was such, that during the last year of the
last term of General Washington's Administration, a vacancy occurring
in the United States Senate from Tennessee, General Jackson was
appointed to fill it. He was occupying this seat when General
Washington retired from the Presidency, and, with William B. Giles, of
Virginia, voted against a resolution of thanks tendered by Congress to
Washington, for his services to the country. For this vote he gave no
reason at the time; and if he ever did, it has escaped my knowledge.

The career of General Jackson, as a public man, is so well known, that
it is not my purpose to review it in this place; but many incidents of
his private history have come to my knowledge from an association with
those who were intimate with him, from his first arrival in Tennessee.
These, or so many of them as I deem of interest enough to the public, I
propose to relate.

Jackson was a restless and enterprising man, embarking in many schemes
for the accumulation of fortune, not usually resorted to by
professional men, or men engaged in public matters. In business he was
cautious. He was a remarkable judge of human character, and rarely gave
his confidence to untried men. Notwithstanding the impetuosity of his
nature, upon occasion he could be as cool and as calculating as a
Yankee. The result was, that though he had many partners in the various
pursuits he at different times resorted to, he rarely had any pecuniary
difficulty with any of them. He was in the habit of trading with the
low country, that is, with the inhabitants of Mississippi and
Louisiana.

Many will remember the charge brought against him pending his candidacy
for the Presidency, of having been, in early life, a negro-trader, or
dealer in slaves. This charge was strictly true, though abundantly
disproved by the oaths of some, and even by the certificate of his
principal partner. Jackson had a small store, or trading establishment,
at Bruinsburgh, near the mouth of the Bayou Pierre, in Claiborne
County, Mississippi. It was at this point he received the negroes,
purchased by his partner at Nashville, and sold them to the planters of
the neighborhood. Sometimes, when the price was better, or the sales
were quicker, he carried them to Louisiana. This, however, he soon
declined; because, under the laws of Louisiana, he was obliged to
guarantee the health and character of the slave he sold.

On one occasion he sold an unsound negro to a planter in the parish of
West Feliciana, and, upon his guarantee, was sued and held to bail to
answer. In this case he was compelled to refund the purchase-money,
with damages. He went back upon his partner, and compelled him to share
the loss. This caused a breach between them, which was never healed.
This is the only instance which ever came to my knowledge of strife
with a partner. He was close to his interest, and spared no means to
protect it.

It was during the period of his commercial enterprise in Mississippi
that he formed the acquaintance of the Green family. This family was
among the very first Americans who settled in the State. Thomas M.
Green and Abner Green were young men at the time, though both were men
of family. To both of them Jackson, at different times, sold negroes,
and the writer now has bills of sale for negroes sold to Abner Green,
in the handwriting of Jackson, bearing his signature, written, as it
always was, in large and bold characters, extending quite half across
the sheet. At this store, which stood immediately upon the bank of the
Mississippi, there was a race-track, for quarter-races, (a sport
Jackson was then very fond of,) and many an anecdote was rife, forty
years ago, in the neighborhood, of the skill of the old hero in pitting
a cock or turning a quarter-horse.

This spot has become classic ground. It was here Aaron Burr was first
arrested by Cowles Mead, then acting as Governor of the Territory of
Mississippi, and from whom he made his escape, and it was at this point
that Grant crossed his army when advancing against Vicksburg. It is a
beautiful plateau of land, of some two thousand acres, immediately
below the mouth of the Bayou Pierre, and bordered by very high and
abrupt cliffs, which belong to the same range of hills that approach
the river's margin at Vicksburg, Grand Gulf, Rodney, Natchez, and Bayou
Sara. At this point they attain the height of three hundred feet, and
are almost perpendicular. The summit is attained by a circuitous road
cut through the cliffs, and this is the summit level of the surrounding
country.

This plateau of land, where once stood the little village of
Bruinsburgh, has long been a cotton plantation, and a most valuable one
it was before the late war. A deep, and, to an army, impassable swamp
borders it below, and the same is the case above the Bayou Pierre. To
land an army at such a place, when its only means of marching upon the
country was through this narrow cut, of about one hundred feet in
width, with high, precipitous sides, forming a complete defile for half
a mile, and where five thousand men could have made its defence good
against fifty thousand, is certainly as little evidence of military
genius as was the permission of them to pass through it without an
effort to prevent it.

To a military eye, the blunders of Grant and Pemberton are apparent in
their every movement--and the history of the siege and capture of
Vicksburg, if ever correctly written, will demonstrate to the world
that folly opposed to folly marked its inception, progress, and
finality.

The friends formed in this section of country by Jackson were devoted
to him through life, and when in after life he sent (for it is not true
that he brought) his future wife to Mississippi, it was to the house of
Thomas M. Green, then residing near the mouth of Cowles Creek, and only
a few miles from Bruinsburgh.

Whatever the circumstances of the separation, or the cause for it,
between Mrs. Jackson and her first husband, I am ignorant; I know that
Jackson vas much censured in the neighborhood of his home. At the time
of her coming to Green's, the civil authority was a disputed one; most
of the people acknowledging the Spanish. A suit was instituted for a
divorce, and awarded by a Spanish tribunal. There was probably little
ceremony or strictness of legal proceeding in the matter, as all
government and law was equivocal, and of but little force just at that
time in the country. It was after this that Jackson came and married
her, in the house of Thomas M. Green.

That there was anything disreputable attached to the lady's name is
very improbable; for she was more than fifteen months in the house of
Green, who was a man of wealth, and remarkable for his pride and
fastidiousness in selecting his friends or acquaintances. He was the
first Territorial representative of Mississippi in Congress--was at
the head of society socially, and certainly would never have permitted
a lady of equivocal character to the privileges of a guest in his
house, or to the association of his daughters, then young. During the
time she was awaiting this divorce, she was at times an inmate of the
family of Abner Green, of Second Creek, where she was always gladly
received, and he and his family were even more particular as to the
character and position of those they admitted to their intimacy, if
possible, than Thomas B. Green. This intimacy was increased by the
marriage of two of the Green brothers to nieces of Mrs. Jackson.

In 1835, when Jackson was President, the writer, passing from Louisiana
to New York with his family, spent some days at Washington. His lady
was the youngest daughter of Abner Green; he was in company with a
daughter of Henry Green and her husband; her mother was niece to Mrs.
Jackson. We called to see the President, and when my lady was
introduced to the General, he was informed she was the daughter of his
old friend, Abner Green, of Second Creek. He did not speak, but held
her hand for some moments, gazing intently into her face. His feelings
overcame him, and clasping her to his bosom, he said, "I must kiss you,
my child, for your sainted mother's sake;" then holding her from him,
he looked again, "Oh! how like your mother you are--she was the friend
of my poor Rachel, when she so much needed a friend--I loved her, and I
love her memory;" and then, as if ashamed of his emotion, he continued:
"You see, my child, though I am President through the kindness or folly
of the people, I am but a weak, silly old man."

We spent the evening with him, and when in his private sitting-room his
pipe was lighted and brought to him, he said: "Now, my child, let us
talk about Mississippi and the old people." I have never in all my life
seen more tenderness of manner, or more deep emotion shown, than this
stern old man continually evinced when speaking of his wife and her
friends.

The character of General Jackson is yet greatly misunderstood. This has
been caused by the fact that his words and actions, when in command, or
when enraged, as a man, have been the main data upon which the estimate
of his bearing and character has been predicated. He was irascible and
quick in his temper, and when angered was violent in words and manner.
It was at such moments that the stern inflexibility of his will was
manifest; and his passion towered in proportion to provocation. But in
private life and social intercourse he was bland, gentle, and
conciliating. His manner was most polished and lofty in society, and in
a lady's parlor, in urbanity and polish of manners, he never had a
superior. This high polish was nature's spontaneous gift. He had never
been taught it in courts, or from association with those who had. It
was the emanation of his great soul, which stole out through his every
word and movement in the presence of ladies, and which erupted as a
volcano at insult or indignity from man.

That evening at the White House is marked in my memory with a white
stone. The playful simplicity of his conversation and manner, and the
particularity of his inquiries about matters and things so
insignificant, but which were links in the chain of his memories, I
well remember.

"Is old papa Jack and Bellile living?" he asked, after a pause, of my
wife, accompanied with a look of eager anxiety.

These were two old Africans, faithful servants of her father; and then
there was an anecdote of each of them--their remarks or their conduct
upon some hunting or fishing excursion, in which he had participated
forty years before.

I was an interested spectator in the presence of one of nature's
wonderful creations--one who had made, and who was making, history for
his country, and whose name was to descend to future times as one of
her noblest sons and greatest historical characters. I watched every
motion of his lips, every expression of his features, and every gleam
of his great gray eyes, and I could but wonder at the child-like
naturalness of everything about him. Is not this an attribute of
greatness--to be natural? Yes; to be natural in all things belongs to
truth, and a truthful exhibition of nature, without assumption or
deceit, is greatness. Here was one who could, with natural simplicity,
amuse a child; and the same one could command and successfully wield a
great army, and, with equal success, direct the destinies of a great
nation; whose genius was tempered with simplicity and tenderness, and
when towering most in its grandeur, was most truthful to nature.

General Jackson's early opportunities were extremely limited. His
education was so very defective, that his orthography was almost
ludicrous, and his general reading amounted to almost nothing. At no
time was he a respectable county-court lawyer, so far as legal learning
was concerned, and it is wonderful how the natural vigor of his mind
supplied this defect. On the bench, his greatest aim was to get at the
facts in every case, and to decide all points upon the broad principles
of equity; and in all his charges to the jury, his principal aim was to
direct their attention to the simple justice of the case, and a
favorite phrase of his in these charges was: "Do right between the
parties, and you will serve the objects of the law."

He was an enemy to all unnecessary forms in all matters. His manner was
to go directly to the kernel, and he was very indifferent as to how the
shell was cracked, or the husk removed. He never seemed to reason. Upon
the presentation of any subject to his mind, it seemed, with electrical
velocity, to cut through to a conclusion as if by intuition. He was
correct in his conclusions more frequently than any man of his age. His
knowledge of human nature was more consummate than that of any of his
compeers who were remarkable for greatness of mind. In this, as in all
other matters, his opinion was formed with the first glance. His
intimacy with every sort of character, in his extended intercourse with
the world, seemed so to have educated his faculties and whetted his
perception, that he only wanted to look at a man for five minutes to
know his inmost nature. Yet he was sometimes deceived, and,
ascertaining this, nothing enraged him more.

In his friendships he was almost fanatical. The humblest individual,
who was his friend, and who had proven it, could command him in any
manner, and to the full extent of his capacity to serve him.

A remarkable instance of this trait was manifested in his conduct as
President, toward a young friend, Mr. Gwinn, who was reared in the
neighborhood of the Hermitage, and whose father had long been a trusted
friend of Jackson. In 1832, when the lands obtained from the Choctaws
in Mississippi were being brought into market, the office of register
in the land-office in that State was an important one. It was given to
Gwinn by Jackson, who was then President.

When the nomination was sent to the Senate, opposition was made to its
confirmation by George Poindexter, a senator from Mississippi. It had
always been the practice of all preceding Presidents, when suitable
persons could be had, to nominate them from the State in which the
United States office to be filled was located. Poindexter insisted that
this custom, from long usage, had become law; and to send a citizen
from one State into another, there to fill a national office, was an
indignity to her citizens, and a manifestation, to say the least of it,
of distrust and suspicion as to the capacity or honesty of the people
of the State. This opposition was successful, and Gwinn was rejected.
The nomination was renewed, and again rejected. Jackson wrote to Gwinn,
who was already by executive appointment discharging the duties of the
office, to continue to do so. I was present when the letter was
received, and permitted to read it. "Poindexter has deserted me," he
said, "and his opposition to your nomination is to render, as far as he
can, my Administration unpopular with the people of Mississippi; and a
majority of the Senate are more than willing to aid him in this. They
are only destroying themselves, not me, and some of them will soon find
this out. Do you hold on to the office; I will make no more
nominations; but commission you _ad interim_ as soon as Congress
adjourns, which will be in a few weeks at farthest. Very soon my
friends will be in a majority in the Senate--until then, I will keep
you in the office, for I am determined you shall have it, spite of
Poindexter." The result was as he had promised.

This is but one of a thousand instances which might be enumerated to
attest the same fact. Such traits are always appreciated as they
deserve to be; they address themselves to the commonest understanding,
and are esteemed by all mankind. It is a mistake the world makes, that
Jackson's popularity was exclusively military. Those great qualities of
mind and soul which constituted him a great general, were not only
displayed in his military career, but in all his life; and to them he
was indebted for the friends of his whole life; they made him a man of
mark before he was twenty-five years of age. His courage, intrepidity,
frankness, honor, truth, and sincerity were all pre-eminent in his
conduct, and carried captive the admiration of all men. His devotion to
his wife, to his friends, to his duty, was always conspicuous; and
these are admired and honored, even by him who never had in his heart a
feeling in common with one of these. All these traits were so striking
in Jackson's character as to make them conspicuous. They were more
marked in his than in that of any other man of his day, because the
impulses of his temperament were more prompt and potent. They were
natural to him, and always naturally displayed. There was neither
assumption of feeling nor deceit in its manifestation; all he evinced,
bubbled up from his heart, naturally and purely as spring-water, and
went directly to the heart. These great and ennobling traits were not
unfrequently marred by passion, and acts which threw a cloud over their
brilliancy; but this, too, was natural: the same soul which was parent
to this violence and extravagance of passion, was, too, the source of
all his virtues, and all were equally in excess. The consequence of
this violence were sometimes terrible. They were evanescent, and, like
a thunder-storm, seemed only to clear the atmosphere for the display of
beautiful weather.

The triumphs of mind, unaided by education, sometimes are
astonishing,--in the case of General Jackson, perhaps, not more so than
in many others. The great Warwick of England, the putter-up and the
puller-down of kings, did not know his letters; Marshal Soult, the
greatest of Napoleon's marshals, could not write a correct sentence in
French; and Stevenson, the greatest engineer the world ever saw--the
inventor of the locomotive engine--did not know his letters at
twenty-one years of age, and was always illiterate. It is a question
whether such minds would have been greatly aided by education, or
whether they might not have been greatly injured by it--nature seeming
to have formed all minds with particular proclivities. These are more
marked in the stronger intellects. They direct to the pursuit in life
for which nature has designed the individual: should this idiosyncrasy
receive the proper education from infancy, doubtless it would be aided
to the more rapid and more certain accomplishment of the designs of
nature. To discover this in the child, requires that it should be
strongly developed, and a close and intelligent observation on the part
of the parent or guardian who may have the direction of the child's
education. But this, in the system of education almost universally
pursued, is never thought of; and the avocation of the future man is
chosen for him, without any regard to his aptitudes for it, and often
in disregard of those manifested for another. Consequently, nature is
thwarted by ignorance, and the individual drags on unsuccessfully in a
hated pursuit through life. Left alone, these proclivities become a
passion, and where strongly marked, and aided by strength of will, they
work out in wonderful perfection the designs of nature. Julius Caesar,
Hannibal, Attila, Yengis Khan, Prince Eugene, Marlborough, Napoleon,
and Wellington were all generals by nature--and so were Andrew Jackson
and "Stonewall" Jackson. The peculiarities of talent which make a great
general make a great statesman; and all of those who, after
distinguishing themselves as great generals, were called to the
administration of the civil affairs of their respective Governments,
have equally distinguished themselves as civilians.

The proposing of General Jackson as a candidate for the Presidency was
received, by most of those who were deemed statesmen, as a burlesque;
and many of those most active in his support only desired his election
to further their own views, and not for the country's benefit. It was
supposed he was so entirely unacquainted with state-craft, that he
would be a pliant tool--an automaton, to dance to their wire-pulling.
How little they understood him, and how well he understood them! At
once he let them know he was President, and was determined to take the
responsibility of administering the Government in the true spirit of
its institutions. The alarm, which pervaded all political circles so
soon as this was understood, is remembered well. It was a bomb exploded
under the mess-table, scattering the mess and breaking to fragments all
their cunningly devised machinations for rule and preferment--an open
declaration of war against all cliques and all dictation. His inaugural
was startling, and his first message explicit. His policy was avowed,
and though it gathered about him a storm, he nobly breasted it, and
rode it out triumphantly. His administration closed in a blaze of
glory. He retired the most popular and most powerful man the nation had
ever seen.




CHAPTER XII.

GOSSIP.

UNREQUITED LOVE--POPPING THE QUESTION--PRACTICAL JOKING--SATAN LET
LOOSE--RHEA, BUT NOT RHEA--TEACHINGS OF NATURE--H.S. SMITH.


This must be a gossiping chapter, of many persons and many things,
running through many years.

I love to dwell upon the years of youth. They are the sweetest in life;
and these memories constitute most of the happiness of declining life.
Incidents in our pilgrimage awaken the almost forgotten, and then how
many, many memories flit through the mind, and what a melancholy
pleasure fills the soul! We think, and think on, calling this and that
memory up from the grave of forgetfulness, until all the past seems
present, and we live over the bliss of boyhood with a mimic ecstasy of
young life and its gladdening joys.

Like every young man, I suppose, I loved a fair girl with beautiful
blue eyes, and lips so pouting and plump, so ruddy and liquid, that the
words seemed sweetened as they melted away from them; but my love was
unpropitious, and another was preferred to me. I have ever been curious
to know why. Vanity always in my own soul made me greatly the superior
of the favored one, in all particulars. But she did not think so, and
chose as she liked. I saw her but once a bride. I went away, and found,
as others do, another and dearer love. Sitting on my horse by her side,
as she held in her beautiful palfrey, upon the summit of a cliff, which
rises grandly above, and brows the drab waters of the great
Mississippi, she pointed to the river, which resembled a great, white
serpent, winding among green fields and noble forests, for twenty miles
below. Her eyes were gray, and large, and lovely; her form was
towering, and her mien commanding. She grew with the scene. She was
born only a mile away, in the midst of a wild forest of walnut and
magnolia, amid towering hills, and cherished them and this mighty river
in childhood, until she partook of their grandeur and greatness. I
thought she was like the love of my youth, and I loved her, and told
her of it. The sun was waning--going down to rest, and, like a mighty
monarch, was folding himself away to sleep in gorgeous robes of crimson
and gold. In his shaded light, outstretching for fifty miles beyond the
river, lay, in sombre silence, the mighty swamp, with its wonderful
trees of cypress, clothed in moss of gray, long, and festooning from
their summits to the earth below, and waving, like banners, in the
passing wind. The towering magnolia, in all the pride of foliage and
flower, shaded us. The river, in silent and dignified majesty, moved
onward far below, and evening breezes bathed, with their delicious
touch, our glowing cheeks. The scene was grand, and my feelings were
intense. In the midst of all this beauty and grandeur, she was the
cynosure of eye and heart. I loved her; and yet, my conscience rebuked
me for forgetting my first love, and I asked myself if, in all this
wild delirium of soul, there was not some little ingredient of revenge.
No, it was for herself--all for herself; and, chokingly, I told her of
it, when she drooped her head, and, in silence, gave me her hand. We
went away in silence. There was too much of feeling to admit of speech.
Delicious memory! Of all our ten children, four only remain. The
willow's tears bedew her grave, and her sons fill the soldier's grave,
and, wrapped in the gray, sleep well.

Yesterday I met her who first kindled in my bosom affection for
woman--a widowed woman, withered and old. She smiled: the lingering
trace of what it was, was all that was left. The little, plump hand was
lean and bony, and wrinkles usurped the alabaster brow. Fifty years had
made its mark. But memory was, by time, untouched. We parted. I closed
my eyes, and there she was, in her girlhood's robes and her girlhood's
beauty. The lip, the cheek, the glorious eye, were all in memory
garnered still; and I loved that memory, but not the woman now. Another
was in the niche she first cut in my heart, whose cheek and eye and
pouting lip were young and lovely. Still these memories awoke out of
this meeting, and, for hours, I forgot that I was wrinkled, old, and
gray.

I wonder how many's history I am writing now? The history of the heart,
at last, is all the endearing history of waning life. Recur as we may
to every success, to every sorrow, and they whisper a chapter of the
heart. We struggle to make happy those we love. The gratifications of
wealth, ambition, and feeling, all refer to the heart. There could be
no pleasure from these memories if those we loved had not participated
in them. We build a home for her we love, and those who sprout around
us. We win wealth and a name for these, and but for them, all that is
innate would be only alloy. They must reflect the bliss it brings, or
it has no sweetness. Can there be a soul so sordid as to riot in
pleasure and triumphs all alone--to shun companionship, and hate
participation in the joys that come of successful life?

I am in the midst of the scenes of my childhood, with here and there
one friend left, who shared with me the school-hours, Saturday rambles,
and sports of early boyhood. With these the memories come fresh and
vigorous of the then occurring incidents--the fishings, the
Saturday-night raccoon hunts, the forays upon orchards and
melon-patches, and the rides to and from the old, country church on the
Sabbath; the practical jokes of which I was so fond, and from which
even my own father was not exempt. Kind reader, indulge the garrulity
of age, and allow me to recount one of these. There are a few who will
remember it; for they have laughed at it for fifty years. I never knew
my father to tell a fib but upon one occasion in my life. Under the
circumstances, I am sure the kindly nature will, at least, allow it to
be a white one.

I am near the old mill my father built, and, if I remember all
connected with my boyhood there, I trust there will be few or none to
sneer or blame. The flouring-mill, or mill for grinding grain, and the
saw-mill were united under the same roof; and it was the business of
father to give his attention, as overseer, not only to the mills, but
to his planting interest. He employed a North Carolina Scotchman--that
is, a man descended of Scotch parents, but born in North Carolina--to
superintend his saw-mill, who had all the industry, saving
propensities, and superstitions of his ancestry. He was a firm believer
in spells, second-sights, and ghosts. Taking advantage of these
superstitions, my brother and myself made him the sufferer in many a
practical joke. Upon one occasion, we put into circulation, in the
neighborhood, a story full of wonder. A remarkable spectre had been
seen near the mill on dark nights, and especially on those misty nights
of murky gloom, common in early spring to this latitude. Its form was
unique and exaggerated, with flaming eyes, and mouth of huge
proportions, with long, pointed teeth, white and sharp. For weeks, this
gorgon of my imagination constituted the theme of neighborhood gossip.
Several negroes had seen it, and fled its fierce pursuit, barely
escaping its voracious mouth and attenuated claws, through the
fleetness of fear. The old hardshell Baptist preacher, of the vicinage,
had proclaimed him from the pulpit as Satan unchained, and commencing
his thousand years of wandering up and down the earth.

I had procured from a vine in the plum-orchard a gourd of huge
dimensions, such as in that day were used by frugal housewives for the
keeping of lard for family use. It would hold in its capacious cavity
at least half a bushel. This was cut one-third of its circumference for
a mouth, and this was garnished with teeth from the quills of a
venerable gander, an especial pet of my mother. The eyes were in
proportion, and were covered with patches of red flannel, purloined
from my mother's scrap-basket. A circle, an inch in diameter, made of
charcoal, formed an iris to a pupil, cut round and large, through the
flannel. A candle was lighted, and introduced through a hole at the
bottom of the gourd, and all mounted upon a pole some ten feet long. In
the dark it was hideous, and, on one or two occasions, had served
secretly to frighten some negroes, to give it reputation. It was
designed for Rhea, the Carolinian. On Saturday night it was his uniform
practice to come up to the house, cleanly clad, to spend the evening.
There was a canal which conveyed the water from the head above to the
mill. This ran parallel with the stream, and was crossed, on the public
road, by a bridge, one portion of which was shaded by a large
crab-apple bush. Though fifty years ago, it still remains to mark the
spot. Beyond the creek (which was bridged, for foot-passengers, with
the trunk of a large tree,) was a newly cleared field, in which the
negroes were employed burning brush on the Saturday night chosen for my
sport. Here, under this crab-tree, I awaited the coming of Rhea. It was
misty, and densely dark. Presently the footsteps of my victim were
heard approaching; he was on the bridge. He came on cautiously, to be
secure of a safe footing in the dark. Suddenly I turned the grinning
monster full in his face. A scream and a leap followed. Down the muddy
creek-bank rushed my victim, plunged through the tumbling waters
waist-deep, and, as soon as the opposite shore was reached, a
vociferous call was made for Tom, the negro foreman. Horror of horrors!
it was my father's voice. In an instant my candle was out, and I was
running.

I passed unconcernedly through the house and took a seat in the back
passage, and awaited events. It was not long before the sloppy noise of
shoes full of water, heard in walking, came through the yard, and into
the house. It was my dear old frightened father, all reeking from his
plunge into the creek. "Why, husband," asked mother, "how did you get
so wet?" He slung the damp from his hat as he cleared his throat, and
said: "I slipped off that cursed log, in crossing the creek."
Reflection had told him he had been foolishly frightened, and he was
ashamed to acknowledge it. My conscience smote me, but I laughed, and
trembled--for had he made discovery of the trick, it would have been my
time to suffer.

Memory brings back the features, the kind and gentle look of that dear
and indulgent parent, and the unbidden tear comes. The last time I ever
saw him was at the terminus of the railroad, on the banks of Lake
Pontchartrain; he placed his aged arms about my shoulders, and,
pressing me to his bosom, bid me "Farewell," as, trembling with
emotion, he continued: "we are parting forever, my child." He had met
misfortunes in his latter days, and was poor, but I had filled his
purse with the means which smoothed his way the remnant of his life.
The prediction was but too true; in less than one year after that
parting, he slept in death.

And now, when war and death have swept from me children, fortune, all,
and I am old and needy, it is a consolation known only to my own bosom
that I plucked the thorn from my parent's path.

These are childish memories, and may be too puerile for record; but I
am sure most of my readers will find in them something of their own
childhood's memories. It is my memories of men and things, I am
writing, and I would be faithful to them.

Boyhood's memories crowd the after-life with half the joys its destiny
demands; associations which revive them come as pleasant showers to the
parched herbage when autumn's sun withers its flush, and yellows the
green of spring-time. Oh! the zest of early sports--of boyhood's
mischief; so free from selfishness, so untouched with meanness, so full
of joyous excitement, so loved for itself. Every man has been a boy;
every woman has been a girl; and all alike have felt and enjoyed the
sweets of young life; and when years and cares and tears have stolen
away the green from the soul, and the blossoms of the grave whiten
about the brow, and the unbidden sigh breaks away from the grief of the
heart, and memory startles with what was when we were young, the
contrast would be full of misery did not a lingering of the joys which
filled our frolics and our follies come to dull the edge of sorrow.

When the cravings of the mind, taught by time to be unrealizable, are
driven from hope; when the purity of youthful feelings are soiled by
contact with the world's baseness; when the world's passing interests
harden the sensibilities, and we have almost forgotten that we were
ever young, or had a youthful joy, some little story, some little
incident will startle the memory, and touch and tone the heart to the
music of its spring, and the desert waste which time has made green
again with memories which grew from bliss budding in our youth; and,
though they never come to fruitage, are cherished with a joy.

Oh! the heart, the heart--what are all its joys of youth, and all its
griefs of age? Is it that youth has no apprehensions, and we enjoy its
anticipations and its present without alloy? or does its _all_ belong
to love and joy when life and the world is new? Are these too bright,
too pure for time? and the griefs of later life the Dead Sea apples
which grow from them. And is it so with all? Is there one, whose years
have brought increase of happiness, and who has lived on without a
sorrow?

In God's economy must all experience misery, to dull the love of life,
and kindle hope for a blissful future, to steal from the heart its
cherished _here_, to yield it all in its _hereafter_. Ah! we know what
a world this is, but what a world is to come we know not. Is it not as
reasonable to believe we lived before our birth into this, as to hope
we shall live after death in another world? Is this hope the instinct
of the coming, or does it grow from the baser instinct of love for the
miserable life we have? It is easy to ask, but who shall answer? Is it
the mind which remembers, and is the mind the soul? or is the soul
independent of the mind, surviving the mind's extinction? and do the
memories of time die with time? or,

  Do these pursue beyond the grave?
  Must the surviving spirit have
  Its memories of time and grief?
  Then, surely, death is poor relief.
  Shall it forget the all of time,
  When time's with all her uses gone,
  And be a babe in that new clime?
  Then death is but oblivion.

Youth's happiness is half of hope; all that of age is memory--and yet
these memories more frequently sadden than gladden the heart. Then what
is life to age? Garrulity, and to be in the way. Our household gods
grow weary of our worship, and the empty stool we have filled in gray
and trembling age in the temple we have built, when we are gone is
kicked away, and we are forgotten; our very children regret (though
they sometimes assume a painful apprehension) we do not make haste to
die--if we have that they crave, and inherit when we shall have passed
to eternity. But if the gift of raiment and food is imposed by poverty
on those who gave them birth, they complain, and not unfrequently turn
from their door the aged, palsied parent, to die, or live on strangers'
charity. Sad picture, but very true, very true; poor human nature! And
man, so capable in his nature of this ungodliness, boasts himself made
after God's own image. Vanity of vanities!

Nature's harmony, nature's loveliness, nature's expansive greatness and
grandeur teaches of God, and godliness. The inanimate and unthinking
are consistently harmonious and beautiful; man only mars the harmony,
and makes a hell for man in time. Then, is time his all? or, shall this
accursed rabidness be purged away with death, and he become a tone in
accord with inanimate things? or, shall this but purify as fire the
yielding metal, the inner man, which hope or instinct whispers lives,
and animates its tenement of time, to view, to know, and to enjoy
creation through eternity? Wild thoughts are kindling in my brain, wild
feelings stir my heart.

This is a beautiful Sabbath morning, the blazing sun wades through the
blue ether, and space seems redolent of purity and beauty. The breeze
is as bland as the breath of a babe, coming through my casement with
the light, and bathing my parched cheek; and the sere summer is warming
away the gentle, genial spring. This is her last day; and to how many
countless thousands is it the last day of life? Oh! could I die as
gently, as beautifully as dies this budding season of the year, and
could I know my budding hopes, like these buds of spring, would, in
their summer, grow to fruit as these are growing, how welcome eternity!
But I, as well, have my law, and must wait its fulfilment. It is the
Sabbath wisely ordained to rest, and in its quiet and beauty obviating
care and sorrow. Would it were to the restless mind as to the weary
limbs, and as to these, to this give ease and repose!

I have been dreaming, and my boyhood days revive with busy memories. My
gentle mother, ever tender and kind, seems busy before me; the old
home, the old servants, as they were; the old school-house in the woods
by the branch, and many a merry face laughing and beaming around; and
my own old classmate, my solitary classmate, so loved, ah! so loved
even unto this day. It was only yesterday I saw him, old and care-worn,
yet in all the nobility of his soul, bearing with stern philosophy the
miseries of misfortune inflicted by the red hand of merciless war,
yielding with dignity and graceful resignation to the necessities
imposed by unscrupulous power, conscious of no wrong, and sustained by
that self-respect the result of constant and undeviating rectitude
which has marked his long life. From childhood our hearts have been
intertwined, and death only has the power to tear them apart. We sat
together long hours, and talked of the past--alternately, as their
memories floated up, asking each other, "Where is this one? and this?"
and to each inquiry the sad monosyllable, "Dead!" was the reply, of all
who were with us at school when we were boys. We alone are left!

  In my strife with the world, I can never forget
  The scenes of my childhood, and those who were there
  When I was a child. I remember them yet;
  Their features, their persons, to memory so dear,
  Are present forever, and cling round my heart--
  On the plains of the West, in the forest's deep wild,
  On the blue, briny sea, in commerce's mart,
  'Mid the throngs of gay cities with palaces piled.

  The bottle of milk, and the basket of food,
  Prepared by my mother, at dawning of day,
  For my dinner at school; and path through the wood:
  How well I remember that wood and that way,
  The brook which ran through it, the bridge o'er the brook,
  The dewberry-briers which grew by its side,
  My slate, and my satchel, and blue spelling-book,
  And little white pony father gave me to ride!

  The spring by the hill, where our bottles were placed
  To bathe in its waters, so clear and so cool,
  Till dinner-time came! Oh! then how we raced
  To get them, and dine in the shade by the pool!
  The spring, and the pool, and the shade are still there,
  But the dear old school-house has rotted and gone,
  And all who were happy about it are--where?
  Go--go to the church-yard, and ask the grave-stone!

  A few there are left, old, tottering, and gray,
  Apart and forgotten, as those who are dead;
  Yet sometimes they meet on life's thorny way,
  And talk, and live over the days that have fled.
  Oh! how I remember those faces so bright,
  Which beamed in their boyhood with honesty's ray!
  And oft, when alone, in the stillness of night,
  We're all at the school-house again, and at play!

Of all those who were there with me, the best loved was H.S. Smith, now
of Mobile; and he, with perhaps one or two more, are all that are now
living. Our ages are the same, within a week or two, I am sure; and we
are of the same height and same weight; and our attachment was mutual:
it has never been marred through threescore years and ten, and to-day
we are, as brothers should be, without a secret hidden in the heart,
the one from the other. As a friend, as a husband, as a father, as a
man, I know none to rival H.S. Smith. He never aspired to political
distinction: content to pursue, through life, the honorable and
responsible business of a merchant, he has distinguished himself for
energy, capacity, probity, and success; and in his advanced years
enjoys the confidence and esteem of all honest men. Our years have
been, since 1826, spent apart--communication, however, has never ceased
between us, and the early friendship, so remarked by all who knew us,
continues, and will until one is alone in life.

I know this narrative will not be interesting to those unacquainted
with Smith and myself. To such I say, close the book, nor read on, but
turn to that which may interest more, because more known. I could not
pen the memories of fifty years, and forbear those the sweetest now,
because their fruit to me has ever been the sweetest; and the noble
virtues of the private gentleman cannot be the less appreciated because
they have only adorned a circle where they shone in common with those
around him. These are the men who preserve the public morals, and
purify the atmosphere polluted by the corruptions of men prominent
before the world for distinguished abilities, and equally distinguished
immoralities. From these radiate that open-hearted honesty which
permeates society, and teaches by example, and which so often rebukes
the laxity of those who, from position, should be an example and an
ornament. The purling stream murmuring its lowly song beneath the
shading forest and modest shrubs may attract less attention than the
turbid, roaring river, but is always purer, sweeter, more health-giving
and lovely.

The romance of youth is the sugar of life, and its sweets to memory, as
life recedes, augment as "distance lends enchantment to the view." We
make no account of the evanescent troubles which come to us then but
for a moment, and are immediately chased away with the thickening
delights that gild young life and embalm it for the memories of age.
The gravity of years delights to recount these; and few are indisposed
to listen, for it is a sort of heart-history of every one, and in
hearing or reading, memory awakes, and youth and its joys are back
again, even to tottering, palsied age. Then, gentle reader, do not
sneer at me: these are all I have left; my household gods are torn
away, my boys sleep in bloody graves, my home is desolate, I am alone,
with only one to comfort me--she who shares the smiles and tears which
lighten and soothe the weary days of ebbing life.




CHAPTER XIII.

INFLUENCE OF CHILDHOOD.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS--FORTUNE--MIRABEAU B. LAMAR--DR. ALONZO CHURCH--JULIUS
CAESAR--L.Q.C. LAMAR--TEXAN INDEPENDENCE--COLQUITT--LUMPKIN--WHAT A
GREAT MAN CAN DO IN ONE DAY--CHARLES J. JENKINS.


The memories of childhood cling, perhaps, more tenaciously than those
of any after period of life. The attachments and antipathies then
formed are more enduring. Our school-companions at our first
school--the children of our immediate neighborhood, who first rolled
with us upon the grass, and dabbled with us in the branch--we never
forget. Time, absence, protracted separation, all fail to obliterate
the features, the dispositions, or anything about them, which so
unconsciously fastens upon the mind, and grows into the tender soul of
childhood. These memories retain and bring back with them the feelings,
the likes and dislikes, which grew with them. These feelings are the
basis of lifetime loves, and eternal antipathies.

The boy is father to the man, as the girl is mother to the woman. Who
that has lived seventy years will not attest this from his own life's
experience? The generous, truthful boy will be the noble, honorable
man; the modest, timid, truthful girl will be the gentle, kind, and
upright woman. Nature plants the germ, and education but cultivates the
tree. It never changes the fruit. The boy who, when dinner-time comes,
happens to have a pie, when his fellows have none, and will open his
basket before his companions, and divide with them, will carry the same
trait to the grave. His hand will open to assist the needy, and he will
seek no reward beyond the consciousness of having done right. And he
who, with the same school-boy's treasure, will steal away, and devour
it behind the school-house, and alone, will, through life, be equally
mean in all his transactions. From motives of interest, he may assume a
generosity of conduct, but the innate selfishness of his heart will, in
the manner of his dispensing favors, betray itself. Education, and the
influences of polished society, may refine the manners, but they never
soften the heart to generous emotions, where nature has refused to sow
its seed. But where her hand has been liberal in this divine
dispensation, no misfortune, no want of education or association, will
prevent their germination and fructification. Such hearts divide their
joys and their sorrows, with the fortunate and afflicted, with the same
emotional sincerity with which they lift their prayers to Heaven.

The school-room is an epitome of the world. There the same passions
influence the conduct of the child, which will prompt it in riper
years, and the natural buddings of the heart spring forth, and grow on
to maturity with the mind and the person. College life is but another
phase of this great truth, when these natural proclivities are more
manifest, because more matured. It is not the greatest mind which marks
the greatest soul, and it is not the most successful who are the
noblest and best. The shrewd, the mean, and the selfish grow rich, and
are prosperous, and are courted and preferred, because there are more
who are mean and venal in the world than there are who are generous and
good. But it is the generous and good who are the great benefactors of
mankind; and yet, if there was no selfishness in human nature, there
would be no means of doing good. Wealth is the result of labor and
economy. These are not incompatible with generosity and ennobling
manliness. The proper discrimination in the application of duties and
donations toward the promotion of useful institutions, and the same
discrimination in the dispensation of private charities, characterize
the wise and good of the world. These attributes of mind and heart are
apparent in the child; and in every heart, whatever its character,
there is a natural respect and love for these, and all who possess
them. Such grow with their growth in the world's estimation, and are
prominent, however secluded in their way of life, or unpretending in
their conduct, with all who know them, or with whom, in the march of
life, they come in contact.

It is to but few that fortune throws her gifts, and these are rarely
the most deserving, or the goddess had not been represented with a
bandage over her eyes. She is blind, and though her worshippers are
many, she kisses but few, and cannot see if they be fair and beautiful
or crooked and ugly. Hence most of those who receive her favors conceal
them in selfishness, and hoard them to be despised; while hundreds,
slighted of her gifts, cultivate the virtues, which adorn and ennoble,
and are useful and beloved.

Will you, who yet live, and were children when I was a child, turn back
with me in memory to those days, and to those who were your
school-fellows and playmates then? Do you remember who were the brave
and generous, kind and truthful among them? and do you recall their
after lives? Answer me; were not these the true men in that day? Do you
remember William C. Dawson, Joseph H. Lumpkin, Lucius Q.C. Lamar, and
his brother Mirabeau B. Lamar, Eugenius Nesbit, Walter T. Colquitt, and
Eli S. Shorter? How varied in temperament, in character, in talent; and
yet how like in the great leading features of the soul! Love for their
country, love for their kind, love for the good was common to them all;
unselfish beyond what was necessary to the wants of their families,
generous in the outpourings of the soul, philanthropic, and full of
charity. They hoarded no wealth, nor sought it as a means of power or
promotion. Intent upon the general good, and content with an approving
conscience and the general approbation, their lives were correct, and
their services useful; and they live in the memory of a grateful people
as public benefactors.

There are others who rise to memory, who were at school with these, who
were men with these, but they shall be nameless, who struggled, and
successfully, to fill their coffers to repletion, and for nothing else;
who have been courted by the mercenary, and flattered by the fawning
sycophant; who, with their hoardings, have passed away, and no grateful
memory remains of their lives; their hoards are dissipated, and they
are only remembered to be despised. And yet others, who swam in the
creek and sported on the play-ground with all of these, whose vicious
propensities were apparent then--whose after lives were as their
boyhood promised, a curse to society in evil deeds and evil
example--have gone, too, unwept, unhonored, and luckily unhung.

Mirabeau B. Lamar was the son of John Lamar, of Putnam County, Georgia,
and received his education principally at Milledgeville and at Putnam.
From his earliest boyhood, he was remarkable for his genius and great
moral purity. His ardent, poetical temperament was accompanied with
exquisite modesty, and a gentle playfulness of disposition; with an
open, unaffected kindness of heart, which as a boy rendered him popular
with his fellows at school, and beloved by his teachers. There was in
him a natural chivalry of character, which characterized him above all
of his early compeers, and made him a model in conduct. Truthful and
manly, retiring and diffident, until occasion called out the latent
spirit of his nature; then the true greatness of his soul would burst
forth in an impetuous eloquence, startlingly fierce and overwhelming.
Nor was this excitement always wasted in words--not a few, when yet a
boy, have regretted the awakening of his wrath. It was upon occasions
like this, that his eye assumed an expression which I have never seen
in the eye of any other human being. His eyes were beautifully blue,
large, and round, and were always changing and varying in their
expression, as the mind would suggest thought after thought; and so
remarkable were these variations, that, watching him in repose, one who
knew him well could almost read the ideas gathering and passing through
his mind. There was a pleasant vein of satire in his nature, sometimes
expressed, but always in words and in a manner which plucked away its
sting:

  An abstract wit of gentle flow,
  Which wounds no friend, and hurts no foe.

He was my school-fellow and companion in childhood, my friend and
associate in early manhood; our intimacy was close and cordial, and in
after life this friendship became intense--and I knew him perhaps
better than any man ever knew him.

All the peculiarities of the boy remained with the man, distinguishing
him in all his associations. The refined purity of his nature made him
naturally to despise and scorn all meanness and vice, and so intensely
as to render an association with any man distinguished by these,
however exalted his intellect, or extensive his attainments,
impossible. Falsehood, or the slightest dishonorable conduct in any
man, put him at once beyond the pale of his favor or respect. In all my
association with him, I never saw an indelicate act in his conduct, or
heard an obscene word in his conversation. In youth, he was fond of the
society of ladies--fond of this society not for a pastime, but because
of his high appreciation of the virtues of those he selected for
society. In his verse, "Memoriam," he has embalmed the memory of those
of our early female friends he most esteemed. He rather courted this
association in the individual than in the collective assembly--for he
was not fond of crowds, either in society, or the ordinary assemblages
of men and women.

The love of fame, more than any other passion, fired his ambition; but
it was not the love of notoriety--the fame he courted was not that
which should only render his name conspicuous among men, that he might
receive the incense of hypocritical flattery, or be pointed at by the
fickle multitude--for such, his contempt was supreme; but it was the
desire of his heart, and the struggle of his life, to be embalmed in
men's memories as the benefactor of his race, to be remembered for his
deeds as the great and the good. This was the spontaneous prompting of
his heart, and for this he labored with the zeal of a martyr.

Much of his early life was devoted exclusively to literature. His
reading, though without order, was select and extensive. He was well
versed in ancient history. The heroic characters of Greece and Rome
were his especial admiration, and that of Brutus above all others. Of
the nations of modern Europe, and their history, he knew everything
history could teach. His imagination was fired with the heroic in the
character of those of modern times, as well as those of antiquity, and
seemed the model from which was formed his own. The inflexible
integrity, the devoted patriotism, the unselfish heroism of these were
constantly his theme when a schoolboy, and the example for his
imitation in manhood.

When a school-boy, and at a public examination and exhibition, (then
common at the academies throughout the State,) our teacher, that
paragon of good men, Dr. Alonzo Church, selected the tragedy of Julius
Caesar for representation by the larger boys, and, by common consent,
the character of Brutus was assigned to Lamar. Every one felt that the
lofty patriotism and heroic virtues of the old Roman would find a fit
representative in Lamar. I remember, in our rehearsals, how completely
his identity would be lost in that of Brutus. He seemed to enter into
all the feelings and the motives which prompted the great soul of the
Roman to slay his friend for his country's good. Time has left but one
or two who participated in the play. The grave has closed over Lamar,
as over the others. Those who remain will remember the bearing of their
companion, on that occasion, as extraordinary--the struggle between
inclination and duty--the pathos with which he delivered his speech to
the people after the assassination, but especially his bearing and
manner in the reply to Cassius' proposition to swear the
conspirators--the expansion of his person to all its proportions, as if
his soul was about to burst from his body, as he uttered:

  "No, not an oath."

And again, when the burning indignation burst from him at the
supposition of the necessity of an oath to bind honorable men:

  "Swear priests, and cowards, and men cautelous,
  Old, feeble, carious, and such suffering souls
  That welcome wrongs, unto bad causes. Swear
  Such creatures as men doubt, but do not stain
  The even virtue of our enterprise,
  Nor the unsuppressive mettle of our spirits,
  To think that our cause, or our performance,
  Did need an oath; when every drop of blood
  That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
  Is guilty of a several bastardy
  If he do break the smallest particle
  Of any promise that hath passed from him."

Though a boy, the effect upon the audience was electrical. The nature
of his boy representative was the same as that which animated Rome's
noblest son. From his soul he felt every word, and they burned from his
lips, with a truth to his soul and sentiments, that went home to every
heart in that assembly of plain farmers, and their wives and daughters.
There were not ten, perhaps, who had ever witnessed a theatrical
entertainment, but their hearts were mortal and honest, and they saw in
the mimic youth the impersonation of the nobility of soul, and mighty
truth, and the spontaneous burst of applause was but the sincerity of
truth. The exclamation of one I shall never forget: "He is cut out for
a great man." There was no stage-trick; he had never seen a theatre.
There was no assumption of fictitious feeling; but nature bubbled up in
his heart, and the words of Shakspeare, put into the mouth of Brutus,
were but the echo of the deep, true feelings of his soul. Through all
his life this great nature adorned his conversation, and exemplified
his conduct.

The soul of Brutus was born in Lamar. All the truth and chivalry
illustrative of the conduct of the one, was palpable in the other. Let
those who saw him, at San Jacinto, at the head of his sixty horsemen,
ride upon the ranks of Santa Anna's hosts, tell of his bearing in that
memorable charge, when he rose in his stirrups, and, waving his sword
over his head, exclaimed: "Remember, men, the Alamo! Remember Goliad,
Fannin, Bowie, and Travis! Charge! and strike in vengeance for the
murdered of our companions." Resistless as the tempest, they followed
his lead, and swept down upon the foe, charging through, and
disordering their ranks, and, following in their flight for miles, made
many a Mexican bite the dust, or yield himself a prisoner to their
intrepidity. To this charge was solely attributable the capture of
Santa Anna, Almonte, and the principal portion of the Mexican army, and
the establishment of Texan independence.

As a poet, he was above mediocrity, and his "Sully Riley," and many of
his fugitive pieces, will long survive, to perpetuate the refined
delicacy of his nature, when, perhaps, his deeds as a soldier and as
President of Texas shall have passed away. In stature he was below the
medium height, but was stout and muscular. His face was oval, and his
eyes blue, and exceedingly soft and tender in their expression, save
when aroused by excitement, when they were blazing and luminous with
the fire of his soul, which enkindled them. He was free from every
vice, temperate in living, and remarkable for his indifference to
money--with a lofty contempt for the friends and respectability which
it alone conferred. If there ever lived four men insensible to fear, or
superior to corruption, they were the four brothers Lamar. They are all
in eternity, and their descendants are few, but they wear unstained the
mantle of their ancestry.

L.Q.C. Lamar, the elder brother of the four, was educated at Franklin
College, and studied law in Milledgeville. Very soon after, he was
admitted to the Bar. He became distinguished for attention to business,
and for talent, as well as legal attainments. Like his brother, M.B.
Lamar, he was remarkable for his acute sense of honor and open
frankness, a peerless independence, and warm and noble sympathies. He
married, while young, the daughter of D. Bird. The mother of his lady
was one of the Williamson sisters, so remarkable for their superiority,
intellectually, and whose descendants have been, and are, so
distinguished for talent.

The character of L.Q.C. Lamar as a man, and as a lawyer, prompted the
Legislature of the State to elevate him to the Bench of the Superior
Court when very young; and at thirty-two years of age, he was known
throughout the State as the great Judge Lamar. This family had
contributed perhaps a greater number of men of distinguished character
than any other family of the State. Zachariah Lamar, the uncle of Judge
Lamar, was a man of high order of mind, distinguished for his love of
truth, stern honesty, and great energy. He was the father of Colonel
John B. Lamar, who fell in the service of the South, in the recent
conflict. He was one of Georgia's noblest sons, and his memory is
cherished by all who knew him. Henry G. Lamar, a former member of
Congress, and Judge of the Superior Court of the State, was a cousin of
both John B. and M.B. Lamar; and the eminent and eloquent Lucius Lamar,
of Mississippi, who was considered, when young, the best orator of the
House of Representatives of the United States Congress, is the son of
Judge L.Q.C. Lamar.

The name of Lamar has long been a synonym for talent and chivalrous
honor in Georgia. They have been distinguished in every pursuit, and no
stain has ever rested upon the name--in whatever avocation employed,
conspicuous for capacity, honesty, and energy. They are of French
extraction, and to their latest posterity they continue to exhibit
those traits peculiar to the French--chivalry, intense sensibility,
love of truth, refinement of manner, lofty bearing, and a devotion to
honor which courts death rather than dishonor.

The name of M.B. Lamar is identified with the history of Texas, as a
leader among that band of remarkable men who achieved her independence
of Mexican rule--Houston, Sidney Johnson, Bowie, Travis, Crockett, and
Fannin. He was twice married; his first wife, Miss Jordan, died young,
leaving him a daughter. This was a bitter blow, and it was long ere he
recovered it. His second wife was the daughter of the distinguished
Methodist preacher John Newland Moffitt, and sister of Captain Moffitt,
late of the service of the Confederacy. He died at Richmond, Fort Bend
County, Texas, beloved and regretted as few have been.

Perhaps among the most remarkable men of the State, contemporaneous
with the Lamars, was Walter T. Colquitt, Joseph H. Lumpkin, Charles J.
Jenkins, William C. Dawson, and Charles J. McDonald: all of these were
natives of the State--Colquitt, Eugenius A. Nesbit, and McDonald, of
Hancock County; Lumpkins, Oglethorpe, Dawson, Green, and Jenkins, of
Richmond; Nesbit, of Greene. At the period of time when these men were
young, education was deemed essential, at least to professional men.
They all enjoyed the benefits of a classical education. Lumpkin and
Colquitt received theirs at Princeton, New Jersey, and I believe were
classmates, at least they were college-mates. Colquitt returned home
before graduating; Lumpkin received the second honor in his class.
Returning to Georgia, Lumpkin read law in the town of Lexington, the
court-house town of his native county; and commenced, as soon as
admitted, its practice in the northern circuit of the State. At the
time he came to the Bar, it was ornamented with such men as Thomas W.
Cobb, Stephen Upson, George R. Gilmer, John A. Herd, and Duncan G.
Campbell. He rose rapidly to eminence in the midst of this galaxy of
talent and learning. The great John M. Dooly was upon the bench of this
circuit, and was the intimate friend of Wilson Lumpkin, an elder
brother of Joseph H. Lumpkin.

Wilson Lumpkin and Joseph H. Lumpkin were politically opposed. The
former was an especial friend of Dooly; the latter, of William H.
Crawford. Mr. Crawford, soon after Lumpkin's admission to the Bar,
returned to his home, near Lexington, and gave his countenance and
support to him, and at the same time his bitterest opposition to the
political aspirations of his brother. The forensic abilities of young
Lumpkin were winning for him in the State a proud eminence. His exalted
moral character, studious habits, and devotion to business attracted
universal observation and general comment. He had been from his birth
the favorite of all his acquaintances, for the high qualities of his
head and heart--the model held up by mothers for the example of their
sons. Scarcely any boy in the county was ever reprimanded for a wild
frolic or piece of amusing mischief, who was not asked, "Why can't you
be like Joe Lumpkin?"

All this favoritism, however flattering, did not spoil him, as is too
frequently the case with precocious youth. His ambition had fixed a
lofty mark, and he availed himself of this universal popularity to
reach it; at the same time, he left no effort neglected to deserve it,
and maintain it, once acquired.

The State was teeming with young men of talent, scarcely a county
without at least one of great promise. Lumpkin saw and knew the rivalry
would be fierce, and success only to be obtained by superior abilities
and eminent attainments. The Legislature was the first step to fame,
and political fame then the most desired and the most sought. Party was
rancorous in its spirit, producing intense excitement, pervading every
bosom, male and female, to the extremes of the State--an excitement
which so stamped itself upon the hearts of the entire people as to
endure, and to mark their character and opinions even until to-day.

Lumpkin was very decided in his opinions, and open in their expression,
yet there was none of that empoisoned bitterness in these expressions
so characteristic of political aspirants in that day. Such was alien to
his kindly nature; and if it had not been, there were other causes to
estop him from any such indulgence. His family was large. There were
eight brothers; only one of these was younger than himself; these were
about equally divided in political sentiment, and they, at least some
of them, less amiable or less considerate than himself. He was the
favorite of all, and was continually in communication with all of them,
and was really the moderator of the family, and the healer of its
feuds. At this time, too, the deep morality of his nature was growing
into piety, and this sentiment was mellowing from his heart even the
little of unkindness that had ever found a place there.

At twenty-five years of age he was sent, by an almost unanimous vote,
to the Legislature from his county. He came with an exaggerated
reputation for talent, especially for oratorical talent, and many of
his friends feared he would not be able to sustain it in that body,
where there were many of age and experience, with characters already
long established for learning and eloquence, and also many young men
from different parts of the State, who, like himself, had already won
fame for high talent. Among these was Robert Augustus Bell, in sight of
whose grave I write these lines. He passed away in early life, but
Georgia never produced a brighter or a nobler spirit. There were also
Charles Dougherty, (who died young, but not without making his mark,)
William Law, Hopkins Holsey, and others, who have honored themselves
and the State by eminent services on the Bench and at the Bar, and in
the councils of their native and other States to which many of them
emigrated.

At the very opening of the session, Lumpkin took position with the
first on the floor of the House of Representatives. His first speech
was one of thrilling eloquence, and, before its conclusion, had emptied
the Senate chamber; many of its oldest and most talented members
crowding about him, and listening with delight.

The memory of that day revives with the freshness of yesterday. Two or
three only remain with me now, to recall the delight with which all
hearts were filled who acted, politically, with Lumpkins, as the
beautiful and cogent sentences thrilled from his lips, with a trembling
fervor, which came from an excitement born of the heart, and which went
to the heart. Bell, Brailsford, Dougherty, Rumbert, and Baxter, who,
with myself, grouped near him, all are in the grave, save only I, and,
standing a few weeks since by the fresh mould that covers Joseph H.
Lumpkin, and yesterday by the grave of Bell, my mind wandered back to
the old State House, and to those who were with me there. Separated for
more than forty years from the home of my birth, being with, and
becoming a part of another people--a noble, generous, and gallant
people--and almost forgetting my mother tongue, these had faded away
almost into forgetfulness; but, tottering with years, and full of
sorrows, I am here amid the scenes made lovely and memorable by their
presence, when we were all young and hopeful. They come back to me, and
now, while I write, it seems their spirits float in the air of my
chamber, and smile at me. Why is my summons delayed so long? All that
made life lovely is gone--youth, fortune, and household gods. My
children are in bloody graves--she who bore them preceded them to
eternity; yet I live on, and sigh, and remember, while imagination
peoples with the past the scenes about me. The faces, the jest, and
merry laugh come again; I see and hear them again. Oblivion veils away
the interval of forty-five years, and all is as it was. Oh, could the
illusion last till death shall make it truth! It is, I feel, but a
foretaste of the reality soon to be, when hearts with hearts shall
group again, and the reunion of sundered ties be eternal.

Lumpkin served a few sessions in the Legislature, and retired from
public life to devote his entire attention to his profession. He had
married, almost as soon as he was admitted to the Bar, one to whom he
had been attached from boyhood, and the cares of a family were
increasing and demanding his attention and efforts. No man ever more
faithfully discharged these duties.

The judiciary of Georgia had consisted of two courts only--the
superior, and inferior or county court--from the organization of the
State. The country had long felt the want of a supreme court, for the
correction of errors, and to render uniform the decisions upon the law
throughout the State, which, under the prevailing system, had become
very diverse, and which was becoming grievously oppressive. Finally it
was determined by the Legislature to establish a supreme court. After
the passage of the law, however, its organization was incomplete for
the want of judges. Party was distracting the councils of the State,
and was carried into everything, and each party desired a controlling
influence in this court, and their united co-operation in selecting
judges could only be effected by the dominant party consenting to
Joseph H. Lumpkin's accepting the chief-justiceship. He consented to do
so, and the organization of the court was completed. This position,
under repeated elections, he continued to hold until the day of his
death, which occurred in the spring of 1867.

No man, perhaps, ever had the confidence of a people in the discharge
of a high judicial duty more than had Joseph H. Lumpkin. His public
duties were discharged with the most scrupulous conscientiousness, as
were all of those pertaining to his private life and relations. He died
in the neighborhood of his birth, and where he had continued to live
through his whole life, passing through time with the companions of his
childhood, and preserving their confidence and affection to the last.
His death was sudden, and deeply mourned throughout the State, which
had delighted so long to honor him. His name is identified with her
history, as one of her brightest and best men.

The talents of Judge Lumpkin were of a high order, and though he
distinguished himself as a jurist, they were certainly more fitted for
the forum than the bench. Those who knew him best, and who were best
fitted to judge, unite in the opinion that his eminence in political
life would have been greater than that which distinguished him as a
judge. He was a natural orator, and his oratory was of the highest
order. His ideas flowed too fast for the pen, and he thought more
vividly when on his feet, and in the midst of a multitude, than when in
the privacy of his chamber. His language was naturally ornate and
eloquent, and the stream of thought which flowed on in declamation,
brightened and grew, in its progress, to a mighty volume. This, with
the fervor of intense feeling which distinguished his efforts, made
them powerfully effective. In toning down these feelings, and
repressing the ornate and beautiful to the cold, concise legal opinion,
his delivery lost not only its beauty, but much of its strength and
power. He might have been less useful, but certainly he would have been
more distinguished, had he pursued the bent of his genius. Abilities
like Lumpkin's must succeed respectably, if directed to any pursuit;
and even should they be prostituted to base and dishonorable purposes,
they will distinguish the possessor above the herd.

His temperament was nervous, his sensibility acute, and his sentiments
exalted. Fluent, with great command of language, he was peculiarly
gifted for display in debate, and it was supposed, when he first came
into the Legislature, that he would soon rise to the first position in
the national councils. But he determined for himself a different field;
and, in view of his eminent services as an able and conscientious
judge, who shall say he did not choose wisely?

In an almost adjoining county to that of the residence of Judge
Lumpkin, was coming forward, in the profession of law, another gifted
son of Georgia--Walter T. Colquitt. He was a compeer, at the Bar, of
Chief-Justice Lumpkin. They were admitted to practice about the same
time. He was a native of the county of Hancock. His mother was the only
sister of the eight brothers Holt, every one of whom was distinguished
for probity and worth. They all lived and died in the State, and every
one of them was a representative man. They have all left descendants
but one, and none yet have stained the name. As their ancestors, they
are energetic, honest, and most worthy citizens.

Colquitt gave evidence, when very young, of his future career. As a
boy, he was wild and full of mirth, but little inclined to study. He
was fond of sport of every kind, and in everything to which his mind
and inclinations turned, he would be first. Compelled, by parental
authority, to apply himself, he at once mastered his task, and was
ready, then, for fun or frolic. Remarkable for physical powers, he
fondly embarked in all athletic sports, and in all excelled. Bold and
fearless, he was the leader in all adventures of mischief, and always
met the consequences in the same spirit. It was remarked of him, when a
boy, by one who knew him well, that in all he did he played "high,
game," never "low, Jack."

In the wildness of his mischief there was always discoverable boldness
and mind. At school and at college, though rarely winning an honor, he
was always admitted by his fellows to possess superior abilities. These
abilities were manifest more in the originality of his ideas, and their
peculiar exemplification in his conduct, than in the sober, every-day
manner of thought and action. His mind was versatile, and seemed
capable of grasping and analyzing any subject. Quick to perceive and
prompt to execute, yielding obedience to no dogma, legal or political,
he followed the convictions of his mind, without regard to precedent or
example. His knowledge of human nature seemed intuitive, and his
capacity of adaptation was without limit. At the period when he
commenced the practice of law, the successful abilities in the
profession were forensic. Every case was tried by a jury, and the law
made juries judges of law and fact. The power to control and direct
these was the prime qualification of a lawyer, and nature had bestowed
this, in an eminent degree, upon Colquitt. There were few more eminent
as advocates, or more successful as practitioners, though his legal
attainments were never of a very high order. He was elevated to the
bench, where he remained but a short time, feeling that this was no
situation for the display of his peculiar powers, nor the proper or
successful course for the gratification of his ambition. He had, at a
previous time, united himself with the Methodist Church, and was
licensed to preach. It was his habit to open his court, each morning,
with prayer, and not unfrequently, during the week of his court, in
each county of his circuit, to preach two or three sermons. He was a
general of the militia, and would come down from the bench to review a
regiment or brigade. It was this discharge of his multifarious duties
which prompted an aged sister of his church, when the great men of the
State were being discussed by the venerable ladies of a certain
neighborhood, to claim the palm for Colquitt.

"Ah! you may talk of your great men, but none on 'em is equal to
brother Colquitt; for he, in our county, tried a man for his life, and
sentenced him to be hung, preached a sermon, mustered all the men in
the county, married two people, and held a prayer-meeting, all in one
day. Now, wa'n't that great?"

Before a jury he was unequalled. His knowledge of men enabled him to
determine the character of every juror, and his versatility to adapt
his argument or address to their feelings and prejudices so effectually
as to secure a verdict in mere compliment to the advocate. He left the
bench to enter the political arena. It was here he found the field
nature designed him for. Before the people, he was omnipotent. At this
period Dawson, Cooper, Colquitt, Cobb, Stephens, and Toombs were before
the people--all men of talent, and all favorites in the State. This was
especially true of Dawson, Cobb, and Stephens, and no men better
deserved the public favor.

Very soon after he went into Congress, he, with Cooper and Black,
abandoned the Whig party. At the approaching election they canvassed
the State, and justified their course before the people. There was no
middle ground on which to stand. To abandon one party, was to go over,
horse, foot, and dragoons, to the other, which was always ready to
welcome new converts of talent and popularity. These three became, in
the canvass, the champions of Democracy, and fiercely waged the war in
antagonism with their former allies. In this contest were made manifest
the great abilities of Colquitt, Toombs, Stephens, Cobb, and Herschel
V. Johnson.

Subsequently, Colquitt was elected to the United States Senate, where
he was distinguished as a debater and leading man of the Democratic
party; but his talents and peculiar manner were better suited for the
debates of the House of Representatives, and the hustings.

Lumpkin was ardent and persuasive. Colquitt was equally ardent, but
more aggressive. Where Lumpkin solicited with a burning pathos,
Colquitt demanded with the bitterest sarcasm. Lumpkin was slow and
considerate; Colquitt was rapid and overwhelming. The one was the sun's
soft, genial warmth; the other, the north wind's withering blast.
Colquitt was remarkable for daring intrepidity; Lumpkin for collected
firmness. Lumpkin persuaded; Colquitt frightened. Both were brave, but
Colquitt was fiercely so. Lumpkin was mild, but determined.
Unaggressive himself, the dignity and gentleness of his character
repelled it in others. The consequence was, that he passed through life
without strife with his fellow-man, while Colquitt was frequently in
personal conflict with those as impetuous as himself. The open
frankness and social nature of Colquitt won him many friends, and of
that description most useful to politicians--friends who were devoted,
who felt for, and preferred him to any other man. His features were
versatile, and variable as an April day, betraying every emotion of his
mind--especially his eyes, which were soft or fierce, as the passion of
the heart sprang to view in them, and spoke his soul's sensations. His
oratory was playful, awakening wild mirth in his auditors, and again it
was impetuous and sarcastic, overwhelming with invective and
denunciation.

Charles J. Jenkins, a compeer of Lumpkin and Colquitt, was essentially
different from both in many of the features of his character. His mind
was more logical, more analytical, and capable of deeper research. He
had little ambition, and whenever he was before the people, it was when
his friends thrust him there. The instinctive morality of his nature,
like that of Lumpkin, would never permit the compromise of conscience
or dignity of character so often the case with men of ardent natures
and intense ambition. Eminently cool in debate, he never made any
attempt at forensic display, but confined himself exclusively to the
logic of his subject. He clearly saw his way, and carefully went along,
spurning ornament or volubility, and only compelling into service words
which clearly and succinctly conveyed his ideas, and these only
elucidated the subject-matter he was discussing. Strictly honest, and
equally truthful, he never deviated, under any circumstances, from what
he believed his duty. Only for a short time was he in the Legislature,
and then he displayed in most exciting times the great virtues of his
nature.

Upon one occasion, the party with which he acted determined, to defeat
a certain measure, to leave the chamber in a body, and break the
quorum. It was the only means in their power to prevent a measure which
they deemed wrong in principle and injurious to the public interest.
Jenkins thought such extreme measures wrong, and entirely
unjustifiable. Though as much opposed to the views of the majority as
any member of his party, he refused to participate in their action, and
was the only member of the party who persistently remained in his seat.
This conduct was censured by his party friends, and he immediately
resigned his seat and returned to his constituency, who, knowing and
appreciating the great worth of the man, returned him at once to his
seat under a new election. In all the relations of life the same traits
of character have distinguished him. While at the Bar, his rank was the
first; this, combined with his integrity and great firmness, made him
so conspicuous before the people of the State, that he was placed on
the bench of the Supreme Court--a position he distinguished by his
great legal attainments, dignity, and purity.

The political opinions of Judge Jenkins were in many of their features
unpopular. He was always opposed to universal suffrage, and made no
secret of his sentiments. He was opposed to an elective judiciary, and
to mob-rule in every shape. He despised alike the arts and the
humiliation of party politicians, and was never a man to accept for
public trust any man whose only recommendation to public favor was his
availability, because of his popularity with the masses. He was taken
from the supreme bench to fill the gubernatorial chair of the State,
and no man, not even Jackson, Early, or Troup, ever more dignified this
elevated position--none ever had the same trying difficulties to
encounter. Chosen by the people at a period when civil war had
distracted the government and uprooted all the landmarks so long the
guide for those who preceded him--when a manifest determination of the
so-called Congress, representing but two-thirds of the States, was
apparent to usurp all power--when the State governments of ten States,
though that of their people, were threatened with military usurpation,
Jenkins remained firm to his convictions of duty. The credit of the
State had never suffered while under his guardianship; a large amount
was in her treasury; this was an objective point for the usurpers. He
met the military satrap, and was assured of his intentions. Satisfied
of his insincerity and dishonesty, knowing he held the power of the
bayonet, and would be unscrupulous in its use, calm as a Roman senator
he defied the power of this unprincipled minion of a base, corrupt, and
unconstitutional power, and deliberately removed the treasure of the
State, and applied it to the liquidation of her obligations. Hurled
from the office bestowed by his fellow-citizens, so far as he could he
protected their interests, at the hazard of the horrors of Fort Pulaski
and the sweat-box--the favorite instruments of torture of this infamous
defendant of an irresponsible Congress, and now for personal safety,
exiled from home and country, finds protection under a foreign flag.
This one act alone will be sufficient to immortalize the name of
Charles J. Jenkins, and to swell with pride the heart of every true
Georgian who aided to place such a man in such a position, at such a
time. Governor Jenkins still lives, and if the prayers of a virtuous
and oppressed people may avail on high, will be spared to reap in
better days his reward in their gratitude.

An exalted intellect, unaccompanied with exalted virtue, can never
constitute greatness. In whatever position placed, or whatever
inducements persuade, virtue and a conscientious conviction of right
must regulate the mind and conduct of man to make him great. The
tortuous course of politics, made so by unprincipled men, renders the
truly upright man usually a poor politician. He who possesses the
capacity to discern the true interests of a country, and who will
virtuously labor to secure and promote those interests, defying
opposition and fearlessly braving the calumnies of interested, corrupt
men, organized into parties--which so often lose sight of the interests
of their country, in promoting party ends, or from inflamed
passions--is the great man. He whose pedestal is virtue, and whose
action is honest, secures the respect of his own age, and becomes the
luminary of succeeding ages. Stern honesty often imposes unpleasant
duties--strict obedience to its behests, not unfrequently involves
apparent inconsistencies of conduct; but the conscientious man will
disregard these in doing what his judgment determines right--the only
real consistency which sustains a man in his own estimation, and leaves
no bitter reflections for the future. To subserve the cause of right,
is always a duty--not so the cause of party or selfish interest. All
men respect the right, but many have not the virtue to resist wrong.
Ambition prompts for success the expedient: and hence the laxity of
political morals. This is slipping the cable that the ship may swing
from her anchorage and drift with the tide; any minnow may float with
the current, but it requires a strong fish to stem and progress against
the stream. A man, to brave obloquy and public scorn, requires strong
moral courage; but when his judgment convinces him that he is right,
and when he feels that his intentions are pure, conscientious, and
sincere, this may ruffle him for a time, but never permanently disturbs
his peace or injures his reputation. The truly great are only known by
nobly resisting every temptation to wrong, and braving the world's
condemnation in pursuing and sustaining the right. It is the soul to
which greatness belongs, not the mind. This latter is too often, in its
transcendent greatness, coupled with a mean and degraded soul, which
stimulates the mind's power to the corruption of the masses, and the
destruction of public morals, undermining the very basis of society and
government.

The combination of a great mind and a great soul constitutes the truly
great, and the life of such a man creates a public sentiment which,
like an intense essence, permeates all it touches, leaving its
fragrance upon all. Such a man was George M. Troup, such a man is
Charles J. Jenkins; and the incense of his character will be a
fragrance purifying and delighting the land when he shall have passed
away. The exalted abilities of his mind, the great purity of his heart,
the noble elevation of his sentiments, and his exquisite
conscientiousness, will be an honor and an example to be remembered and
emulated by the coming generations of his native land.




CHAPTER XIV.

A REVOLUTIONARY VETERAN.

TAPPING REEVE--JAMES GOULD--COLONEL BENJAMIN TALMADGE--THE EXECUTION OF
MAJOR ANDRE--CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON--A BREACH OF DISCIPLINE--BURR AND
HAMILTON--MARGARET MONCRIEF--COWLES MEADE.


Fifty years ago, the only law-school in the United States was taught by
Tapping Reeve and James Gould, at Litchfield, Connecticut. The young
men of the South, destined for the profession of law, usually commenced
their studies in the office of some eminent practitioner at home, and,
after a year or so spent in reading the elementary authors, they
finished by attending the lectures at this school. A course of lectures
occupied a year. Then they were considered prepared to commence the
practice.

Many of the young men of Georgia, at that day, received their education
at the North. Most of those who selected law as a profession, finished
at the school in Litchfield. Few remain in life at this day who
graduated there. Thomas Flornoy and Nicholas Ware were among the first,
who read law there, who were natives of Georgia. William Cumming
succeeded them. Then followed L.Q.C. Lamar, William C. Dawson, Thaddeus
Goode Holt, and many others of less distinction, all of whom are gone
save Judge Holt, who remains a monument and a memory of the class and
character of the Bar of Georgia fifty years ago, when talent and
unspotted integrity characterized its members universally, and when the
private lives and public conduct of lawyers were a withering rebuke to
the reiterated slanders upon the profession--when Crawford, Berrien,
Harris, Cobb, Longstreet, the brothers Campbell, and a host of others,
shed lustre upon it.

1820 was spent by the writer at the law-school at Litchfield, in
company with William Crawford Banks, Hopkins Holsey, Samuel W. Oliver,
and James Clark, from Georgia. All are in the grave except Clark, who,
like the writer, lives in withered age. His career has been a
successful and honorable one, and I trust a happy one.

During this probation it was my fortune to form many acquaintances
among the young and the old whom I met there, and from them to learn
much, especially from the old. At that time there resided in the
pleasant little village, Governor Oliver Wolcott, Benjamin Talmadge,
and my distinguished preceptors, Tapping Reeve and James Gould.

Colonel Benjamin Talmadge was a distinguished officer in the American
army of the Revolution, and was a favorite aide of Washington. It was
he who was charged with the painful duty of superintending the
execution of Major Andre, who suffered as a spy. He was a tall,
venerable man, and though cumbered with years, when I knew him, was
active and energetic in attending to his business. The first time I
ever met him, he was standing in front of his yard-gate, shaping a
gate-pin with a small hatchet, which he used as a knife, to reduce it
to the desired size and form. One end he held in his left hand; the
other he rested against the trunk of a sycamore-tree, which grew near
by and shaded the sidewalk. I knew his character and his services. As I
approached him, my feelings were sublimated with the presence of a man
who had been the aide to and confidant of George Washington. He was
neatly attired in gray small-clothes. His white hair was carefully
combed over the bald portion of his head, as, hatless, he pursued his
work. His position was fronting me, and I caught his brilliant gray
eyes as he looked up from his work to know who was passing.
Involuntarily I stopped, and, lifting my hat from my head, bowed
respectfully to him, and passed him uncovered, as he returned my
salutation with that ease and dignity characteristic of the gentleman
of the old school. To-day that towering, manly form is present to my
view, as it stood before me then. He inquired of Judge Gould, his
immediate neighbor, who I was, and was pleased to mention my respectful
demeanor toward him. My reply, when told of this, was: "I should have
despised myself, could I have acted otherwise toward one so eminent,
and who was the confidential friend of Washington." This was reported
to the venerable colonel, who showed his appreciation of my conduct by
extending to me many kindnesses during my stay in the village.

By his own hearth-stone I have listened with eager interest to the
narration of Andre's capture and execution. He was opposed, with
Alexander Hamilton, to the hanging of Andre, and always contended that
it was not clearly established that he had come into the American lines
as a spy. Andre, when captured, wore his uniform under an overcoat,
which concealed it, and the papers found on his person only proved that
he sought to deliver them to Arnold. The day before his execution he
solemnly declared his only object was an interview with Arnold, or,
should he fail in this, to contrive to send him the papers which had
been found upon him. When he knew the commander-in-chief had refused
him clemency, through Colonel Talmadge he appealed to Washington to let
him be shot, and die a soldier's death--not to permit him to perish as
a felon upon the gallows. Colonel Talmadge, when he stated this wish to
him, assured him it would be granted. Every effort was made, by his
officers and aides, to induce the granting of the request, but in vain.
"And never in my life," said Colonel Talmadge, "have I had imposed upon
me so painful a duty as communicating this fact to the young and
gallant officer. He saw my embarrassment and feelings, and, rising from
his seat, said: 'Colonel, I thank you for the generous interest you
have taken in my case. It has proved of no avail; yet I am none the
less grateful.' He paused a moment, when he continued: 'It is hard to
die, and to die thus. My time is short, and I must employ it in writing
to my family, and must request that you will see my letters forwarded
to headquarters.' I promised; when he extended his hand, and, grasping
mine, asked: 'Is this our last parting, or shall I see you to-morrow?'
I told him it had been made my duty to superintend his execution. 'We
will part at the grave,' he said, and, covering his face with his
hands, sank, sobbing, into his chair.

"I went away sorrowing, and spent a sleepless night. When the hour had
arrived, I waited on him in his prison, and found him cool and prepared
for the sacrifice. We both felt too much for words, and there was
little said. I remember he asked me to procure his watch, which had
been taken from him, if possible, and send it to headquarters. He
desired his family to have it."

"Did you ever get it?" I asked.

The colonel bit his lip in shame for him who had it, and only answered:
"Never."

"The grave was prepared near the gallows, and the open coffin was by
it. As Andre approached, he saw it, and a shudder ran through his
frame. Turning to me, he said: 'I am to be buried there. One more
request, colonel. Mark it; so that when this cruel conflict shall have
ended, my friends may find it!' He then shook hands with me, and, with
unfaltering steps, went to the scaffold."

I heard this narrative many times, and with its ending the white
kerchief about the old man's neck was loosed, and the moisture from his
eyes told that the feelings as well as the memory of that day still
survived. He would a moment after continue: "Washington was a stern
man--he was a hard man--slow to form opinions or resolutions; but once
formed, there was no power under heaven to move him. He never formed
either until his judgment was convinced of the right. There was less of
impulse in his nature than in that of any man I ever knew. I served by
his side for years, and I never saw the least manifestation of passion
or surprise. He received the information of Arnold's treachery with the
same apparent indifference that he would an orderly's report; and with
the same indifference of manner signed the death-warrant of Andre.

"This indifference was marked with a natural sternness, which forbid
all familiarity to all men. Even Colonel Hamilton, who was naturally
facetious, never ventured, during his long service, the slightest
intimacy. Hamilton, whom he esteemed above all men, and to whom he gave
his entire confidence, always observed in his private intercourse, as
in his public, the strictest etiquette. This cool sternness was natural
to him, and its influence was overwhelming. The humblest and the
highest felt it alike; inspiring a respectful awe, commanding a
dignified demeanor. He was best beloved at a distance, because the
qualities of the man were only present, and these were purer and more
lofty than those given to any other man. There is no character of
ancient or modern times so consistent as that of Washington. He was
always cool, always slow, always sincere. There is no act of his life
evincing the influence of prejudice. He decided all matters upon
evidence, and the unbiased character of his mind enabled him
impartially to weigh this evidence, and the great strength of his
judgment to analyze and apply it. He seemed to understand men
instinctively, and if he was ever deceived in any of those in close
association with him, it was Tom Jefferson. Burr had not been on his
staff ten days before he understood him perfectly, and he very soon got
rid of him. Of all the officers of the Continental army, General Greene
was his favorite; and he was right, for Greene was a great military
man--far superior to Washington himself, and none knew it better than
he. I remember to have heard him say that Greene was the only man in
the army who could retrieve the mistakes of Gates and save the Southern
country. The result verified the statement.

"Washington's lenity never extended to the excusing of any palpable
neglect of duty. The strict regularity of his own private character was
carried into everything connected with his public duties. However much
he esteemed any man, it was for his worth in his especial position, and
not because of any peculiarity of bearing or properties of heart. That
he appreciated the higher qualities of the heart, is certainly
true--but for what they were worth always--and neither quality of head
or heart created a prejudice which would lead him to excuse any neglect
of duty or laxity of morals. He was not without heart, but it was slow
to be moved, and never so moved as to warp or obscure his judgment, or
influence the discharge of his duty.

"Mrs. Washington was less amiable than her husband, and at times would
sadly tax his patience--she never forgot that she was wealthy when she
married him, and would sometimes allude to it in no very pleasant
manner to her husband; who, notwithstanding, bore with her with
remarkable patience. I do not remember ever to have seen General
Washington laugh; sometimes a faint smile would tinge his features; but
very soon they returned to the sedateness and gravity of expression
common to them; and though they rarely brightened with a smile, they
were never deformed with a frown. There was in their expression a
fixity indicative of his character, a purpose settled and unalterable.
Of all the men I have ever known, Washington was the only one who never
descended from the stilts of his dignity, or relaxed the austerity of
his bearing. It has been said that he swore at General Charles Lee at
the battle of Brandywine--I could never have it authenticated. He asked
excitedly of General Lee, by what ill-timed mistake the disaster had
occurred, which was forcing his retreat. Lee was a passionate, bad man,
and disliked to serve under Washington's command. He had served with
distinction in the British army in Europe, and felt, in adopting the
cause of the colonies, he should have been proffered the chief command.
There had been an intrigue at Philadelphia, headed by Dr. Rush, aided
by others, to prejudice Congress against the commander-in-chief, to
have him displaced, that Lee might succeed him. If Washington was aware
of this, it never escaped him to any of his military family; and
certainly never influenced his conduct toward Lee--for he had
confidence in his military abilities, and always gave him the position
where the most honor was to be won. Lee's reply to Washington was
violent, profane, and insolent. He said to General Lafayette that his
reply was: 'No man can boast of possessing more of that damned rascally
virtue than yourself.' He was arrested, court-martialed, and by its
decision, suspended for one year from command. He never returned to the
service, but retired to the interior of Virginia, and lived in great
seclusion until his death.

"Toward the young officers Washington was more indulgent than to the
older and more experienced. He would not see the smaller improprieties
of conduct in these, unless brought officially to his notice. Then they
were uniformly punished. He frequently counselled and advised them, but
was ever severe toward intemperance, with old and young.

"Upon one occasion, a certain Maryland colonel came suddenly and quite
unexpectedly upon the General, who was taking a walk. The colonel
attempted to salute, but in doing so, disclosed his inebriety. 'You are
intoxicated, sir,' said the General, with a humorous twinkle of the
eye. The colonel replied: 'I am glad you informed me, General; I will
go to my quarters before I make an ass of myself;' turned and walked
away. Without the slightest movement of feature the General continued
his walk. Nothing more was heard of it until the battle of Monmouth, in
which the colonel distinguished himself. The day after, in going the
grand-rounds, he approached the colonel, and remarked: 'Your gallantry
of yesterday excuses your late breach of discipline;' and saluting him,
passed on.

"In a conversation over the mess-table, at West Point, some severe
remarks upon the conduct of Washington, in hanging Andre, escaped
Hamilton. He said, warmly, that it was cruelly unjust, and would
assuredly sully the future fame of the General; that he felt aggrieved
that the ardent solicitations of his staff, and most of the
field-officers, in the unfortunate young man's behalf, had been so
little regarded. These remarks reached the ears of the General. We were
not aware of this, until some weeks subsequently he summoned his staff
to his presence, and stated the fact.

"'You will remember, gentlemen, that Captain Asgill, who was a
prisoner, and sentenced, by lot, to die, in retaliation for the
coldblooded murder of Captain Hale, by the orders of a British officer.
You, and many of the officers of the army, interceded to save his life.
His execution was, in consequence, respited. The heart-rending appeal
of his mother and sisters, communicated to me in letters from those
high-bred and accomplished women, determined me to lenity in his case,
and he was pardoned. Immediately upon the heels of this pardon comes an
intrigue to seduce from his duty and allegiance a major-general,
distinguished for services and capacity; and Major Andre is the
instrument to carry out this intrigue--to communicate their plans to
the traitor, and to consummate the arrangement. These plans were to
seize, treacherously, the person of the general commanding the American
forces, and carry him a prisoner to the enemy's headquarters. Lenity to
this man would have been a high crime against Congress, the army, and
the country, which could not have been justified. I regretted the
necessity as much as any of you; but mine was the responsibility, not
yours. Its being a painful duty did not make it less a duty. Not mine
alone, but the safety of the army depended upon the discharge of this
duty--a duty recognized by all nations in civilized warfare. I felt it
such; I discharged it, and am satisfied with it. I hope I am superior
to any apprehension of future censure for a faithful discharge of an
imperative duty.' Waving his hand, he bade us 'Good evening.'

"General Washington, upon all important movements, sought the opinions
of his staff, as well as those of the general officers of his command.
This was not for want of reliance upon his own judgment, but from a
desire to see the matter through every light in which it could be
presented. These opinions were not unfrequently asked in writing. They
were always carefully studied, and due weight given to them, especially
when they differed from his own. His mind was eminently analytical, and
always free from prejudice, and to these facts is to be attributed the
almost universal correctness of his judgment upon all subjects which he
had examined. With regard to men, I never knew him to ask another's
opinion; nor was he ever the man to give utterance to his own, unless
it became necessary as a duty. I knew, from the time I entered his
military family, of his high appreciation of Hamilton's abilities; and
the frequent concurrence of opinion between them sometimes (and
especially with those not entirely acquainted with him) induced a
belief that Hamilton formed his opinions, or, as Arnold once expressed
it, was his thinker. Yet there were many occasions upon which they
differed, and widely differed; and never did Washington surrender his
own opinion and adopt that of Hamilton. I never thought the feelings of
Washington toward him were more than respect for his exalted abilities.
I do not believe a kinder or more social attachment ever was felt by
him, and I am positively sure these were the feelings of Hamilton for
Washington.

"His respect for the abilities of Colonel Burr was quite as exalted as
for those of Hamilton; but he had no confidence in his honesty or
truth, and, consequently, very soon got rid of him. Burr's liaison with
Margaret Moncrief destroyed entirely the little regard left for him in
the mind of Washington. I asked Colonel Talmadge if Burr and Hamilton
ever were friends. They were very close friends apparently; but it was
palpable that each entertained a jealousy of the other, however much
they strove to conceal it. They were both ambitious, and felt the way
to preferment was through the favor of the commander-in-chief. Burr was
the more sensitive and the more impulsive of the two. They knew the
abilities of each other, and they knew these were highly appreciated by
the General; and at the moment when this jealousy was likely to
interfere with this friendship, Burr left the position of aide to the
General. He knew he had forfeited the confidence of Washington, and he
figured in the army very little after this. The rivalry, however, did
not cease here, nor did the secret enmity in their hearts die. The
world is not aware of the true cause of the hatred between them, and it
may never be.

"You are aware," continued the colonel, "that your preceptor, Judge
Reeve, is the brother-in-law of Colonel Burr. If I speak freely of him,
it is because I know him, and because you seem curious to pry into
these secret histories of national men. It is not to be repeated to
offend Judge Reeve, or disturb our relations as friends; for we are
such, and have been for fifty years.

"Colonel Burr has ever been remarkable for abilities from his boyhood.
Reeve and the celebrated Samuel Lathrop Mitchell were his classmates,
and agree that he had no equal in college. They were educated at
Princeton. Burr showed not only talent, but application, and a most
burning ambition. He showed, too, that he was already unscrupulous in
the use of means to accomplish his object. There are stories told of
his college-life very discreditable to his fame. He was as remarkable
in his features as in his mind. His capacious forehead, aquiline nose,
and piercingly brilliant eyes, black as night, with a large, flexible
mouth, Grecian in form, made him extremely handsome as a youth. His
manners were natural and elegant, and his conversational powers
unequalled. They are so to-day. Think of these gifts in a man
uninfluenced by principle, and only obedient to the warmer passions. He
ever shunned collective society, and seemed (for the time, at least)
totally absorbed by one or two only. The eloquence of manner, as the
persuasion of words, was in him transcendent. The whispered sophisms of
his genius burned into the heart, and it was remarked of him, by one
wise and discreet, that he could, in fewer words, win the sympathy and
start to tears a female auditor, than any preacher in the land. From
boyhood he seemed to have the key to every heart he desired to unlock.
Fatal gift! and terribly fatal did it prove to many a victim, and
especially to that gifted but frail girl--Margaret Moncrief.

"Margaret Moncrief was the daughter of an officer of the British army,
and had been left with that old veteran, Putnam, after this officer was
a prisoner of war. Hamilton formed an attachment for her, and Burr,
more from vanity than any other feeling, determined to win her away
from him. She was, for her sex, as remarkable as Burr for his; her
education was very superior, her reading as extensive as most
professional men, and entirely out of the line of ordinary female
reading; she was familiar with the entire range of science--her person
in form was perfect, in features exquisitely beautiful. She, too,
possessed the art to steal away the affections of any one around whom
she threw her spell. Apparently unconscious of her natural gifts, she
displayed them without reserve, and so artlessly, as to lure and
beguile almost to frenzy such temperaments as those of Burr and
Hamilton. Never before had Burr met his equal, and his vanity and
ambition were equally stimulated to triumph in her conquest, and ere he
was aware of it, what had been commenced in levity, had become a
passion which held him in chains. The sequel was the ruin of both. Here
commenced the heart-hatred which terminated in the duel and the death
of Hamilton.

"I know there was a romantic story, that gained credit with many, that
the influence of Miss Moncrief had corrupted Burr, and that she was
acting as a spy, and from Burr obtained all the information she desired
of the movements of the American army. Such was the credit attached to
this story, that General Putnam was questioned rather closely on the
subject of the intercourse between them. It was his opinion that it was
without foundation, and that it was simply a love affair. It was also
stated, and this Hamilton credited, that Burr was preparing to leave
the country with the lady, and there were some circumstances which
seemed to warrant such suspicion. To this day, there are ladies who
were at that time in communication with Miss Moncrief, who mention that
every preparation had been made, that her wardrobe had been removed
from her apartment, and that it was carried to those of Colonel Burr,
and that they had been turned back in the harbor by a sentry-boat, when
striving with a solitary oarsman to reach a British man-of-war, in the
lower harbor of the bay of New York. There was never any proof of this,
however, and I imagine it was only a gossiping story of Madame Rumor.

"Of the sincerity of the attachment on the part of the lady, her
subsequent confessions are the only proof; and at the time of making
these confessions, such was her position that little credit could be
given them. But that Colonel Burr was ever seriously attached to her,
those who knew him best scarcely believed. Men of his character rarely,
if ever, have serious and sincere attachment for any woman. To gratify
his vanity he would court the affections of any woman whose beauty and
accomplishments had attracted him. It was always for base purposes Burr
professed love. Such men too frequently win upon the regards of women,
and occupy high and enviable positions in female society; but their
love is diffusive, and for the individual only for a time. In truth,
they are incapable of a deep and sincere affection. The suspicion of
woman's purity forbids an abiding love; it is a momentary passion, and
not an elevated and enduring sentiment--not the embalming with the
heart's riches a pure and innocent being who yields everything to love.

"Colonel Burr was an indifferent husband toward one of the most
accomplished and lovable women I ever knew, and who was devoted to him,
and whose heart he broke. She was the widow of a British officer named
Provost, I believe, who died in the West Indies; and a more deserving
woman, or one more lovely, never went to the arms of a _roue_, to be
kissed and killed.

"Burr hated Washington, and united himself politically with his
enemies. There was a close political intimacy between him and
Jefferson, but never anything like confidence. In their party they were
rivals; and after the election which made Jefferson President, there
was no semblance of intimacy or friendship between them.

"Burr believed he was really elected President, and that Jefferson had
defrauded him in the count of the ballots. He was disappointed and
dissatisfied with his position and with his party, and immediately
commenced an intrigue to separate the Western States from the Union,
and on the west of the mountains and along the waters of the
Mississippi to establish a separate government, where he hoped to fill
the measure of his ambition, and destroy the power of the Union--thus
at the same time to crush both the Federal and Republican parties, for
now he hated both alike.

"Hamilton had been his early rival; he had, as he believed, destroyed
him with Washington, and that he had been mainly instrumental in
defeating him with Jefferson for the Presidency. There can be no doubt
of the fact, that Jefferson had been voted for by the colleges for
President, and Burr for Vice-President; but they were not so designated
on the ballots. They received an equal number of votes, and had to be
elected, owing to a defect in the law at that time, by the House. The
balloting continued several days. There were sixteen States, and each
received eight. Jefferson was especially obnoxious to the hatred of the
Federal party; Burr, though belonging to the Republican party, less so;
and many of the leading men in Congress of the Federal party determined
to take Burr in preference. The strength of this party was mainly in
the North, and Burr was a Northern man; and they felt more might be
expected of him, from Northern interest, than from Jefferson. But the
main cause of the effort was the animosity to Jefferson. Washington was
viewed as the representative man of the Federal party. Jefferson,
though he had been a Cabinet minister in his Administration, had made
no secret of his opposition to the views of Washington; and had aided a
clerk in his department to establish a newspaper, especially to attack
Washington, and to oppose the Administration, which he did, in the most
bitter and offensive manner.

"Jefferson was an unscrupulous man--a man of wonderful intellect and
vast attainments, but entirely unprincipled. This editor and clerk of
Jefferson's, sent daily to the President two copies of his paper,
filled with the vilest abuse of him personally, and of his
Administration. Much of this was, doubtless, written by Jefferson
himself. This supposition is the more to be relied on from the fact
that Washington remonstrated with Jefferson upon the matter, and
requested the removal of the offending clerk, which was refused by
Jefferson. His declining to remove Jefferson himself, is conclusive of
the considerate forbearance of this truly great man. These were reasons
operating upon the minds and feelings of those men who had not only
sustained Washington through the Revolution, but had stood to the
support of his Administration, and who concurred with him in political
opinion and principle.

"Mr. Adams had made this party unpopular by the course pursued by him
in conducting the Government. The Alien Law, and the Sedition Law,
which obtained his signature, (though I know he was opposed personally
to both,) and the prosecutions which arose, especially under the
latter, were very offensive, and entirely at variance with the spirit
of our people, and indeed of the age, and had so damaged the Federal
party, as to render it odious to a large majority of the people.

"The more considerate of the party believed in the election of
Burr--the Southern and Northern Democracy would become divided.
Jefferson was known to be specially the favorite of this party, South,
and would naturally oppose, himself, and lead his party in opposition
to the Administration of Burr, and the Federal party, uniting in his
support, with the Republicans, North, would ultimately succeed in
recovering the control of the Government. During the ballotings this
was fully discussed in the secret meetings of the Federalists. The
balloting continued from the 11th to the 17th of February, and only
eight States could be carried for Mr. Jefferson, six for Burr, and two
were divided. It was supposed Hamilton's influence would be given to
Burr, and he was sent for, but to the astonishment of his political
friends, it was thrown in opposition to Burr. This influenced those
controlling the vote of the divided States. Burr had entered heartily
into the scheme of defeating Jefferson. Had Hamilton co-operated with
his party, there is now no telling what might have been the future
political destiny of the country. Burr was sworn in as Vice-President,
and there is no doubt but that the will of the people was substantially
carried out.

"The restlessness of Burr was manifested; he seemed to retire from the
active participation in politics which had previously been his
habit--still, however, adhering to the Republican party, and opposing
strenuously every view or opinion advanced by Hamilton. Burr did not
take his seat as presiding officer of the Senate, and in February,
after the election of Jefferson, Hillhouse was chosen to fill his place
_pro tem._ After the inauguration of Jefferson, Abraham Baldwin was
elected to preside as President _pro tem._ of the Senate. It had not
then become the habit of the Vice-President to preside over the Senate;
nor was it the custom for the Vice-President to remain at the seat of
Government during the sessions of Congress. Burr, disgusted with the
Republican party, ceased to act with it, and went to New York. Here he
resumed the practice of law. He was never considered a deeply read
lawyer, nor was he comparable with his rival, Hamilton, in debate, or
as an advocate at the Bar. He was adroit and quick, and was rather a
quibbler than a great lawyer.

"You ask me if I thought, or think, he ever deserted the Republican
party in heart? I answer, no; for I do not think he ever had any
well-defined political or moral principle, and was influenced always by
what he deemed would subserve his own ambitious views; and you ask me,
if I ever thought him a great man? Men greatly differ, as you will find
as you grow older, and become better acquainted with mankind, as to
what constitutes a great man. I think Colonel Burr's talents were
eminently military, and he might, in command, have shown himself a
great general. His mind was sufficiently strong to make him respectable
in any profession he might have chosen; but his proclivity, mentally,
was for arms--he loved to direct and control. In very early life he
showed much skill and tact as an officer in the Canadian campaign; but
he wanted those moral traits which give dignity and decision to
character, and confidence to the public mind. His vacillation of
opinion, as well as of conduct, was convincing proof that he acted
without principle, and was influenced by his own selfish views. Man, to
be great, must act always from principle. Principle, like truth, is a
straight edge, will admit of no obliquity, is always the same, and
under all circumstances: conduct squared by principle, and sustained by
truth, inspires respect and confidence, and these attributes, though
they may and do belong to very ordinary minds, are nevertheless great
essentials to the most powerful in making greatness. Great grasp of
intellect, fixity of purpose, strong will, high aims, and incorruptible
moral purity, make a great man. They are rare combinations, but they
are sometimes found in one man--they certainly were not in Colonel
Burr. A great general, a great statesman, a, great poet, a great
astronomer, may be without morals; and he is consequently not a great
man. My young friend, a great man is the rarest creation of Almighty
God. Time has produced few. Washington, perhaps, approaches the
standard nearest, of modern men; but he was selfish to some extent.

"After Colonel Burr's return to New York, he was nominated by the
Federal party for Governor of the State; this was the first open
announcement of his having deserted the Republican party. Hamilton
threw all his influence against him, and he was defeated. This defeat
sublimated his hatred for Hamilton. He made an excuse of certain words
Hamilton had used in relation to him for challenging him. They met, and
Hamilton fell. The death of Hamilton overthrew the little remaining
popularity left to Burr. The nation, the world, turned upon him, and he
became desperate.

"Burr's term as Vice-President terminated on the fourth of March, 1805.
The odium which attached to his name found universal utterance after
the duel. It was not simply the killing of Hamilton; this merely gave
occasion for the outburst of public indignation. His private character
had always been bad. As a member of the Legislature, he had so
conducted himself as to excite general suspicion of his integrity. His
desertion of the party elevating him to the Vice-Presidency, and
lending himself to the opposition party to defeat the clearly expressed
views of his own party, all combined to make him extremely odious to
the populace.

"In the canvass for the Presidency, he had been mainly instrumental in
carrying the State of New York for the Republican party. In this he had
triumphed over Hamilton; but in the more recent contest for Governor of
the State, he found that the Republican party adhered to principle, and
refused to be controlled by him, repudiating his every advance; and
learned, also, that the Federal party would not unite in accepting him.
Defeated on every side, in all his views, and mainly through the
instrumentality of Hamilton, he determined, after killing his rival, if
possible, to destroy the Government.

"There was nothing unfair, or out of the ordinary method of conducting
such affairs, in this duel. Hamilton's eldest son, but a little while
before, had been slain, in a duel, on the very spot where his father
fell, and the event created little or no excitement; and when Burr saw
himself met with universal scorn, he knew it was the eruption of an
accumulated hatred toward himself, and that all his ambition for future
preferment and power was at an end. Immediately he left for the West,
and commenced an abortive effort to break up the Union.

"The Allegheny Mountains opposed, at that time, an obstacle to free
communication with the East. The States west were politically weak,
and, supposing their interests were neglected by Congress, were
restless and dissatisfied. This was especially true of Western
Pennsylvania. There were very many young and ambitious men in all the
Western States and Territories. Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio were
rapidly populating from the Eastern and Middle States. Their commercial
communication with the East was attended with so many difficulties as
to force it almost entirely to New Orleans.

"Geographically, it seemed that the valley of the Mississippi was, by
nature, formed for one nation. The soil and climate promised to
enterprise and industry untold wealth. The territorial dimensions were
fabulous. The restless and oppressed multitudes of overstocked Europe
had already commenced an emigration to the United States, which
promised to increase to such an amount as would soon fill up, to a
great extent, this expanded and promising region. The Mississippi
furnished an outlet to the ocean, and a navigation, uninterrupted
throughout the year, for thousands of miles, and New Orleans, a market
for every surplus product. Burr saw all this, and determined to effect
its separation from the Union, and there to establish a new empire,
which should, ere long, control the destinies of the continent. It was
the conception of genius and daring, but required an administrative
ability which he had not, to consummate this conception. He
miscalculated his material. The people of the West were vastly more
intelligent than he had supposed them. They were not so simple as to
receive his views, and blindly adopt and act upon them. They canvassed
them, and concluded for themselves. At Pittsburgh he found a number of
adventurous young men (who had nothing to lose, and who were ripe for
any enterprise which promised fame or fortune,) to unite with him.

"He found Henry Clay in Kentucky, and Andrew Jackson in Tennessee,
young, enterprising, and full of spirit and talent. He supposed them to
be the men he sought, and approached both, cautiously revealing his
views; but, to his astonishment, the grievances of the West had not so
warped their patriotism as to dispose them to engage in any schemes
which threatened the dismemberment of the Union. Clay listened and
temporized, but never, for a moment, yielded assent. Jackson, more
ardent, and a military man by nature, was carried away with the idea
for a time. He was well acquainted with the people of the West, and
especially with the population on the Lower Mississippi, and was the
man who recommended Burr to make first a descent upon Mexico, as I have
been confidentially informed, and sincerely believe. I have also been
informed that he dissuaded Burr from any attempt to excite a war of the
West with the East; but first to make Mexico secure, which they and
Wilkinson believed would be an easy matter. It was when Burr, having
abandoned his first enterprise, descended the Mississippi, that he was
arrested. This arrest was made by the acting Governor of Mississippi,
and at some point in that Territory, where Jackson had a store or
trading establishment. He was, with three of his aides, on his way to
meet Wilkinson, for the purpose of arranging matters. He escaped, and
finding things prepared for his interception, he made his way across
the country; but was finally arrested, on the Tombigbee, by an officer
of the United States army. When on his trial at Richmond, Jackson went
there, and was found on the street haranguing the people in Burr's
favor, and denouncing the prosecution and the President. Subsequently,
however, he denounced Burr, and pretended that he had deceived him.
Humphrey Marshall, Pope, Grundy, and Whitesides united with Clay in
condemning the entire scheme. There was a crazy Irishman, an
adventurer, named Blannerhasset, residing on the Ohio, who at once
entered into his views, embarked all his fortune in the enterprise,
and, with Burr, was ruined. He was tried for treason, and acquitted.
Soon after, he left the country, and remained away for many years,
returning to find himself a stranger, and almost forgotten."

Some months subsequent to this conversation, Colonel Burr came up from
New York to visit his brother-in-law, Judge Reeve, and an opportunity
was thus afforded me to see and converse with him; but no allusion was
made to the past of his own life, save an account of some suffering he
underwent in the Canadian campaign, with General Montgomery. He had
contracted, he said, a rheumatism in his ankle, during the winter he
was in Canada, and that he had occasional attacks now, never having
entirely recovered. He was not disposed to talk, and still he seemed
pleased at the attentions received from the young gentlemen who visited
him occasionally during his short stay. I do not remember ever having
seen him on the street, or in the company of any one, except some of
the young men who were reading with Judge Reeve. Some years after this,
I met Colonel Burr in the city of New York, and spent an evening with
him. At this time he alluded to his trip down the Mississippi, and made
inquiry after several persons whom he had known. There were then living
three men who, as his aides, had accompanied him upon his expedition. I
knew the fact, and expected he would allude to them, but he did not. He
seemed to desire to know more of those who had been active in procuring
his arrest.

It was Cowles Mead (who was acting Governor of the Territory of
Mississippi at the time) who arrested Burr at Bruensburgh, a small
hamlet on the banks of the Mississippi, immediately below the mouth of
the Bayou Pierre. "Mead," he said, "was a great admirer of Jefferson,
because, I suppose, when he had been unseated by the contestant of his
election, (a Mr. Spaulding,) Jefferson, to appease his wounded
feelings, had appointed him secretary to the Mississippi Territory. He
was a vain man of very small mind, and full of the importance of his
official station." I remarked that he was a brother-in-law of mine. "I
was not aware of that, but I am sure you are too well acquainted with
the truth of the statement to be offended at my stating it." I
remarked: "Colonel, I am thoroughly acquainted with General Mead, and
equally as well acquainted with all the circumstances connected with
your acquaintance with him. The adventure of Bruensburgh has been,
through life, a favorite theme with the General, and I doubt if there
is living a man who ever knew the General a month, who has not heard
the story repeated a dozen times." He dryly remarked: "I should have
supposed the episode to that affair would have restrained him from its
narration;" and the conversation ceased.

I shall have much more to say of these two in a future chapter. At
this time Colonel Burr was old and slightly bent, very unlike what he
was when I first met him; still his eyes and nose, brow and mouth,
wore the same expression they did fifteen years before. About the
mouth and eye there was a sinister expression, and he had a habit of
looking furtively out of the corner of his eye at you, when you did
not suppose he was giving any attention to you.




CHAPTER XV.

CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT.

GOVERNOR WOLCOTT--TOLERATION--MR. MONROE--PRIVATE LIFE OF WASHINGTON--
THOMAS JEFFERSON--THE OBJECT AND SCIENCE OF GOVERNMENT--COURT ETIQUETTE
--NATURE THE TEACHER AND GUIDE IN ALL THINGS.


During the year 1820 I was frequently a visitor at the house of
Governor Oliver Wolcott, who then resided in Litchfield, Connecticut.
Governor Wolcott was a remarkable man in many respects. He was
originally a Federalist in politics, and enjoyed the confidence of that
party to an unlimited extent. His abilities were far above ordinary,
and his family one of great respectability. He was a native of
Connecticut, and after Alexander Hamilton retired from the Treasury
bureau in the Cabinet of Washington, he succeeded to that position. He
filled the office with credit to himself, and to the satisfaction of
his chief. He had, after considerable time spent in public life, left
Connecticut, to reside in New York. Subsequent to the war, and when the
Federal party had abandoned its organization under the Administration
of Mr. Monroe, there grew up in his native State a party called the
Toleration party. In reality it was a party proscriptive of the old
Federal leaders, and it grew out of some legislation in connection with
religious matters, in which, as usual, the Puritan element had
attempted to oppress, by special taxation, for their own benefit, all
others differing from them in religious creed. Governor Wolcott favored
this new organization, and he was invited to return to the State and
give his aid to its success. He did so, and in due time was made
Governor by this party. At the time of which I write, he was as
bitterly and sincerely hated by the old Federal party as ever Jefferson
was, or as Andy Johnson now is by the Radical party, which is largely
constituted of the _debris_ of that old and intolerant organization,
and which is now eliminating every principle of the Constitution to
gratify that thirst for power, and to use it for persecution, that
seems inherent in the nature of the Puritan. By the hour I have
listened to the abuse of him, from the mouths of men whose lives had
been spent in his praise and support, simply because he had interposed
his talents and influence to arrest the oppressor's hand. They said he
had deserted his party, that he would live to share the fate of Burr,
and that he was as great a traitor.

The bitterness and injustice of party is proverbial, and its want of
reason is astonishing. Men who are cool and considerate on all other
subjects, are frequently the most violent and unreasonable as
partisans. It seems akin to religious fanaticism, and proscribes with
the same bigotry all who will not, or conscientiously cannot, act or
think with them. It prescribes opinions, and they must be obeyed by all
who belong to the organization, and without reservation or
qualification. Its exactions are as fierce and indisputable as the laws
and regulations of the Jesuits. These are changed with party
necessities, and not unfrequently are diametrically antagonistic to the
former creed; yet you must follow and sustain them, or else you are a
traitor, and denounced and driven from the party, and often from
intercourse socially with those who have been your neighbors and
friends from boyhood. In this method party compels dishonesty in
politics, and is eminently demoralizing, for it is impossible to
familiarize the conscience with political dishonesty without tainting
the moral man in ordinary matters pertaining to life. Once break down
the barrier which separates the right from the wrong, that success may
come of it, and every principle of restraint to immoral or dishonest
conduct is swept away. For this reason men of stern integrity never
make good politicians. They are very often the reliable Statesmen,
never the reliable politicians.

Governor Wolcott had through his life sustained an unimpeached
reputation. He had filled to the full his political ambition. Again and
again he had been honored by his people who had grown up with him. He
had been honored by the confidence of Washington, and the nation. He
was wealthy, was old, and only aspired to do, and to see done, justice
to the whole people of his native State. In doing this he came in
conflict with the unjust views and iniquitous conduct of an old,
crushed party, and he was denounced as a traitor, and ostracized
because he would be just.

This was the disruption forever of the Federal party in Connecticut;
for though it had ceased to exist as a national organization, it still
was sufficiently intact to control most of the New England States. Mr.
Monroe's Administration had been so popular that in his second election
he received every vote of every State in the Union, save New Hampshire:
one man in her electoral college, who was appointed to vote for him,
refused to do so, and gave as his reason that he was a slave-owner. New
interests had supervened, old issues were dead--they had had their
day--their mission was accomplished; old men were passing away, the
nation was expanding into great proportions, and men of great talents
were growing with and for the occasion; old party animosities were
dimming out, and the era of good feelings seemed to pervade the
national heart. Even John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were amicably
corresponding and growing affectionate at eighty. It was but the lull
which precedes the storm--the sultry quiet which augurs the earthquake.

Upon one occasion I ventured to ask Governor Wolcott to tell me
something of Washington. We were strolling in his garden, where he had
invited me to look at some melons he was attempting to grow under
glass. He stopped, and turning round, looked me full in the face, and
asked me if I had not read the "Life of Washington."

"Not the private life," was the reply.

"Ah! a very laudable curiosity in one so young. I knew him well, and
can only say his private was very much like his public life. I do not
suppose there ever lived a man more natural in his deportment than
Washington. He did nothing for effect. He was more nearly the same man
on the street that he was in his night-gown and slippers, than any man
I ever knew; I can't say I was intimate with Washington; no man can or
ever could have said that. His dignity was austere and natural. It was
grand, and awed and inspired a respect from every one alike. You
breathed low in his presence--you felt uneasy in your seat, before him.
There was an inspiring something about him, that made you feel it was a
duty to, stand in his presence, uncovered, and respectfully silent. I
have heard this sternness attributed to his habit of command; not
so--it was natural, and he was unconscious of it. Most men, however
stern, will unbend to woman. There is in woman's presence a divinity
which thaws the rigor of the heart and warms the soul, which manifests
itself in the softening of the eye, in the glow upon the cheek, and the
relaxation of manner. It was not so with Washington. In his
reception-rooms he was easily polite and courteously affable; but his
dignity and the inflexibility of his features never relaxed.

"I remember to have heard Mrs. Adams say 'she did not think he was ever
more than polite to Mrs. Washington.' With all this he was very kind,
and if he ever did let himself down it was to children, and these never
seemed to feel his austerity, or to shrink away from it. It is said
that it is the gift of childhood to see the heart in the eye and the
face. It is certain they never approach an ill-natured or bad man, and
never shrink from a kind and good one. In his intercourse with his
Cabinet, he was respectful to difference--consulted each without
reserve or concealment, and always weighed well their opinions, and
never failed to render to them his reasons for differing with them. He
was very concise and exact in stating a case, and never failed to
understand well every question before acting. He had system and order
in everything. In his private affairs, in his household, as well as in
his public conduct, he observed strict rules, and exacted their
obedience from all about him. In nothing was he demonstrative or
impulsive; but always considerate and cool.

"I know nothing of his domestic matters. There were malicious persons
who started many reports of discord between Washington and his lady.
These I believe were all false. Mrs. Washington was a high-bred woman,
a lady in everything; and so far as my observation or acquaintance
extended, was devoted and dutiful. Of one thing I am very sure: she was
a proud woman, and was proud of her husband. She certainly had not the
dignity of her husband; no one, male or female, ever had. She was less
reserved, more accessible, and not indifferent to the attentions and
flatteries of her husband's friends. In fine, she was a woman.
Washington's deportment toward his wife was kind and respectful, but
always dignified and courteous. Toward his servants he was uniformly
kind.

"He was an enemy to slavery, and never hesitated to avow his
sentiments. His black servants were very much attached to him. The
peculiar nature of Washington forbade those heart-friendships demanded
by a narrower and more impulsive nature. He kept all the world too far
from him ever to win that tenderness of affection which sweetens social
life in the blending of hearts and sympathy of souls. But he commanded
that esteem which results from respect and appreciation of the great
and commanding attributes of his nature, which elevated him so far
above the men of his age. He wanted the softness and yielding of the
heart that so wins upon the affections of associates and those who are
in close and constant intercommunication. Are not these incompatible
with the stern and towering traits essential to such a character as was
Washington's? Like a shaft of polished granite towering amid shrubs and
flowers, cold and hard, but grand and beautiful, he stood among the men
and the women who surrounded him when President.

"General Washington was cautious and reserved in his expressions about
men. He rarely praised or censured. At the time I was in the Cabinet,
he had abundant cause for dislike to Mr. Jefferson, who, in his Mazei
letter, had represented him as laboring to break up the Government,
that upon its ruins a monarchy might arise for his own benefit. He
spoke of this letter more severely than I had ever heard him speak of
anything, and said no man better knew the charge false, than Mr.
Jefferson. Some correspondence, I believe, took place between them on
the subject. I believe they never met after this. Upon one occasion I
heard him say that it was unfortunate that Jefferson had been sent to
France at the time that he was, when morals and government alike were
little less than chaos, for he had been tainted in his ideas of both."

"You knew Mr. Jefferson?" I asked.

"Come into the house, and I will show you something," said the
venerable man, then tottering to the grave. I went, and he showed me
some letters addressed to him by persons in Virginia, presenting, in no
very enviable light, the character of Jefferson. When I had read them,
he remarked: "You must not suppose I am anxious to prejudice your
youthful mind against the great favorite of your people. It is not so.
You seem solicitous to learn something of the men who have had so much
agency in the establishment of the Government and the formation of the
opinions of the people, that I am willing you should see upon what my
opinions have, in a great degree, been formed. Mr. Jefferson is still
living, and still writing. His pen seems to have lost none of its
vigor, nor his heart any of its venom. You will hear him greatly
praised, and greatly abused. I knew him at one time, but never
intimately, and may be said only to know him as a public man; what of
his private character I know, comes from the statements of others, and
general report. You have just seen some of these statements. I knew the
writers of these letters well, and know their statements to be entitled
to credit, and I believe them. They assure me that Mr. Jefferson is
without moral principle. His public conduct must convince every one of
his want of political principle. His whole life has been a bundle of
contradictions. He has had neither chart nor compass by which to
regulate his course, but has universally adopted the expedient.

"That he has a great and most vigorous intellect is beyond all
question; but most of its emanations have been the _ad captandum_ to
seize the current, and sail with it. He saw the democratic proclivity
of the people, he concentrated it by the use of his pen, and he has
aided its expansion, until it threatens ruin to the Government. He
knows it, and he still perseveres. Under the plea of inviting
population, he advocated the extension of the franchise to aliens, and
was really the parent from whose brain was born the naturalization
laws, making citizens of every nationality, and giving them all the
powers of the Government, extending suffrage to every pauper in the
land, increasing to the utmost the material for the demagogue, and thus
depriving the intelligence of the country of the power to control it.
The specious argument that if a man is compelled to serve in the
militia and defend the country, he should be entitled to vote, was his.
Its sophistry is as palpable to Jefferson as to every thinking mind.
Government is the most abstruse of the sciences, and should, for the
security of all, be controlled by the intelligence of the country.
During the world's existence, all the intelligence it has ever
afforded, has not been competent to the formation of a government
approximating perfection.

"The object of government is the protection of life, liberty, and
property. The tenure of property is established and sustained by law;
it is the basis of government; it is the support of government; in
proportion to its extent and security, it is the strength and power of
government, and those who possess it should have the control of
government. In a republic, there can be no better standard of
intelligence than the possession of property, and to give the greatest
security to the government, none should, in a republic, be intrusted
with the ballot, but the native, and the property-holder, or the native
property-holder. The complications of our system are scarcely
understood by our own people, and to suppose that ignorant men (for
such constitute the bulk of our emigrant population) shall become so
intimate with it, and so much attached to it, as to constitute them, in
a few years, persons to be intrusted with its control, is supposing
human intelligence to be of much higher grasp than I have ever found
it. Most of these emigrants come here with preconceived prejudices
toward the institutions of their native lands. This is natural. Most of
them speak a foreign language. This has to be overcome, before they can
even commence to learn the nature and operation of our system, which is
so radically dissimilar to any and all others. These men, as the
ignorant of our own people, naturally lean on some one who shall direct
them, and they will blindly do his bidding. This is an invitation to
the demagogue; these are his materials, and he will aggregate and
control them. Such men are always poor, and envy makes them the enemies
of the rich. This creates an antagonism, which we see existing in every
country.

"The poor are dependent for employment upon the rich; the rich are
dependent upon the poor for labor. This mutual dependence, it would be
supposed, would tend to create mutual regard; but experience teaches
the reverse. The poor have nothing to sell but their labor, and there
are none to buy but the rich. Each, naturally, struggles to make the
best bargain possible, and take advantage of every circumstance to
effect this. Very few are satisfied with fair equivalents, and one or
the other always feels aggrieved. Here is the difficulty. Well, endow
the laborer with the ballot, and he usurps the government; for to vote
is to govern. What is to be the consequence? We now have, with all the
means of expansion and facilities a new country of boundless extent
gives to the poor for finding and making homes, many more without
property than with it. This disproportion will go on to increase until
it assimilates to every old country, with a few rich and many poor.
These many will control; they will send of their own men to legislate;
they will favor their friends; they will levy the taxes, which the
property-holders of the country must pay; they will make the laws
appropriating these taxes; all will be for the benefit of their
constituency, and the property, the government, and the people are all
at their mercy. Jefferson sees this, and is taking advantage of it, and
has indoctrinated the whole unthinking portion of our people with these
destructive notions. It made him President. His example has proven
contagious, and I see no end to its results short of the destruction of
the Government, and that speedily. Mr. Jefferson's fame will be
co-existent with the Government. When that shall perish, his great
errors will be apparent. The impartial historian, inquiring into the
cause of this destruction, with half an eye will see it, and then his
true character will be sketched, and this great, unprincipled demagogue
will go naked down to posterity. He has always been unprincipled,
immoral, and dissolute. These, accompanying his great intellect, have
made it a curse, rather than a blessing, to his kind.

"The world has produced few great statesmen--Washington and Hamilton
were the only ones of any pretensions this country has produced. It was
a great misfortune that Hamilton did not succeed Washington. Mr. Adams,
now lingering to his end at Braintree, was a patriot, but greatly
wanting in the attributes of greatness. He was suspicious,
ill-tempered, and full of unmanly prejudices--was incapable of
comprehending the great necessities of his country, as well as the
means to direct and control these necessities. He had animosities to
nurse, and enemies to punish--was more concerned about a proper respect
for himself and the office he filled, than the interest and the destiny
of his country. He quarrelled with Washington, was jealous of him, who
never had a thought but for his country. Adams was all selfishness,
little selfishness, and earned and got the contempt of the whole
nation. Jefferson was turning all this to his own advantage; and the
errors and follies of Adams were made the strength and wisdom of
Jefferson. He had but one rival before the nation, Burr--he whom you
saw yesterday, the crushed victim of the cunning and intrigue of his
friend Jefferson.

"Washington had died--despondent of the future of his country. The
prestige of his name and presence was gone. He had committed a great
error in bringing Jefferson into his Cabinet and before the nation with
his approbation. He knew every Cabinet secret, and took advantage of
every one, and had placed himself prominently before the people, and
with Burr was elected. The defect in the law as existing at the time,
enabled Burr, when returned with an equal number of electoral votes, to
contend with Jefferson for the Presidency. It was in the power of
Hamilton, at this time, to elect. The States were divided, six for
Burr, eight for Jefferson, and two divided. There was one State voting
for Jefferson, which by the change of one vote would have been given to
Burr: the divided States were under his control. He was, during the
ballotings, sent for, with a view to the election of Burr; but he
preferred Jefferson--thought him less dangerous than Burr, and procured
his election. It was a terrible alternative, to have to choose between
two such men. The consequences to Burr and the country have been
terrible--the destruction of both.

"I suppose much I have said cuts across your prejudice, coming from the
South. I have sought to speak sincerely to you, because you are young,
impressible, and anxious for knowledge; and it is better to know an
unwelcome truth, than to find out by-and-by you have all your life been
believing an untruth. Nothing is more sickening to the candid and
sincere heart, than to learn its cherished opinions and dearest hopes
have been nothing but fallacies; and when you are old as I am, you will
have been more fortunate than I have been, if you do not find much that
you have loved most, and most trusted, a deceit--a miserable lie. Come
and see me at your leisure: I shall always be glad to see you, and
equally as glad to answer any of your questions, if these answers will
give you information."

Governor Oliver Wolcott was short in stature and inclined to
corpulency; his head was large and round, with an ample forehead; his
eyes were gray and very pleasant in their expression; his mouth was
voluptuous, and upon his lips there usually lurked a smile, humorous in
its threatening, provoking a pleasing dimple upon his cheek. In
society, in his extreme old age, for I only knew him then, he was less
gay than the general expression of his features would have indicated.
He was a man of strong will and most decided character. His
individuality was marked and striking, and his tenacity of purpose made
his character one of remarkable consistency.

Governor Wolcott was one of the old-school Federalists, a thorough
believer in Federal principles. He believed in the capacity of the
people for self-government, if the franchise of suffrage was confined
to the intelligence and freeholds of the country, but reprobated the
idea of universal suffrage as destructive of all that was good in
republican institutions. Succeeding Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of
the Treasury, he found all matters of finance connected with the
Government in so healthy a condition and arranged upon such a basis as
only required that he should be careful to keep them there. During the
four last years of the Administration of Washington, this prevented any
display on his part of any striking financial ability. The
administration of his office was entirely satisfactory to the country,
though it seemed he was only there to superintend the workings of the
genius of Hamilton. Once in my hearing he remarked, he had only to work
up to the scribings of Hamilton to make everything joint up and fit
well.

He held Washington in higher esteem even than Colonel Talmadge; and
differed from him in many particulars relative to his character. It was
my good fortune to sit and listen, more than once, to discussions
between these venerable men. It was always amicable and eminently
instructive. Wolcott was an admirer of Mrs. Washington, Talmadge was
not. Talmadge was a military man, and saw a healthy discipline only in
obedience to superiors, and exacted in his own family what he deemed
was proper in that of every man. Accustomed himself to a strict
obedience to the commands of his superiors, and deeming Washington
almost incapable of error, he thought hardly even of Mrs. Washington
when she manifested a disposition the slightest to independence of her
husband. Wolcott did not see her in the camp, but only as the wife of
the President of the United States--mistress of the Presidential
mansion, and affably dispensing the duties of hostess there--receiving,
entertaining, and socially intermingling in the society admitted to the
Presidential circle.

At that period there was more of ceremony and display in the higher
circles of official society than at this time. The people had seceded
from a monarchical government, and established a democratic one; but
the prestige of titular and aristocratic society still lingered with
those high in office, of distinguished position, and wealth. Many of
those most prominent about the Government had spent much time in
Europe, and had imported European manners and customs, and desired to
see the court etiquette of the mother country prevail at the court of
the new Government. Time and the institutions of democracy had not
effected that change in the practices of the people, which the
Revolution and the determination to control and direct their own
government had in their sentiments.

Mr. Jefferson affected to despise this formal ceremony, and the
distinctions in society encouraged by monarchical institutions, and
sustained by authority of law--though coming from a State and from the
midst of a people whose leading and wealthiest families had descended
directly from the nobility and gentry of England, and who affected an
aristocracy of social life extremely exclusive in its character, while
professing a democracy in political organization of the broadest and
most comprehensive type. His sagacity taught him that the institutions
of a democratic government would soon produce that social equality
which was their spirit, in the ordinary intercourse of the people--that
he who enjoyed all and every privilege, politically and legally, given
under its Constitution and laws, possessed a power which ultimately
would force his social equality with the most pretentious in the land.
In truth, the government was in his hands, and he would mould it to his
views, and society to his status.

The institutions of government everywhere form the social organization
of society. Men are ambitious of distinction in every government, and
aspire to control in directing the destinies of their country--are
justly proud of the respect and confidence of their fellow-men, and
will court it in the manner most likely to secure it. Now and then,
there are to be found some who are insensible to any fame save that
given by wealth--who will wrap themselves up in a pecuniary importance,
with an ostentatious display of their wealth, and an exclusiveness of
social intercourse, and are contented with this, and the general
contempt. Such men, and such social coteries, are few in this country.
Fortunately, wealth which is only used as a means of ostentatious
display is worthless to communities, and its possessor is contemptible.
"Wealth is power" is an adage, and is true where it is used to promote
the general good. Without it no people can be prosperous or
intelligent, and the prosperity and intelligence of every people is
greatest where there is most wealth, and where it is most generally
diffused. This is best effected by democratic institutions, where every
preferment is open to all, and where the division of estates follows
every death. No large and overshadowing estates, creating a moneyed
aristocracy, can accumulate, to control the legislation and the
people's destinies under such institutions. No privileged class can be
sustained under their operation; for such a class must always be
sustained by wealth hereditary and entailed, protected from the
obligations of debt, and prohibited from division or alienation.

Mr. Jefferson had studied the effects of governments upon their people
most thoroughly, and understood their operation upon the social
relations of society, and the character and minds of the people. He was
wont to say there was no hereditary transmission of mind; that this was
democratic, and a Caesar, a Solon, or a Demosthenes was as likely to
come from a cottage and penury as from a palace and wealth; that virtue
more frequently wore a smock-frock than a laced coat, and that the
institutions of every government should be so modelled as to afford
opportunity to these to become what nature designed they should
be--models of worth and usefulness to the country. Every one owes to
society obligations, and the means should be afforded to all to make
available these obligations for the public good. Nature never designed
that man should hedge about with law a favored few, until these should
establish a natural claim to such protection, by producing all the
intellect and virtue of the commonwealth. This was common property, and
wherever found, in all the gradations and ranges of society, should,
under the operations of law, be afforded the same opportunities as the
most favored by fortune. "In all things nature should be teacher and
guide."

These doctrines are beautiful in theory, and are well calculated to
fasten upon the minds of the many. They have been, time and again,
incorporated into the constitution of governments, and have uniformly
produced the same disastrous results. They are equally as fallacious as
the declaration "that all men are born free and equal," which, with
those above, has won the public approbation in spite of experience. The
equality of intellect is as certainly untrue as the equality of
stature; the one is not more apparent than the other. Transcendent
intellect is as rare as an eclipse of the sun. It manifests itself in
the control of all others--in forming the opinions and shaping the
destinies of all others. This is a birthright--is never acquired,
admits of great cultivation, receives impressions, generates ideas, and
makes wonderful efforts. Cultivation and education gives it these, but
never its vigor and power. In whatever grade or caste of society this
is born, it soon works its way to the top, disrupts every band which
ties it down, and naturally rises above the lower strata, as the
rarefied atmosphere rises above the denser. This higher order of
intellect will naturally control, and as naturally protect its power.
From such, a better government may always be expected; and without this
control, none can be wholesome or permanent.




CHAPTER XVI.

PARTY PRINCIPLES.

ORIGIN OF PARTIES--FEDERAL AND REPUBLICAN PECULIARITIES--JEFFERSON'S
PRINCIPLES AND RELIGION--DEMOCRACY--VIRGINIA AND MASSACHUSETTS PARTIES
--WAR WITH FRANCE--SEDITION LAW--LYMAN BEECHER--THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR--
"HAIL COLUMBIA" AND "YANKEE DOODLE."


The Federal and Republican parties of the nation had their rise and
formation out of the two principles of government--the one descending,
as by inheritance, from the mother-country, and the other growing out
of the formation of the governments established in the early
organization of the colonies. A republican form of government was
natural to the people. It had become so from habit. They had, in each
colony, enjoyed a representative form; had made their own laws, and,
with the exception of their Governors and judicial officers, had
chosen, by ballot, all their legislative and ministerial officers. Most
of the principles and practices of a democratic form of government,
consequently, were familiar to them. The etiquette of form and ceremony
preserved by the Governors, conformed to English usage. This was only
familiar to those of the masses whose business brought them in contact
with these ministerial officers and their appendages.

These were continued, to some extent, for a time; but Jefferson saw
that they must soon cease, and yield to a sensible, simple intercourse
between the officials of the Government and the people. This was
foreshadowed in the Declaration of Independence, drafted by him.
Immediately upon the success of the Revolution, and the organization of
the General Government, he enunciated the opinions and principles now
known as Jeffersonian or democratic. It has been charged upon him, that
he borrowed his principles from the leaders of the French Revolution,
as he did his religion from Voltaire and Tom Paine.

Jefferson was an original thinker, and thought boldly on all subjects.
He had studied not only the character and history of governments, but
of religions, and from the convictions of his own judgment were formed
his opinions and his principles. His orthodoxy was his doxy, and he
cared very little for the doxy of any other man or set of men. His
genius and exalted talents gave him a light which shines in upon few
brains, and if his religious opinions were fallacious, there are few of
our day who will say that his social and political sentiments were or
are wrong. As to his correctness in the former, it is not, nor will it
ever be, given to man to demonstrate. This is the only subject about
which there is no charity for him who differs from the received dogmas
of the Church, and to-day his name is an abomination only to the
Federalists and the Church.

Jefferson was made Secretary of State by General Washington, and was at
once the head and representative man of the democracy of the country.
There was, however, no organized opposition to the Administration of
Washington. But immediately upon the election of Adams it begun to take
shape and form, under the leadership of Jefferson. The two parties were
first known as the Virginia and Massachusetts parties. Jefferson had
been elected Vice-President with Adams, and before the termination of
the first year of the Administration the opposition was formidable in
Congress. Governor Wolcott was of opinion that Adams destroyed the
Federal party by the unwise policy of his Administration. He said he
was a man of great intellect, but of capricious temper, incapable from
principle or habit of yielding to the popular will. He certainly saw
the palpable tendency of public feeling, and must have known its
strength: instead of attempting to go with it, and shape it to the
exigencies his party required, he vainly attempted to stem the current,
defy it, and control it by law. He disregarded the earnest entreaties
of his best friends, counselling only with the extremists of the
Federal party: the result was the Alien and Sedition Laws. Pickering
warned him, and he quarrelled with him. He would not conciliate, but
punish his political foes. He loved to exercise power; he did it
unscrupulously, and became exceedingly offensive to many of his own
party, and bitterly hated by his political enemies. The Alien and
Sedition Laws emanated from the extremists of the Federal party, and
were in opposition to the views of Adams himself--yet he approved them,
and determined to execute them. He knew these laws were in direct
opposition to the views and feelings of an immense majority of the
people; and with these lights before him, and when he had it in his
power to have conciliated the masses, he defied them.

Mr. Adams was unaccustomed to seek or court public favor; his
associations had never been with the masses, and he understood very
little of their feelings; when these were forced upon him, he received
their manifestations with contempt, and uniformly disregarded their
teachings. All these defects of character were seized upon by the
opposition, to render odious the Federal party.

Mr. Jefferson placed himself in active opposition, and was known at an
early day as the candidate of the opposition to succeed Adams. Our
difficulties with France, and the action of Congress in appointing
Washington commander-in-chief of the American forces, brought
Washington into contact with Adams on several occasions; and especially
when Washington made his acceptance of the office conditional upon the
appointment of Hamilton as second in command, Adams thought he had not
been respectfully treated, either by Congress or Washington; and there
were some pretty sharp letters written by Washington in relation to the
course of Adams.

Jefferson was opposed to the French war. The aid afforded by France in
our Revolution had made grateful the public heart, and the people were
indisposed to rush into a war with her for slight cause. The pen of
Jefferson was never idle: he knew the general feeling, and inflamed it,
and what the consequences to the country might have been, had not the
war come to an abrupt and speedy end, there are no means of knowing.
The trial and conviction of Lyon and Cooper under the Sedition Law,
aroused a burst of indignation from the people. Still it taught no
wisdom to Mr. Adams. He was urged to have their prosecutions abandoned,
but he refused. After conviction, he was seriously pressed to pardon
these men, in obedience to the popular will, but he persistently
refused, and Lyon was continued in prison until liberated by the
success of the Republican party, and the repeal of the offensive and
impolitic laws soon after.

Adams professed great veneration for the character of Washington, and
he was doubtless sincere. Yet he never lost sight of the fact that it
was he who had seconded the motion when made in Congress by Samuel
Adams to appoint Washington commander-in-chief of the armies of the
Revolution, or that it was he who suggested it to Samuel Adams, and
that he sustained the motion in a speech of burning eloquence. He felt
that this conferred an obligation and that Washington was at times
unmindful of this. He was more exacting than generous, and more
suspicious than confiding. In truth, Adams had more mind than soul;
more ambition than patriotism, and more impulse than discretion. Yet
the country owes him much. He was a great support in the cause of the
Revolution, and his folly was to charge too high for his services. The
people honored him--they have honored his family, and will yet make his
son President. He received all they could give, and his littleness
crept out in his desire for more.

General Washington's estimate of men was generally correct. He
understood Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Burr. I do not think he was
personally attached to any one of them; yet he appreciated them as the
public now do. He had need of the talents of Hamilton and Jefferson.
The organization of the Government required the first minds of the
country; and Washington was the man to call them to his side. In
nothing did he show more greatness than in this. He knew Jefferson was
without principle, but he knew that he was eminently talented; he could
forget the one, and call to his aid the other. His confidence in the
integrity of Hamilton was stronger, as well as in his ability. Upon all
matters of deep concern to the country he consulted both, and these
consultations often brought these two men into antagonistical positions
before him, and upon important public matters--one of which was the
constitutionality of a United States Bank. To each of these, when the
charter of the bank was before him, he addressed a note requesting
their opinions upon its constitutionality. Jefferson replied promptly
in a short, written opinion, not well considered or ably argued, as was
his wont; denying the constitutionality of such an institution. This
opinion was handed to Hamilton, who pleaded public duties as the cause
of delay on his part, for not furnishing an opinion. It came at last,
and was able and conclusive, as to its constitutionality. But it was
terrible in its slashing and exposure of the dogmatical sophisms of
Jefferson. From that time forward there were bitter feelings between
these two eminent men.

Intellectually, Hamilton had no equal in his day. It is ridiculous to
compare him with Burr, which is often done by persons who should know
better, because they have all the evidence upon which to predicate a
conclusion. The occasion was open to both, equally, to discover to the
world what abilities they possessed. They equally filled eminent
positions before the nation, and at a time when she demanded the use of
the first abilities in the land. What each performed is before the
world.

Men having talent will always leave behind some evidence of this,
whether they pass through life in a public or private capacity.
Flippant pertness, with some wit, is too often mistaken for talent--and
a still tongue with a sage look, will sometimes pass for wisdom. But
wherever there is talent or wisdom, it makes its mark.

The evidences of Hamilton's abilities are manifested in his works. They
show a versatility of talent unequalled by any modern man. He was
conspicuous for his great genius before he was fifteen years of age; he
was chief-of-staff for General Washington before he was twenty, and
before he was thirty, was admitted to be the first mind of the country.
As a military man, every officer of the army of the Revolution
considered him the very first; as a lawyer, he had no equal of his day;
as a statesman, he ranked above all competition; as a financier, none
were his equal, and an abundance of evidence has been left by him to
sustain this reputation in every particular.

What has Burr left? Nothing. He still lives, and what his posthumous
papers may say for him, I cannot say; but I know him well, and
consequently expect nothing. As a lawyer, he was mediocre; as a
statesman, vacillating and without any fixed principles; as an orator,
(for some had claimed him to be such,) he was turgid and
verbose--sometimes he was sarcastic, but only when the malignity of his
nature found vent in the bitterness of words. His private conduct has,
in every situation, been bad. He was one of the Lee and Gates faction
to displace Washington from the command of the army. He decried the
abilities of Washington. He violated the confidence of General Putnam,
when his aide, in seducing Margaret Moncrief, (whose father had
intrusted her to Putnam's care.) He violated his faith to the
Republican party, in lending himself to the Federal party to defeat the
known and expressed will of the people, and the Republican party, by
contesting the election before Congress of Mr. Jefferson. In the
Legislature of New York, his conduct was such as to draw on him the
suspicion of corruption, and universal condemnation. Contrast his
public services with his public and private vices, and see what he
is--the despised of the whole world, eking out a miserable existence in
hermitical seclusion with a woman of ill-fame.

There resided as minister of the Congregational Church, at that time,
in Litchfield, Lyman Beecher. He was a man of short stature; remarkable
dark complexion, with large and finely formed head; his features were
strong and irregular, with stern, ascetic expression. He was naturally
a man of great mind, and but for the bigoted character of his religion,
narrowing his mind to certain contemptible prejudices and opinions,
might have been a great man. Reared in the practice of Puritan
opinions, and associated from childhood with that strait-laced and
intolerant sect, his energies, (which were indomitable) and mind, more
so perverted as to become mischievous, instead of useful. He was a
propagandist in the broadest sense of the term--would have made an
admirable inquisitor--was without any of the charities of the
Christian; despised as heretical the creed of every sect save his own,
and had all of the intolerant bitterness and degrading superstitions of
the Puritans, and persecutors of Laud, in the Long Parliament. In
truth, he was an immediate descendant of the Puritans of the
seventeenth century, and was distinguished for the persecuting and
intolerant spirit of that people. He seemed ever casting about for
something in the principles or conduct of others to abuse, and
delighted to exhaust his genius in pouring out his venom upon those who
did not square their conduct and opinions by his rule. At this time,
1820, the admission of Missouri into the Union gave rise to the
agitation of the extension of slavery. This was a sweet morsel under
and on his tongue. He at once commenced the indulgence of his
persecuting spirit, in the abuse of slavery, and slave owners. His own
immediate people had committed no sin in the importation of the
African, and the money accumulated in the traffic was not blood-money.
The institution had been wiped out in New England, not by
enfranchisement, but by sale to the people of the South, when no longer
useful or valuable at home; and all the sin of slavery had followed the
slave, to barbarize and degrade the people of the South. The fertility
of his imagination could suggest a thousand evils growing from slavery,
which concentrating in the character of those possessing them, made
them demons upon earth, and fit heritors of hell, deserving the wrath
of God and man.

It was palpable to the scrutinizing observer, that it was not the sin
of slavery which actuated the zeal of Beecher. The South had held
control of the Government almost from its inception. The Northern, or
Federal party, had been repudiated for the talents and energy of the
South. Its principles and their professors were odious--the conduct of
its leading representatives, during the late war, had tainted New
England, and she was offensive to the nostrils of patriotism
everywhere. Her people were restless and dissatisfied under the
disgrace. They were anxious for power, not to control for the public
good the destinies of the country; but for revenge upon those who had
triumphed in their overthrow. Their people had spread over the West,
and carried with them their religion and hatred--they were ambitious of
more territory, over which to propagate their race and creed; yet
preparatory to the great end of their aims, and the agitation necessary
to the education of their people upon this subject, they must commence
in the pulpit to abolish some cursing sin which stood in their way.
They had found it, and a fit instrument, too, in Lyman Beecher, to
commence the work. It was the sin of slavery. It stood in the way of
New England progress and New England civilization. New England religion
must come to the rescue. There was nothing good which could come from
the South; all was tainted with this crying sin. New England purity,
through New England Puritanism, must permeate all the land, and effect
the good work--and none so efficient as Beecher. The students of the
law-school had a pew in his little synagogue--it was after the fashion
of a square pew, with seats all around, and to this he would direct his
eye when pouring out his anathemas upon the South, Southern habits, and
Southern institutions; four out of five of the members of the school
were from the South.

It was his habit to ascribe the origin and practice of every vice to
slavery. Debauchery of every grade, name, and character, was born of
this, and though every one of these vices, in full practice, were
reeking under his nose, and permeating every class of his own people;
when seven out of every ten of the bawds of every brothel, from Maine
to the Sabine, were from New England, they were only odious in the
South. I remember upon one occasion he was dilating extensively upon
the vice of drunkenness, and accounting it as peculiar to the South,
and the direct offshoot of slavery, he exclaimed, with his eyes fixed
upon the students' pew: "Yes, my brethren, it is peculiar to the people
who foster the accursed institution of slavery, and so common is it in
the South, that the father who yields his daughter in wedlock, never
thinks of asking if her intended is a sober man. All he asks, or seems
desirous to know, is whether he is good-natured in his cups." Before
him sat his nest of young adders, growing up to inherit his religion,
talents, and vindictive spirit. Instilled into those from their cradles
were all the dogmas of Puritanism, to stimulate the mischievous spirit
of the race to evil works. Admirably have they fulfilled their destiny.
To the preaching and writings of the men and women descended from Lyman
Beecher has more misery ensued, than from any other one source, for the
last century. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has slain its hundreds of thousands,
and the sermons of Henry Ward Beecher have made to flow an ocean of
blood.

The example of Pymm, Cromwell, Whaley, and Goff, and their fate, has
taught the Puritans no useful lesson. They seem to think to triumph in
civil war, as their ancestors did, regardless of the danger that a
reaction may bring to them, is all they can desire. The fate of these
men has no warning. Reactions sometimes come with terrible
consequences. They cannot see Cromwell's dead body hanging in chains.
They will not remember the fate of Whaley and Goff, whose bones are
mouldering in their own New Haven, after flying their country and, for
years, hiding in caves and cellars from the revengeful pursuit of
resentful enemies. The Pymms and the Praise-God-bare-bones of the
thirty-ninth Congress may and (it is to be hoped) will yet meet the
merited reward of their crimes of persecution and oppression.

At the time of which I write, there were many remaining in Connecticut
who participated in the conflicts and perils of the Revolution. These
men were all animated with strong national sentiments, and felt that
every part of the Union was their country. They idolized Washington,
and always spoke with affectionate praise of the Southern spirit, so
prominent in her troops during the war. The conduct of the South (and
especially that of Georgia toward General Greene, in donating him a
splendid plantation, with a palatial residence, upon the Savannah
River, near the city of Savannah, to which he removed, lived, and in
which he died,) was munificent, and characteristic of a noble and
generous people.

But these were passing away, and a new people were coming into their
places. The effects of a common cause, a common danger, and a united
success, were not felt by these. New interests excited new aspirations.
The nation's peril was past, and she was one of the great powers of the
earth, and acknowledged as such. She had triumphantly passed through a
second war with her unnatural mother, in which New England, as a
people, had reaped no glory. In the midst of the struggle, she had
called a convention of her people, with a view of withdrawing from the
Union. Her people had invited the enemy, with their blue-light signals,
to enter the harbor they were blockading, and where the American ships,
under the command of one of our most gallant commanders, had sought
refuge. They were sorely chagrined, and full of wrath. They hated the
South and her people. It was growing, and they were nursing it. Even
then we were a divided people, with every interest conserving to unite
us--the South producing and consuming; the North manufacturing,
carrying, and selling for, and to, the South. The harmony of commerce,
and the harmony of interest, had lost its power, and we were a divided
people. The breach widened, war followed, and ruin riots over the land.
The South was the weaker, and went down; the North was the stronger,
and triumphed--and the day of her vengeance has come.

In that remote time, the chase after the almighty dollar had commenced,
and especially in New England, where every sentiment was subordinate to
this. Patriotism was a secondary sentiment. Hypocritical pretension to
the purity of religion was used to cover the vilest practices, and to
shield from public indignation men who, praying, pressed into their
service the vilest means to make haste to be rich. The sordid parsimony
of ninety-hundredths of the population shut out every sentiment of
generosity, and rooted from the heart every emotion honorable to human
nature. Neighborhood intercourse was poisoned with selfishness, and the
effort to overreach, and make money out of, the ignorance or
necessities of these, was universal. These degrading practices crept
into every business, and petty frauds soon became designated as Yankee
tricks. There was nothing ennobling in their pursuits. The honorable
profession of law dwindled into pettifogging tricks. Commerce was
degraded in their hands by fraud and chicanery. The pernicious and
grasping nature everywhere cultivated, soon fastened upon the features.
Their eyes were pale, their features lank and hard, and the stony
nature was apparent in the icy coldness of manner, in the deceitful
grin, and lip-laugh, which the eye never shared, and which was only
affected, when interest prompted, or the started suspicions of an
intended victim warned them to be wary. The climate, and the
inhospitable and ungenerous soil, seemed to impart to the people their
own natures.

The men were all growing sharp, and the women, cold and passionless;
the soul appeared to shrivel and sink into induration, and the whole
people were growing into a nation of cheats and dastards. Such was the
promise for the people of New England, in 1820. Has it not been
realized in the years of the recent intestine war? The incentive held
out to her people to volunteer into her armies, was the plunder of the
South. The world has never witnessed such rapacity for gain as marked
the armies of the United States in their march through the South.
Religion and humanity were lost sight of in the general scramble for
the goods and the money of the Southern people. Rings were snatched
from the fingers of ladies and torn from their ears; their wardrobes
plundered and forwarded to expectant families at home; graves were
violated for the plates of gold and silver that might be found upon the
coffins; the dead bodies of women and men were unshrouded after
exhumation, to search in the coffins and shrouds to see if valuables
were not here concealed; and, in numerous instances, the teeth were
torn from the skeleton mouths of the dead for the gold plugs, or gold
plates that might be found there. Nor was this heathenish rapacity
confined to the common soldier; the commanders and subalterns
participated with acquisitive eagerness, sharing fully with their
commands the hellish instincts of their race.

They professed to come to liberate the slave, and they uniformly robbed
or swindled him of every valuable he might possess--even little
children were stripped of their garments, as trophies of war, to be
forwarded home for the wear of embryo Puritans, as an example for them
in future. Such are the Yankees of 1863-4, and '67. They now hold
control of the nation; but her mighty heart is sore under their
oppression. She is beginning to writhe. It will not be long, before
with a mighty effort she will burst the bonds these people have tied
about her limbs, will reassert the freedom of her children, and scourge
their oppressors with a whip of scorpions.

Such men as Talmadge, Humphries, and Wolcott are no more to be found in
New England. The animus of these men is no longer with these people.
The work of change is complete. Nothing remains of their religion but
its semblance--the fanaticism of Cotton Mather, without his
sincerity--the persecuting spirit of Cotton, without the sincerity of
his motives. Every tie that once united the descendants of the Norman
with those of the Saxon is broken. They are two in interest, two in
feeling, two in blood, and two in hatred. For a time they may dwell
together, but not in unison; for they have nothing in common but
hatred. Its fruit is discord, and the day is not distant, when these
irreconcilable elements must be ruled with a power despotic as
independent, whose will must be law unto both. It is painful to look
back fifty years and contrast the harmony then pervading every class of
every section with the discord and bitterness of hate which substitutes
it to day. Then, the national airs of "Hail Columbia" and "Yankee
Doodle" thrilled home to the heart of every American. To-day, they are
only heard in one half of the Union to be cursed and execrated. To ask
a lady to play one of these airs upon the harp or piano, from the Rio
Grande to the Potomac, would be resented as an insult. The fame of
Washington and John Hancock mingled as the united nations; but the
conduct of the sons of the Puritan fathers has stolen the respect for
them from the heart of half of the nation; and now, even the once
glorious name of Daniel Webster stirs no enthusiasm in the bosoms which
once beat joyfully to his praise, as it came to them from New England.
Those who from party purposes proclaim peace and good will, only
deceive the world, not themselves, or the people of the South. Peace
there is; but good will, none. When asked to be given, memory turns to
the battle-fields upon Southern soil, the bloody graves where the
chosen spirits of the South are sleeping, and the heart burns with
indignant hatred. Generations may come and pass away, but this hatred,
this cursed memory of oppressive wrong will live on. The mothers of
to-day make for their infants a tradition of these memories, and it
will be transmitted as the highlander's cross of fire, from clan to
clan, in burning brightness, for a thousand years. The graveyards will
no more perish than the legends of the war that made them. They are in
our midst, our children, the kindred of all are there--and those who
are to come will go there--and their mothers, as Hamilcar did, will
make them upon these green graves swear eternal hatred to those who
with their vengeance filled these sacred vaults.

We are expected to love those whose hands are red with the blood of our
children; to take to our bosoms the murderers and robbers who have
slain upon the soil of their nativity our people, and who have robbed
our homes and devastated our country; who have fattened Southern soil
with Southern blood, and enriched their homes with the stolen wealth of
ours. Are we not men, and manly? Do we feel as men? and is not this
insult to manliness, and a vile mockery to the feelings of men? We can
never forget--we will never forgive, and we will wait; for when the
opportunity shall come, as come it will, we will avenge the damning
wrong.

This may be unchristian, but it is natural--nature is of God and will
assert herself. No mawkish pretension, no hypocritical cant, can
repress the natural feelings of the heart: its loves and resentments
are its strongest passions, and the love that we bore for our children
and kindred kindles to greater vigor in the hatred we bear for their
murderers.




CHAPTER XVII.

CONGRESS IN ITS BRIGHTEST DAYS.

MISSOURI COMPROMISE--JOHN RANDOLPH'S JUBA--MR. MACON--HOLMES AND
CRAWFORD--MR. CLAY'S INFLUENCE--JAMES BARBOUR--PHILIP P. BARBOUR--MR.
PINKNEY--MR. BEECHER, OF OHIO--"CUCKOO, CUCKOO!"--NATIONAL ROADS--
WILLIAM LOWNDES--WILLIAM ROSCOE--DUKE OF ARGYLE--LOUIS McLEAN--WHIG
AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES.


It was at the last session of the fifteenth Congress, in the winter of
1820-21, when the famous Compromise measure, known as the Missouri
Compromise, was effected. A portion of that winter was spent by the
writer at Washington. Congress was then composed of the first
intellects of the nation, and the measure was causing great excitement
throughout the entire country.

Missouri, in obedience to a permissory statute, had framed a
constitution, and demanded admission into the Union as a State. By this
constitution slavery was recognized as an institution of the State.
Objection was made to this clause on the part of the Northern members,
which led to protracted and sometimes acrimonious debate. At the first
session of the Congress the admission of the State had been postponed,
and during the entire second session it had been the agitating
question; nor was it until the very end of the session settled by this
famous compromise.

The debates were conducted by the ablest men in Congress, in both the
Senate and the House of Representatives. In the Senate, William
Pinkney, of Maryland; Rufus King, of New York; Harrison Gray Otis, of
Massachusetts; James Barbour, of Virginia; William Smith, of South
Carolina, and Freeman Walker, of Georgia, were most conspicuous. In the
House were John Randolph, of Virginia; William Lowndes, of South
Carolina; Louis McLean, of Delaware; Thomas W. Cobb, of Georgia, and
Louis Williams, of North Carolina, and many others of less note. Henry
Clay, of Kentucky, was Speaker of the House during the first session of
the Congress; but resigned before the meeting of the succeeding
Congress, and John Taylor, of New York, was elected to preside as
Speaker for the second session. Mr. Clay was absent from his seat
during the early part of this session; and notwithstanding the eminent
men composing the Congress, there seemed a want of some leading and
controlling mind to master the difficulty, and calm the threatening
excitement which was intensifying as the debate progressed. Mr.
Randolph was the leader in the debates of the House, and occupied the
floor frequently in the delivery of lengthy and almost always very
interesting speeches. These touched every subject connected with the
Government, its history, and its powers. They were brilliant and
beautiful; full of classical learning and allusion, and sparkling as a
casket of diamonds, thrown upon, and rolling along, a Wilton carpet. It
seemed to be his pleasure to taunt the opposition to enforce an angry
or irritable reply, and then to launch the arrows of his biting wit and
sarcasm at whoever dared the response, in such rapid profusion, as to
astonish the House, and overwhelm his antagonist.

His person was as unique as his manner. He was tall and extremely
slender. His habit was to wear an overcoat extending to the floor, with
an upright standing collar which concealed his entire person except his
head, which seemed to be set, by the ears, upon the collar of his coat.
In early morning it was his habit to ride on horseback. This ride was
frequently extended to the hour of the meeting of Congress. When this
was the case, he always rode to the Capitol, surrendered his horse to
his groom--the ever-faithful Juba, who always accompanied him in these
rides--and, with his ornamental riding-whip in his hand, a small cloth
or leathern cap perched upon the top of his head, (which peeped out,
wan and meagre, from between the openings of his coat-collar,) booted
and gloved, he would walk to his seat in the House--then in
session--lay down upon his desk his cap and whip, and then slowly
remove his gloves. If the matter before the House interested him, and
he desired to be heard, he would fix his large, round, lustrous black
eyes upon the Speaker, and, in a voice shrill and piercing as the cry
of a peacock, exclaim: "Mr. Speaker!" then, for a moment or two, remain
looking down upon his desk, as if to collect his thoughts; then lifting
his eyes to the Speaker would commence, in a conversational tone, an
address that not unfrequently extended through five hours, when he
would yield to a motion for adjournment, with the understanding that he
was to finish his speech the following day.

He had but few associates. These were all from the South, and very
select. With Mr. Macon, Mr. Crawford, Louis Williams, and Mr. Cobb, he
was intimate. He was a frequent visitor to the family of Mr. Crawford,
then Secretary of the Treasury, where occasionally he met Macon and
Cobb, with other friends of Crawford. Macon and Crawford were his
models of upright men. He believed Mr. Crawford to be the first
intellect of the age, and Mr. Macon the most honest man. The strict
honesty of Macon captivated him, as it did most men. His home-spun
ideas, his unaffected plainness of dress, and primitive simplicity of
manner, combined with a wonderful fund of common sense, went home to
the heart of Randolph, and he loved Macon in sincerity.

Macon and Crawford humored his many eccentricities, and would always
deferentially listen to him when the humor was on him to talk. It was
at such times that Randolph was most interesting. He had read much, and
to great advantage; he had travelled, and with an observant eye; he
knew more, and he knew it more accurately, than any other man of his
country, except, perhaps, that wonderful man, William Lowndes. In his
talking moods all the store-house of his information was drafted into
service. His command of language was wonderful. The antithetical manner
of expressing himself gave piquancy and _vim_ to his conversation,
making it very captivating. He was too impatient, and had too much
nervous irritability and too rapid a flow of ideas, to indulge in
familiar and colloquial conversation. He would talk all, or none. He
inaugurated a subject and exhausted it, and there were few who desired
more than to listen when he talked. Two or three evenings in the week
there would assemble at Mr. Crawford's a few gentlemen, members of
Congress. This was especially the case pending the Missouri question,
when Mr. Randolph, Mr. Macon, Mr. McLean, Mr. Holmes, of Maine, (a
great admirer of Mr. Crawford,) Mr. Lowndes, and sometimes one or two
gentlemen from Pennsylvania, would be present. At these meetings this
question was the first and principal topic, and Mr. Randolph would
engross the entire conversation for an hour, when he would almost
universally rise, bid good-night, and leave. At other times he would
listen attentively, without uttering a word, particularly when Crawford
or Lowndes were speaking. These, then, almost universally, did all the
talking. The diversity of opinion scarcely ever prompted reply or
interruption. In these conversations the great powers of Crawford's
mind would break out, astonishing and convincing every one.

It was upon one of these occasions, when discussing in connection with
the Missouri question, the subject of slavery, its influences, and its
future, that Mr. Crawford remarked: "If the Union is of more importance
to the South than slavery, the South should immediately take measures
for the gradual emancipation of the slaves, fixing a period for its
final extinction. But if the institution of slavery is of more vital
importance than the perpetuation of the Union to the South, she should
at once secede and establish a government to protect and preserve this
institution. She now has the power to do so without the fear of
provoking a war. Her people should be unanimous, and this agitation has
made them so--I believe. I know the love of the Union has been
paramount to every other consideration with the Southern people; but
they view, as I do, this attempt to arrest the further spread of
slavery as aggressive on the part of Congress, and discover an alarming
state of the Northern mind upon this subject. This with an increasing
popular strength may grow into proportions which shall be irresistible,
and the South may be ultimately forced to do, what she never will
voluntarily do--abolish at once the institution." It was urged by Mr.
Holmes that the Constitution guaranteed slavery to the States, that its
control and destiny was alone with the States, and there was no danger
that the North would ever violate the Constitution to interfere with
what they had no interest in.

"Never violate the Constitution!" said Randolph, in an excited and
querulous tone. "Mr. Holmes, you perhaps know the nature of your people
better than I do. But I know them well enough not to trust them. They
stickle at nothing to accomplish an end; and their preachers can soon
convince them that slavery is a sin, and that they are responsible for
its existence here, and that they can only propitiate offended Deity by
its abolition. You are a peculiar people, Holmes, prone to fanaticism
upon all subjects, and this fanaticism concentrated as a religious
duty--the Constitution will only prove a barrier of straw. No, sir; I
am unwilling to trust them. They want honesty of purpose, have no
sincerity, no patriotism, no principle. Your dough-faces will profess,
but at a point will fly the track, sir; they can't stand, sir; they
can't stand pressing. Interest, interest, sir, is their moving motive.
Do you not see it in their action in this matter? Missouri is a fertile
and lovely country; they want it for the purpose of settlement with
their own people. Prohibit slavery to the inhabitants, and no Southern
man will go there; there will be no competition in the purchase of her
land. Your people will have it all to themselves; they will flock to it
like wild geese, and very soon it is a Northern State in Northern
interest; and, step after step, all the Western territory will be in
your possession, and you will create States _ab libitum_. You know the
Constitution permits two-thirds of the States to amend or alter it:
establish the principle that Congress can exclude slavery from a
territory, contrary to the wishes of her people expressed in a
constitution formed by them for their government, and how long will it
be, before two-thirds of the States will be free? Then you can change
the Constitution and place slavery under the control of Congress--and,
under such circumstances, how long will it be permitted to remain in
any State?

"Your people are too religious, sir; eminently practical, inventive,
restless, cold, calculating, malicious, and ambitious; invent curious
rat-traps, and establish missions. I don't want to be trapped, sir; I
am too wary a rat for that; and think with Mr. Crawford, now is the
time for separation, and I mean to ask Clay to unite with us. Yet, sir,
I have not spoken to the fellow for years, sir; but I will to-morrow; I
will tell him I always despised him, but if he will go to his people, I
will to mine, and tell them now is the time for separation from you;
and I will follow his lead if he will only do so, if it leads me to
perdition. I never did follow it, but in this matter I will. I bid you
good night, gentlemen." He waited for no reply, but taking his hat and
whip, hurriedly left the room.

"Can Mr. Randolph be in earnest?" asked several.

"Intensely so," replied Mr. Crawford. "Mr. Holmes, your people are
forcing Mr. Randolph's opinions upon the entire South. They will not
permit Northern intermeddling with that which peculiarly interests
themselves, and over which they alone hold control."

There was a pause, the party was uneasy. There were more than Mr.
Holmes present who were startled at both Crawford's and Randolph's
speculation as to the value of the Union. They had ever felt that this
was anchored safely in every American breast, and was paramount to
every other consideration or interest. It was a terrible heresy, and
leading to treason. This was not said, but it was thought, and in no
very agreeable mood the party separated for the night.

Mr. Clay had just arrived from Kentucky. There had been many
speculations as to what course he would pursue in this delicate matter.
Many had suspended their opinions awaiting his action. The members from
Ohio were generally acting and voting with those of the East and North.
Some seemed doubtful, and it was supposed Mr. Clay would exercise great
influence with all the West, and those from Ohio, especially. Hence,
his coming was universally and anxiously awaited. But now he was in
Washington, all were on the _qui vive_.

Randolph's declaration was whispered about in the morning, and little
coteries were grouped about the hall of the House of Representatives.
Randolph was in conversation, near the Speaker's chair, with the clerk,
who was pointing and calling his attention to something upon the
journal of the House. The hour of meeting was at hand, and the crowd
was increasing upon the floor. Mr. Taylor was in conversation, near the
fire-place, on the left of the Speaker's chair, with Stratford Canning,
the British Plenipotentiary, Harrison Gray Otis, and Governor
Chittenden, of Vermont. Mr. Clay entered in company with William S.
Archer, a man whose only merit and sole pride was the having been born
in Virginia; whose pusillanimous arrogance was only equalled by the
poverty of his intellect, and who always foisted himself upon the
presence of eminent men, deeming he was great because of his impudence
and their association. All eyes were turned to Clay, and the members
flocked about him. Releasing himself from these he came up the aisle
toward the Speaker's chair. Mr. Randolph stepped into the aisle
immediately in front of the chair. At this moment Clay discovered him
and, towering to his full height, paused within a few feet of him whose
eye he saw fixed upon his own.

Randolph advanced and, without extending his hand, said: "Good morning,
Mr. Clay." Clay bowed, and Randolph immediately said: "I have a duty to
perform to my country; so have you, Mr. Clay. Leave your seat here,
sir, and return to your people, as I will to mine. Tell them, as I will
mine, that the time has come: if they would save themselves from ruin,
and preserve the liberties for which their fathers bled, they must
separate from these men of the North. Do so, sir; and, though I never
did before, I will follow your lead in the effort to save our people,
and their liberties." Mr. Clay listened, and without apparent surprise
remarked, with a smile: "Mr. Randolph, that will require more
reflection than this moment of time affords," and bowing passed on.

But a bomb had fallen on the floor, and consternation was on every
face. All turned to Mr. Clay. All saw a crisis was at hand, and that
this matter must be settled as speedily as possible. Archer filed off
with Randolph, who affected to pet him, as some men do foils for their
wit, in the person of a toady.

A few days after this occurrence the famous Compromise measure was
reported, and the first speech I ever listened to from Mr. Clay was in
its advocacy. About him was gathered the talent of the Senate and the
House. The lobbies and galleries were filled to overflowing. Mr.
Pinkney, of Maryland; Landman, of Connecticut; Rufus King, William
Lowndes, Otis, Holmes, Macon, and others, all manifested intense
interest in the speech of Mr. Clay. How grandly he towered up over
those seated about him! Dressed in a full suit of black, his hair
combed closely down to his head, displaying its magnificent
proportions, with his piercing, gray eyes fixed upon those of the
Speaker, he poured out, in fervid words, the wisdom of his wonderful
mind, and the deep feelings of his great heart. All accorded to him
sincerity and exalted patriotism; all knew and confided in his wisdom;
all knew him to be a national man, and into the hearts of all his words
sank deep, carrying conviction, and calming the storm of angry passions
which threatened not only the peace, but the existence of the
Government. All the majesty of his nature seemed as a halo emanating
from his person and features, as, turning to those grouped about him,
and then to the House, his words, warm and persuasive, flowing as a
stream of melody, with his hand lifted from his desk, he said:

"I wish that my country should be prosperous, and her Government
perpetual. I am in my soul assured that no other can ever afford the
same protection to human liberty, and insure the same amount. Leave the
North to her laws and her institutions. Extend the same conciliating
charity to the South and West. Their people, as yours, know best their
wants--know best their interests. Let them provide for their own--our
system is one of compromises--and in the spirit of harmony come
together, in the spirit of brothers compromise any and every jarring
sentiment or interest which may arise in the progress of the country.
There is security in this; there is peace, and fraternal union. Thus we
may, we shall, go on to cover this entire continent with prosperous
States, and a contented, self-governed, and happy people. To the
unrestrained energies of an intelligent and enterprising people, the
mountains shall yield their mineral tribute, the valleys their cereals
and fruits, and a million of millions of contented and prosperous
people shall demonstrate to an admiring world the great problem that
man is capable of self-government."

There beamed from every countenance a pleased satisfaction, as the
members of the Senate and the House came up to express their delight,
and their determination to support the measure proposed, and so ably
advocated. There was oil upon the waters, and the turbulent waves went
down. Men who had been estranged and angered for many months, met, and
with friendly smiles greeted each other again. The ladies in the
gallery above rose up as if by a common impulse, to look down, with
smiles, upon the great commoner. One whose silvered hair, parted
smoothly and modestly upon her aged forehead, fell in two massy folds
behind her ears, clasped her hands, and audibly uttered: "God bless
him."

The reconciliation seemed to be effected, and the confidence and
affection between the sections to be renewed with increased fervor and
intensity. There was rejoicing throughout the land. Dissatisfaction
only spake from the pulpits of New England, and there only from those
of the Puritan Congregationalists. But the public heart had received a
shock, and though it beat on, it was not with the healthful tone of
former days.

The men of the Revolution were rapidly passing to eternity. The cement
of blood which bound these as one was dissolving, and the fabric of
their creation was undermined in the hearts of the people, with
corroding prejudices, actively fomented by the bigotry of a selfish
superstition. A sectional struggle for supremacy had commenced. The
control of the Government was the aim, and patriotism was consuming in
the flame of ambition. The Government's security, the Government's
perpetuity, and the common good, were no longer prime considerations.
All its demonstrated blessings had remained as ever the same.
Stimulated by the same motives and the same ambitions, the new world
and the new Government were moving in the old groove; and the old world
saw repeating here the history of all the Governments which had arisen,
lived, and passed away, in her own borders. The mighty genius of Clay
and Webster, of Jackson and Calhoun, had, for a time, stayed the rapid
progress of ruin which had begun to show itself, but only for a time.
They have been gathered to their fathers, and the controlling influence
of their mighty minds being removed, confusion, war, and ruin have
followed.

The men conspicuous in the debates on the Missouri question were giants
in intellect, and perhaps few deliberative assemblies of the world ever
contained more talent, or more public virtue. At the head of these
stood Henry Clay, Pinkney, Rufus King, William Lowndes, Harrison Gray
Otis, William Smith, Louis McLean, the two Barbours, John Randolph,
Freeman Walker, Thomas W. Cobb, and John Holmes, of Maine.

James Barbour was a member of the Senate; Philip P. Barbour, of the
House. They were brothers, and both from Virginia. They were both men
of great abilities, but their style and manner were very different.
James was a verbose and ornate declaimer; Philip was a close, cogent
reasoner, without any attempt at elegance or display. He labored to
convince the mind; James, to control and direct the feelings. A wag
wrote upon the wall of the House, at the conclusion of a masterly
argument of Philip P. Barbour,

  "Two Barbers to shave our Congress long did try.
  One shaves with froth; the other shaves dry."

Of the Senate Mr. Pinkney was the great orator. His speech upon this
most exciting question has ever been considered the most finished for
eloquence and power, ever delivered in the United States Senate. The
effect upon the Senate, and the audience assembled in the galleries and
lobbies of the Senate, was thrilling. Mr. King was old, but retained in
their vigor his faculties, was more tame perhaps than in his younger
years; still the clearness and brilliancy of his powerful mind
manifested itself in his every effort. Mr. Pinkney had all the
advantages which a fine manly person and clear, musical voice gives to
an orator. He spoke but rarely and never without great preparation. He
was by no means a ready debater, and prized too much his reputation to
hazard anything in an impromptu, extemporaneous address. He listened,
for weeks, to King, Otis, and others who debated the question, and came
at last prepared in one great effort to answer and demolish the
arguments of these men. Those who listened to that wonderful effort of
forensic power will never forget his reply to King, when he charged him
with uttering sentiments in debate calculated to incite a servile war.
The picture he drew of such a war: the massacring by infuriated black
savages of delicate women and children; the burning and destroying of
cities; the desolating by fire and sword the country, was so thrilling
and descriptively perfect, that you smelt the blood, saw the flames,
and heard the shrieks of perishing victims. Mr. King shuddered as he
looked on the orator, and listened to his impassioned declamation. But
when Pinkney turned from the President of the Senate and, flashing his
eye upon King, continued in words hissing in whispers, full of pathos
as of biting indignation, Mr. King folded his arms and rested his head
upon them, concealing his features and emotion from the speaker and the
Senate. For two hours the Senate and galleries were chained as it were
to their seats. At times so intense was the feeling, that a pause of
the speaker made audible the hard and excited breathing of the
audience, catching their breath as though respiration had been
painfully suspended and relief had come in this pause. When he had
finished and resumed his seat, there was profound silence for many
seconds, when a Senator in seeming trepidation rose and moved an
adjournment.

Mr. Pinkney was in every respect a most finished gentleman, highly
bred, only associating with the first men and minds of the country;
courteous and polished in his manners, and scrupulously neat in his
dress, which was always in the height of fashion and always of the
finest and most costly materials. He never came to the Senate but in
full dress, and would have been mortified to find a mite of lint upon
his coat, or a dash of dust upon his boots.

At that time the United States Senate was the most august and dignified
body in the world. What is it to-day? _O tempora, O mores!_ In the
House, the palm of oratory was disputed between Mr. Clay and Mr.
Randolph. Their styles were so different, and both so effective, that
it was difficult to distinguish by comparison, to which belonged the
distinction of being first. Mr. Clay was always collected and
self-possessed--he was, too, always master of his subject; and though
he was a ready debater, he never made a set speech upon any important
subject without careful preparation. He was not easily disconcerted;
courageous, with a strong will, he feared no intemperate opposition,
and was never restrained from uttering his sentiments and opinions of
men or measures. He was kind and generous, until aroused or offended
and, then, was merciless. His sarcasm and invective upon such occasions
was withering, and his vehemence daring and terrible. No man of his day
had a mind better balanced than Mr. Clay. His judgment was almost
always correct; his imagination brilliant, but always under the control
of his judgment; his memory and preceptive faculties were wonderful;
his education was defective, and the associations of the West had not
given that polish to his manners which distinguishes men of education,
reared in educated communities, and associating always with polished
society. Mr. Clay had been at the most polished courts of Europe, and
was familiar with their most refined society; but these he visited in
mature life, after the manners are formed, and habit made them
indurate. He had long been familiar, too, with the best society in his
own country and, by this, had been much improved. Still the Kentuckian
would sometimes come through the shell, but always in a manner more to
delight than offend; besides, Mr. Clay set little value upon forms and
ceremony. There was too much heart for such cold seeming, too much fire
for the chill, unfeeling ceremony of what is termed first society.

Mr. Clay's manners partook much of the character of his mind and soul.
They were prompt, bold, and easy; his eloquence was bold, rough, and
overwhelming.

Like all men of genius, will, and self-reliance, Mr. Clay was impatient
of contradiction. The similarity in this regard, between Jackson, Clay,
and Crawford was wonderful. They were equally passionate, equally
impetuous, and equally impatient--all being natural men of great powers
and limited education. To say they were self-made, would be paying the
Almighty a left-handed compliment. But to say they assiduously
cultivated His great gifts without much aid from the schoolmaster,
would only be doing them unbiased justice.

Randolph was classically educated. He had enjoyed every advantage of
cultivation. Socially, he had never mingled with any but refined
society. The franchise of suffrage in Virginia was confined to the
freeholders, thus obviating in the public man the necessity of mingling
with, and courting the good opinion of the multitude. The system, too,
of electioneering was to address from the hustings the voters, to
declare publicly the opinions of candidates, and the policy they
proposed supporting. The vote was given _viva voce_. All concurred to
make representative and constituent frank and honest. While this system
existed, Virginia ruled the nation. These means secured the services of
the first intellects, and the first characters of her people. The
system was a training for debate and public display. Eloquence became
the first requisite to the candidate, and was the most powerful means
of influence and efficiency in the representative. Randolph had been
thus trained; he had listened to, and been instructed by the eloquence
of Patrick Henry, in his early youth, and in later life had met him as
a competitor on the hustings. He had grown up by the side of Edmonds,
Peyton Randolph, George Mason, and Thomas Jefferson. In his very youth
he had excited the wonder and admiration of these great minds. He was
sent into the Congress of the United States almost before he was
qualified by age to take his seat; and at once took position by the
side of such men as William B. Giles, William H. Crawford, James A.
Byard, and Littleton W. Tazwell. His style of speaking was peculiar;
his wit was bitter and biting; his sarcasm more pungent and withering
than had ever been heard on the floor of Congress; his figure was
_outre_; his voice, fine as the treble of a violin; his face, wan,
wrinkled, and without beard; his limbs, long and unsightly, especially
his arms and fingers; the skin seemed to grow to the attenuated bone;
and the large, ill-formed joints were extremely ugly. But those
fingers, and especially the right fore-finger, gave point and _vim_ to
his wit and invective.

In his manner he was at times deliberate, and apparently very
considerate, and again he was rapid and vehement. When he would
demolish an adversary, he would commence slowly, as if to collect all
his powers, preparatory to one great onset. He would turn and talk, as
it were, to all about him, and seemingly incongruously. It was as if he
was slinging and whirling his chain-shot about his head, and circling
it more and more rapidly, to collect all his strength for the fatal
blow. All knew it would fall, but none knew where, until he had
collected his utmost strength, and then, with the electrical flash of
his eye, he would mark the victim, and the thundering crash of his
vengeance, in words of vehemence, charged with the most caustic satire,
would fall upon, and crush the devoted head of his scarce suspecting
foe. I remember, upon one occasion, pending the debate upon the
Missouri question, and when Mr. Randolph was in the habit of almost
daily addressing the house, that a Mr. Beecher, of Ohio, who was very
impatient with Randolph's tirades, would, in the lengthy pauses made by
him, rise from his place, and move the previous question. The Speaker
would reply: "The member from Virginia has the floor." The first and
second interruption was not noticed by Randolph, but upon the
repetition a third time, he slowly lifted his head from contemplating
his notes, and said: "Mr. Speaker, in the Netherlands, a man of small
capacity, with bits of wood and leather, will, in a few moments,
construct a toy that, with the pressure of the finger and thumb, will
cry 'Cuckoo! Cuckoo!' With less of ingenuity, and with inferior
materials, the people of Ohio have made a toy that will, without much
pressure, cry, 'Previous question, Mr. Speaker! Previous question, Mr.
Speaker!'" at the same time designating Beecher, by pointing at him
with his long, skeleton-looking finger. In a moment the House was
convulsed with laughter, and I doubt if Beecher ever survived the
sarcasm.

At the time Mr. Clay came into Congress, Randolph had no rival upon the
floor of the House. He had become a terror to timid men. Few ventured
to meet him in debate, and none to provoke him. Mr. Clay's reputation
had preceded him. He had before, for a short time, been in the Senate.
He was known to be the first orator in the West, and the West boasted
Doddridge, Humphrey Marshall, John Rowan, Jesse Bledsoe, John Pope, and
Felix Grundy.

It was not long, before these two met in debate upon the subject of the
national road. Randolph opposed this measure as unconstitutional,
denying to the General Government any power to make any improvements
within the limits of any State, without the consent of the State. Mr.
Clay claimed the power under that grant which constituted Congress
competent to establish post-offices and post-roads. The discussion was
an excited one. Mr. Clay was a Virginian, but not of Randolph's class;
besides, he was not now from Virginia, and Randolph chose to designate
him a degenerate, renegade son of the Old Dominion. He had been reared,
as Randolph, a Democrat of the Jeffersonian school. In this he was an
apostate from the ancient faith. Randolph fully expected an easy
victory, and no man upon the floor was more surprised than himself, at
the bold, eloquent, and defiant reply of Clay. Between them the combat
was fierce and protracted. Randolph had the mortification of seeing
Western Virginia moving with Clay, and the entire representation of the
Western States joining with them. Clay was triumphant. The measure
became a law, the road was built, and a monument was erected to Mr.
Clay in Western Virginia, and by Virginians. It stands in a beautiful
valley, immediately on the road's side. From that time until, as old
men, they met in mortal combat upon the banks of the Potomac, they were
rivals and enemies.

Randolph was rancorous in his hatred of Clay. In proportion as Clay
rose in the estimation of his countrymen, did Randolph's hate increase.
Clay sprang from the plebeian stock of his native Virginia. He had come
as the representative of the rustics of Kentucky. He was not sanctified
by a college diploma. He boasted no long line of ancestry, and yet he
had met, and triumphed over, the scions of a boasted line--had bearded
the aristocrat upon the field of his fame, and vanquished him. This
triumph was followed up, in quick succession, with many others. He was
now the cynosure of the nation, and the star of Randolph was waning.
His disregard of Randolph's proposition, to withdraw from Congress and
denounce the Union, and his success in effecting this compromise,
sublimated Randolph's hatred, and no opportunity was permitted to pass
unimproved for abuse of him as a politician, and as a man.

William Lowndes, after Clay, exercised more influence in the House than
any other man. He was a South Carolinian, and of distinguished family.
His health, at this time, was failing: it had always been delicate. Mr.
Lowndes was comparatively a young man. He was remarkably tall: perhaps
six feet six inches. He stood a head and shoulders above any man in
Congress. His hair was golden; his complexion, clear and pale, and his
eyes were deep blue, and very expressive. He had been elaborately
educated, and improved by foreign travel, extensive reading, and
research. As a belles-lettres scholar, he was superior even to Mr.
Randolph. Very retiring and modest in his demeanor, he rarely obtruded
himself upon the House. When he did, it seemed only to remind the House
of something which had been forgotten by his predecessors in debate.
Sometimes he would make a set speech. When he did, it was always
remarkable for profound reasoning, and profound thought. He was
suffering with disease of the lungs, and his voice was weak: so much so
that he never attempted to elevate it above a conversational tone. So
honest was he in his views, so learned and so unobtrusive, that he had
witched away the heart of the House. No man was so earnestly listened
to as Mr. Lowndes. His mild and persuasive manner, his refined and
delicate deportment in debate and social intercourse captivated every
one; and at a time when acrimonious feelings filled almost every
breast, there was no animosity for Mr. Lowndes. His impression upon the
nation had made him the favored candidate of every section for the next
President; and it is not, perhaps, saying too much, that had his life
been spared, he, and not John Quincy Adams, would have been the
President in 1824. He would have been to all an acceptable candidate.
His talents, his virtues, his learning, and his broad patriotism had
very much endeared him to the intelligence of the country. At that time
these attributes were expected in the President, and none were
acceptable without them. Mr. Lowndes in very early life gave evidence
of future usefulness and distinction. His thirst for knowledge, intense
application, and great capacity to acquire, made him conspicuous at
school, and in college. He entered manhood already distinguished by his
writings. While yet very young he travelled in Europe, and for the
purpose of mental improvement. Knowledge was the wife of his heart, and
he courted her with affectionate assiduity. An anecdote is related of
him illustrative of his character and attainments. While in London, he
was left alone at his hotel, where none but men of rank and distinction
visited, with a gentleman much his senior; neither knew the other. A
social instinct, (though not very prominent in an Englishman,) induced
conversation. After a time the gentleman left the apartment and was
returning to the street, when he encountered the Duke of Argyle. This
gentleman was William Roscoe, of Liverpool, and author of "The Life of
Leo the Tenth."

"I have been spending a most agreeable hour," he said to the Duke,
"with a young American gentleman, who is the tallest, wisest, and best
bred young man I have ever met."

"It must have been Mr. Lowndes, of South Carolina," replied the Duke.
"He is such a man, I know him and I know no other like him. Return and
let me make you his acquaintance." He did so, and the acquaintance then
commenced, ripened into a friendship which endured so long as they both
lived.

Blue eyes, of a peculiar languid expression; yellow hair, lank and
without gloss; with a soft sunny sort of complexion, seems ever to
indicate physical weakness. Indeed, pale colors in all nature point to
brief existence, want of stamina and capacity to endure. All of these
combined in the physical organization of Mr. Lowndes, and served to
make more conspicuous the brilliancy of his intellect. It has been
said, consumption sublimates the mind, stealing from the body,
etherealizing and intensifying the intellect. This was peculiarly the
case in the instance of Mr. Lowndes. As the disease progressed,
attenuating and debilitating the physical man, his intellectual
faculties grew brighter, and brighter, assuming a lucidity almost
supernatural. At length he passed from time while yet young, leaving a
vacuum which in South Carolina has never been filled. His death was at
a time his services were most needed, and as with Clay, Jackson, and
Webster; his death was a national calamity.

Conspicuous among the remarkable men of that era was Louis McLean, of
Delaware. He belonged to the Republican school of politics, and was a
very honest and able man. He combined very many most estimable traits
in his character; open and frank, without concealment; cheerful and
mild, without bitterness, and with as few prejudices as any public man.
Yet he was consistent and firm in his political opinions and
principles, as he was devoted and tenacious in his friendships. He was
extremely considerate of the feelings and prejudices of other
people--had a large stock of charity for the foibles and follies of his
friends and political antagonists. In social intercourse he was quite
as familiar and intimate with these as with his political friends.
Difference of political principles did not close his eyes to the
virtues and worth of any man, and his respect for talent and
uprightness was always manifest in his public and private intercourse
with those who differed with him in opinion. His was a happy
constitution, and one well fitted to win him friends. Personally, with
the exception of Mr. Lowndes, he was perhaps the most popular man upon
the floor of the House of Representatives. The influence of his
character and talent was very great, and his geographical position
added greatly to these in his efforts upon the Missouri question. His
speech was widely read, and no one found fault with it. It was a
masterly effort and added greatly to his extended fame.

In the character of Mr. McLean there was a very happy combination of
gentleness with firmness. He carried this into his family, and its
influence has made of his children a monument to his fame; they have
distinguished, in their characters and conduct, the name and the
virtues of their father. It may be said of him what cannot be said of
many distinguished men, his children were equal to the father in
talent, usefulness, and virtue.

The Administration of Mr. Monroe saw expire the Federal and Republican
parties, as organized under the Administration of John Adams. It saw
also the germ of the Democratic and Whig parties planted. It was a
prosperous Administration, and under it the nation flourished like a
green bay-tree. He was the last of the Presidents who had actively
participated in the war of the Revolution. To other virtues and
different merits, those who now aspire to the high distinction of the
Presidency must owe their success. There must always be a cause for
distinction. However great the abilities of a man or exalted his
virtues, he must in some manner make a display of them before the
public eye, or he must of necessity remain in obscurity. War developes
more rapidly and more conspicuously the abilities of men than any other
public employment. Gallantry and successful conflict presents the
commander and subalterns at once prominently before the country;
besides military fame addresses itself to every capacity, and strange
as it may seem, there is no quality so popular with man and woman, too,
as the art of successfully killing our fellow-man, and devastating his
country. It is ever a successful claim to public honors and political
preferments. No fame is so lasting as a military fame. Caesar and
Hannibal are names, though they lived two thousand years ago, familiar
in the mouths of every one, and grow brighter as time progresses.
Philip and his more warlike son, Alexander, are names familiar to the
learned and illiterate, alike; while those who adorned the walks of
civil life with virtues, and godlike abilities, are only known to those
who burrow in musty old books, and search out the root of civilization
enjoyed by modern nations. They who fought at Cannae and Marathon, at
Troy and at Carthage, are household names; while those who invented the
plough and the spade, and first taught the cultivation of the earth,
the very base of civilization, are unknown--never thought of. Such is
human nature.

The war of 1812 had developed one or two men only of high military
genius, and the furor for military men had not then become a mania.
Abilities for civil government were considered essential in him who was
to be elevated to the Presidency. Indeed, it was not so much a
warrior's fame which had controlled in the election of the previous
Presidents, as their high intellectual reputations. Washington had
rendered such services to the country, both as a military man and a
civilian, that his name was the nation. He had been everywhere
designated as the father of his country, and such was the public
devotion, that he had only to ask it, and a despot's crown would have
adorned his brow. John Adams, Jefferson, and Madison had no military
record; but in the capacity of civilians had rendered essential service
to the cause of the Revolution. Their Administrations had been
successful, and the public mind attributed this success to their
abilities as statesmen, and desired to find as their successors, men of
like minds, and similar attainments. Crawford, Calhoun, Clay, John
Quincy Adams, and Lowndes, had all of them given evidences of eminent
statesmanship, and the public mind among these was divided. At the time
of the death of Lowndes, this mind was rapidly concentrating upon him,
as more eminently uniting the desired qualifications than any other.

It was about this very time that General Jackson's name began to
attract the public as a prominent candidate. Mr. Calhoun was ready to
retire from the contest, and it is very probable his friends would have
united in the support of Lowndes, but he being out of the way, they
united upon Jackson. When Jackson was first spoken of as a candidate,
most men of intelligence viewed it as a mere joke, but very soon the
admiration for his military fame was apparent in the delight manifested
by the masses, when he was brought prominently forward. That thirst for
military glory, and the equally ardent thirst to do homage to the
successful military man, was discovered to be as innate and
all-pervading with the American people, as with any other of the most
warlike nations. Had the name of Jackson been brought before the people
six months earlier than it was, he would, most assuredly, have been
triumphantly elected by the popular vote. It would be fruitless to
speculate upon what might have been the consequences to the country had
he been then chosen. Besides, such is foreign to my purpose. I mean
merely to record memories of men and things which have come under my
eye and to my knowledge, for the last fifty years, and which I may
suppose will be interesting to the general reader, and particularly to
the young, who are just now coming into position as men and women, and
who will constitute the controlling element in society and in the
Government. To those of my own age, it may serve to awaken
reminiscences of a by-gone age, and enable them to contrast the men and
things of now and then.




CHAPTER XVIII.

FRENCH AND SPANISH TERRITORY.

SETTLERS ON THE TOMBIGBEE AND MISSISSIPPI RIVERS--LA SALLE--NATCHEZ--
FAMILY APPORTIONMENT--THE HILL COUNTRY--HOSPITALITY--BENEFIT OF
AFRICAN SLAVERY--CAPACITY OF THE NEGRO--HIS FUTURE.


About the year 1777, many persons of the then colonies, fearful of the
consequences of the war then commencing for the independence of the
colonies, removed and sought a home beyond their limits. Some selected
the Tombigbee, and others the Mississippi River, and, braving the
horrors of the wilderness, made a home for themselves and posterity,
amid the rude inhospitalies of uncultivated nature.

There were, at that time, small settlements of French and Spanish
adventurers upon these streams, in different localities. La Salle
descended upon Canada, and, taking possession of Louisiana in the name
of the French king, had created among many of the chivalrous and
adventurous spirits of France a desire to take possession of the entire
country, from the mouth of the Saint Lawrence to that of the
Mississippi. Nova Scotia, called Acadia by its first settlers, and the
provinces of Canada, were his already, and France desired to restrict
the further expansion of the English colonies, now growing into
importance along the Atlantic coast.

The vast extent of the continent and its immense fertility, with its
mighty rivers, its peculiar adaptation to settlement, and the yielding
of all the necessaries and luxuries of human wants, had aroused the
enterprise of Europe. Spain had possessed herself of South America,
Mexico, and Cuba, the pride of the Antilles. The success of her scheme
of colonization stimulated both England and France to push forward
their settlements, and to foster and protect them with Governmental
care. After some fruitless attempts, the mouth of the Mississippi had
been discovered, and approached from the Gulf. The expedition under La
Salle had failed to find it. The small colony brought by him for
settlement upon the Mississippi, had been landed many leagues west of
the river's mouth, and owing to disputes between that great and
enterprising man and the officer commanding the two ships which had
transported them across the Atlantic, they were mercilessly left by
this officer, without protection, and almost without provisions, upon
the coast of what is now Texas. La Salle had started with a small
escort, by land, to find the great river. These men became
dissatisfied, and not sharing in the adventurous and energetic spirit
of their leader, remonstrated with him and proposed to return to their
companions; but, disregarding them, he pressed on in his new
enterprise. In wading a small stream, one of the men was carried off by
an alligator, and a day or so after, another was bitten and killed by a
rattle-snake. Terror seized upon his men, and all their persuasions
proving fruitless, they determined to assassinate him and return. They
did so, only to find the colony dispersed and nowhere to be found.
After many hazardous adventures they reached the Arkansas River, and
descended it to its mouth, where they proposed preparing some means of
ascending the Mississippi, and thus return to Canada. Fortunately they
had been there but a few hours, when a small boat or two, which had
been dispatched from Canada to look after the colony so long expected,
arrived, and, learning the unfortunate issue of the enterprise, took on
board the party, and returned up the river. They reported the colony
destroyed, and it was not until many years after, that it was
discovered that those left on the sea-side had been found, and conveyed
to the Jesuit Mission, at San Antonio, where they had been cared for
and preserved by the pious and humane missionaries.

Subsequently a colony was located at Boloxy, on the shore of the lake,
and thence was transferred to New Orleans. Mobile, soon after, was made
the nucleus of another colony, and from these two points had proceeded
the pioneers of the different settlements along these rivers--the
Tombigbee and the Mississippi. It was to these settlements or posts, or
their neighborhoods, that these refugees from the Revolutionary war in
the colonies had retired. Natchez and St. Francisville, on the
Mississippi, and St. Stephen's and McIntosh's Bluff, on the Tombigbee,
were the most populous and important.

About these, and under the auspicious protection of the Spanish
Government, then dominant in Louisiana and Florida, commenced the
growth of the Anglo-Norman population, which is now the almost entire
population of the country. There proceeded from South Carolina, about
the time mentioned above, a colony of persons which located near
Natchez. They came down the Holston, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers,
on flat-boats; and after many escapes from the perils incident to the
streams they navigated, and the hostility of the savages who dwelt
along their shores, they reached this Canaan of their hopes. They had
intended to locate at New Madrid. The country around was well suited
for cultivation, being alluvial and rich, and the climate was all they
could desire; but they found a population mongrel and vicious,
unrestrained by law or morals, and learning through a negro belonging
to the place of an intended attack upon their party, for the purpose of
robbery, they hastily re-embarked what of their property and stock they
had debarked. Under pretense of dropping a few miles lower down the
river for a more eligible site, they silently and secretly left in the
night, and never attempted another stop until reaching the Walnut
Hills, now Vicksburg. A few of the party concluded to remain here,
while the larger number went on down; some to the mouth of Cole's
Creek, some to Natchez, and others to the cliffs known by the name of
one of the emigrants whose party concluded to settle there.

These cliffs, which are eighteen miles below Natchez, have always been
known as Ellis' Cliffs. In their rear is a most beautiful, and
eminently fertile country. Grants were obtained from the Spanish
Government of these lands, in tracts suited to the means of each
family. A portion was given to the husband, a portion to the wife, and
a portion to each child of every family. These grants covered nearly
all of that desirable region south of St. Catharine's Creek and west of
Second Creek to the Mississippi River, and south to the Homochitto
River. Similar grants were obtained for lands about the mouth, and
along the banks of Cole's Creek, at and around Fort Adams, ten miles
above the mouth of Red River, and upon the Bayou Pierre. The same
authority donated to the emigrants lands about McIntosh's Bluff, Fort
St. Stephens, and along Bassett's Creek, in the region of the Tombigbee
River. Here the lands were not so fertile, nor were they in such bodies
as in the region of the Mississippi. The settlements did not increase
and extend to the surrounding country with the same rapidity as in the
latter country. Many of those first stopping on the Tombigbee,
ultimately removed to the Mississippi. Here they encountered none of
the perils or losses incident to the war of the Revolution. The
privations of a new country they did, of necessity, endure, but not to
the same extent that those suffer who are deprived of a market for the
products of their labor. New Orleans afforded a remunerative market for
all they could produce, and, in return, supplied them with every
necessary beyond their means of producing at home. The soil and climate
were not only auspicious to the production of cotton, tobacco, and
indigo--then a valuable marketable commodity--but every facility for
rearing without stint every variety of stock. These settlements were
greatly increased by emigration from Pennsylvania, subsequently to the
conclusion of the war, as well as from the Southern States.

Very many who, in that war, had sided with the mother country from
conscientious, or mercenary views, were compelled by public opinion, or
by the operation of the law confiscating their property and banishing
them from the country, to find new homes. Those, however, who came
first had choice of locations, and most generally selected the best;
and bringing most wealth, maintained the ascendency in this regard, and
gave tone and direction to public matters as well as to the social
organization of society. Most of them were men of education and high
social position in the countries from which they came. Constant
intercourse with New Orleans, and the education of the youth of both
sexes of this region in the schools of that city, carried the high
polish of French society into the colony.

Louisiana, and especially New Orleans, was first settled by the
nobility and gentry of France. They were men in position among the
first of that great and glorious people. Animated with the ambition for
high enterprise, they came in sufficient numbers to create a society,
and to plant French manners and customs, and the elegance of French
learning and French society, upon the banks of the Mississippi.

The commercial and social intermingling of these people resulted in
intermarriages, which very soon assimilated them in most things as one
people, at least in feeling, sentiment and interest. From such a stock
grew the people inhabiting the banks of the Mississippi, from Vicksburg
to New Orleans. In 1826, young men of talent and enterprise had come
from Europe, and every section of the United States, and, giving their
talents to the development of the country, had created a wealth,
greater and more generally diffused than was, at that time, to be found
in any other planting or farming community in the United States. Living
almost exclusively among themselves, their manners and feelings were
homogeneous; and living, too, almost entirely upon the products of
their plantations, independent of their market-crops, they grew rich so
rapidly as to mock the fable of Jonah's gourd. This wealth afforded the
means of education and travel; these, cultivation and high mental
attainments, and, with these, the elegances of refined life. The
country was vast and fertile; the Mississippi, flowing by their homes,
was sublimely grand, and seemed to inspire ideas and aspirations
commensurate with its own majesty in the people upon its borders.

In no country are to be found women of more refined character, more
beauty, or more elegance of manners, than among the planters' wives and
daughters of the Mississippi coast. Reared in the country, and
accustomed to exercise in the open air, in walking through the shady
avenues of the extensive and beautifully ornamented grounds about the
home or plantation-house; riding on horseback along the river's margin,
elevated upon the levee, covered with the green Bermuda grass, smoothly
spreading over all the ground, save the pretty open road, stretching
through this grass, like a thread of silver in a a cloth of green; with
the great drab river, moving in silent majesty, on one side, and the
extended fields of the plantation, teeming with the crop of cane or
cotton, upon the other. Their exercise, thus surrounded, becomes a
school, and their ideas expand and grow with the sublimity of their
surroundings. The health-giving exercise and the wonderful scene yields
vigor both to mind and body. Nor is this scene, or its effects, greater
in the development of mind and body than that of the hill-country of
the river-counties of Mississippi.

These hills are peculiar. They are drift, thrown upon the primitive
formation by some natural convulsion, and usually extend some twelve or
fifteen miles into the interior. They consist of a rich, marly loam,
and, when in a state of nature were clothed to their summits with the
wild cane, dense and unusually large, a forest of magnolia, black
walnut, immense oaks, and tulip or poplar-trees, with gigantic vines of
the wild grape climbing and overtopping the tallest of these forest
monarchs. Here among these picturesque hills and glorious woods, the
emigrants fixed their homes, and here grew their posterity surrounding
themselves with wealth, comforts, and all the luxuries and elegances of
an elevated civilization. Surrounded in these homes with domestic
slaves reared in them, and about them, who came at their bidding, and
went when told, but who were carefully regarded, sustained, and
protected, and who felt their family identity, and were happy, served
affectionately, and with willing alacrity, the master and his
household. In the midst of scenes and circumstances like these grew
women in all that constitutes nobility of soul and sentiment, delicacy,
intelligence, and refined purity, superior to any it has ever been my
fortune to meet on earth.

Here in these palatial homes was the hospitality of princes. It was not
the hospitality of pride or ostentation, but of the heart; the welcome
which the soul ungrudgingly gives, and which delights and refines the
receiver. It is the welcome of a refined humanity, untainted with
selfishness, and felt as a humane and duly bound tribute to
civilization and Christianity; such hospitality as can only belong to
the social organization which had obtained in the community from its
advent upon this great country.

The independence of the planter's pursuit, the institution of domestic
slavery, and the form and spirit of the Government, all conduce to
this. The mind is untrammelled and the soul is independent, because
subservient neither to the tyrannical exactions of unscrupulous
authority, or the more debasing servility of dependence upon the
capricious whims of petty officials, or a monied aristocracy.
Independently possessing the soil and the labor for its cultivation,
with only the care necessary to the comforts and necessities of this
labor, superadded to those of a family, they were without the necessity
of soliciting or courting favors from any one, or pandering to the
ignorant caprices of a labor beyond their control. Independence of
means is the surest guarantee for independence of character. Where this
is found, most private and most public virtues always accompany it.
Truth, sincerity, all the cardinal virtues are fostered most where
there is most independence. This takes away the source of all
corruption, all temptation. This seeks dependence, and victimizes its
creatures to every purpose of corruption and meanness.

Under the influences of the institutions of the South, as they were,
there was little of the servile meanness so predominant where they were
not, and the lofty and chivalrous character of the Southern people was
greatly owing to these institutions, and the habits of the people
growing out of them. The slave was a class below all others. His master
was his protector and friend; he supplied his wants and redressed his
wrongs, and it was a point of honor as well as duty to do so; he was
assured of his care and protection, and felt no humility at his
condition. The white man, without means, was reminded that, though
poor, he was above the slave, and was stimulated with the pride of
position as contrasted with that of the slave; his political, legal,
and social rights were unrestrained and equal with those of the
wealthiest. This was the only distinction between him and the
wealthiest in the land, and this wealth conferred no exclusive
privilege, and its acquisition was open to his energy and enterprise,
and he gloried in his independence. He could acquire and enjoy without
dependence, and his pride and ambition were alike stimulated to the
emulation of those who shared most fortune's favors.

The beneficial influences of the institution of African slavery were
not only apparent in the independent and honorable bearing and conduct
of the Southern people, growing from the habit of command, and
involuntary contrast of condition, but upon the material advancement
and progress of the country. The product of slave labor, when directed
by a higher intelligence than his own, is enormous, and was the basis
of the extended and wealth-creating commerce of the entire country.
These products could be obtained in no other manner, and without this
labor, are lost to the world. The African negro, in osseous and
muscular developments, and in all the essentials for labor, is quite
equal to those of the white race; in his cerebral, greatly inferior.
The capacities of his brain are limited and incapable of cultivation
beyond a certain point. His moral man is as feeble and unteachable as
his mental. He cannot be educated to the capacity of self-government,
nor to the formation and conducting of civil government to the extent
of humanizing and controlling by salutary laws a people aggregated into
communities. He learns by example which he imitates, so long as the
exampler is present before him; but this imitation never hardens to
fixed views or habits, indicating the design of Providence, that these
physical capacities should be directed and appropriated for good, by an
intelligence beyond the mental reach of the negro.

Why is this so? In the wisdom and economy of creation every created
thing represents a design for a use. The soil and climate of the
tropical and semi-tropical regions of the earth produce and mature all,
or very nearly all of the necessaries and luxuries of human life. But
human beings of different races and different capacities fill up the
whole earth. The capacity to build a fire and fabricate clothing is
given only to man. Was the element of fire and the material for
clothing given for any but man's use? This enables him to inhabit every
clime. But the capacity to produce all the necessaries and luxuries of
life is given only to a certain portion of the earth's surface; and its
peculiar motions give the fructifying influences of the sun only to the
middle belt of the planet. The use of this organization is evidenced in
the production of this belt, and these productions must be the result
of intelligently directed labor.

The peculiarity of the physical organization of the white man makes it
impossible for him to labor healthfully and efficiently for the
greatest development of this favored region. Yet his wants demand the
yield and tribute of this region. His inventive capacity evolved sugar
from the wild canes of the tropics, than which nothing is more
essential to his necessities, save the cereals and clothing. He
fabricated clothing from the tropical grass and tropical cotton, found
the uses of cassia, pimento, the dye woods, and the thousand other
tropical products which contribute to comfort, necessity, and luxury;
advancing human happiness, human progress, and human civilization.

The black man's organization is radically different. He was formed
especially to live and labor in these tropical and semi-tropical
regions of the earth; but he is naturally indolent, his wants are few,
and nature unaided supplies them. He is uninventive, and has always,
from creation down, lived amid these plants without the genius to
discover, or the skill and industry to develope their uses. That they
are used, and contribute to human health and human necessities, is
abundant evidence of Divine design in their creation.

The black man's labor, then, and the white man's intelligence are
necessary to the production and fabrication, for human use, of these
provisions of Providence. This labor the black man will not yield
without compulsion. He is eminently useful under this compulsion, and
eminently useless, even to himself, without it. That he was designed to
obey this authority, and to be most happy when and where he was most
useful, is apparent in his mental and moral organization. By moral I
mean those functions of the nervous system which bring us in relation
with the external world. He aspires to nothing but the gratification of
his passions, and the indulgence of his indolence. He only feels the
oppression of slavery in being compelled to work, and none of the moral
degradation incident to servility in the higher or superior races. He
is, consequently, more happy, and better contented in this, than in any
other condition of life. His morals, his bodily comforts, and his
status as a man, attain to an elevation in this condition known to his
race in no other.

All the results of his condition react upon the superior race, holding
him in the condition designed for him by his Creator, producing results
to human progress all over the world, known to result in an equal ratio
from no other cause. The institution has passed away, and very soon all
its consequences will cease to be visible in the character of the
Southern people. The plantation will dwindle to the truck-patch, the
planter will sink into the grave, and his offspring will degenerate
into hucksters and petty traders, and become as mean and contemptible
as the Puritan Yankee.

In the two hundred years of African slavery the world's progress was
greater in the arts and sciences, and in all the appliances promotive
of intelligence and human happiness, than in any period of historical
time, of five centuries. Why? Because the labor was performed by the
man formed for labor and incapable of thinking, and releasing the man
formed to think, direct, and invent, from labor, other than labor of
thought. This influence was felt over the civilized world. The
productions of the tropics were demanded by the higher civilization.
Men forgot to clothe themselves in skins when they could do so in
cloth. As commerce extended her flight, bearing these rich creations of
labor, elaborated by intelligence, civilization went with her,
expanding the mind, enlarging the wants, and prompting progress in all
with whom she communicated. Its influence was first felt from the
Antilles, extending to the United States. In proportion to the increase
of these products was the increase of commerce, wealth, intelligence,
and power. Compare the statistics of production by slave-labor with the
increase of commerce, and they go hand in hand. As the slave came down
from the grain-growing region to the cotton and sugar region, the
amount of his labor's product entering into commerce increased
four-fold. The inventions of Whitney and Arkwright cheapened the fabric
of cotton so much as to bring it within the reach of the poorest, and
availed the world in all the uses of cloth.

The shipping and manufacturing interests of England grew; those of the
United States, from nothing, in a few years were great rivals of the
mother country, and very soon surpassed her in commercial tonnage.
Every interest prospered with the prosperity of the planter of the
Southern States. His class has passed away; the weeds blacken where the
chaste, white cotton beautified his fields; his slave is a freedman--a
constitution-maker--a ruler set up by a beastly fanaticism to control
his master, and to degrade and destroy his country.

This must bear its legitimate fruit. It is the beginning of the end of
the negro upon this continent. Two races with the same civil, political
and social privileges cannot long exist in harmony together. The
struggle for supremacy will come, and with it a war of races--then God
have mercy on the weaker! The mild compulsion which stimulated his
labor is withdrawn, and with it the care and protection which alone
preserved him. He works no more; his day of Jubilee has come; he must
be a power in the land. Infatuated creature! I pity you from my heart.
You cannot see or calculate the inevitable destiny now fixed for your
race. You cannot see the vile uses you are made to subserve for a time,
or deem that those who now appear your conservators, are but preparing
your funeral pyre.




CHAPTER XIX.

THE NATCHEZ TRADITIONS.

NATCHEZ--MIZEZIBBEE; OR, THE PARENT OF MANY WATERS--INDIAN MOUNDS--THE
CHILD OF THE SUN--TREATMENT OF THE FEMALES--POETIC MARRIAGES--UNCHASTE
MAIDS AND PURE WIVES--WALKING ARCHIVES--THE PROFANE FIRE--ALAHOPLECHIA
--OYELAPE--THE CHIEF WITH A BEARD.


The little city of Natchez is built upon a bluff some three hundred
feet in elevation above the Mississippi River, and immediately upon its
brink. It receives its name from a tribe of Indians once resident in
the country; and who were much further advanced in civilization than
their more warlike neighbors, the Choctaws and the Chickasaws. The
country around is hilly and beautiful, fertile and salubrious. The
population was intelligent and refined, and was remarkable for having
more wealth than any community outside of a large city, in the United
States, of the same amount of population. The town of Natchez (for,
properly speaking, it is no more) consists of some three or four
thousand inhabitants, and has not increased to any considerable extent,
for many years.

Beyond the river, in Louisiana, is an alluvial plain extending for
fifty miles, through which meander many small streams, or bayous, as
they are termed in the language of the country. Upon most of these the
surface of the soil is slightly elevated above the plane of the swamp,
and is remarkably fertile. Most of these were, at the commencement of
the late war, in a high state of cultivation as cotton plantations. As
in many other places, the river here has changed its bed by cutting off
a large bend immediately opposite the town, creating what is known as
Lake Concordia. This lake was formerly the bed of the river, and
describes almost a complete circle of some twelve miles in diameter. On
both sides of this lake beautiful plantations, with splendid
improvements, presented a view from the bluff at Natchez extremely
picturesque when covered with luxuriant crops of corn and cotton. The
fertility of the soil is such that these crops are immensely heavy; and
when the cotton-plant has matured its fruit, and the pent-up lint in
the large conical balls has burst them open, exposing their white
treasure swelling out to meet the sun's warm rays, and the parent stock
to the first frost of autumn has thrown off her foliage, and all these
broad fields are one sheet of lovely white, as far as the eye can
view--the scene is lovely beyond description; and when the same rich
scene was presented extending along the banks of the great river, with
the magnificent steamers resting at the wharf below, and others
cleaving the current in proud defiance of the mighty volume of hurrying
waters--the splendor and magnificence of the whole sublimated the
feelings as we viewed it in wonder.

The river, the bluff, and the lake are there; but waste and desolation
frown on these, and the fat earth's rich fruits are yielded no more.
Fanaticism's hot breath has breathed upon it, and war's red hand (her
legitimate offspring) has stricken down the laborer; tillage has
ceased, and gaunt poverty and hungry want only are left in her train.

When the great La Salle moored his little fleet at the foot of this
bluff, ascended to its summit, and looked over this then forest-clad
plain, did he contemplate the coming future of this beautiful discovery
of his genius and enterprise? When he looked upon the blue smoke
curling above the tall tree-tops along the lake, in the far distance,
as it ascended from the wigwams of the Natchez, the wild denizens of
this interminable forest, did his prophetic eye perceive these lovely
fields, happy homes, and prosperous people, who came after him to make
an Eden of this chosen spot of all the earth? and did it stretch on to
contemplate the ruin and desolation which overspreads it now? How blest
is man that he sees not beyond to-day!

Here he first met the Natchez, and viewed with wonder the flat heads
and soft, gazelle eyes of this strange people. They welcomed his
coming, and tendered him and his people a home. From them he learned
the extent of the great river below, and that it was lost in the great
water that was without limit and had no end. These Indians, according
to their traditions, had once inhabited, as a mighty nation, the
country extending from near the city of Mexico to the Rio Grande, and
were subjects of the Aztec empire of Mexico. They had been persecuted
and oppressed, and determined, in grand council, to abandon the country
and seek a home beyond the Mizezibbee, or Parent-of-many-waters, which
the word signifies.

Their exodus commenced in a body. They were many days in assembling
upon the east bank of the Rio Grande; and thence commenced their long
march. They abandoned their homes and the graves of their ancestors for
a new one in the lovely region they found on the hills extending from
the mouth of the Yazoo to Baton Rouge. Their principal town and seat of
empire was located eleven miles below Natchez, on the banks of Second
Creek, two miles from the Mississippi River. It is a delightful spot of
high table-land, with a small strip of level low-land immediately upon
the margin of the dimpling little stream of sweet water. Upon this flat
they erected the great mound for their temple of the Sun, and the
depository of the holy fire, so sacred in their worship. At each point
of the compass they erected smaller mounds for the residences of their
chief, or child of the Sun, and his ministers of state. In the great
temple upon the principal mound they deposited the fire of holiness,
which they had borne unextinguished from the deserted temple in Mexico,
and began to build their village. Parties went forth to establish other
villages, and before a great while they were located in happy homes in
a land of abundance. They formed treaties of amity with their powerful
but peaceable neighbors, the Choctaws, and ere long with the Chickasaws
and other minor tribes, east, and below them, on the river, the
Tunicas, Houmas, and others; for the country abounded with little
bands, insignificant and powerless.

These Indians revered, as more than mortal, their great chief, whom
they called the child of the Sun. They had a tradition that when they
were a great nation, in Mexico, they were divided into parties by feuds
among their chiefs, and all their power to resist the aggressions of
their enemies was lost; consequently they had fallen under the power of
the Aztecs, who dominated them, and destroyed many of their people.
Upon one occasion, when a common enemy and a common suffering had made
them forget their quarrels, they were assembled for council. Suddenly
there appeared in their midst a white man and woman, surrounded with a
halo of light coming directly from the sun. They were all silent with
awe when this man spoke, and with such authority as to make every chief
tremble with fear. They bowed to him with reverence, and he professing
to be weary with his long journey, they conducted him with his wife to
a lodge, and bade them repose and be rested. The chiefs, in the
darkness of the night and in silence, assembled, while the celestial
pair slept, conscious of security. After long and close council, they
determined to proffer the supreme authority of the nation to this man,
sent to them by the sun. When this determination had been reached, the
chiefs, in a body, repaired to the house occupied by their mysterious
visitors and, arousing them from sleep, they formally tendered to the
man the crown and supreme authority over the chiefs, all their
villages, and all their people. At first he refused, asserting that he
knew their hearts; they carried hatred of one another, and that they
would come to hate him; then they would disobey him, and this would be
death to all the Natchez. Finally yielding to the importunities and
earnestly repeated protestations of a determination to obey him and
follow his counsels implicitly, he agreed to accept the crown upon
certain conditions. These were: first and paramount, that the Natchez
should abandon their homes and country, and follow him to a new home
which he would show them; and that they should live and conform
strictly to the laws he would establish. The principal of these were:
the sovereign of Natchez should always and forever be of his race, and
that if he had sons and daughters, they should not be permitted to
intermarry with each other, but only with the people of the Natchez.
The first-born of his sons should be his successor, and then the son of
his eldest daughter, and should he have no daughter, then the son of
his eldest sister, or in default of such an heir, then the eldest son
of the nearest female relative of the sovereign, and so in perpetuity.

So soon as he was inaugurated chief and supreme ruler, he went out in
the midst of the assembled multitude and called down in their presence
fire from the sun; blessed it and made it holy. He created a guard of
eight men, made them priests and gave them charge of the fire, and bid
them, under pain of death, to preserve and keep alive this holy fire.
They must tend it day and night and feed it with walnut wood, and in
their charge it went before the moving host to where he had promised
they should find a new and better home than the one they were leaving.

Another tradition says, they were aiders of the Spaniards in the
conquest of Mexico, and that these became as great persecutors of their
people as the Aztecs. But from many of their traditions connected with
their new home which extended back far beyond the conquest of Mexico,
it is thought by historians that this tradition alludes to some other
war in which they took part against their oppressors. They were
remarkable for their size and symmetry of form of their men; but like
all the race, they made slaves of their women, imposing every burden
from the cultivation of their fields to the duties of the
household--the carrying of heavy burdens and the securing of fuel for
winter. These labors served to disfigure and make their women to appear
prematurely aged and worn, and they seemed an inferior race when
compared with the men.

The laws imposed by their chief of the sun were strictly obeyed. They
compelled the telling of truth on all occasions; never to kill, but in
self-defence; never to steal, and to preserve inviolate the
marriage-vow. The marriage ceremony was poetic and impressive. No girl
ever dreamed of disobeying her parents in the choice of a husband; nor
was elopement ever heard of among them; nor did the young man presume
to thrust himself upon a family to whom, or to any member of whom, he
was not acceptable. But when the marriage was agreeable to the families
of both parties and was consequently determined upon, the head of the
family of the bride went with her and her whole family to the house of
the bridegroom, who there stood with all his family around him, when
the old man of the bridegroom's family welcomed them, by asking: "Is it
thou?" "Yes," answered the other ancient. "Sit down," continued the
other. Immediately all were seated, and a profound silence for many
minutes ensued. Then the eldest man of the party bid the groom and
bride to stand up, when he addressed them in a speech in which he
recapitulated all the duties of man and wife; informed them of the
obligations they were assuming, and then concluded with a lecture of
advice as to their future lives.

When this ceremony was concluded, the father of the bridegroom handed
to his son the present he was to make to the family of the bride. Then
the father of bride stepped up to the side of his daughter, when the
groom said to the bride: "Wilt thou have me for thy husband?" The bride
answered: "With all my heart; love me as I will love thee; for thou art
my only love for all my life." Then holding the gift above her head,
the groom said: "I love thee; therefore I take thee for my wife, and
this is the present with which I buy thee," and then he handed the
present to her parents. Upon his head he wore a tuft of feathers, and
in his hand a bow, emblematic of authority and protection. The bride
held in one hand a green twig of the laurel-tree, and in the other an
ear of corn--the twig indicated she would preserve her fame ever fair
and sweet as the laurel leaf; the corn was to represent her capacity to
grow it and prepare it for his food, and to fulfil all the duties of a
faithful wife. These ceremonies completed, the bride dropped the ear of
corn which she held in her right hand, and tendered that hand to the
bridegroom, who took it and said: "I am thy husband." She replied: "I
am thy wife." The bridegroom then went round and gave his hand to every
member of the family of his wife. He then took his bride by the arm and
led her around and she took the right hand of all the family of the
bridegroom. This done, he walked with her to his bed, and said: "This
is our bed, keep it undefiled."

There obtained among these primitive beings a most curious and most
disgusting custom. The young marriageable females were permitted to
prostitute themselves for gain, in order to provide a marriage portion;
and she who could thus enrich herself was the most distinguished and
the most sought. But after marriage, she was compelled to purity, both
by their laws and by public sentiment; and in all the intercourse of
the French with them, no instance of infidelity was ever known in a
wife.

The great sun was indeed their Lycurgus. If before his advent among
them they had any laws, these had become obsolete, and his edicts
adopted universally. Their traditions represent him as living to
extreme old age, seeing his descendants of the fourth generation. These
were all little suns, and constituted the nobility of their nation,
which extended at one time to the country above, as far as St. Louis
and across to the Wabash. These traditions were carefully kept. Every
two years there were selected from the most intelligent boys of the
nation ten, to whom these traditions were carefully taught by the
depositories of them who had kept them best for the greatest time. They
were careful to exact that no word or fact should be withheld, and this
lesson was daily taught until the boy was a man, and every legend a
familiar memory. These he was compelled to repeat daily lest the memory
should rust, and for this purpose they went forth to all the villages
repeating all of these legends to all the people.

There were others selected in like manner to whom the laws were taught
as the traditions, and in like manner these were taught the people. In
every community there was a little sun to administer these laws, and
every complaint was submitted to him, and great ceremony was observed
at every trial, especially criminal trials. The judge, or little sun,
purified himself in the forest, imploring the enlightenment of the Good
Spirit, and purging away the influence of bad spirits by his
purification; and when he felt himself a fitted tabernacle of pure
justice, he came forward and rendered his judgment in the presence of
all the villagers of his jurisdiction, whose attention was compulsory.

It was one of the laws established in the beginning of the reign of the
Great Sun, that his posterity should not marry _inter se_, but only
with the common people of the nation. This custom was expelling the
pure blood of royalty more and more every generation, and long after
the arrival of the Natchez upon the Mississippi, the great and little
suns were apparently of the pure blood of the red man. Their
traditions, however, preserved the history of every cross, and when
Lasalle found these at Natchez and the White Apple village, nearly
every one could boast of relationship to the Great Sun. At that time
they had diminished to an insignificant power, and were overawed by
their more numerous and more powerful neighbors, the Choctaws and
Muscagees or Alabamas. Their legends recorded this constant decline,
but assigned no reason for it. They could now not bring more than two
thousand warriors into the field. Gayarie says not more than six
hundred; but those contemporaneous with planting the colony of Orleans
say, some two thousand, some more, and some estimate them as low as the
number stated in that admirable history of Louisiana whose author is so
uniformly correct. And here let me acknowledge my obligations to that
accomplished historian, and no less accomplished gentleman, for most of
the facts here stated, and if I have used his own language in
portraying them to a great extent, it was because it was so pure and
beautiful I could not resist it, the excuse the Brazilian gave for
stealing the diamond.

With regard to these people, their mode of life was that of most of the
other tribes. They lived principally by the chase; their only
cultivation was the Indian corn, pumpkins, and a species of wild beans
or peas, perfectly black, until their intercourse with the French, and
then they only added a few of the coarser vegetables. From whom they
derived the pumpkin is not known.

Their wars were not more frequent or more destructive than those of
their neighbors; and their general habits were the same. Still they
were going on to decay, and they contemplated with stolid calmness
their coming extinction. They felt it a destiny not to be averted or
avoided by anything they could do, and were content with the excuse of
folly for all its errors and sins. _It is the will of God, or the Great
Spirit, as the Indian phrases it._ They were more enlightened than
their neighbors, as historians have stated, because, I suppose, they
were more superstitious. They bowed to fate, the attribute of
superstition everywhere, and made no effort at relief from the causes
of decay.

Their religion, like all the aborigines of the continent, consisted in
the worship of the Great Spirit typified in the sun, to whom was
addressed their prayers and all their devotion. The sacred fire was the
emblem on earth; their Great Sun had brought it from the sun and given
it as holy to them to be forever preserved and propitiated by watching
and prayer. In every village and settlement they erected mounds upon
which the temple of the sun was built, and where was deposited the
sacred fire. Mounds, too, were built for burying-places, and in these
are now to be found in great abundance the flat heads and other bones
of this remarkable people.

They had a tradition that an evil spirit was always tempting them to
violate the laws, and the regulations of their religious belief. That
at one time he had so nearly extinguished the holy fire in their
temples, and the love of the sun in their hearts, that the Great Spirit
came and fought with them against him, until finally he was conquered
and chained in a deep cave, whence he still continued to send out
little devils to tempt and torment their people. It was these who
brought disease and death; these who tempted to lie, steal, and kill;
disobedience in their wives when they refused to perform their duties
or became bellicose, as wives sometimes will, of every people on earth.
It was a trite saying, shut up the cave in your heart and smother or
put out the bad spirit. It was a belief that these imps or little
devils found much more easy access to the caves in the hearts of women
than into those of men, and that they encouraged them to come and
nestle there. Is the belief alone the Indian's? There are some within
my knowledge whose experience at home might readily yield belief to
this faith of the savage.

Their traditions, too, told them of the great waters coming over all
the land, and destroying all the inhabitants except those who had
boats; and that the latter were carried away by the waters and left by
them on all the land that was permitted again to come above the waters;
and that by that means people were planted everywhere. These traditions
are quite as rational as most of the speculations as to how the earth
was populated, especially that which we learn in the cradle, of Adam
and Eve's mission.

It was death, by their law, to permit the holy fire to become
extinguished in the temples. To prevent such a calamity, it was
preserved in two temples at different points; when accidentally
extinguished in one, it was to be obtained from the other; but not
peacefully. The keepers must resist and blood must be spilt in order to
obtain it. Soon after they became acquainted with the French, the fire
was extinguished in the great temple at the White Apple village by the
lazy watcher. Knowing his fate, he stealthily lighted it from profane
fire. Great misfortunes following this, and shortly thereafter the loss
of the holy fire in the other temple near the Grindstone ford, on the
Bayou Pierre, in Claiborne County, Mississippi, they sought after the
legal and holy manner to procure fire from the White Apple village. Yet
the calamities continued. The watch who had suffered the fire to fail
in the first temple, conscience smitten, confessed his sin and paid its
penalty.

They now had only profane fire, and the whole nation was in the agonies
of despair. The cause of all their calamities was now no longer a
secret. They extinguished the profane fire, and in prayer, fasting, and
continued oblations, they propitiated the sun to send them fire that was
holy, to protect and preserve them. It was the folly of ignorance and
superstition, and availed nothing; but, like all prayer, was considered
a pious duty, though nothing was ever known to result therefrom, and
nature moved steadily and undeviatingly forward in obedience to the
fixed, immutable, and eternal laws affirmed by the all-wise Creator.
There was gloom upon every brow and despair in every heart. The curse
pronounced by the first Great Sun had come--destruction and death to all
the Natchez--because of the extinction of the holy fire. At length a
tree was stricken by lightning near the White Apple village temple,
and set on fire. The men of the temple saw the answer to their prayers
in this, and hastened to re-kindle the holy flame from this fire,
so miraculously sent them from heaven. It was to them a miracle,
because, though perfectly in obedience to natural laws, they did not
comprehend them, and like unto all people under similar circumstances,
all in nature is a miracle which they do not understand, and cannot
satisfactorily explain. But there was no efficiency found in this, and
the trouble went forward.

The French had come among them, and taught them the value and
corrupting influence of money. Boats had ascended and descended the
Great River, and communication, through this channel, had been
established with Canada. They were grasping, by degrees, the lands,
building forts and peopling the country. They had introduced the black
man, and the wiser of the Natchez saw in the future the doom of their
race. They saw the feuds fomented between the numerous tribes along the
coast of the Mississippi by the French, and the destruction of these by
bloody wars. They saw, too, to offend the French was sure to bring
destruction upon the offending party. Their neighbors were made,
through French influence, to fall upon and destroy them. The Chickasaws
and Choctaws--great nations, having multitudes of warriors--were under
the dominion of these pale-faced intruders, and they feared they might
be turned upon them in an unsuspecting hour.

There was among the Natchez a mighty chief and warrior. He was of great
stature and fame, being seven feet high and powerfully proportioned. He
had a large beard, and was called the chief of the Beard, because he
was the only man of all the tribe who had this facial ornament or
incumbrance. He was a mighty warrior and was wise in counsel. He
believed he saw great evil to the Natchez in the increase of the French
and the extension of French power. He knew, and told his people, this
was the foreboding of the extinction of the holy fire. He went forth
with the chief of the Walnut Hills, named Alahoplechia, and the chief
of the White Clay, Oyelape, among their neighbors of other tribes, the
Chicasaws and Choctaws, preaching a crusade against the French; urging
them to unite with the Natchez, the Homochittas, and the Alabamas, and
to attack and destroy the last man of the French settlements at Mobile,
Boloxy, Ship Island, and New Orleans, as they were mischievous
intruders from across the Salt Lake, whence they were yearly bringing
their people to rob them of their homes and appropriate them.

There had come to them red men from the Wabash and Muskingum, who bore
to them the sad news of the encroachments of the pale-faces upon their
people and their hunting-grounds. "Soon," said the bearded chief, who
was the leading spirit of the mission, "these white faces will meet
along the Great River. They will forget the arrow of truth and the
tomahawk of justice. They will only know power and oppression. Then
they will be mighty as the hurricane when the Great Sun hides his face
in wrath and the tempest tears the forest. Who can resist him then? The
holy fire has been sent again from heaven, from the Great Spirit, our
God, the Great Sun. It tells us to save our people from this fearful
destruction which comes with the white man. These pale-faces are
cunning; they must not know of our union. We must not counsel long, or
they will learn our intentions. We must strike at once. The Choctaws
must strike at Mobile. At the same moment, Homochittas, Boloxies, and
Homas, you must strike at Boloxi. The Chickasaws and the Natchez will
fall upon New Orleans and Rosalie." (The latter is the Indian name for
what is now Natchez.) His advice was startling, but unheeded. In order
to precipitate a war, on his return with the chiefs who accompanied him
and two warriors, they murdered a trading-party of French, at the hills
where is now Warrenton, in Warren County, Mississippi.

This murder was communicated to the French who, under Bienville, were
sent by Cordelac, then Governor of Louisiana, to take revenge, by
waging war upon the Natchez. Bienville was hated by Cordelac, because
he had refused the hand of his daughter, formally tendered him by her
father. He only gave the young and sagacious commander a small force
with which to wage this war--such an one as would have been overwhelmed
at once had he attempted open field movements. Knowing this, he
proceeded to an island opposite the village of the Tunicas, where he
entrenched himself and invited a conference. Three spies were sent by
the Natchez to reconnoitre; but they were baffled by Bienville with
superior cunning. They were sent back as not the equals of Bienville,
and with a message to the Great Sun that he must come with his chiefs,
that he desired to establish trading-posts among them, and would only
treat with the first in authority. They came with a consciousness that
the French were ignorant of these murders, and were immediately
arrested and ironed. Bienville told them at once of the murder, and of
his determination to have the murderers and to punish them. He had the
Great Sun, the Stung Serpent, and the Little Sun. The latter was sent
to bring the heads of the murderers, and he returned with three heads;
but Bienville, after examining these, told the chiefs they had
treacherously deceived him, and that those were not the heads of the
murderers. After a night's consultation they concluded it was
impossible to deceive him, and in the morning confessed the whole
truth, proposing to send Stung Serpent to bring the real murderers. But
knowing the wily character of this chief and his influence with his
tribe, he was not permitted to go. The young Sun was dispatched, and
succeeded in bringing the chief of the Beard and the chief of the
Walnut Hills, with the two warriors; but Oyelape had fled and could not
be had. He had probed to the truth of the French expedition; and being
guilty, cunningly and wisely made his escape.

The death sentence was passed upon these, and the two warriors were
shot at once; but the two chiefs were reserved for execution to another
day. Upon the sentence being communicated to them they commenced to
chant the death-song of their people, which they continued to do
throughout all the time, night and day, until led forth for execution.

The Great Sun, Stung Serpent, his brother, and all the other Indians
were brought out to witness the execution. When the two condemned
chiefs were brought forward, these witnesses of their death sang the
death-song; but the chief of the Beard looked sternly at them, and
defiantly at the executioners; and taking his position, turned to his
people and, addressing them, said:

"Let there be joy in the hearts of the Natchez. A child is born to them
of the race of their Suns. A boy is born with a beard on his chin. The
prodigy still works on from generation to generation.' So sang the
warriors of my tribe when I sprang from my mother's womb, and the
shrill cry of the eagle, in the heavens, was heard in joyful response.
Hardly fifteen summers had passed over my head when my beard had grown
long and glossy. I looked around, and saw I was the only red man that
had this awful mark on his face, and I interrogated my mother and she
said:

  "'Son of the chiefs of the Beard,
  Thou shall know the mystery
  In which thy curious eye wishes to pry,
  When thy beard from black becomes red.'

"Let there be joy in the hearts of the Natchez! A hunter is born to
them--a hunter of the race of the Suns. Ask of the bears, of the
buffaloes, of the tigers, and of the swift-footed deer, whose arrows
they fear most! They tremble and cower when the footstep of the hunter
with the beard on his chin is heard on the heath. But I was born with
brains in my head as well as a beard on my chin, and I pondered on my
mother's words. One day, when a panther which I slaughtered had torn my
breast, I painted my beard with my own blood, and I stood smiling
before her. She said nothing; but her eye gleamed with wild delight,
and she took me to the temple when, standing by the sacred fire, she
thus sang to me:

  "'Son of the chiefs of the Beard,
  Thou shall know the mystery,
  Since, true to thy nature, with thine own blood
  Thy black beard thou hast turned to red.'

"Let there be joy in the hearts of the Natchez; for a mighty chief,
worthy of the race of their Suns, has been born to them in thee, my
son--a noble chief with a beard on his chin. Listen to the explanation
of this prodigy. In days of old a Natchez maid of the race of their
Suns was on a visit to the Mobelians. There she soon loved the youthful
chief of that nation, and her wedding-day was nigh, when there came
from the big Salt Lake on the south a host of bearded men, who sacked
the town, slew the red chief with their thunder, and one of those
accursed evil spirits used violence to the maid when her lover's corpse
was hardly cold in death. She found in sorrow her way back to the
Natchez hills, where she became a mother, and lo! the boy had a beard
on his chin, and when he grew old enough to understand his mother's
words she whispered in his ear:

  "'Son of the chiefs of the Beard,
  Born from a bloody day,
  Bloody be thy hand, and bloody be thy life
  Until thy black beard with blood becomes red.'

"Let there be joy in the hearts of the Natchez. In my first ancestor a
long line of the first of hunters, chiefs, and warriors of the race of
their Suns had been born to them with beards on their chins. What chase
was ever unsuccessful over which they presided? When they spoke in the
council of the wise men of the nation, did it not always turn out that
their advice, whether adopted or rejected, was the best in the end? In
what battle were they ever defeated? When were they known to be worn
out with fatigue--with hardship, hunger or thirst, heat or cold, either
on land or water? Who ever could stem as they the rushing current of
the Father of rivers? Who can count the number of scalps which they
brought from distant expeditions? Their names have always been famous
in the wigwams of all the red nations. They have struck terror into the
breasts of the boldest enemies of the Natchez; and mothers, when their
sons paint their bodies in the colors of war, say to them:

  "'Fight where, and with whom you please;
  But beware, oh! beware of the chiefs of the Beard.
  Give way to them as you would to death,
  Or their black beards with your blood will be red.'

"Let there be joy in the hearts of the Natchez. When the first chief of
the Beard first trimmed the sacred fire in the temple, a voice was
heard which said: 'As long as there lives a chief of the race of the
Suns with a beard on his chin, no evil can happen to the Natchez
nation; but if the white race should ever resume the blood which it
gave in a bloody day, woe, three times woe, to the Natchez! Of them
nothing will remain but the shadow of a name.' Thus spake the invisible
prophet. Years rolled on, years thick on years, and none of the
accursed white-faces were seen; but they appeared at last, wrapped up
in their pale skins like shrouds of the dead, and the father of my
father, whom tradition had taught to guard against the predicted
danger, slew two of the hated strangers, and my father, in his turn,
killed four.

  "'Praise be to the chiefs of the Beard,
  Who knew how to avenge their old ancestral injury,
  When with the sweet blood of a white foe
  Their black beards they proudly dyed red.'

"Let there be joy in the hearts of the Natchez. When I saw the glorious
light of day there was born to them a great warrior of the race of
their Suns--a warrior and a chief with a beard on his chin. The pledge
of protection, of safety, and of glory stood embodied in me. When I
shouted my first war-whoop the owl hooted and smelt the ghosts of my
enemies, the wolves howled, and the carrion vultures shrieked with joy;
for they knew their food was coming, and I fed them with Chickasaws'
flesh and with Choctaws' flesh until they were gorged with the flesh of
the red man. A kind master and purveyor I was to them--the poor, dumb
creatures that I loved. But lately I have given them more dainty food.
I boast of having done better than my father. Five Frenchmen have I
killed, and my only regret in dying is, that it will prevent me from
killing more.

  "'Ha! ha! ha! that was game worthy of the chief of the Beard!
  How lightly he danced. Ho! ho! ho!
  How gladly he shouted. Ha! ha! ha!
  Each time with French blood his beard became red."

"Sorrow in the hearts of the Natchez! The great hunter is no more. The
wise chief is going to meet his fathers. The indomitable warrior will
no more raise his hatchet in defence of the children of the Sun. O
burning shame! He was betrayed by his brother-chiefs, who sold his
blood. If they had followed his advice they would have united with the
Choctaws, Chickasaws, and all the other red nations, and they would
have slain all the French dogs that came prowling and stealing over the
beautiful face of our country. But there was too much of the woman in
their cowardly hearts. Well and good! Let the will of fate be
accomplished. The white race will soon resume the blood which it gave,
and then the glory and the very existence of the Natchez nation will
have departed forever with the chief of the Beard; for I am the last of
my race, and my blood flows in no other human veins. O Natchez,
Natchez! remember the prophet's voice! I am content to die; for I leave
no one behind me but the doomed, while I go to revel with my brave
ancestors.

  "'They will recognize their son in the chief of the Beard;
  They will welcome him to their glorious homestead
  When they see so many scalps at his girdle,
  And his black beard with French blood painted red.'"

He stood up in proud defiance before the admiring French; his noble
form expanded to its full proportions, hatred in his heart and triumph
in his eyes. Facing his foes, he viewed the platoon selected to deal
him his death, and lifted his eyes and hands to the sun. The officer
gave the command, the platoon fired as one man, and the great chief of
the Beard passed away.

This was the beginning of difficulties with the French, and also the
commencement of the utter destruction of the Natchez. War succeeded
war, until the last of this people, few in number, broke up from the
Washita, whither they had fled for security years before, and went, as
they fondly hoped, too far into the bosom of the deep West to be found
again by the white-skins. But Clarke and Lewis found them high up on
the Missouri, still preserving the holy fire, the flat heads, and their
hatred of the white race. Their bones are even now turned up by the
plough near the mounds of their making, and soon these mounds will be
all that is left to speak of the once powerful Natchez. I have stood
upon the great mound of their temple at the White Apple village, forty
years ago, then covered with immense forest-trees, at the graves of the
great grandfather and mother of my children. To these was donated, in
1780, by the Spanish Government, the land on which the temple and the
village stood. It is a beautiful spot in the centre of a lovely and
most picturesque country. It was here these Indians feasted the great
La Salle and his party when descending the Mississippi. They were the
first white men that had descended the river, and the first white men
the Natchez had ever seen.




CHAPTER XX.

EXPLORATION OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.

CHICAGO--CRYING INDIANS--CHICKASAWS--DE SOTO--FEAST OF THE GREAT SUN--
CANE KNIVES--LOVE-STRICKEN INDIAN MAIDEN--RAPE OF THE NATCHEZ--MAN'S
WILL--SUBJUGATION OF THE WATERS--THE BLACK MAN'S MISSION--ITS DECADE.


La Salle, who first discovered the mouth of the Mississippi River, was
a man of most remarkable energy and enterprise. He had been engaged in
commercial pursuits for some time in Canada; but, seized with the
spirit of adventure--very probably inspired by the reports of the
Jesuit missionaries, who were going and returning from the vast
wilderness--and inspired with the belief (then common) that the rivers
west, and particularly the great river found by De Soto, debouched into
the Pacific Ocean, he determined to learn the truth, and projected and
commenced the ascent of the St. Lawrence and the navigation of the
lakes as a means of reaching the Mississippi. It required almost
superhuman daring to undertake such an enterprise; but there was enough
in La Salle to accomplish anything possible to human capacity. His
followers, like himself, were fearless and determined and, with a few
small boats, or skiffs, he commenced his perilous adventure. It was
like walking in the dark over uncertain ground; for every step was over
unexplored territory, the moment he passed the establishments of the
Jesuits, who were then pioneering to propagate their creed among the
aborigines of the new continent.

His first winter was spent on the spot, or in the immediate
neighborhood of where Chicago now stands. Here he invited to his camp
the neighboring Indians, and endeavored to learn as much as possible of
the geography of the country he was about to explore. Parties were sent
out with these Indians to ascertain if there was any stream or
water-communication leading from Lake Michigan to the West, and which
might connect it with the Mississippi. Sufficient of the language of
the tribes about him had been acquired to establish a means of
intelligent intercourse with them. They were curious to know the
objects of the visit of the white strangers to their country. Always
suspicious of strangers--supposing all, like themselves, treacherous
and cruel--they kept on the alert and were chary of giving any
information they might possess as to this, or any other matters about
which the white men asked; but, watchful of their movements, and seeing
from their explorations their intentions, they became convinced of the
sincerity of their inquiries, and readily pointed out the portage
dividing the waters of Chicago Creek and those of the Illinois River.

When the spring came, and the snows had melted away, and the boats were
all over the portage, with the assistance of the savages, the
expedition was renewed in the descent of the Illinois. The Indians had
been so kindly treated, and so sincerely dealt with, that every
suspicion that made them fear the whites was dissipated, and they were
loath to part from them, and many accompanied the party until they were
about entering the territory of hostile neighbors. Of these they seemed
to entertain great fears, and every means of persuasion and warning
were used to prevent their white friends hazarding themselves to the
power of these enemies. When the last were to leave, they manifested
more emotion than is usual with the savage, and one of La Salle's party
more facetious than the Indian designated them the Crying Indians.

La Salle was a wise as well as a bold adventurer. His policy with all
the tribes he encountered was kindness and truth. These were human
beings, and he correctly judged influenced by the motives and impulses
of men. They had never seen white men before, and there could be no
cause of quarrel, and there was little in the possession of the whites,
the use of which was known to the Indian to tempt his cupidity. He
manifested no fears in approaching them. Their curiosity tempted them
to come to him, and once met, his kindness and gentleness won them; and
he experienced no opposition or trouble from any he met; but succeeded
in gaining much information from his communications with them. When he
reached the Mississippi he began to doubt the accepted theory of its
discharging its waters into the Pacific, and upon reaching the mouth of
the Missouri and counseling with the chief of the tribe he met there,
he at once determined the speculation a delusion, and decided to
prosecute his journey to the mouth of the mighty stream, now with
almost irresistible impetuosity hurrying on his little flotilla. This
chief by many signs and diagrams marked with his finger upon the sand
of the beach, described the country out of which flowed the Missouri,
and into which went the Mississippi, and seemed to comprehend at least
the extent of its constantly accumulating waters and great length. Like
all the other savages, he represented the dangers below as being too
formidable for the small party of La Salle. He described the Natchez
Indians and gave them a terrible character; then the monsters of the
woods and the waters. He marked the form of the tiger, the bear, and
the alligator and described them as aggressive and ferocious. Taking a
handful of sand he scattered it on the boat's floor or bottom, and
pointing to the separate particles, attempted to explain by this means
the countless numbers of these Indians, and monsters of the country
below. Here was his first information of the existence of the Natchez,
but his information augmented as he descended the river. At the bluffs,
where now is Memphis, he encountered the Chickasaws and learned of the
visit of De Soto to that point, and of his death. These Indians warned
him of the dangers he had to encounter. They had had trouble with De
Soto and were chary of their intercourse with the whites, but
manifested no hostility.

The next tribe of Indians seen was at the Walnut Hills, now Vicksburg.
Their flat heads told him he had reached the country of that formidable
nation, but he held no communication with them. Landing at the great
bluff or Natchez, he found there quite a village. The natives
approached him manifesting the kindest and most hospitable intentions.
For some days he delayed, to learn as much as possible from these
people in the observation of their character and the topography and
peculiarities of the country they were inhabiting. Runners had been
dispatched to the Great Sun at the White Apple village, to inform him
of the advent of these pale-faced strangers, with beard on their chins.
Like information was communicated to the towns on Cole's Creek and
further in the interior. La Salle was furnished with pilots and
requested to drop down to the White Cliffs, now known as Ellis' Cliffs,
eighteen miles below Natchez, where a delegation would meet and conduct
him to the White Apple village. These pilots caused the landing of the
party at the mouth of St. Catharine's Creek, a point much nearer the
village than the cliffs, and from whence it was much more easily
approached. Thence they conducted them to the village and temple of the
Great Sun. They came by surprise, and there was manifested some
suspicions of the motive. But being informed it was the work of the
pilots, all were satisfied and a messenger dispatched for the great
escort awaiting the party at White Cliffs.

There were great preparations made for a solemn feast. Game in
abundance had been collected: the meat of the deer and the bear and
every variety of the wild-fowl peculiar to the country and season.
These were spread out upon tables made of the wild-cane, placed upon
poles sustained by posts driven into the ground, and covered with
neatly dressed skins of the bear, elk, and buffalo. There were fish in
abundance, the paupaw and the berries which grew abundantly in the
forest. The Great Sun led La Salle to the centre of the square formed
by the tables, where one had been prepared for him and the great ruler
of the Natchez. Rude seats were arranged only for these two. The Little
Suns, or smaller chiefs of surrounding villages, assembled with the
great warriors and whites accompanying the expedition at the tables
forming the square. These Indians had knives formed from the wild cane
of the country and hardened in the fire, which were used for carving
their meats and other like purposes, one of these was placed in the
hand of every white man. The Great Sun standing up, looked reverently
upon the sun for a few moments. Then lifting his hands, placed them on
the head of La Salle. This was imitated by the Little Suns placing
their hands upon the heads of all the whites, and when the chief or
Great Sun removed his hands, and said, "Eat," the Little Suns did
likewise, and the feast commenced. These cane knives, however, were
comparatively useless in the hands of the French, and laying them down,
they took from the belts at their sides the large hunting-knives they
carried. This movement was so simultaneous, that alarm was apparent in
every Indian face and a movement was made by the Indians as if to leave
the table; but they were soon reassured when they saw the use to which
they were applied. They watched the ease with which these cut through
the flesh and cleaved the smaller bones of their repast, and expressed
their astonishment in asking where the canes grew from which they were
made--indicating conclusively that they had never before seen a
metallic knife, and probably never before had seen iron or steel. When
the feast had concluded, La Salle was led to a lodge prepared for him,
and all his party were shown to places prepared for them, to repose
after the meal. Upon the males retiring, the women came forth cleanly
clad and removed everything from the tables.

This was the first view the whites had of the Natchez women. When their
work was completed, they commenced to chant a song in slow and measured
tones; soon, however, it quickened into merry cadences and the young
females commenced a wild, fantastic dance. The older sang on, keeping
time by slapping their hands and a swinging movement of the head and
body right and left. Apparently, at the termination of a stanza, they
would stoop suddenly forward and slap the hands upon each thigh,
uttering at the same moment a shrill cry, when the dancers would leap
with astonishing agility high in the air and, alighting, stand
perfectly still. This exhibition called the French from their repose,
who seemed delighted, and very soon joined in the dance; mirth excited
mirth, and in a little while the village was in a complete uproar. The
young warriors, however, were seen to scowl whenever the French
approached too nigh the women, and especially when they took their
hands and turned them around. The French were not slow to perceive
this, nor were they mistaken in the delight it afforded the girls. The
timidity of the latter soon disappeared and each lass singled out a
beau, and was quite familiar with him. The French remained for some
days enjoying the hospitality of the Natchez, returning to their boats
and to the opposite shore of the river at night for greater security.

Among the French there was one, a stalwart young fellow, who had made
the conquest of a heart among the maidens, and was surprised late at
night to find she had swum the Mississippi to place herself by his side
at the camp-fire. She implored him to remain with the Natchez and
become a Great Sun, that her family was one of great influence at the
White Clay village of which she was the belle, and she would marry him.
She was rich, and the favorite of the Little Sun of her town, who had
given her great presents. But Crapaud was aware of the price of these
gifts, and though he did not refuse, was not inclined to the union, or
to remain with her people. He promised, however, to see her to-morrow,
and told her if he could prevail on some of his companions to remain,
he would; but insisted if they would not, she must consent to follow
him and provide a girl for each of his companions, who would accompany
them to their homes, which he made very lovely in his description. They
were standing now on the bank of the river and day was approaching. She
pointed to the planet just above the horizon, and then to the place in
the heavens where it would be in an hour, and said she must then be in
her lodge, and plunging into the river swam rapidly to the opposite
shore. The next day was the one appointed for the departure of La Salle
and party. True to her promise--the Natchez girl had found a maiden for
each of the party, who was willing to abandon her people and go with
the strangers on their perilous and unknown journey, and to be the
wives of the pale-faces.

The French, with much ceremony, were dismissed by the Great Sun, and a
strong escort of both sexes followed them to their boats. The ceremony
of shaking hands was gone through with; all the men first, and then the
women; the last, as previously arranged, were the girls who were to
follow their sweethearts. At a signal each was grasped and hurried
forward toward the boats. The alarm was given, and in a moment the bows
of the warriors were strung, and they rushed yelling to the rescue;
overpowered, the French released the women and springing into their
boats were soon out of danger of the arrows which were sent in showers
after them--nor did they escape unscathed. Several of the men were
wounded, and some of them severely. When once away from the shore, the
French seized their guns and fired a volley, but were prevented from
further demonstrations by La Salle; not wishing to leave behind him an
enemy, who might be troublesome to him on his return up the river.

This adventure was the only hostile one of the entire trip. This was
provoked by the folly and crime of his men without the knowledge of La
Salle. How true it is that man in every condition and of every race
will fight for his woman as surely as the game cock for his hen! Long
years after, and when the last Natchez had been gone from the land of
his love many years, and when threatening war was disturbing the people
of the colonies, there came here a band of men, as had come to this
land of beauty and plenty, the oppressors of the Natchez, seeking to
make a peaceful home upon these hills, where grew in luxuriant
profusion the magnolia and great tulip-trees, and where the atmosphere
was redolent with the perfume of the wild flowers which clothed and
ornamented the trees and grounds so fruitful and rich with nature's
gifts.

The country was claimed as part of West Florida and dominated by the
Spanish Government. They were anxious to have the country populated,
and donated certain quantities or tracts of land to any one who came to
settle and remain in the country. These settlements at first were made
on the bluffs projecting through the alluvial swamp to the river's
brink, and at or near the mouths of the small streams debouching into
the river from the eastern shore. The west bank was deemed
uninhabitable in consequence of the spring floods sweeping over the
alluvial formation, extending from forty to seventy miles west of the
river; and there being no highlands or bluffs approaching the river
from the west, below what is now known as Helena, in Arkansas, this
vast territory was one interminable swamp, clothed with immense
forest-trees, gigantic vines, and jungle-bushes. It was interspersed
with lakes, and bayous as reservoirs and drains for the wonderful
floods which annually visit this country. Around these were lands
remarkable for their fertility--indeed, unsurpassed by any on the face
of the earth; but worthless, however, for cultivation, as long as
unprotected against these annual floods. The system of leveeing was too
onerous and expensive to be undertaken by the people sparsedly
populating the eastern bank throughout the hill-country. The levee
system which had reclaimed so much of the low country in Louisiana, had
not extended above Pointe Coupee, in 1826. Yet there were some
settlements on several of the lakes above, especially on Lakes
Concordia and St. Joseph.

The immense country in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi in
possession of the Indians, interposed a barrier to emigration. To think
of leaving home and friends to go away beyond these savages, seemed an
undertaking too gigantic for any but men of desperate fortunes, or of
the most indomitable energy.

Adventurers had wandered into the country and returned with terrible
stories of the unhealthiness of the climate as well as the difficulties
to be overcome in reaching it; thus deterring the emigrant who desired
a new home. When General Jackson was elected to the Presidency a new
policy was inaugurated. The Indians were removed beyond the
Mississippi; the lands they had occupied were brought into market, and
a flood of emigration poured into these new acquisitions. Cotton had
suddenly grown into great demand. The increase of population, and the
great cheapness of the, fabrics from cotton, had increased the demand.
In Europe it had rapidly increased, and in truth all over the world.
Emigration from Europe had set in to a heavy extent upon the United
States, and the West was growing in population so rapidly as to create
there a heavy demand for these fabrics. The world was at peace;
commerce was unrestricted, and prosperity was everywhere. Europe had
recovered from her long war, and the arts of peace had taken hold of
every people, and were bearing their fruit. All the lands intermediate
between the frontiers west of Georgia and Tennessee and those of the
east of Mississippi and Louisiana were soon appropriated; and the more
fertile lands of the two latter States were coming rapidly into request
for the purpose of cotton cultivation.

The great flood of 1828 had swept over every cultivated field west of
the Mississippi, and seemed to demonstrate the folly of ever attempting
to reduce these lands to profitable cultivation. But with the increase
of population came wealth and enterprise. The levees were continued up
the river. A long period of comparatively low water encouraged
settlements upon the alluvial bottoms. The levees were continued up the
west bank, and in a few years the forests had melted away from the
margin of the river. Large fields were in their stead, and were
continually increasing in extent. Improvements of a superior character
were commencing, and an occasional break in the levee, and partial
inundation, did not deter, but rather stimulated the planters to
increased exertion, to discipline and control the great floods poured
down from the rain-sheds extending from the headwaters of the Ohio to
those of the Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, and Red Rivers, embracing
in extent an area greater than the continent of Europe. It really
seemed an attempt to defy the decrees of fate. In 1828, the waters from
Cairo to Baton Rouge, a distance of nine hundred miles, averaged fifty
miles in width. For months the great river was covered with forests of
timber, torn up with the roots by the flood, floating and tumbling
wildly along the terrible torrent, making the navigation extremely
dangerous for the few steamers then upon the river. How often have I
heard old men, who were long resident in the country, when standing on
the bluff at Natchez, viewing the extent of that memorable flood, say:
"Every man who attempts to cultivate these bottom lands will be ruined.
The river demands them as a reservoir for her surplus waters when in
flood." But enterprise was undeterred; the levees went up and the
settlements went on to increase; and when the spoiler came all the
valley was dotted over with pretty villages and magnificent cotton
plantations, containing and sustaining a prosperous, rich, intelligent,
and happy population. They are swept away, and ruin reigns over this
desolated land.

This was but the beginning of the subduing to man's will and
cultivation this entire and unparalleled valley. What had been done
demonstrated the possibility of redeeming every inch of the alluvial
land along the entire valley to the production of the richest staples,
with all the necessaries to man's support, comfort, and wealth. It is
pleasing to contemplate this immense plain as one extended scene of
cultivation--the beautiful lakes of every form, surrounded with
palatial homes and fertile fields; lovely towns upon their borders,
with the church-spires pointing to heaven, surrounded with shrubs and
flowers of every variety and hue; streams meandering among the extended
plantations; railroads intersecting it in every direction; and all this
mighty field, a thousand miles long by fifty broad, teeming with
production, and pouring into the lap of commerce a wealth absolutely
incalculable. The work was begun and was rapidly progressing; but now,
when and by whom will this great, glorious garden be made?

To do this was the black man's mission; but ere his work was done he
was converted into a machine to undo all his work. Inconceivable
calamity has followed, and to him is fixed a decade which will soon run
to extinction.




CHAPTER XXI.

TWO STRANGE BEINGS.

ROMANCE OF WESTERN LIFE--MET BY CHANCE--PARTING ON THE LEVEE--MEETING
AT THE SICK-BED--CONVALESCENT--LOVE-MAKING--"HOME, SWEET HOME"--
THEOLOGICAL DISCUSSIONS--UNCLE TONY--WILD, YET GENTLE--AN ODD
FAMILY--THE ADVENTURER SPECULATES.


It was in the spring of the year away back in time when there landed at
the town of St. Francisville, or Bayou Sara, a small periagua, or
canoe, containing two young men clad in skins, with a camp-kettle,
guns, some curiously painted skins, Indian bows, quivers, and Indian
curiosities. Their hair was long, their unshaven beards were full and
flowing, and in all their appearance they were wild and savage. There
were but few houses in the hamlet below the hill. Among these was one
of more pretensions than the rest. It was a store, and the merchant was
an Irishman. There was near it a neat family carriage. One of the young
savages went into this store to find materials for writing to his
home-friends, from whom he had been separated for many long months. He
found in the store three ladies. Two were young, the other was an aged
matron. They seemed not only surprised at the novel apparition before
them, but alarmed. This surprise seemed to increase when they saw the
young savage rapidly filling, upon the counter, a sheet of paper. They
desisted from their shopping, and watched intently the wild savage.
When his letter was completed, he politely desired the accommodating
merchant to send it for him to the post-office. Then lifting his gray
wolf-skin cap from his head, he bowed politely to the ladies and turned
to leave the store and their presence. The salutation was gracefully
acknowledged, and especially by the matron. Very soon they joined the
curious crowd who were examining the contents of the canoe, now placed
on the land to await the coming of a steamer that was freighting with
cotton above. One of the young ladies seemed much interested and made
many inquiries. A bow and quiver was given into her hand. The latter
was fashioned from the skin of a Mexican tiger, and was filled with
arrows. One of these was bloody, and its history was asked of the youth
she had met in the store. It was the blood of a Pawnee chief who, by
this arrow, had been slain in battle, and was the gift to the youth
from the daughter of the fallen chief, together with the bow and quiver
of the Indian who had slain her father, and who was in turn killed by a
chief of her tribe.

How beautiful she was to this wanderer of the wilderness! Months upon
months had passed away, and he had only looked upon the blank and
unmeaning features of the desert savage woman. With these his heart had
no sympathy. Like the panther of their plains they were swift of foot,
symmetrical in form, wild, untamed and untamable, fierce and unfeeling;
and were not formed by nature for sympathy or social union with the
higher organizations of civilized man. His dream of romance was being
realized. The vacuum in his heart was filling. How in contrast were his
feelings and appearance! Clad as a savage, his skin was covered with
the fabric of an Indian woman, closely fitting, with moccasins on his
feet, and a gray wolf-skin cap upon his head--his long, black hair with
the luxuriant growth of two years curling over his shoulders, and his
beard, like the wing of night fluttering in the breeze, waving down
from his chin to his breast in ringlets, glossy and beautiful. He was
lithe as a savage, and seemed to be one. In his heart were kindling
soft emotions, and memories of maidens he had known--now far, far
away--came crowding upon that heart. Before him stood the embodiment of
beauty and grace, attired with costly and beautiful fabrics which
flowed about her person like the white vapor upon the breezes of
spring. Elegance was in her every attitude, and grace in every
movement. Her features and her eyes beamed with a curious wish to learn
the story of the strange wild being before her. Their two hearts were
in sympathy; but to each other it was a secret. How strangely they had
met! How strangely they were feeling! How soon they were to part!
"Where is he from? Where is he going?" asked her eyes; and he looked:
"Who are you; and where is your home, beautiful being, so strangely and
so unexpectedly met?"

An arrow was shot from the bow to gratify a request. She followed the
quivering thing with her eye, as it sped like a shaft of light to its
destined mark. To retrieve it she walked with the youth to where, fixed
in a bale of cotton, it trembled, some hundred yards away. Slowly she
returned by the youth's side, and drooped her head, listening to the
wild mountain adventures he was telling--the chase of the elk, the
antelope, and the wild buffalo; the hazardous ride through the wild
prairies, expanding away in the distance to kiss the horizon; the
stealthy wiles of the revengeful savage; the fierce fight of savage
men; the race for very life, when the foe followed; and the bivouac
upon the prairie's breast, with the weary horse sleeping and resting by
his side. Will he ever forget the speaking of the beaming features of
that beautiful creature, when she lifted her head and looked into his
face? A frown darkened the matron's features as her _eleve_ returned to
the curious group which was listening to the narrative of the older of
the two strangers. It said: "What did you leave me for? Why this
indiscretion?" Ah! how often old women forget they were once young!

The steamer is coming. She is here; and the trappings of the wanderers
are on board. The young wild man stands alone upon the upper deck. His
eyes pierce to where stands the sylph he leaves with reluctance. She is
looking at him. He lifts his cap and bows farewell. She waves her
kerchief in return. The steamer speeds away. They are parted. Has that
brief interview left an impression upon those two young hearts to
endure beyond a day? Will she dream of the dark beard, curled and
flowing--of the darker eye which looked and spoke? and will the wild
story of the western wilderness come in the silent darkness of her
chamber, and make her nestle closer to her pillow? Will her heart ask:
"Shall I ever meet him again?"

He has gone away; a waif about the land--a feather on the world, driven
about, as destiny impels, without fixed intentions; yet buoyant with
the ardor of youth, and happy in the excess of youthful hopes, dreamy
and wild adventures. He has tasted the savage love of woods and wilds,
and the nature--which was born thousands of years ere the teachings of
civilization had tamed the wild man into an educated, home-loving
being--revives, and the two struggle for mastery in his heart. The
bleak mountain-peaks, the wide-extended plain and its wild denizens,
and the excitement these give, stirs his bosom, and the wish struggles
up to return to them. But the gentler chords of his heart are in tune.
The once-loved home, and she, the once-loved and yet-remembered maiden,
is there, and it may be she pines for his return. He gazed on the
beautiful apparition but a moment gone, and thought of another; and
thought begat thought until the loved one he had left rose up to
memory's call. He was alone, looking upon the great river through whose
turbid waters he was borne away, and he felt he was lengthening a chain
linked to his heart which pulled him back--to what, and to whom? It was
a vision--a dream with his eyes open: indistinct, unembodied, a very
shadow; still it floated about in his imagination, and he was sad. He
was in the city--the great Sodom of the West. He was an object of
wonder to every curious eye. His wild appearance and gentle manner
comported illy, and the thoughtless crowd followed him. Attired now as
a civilized being, and feeling that the vagrant life of a savage must
lead to grief, he called to mind the tear which stole from the rheumy
eyes of the old trapper as he narrated his adventures in the
wilderness, and cursed the hour he ever wandered from his home. His
life had been a continual danger, his hope had been always to return to
his early attachments; but the chain of habit fettered him, and he had
learned to love the wild, solitary life, because of its excitements and
its dangers. Should he, like this man, come to love the solitude and
silence of the wilderness, and find companionship only with his traps
and guns?

His resolution was taken, he would renew the strife with the world and
go back to busy life. His companion of many dangers and long marches
was going to Mexico in search of new adventures. They are alone upon
the broad levee--busy men are hurrying to and fro, little heeding the
two--a small schooner is dropping and sheeting home her sails; she is
up for Tampico, and Gilmanot goes in her; she is throwing off her
fastenings. "All aboard," cries the swarthy, whiskered captain--a grasp
of the hand--no word was spoken--it was warm and sincere, there was no
need of words--each understood that last warm farewell pressure. She is
sweeping around Slaughter-house Point--only the topmasts are visible
now--and now she is gone. The young adventurer stands alone and the
crowd goes hurrying on. How many in desolation of heart have stood
alone and unheeded by the busy, passing multitude upon that broad
levee! How many tears of misery have moistened its shell-covered
summit, when thinking of friends far, far away they should never see
again, and when hope had been rooted from the heart!

He wandered to the great square, now so beautifully ornamented with
shrubs and flowers which love the sun and the South's fat soil, growing
and blooming about the bronze representation of the loved hero who had
been her shield and savior in the hour of her peril, Andrew Jackson.
Then there were a few trees only, and beneath these, here and there, a
rude rural seat or bench. The old, gray cathedral was frowning on the
world's sins, so rife around her; and the great, naked square and the
mighty muddy river which was hurrying away to the sea. To the most
thoughtless will come reflection, and the sweetest face is mellowed by
sorrow. Here under these trees, in the midst of a great city, came to
the young adventurer reflection and sighing sorrow. His mother and
father came up in memory; the home of childhood, his brother, his
sister, his friends, all were remembered; his heart flooded over and he
wept like a little child. Blessed are they who can cry. It is nature's
outlet for grief, and the heart would break if we could not cry. The
heart is not desolate when alone in the forest or the boundless
grass-clothed plains of the West. Nature is all around you, and her
smile is beneficent. There is companionship in the breeze, in the
waving grass, the rustling leaves, and the meanings of the wind-swayed
limbs of the yielding forest. In the city's multitude to move, and be
unknown of all; to hear no recognized voice; to meet no sympathizing
smile or eye; to be silent when all are speaking, and to know that not
one of all these multitudes share a thought or wish with you--this is
desolation, the bitterness of solitude.

A year has gone by, and the youth has found a new home and has made new
friends. He is one of the busy world and struggling with it. He is in
commerce's mart and is one of the multitude who come and congregate
there for gain; in the hall of Justice, where litigants court the
smiles and favors of the blind goddess, where right contends against
wrong, and is as often trampled as triumphant; and where wisdom lends
herself for hire, and bad men rarely meet their dues.

Pestilence had come, and the frightened multitude were fleeing from the
scourge. There was one who came and proffered the hospitality of his
home--where Hygeia smiled and fever never came. Thither he went, but
the poison was in his blood, and as he slept it seized upon his vitals.
His suffering was terrible, and for days life's uncertain tenure seemed
ready to release her hold on time. In his fever-dream there was
flitting about him a fairy form; it would come and go, as the moonlight
on the restless wave--a moment seen and in a moment gone. He saw and
knew nothing for many days distinctly; he would call for his mother and
weep, when only winds would answer. Delirium was in his brain, and wild
fancies chased each other; he heard the crowing of cocks and saw his
sister; his father would come to him, and he would stretch out his hand
and grasp the shadowy nothing. There was a halo of beauty all about
him; prismatic hues trembled in the light, and the tones of sweet music
floated upon the breeze. He saw angels swimming in the golden light;
the blue ether opened, and they came through to greet him and to
welcome him to heaven. Then all was darkness, the crisis had come. He
slept in oblivious ease--it was long; and awaking, the fever was gone.
There was a gentle, sweet, sorrowful face before him--their eyes met;
for a moment only he looked--it was she whom he had met and parted from
without a hope of ever meeting again when robed as the Indian he stood
upon the steamer's deck and waved farewell forever. He reached forth
his hand. She took it and approached, saying, "You are better, and will
soon be well." He could only press her hand as the tears flooded over
his eyes. With a kerchief white as innocence it was wiped away and the
hand that held it laid gently on his brow--that touch thrilled his
every nerve.

Days went by, and the convalescent was amid the shrubs and flowers of
the beautifully ornamented grounds. When he came to the maiden reading
in the shade of a great pecan-tree, she bid him to a seat.

"Do you remember our first meeting?" he asked.

"Here, on your sick-bed, yes; you were, oh! so sick, and I little
thought you would ever leave it alive. You called in your delirium your
mother and your father, and in the frenzy of your mind you saw them by
you; how my heart was pained, and how I prayed for you, in my chamber,
here, and everywhere--and now you are well, only weak."

"It was not when sick I met you first," he replied; "as a wild man you
saw me first, clothed in the skins of the wild beasts of the forest."

She gazed intently; could it be? and clasping her hands she bowed her
head and was silent.

"We have met again," he continued; "I had not forgotten you, but I
dared not hope we should ever meet any more. It was a painful thought;
but I must not tell that--" and there was silence.

Days went by, and the invalid was growing in strength and health. They
only met at the table at the family meals, but they were near each
other. It was at dinner when a ride on horseback was proposed for the
evening's recreation. They rode in company, and through the forest
where the winding road circled the hills, and the great magnolias threw
their dark shade and deliciously cooled the vesper breeze.

"Is it romance, or are you the young gentleman with flowing hair and
black, curling beard I met, and who shot the arrow into the cotton bale
for my amusement? O! how often have I seen you in my dreams; but I
shall never see you as I saw you then. What a study you were to me! How
could your words be so soft and gentle in the wild costume of the
murderous savage? Had you uttered the war-whoop and strode away with
the stride and pride of the savage warrior, there would have been
euphony in it, and I should have felt and known you were a savage--and
you would have passed from my mind. But, ah! look how beautifully
bounds away the startled doe we have aroused from her lair in the cave
here."

"She seems scarcely more startled than did you when I came so
unexpectedly upon you in the store at Bayou Sara. Were you not
surprised to see that I could write?"

"You must not question me now. Why have you cut your hair and beard?
why doffed the prairie chieftain's robes of state and come forth a
plain man? You have dispelled my romance. I have tried to paint you as
I saw and remembered you, and made charcoal sketches for the
gratification of friends to whom I would describe you. I would so like
to see you as you were! O! you were a wonder to me, a very Orson--now,
you are simply a--"

"Miserable creature in plain clothes, and by no means a lady's fancy.
Why did you not let me die, since all that was to be fancied about
me--my hair, my beard, and my buckskin coat, pants, and moccasins are
gone and destroyed?"

The maiden laughed wildly; it was not the laugh of mirth or mischief,
there was a madness in it that thrilled and awed.

"Do you know you are on the graves of a great nation?" she asked. "This
mound and yonder three, were, the burial-places of the Natchez Indians.
The Suns and Sachems sleep here, and he, the Great Sun, who came from
the orbit's self, and was their lawgiver, and in whom and whose
divinity they believed as the Jews in that of Moses, or the Christians
in the Redeemer. Is it not all a mystery--strange, strange,
incomprehensible, and unnatural? What is your faith?"

"To worship where I love; the divinity of my soul's worship is the
devotion of my wild heart.'

"Why, you are mysterious! Have you, as had the Natchez, a holy fire
which is never extinguished in your heart? Is the flame first kindled
burning still? Did your sun come to you with fire in her hand and
kindle it in your heart? Your words mean so much. Was she, or is she a
red maiden of the wild prairies; or dwells she in a mansion surrounded
with the appliances of wealth, reclining on cushions of velvet and
sleeping on a bed of down, canopied with a pavilion of damask satin
fretted with stars of silver; with handmaids to subserve and minister
to every want?" And again the wild laugh rang to the echo among the
hills and dense forests all around. "O! I see I have tuned the wrong
chord and have made discord, not music in your mind. Shall we return?
You are not yet strong, and your weakness I have made weaker, because I
have disturbed the fountain of your heart and brought up painful
memories?"

"You are strange," said her companion, "and guess wide of the mark. The
untutored savage is only a romance at a distance--the reality of their
presence a disgusting fact. They are wild, untamable, and wicked,
without sentiment or sympathy, cruel and murderous; disgusting in their
habits and brutal in their passions."

"And yet, sir, the stories which come down to us of these so quietly
sleeping here are full of romance and poetry. Their intercourse with
the French impressed that mercurial people with exalted notions of
their humanity, chivalry, and nobleness of nature. Can it be that these
historians only wrote romances? You must not disturb this romance. If
it is an illusion let me enjoy it; do not strip from it the beard, the
hair, the hunting-shirt, the bow and quiver--reality or fiction, it is
sweet to the memory. How often have I wandered from our home and stood
here alone and conjured from the spirit-land the ghosts of the Great
Suns, the Stung Serpent, and the chief of the Beard, and hers who
warned the French of the conspiracy for their destruction. In my
day-dreaming I have talked with these; and learned with delight of
their bliss in their eternal hunting-grounds. And as I have knelt here,
they in hosts have come to me with all their legends and long accounts
against the white man, and I have wept above these dry bones, and felt
too it was the fate of the white man, when his mission shall have been
completed on earth, and his nation's age bear him into the ground, and
only his legends shall live a tradition, like that of the Natchez.

"The hieroglyphics of Thotmes, of Rameses, of Menephthah, and of the
host of kings gone before these in Egypt's old life, cannot be read;
their language, letters, and traditions, too, sleep beyond the
revelations of time, and yet their tombs, like these, give up their
bones to the curious, who group through the catacombs, or dig at the
base of their monumental pyramids. All besides has passed away and is
lost. Not even the color of the great people who filled these
monuments, and carved from the solid stone these miles of galleries,
now filled to repletion with their mummied dead, and whose capacity is
sufficient to entomb the dead of a nation for thousands of years, is
known now to those who people the fields reclaimed from the forest
beyond the memory of time.

"Nations are born, have their periods of youthful vigor, their manhood
of sturdy strength, the tottering of decrepit age, the imbecility of
superstitious dotage--and their death is final extinction. Such is man,
and such is the world. What we are, we know; what we shall be, we know
not, save that we only leave a pile of bones. Come, we are approaching
home, and the moon dares to shine, ere yet the sun has gone. Yonder is
brother, and I expect a scolding; but let him fret--it is not often I
have a toy. Fate threw you in my way and you must not complain if I use
you."

"I shall not complain," replied the astonished young man; "but will you
ride again to-morrow?"

She checked up her steed (a noble one he was) and seemed to take in his
entire man, as slowly her eye went up from his stirrup to his face,
when she said: "To-morrow, ah, to-morrow! Who can tell what to-morrow
may bring forth? To you and to me, there may come no to-morrow. We may
in a twinkling be hurled from our sphere into oblivion. The earth may
open to-night, or even now, and we may drop into her bosom of liquid
fire, and be only ashes to-morrow.

"'Take no heed for to-morrow,' is the admonition of wisdom. Look,
yonder I was born. Here sleep the Natchez. See yonder tall mound,
shaded from base to summit with the great forest trees peculiar to our
land. On the top of that mound stood the temple dedicated to the
worship of the sun. He smiles on it as the earth rolls up to hide his
light away, as he did when the holy fire was watched by the priests in
that temple. But the Indian worshipper is gone; to him there comes no
morrow. There, on that mound, sleep the parents of my mother; to them
comes no morrow. _Allons!_ We shall be late for tea. Brother has gone
to sister's, and we shall be alone." In a few minutes they were
galloping down the avenue to the old Spanish-looking mansion, hid away
almost from view in the forest and floral surroundings, which made it
so lovely to view.

There had come in their absence another; it was she who was the
youthful companion of his fairy at the Bayou Sara--a silent, reserved
woman: very timid and very polished. Upon the gallery she was awaiting
the return of her cousin. The meeting was (as all meetings between
high-bred women should be) quiet, but cordial; without show, but full
of heart. They loved one another, and were highbred women. The stranger
was presented, and at tea the cousin was informed that he was the man
from the mountains, and there was a curious, silent surprise in her
face, when she almost whispered, "I am pleased, sir, to meet you again.
I hope you will realize the romance of my cousin's dream with your
legends of the West, the woods, and the wild men of the prairies."

Days went by, and still the fever raged in the city. The cerulean was
bright and unflecked with a speck of vapor, like a concave mirror of
burnished steel. It hung above, and the red sun seemed to burn his way
through the azure mass. The leaves drooped as if weighted with lead,
and in the shade kindly thrown upon the wilting grass by the tulips,
oaks, and pecans about the yard, the poultry lifted their wings and
panted with exhaustion in the sickly heat of the fervid atmosphere. The
sun had long passed the zenith, dinner was over, and the inmates were
enjoying the siesta, so refreshing in this climate of the sun. Here and
there the leaves would start and dally with a vagrant puff from
vesper's lips, then droop again as if in grief at the vagaries of the
little truant which now was fanning and stirring into lazy motion
another leafy limb.

There was music in the drawing room. It was suppressed and soft--so
sweet that it melted into the heart in very stealth. Ah! it is gone.
"Home, sweet home!" Poor Paine! like you, wandering in the friendless
streets of England's metropolis and listening to your own sweet song,
breathed from titled lips in palatial Homes, the listener to-day was
homeless. He thought of you and the convivial hours he had passed with
you, listening to the narrative of your vagrant life, and how happy you
were in the poetry of your own thoughts when you were a stranger to
every one, and your purse was empty, and you knew not where you were to
find your dinner.

Genius, thou art a fatal gift! Ever creating, never realizing; living
in a world of beauty etherialized in imagination's lens, and hating the
material world as it is; buffeted by fortune and ridiculed by fools
whose conceptions never rise above the dirt.

A little note, sweetly scented, is placed in his hand:

"Cousin and I propose a ride. Shall we have your company? You are aware
it is the Sabbath. You must not, for us, do violence to your
prejudices."

"Is this," thought he, "a delicate invitation to save my feelings, and
is the latter clause meant as a hint that they do not want me? Well,
the French always, when a compliment has as much bitter as sweet in it,
take the sweet and leave the bitter unappropriated. It is a good
example. I will follow it. Say to the ladies I will accompany them."

"The horses are all ready, sir; and the ladies bonneted wait in the
drawing-room."

The sun was in the tree-tops and the shadows were long. There was a
flirtation going on between the leaves and the breeze. The birds were
flitting from branch to branch. A chill was on the air: it was bathing
the cheek with its delicious touch, and animated life was rejoicing
that evening had come.

Arriving at the great mound of the temple of the sun, with some
difficulty they climb to its summit. So dense is the shade that it is
almost dark. Here are two graves, in which sleep the remains of the
grand-parents of these two beautiful and lovely women. All around are
cultivated fields clothed with rich crops, luxuriant with the promise
of abundance. At its base flows the little creek, gliding and gabbling
along over pure white sand. Sweet Alice! How sad she seems! She stood
at the grave's side, and, looking down, seemed lost in pious reverie.
Every feature spoke reverence for the dead. Her cousin, too, was
silent; and if not reverent, was not gay. He, their gallant, was
respectfully silent, when Alice said, without lifting her eyes:

"I wonder if La Salle ever stood here? This is holy ground. No spot on
earth has a charm for me like this. I am in the temple. I see the
attentive, watchful priest feeding there (as she pointed) the holy
fire, and yonder, with upturned eyes, the great lawgiver worshipping
his god, as he comes up from his sleep, bringing day, warmth, light,
and life. Was not this worship pure? Was it not natural? The sun came
in the spring and awoke everything to life. The grass sprang from the
ground and the leaves clothed the trees; the birds chose their mates
and the flowers gladdened the fields; everything was redolent of life,
and everything rejoiced. He went away in the winter, and death filled
the land. There were no leaves, no grass, no flowers. All nature was
gloomy in death. Could any but a god effect so much? The sun was their
god; his temple was the sky, and his holy fire burned on through all
time. Beautiful conception! Who can say it is not the true faith?"

"To the unlettered mind, it was," answered the young gentleman;
"because the imagination could only be aided by the material presented
to the natural eye. Science opens the eye of faith. It teaches that the
sun is only the instrument, and faith looks beyond for the Creator. To
such the Indian's faith cannot be the true one. The ignorance of one
sees God in the instrument, and his thoughts clothe him with the power
of the Creator, and his heart worships God in sincerity, and to him it
is the true faith. But to the educated, scientific man, who knows the
offices of the sun, it appears as it is, only the creature of the
unseen, unknown God, and to this God he lifts his adoration and
prayers, and to him this is the true faith."

"So, my philosopher, you believe, whatever lifts the mind to worship
God is the true faith?"

"You put it strongly, Miss, and I will answer by a question. If in
sincerity we invoke God's mercy, can the means that prompt the heart's
devotion, reliance, and love, be wrong? His magnitude and perfection
are a mystery to the untutored savage: he knows only what he sees. The
earth to him, (as it was to the founders and patriarchs of our own
faith,) is all the world. He has no idea that it is only one, and a
small one of a numerous family, and can conceive only that the sun
rules his world; gives life and death to everything upon the earth--but
this inspires love and reverence for God. The scientific man sees in
the sun only an attractive centre, and sees space filled with
self-illuminating orbs, and reasoning from the known to the unknown, he
believes these centres of attraction to planetary families, and the
imagination stretches away through space filled with centres and
revolving worlds, and each centre with its dependents revolving around
one great centre, and this great centre he believes is God. His idea is
only one step beyond the Indian's, and has only the same effect: it
leads the heart to depend on and worship God."

"You are a heretic, and must like a naughty boy be made to read your
Bible and go to Sunday-school, and be lectured and taught the true
faith. Fy! fy! shall the heathen go to heaven? Where is the provision
for him in the Bible? What are we to do with missions? If this be true,
there is no need that we should be sending good men and dear, pious
women to convert the Chinese, the Feejees, and the poor Africans so
benighted that their very color is black, and the Australians, and New
Georgians, to be roasted and eaten by the cannibals there. If they
worship God in sincerity, you say that is all?"

"No, miss, faith without works is a futile reliance for heaven. It is
the first necessity, and perhaps the next and greatest, is, to 'Do unto
all what you would have all do unto you.' These are the words of the
great Chinese philosopher, Confucius, and were taught four and a half
centuries before Christ, yet we see Him teaching the same. This, as
Confucius said, was the great cardinal duty of man, and all else was
but a commentary upon this. This I fancy is all, at least it is very
comprehensive. You tell me the traditions of the people who worshipped
here say that this was a cardinal law unto them?"

"You, sir, have lived too long among the heathen, if you are not one
already. You are like an August peach in July: you are turning, and in
a little while will be ripe. You talk, as Uncle Toney says, like a
book, and to me, like a new book, for yours are new thoughts to me.
Cousin, does he not astonish you?"

"By no means; true, they are new thoughts; but they are natural
thoughts, and I do not fear to listen to them--on the contrary, I could
listen to them all day, and, Alice, I have often, very often, heard
from you something like this."

"Nonsense, cousin, nonsense; I am orthodox, you know, and a good girl
and love to go to church, especially when I have a becoming new dress."

"Here are the bones of our ancestors, if they were once animated with
souls; and I guess they were, particularly the old man, for I have
heard many stories from old Toney, that convince me that he was a
pretty hard one. How do we know that their spirits are not here by us
now? Why is it deemed that there shall be no communication between the
living and the dead? O! how I want to ask all about the spirit-land.
Wake up and reclothe thy bones and become again animated dust, and tell
me thou, my great progenitor, the mysteries of the grave, of heaven and
hell. How quiet is the grave? No response, and it is impious to ask
what I have. O! what is life which animates and harmonizes the elements
of this mysterious creation, man! Life how imperious, and yet how kind;
it unites and controls these antagonistic elements, and they do not
quarrel on his watch. Mingling and communing they go on through time,
regardless of the invitation of those from which they came to return.
But when life is weary of his trust and guardianship, and throws up his
commission, they declare war at once--dissolve, and each returns to his
original. Death and corruption do their work, and life returns no more,
and death is eternal, and the soul--answer ye dumb graves--did the soul
come here? or went it with life to the great first cause? or is here
the end of all; here, this little tenement? I shudder--is it the flesh,
the instinct of life; or is it the soul which shrinks with horror from
this little portal through which it must pass to eternal bliss, or
eternal--horrible! Assist me to my horse, if you please. Come cousin,
let us go and see old Uncle Toney--and, sir, he will teach you more
philosophy than you ever dreamed of."

"Who is Uncle Toney? miss," asked the stranger of the visiting cousin
when he returned to aid her descent of the mound.

"He is a very aged African, brought to this country from Carolina by
our grandfather, in 1775, or earlier; he says there were remnants of
the Natchez in the country at that time, and the old man has many
stories of these, and many more very strange ones of the doings of the
whites who first came and settled the country. He retains pretty well
his faculties, and, like most old people, is garrulous and loves a
listener. He will be delighted with our visit."

"Miss Alice, do you frequently visit Uncle Toney?"

"Very nearly every day. I have in my basket, here, something for the
old man. Turn there, if you please--yonder by that lightning-scared old
oak and those top-heavy pecans is his cabin and has been for more than
sixty years. Here was the local of my grand-father's house; here was
born my mother; but all the buildings have long been gone save Uncle
Toney's cabin. Think of the hopes, the aspirations, the blisses, the
sorrows, the little world that once was here--all gone except Uncle
Toney. In my childhood I used to come here and go with him to the
graves where we have been to-day, and have sat by them for hours
listening to the stories he delights to tell of my grandfather and
mother, until their very appearance seems familiar to my vision. I know
that my grandfather was a small man, and a passionate man, and Toney
sometimes tells me I am like him. His eye was gray--so is mine; his
face sharper than round--so is mine, and sometimes my temper is
terrible--so was his;" and she laughed again that same wild thrilling
laugh as she gallopped up to the cabin and leaped down to greet the old
man, who was seated at the door of his hut beneath the shade of a
catalpa, the trunk of which was worn smooth from his long leaning
against it. He was very black and very fat. His wool was white as snow,
and but for the seams in both cheeks, cut by the knife in observance of
some ridiculous rite in his native land, would have been really
fine-looking for one of his age. He arose and shook hands with the
cousin, but did not approach the gentleman. He was evidently not
pleased with his presence and was chary of his talk.

"Ah! young missus," he said, when he received the basket, "you bring
old Toney sometin good. You is my young missus, too; but dis one is de
las one. Dey is all married and gone but dis one." (This conversation
was addressed to the cousin.) "All gone away but dis one, and when she
marry dare will be nobody to fetch dis ole nigger good tings and talk
to de ole man."

"Uncle Toney, I don't intend to marry."

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed the old man, "berry well, berry well! I hear dat
from ebery one ob my young misses, and where is dey now? All done
married and gone. You gwine to do jus as all on em hab done, byne by
when de right one come. Ah! may be he come now."

"You old sinner, I have a great mind to pull your ears for you."

"O no, missus, I don't know! I see fine young man dare; but maybe he
come wid Miss Ann, and maybe he belong to her."

"Uncle Toney, don't you remember I told you of a wild man away from the
mountains, all clothed in skins, with a long, curly beard and hair over
his shoulders as black as a stormy night? This is he."

"Gosh!" said the venerable negro. "I mus shake his hand; but what hab
you done wid your beard, your hair, and your huntin-shirt?"

"I have thrown them all into the fire, uncle. People among white people
must not dress like Indians."

"Dat's a fac, young massa; but I tell you Miss Alice was mity taken wid
dem tings. She come here soon as she comed home, and told me all about
'em and all about you--how you could shoot de bow and how you could
talk, and she said: 'O! what would I not give to see him again?'"

"Toney, if you don't shut up, I won't come to see you, or bring you any
more good things. This young gentleman has come with us to see you, and
wishes to hear you tell all about the Natchez, and to get you to show
him the many things you have dug up on and around these mounds, and
have you tell him all about the old people who came here first and made
all these big plantations and built all these great houses."

"Well, Miss Alice, dis is Sunday, you know, and dem tings mus not be
telled on Sunday, and den you and Miss Ann don't want ole nigger to
talk. You go ride and talk wid de young gemman, and maybe to-morrow, or
some week-day, young massa can come down from de great house wid de gun
to shoot de squirrels along de way, and when he tired, den he can come
and rest, and I can tell him all. Yes, young massa, I been live long
time here. Me is mity old. All dem what was here when I comed wid ole
massa is dead long time. Yes, dare aint one on em livin now, and dare
chillin is old."

"I shall be sure to come," said the young man, "and suppose I bring
with me these ladies?"

"Neber you do dat, massa. I knows young folks ways too well for dat.
Toney may talk, but dey neber will listen. Dey will talk wid one
anoder, and Miss Alice been hear all de ole nigger's talk many a time,
and she don't want to hear it ober and ober all de time; and beside
dat, young massa, sometimes when I tells bout de ole folks, she
trimbles and cries. She's got a mity soft heart bout some tings, and
she tells me I mus tell you eberyting."

"There now, Toney, you have said enough about me to make the gentleman
think I am a very silly little girl."

"God bress my young missus!" he said as he tenderly patted her head. "I
wouldn't hurt your feelins for noffin. You is too good, Miss Alice.
Toney lubed your mamma--Toney lubs you, and de day you is married and
goes away, I want to go away too. I want to go yonder, Miss Alice, on
de top ob dat mound, and lie down wid ole massa and missus. He told
your pa to put me dar; but your pa's gone. O Miss Alice! dey's all gone
but you and me and your brodder, and he don't care for Toney, and maybe
he will trow him out in de woods like a dog when he die." Tears stole
down the black face of the venerable man, and the eyes of Alice
filled--and then she laughed the shrill, fearful laugh, and rode
rapidly away.

She was singing and walking hurriedly the gallery, when the stranger
and her cousin came leisurely into the yard.

"Your cousin, Miss Ann, has a strange laugh."

"Indeed she has, sir; but we who know her understand it. She never
laughs that unearthly laugh when her heart is at ease. I doubt if you
have ever met such a person. I think the world has but one Alice. She
is very young, very impressible, and some think very eccentric, very
passionate and romantic to frenzy. There is something which impels me
to tell you--but no, I have no right to do so. But this I must tell
you; for you cannot have been in the house here so long without
observing it. There is no congeniality between herself and brother;
indeed, very little between her and any of her family. She is alone.
She is one by herself; yes, one by herself in the midst of many; for
the family is a large one. But remember, there is none like Alice. Be
gentle to her and pity her; and pity her most when you hear that
strange laugh."

There was music in the drawing-room, soft and gentle, and the
accompanying voice was tremulous with suppressed emotion. Gradually it
swells in volume until it fills the spacious apartment, and the clear
notes from the tender trill rose grandly in full, clear tones, full of
pathetic melody, and now they almost shriek. They cease--and the laugh,
hysterical and shrill, echoes through the entire house. The judge was
silent; but a close observer might have seen a slight contraction of
the lips, and a slighter closing of the eyes. A moment after Alice
entered the room, and there was a glance exchanged between her brother
and herself. There was in it a meaning only for themselves.

"You have been riding, sir," he said to his guest, "and my sister tells
me to the mound at the White Apple village. To those curious in such
legends as are connected with its history, it is an interesting spot.
All I know in relation to these, I acquired from a dreamy and solitary
man employed by my father to fit myself and brother for college. He
read French, and was fond of tracing all he could find in the writings
of the historians of the first settlement of Louisiana and Mississippi,
and of the history, habits, and customs of the aborigines of the
country. He knew something of the adventures of De Soto and La Salle,
and something of the traditions of the Natchez. He was a melancholy
man, and perished by his own hand in the chamber that you occupy. My
sister is curious in such matters, and from her researches in some old
musty volumes she has found in the possession of an old European
family, she has made quite a history of the Natchez, and from the old
servants much of that of the first white or English occupants of this
section. For myself, I have little curiosity in that way. My business
forbids much reading of that kind, and indeed much of anything else,
and I am glad that my tastes and my business accord. I would not
exchange one crop of cotton grown on the village-field, for a perfect
knowledge of the history of every Indian tribe upon the continent."

"I am no antiquarian, sir. A life on a plantation I suppose must be
most irksome and monotonous to a young lady, unless she should have
some resource besides her rural employments."

"Our only amusements, sir," said Alice, "are reading, riding, and
music, with an occasional visit to a neighbor. I ride through the old
forest and consult the great patriarchal trees, and they tell me many
strange stories. When the ruthless axe has prostrated one of these
forest monarchs, my good palfrey waits for me, and I count the
concentric circles and learn his age. Some I have seen which have
yielded to man's use or cupidity who have looked over the younger
scions of the woods, and upon the waters of the mighty river a thousand
years."

"Indeed, miss," replied the guest, "I had not supposed the natural life
of any of our forest trees extended beyond three, or at most four
centuries."

"The tulip or poplar-tree and the red-oak in the rich loam of these
hills live long and attain to giant proportions. The vines which cling
in such profusion to many of these are commensurate with them in time.
They spring up at their bases and grow with them: the tree performing
the kindly office of nurse, lifting them in her arms and carrying them
until their summits, with united leaves, seem to kiss the clouds. They
live and cling together through tempests and time until worn out with
length of days, when they tumble and fall to the earth together, and
together die. We all, Flora and Fauna, go down to the bosom of our
common mother to rest in death. I love the companionship of the forest.
There is an elevation of soul in this communion with incorruptible
nature: there is sincerity and truth in the hills and valleys--in the
trees and vines, and music--grand orchestral music--in the moaning of
the limbs and leaves, played upon by the hurrying winds. I have prayed
to be a savage, and to live in the woods."

"You are as usual, sister, very romantic to-night."

"By and by, brother, I shall forget it I presume. I am human, and shall
soon die, or live on till time hardens my nature, or sordid pursuits
plough from my heart all its sympathies, and old age finds me gloating
over the gains of laborious care and penurious meanness.

  "'To such vile uses we must come at last.'"

"You draw a sad picture, miss, for old age. Do not the gentler virtues
of our nature ever ripen with time? Is it the alchemist who always
turns the sweets of youth to the sours of age? There are many examples
in every community to refute your position. I would instance the
venerable negro we visited to-day. He wept as he placed his trembling
hand upon your head. There was surely nothing ascetic or sordid in his
feelings."

"Uncle Toney is an exception, sir. The affectionate memories he has of
our family, and especially of my mother and father, redeems him from
the obloquy of his race. His heart is as tender as his conduct is void
of offense. He was a slave. God had ordained him for his situation. He
had not the capacity to aspire beyond his lot, or to contrast it with
his master's. Contented to render his service, and satisfied with the
supply of his wants from the hands of him he served--he had a home, and
all the comforts his nature required. He has it still; but I know he is
not as contented as when he was my father's slave. God bless the old
man! He shall never want while I have anything, and should I see him
die, he shall sleep where he wished to-day."

"By our grandfather, I suppose, Alice?"

"Yes, my brother, by our grand-parents. They told him it should be so.
Ah! there are no distinctions in the grave; white skin and black skin
alike return to dust, and the marl of the earth is composed alike of
the bones of all races, and their properties seem to be the same. I,
too, wish to sleep there. It is a romantically beautiful spot, and its
grand old traditions make it holy ground. How its associations hallow
it! Imagination peoples it with those bold old red men who assembled in
the temple to worship the holy fire--emblematic of their
faith--humbling their fierce natures and supplicating for mercy. I go
there and I feel in the touch of the air that it is peopled with the
spirits of the mighty dead, surrounding and blessing me for my memory
of, and love for, their extinct race."

"Bravo, sister! What an enthusiast! You, sir, have some knowledge of
the Indians. Do they stir the romance of your nature as that of my baby
sister?"

The glance from her eye was full of scorn: it flashed with almost
malignant hate as she rose from her seat, and taking the arm of her
cousin she swept from the room, audibly whispering "baby sister" in
sneering accents.

"Woman's nature is a strange study, my young friend. I have several
sisters and they are all strange, each in her peculiar way. They are
remarkable for the love they bear their husbands, and yet they all have
a pleasure in tormenting them, and are never so unhappy, as when they
see these happy. This younger sister has a nature all her own. I do not
think she shares a trait with another living being. Wild, yet gentle;
the eagle to some, to some the dove. Quick as the lightning in her
temper--as fervid, too; a heart to hate intensely, and yet to melt in
love and worship its object; but would slay it, if she felt it had
deceived her. Always searching into the history of the past, and always
careless of the future."

"You have drawn something of the character of a Spanish woman. Their
love and their hate is equally fierce; and both easily excited, they
are devoted in all their passions. I have thought that this grew from
the secluded life they live. Ardency is natural to the race, and this
restrained makes their lives one long romance. Their world is all of
imagination. The contacts of real life they never meet outside of their
prison-homes, and the influence of experience is never known. They are
seen through bars, are sought through bars, they love through bars--and
the struggle is, to escape from these restraints; and the moral of the
act or means for its accomplishment, or the object to be attained,
never enters the mind. Such natures properly reared to know the world,
to see it, hear it, and suffer it, tunes all the attributes of the mind
and heart to make sweet music. Nothing mellows the heart like sorrow;
nothing so softens the obduracy of our natures as experience. None,
sir, man or woman, are fitted for the world without the experiences its
contact brings. These experiences are teachings, and the bitter ones
the best. To be happy, we must have been miserable; it is the
idiosyncracy of the mind, to judge by comparison; and the eternal
absence of grief leaves the mind unappreciative of the incidents and
excitements which bring to him or her who have suffered, such exquisite
enjoyment. The rue of life is scarcely misery to those who have never
tasted its ambrosia."

"You are young, sir, thus to philosophize, and must have seen and
experienced more than your years would indicate."

"Some, sir, in an incident see all of its characters that the world in
a lifetime may present. They suffer, and they enjoy with an acuteness
unknown to most natures; and in youth gain the experiences and
knowledge they impart, while most of the world forget the pain and the
pleasure of an incident with its evanescence. With such, experience
teaches nothing. These progress in the world blindly and are always
stumbling and falling."

"The ladies have retired--shall we imitate their example, sir? This
will light you to your chamber; good night."

Alone, and kindly shielded with the darkness, the adventurer lay
thoughtful and sleepless. Here are two strange beings. There is in the
one angelic beauty animated with a soul of giant proportions, large in
love, large in hate, and grandly large in its aspirations; and yet it
is chained to a rock with fetters that chafe at every motion. The other
cold, emotionless, with a reserved severity of manner, which is the
offspring of a heart as malignant and sinister as Satan himself may
boast of. They hate each other, but how different that hatred! The one
is an emotion fierce and fiery but without malice; the other malicious
and revengeful. One is the hatred of the recipient of an injury who can
forgive; the other the hatred of one who has inflicted an injury with
calculation. Such never forgive. And this I am sure is the relation of
this brother and sister. Deprived when yet young of the fostering care
of a mother, scarcely remembering her father, she has been the ward of
this cold, hard being, whose pleasure it has been to thwart every wish
of this lovely being: to hate her because she is lovely, and to
aggravate into fury her resentments, and to sour every generous impulse
of her extraordinary nature. What a curse to have so sensitive a being
subjected to the training of so cold and malignant a one!

There is no natural affection. The heart is born a waste: its loves,
its hates are of education and association; and the responsibility for
the future of a child rests altogether with those intrusted with its
rearing and training. The susceptibilities only are born with the
heart, and these may be cultivated to good or evil, as imperceptibly as
the light permeates the atmosphere. These capacities or
susceptibilities are acute or obtuse as the cranium's form will
indicate, and require a system suited to each. Attention soon teaches
this: the one grows and expands beautifully with the slightest
attention; the other is a fat soil, and will run to weeds, without
constant, close, and deep cultivation, and its production of good fruit
is in exact proportion with its fertility and care. It gives the most
trouble but it yields the greatest product. And here in that warm,
impulsive heart is the fat soil. O! for the hand to weed away all that
is noxious now rooting there. That look, that whispered bitterness was
the fruit of wicked wrong--I know it; the very nature prompting there
would give the sweetest return to justice, kindness, and love.




CHAPTER XXII.

THE ROMANCE CONTINUED.

FATHER CONFESSOR--OPEN CONFESSION--THE UNREAD WILL--OLD TONEY'S
NARRATIVE--SQUIRREL SHOOTING--THE FAREWELL UNSAID--BROTHERS-IN-LAW--
FAREWELL INDEED.


When the morrow came, the clouds were weeping and the damp was dripping
from every leaf, and gloomy rifts of spongy vapor floated lazily upon
the breeze, promising a wet and very unpleasant day. These misty
periods rarely endure many hours in the autumn, but sometimes they
continue for days. The atmosphere seems half water, and its warm damp
compels close-housing, to avoid the clammy, sickly feeling met beyond
the portals. At such times, time hangs heavily, and every resource
sometimes fails to dispel the gloom and ennui consequent upon the
weather; conversation will pall; music cease to delight, and reading
weary. To stand and watch the rain through the window-panes, to lounge
from the drawing-room to your chamber, to drum with your fingers upon
the table--to beat your brain for a thought which you vainly seek to
weave into rhyme in praise of your inamorata--all is unavailing. The
rain is slow but ceaseless, and the hours are days to the unemployed
mind. We hum a tune and whistle to hurry time, but the indicating
fingers of the tediously ticking clock seems stationary, and time waits
for fair weather. The ladies love their chambers, and sleeping away the
laggard hours, do not feel the oppression of a slow, continuous, lazy
rain.

The morning has well-nigh passed, and the drawing-room is still
untenanted. The judge was busy in his office, looking over papers and
accounts, seemingly unconscious of the murky day; perhaps he had
purposely left this work for such a day--wise judge--a solitary man,
unloving, and unloved; hospitable by freaks, sordid by habit, and mean
by nature. Yet he was wise in his way; devoid of sentiment or sympathy
as a grind-stone, his wit was as sharp as his heart was cold. Absorbed
in himself, the outside world was nothing to him. He had work, gainful
work for all weathers, and therefore no feeling for those who suffered
from the weather or the world, if it cost him nothing in pence. He was
the guardian of his baby sister; but all of her he had in his heart was
a care that she should not marry, before he was ready to settle her
estate. The interest he felt in her, was his commissions for
administering her property with a legitimate gain earned in the use of
her money.

The guest of this strange man was restless, he knew not why; there were
books in abundance, and their authors' names were read over and over
again as he rummaged the book-cases he knew not for what. First one and
then another was pulled out from its companions, the title-page read
and replaced again, only to take another. Idly he was turning the pages
of one, when a voice surprised him and sweetly inquired at his elbow if
he found amusement or edification in his employment. "I must apologize
for my rudely leaving you last night. I hope I am incapable of deceit
or unnecessary concealments. I was hurt and angry, and I went away in a
passion. Yours is a gentle nature, you do not suffer your feelings to
torture and master you. I should not, but I am incapable of the effort
necessary to their control. It is best with me that they burn out, but
their very ashes lie heavily upon my heart. Our clime is a furnace, and
her children are flame, at least, strange sir, some of them are a
self-consuming flame. I feel that is my nature. Is not this an honest
confession? I could explain further in extenuation of my strange
nature. It was not my nature until it was burned into my very soul. I
am very young, but the bitterness of my experiences makes me old, at
least in feeling. But you are not my father confessor--then why do I
talk to you as to one long known? Because--perhaps--but never mind the
reason. I know my cousin has whispered something to you of me; my
situation, my nature--is it not so?"

"Ah! you would be _my_ father confessor. You must not interrogate, but
if you would know, ask your cousin."

"O! no, I could not. Is it not strange that woman will confide to the
strange man, what she will not to the kindred woman? Woman will not
sympathize with woman; she goes not to her for comfort, for sympathy,
for relief. Is this natural? Men lean on one another, women only on
man. Is this natural? Is it instinctive? or an acquired faculty? Do not
laugh at me, I am very foolish and very sad; such a day should sadden
every one. But my cousin is very cheerful, twitters and flits about
like an uncaged canary, and is as cheerful when it rains all day, as
when the sun in her glory gladdens all the earth and everything
thereon. I am almost a Natchez, for I worship the sun. How I am running
on! You are gentle and kind, are you not? You are quick,
perceptive--you have seen that I am not happy--sympathize, but do not
pity me. That is a terrible struggle between prudence and inclination.
There, now I am done--don't you think me very foolish?"

"Miss Alice--(will you allow me this familiarity?)"

"Yes, when we are alone; not before cousin or my _man_ brother." (She
almost choked with the word.) "Not before strangers--we are not
strangers when alone. You read my nature, as I do yours, and we are
not strangers when alone. It is not long acquaintance which makes
familiar friends. The mesmeric spark will do more than years of
intercommunication, where there is no congeniality--and do it in a
little precious moment. The bloody arrow we held in common was an
electric chain. I learned you at the plucking of that arrow from the
cotton bale--in your strange, wild garb; but never mind--what were you
going to say?"

"I was going to say that our acquaintance was very brief, but what I
have seen or heard, I will not tell to you or to any one. Your
imagination is magnifying your sufferings. You want a heart to confide
in. You have brothers-in-law, wise and strong men.

"That, for the whole of them," she said, as she snapped her fingers.
"Their wives are my sisters, some of them old enough to be my mother,
but they and their husbands are alike--sordid. The hope of money is
even more debasing than the hoarding. Do you understand me? I must
speak or my heart will burst. Are you a wizzard that you have so drawn
me on? Dare I speak? Is it maidenly that I should? There is a spell
upon me. Go to your chamber--there is a spy upon me; I am seen, and I
fear I have been overheard; go to your chamber--here, take this book
and read it if you never have--dinner is at hand, and after dinner--,
but let each hour provide for itself,--at dinner,--well, well, adieu."

She was in the drawing-room, and again the soft melody of
half-suppressed music, scarcely audible, yet every note distinct,
floated to his chamber, and the guest scarcely breathed that he might
hear. There was something so plaintive, so melting in the tones that
they saddened as well as delighted. How the heart can melt out at the
finger-points when touching the keys of a sweetly-toned instrument! It
is thrown to the air, and in its plaint makes sweet music of its
melancholy. Like harmonious spirits chanting in their invisibility,
making vocal the very atmosphere, it died away as though going to a
great distance, and stillness was in the whole house. He stole gently
to the door. There seated was Alice; her elbow on her instrument, and
her brow upon her hand. The bell rang for dinner. The repast is over,
and a glass of generous wine sent the rose to the cheeks of Alice, but
enlivened not her eye. Her heart was sad: the eye spoke it but too
plainly, and she looked beautiful beyond comparison. The eye of the
stranger was rivetted upon that drooping lid and more than melancholy
brow.

His situation was a painful one. More than once had he caught the
quick, suspicious glance of the judge flash upon him. He was becoming
an object of interest to more than one in the house; but how different
that interest! How at antipodes the motives of that interest! He knew
too much, and yet he wanted to know more. He was left alone in the
drawing-room with the timid, modest little cousin. It rained on, and
the weather seemed melancholy, and their feelings were in unison with
the weather.

"I shall leave, I believe, miss, as soon as the rain will permit. I
presume I may go down to the city without fear."

"You will find it but a sorry place, sir. All the hotels are closed and
everybody is out of town save the physicians, and the poor who are
unable to get away. The gloom of the desolated place is enough to craze
any one. I hope you do not find your stay disagreeable in this house?"

"I will not attempt to deceive you, miss. I cannot say why; but I feel
uncomfortable--not at my ease. It were needless for me to repeat it; I
am sure you know the cause."

"Perhaps I do, sir; and still I cannot see in that sufficient cause for
your going away. Perhaps, sir, we are not thinking of the same cause,"
she said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

"I particularly allude to what you yourself communicated to me. I
perceive Miss Alice is very unhappy, and I also am apprehensive that I
may in some way be the cause of this."

"I will tell you, sir, any special attention on your part to Alice will
enrage her brother. From motives known to himself, he is very much
opposed to her marrying any one. His reasons as given are that she is
so peculiar in her disposition that she would only increase her own
misery in making her husband miserable, which her eccentric nature
would certainly insure. I have heard that he has sometimes had a
thought of carrying her to an asylum for the insane. The world,
however, is not charitable enough to believe this the true reason. The
judge is very grasping, and he has in his hands Alice's fortune. Some
of his own family suppose he desires the use of it as long as possible.
There are many hard things said of him in relation to his influencing
his mother to leave him the lion's share of her estate. This very home
was intended for Alice, and though he had not spoken to his mother for
years, in her last hours he came with a prepared will and insisted on
her signing it. She feared him (most people do) and affixed her name to
the fatal document, which report says was never read to her. After that
she could not bear the presence of Alice, saying in her delirium: 'My
poor baby will hate me; I have turned her from her home.' Alice has
learned all this, and she has upbraided him with his conduct; for once
provoked she does not even fear him."

"Why do not her brothers-in-law inquire into this? They are equally
interested in the matter it seems to me."

"Ah, sir! they are hoping that he may do them justice in his will. I am
sure this is the understanding with at least one of them, and neither
of them will hazard a loss to protect the rights of Alice. Large
expectations are strong inducements to selfishness. I am disclosing
family matters, sir; but I have done so from a good motive. It is but
half disclosed to you; but the rest I must not tell. You are not so
dull as not from what I have said to be able to shape your conduct.
Alice is coming."

The rain had ceased, and for two days the genial sun had drank up the
moisture from the land, which underfoot was dry again. The autumn had
come, and the earth groaned with the rich products of this favored
land. The cotton-fields were whitening, and the yellow corn's pendant
ears hung heavily from their supporting stocks. Fat cattle in the shade
of the great trees switched away the teasing flies as they lazily
ruminated. The crows were cawing and stealing from their bursting
shells the rich pecan nuts, and the black-birds flew in great flocks
over the fields. In the hickory-woods the gray squirrel leaped from
tree to tree, hunting for, and storing away for winter's use, his store
of nuts and acorns, or running along the rail-fence to find a
hiding-place when frightened from his thieving in the cornfields. The
quail whistled for his truant mate in the yellow stubble, and the
carrion-bird--black and disgusting--wheeled in circles, lazily, high up
in the blue above. There was in everything the appearance of
satisfaction; abundance was everywhere, and the yellowing of the leaves
and the smoky horizon told that the year was waning into winter.

Under the influences of the scene and the season the visitor of the
judge was sober and reflective as he strolled through the woods, gun in
hand, little intent upon shooting. The quail whirred away from his
feet; the funny little squirrel leaped up the tree-side and peeped
around at him passing; but he heeded not these, and went forward to
find the cabin of old Toney. He found the old negro in his usual seat
at the foot of his favorite tree, upon his well-smoothed and sleek
wooden stool.

"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed Toney. "You come dis time widout Miss Alice. Why
she not come wid you? You not want somebody to turn de squirrel for
you? May be you bring de ole man more dan one dar?"

"It was too great a walk for her, Uncle Toney, and then she does not
like my company well enough to pay so much fatigue for it."

Toney laughed again. "Too much walk, indeed, she walk here most ebery
day, wid her little bonnet in her hand and basket too, wid sometin good
for Toney. When sun yonder and de shade cobber de groun; den she set
dare, (pointing to the grass which grew luxuriantly near by) and talk
to de ole man and lissen so still like a bird hiding, when I tell her
all bout de ole folks, dat is buried dare, and how we all comed away
from de States when de ole war driv us off, not General Jackson's war.
No, sir, General Washington's war, de ole war of all--and den, young
massa, you ought to see her. She's mity putty den, she is--face red and
smove, and she little tired and she look so like ole missus yonder,
when she was a gall, and dem English red coats comes out from
Charleston, to de ole place to see her. Dat's a long time ago, young
massa."

"Uncle Toney, how old are you?"

"Moss a hundred, young massa; I don't know zackly--but I great big boy
when I comed from de ole country, tudder side ob de sea--my country,
massa. When I comed to Charleston, I was so high--(holding his hand
some four feet from the earth) yet I was big nuff to plow, when ole
massa, de fadder of him burried yonder, bied me and tuck me up to de
high hills ob Santee. Den, sir, my massa who brought me here, was gone
to de country whar de white folks first comed from, England. I neber
see him till de ole war, when his fadder been dead two year, den he
comed home one night and all de family but one had gone to de war. He
not talk much, but look mity sorry. My ole missus was a pretty gall,
den, live close by us, and it not long afore dey gets married, and den
many ob de nabors come and dey hab long talk. Dey's all comes to de
greement to come away from de country, fraid ob de war, and all de
fadders ob all de nabors here take all der niggers and der stock and go
up de country to de riber dat's named de Holsten, and dare dey built
heep flat boats, and in de spring dey starts down de riber. Some ob de
boats hab hogs on 'em, some hosses, some cows, some niggers, some corn
and meat, and some de white families. Dar was boff de grandfadder ob
Miss Alice, and her fadder. He was small, not grown, and old massa, her
modder's fadder, was young wid young wife, but dey all made him
captain.

"We was long time comin down de riber, and we had to fite de Injuns
long time at de place dey calls Mussel Shoals. Some ob de boats got on
de ground, and one on em we had to leave wid de hogs on it. De bullets
come from the Injuns so hot dat we all had to get out into de water and
go to anudder boat and get away from dar. Dem was the wust Injuns I
ebber seed. But we got away and we runned all night. Nex day Miss
Alice's fadder was on de top ob de boat ob his fadder when Injun shoot
him in de back from de woods, and he buried wid dat bullet in him up
yonder to de great house. Well, young massa, we comed one day into a
big riber, and dar we stopt one hole week, and de massa and some on de
ress on em got out and luck at de country, but dey not like him and we
started agin, and de nex day we gits into di Massasippi, and in two
days more we comed to de place dey called New Madrid, and here stopt
agin.

"De land was mity level and rich, and all de men said dey would stop
here and live. De people what lived here was Spanish, and some niggers
and Injuns, and dey talked a lingo we didn't know. Dere was a nigger
who could talk American, and he comed one night and tuck ole massa out
and telled him de Spaniards was gwine to rob dem all, and dat dey would
kill all on de white folks, and take all de niggers and stock, and dey
was gwine to do it de fus dark night. Dis larmed us all, and dat night
we slipt off, and when mornin comed we was way down de riber and gwine
ahead I tell you. We neber stopt any more till we got to de mouth of
Cole's Creek. Dare de fadder of Miss Alice's fadder stopt, and said he
would stay dare. Ole massa seed an Injun dat tole him ob dis place and
dey started true de cane, dey was gone long time, but when dey comed
back, ole massa got us all ready and away we went and neber stopt till
we comed to the mouth of St. Catharine's, right ober dar. Dar we landed
and unloaded de boats, and in a week we was all camped up dar whar de
big percan is, and right dar de ole man raise all his family--and dar
he and ole missus died.

"All dis country was full ob deer and Injuns, and dem hills yonder was
all covered wid big canes and de biggest trees you ebber seed. Yonder,
all round dat mound we cleaned a field and planted corn and indigo; and
ober yonder was another settlement; and yonder, down de creek was
another; and on de cliffs was another, and den dare comed a heap ob
people and stopt at Natchez and St. Catharine, and all us people a
most, young massa, about here is come ob dem; but dare was trouble moss
all de time twixt em.

"Ole massa was made de Governor, by somebody, and dare was another man
made a Governor, too, and he git a company one night and comed down
here; but somebody had tole old massa, and dat day he tell me, and we
went down to de riber under de cliff war was some cane and he tole me
he was gwine to stay dar, and I muss bring him sometin to eat ebery
day, but I musn't tell whar he was, not eben to ole missus, for dey
would scare her and make her tell on him. Shore nuff, dat night here
dey comed, a many a one on em, and dey went right into de great house
and serched it and ebery whar, but dey was fooled bad, and den dey tuck
me and put a rope round my neck and hung me to de lim of a tree what is
dead and gone now, right out dar. But wen I was moss dead, dey let me
down and axed me whar was de Governor. I swared I didn't know, and dey
pulled me up agin; and dis time dey thought dey had killed me, shore
nuff. It was a long time before I comed to, and den I tole um I could
show um whar he was, and we started.

"De cane was mity thick, and we went up one hill and down another till
we comed to dat big hill ober de creek dar. De todder side ob it is
mity steep, but de cane was all de way down it. I was a good ways
before em and I jumpt down de steepest place and way I went through de
cane down de hill, and de way dey made de bullets whistle was curos.
But I got away and went round and told de ole man all dey had done.
When I went back all de black people was gone and missus said dese men
had tuck em off. De nex nite dey cotch me and carried me to whar our
black folks was, and den we all started in a boat down de riber, and
when we got to New Orleans we got on a skiff and run down de riber to a
big ship and went out to sea dat night and landed at Pensacola, and
dare dat wicked ole man sold us to de Spanish."

"Uncle Toney, who was that wicked old man?"

"Ah! my young massa, I musn't tell, cause his grandchillen is great
folks here now, and Miss Alice telled me I musn't tell all I knows. Dey
aint sponsible, she says, for what dere grandfadder did. But I tell you
he was a mity bad man. Well, I staid at Pensacola two years wid my ole
oman; and we could talk wid de Injuns, and one day two Injuns dat I
knowd out here comed to my cabin, and dey telled me dat ole massa was
gone way from here and missus was here by herself and had nobody to
help her. So I makes a bargain wid dese Injuns to come here wid me and
my old woman. One Saturday night we started to go and see some ob our
people dat was bout ten miles from whar we was; but we neber stopped.
We tuck to de woods, and we killed a deer wheneber we was hungry. De
Injuns, you know, can always do dat. We was a mity long time comin; but
at last we got here, and den it was moss a year arter dat before ole
massa come. Den dar was more trouble. One day dar comed fifty men and
tuck ole massa, and dey tied him and den begin to rob de house. Dey had
all de silver and sich like, when de captain comed in, and he did cuss
mity hard and made em put it every bit down, and march out. Ole missus
she thanked him mitily; but dey carried ole massa off to New Orleans.

"Dar was great trouble wid de nabors. Dey comed and talked bout it; and
one day when ole massa was gone bout a mont, when dey was all dar, who
should step into de house but ole massa. He was fash, I tell you he
was, Dar was old Mr. E----, and Mr. O---, and Mr. T----, and a heap
more, and dey all put der heads togeder and talked. One day ole massa
come to me and sez he: 'Toney, you mus get on my black hoss and go down
to de bluffs. Watch down de riber, and when you see two big boats comin
up--big keel-boats wid plenty ob men on em--way down de riber, jes come
as hard as de hoss can bring you here and let me know it.'

"I knowd dar was trouble comin, young massa; for I seed Miss Alice's
papa comin wid plenty ob de nabors wid him. He was a tall man, and
neber talk much. Miss Alice's modder was a young oman den, and I knowd
dey was gwine to be married. When she seed him wid his gun and so many
men she gins to cry. Well, I was gone quick, and moss as soon as I got
to de cliff, I see de boats way down de riber, pulling long by de
shore. I made dat hoss do his best home, when I told old massa: 'Dey's
comin, sir!' He sorter grin, and git on his hoss and gallop away down
toward St. Catharine's. He telled me to come on, and I comed. When we
got to de mouth ob de creek dar was fifty men dar, all wid der guns,
settin on de ground, and ole massa talkin to em. Way moss night de
boats comed in sight. Den all de men hide in de cane, and massa tell
me: 'Toney, you call em and tell em to come to de shore.' I called em,
and dey comed and tied der boats to de trees, and de captain and some
ob de men jumped on de land, and walked out, and corned close to me.

"De fuss ting dey knowd, bang! bang! bang! go de guns, and de captain
fall. De men all run for de boats, and de men on de boats gin to shoot
too. I runs wid all my might, and ole massa shout to his friends to
fire agin, and two men untying de boats fall. Den dey cut de ropes wid
an axe, and shove out de boats into de riber, and pull em away wid de
oars too far to hit em. Ole massa comes out ob de cane and goes to de
men what is lying on the ground. Dar was six on em, and four was dead
sure nuff. Two was jus wounded, and one of dese was de captain. Him de
same man what make his men put down de silber and tings dey was takin
from ole missus. Den dey carry all on em to de grate house and bury de
dead ones. De captain and de oder wounded man was tuck into de house,
and ole missus she knowd de captain, and she cried mitily bout his bein
shot. Well, he talk plenty bout his wife and modder, and Miss Alice's
modder nurse him; but he died, and his grave's yonder wid ole massa and
missus. De oder man he got well and went away, and berry soon arter dat
Miss Alice's fadder and modder got married. Dar come de judge. He hab
seen you, and he ride out ob de road to come see you."

"Toney, I shall come to see you again, and you must tell me more about
the family and these people about here; you must tell me everything."

"You musn't tell anybody I tell you anyting. De judge mity quare man;
he don't like for people to know all I knows."

The judge rode up, and Toney with great respect arose and saluted him.
"Ah!" said he, "you have found this old hermit, have you? Toney is the
chronicle of the neighborhood--a record of its history from the day of
its first settlement. I hope he has amused you. He is upwards of ninety
years old, and retains all his faculties in a remarkable degree."

"I have been quite entertained with his history of the descent of the
river with your ancestors. He seems to remember every incident, and
says your father was wounded at the Muscle Shoals on the Tennessee
River."

"He is quite right, sir. It was a perilous trip. My grandfather was a
man of wonderful energy and determination. He pioneered the ancestors
of almost every family in this vicinage to this place. There was a
large grant of land from the Spanish Government made here and divided
among his followers, every foot of which is in the possession of their
descendants to-day, except perhaps one thousand acres which were
swindled from my family by a most iniquitous decision of a jury,
influenced by an artful old Yankee lawyer. This spot here, sir, was the
nucleus of the first settlement which in a few years spread over the
country."

"This county I believe, sir, was once represented in the State of
Georgia as the County of Bourbon, at the time this State with Alabama
constituted a part of that State."

"My father was elected to represent the county, but he never took his
seat. We continued to be governed by the laws of Spain which we found
in force here until the line between Florida and the United States was
established--indeed until the American Government extended its
jurisdiction in the form of a territorial government over the country.
I am riding to my sisters. You will have fine shooting if you will go
through yonder piece of woods. Every tree seems to have a squirrel upon
it. We will meet again at tea. Adieu, till then."

"He been watchin you. Better go, young massa."

"You don't appear, Toney, to like your young master."

"Him not good to Miss Alice. He got plenty sisters; but he only lub
two, and dey don't lub anybody but just him. Him not like his fadder
nor ole massa yonder. He bring plenty trouble to massa and to his
modder. No, me don't like him. Miss Alice know him all."

"Well, Toney, no one shall ever know you have told me anything. Some of
these days I will come and see you again. Good by."

"God bress you, young massa! Kill ole nigger some squirrels. Tell Miss
Alice dey is for me, and she will make some on de little ones run down
here wid em. Good by, massa."

Slowly the young man wended his way to the mansion; but remembering the
negro's request, he shot several squirrels, and gave them as requested.

"Then you have been to see Uncle Toney. Did he give you any of his
stories? Like all old persons, he loves to talk about his younger
days."

"I was quite interested in his narrative of the trip down the river,
when your grandparents and your father emigrated to this part of the
country."

"Did he tell you his Indian ghost story?"

"He did not. He was quite communicative; but your brother came and
arrested his conversation." A shade fell upon the features of the
beautiful creature as she turned away to send the squirrels to Toney.

"These are beautiful grounds, Miss Ann."

"Yes, sir; there has been great care bestowed upon them, and they make
a fairy-land for my cousin who in fair weather is almost always found
here in these walks and shady retreats afforded by these old oaks and
pecans."

"There is something very beautiful, miss, in the attachment of Miss
Alice to Uncle Toney. The devotion to her on his part almost amounts to
adoration."

"My aunt, the mother of Alice, taught her this attachment. There is a
little history connected with it, and indeed, sir, all the family
remember his services to our grandfather in a most perilous moment; but
you must ask its narration from the old man. He loves to tell it. My
cousin's memory of her mother is the cherished of her heart. Indeed,
sir, that is a strong, deep heart. You may never know it; but should
you, you will remember that I told you there was but one Alice. In all
her feelings she is intense; her love is a flame--her hate a thorn; the
fragrance of the one is an incense--the piercing of the other is deep
and agonizing. Shan't we go in, sir; I see the damp of the dew is on
your boot-toe, and you have been ill. The absence of the sun is the
hour for pestilence to ride the breeze in our climate, and you cannot
claim to be fully acclimated."

The autumn progressed, and the rich harvests were being gathered and
garnered. This season is the longest and the loveliest of the year in
this beautiful country. During the months of September, October, and
November, there ordinarily falls very little rain, and the temperature
is but slightly different. The evolutions of nature are slow and
beneficent, and it seems to be a period especially disposed so that the
husbandman should reap in security the fruits of the year's labor. The
days lag lazily; the atmosphere is serene, and the cerulean, without a
cloud, is deeply blue. The foliage of the forest-trees, so gorgeous and
abundant, gradually loses the intense green of summer, fading and
yellowing so slowly as scarcely to be perceptible, and by such
attenuated degrees accustoming the eye to the change, that none of the
surprise or unpleasantness of sudden change is seen or experienced.

The fields grow golden; the redly-tinged leaves of the cotton-plant
contrast with the chaste pure white of the lint in the bursting pods,
now so abundantly yielding their wealth; the red ripe berries all over
the woods, and the busy squirrels gathering and hoarding these and the
richer forest-nuts; the cawing of the crows as they forage upon the
ungathered corn, feeding and watching with the consciousness of
thieves, and the fat cattle ruminating in the shade, make up a scene of
beauty and loveliness not met with in a less fervid clime. The
entranced rapture which filled my soul when first I looked upon this
scene comes over me now with a freshness that brings back the delights
of that day with all its cherished memories, though fifty years have
gone and their sorrows have crushed out all but hope from the
heart--and all the pleasures of the present are these memories kindly
clustering about the soul. Perhaps their delights, and those who shared
them, will revive in eternity. Perhaps not; perhaps all alike--the
pleasant and the painful--are to be lost in an eternal, oblivious
sleep. It is all speculation; yet hope and doubt go on to the grave,
and thence none return to cheer the one or elucidate the other. But be
it eternal life or eternal death, it is wise; for it is of God.

The autumn grew old and was threatening a frost--the great enemy of
fever. The falling leaves and the fitful gusts of chill wind presaged
the coming of winter. The ear caught the ring of sounds more distant
and more distinct now that the languor of summer was gone, and all
animal nature seemed more invigorated and more elastic. Health and her
inhabitants were returning to the city, and the guests of the
hospitable planters were thinning from the country. Business was
reviving and commotion was everywhere.

The young stranger was preparing to leave; yet he lingered. Ann had
gone; Alice grew more shy and timid, and his walks and rides were
solitary, and but that he loved nature in her autumn robes would have
been dull and uninteresting. The judge was absent at another plantation
beyond the river, and his books and his gun were his only companions.
Sometimes he read, sometimes he rode, and sometimes he walked to visit
Toney. It was on one of those peculiarly lonely afternoons which come
in the last days of October when the stillness persuades to rest and
meditation in the woods that, seated on a prostrate tree near the
pathway which led down the little creek to the residence of Uncle
Toney, the young guest of the judge was surprised by Alice with a small
negro girl on their way to visit Uncle Toney. Both started; but in a
moment were reassured, and slowly walked to the cabin of the good old
negro.

"I have come, Uncle Toney," said the youth, "to see you for the last
time. I am going away to-morrow and, as soon as I can, going back to
the distant home I so foolishly left."

"I am sorry you tell me so; won't you be sorry, Miss Alice?" asked
Toney. Alice bit her lip, and the flush upon her cheek was less ruddy
than usual.

"You no find dis country good like yourn, young massa?"

"Yes, Toney, this is a good country, and there is no country more
beautiful. But, uncle, it requires more than a beautiful country to
make us happy; we must have with us those we love, and who love us; and
the scenes of our childhood--our fathers and mothers, and brothers and
sisters who are glad with us and who sorrow with us, and the companions
of our school-days, to make us happy. I am here without any of
these--not a relation within a thousand miles; with no one to care for
me or to love me." There was something plaintively melancholly in his
words and tones. He looked at Alice, her eyes were swimming in tears
and she turned away from his gaze.

"You been mity sick, here, young massa, didn't Miss Alice be good to
you? Aunt Ann tell me so. If Miss Alice had not nuss you, you die."
Alice stepped into the cabin taking with her the basket the little
negro had borne, and placing its contents away, came out and handing it
to Rose, bid her run home. "I am coming," she said as she adjusted her
bonnet-strings, "the bugaboos won't catch you."

"Yes, Uncle Toney, I am very grateful to Miss Alice. I shall never
forget her."

How often that word is thoughtlessly spoken? Never to forget, is a long
time to remember. Our lives are a constant change: the present drives
out the past, and one memory usurps the place of another. Yet there are
some memories which are always green. These fasten themselves upon us
in agony. The pleasant are evanescent and pass away as a smile, but the
bitter live in sighs, recurring eternally.

Both were silent, both were thoughtful. "Good-by, Uncle Toney," said
Alice.

"May I join you in your walk home, miss?" There was something in the
tone of this request, which caused Alice to look up into his face and
pause a moment before replying, when she said, very timidly, "If you
please, sir."

The sun was drooping to the horizon and the shadows made giants as thy
grew along the sward. "Farewell, Uncle Toney," said the gentleman,
shaking hands with the old negro. Alice had walked on.

"O! you needn't say farewell so sorry, you'll come back. I sees him.
You'll come back. Eberybody who comes to dis country if he does go way
he's sure to come back, ticlar when he once find putty gall like Miss
Alice, ya! ya!" laughed the old man. "You'll come back. I knows it."

In a few moments he was by the side of Alice. They lounged lazily along
through the beautiful forest a few paces behind Rose, who was too much
afraid of bugaboos to allow herself to get far away from her mistress.
There was a chill in the atmosphere and now and then a fitful gust of
icy wind from the northwest. Winter was coming: these avant-couriers
whispered of it; and overhead, swooped high up in the blue, a host of
whooping cranes, marching in chase of the sun now cheering the
Antarctic just waking from his winter's sleep.

"I believe, sir," said Alice, "that the ancients watched the flight of
birds and predicated their predictions or prophecies upon them."

"Yes, the untutored of every age and country observe more closely the
operations of nature than the educated. It is their only means of
learning. They see certain movements in the beasts and the birds before
certain atmospheric changes, and their superstitions influence a
belief, that sentient and invisible beings cause this by communicating
the changes going on. The more sagacious and observant, and I may add
the less scrupulous, lay hold upon this knowledge, to practice for
their own pleasure or profit upon the credulity of the masses. There
are very many superstitions, miss, which are endowed with a character
so holy, that he who would expose them is hunted down as a wretch,
unworthy of life. The older and the more ridiculous these, the more
holy, and the more sacredly cherished."

"Are you not afraid thus to speak--is there nothing too holy to be
profanely assaulted?"

"Nothing which contravenes man's reason. Truth courts
investigation--the more disrobed, the more beautiful. Science reveals,
that there is no mystery in truth. Its simplicity is often disfigured
with unnatural and ridiculous superstitions, and these sometimes are so
prominent as to conceal it. They certainly, with many, bring it into
disrepute. The more intellectual pluck these off and cast them away.
They see and know the truth. Yonder birds obey an instinct: the chill
to their more sensitive natures warns them that the winter, or the
tempest, or the rain-storm is upon them; they obey this instinct and
fly from it. Yet it in due time follows these--the more observant know
it, and predict it. Those, with the ancients, were sooth-sayers or
prophets; with us, they are the same with the ignorant negroes; with
the whites, not quite so ignorant, they are--but, miss, I will not say.
I must exercise a little prudence to avoid the wrath of the
ignorant--they are multitudinous and very powerful."

"Kind sir, tell me, have you no superstitions? Has nothing ever
occurred to you, your reason could not account for? Have no
predictions, to be revealed in the coming future, come to you as
foretold?"

"Do not press me on that point, if you please, I might astonish and
offend you."

"I am not in the least afraid of your offending me, sir. I could not
look in your face and feel its inspirations, and believe you capable of
offending me."

"Thank you for the generous confidence, thank you. I am going and shall
remember this so long as I live, and when in my native land, will think
of it as too sacred for the keeping of any but myself."

"Are you really going to leave us, and so soon? I--I--would--but--"

"Miss Alice, I have trespassed too long already upon your brother's
hospitality; beside, Miss Alice, I begin to feel that his welcome is
worn out. Your brother, for some days, has seemed less cordial than was
his wont during the first weeks of my stay here."

"My brother, sir, is a strange being--a creature of whims and caprices.
There is nothing fixed or settled in his opinions or conduct. His
inviting you to spend the summer with us was a whim: one that has
astonished several who have not hesitated to express it. It is as
likely on his return from his river place, that he will devour you with
kindness as that he will meet you with the coldness he has manifested
for some days. Do not let your conduct be influenced by his whims."

"Miss Alice, I am suspicious, perhaps, by nature. I have thought that
you have avoided me lately. I have been very lonesome at times."

Alice lifted her bonnet from her head, and was swinging it by the
strings as she walked along for a few steps, when she stopped, and,
turning to her companion, said with a firm though timid voice: "I
cannot be deceitful. You have properly guessed: I have avoided you. It
was on your account as well as my own. My self-respect is in conflict
with my respect for you. I need not tell you why I avoided you; but I
will--conscious that I am speaking to a gentleman who will appreciate
my motives and preserve inviolate my communications. You saw my cousin
hurry away from here. She came to remain some weeks. The cause of her
going was my brother. From some strange, unaccountable cause he became
offended with her, and charged her with giving bad advice to me. What
she has said to me as advice since she came was in the privacy of my
bedroom, and in such tones that had he or another been in the chamber
they could not have overheard it. I know, sir, and in shame do I speak
it, that I am under the surveillance of the servants, who report to my
brother and my sister my every act and every word; and I know, too, my
brother's imagination supplies in many instances these reports. Why I
am thus watched I know not.

"My brother is my guardian, and nature and duty, it would seem, should
prompt him to guard my happiness as well as my interest; but I know in
the one instance he fails, and I fear in the other I am suffering. All
my family fear him, and none of them love me. I am my parents' youngest
child. Oh, sir! England is not the only country where it is a curse to
be a younger child. My father died when I was an infant. My mother was
affectionate and indulgent; my sisters were harsh and tyrannical, and
in very early girlhood taught me to hate them. My mother was made
miserable by their treatment of me; and my brother, too, quarrelled
with her because she would not subject me to the servility of the
discipline he prescribed. This quarrel ripened into hate, and he never
came to the house or spoke to my mother for years.

"The day before she died, and when her recovery was thought to be
impossible, he came with a prepared will and witnesses, which in their
presence he almost forced her to sign: in this will I was greatly
wronged, and this brother has tauntingly told me the cause of this was
my being the means of prejudicing our mother against him.

"He married a coarse, vulgar Kentucky woman, and brought her into the
house. She was insolent and disrespectful toward my mother, and I
resented it. She left the house, and died a few months after. Since
that day, though I was almost a child, my life has been one of constant
persecution on the part of my brother and sisters. I am compelled to
endure it, but do so under protest; if not in words, I do in manner,
and this I am persuaded you have on more than one occasion observed.
Please do not consider me impertinent, nor let it influence you in your
opinion of me, when I tell you my brother has rudely said to me that I
was too forward in my intercourse with you. It is humiliating to say
this to you; but I must, for it explains my conduct, which save in this
regard has been motiveless.

"A lady born to the inheritance of fortune is very unpleasantly
situated, both toward her family and to the world. These seem
solicitous to take greater interest in her pecuniary affairs than in
her personal happiness, and are always careful to warn her that her
money is more sought than herself--distracting her mind and feelings,
and keeping her constantly miserable. Since my school-days I have been
companionless. If I have gone into society, I have been under the guard
of one or the other of my sisters. These are cold, austere, and
repulsive, and especially toward those who would most likely seek my
society, and with whom I would most naturally be pleased. I must be
retired, cold, and never to seem pleased, but always remarkably silent
and dignified. I must be a goddess to be worshipped, and not an equal
to be approached and my society courted companionably. In fine, I was
to be miserable, and make all who came to me participate in this
misery. It was more agreeable to remain at home among my flowers and
shrubs, my books, and my visits to Uncle Toney. Do you wonder, sir,
that I seem eccentric? You know how the young love companionship--how
they crave the amusements which lend zest to life. I enjoy none of
this, and I am sometimes, I believe, nearly crazy. I fear you think me
so, now. I want to love my brother, but he will not permit me to do so.
I fear he has a nature so unlovable that such a feeling toward him
animates no heart. My sisters and a drunken sot of a brother-in-law
pretend to love him--but they measure their affection by the hope of
gain. They reside in Louisiana, and I am glad they are not here during
your stay--for you would certainly be insulted, especially if they saw
the slightest evidence of esteem for you on brother's part, or kindness
on mine."

"Oh! sir, how true is the Scripture, 'Out of the fulness of the heart
the mouth speaketh.' Out of my heart's fulness have I spoken, and, I
fear you will think, out of my heart's folly, too; and in my heart's
sincerity I tell you I do not know why I have done so to you--for I
have never said anything of these things to any one but cousin Ann,
before. Perhaps it is because I know you are going away and you will
not come to rebuke me with your presence any more; for indeed, sir, I
do not know how I could meet you and not blush at the memory of this
evening's walk."

"Miss Alice, I have a memory, or it may be a fancy, that in the
delirium of my fever, some weeks since, I saw you like a spirit of
light flitting about my bed and ministering to my wants; and I am sure,
when all supposed me _in extremis_, you came, and on my brow placed
your soft hand, and pressed it gently above my burning brain. My every
nerve thrilled beneath that touch; my dead extremities trembled and
were alive again. The brain resumed her functions, and the nervous
fluid flashed through my entire system, and departing life came back
again. You saved my life. Were the records of time and events opened to
my inspection and I could read it there, I could not more believe this
than I now do. Then what is due from me to you? This new evidence of
confidence adds nothing to the obligation--it was full without it. But
it is an inspiration I had not before. We are here, Miss Alice, within
a few steps of the threshold of the house in which you were born. I am
far from the land of my nativity--our meeting was strange, and this
second meeting not the less so."

"Ah! you have almost confessed that you are superstitious. You need not
have acknowledged that you are romantic; your young life has proven
this."

"Stay, Miss Alice: you asked me but now if there had never been the
realization of previous predictions. You said you knew I would not
offend you. I would not, but may. Now listen to me, here under the
shade of this old oak. When I was a child, my nurse was an aged African
woman; like all her race, she was full of superstition, and she would
converse with me of mysteries, and spells, and wonderful revelations,
until my mind was filled as her own with strange superstitions and
presentiments. On one occasion, on the Sabbath day, I found her in the
orchard, seated beneath a great pear-tree, and went to her--for though
I was no longer her ward to nurse, I liked to be with her and hear her
talk. It was a beautiful day, the fruit-trees were in bloom, and the
spring-feeling in the sunshine was kindling life into activity through
all nature. She asked me to let her see my hand and she would tell me
my fortune. She pretended sagely to view every line, and here and there
to press her index finger sharply down. At length she began to speak.

"'You will not stay with your people,' she said, 'but will be a great
traveller; and when in some far-away country, you will be sick--mighty
sick; and a beautiful woman will find you, and she will nurse you, and
you will love that beautiful woman, and she will love you, and she will
marry you, and you will not come to reside with your people any more.'
Now, Miss Alice, I have wandered far away from my home, have been sick,
very sick, and a beautiful woman has nursed me until I am well, and oh!
from my heart I do love that beautiful woman. So far all of this wild
prediction has been verified; and it remains with you, my dear Alice,
to say if the latter portion shall be. You are too candid to delay
reply, and too sincere to speak equivocally."

She trembled as she looked up into his face and read it for a moment.
"You are too much of a gentleman to speak as you have, unless it came
from your heart. O my God! is this reality, or am I dreaming?" She
drooped her head upon his shoulder, and said: "'Whither thou goest I
will go; thy house shall be my house, and thy God my God.'"

The full moon was just above the horizon, and the long dark shadows
veiled them from view. The judge rode in at the gate, and leaving his
horse, went directly into the house. A moment after a carriage drove
into the court, and from it dismounted the brother-in-law sot and her
weird sister; for indeed she was a very Hecate in looks and mischief.
Alice stole away to her chamber; and the happy stranger to wander among
the shrubs, regardless of the damp and chill.

Here were two young hearts conscious of happiness; but was it a
happiness derived from the respective merits and congenial natures of
the two known to each other? They were comparatively strangers, knowing
little of the antecedents of each other. Each was unhappily
situated--the one from poverty, the other owing to her wealth; the one
ardently desirous of bettering pecuniarily his position, the other to
release herself from restraints that were tyrannical and to enjoy that
independence which she felt was her natural right. Might not these
considerations override the purer impulses of the heart arising from
that regard for qualities which win upon the mind until ripened first
into deep respect, then mellowed into tender affection by association
protracted and intimate? They had been reared in societies radically
different: their early impressions were equally antagonistic; but their
aims were identical--to escape from present personal embarrassments.

They had met romantically. He had been removed for many months from the
presence of civilized society, though naturally fond of female
association, and craving deeply in his heart the communion again of
that intercourse, which had (as he had learned from sad experience)
been the chief cause of the happiness of his youth. He met her first as
he entered anew the relations of civilized and social society. She was
young and exquisitely beautiful. Their meeting was but for a moment;
their intercourse was intensely delightful to him, and the interest her
ardent nature manifested toward him was extremely captivating. He had
gone from her, with her in all his heart.

She for the time was free. She felt not the restraint of her female
relatives, and the ardor of her heart burned out in the delighted
surprise she experienced in the gentle and genial bearing of one to all
seeming rude and uncultivated as the savage he so much resembled in the
contour of his apparel. She had trembled with a strange ecstasy as he
strolled by her side, and felt a thrill pierce her soul as she looked
into his face and saw what she had never seen, beaming in his eyes. She
had never seen it before; yet she knew it, and felt she had found what
her heart had so long and so ardently craved. She had parted from him
with a consciousness that she was never to meet him again; and yet his
image was with her by day and by night--her fancy kept him by day, and
her dreams by night. She loved him for the mellow civilization of his
heart and for the wild savageness of his garb. Oh, the heart of dear
woman! it is her world. Would that the realizations of life were as her
heart paints and craves them! He had again come as unexpectedly to her;
but the figure was without its surroundings: the diamond was there, but
the setting was gone, and she was not agreeably surprised: hence the
indifference manifested by her when he discovered to her his identity.
Intercourse had revived the tenderness of the woman as it dispelled the
romance of the girl. Her affection she deemed was not a fancy, but a
feeling now. Her heart had wandered and fluttered like a wounded bird
seeking some friendly limb for support--some secluded shade for rest.
She had found all, and she was happy. He was her future; she thought of
none other--of nothing else. Was he as happy? He had seen the rough
side of the world, and thought more rationally. His night was
sleepless. In a moment of feeling he had asked and received the heart
of a lovely being whom he felt he could always love. He knew she was
more than anxious for a home where she was mistress, and he must
prepare it--but how, or where? He was without means. It was humiliating
to depend on hers; and this was the first alloy which stained and
impoverished the bliss of his anticipations.

They met in the early morning. Her brow was clouded. None were up save
themselves. Their interview was brief and explicit. He saw her in a new
phase; she had business tact as well as an independent spirit.

"You must leave this morning," she said, "and immediately after
breakfast. My sister has put the servants through the gantlet of
inquiry. They knew what she wanted to know, and if inclination had been
wanting, the fear of the stocks and torture would have compelled them
to tell it to her. She has heard all she wished, to her heart's
content. She was in my chamber until midnight, and, as usual, we have
quarrelled. They have told her that I was constantly with you, and that
I was in love with you, and a thousand things less true than this. She
has upbraided me for entering your chamber when you were sick. She
menacingly shook her finger at me, and almost threatened corporal
punishment if I did not desist from your association. I shall be
surprised if she does not insult you upon sight. Nothing will prevent
it but fear of offending brother. This she would not do for less than
half of his estate--for that, and even more, she is now playing. She
pretends devotion to him; and they profess a mutual attachment. If this
is sincere, it is the only love either of them ever felt. You must
express to brother, the moment you see him, your determination to leave
at once, and let it be decided. I don't know your means, but fear you
will be embarrassed, as you are comparatively a stranger, in preparing
a home for us. Give this to its address, and you will have all you
want. Do not stop to look at it. Put it in your pocket--there. I shall
not be at the table this morning; there would be unpleasantness for
you, I am sure. I shall not see you again until you come to carry me to
our own home, which shall be very soon. Despite this _contretemps_ I am
very happy; and now farewell. I will write to you; for to-day I mean to
tell brother I am to be your wife. I know how he will receive it; but
he knows me, and will more than simply approve it. He will wish to give
us a wedding; but I will not receive it. Our marriage must be private.
Again farewell!" Without a kiss they parted.

What were the reflections of this young man in his long morning's drive
he will never forget. 'Twas fifty years ago; but they are green in
memory yet, and will be until the grave yonder at the hill's foot, now
opening to view, shall close over--close out this mortality, and all
the memories which have imbittered life so long.




CHAPTER XXIII.

WHEN SUCCESSFUL, RIGHT; WHEN NOT, WRONG.

TERRITORIAL MISSISSIPPI--WILKINSON--ADAMS--JEFFERSON--WARREN--CLAIBORNE
--UNION OF THE FACTIONS--COLONEL WOOD--CHEW--DAVID HUNT--JOSEPH
DUNBAR--SOCIETY OF WESTERN MISSISSIPPI--POP VISITS OF A WEEK TO
TEA--THE HORSE "TOM" AND HIS RIDER--OUR GRANDFATHER'S DAYS--AN
EMIGRANT'S OUTFIT--MY SHARE--GEORGE POINDEXTER--A SUDDEN OPENING OF A
COURT OF JUSTICE--THE CALDWELL AND GWINN DUEL--JACKSON'S OPPOSITION TO
THE GOVERNOR OF MISSISSIPPI.


The Counties of Wilkinson, Adams, Jefferson, Claiborne, and Warren are
the river counties carved from the territory first settled in the State
of Mississippi. The settlements along the Mississippi came up from New
Orleans and went gradually up the stream. The English or American
immigration to that river antedated but a very short time the war of
the Revolution. The commencement of this war accelerated the
settlement, many seeking an asylum from the horrors of war within the
peaceful borders of this new and faraway land. The five counties above
named constituted the County of Bourbon when the jurisdiction of the
United States was extended to the territory. Very soon after it was
divided into three counties--Wilkinson, Adams, and Jefferson; and
subsequently, as the population increased, Claiborne and Warren were
organized and established. These counties were named after John Adams,
Thomas Jefferson, General Wilkinson, General Warren, who fell at
Bunker's Hill, and General Ferdinand Claiborne, a distinguished citizen
of the Territory. As a Territory, Mississippi extended to and comprised
all the territory east to the Alabama River or to the Georgia line. In
fact, there was no distinct eastern boundary until the admission of the
State into the Union.

The leading men of the communities first formed in the five counties on
the Mississippi were men of intelligence and substance. The very first
were those who, to avoid the consequences of the war of the Revolution,
had sought security here. Some, who conscientiously scrupled as to
their duty in that conflict--unwilling to violate an allegiance which
they felt they owed to the British crown, and equally unwilling to take
part against their kindred and neighbors--had left their homes and come
here. There were not a few of desperate character, who had come to
avoid the penalties of the criminal laws of the countries from which
they had fled. The descendants of all these constitute a large element
of the population of these counties at the present moment. Some of
these sustain the character of their ancestors in an eminent degree;
others again are everything but what their parents were.

One feature of the country is different from that of almost any other
portion of the United States. The descendants of the first pioneers are
all there. There has been no emigration from the country. The
consequence is that intermarriages have made nearly all the descendants
of the pioneers relatives. In very many instances these marriages have
united families whose ancient feuds are traditions of the country.

The opprobrium attached to the name of Tory (which was freely given to
all who had either avoided the war by emigration, or who had remained
and taken part against the colonies, and then, to avoid the disgrace
they had earned at home, and also to escape the penalties of the laws
of confiscation, had brought here their property) induced most families
to observe silence respecting their early history, or the causes which
brought them to the country, and especially to their children. This was
true even as late as forty years ago. There were then in these counties
many families of wealth and polish, whose ancestors were obnoxious on
account of this damaging imputation; and it was remembered as a
tradition carefully handed down by those who at a later day came to the
country from the neighborhoods left by these families, and in most
instances for crimes of a much more heinous character than obedience to
conscientious allegiance to the Government. But success had made
allegiance treachery, and rebellion allegiance. Success too often
sanctifies acts which failure would have made infamous.

  "Be it so! though right trampled be counted for wrong,
    And that pass for right which is evil victorious,
  Here, where virtue is feeble and villany strong,
    'Tis the cause, not the fate of a cause, that is glorious."

The inviting character of the soil and climate induced (as soon as a
settled form of government promised protection) rapid emigration to the
country. This came from every part of the United States. Those coming
from the same State usually located as nearly as practicable in the
same neighborhood, and to this day many of these are designated by the
name of the country or State from which they came. There are in the
County of Jefferson two neighborhoods known to-day as the Maryland
settlement and the Scotch settlement, and the writer has many
memories--very pleasant ones, too--of happy hours in the long past
spent with some of nature's noblemen who were inhabitants of these
communities.

Who that has ever sojourned for a time in this dear old county, does
not remember the generous and elegant hospitality of Colonel Wood,
Joseph Dunbar, and Mr. Chew; nor must I forget that truly noble-hearted
man, David Hunt, the founder of Oakland College, whose charitable
munificence was lordly in character, but only commensurate with his
soul and great wealth. It seems invidious to individualize the
hospitality of this community, where all were so distinguished; but I
cannot forbear my tribute of respect--my heart's gratitude--to Wood and
Dunbar. I came among these people young and a stranger, poor, and
struggling to get up in the world. These two opened their hearts, their
doors, and their purses to me; but it was not alone to me. Should all
who have in like circumstances been the recipients of their generous
and unselfish kindnesses record them as I am doing, the story of their
munificent generosity and open, exalted hospitality would seem an
Eastern romance.

They have been long gathered to their fathers; but so long as any live
who knew them, their memories will be green and cherished. In this
neighborhood was built the first Protestant Episcopal Church in the
State, and here worshipped the Woods, Dunbars, MacGruders, Shields,
Greens, and others composing the settlement. The descendants of these
families still remain in that neighborhood, where anterior to the late
war was accumulated great wealth. The topography of the country is
beautifully picturesque with hills and dales, and all exceedingly
fertile. These hills are a continuation of the formation commencing at
Vicksburg, and extending to Bayou Sara. They are peculiar, and seem to
have been thrown over the primitive formation by some extraordinary
convulsion, and are of a sandy loam. No marine shells are found in
them; but occasionally trees and leaves are exhumed at great depths. No
water is found in this loam by digging or boring; but after passing
through this secondary formation, the humus or soil of the primitive is
reached--the leaves and limbs of trees superincumbent on this
indicating its character--then the sand and gravel, and very soon
water, as in other primitive formations. These hills extend back from
the river in an irregular line from ten to fifteen miles, and are
distinguished by a peculiar growth of timber and smaller shrubs.

The magnolias and poplars, with linn, red oak, and black walnut, are
the principal trees. There is no pine, but occasionally an enormous
sassafras, such as are found in no other section on this continent.
There is no stone, and no running water except streams having their
rise in the interior, passing through these hills to their debouchment
into the river. The entire formation is a rich compost, and in great
part soluble in water; this causes them to wash, and when not
cultivated with care, they cut into immense gullies and ravines. They
are in some places almost mountainous in height and exceedingly
precipitous. They are designated at different localities by peculiar
names--as the Walnut Hills, Grand Hills, Petit Gulf Hills, Natchez
Hills, and St. Catherine Hills. In primitive forest they presented a
most imposing appearance.

Large and lofty timber covered from base to summit these hills,
increasing their grandeur by lifting to their height the immense vines
found in great abundance all over them. The dense wild cane, clothing
as a garment the surface of every acre, went to the very tops of the
highest hills, adding a strange feature to hill scenery. The river only
approaches these hills in a few places and always at right angles, and
is by them deflected, leaving them always on the outer curve of the
semicircle or bend in the stream. From these points and from the summit
of these cliffs the view is very fine, stretching often in many places
far up and down the river and away over the plain west of the river,
which seems to repose upon its lap as far as the eye can view. The
scene is sombre, but grand, especially when lighted by the evening's
declining sun. The plain is unbroken by any elevation: the immense
trees rise to a great height, and all apparently to the same level--the
green foliage in summer strangely commingling with the long gray moss
which festoons from the upper to the lower limbs, waving as a garland
in the fitful wind; and the dead gray of the entire scene in winter is
sad and melancholy as a vast cemetery. There is a gloomy grandeur in
this, which is only rivalled by that of the sea, when viewed from a
towering height, lazily lolling in the quiet of a summer evening's
calm.

To encounter the perils of a pioneer to such a country required men of
iron nerve. Such, with women who dared to follow them, to meet and to
share every danger and fearlessly to overcome every obstacle to their
enterprise, coming from every section of the United States, formed
communities and introduced the arts and industry of civilization, to
subdue these forests and compel the soil to yield its riches for the
use of man. From these had grown a population, fifty years ago,
combining the daring and noble traits of human character which lie at
the base of a grand and chivalrous civilization. Such men were the
leaders and controllers of the society at that time, assuming a uniform
and homogeneous character throughout the western portion of the State.
The invasion of New Orleans had endangered this section, and to a man
they rallied to meet the foe. More than half the male population of
that portion of the State were at New Orleans and in the trenches on
the memorable 8th of January, 1815. Their conduct upon that occasion
was distinguished, and won from General Jackson high commendation. The
charge of the Mississippi cavalry, commanded by General Thomas Hinds,
the General, in his report of the battle, said, excited the admiration
of one army and the astonishment of the other.

This campaign brought together the younger portion of the male
population of the State, and under such circumstances as to make them
thoroughly to know each other. These men were the prominent personages
of the State forty years ago, and they formed the character of the
population and inspired the gallantry and chivalry of spirit which so
distinguished the troops of Mississippi in the late unfortunate civil
war--in all, but in none so conspicuously, in this spirit and nobleness
of soul and sentiment, as in the characters of Jefferson Davis and John
A. Quitman--foremost to take up arms in the war with Mexico, resigning
high positions for the duties of the soldier, to follow the flag, and
avenge the insults of a presumptuous foe.

The society of Western Mississippi, forty years ago, was distinguished
above any other in the Union, for a bold, generous, and frank
character, which lent a peculiar charm. It was polished, yet it was
free and unreserved, full of the courtesies of life, with the rough
familiarity of a coarser people. The sports of the turf were pursued
with enthusiastic ardor. The chase for the fox and the red deer
pervaded almost universally the higher walks of life. The topography of
the country was such as to make these, in the fearless rides they
compelled, extremely hazardous, familiarizing their votaries with
danger and inspiring fearlessness and daring. Almost every gentleman
had his hunting steed and kennel of hounds; and at the convivial dinner
which always followed the hunt, he could talk horse and hound with the
zest of a groom or whipper-in, and at the evening _soiree_ emulate
D'Orsay or Chesterfield in the polish of his manners and the elegance
of his conversation. This peculiarity was not alone confined to the
gentlemen. The ladies were familiar with every household duty, and
attended to them: they caught from their husbands and brothers the open
frankness of their bearing and conversation, a confident, yet not a
bold or offensive bearing in their homes and in society, with a
polished refinement and an elevation of sentiment in all they said or
did, which made them to me the most charming and lovely of their
sex--and which made Mississippi forty years ago the most desirable
place of rural residence in the Union.

The conduct of these people was universally lofty and honorable. A
fawning sycophancy or little meannesses were unknown; social
intercourse was unrestrained because all were honorable, and that
reserve which so plainly speaks suspicion of your company was never
seen. There was no habit of canvassing the demerits of a neighbor or
his affairs. The little backbitings and petty slanders which so
frequently mar the harmony of communities, was never indulged or
tolerated. Homogeneous in its character, the population was harmonious.
United in the same pursuits, the emulation was kind and honorable. The
tone and purity was superior to low and debasing vices, and these and
their concomitants were unknown. There were few dram-shops or places of
low resort, and these only for the lower and more debased of the
community. Fortunately, fifty years ago, there were but few such
characters, no meetings for gaming or debauchery, and the social
communion of the people was chaste and cordial at their hospitable and
elegant homes.

A peculiar feature of the society of the river counties was the perfect
freedom of manners, and yet the high polish, the absence of
neighborhood discord, and the strict regard for personal and pecuniary
rights: a sort of universal confidence pervaded every community, and in
every transaction personal honor supplied the place of litigation.
Strangers of respectable appearance were not met with apparent
suspicion, but with hospitable kindness; and especially was this the
case toward young men who professedly came in search of a new home and
new fields for the exercise of their abilities professionally, or for
the more profitable employment of any means they might to have brought
to the country. Now, at seventy years of age, and after the experience
of half a century of men and society in almost every portion of the
Union, I can truthfully say, nowhere have I ever met so truthful, so
generous, and so hospitable a people as the planters and gentlemen of
the river counties of Mississippi, fifty years ago--nowhere women more
refined, yet affable; so modest, yet frank and open in their social
intercourse; so dignified, without austerity; so chaste and pure in
sentiment and action, without prudery or affectation, as the mothers,
wives, and daughters of those planters.

The Bench and the Bar were distinguished for ability and purity; many
of these have left national reputations--all of them honorable names to
their families and profession. Nor were the physicians less
distinguished. The names of Provan, McPheters, Cartwright, Ogden,
Parker, Cox, and Dennie will be remembered when all who were their
compeers shall have passed away, as ornaments to their profession.
There is one other, still living at a very advanced age, who was
perhaps the superior of any I have mentioned--James Metcalf, who not
only was and is an ornament to his profession, but to human nature. He
is one of the few surviving monuments of the men of fifty years ago.
His life has been eminently useful and eminently pure. He has lived to
see his children emulating his example as virtuous and useful citizens,
above reproach, and an honor to their parents.

There was not, perhaps, in the Union, a stronger Bar in any four
counties than here--Childs, Gibbs, Worley, George Adams, (the father of
Generals Daniel and Wirt Adams,) Robert H. Adams, (who died a Senator
in the United States Congress when it was an honor to fill the
position,) Lyman Harding, W.B. Griffith, John A. Quitman, Joseph E.
Davis, (the elder brother of Jefferson Davis,) Thomas B. Reid, Robert
J. and Duncan Walker. Time has swept on, and but one of all these
remains in life--Robert J. Walker. Edward Tuner, then the presiding
judge of the District Court, was a Kentuckian. Four brothers immigrated
to the country about the same time. Two remained at Natchez, one at
Bayou Sara, in Louisiana, and the fourth went to New Orleans. All
became distinguished: three as lawyers, who honored the Bench in their
respective localities, and the fourth as a merchant and planter
accumulated an immense fortune.

The planters almost universally resided upon their plantations, and
their habits were rural and temperate. Their residences were
unostentatious, but capacious and comfortable, with every attachment
which could secure comfort or contribute to their pleasure. The
plantation houses for the slaves were arranged conveniently together,
constituting with the barns, stabling, and gin-houses a neat village.

The grounds about the residences were covered with forest-trees
carefully preserved; shrubs and flowers were cultivated with exquisite
taste among these and over the garden grounds around and beyond them.
Social intercourse was of the most cordial and unrestrained character.
It was entirely free from that embarrassing ceremony which in urban
communities makes it formal, stiff, and a mere ceremony. It was
characterized by high-breeding, which made it not only unrestrained but
polished, cultivating the heart and the manners to feeling and
refinement; making society what it should be--a source of enjoyment and
heart-happiness, free from jealousies, rivalries, and regrets.

The distances from plantation to plantation were such as to preclude
visiting as a simple call; consequently calls were for spending a day
to dine, or an evening to tea, to a rural ride, or some amusement
occupying at least half a day, and not unfrequently half a week. Every
planter built his house, if not with a view to architectural symmetry
and beauty, at least with ample room to entertain his friends, come
they in ever such numbers, and his hospitality was commensurate with
his house--as capacious and as unpretending. It was the universal habit
for both ladies and gentlemen to ride on horseback. The beauty of the
forest, through which ran the roads and by-ways--its fragrant
blooms--its dark, dense foliage, invited to such exercise; and social
reunions were frequently accomplished in the cool shades of these grand
old forests by parties ruralizing on horseback when the sun was low,
and the shade was sweet, which led them to unite and visit, as
unexpectedly as they were welcome, some neighbor, where without
ceremony the evening was spent in rural and innocent amusement--a
dance, a game of whist or euchre--until weary with these; and on the
arrival of the hour for rest they left, and galloped home in the soft
moonlight, respectively flushed with health-giving exercise, and only
sufficiently fatigued to be able to sleep well.

Nowhere does a splendid woman appear to more advantage than on
horseback. Trained from early girlhood to horseback exercise, she
learns to sit fearlessly and control absolutely the most fiery steed,
to accommodate herself to his every motion, and in his movements to
display the ease and grace of this control and confidence. Nowhere on
earth were to be found more splendid women or more intrepid riders than
the daughters of the planters of Mississippi fifty years ago. Each was
provided for her especial use with an animal of high blood, finished
form, and well-trained gait. Daily intercourse familiarized rider and
horse, and an attachment grew up between them that was always
manifested by both upon meeting. It was said by Napoleon that his
parade-horse knew and recognized him, and bore himself with more pride
and spirit when he was in the saddle than when mounted by any other.
Whoever has accustomed himself to treat kindly his saddle-horse, and to
suffer no one but himself to ride him, can well understand this. I
remember a horse and his rider among my early acquaintances on the
banks of the Mississippi, whose mutual attachment was so remarkable as
to excite the wonder of strangers. That rider was a true woman--kind,
gentle, and yet full of spirit. Affectionate as she was fearless, she
had importuned her brother for the gift of a fine young blood-horse,
which he gave her upon the condition that she would ride him. She was
an experienced rider, and promised.

After a few days of close intimacy, she ventured to mount him. To the
astonishment of every one he was perfectly docile, and moved away
gently, but with an air of pride, as if conscious of the precious
burden he bore. From that time forward no one was permitted to ride him
but the lady, who visited him every day in his stall, and always
carried him a loaf of bread or a cup of sugar, and never mounted him
without going to his front and holding a conversation with pretty Tom,
stroking his head with her gentle hand, and giving him a lump of sugar
or a biscuit. He was allowed the liberty of the yard, to graze on the
young sweet grass of the front lawn, and luxuriate in the shade of the
princely trees which grew over it. One or many ladies might go out upon
the gallery and remain unnoticed by Tom. The moment, however, that his
mistress came, and he saw her or heard her voice, he would neigh in
recognition of her presence, and bound immediately forward to the
house, manifesting in his eye and manner great pleasure. This was
kindly returned by the lady always descending the steps and gently
stroking his head, which he would affectionately rest against her
person. He would follow her over the yard like a pet spaniel; but he
would do this for no one else. He knew her voice, and would obey it,
and bound to her call with the alacrity of a child. His pleasure at her
coming to mount him, when saddled for a ride, was so marked as to
excite astonishment. He would carefully place himself for her
convenience, and stand quiet after she was in the saddle until her
riding-skirt was adjusted and her foot well in the stirrup, and then
she would only say, "Now, Tom!" when he would arch his neck and move
off with a playful bound, and curvet about the grounds until she would
lay her hand upon his mane, and, gently patting his neck, say, "There,
Tom!" Then the play was over, and he went gallantly forward, obediently
and kindly as a reasoning being.

The young reader will excuse this garrulity of age: it is its
privilege; and I am writing my recollections of bygone years, and none
are more pleasant than those which recall to me this great woman--the
delightful hours spent in her society at the hospitable home of her
family. She still lives, an aged woman, respected by all, and honored
in the great merits of her children. Like Tom, they were affectionately
trained; and like Tom, they were dutiful in their conduct, and live to
perpetuate her intelligence and the noble attributes of her glorious
heart. Should these lines ever meet her eye, she will remember the
writer, and recall the delightful rides and happy hours spent together
a long time ago. We are both in the winter of life, time's uses are
almost ended, and all that is blissful now are the memories of the
past. Dear Fannie, close the book and your eyes, turn back to fifty
years ago, and to the memories common to us both, give the heart one
brief moment to these, and, as now I do, drop a tear to them.

The population in the four river counties, at the time of which I
write, was much more dense than of any other portion of the State:
still there were numerous settlements in different parts of the State
quite populous. That upon Pearl River, of these, perhaps, was most
populous; but those eastern settlements were constituted of a different
people: most of them were from the poorer districts of Georgia and the
Carolinas. True to the instincts of the people from whom they were
descended, they sought as nearly as possible just such a country as
that from which they came, and were really refugees from a growing
civilization consequent upon a denser population and its necessities.
They were not agriculturists in a proper sense of the term; true, they
cultivated in some degree the soil, but it was not the prime pursuit of
these people, nor was the location sought for this purpose. They
desired an open, poor, pine country, which forbade a numerous
population.

Here they reared immense herds of cattle, which subsisted exclusively
upon the coarse grass and reeds which grew abundantly among the tall,
long-leafed pine, and along the small creeks and branches numerous in
this section. Through these almost interminable pine-forests the deer
were abundant, and the canebrakes full of bears. They combined the
pursuits of hunting and stock-minding, and derived support and revenue
almost exclusively from these. They were illiterate and careless of the
comforts of a better reared, better educated, and more intelligent
people. They were unable to employ for each family a teacher, and the
population was too sparse to collect the children in a neighborhood
school. These ran wild, half naked, unwashed and uncombed, hatless and
bonnetless through the woods and grass, followed by packs of lean and
hungry curs, hallooing and yelling in pursuit of rabbits and opossums,
and were as wild as the Indians they had supplanted, and whose
pine-bark camps were yet here and there to be seen, where temporarily
stayed a few strolling, degraded families of Choctaws.

Some of these pioneers had been in the country many years, were
surrounded with descendants, men and women, the growth of the country,
rude, illiterate, and independent. Along the margins of the streams
they found small strips of land of better quality than the pine-forests
afforded. Here they grew sufficient corn for bread and a few of the
coarser vegetables, and in blissful ignorance enjoyed life after the
manner they loved. The country gave character to the people: both were
wild and poor; both were _sui generis_ in appearance and production,
and both seeming to fall away from the richer soil and better people of
the western portion of the State.

Between them and the inhabitants of the river counties there was little
communication and less sympathy; and I fancy no country on earth of the
same extent presented a wider difference in soil and population,
especially one speaking the same language and professing the same
religion. Time, and the pushing a railroad through this eastern portion
of the State, have effected vast changes for the better, and among
these quaintly called piney-woods people now are families of wealth and
cultivation. But in the main they are yet rude and illiterate.

Not ten years since, I spent some time in Eastern Mississippi. I met at
his home a gentleman I had made the acquaintance of in New Orleans. He
is a man of great worth and fine intelligence: his grandfather had
emigrated to the country in 1785 from Emanuel County, Georgia. His
grandson says: "He carried with him a small one-horse cart pulled by an
old gray mare, one feather bed, an oven, a frying-pan, two pewter
dishes, six pewter plates, as many spoons, a rifle gun, and three
deer-hounds. He worried through the Creek Nation, extending then from
the Oconee River to the Tombigbee.

"After four months of arduous travel he found his way to Leaf River,
and there built his cabin; and with my grandmother, and my father, who
was born on the trip in the heart of the Creek Nation, commenced to
make a fortune. He found on a small creek of beautiful water a little
bay land, and made his little field for corn and pumpkins upon that
spot: all around was poor, barren pine woods, but he said it was a good
range for stock; but he had not an ox or cow on the face of the earth.
The truth is, it looked like Emanuel County. The turpentine smell, the
moan of the winds through the pine-trees, and nobody within fifty miles
of him, was too captivating a concatenation to be resisted, and he
rested here.

"About five years after he came, a man from Pearl River was driving
some cattle by to Mobile, and gave my grandfather two cows to help him
drive his cattle. It was over one hundred miles, and you would have
supposed it a dear bargain; but it turned out well, for the old man in
about six weeks got back with six other head of cattle. How or where,
or from whom he got them is not one of the traditions of the family.
From these he commenced to rear a stock which in time became large.

"My father and his brothers and sisters were getting large enough to
help a little; but my grandfather has told me that my father was nine
years old before he ever tasted a piece of bacon or pork. When my
father was eighteen years of age he went with a drove of beef cattle to
New Orleans. He first went to Baton Rouge, thence down the river. He
soon sold out advantageously; for he came home with a young negro man
and his wife, some money, and my mother, whom he had met and married on
the route. Well, from those negroes, and eight head of cattle, all the
family have come to have something.

"I was born nine months after that trip, and grew up, as father had
done before me, on the banks of that little creek. I doubt if there
ever was a book in my grandfather's house. I certainly never remember
to have seen one there, and I was sixteen years old when he died. I
think I was very nearly that old before I ever saw any woman but those
of the family, and I know I was older than that before ever I wore
shoes or pants. Nearly every year father went to Mobile, or Natchez, or
New Orleans. The first time I ever knew my mother had a brother, I was
driving up the cows, and a tall, good-looking man overtook me in the
road and asked where my father lived. I remember I told him, 'At home.'
He thought it was impudence, but it was ignorance. However, he was
quite communicative and friendly.

"That night, after the family had gone to bed, I heard him tell mother
her father was dead, and that he had disinherited her for running off
and marrying father. I did not know what this meant; but the next day
father came and told mother that her brother wanted to be kind to her,
and had proposed to give him a thousand dollars out of the estate of
her father, if he and she would take it and sign off. That was the
word. I shall not forget, so long as I live, my mother's looks as she
walked up to father and said: 'Don't you do it, John. John, I say,
don't you do it.' Uncle had gone down to grandfather's, and when he
came back, mother had his horse saddled at the fence. She met him at
the door, and said: 'You don't come in here. There's your beast; mount
him, and go. I am not such a fool as my John. I was raised in
Louisiana, and I remember hearing my father say that all he hated in
the laws was that a man could not do with his property, when he died,
what he pleased. I haven't forgot that. I have not seen nor heard from
any of you for fifteen years, and never should, if you hadn't come here
to try to cheat me.'

"I was scared, and father was scared; for we knew there was danger when
mother's nap was up. Uncle did not reply to mother, but said: 'John,
you can sign off.'

"'No, John can't; and I tell you John shan't! so now do you just mount
that horse and leave.'

"As she said this she lifted the old rifle out of the rack over the
door and rubbed her hand over the barrel to get the sight clear. 'I am
not going to tell you to go any more.'

"It was not necessary--uncle went; but he kept looking back until he
was at least a quarter of a mile from the house. Mother turned to
father and said: 'Now, John, you go after my share of father's truck,
and go quick.' He did as she bid him: everybody about the house did
that. Well, he was gone three weeks, and came home with six thousand
dollars, which he had taken for mother's share; but she said she knew
he had been cheated.

"Every dollar of that money remained in the house until I got married
and came off here. I got two thousand of it, one negro, and two hundred
head of cattle. I had promised my wife's people that I would come and
live with them. I am glad I did. I was twenty-one years old when I
learned my letters. I have been lucky; have educated my children, and
they have educated me, and are talking about running me for Congress.
Well, my friend, I believe I could be elected; but that is a small part
of the business. I should be of no service to the State, and only show
my own ignorance. Come, Sue, can't you give the gentleman some music?
Give me my fiddle, and I will help you."

Sue was a beautiful and interesting girl of nineteen, only a short time
returned from a four-years residence at the famous Patapsco Institute.
She had music in her soul, and the art to pour it out through her
fingers' ends. It was an inheritance from her extraordinary father, as
any judge of music would have said, who had heard the notes melting
from that old black violin, on that rainy night in December. There are
not many such instances of men springing from such humble origin in
Eastern Mississippi; but this is not a solitary case.

There emigrated from different States, North and South, at a remote
period in the brief history of this new country, several young men of
talent and great energy, who not only distinguished themselves, but
shed lustre upon the State. Among the first of these was George
Poindexter, from Virginia; Rankin, from Georgia, (but born in
Virginia;) Thomas B. Reid, from Kentucky; Stephen Duncan, and James
Campbell Wilkins, from Pennsylvania. The most remarkable of these was
George Poindexter. He was a lawyer by profession and a Jeffersonian
Republican in politics. Very early in life he became the leader of that
party in the State, and was sent to Congress as its sole
representative. Very soon he obtained an enviable reputation in that
body as a statesman and a powerful debater. His mind was logical and
strong; his conception was quick and acute; his powers of combination
and application were astonishing; his wit was pointed and caustic, and
his sarcasm overwhelming. Unusually quick to perceive the weaker parts
of an opponent's argument, his ingenuity would seize these and turn
them upon him with a point and power not unfrequently confounding and
destroying the effect of all he had urged. From Congress to the
Gubernatorial chair of the State was the next step in his political
career, and it was in this capacity that he rendered the most signal
service to the State. As a lawyer, he was well aware of the wants of
the State in statutory provisions for the protection of the people.
These were wisely recommended, and, through his exertions, enacted into
laws.

The several Governments which had claimed and held jurisdiction over
the Territory of Mississippi had issued grants to companies and
individuals for large tracts of country in different portions of the
State. These grants had not been respected by the succeeding
Governments, or else the records had been lost or carried from the
country for a time; hence very many conflicting claims made insecure
the titles of the proprietors now settled upon these tracts, and were
fruitful of endless litigation. To remedy this evil, a statute was
recommended by Governor Poindexter and enacted into a law, compelling
suit to be commenced by all adverse claimants by a certain day. This
effectually cured the evil, and a suit to establish titles is now very
rare in Mississippi. As a judge he was able, prompt, impartial,
unrivalled in talent, and, at the same time, unsurpassed by any lawyer
in the State in legal learning. His administration of the laws was
eminently successful. The country was new, with the exception of a few
counties, and, as in all new and frontier countries, there were many
bad and desperate men. To purge these from society it was necessary
that the criminal laws should be strictly enforced. To do so required
decision and sternness in the character and conduct of the judges. Very
soon after Poindexter was placed on the Bench he manifested these
attributes in an eminent degree.

The stern, impartial justice administered to these lawless men, soon
created quite a sensation with the class to which they belonged, and
threats were freely thrown out against his life; but these had no
effect in intimidating him, or in changing his conduct. He went on
fearlessly to administer the law, which at that time, instead of
imprisonment, inflicted severe corporal punishments for many crimes
most common in a new country. These were branding with a hot iron in
the hand or on the cheek, whipping on the bare back, and public
exposure in the pillory. Not a court went by without some one of these
punishments being inflicted upon a male malefactor. Public opinion had
begun to look upon these penalties as barbarous, and in very many cases
great sympathy was manifested for the culprit.

This sentiment frequently operated with the jury, who were disposed to
deal leniently with the accused. This was resisted by Poindexter, and
effectually--for so clearly did he impress the minds of jurors with
what was their duty, that few escaped where the proof was sufficient to
convict; and once pronounced guilty, the extreme penalty of the law was
surely awarded. The beneficial influence of this stern and inflexible
administration of the laws was soon manifest, and the more orderly of
the population unhesitatingly gave their approbation and support to the
judge. He sustained in court the dignity of the Bench, restraining
alike the license of the Bar and the turbulence of the populace. To do
this, he was frequently compelled to exercise to the full the powers of
his office.

An amusing anecdote is related of him in connection with the discharge
of these duties. When holding court at one time in Natchez, he had sent
to jail a turbulent and riotous individual, who could in no other way
be restrained. This fellow, once incarcerated, professed great
contrition, and humbly petitioned for release, but Poindexter had
ordered the sheriff to keep him for a week, and could not be moved from
his position. At the expiration of the week he was released, and though
he was quiet and orderly, he remained lurking about town and the
court-room until the adjournment of court. He watched his opportunity,
and meeting the judge upon the street, commenced abusing him roundly;
finally telling him he had waited purposely for the opportunity of
whipping him, and that he intended then and there to do so. Poindexter,
perceiving the sheriff on the opposite side of the street, called to
him, and ordered him to open court then and there, which in all due
form the sheriff proceeded to do. The bully was startled, and the
judge, perceiving this, remarked to him authoritatively, "Now, you
scoundrel, be off with yourself, or I will put you in jail for one
year!"--when the blackguard speedily decamped, to the infinite
amusement of the crowd upon the street.

Governor Poindexter found at Natchez, and a few other localities,
strong opposition from the Federal party, then constituted almost
entirely of emigrants from Western Pennsylvania, with a sprinkling from
the more Eastern States. The party was small, but made up for this
deficiency in numbers with zeal and violence. As with all heated and
hating partisans, their malevolence was principally directed toward the
leaders of the opposing party.

Poindexter was the acknowledged leader of the Republican or
Jeffersonian party, and concentrated on himself the hatred of one and
the adoration of the other party. His triumphs were complete and
overwhelming in every election. He was not scrupulous in the use of
terms when speaking of his enemies. These anathemas, darting in the
caustic wit and voluble sarcasm so peculiarly his, went to the mark,
and kindled hatred into fury. It was determined to get rid of him. His
denunciations of Abijah Hunt, a prominent merchant and leading
Federalist, being more pointed and personal than toward any other, it
seemed incumbent on him to challenge Poindexter to mortal combat--an
arbitrament for the settlement of personal difficulties more frequently
resorted to at that period than at the present time. They met, and Hunt
was killed. But such was the violence of feeling with his party
friends, that they were determined Poindexter should not escape
unscathed, and he was denounced as having fired before the word agreed
upon in the terms of the conflict were fully enunciated. This, however,
effected but little, and he continued the idol of his party.

Unfortunately, that bane of genius, dissipation, was poisoning his
habits and undermining his reputation. It seems that exalted genius
feeds upon excitement, and in some shape must have it. The excitement
of active business at the Bar or in the halls of legislation must of
necessity be temporary, and the relaxation which follows this is
terrible to the excitable temperament of ardent genius. It craves
restlessly its natural food, and in the absence of all others, it seeks
for this in the intoxicating bowl or the gaming-table. How many
brilliant examples of this fatal fact does memory call up from the
untimely grave? These, culled from my seniors when I was a youth, from
my compeers in early manhood, from the youth I have seen grow up about
me, make a host whose usefulness has been lost to the world. Well may
the poet sing in melancholy verse that genius is a fatal gift. It
dazzles as a meteor with its superhuman light, and as soon fades into
darkness, lighting its path with a blaze of glory, astonishing and
delighting the world, but consuming itself with its own fire.

Poindexter had won greatly upon the affections of the people of the
Territory, in the active part he had taken, in connection with General
Ferdinand Claiborne and General Hinds, in stimulating the people to
prepare to meet the exigencies of the war of 1812 with Great Britain.
Her eastern territory was exposed to the inroads of the Creek Indians,
a large and warlike tribe, who were hostile to the United States, and
were in league with the English, and being armed by them. The Choctaws
and Chickasaws were on her northern frontier, and were threatening. An
invasion by the way of New Orleans by English troops was hourly
expected. It required great energy and activity to anticipate and guard
against these threatening dangers. Poindexter employed his time and his
influence to prepare the people to act efficiently and at a moment's
warning. When the threatened invasion became a reality, and General
Jackson was descending the river with troops as the American commander,
and when the militia were on the ground, and nothing remained to be
done in Mississippi, he promptly repaired to the scene of action and
volunteered his services to Jackson, who, accepting them, placed him on
his staff as a volunteer aide.

In this capacity he continued to serve until the end of the campaign
and the termination of the war. It was to him the negro or soldier
brought the celebrated countersign of "Beauty and booty," found on the
battle-field, and which he carried to General Jackson. His enemies laid
hold of this incident and perverted it slanderously to his injury, by
asserting the note to be a forgery of his, done for the purpose of
winning favor with the General, and to cast odium upon an enemy
incapable of issuing such an infamous countersign.

Those who have read the history of the various strongholds of the
French in Spain which were stormed during the Peninsular war, will
remember these were the same troops and the same commanders, who were
quite capable of the excesses in New Orleans that they committed in
Spain. This slander was never traced; but there were those remaining
who, when the breach occurred between General Jackson and Governor
Poindexter, asserted that General Jackson believed it, and who
circulated industriously the contemptible slander. Poindexter was an
active supporter of General Jackson's first election. He believed him
honest and capable, and deserving of the reward of the Presidency for
his services to the country. He thought, too, that he would bring back
the Government to its early simplicity and purity, and administer it
upon strictly republican principles. He, with very many of the
Jeffersonian school, felt it had diverged from the true track.

These people were opposed to protective tariffs, internal improvements
by the United States Government within the limits of a State without
the consent of the State, and a national bank, deeming all these
measures unconstitutional. The constitutionality of the bank had been
affirmed by the Supreme Court, and Poindexter had acquiesced in the
decision. Nevertheless, as a senator from the State of Mississippi, he
was in harmony with the Administration of Jackson, until Jackson began
to send his personal friends and especial favorites from Tennessee to
fill the national offices located in Mississippi. Poindexter felt this
as an insult to his State, and in the case of Gwinn's appointment as
register of the Land-Office at Clinton, Mississippi, he opposed the
nomination when sent to the Senate. He was successful in having it
rejected.

He urged that though the office was national, and every man in the
nation was eligible to fill it, yet it was due to the State that the
incumbent should be selected from her own people, provided she could
furnish one in every way qualified, and that it was a reflection upon
the people of his State to fill the offices within her borders with
aliens to her soil and interests--strangers to her people, with no
motive to be obliging and respectful to them in the discharge of the
duties of the office; that the offices belonged to the people and not
to the President, and it was respectful to the people of a State to
tender to her people these offices, as had been heretofore the custom;
that simply being the President's favorite was not a qualification for
office, and this departure from the established usages of former
Administrations was a dangerous precedent, and would seem to establish
a property in the office, belonging to the President.

This opposition enraged Jackson, who denounced Poindexter and persisted
in his determination to give the office to Gwinn. In this he finally
succeeded; but most unfortunately for Gwinn, for it embroiled him in
quarrels with the citizens of the State. A duel with Judge Caldwell was
the consequence, in which both fell. Caldwell died immediately; Gwinn
survived to suffer intensely for a few months, when death relieved him.

The people of Mississippi were intensely devoted to General Jackson,
and in the mad fury of partisan zeal forgot everything but party, nor
permitted themselves for a moment to inquire into the official conduct
of any political partisan, especially that of the President. Poindexter
had been unhappy in his domestic relations. He had separated from his
wife. He charged her with infidelity; forgot his affection for his
children, and threw them off, because he doubted their paternity. In
the agony of mind consequent upon this he became desperate, and for
years was reckless in his dissipations. His wife's friends were
respectable and influential. They, with every personal and political
enemy he had, united in ascribing to him all the blame in this matter.

The northern portion of the State had been acquired from the Indians,
and a population unacquainted with Poindexter or with his services to
the State was crowding into the new Territory in such numbers as
threatened politically to rule the State. These came principally from
the West and South, and were eminently Jacksonian in their politics.
Many young aspirants for fame had sprung up in different sections of
the State, and these were in no way averse to seeing an old and
talented politician shelved; and they joined in the huzza for Jackson
and down with his opponents.

Seeing and feeling the tide setting in so strongly as to sweep
everything before it except what comported with the views and wishes of
General Jackson, and feeling also that he, with the minority in the
Senate, could be of no possible use to the country, and beginning to
experience the pressure of age, at the conclusion of his senatorial
term he made no effort to be re-elected. He retired, disgusted with
politics forever, and temporarily from the State. Subsequently an
accident fractured both his legs below the knee, and for some years he
was unable to walk. Prior to this event he had married a Boston
lady--following the example of his divorced wife, who had married a
Boston gentleman. With this lady he lived affectionately and happily.
He located in Lexington, Kentucky, where he remained only a few years.

It was here I saw him, at his own house, for the last time--spending an
evening in company with Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John J. Crittenden,
and the celebrated actress, Mrs. Drake. I enjoyed the hospitality, the
wit, and a game of whist with him. He soon became weary of Lexington.
His heart was in Mississippi, and thither he returned, old and worn. He
took up his residence at Jackson, where in a short time he died, and is
buried in the beautiful cemetery at that place. While paying a
pilgrimage to the grave of a dear boy who died in defence of Jackson in
1866, I saw and paused at the modest stone which marks the grave of
Governor Poindexter. Memory was busy with the past. My heart was sad. I
had just looked upon the sod which covered my boy, and, thinking of the
hours passed, long years ago, with him who was sleeping at my feet, I
could not repress the tear due and dear to memory.

Few men have served more faithfully and more efficiently a people than
did George Poindexter the people of Mississippi. His talents were
indisputably of the first order, and, whatever may have been his short
comings morally, none can say his political life was stained with
selfishness or corruption. Every trust reposed in him was faithfully
and ably discharged, and to him, more than to any of her public
servants, is she indebted for the proud position she occupied before
the tyrants' heel was upon her neck.

Few men can rise superior to the crushing effects of domestic
infelicity: man's hopes, man's happiness, all centred in her whom he
has chosen as the companion of his life. His love selects, and his love
centres in her. The struggle for fortune, for happiness, for fame, is
for her; she shares every success, every misfortune; and when she is
kind and affectionate, there he meets with the true manliness of an
honest and devoted heart. She smooths the brow of disappointment and
sorrow, rejoices in his success, and, in the fulness of her confidence
and affection, aids and encourages his exertions and enterprises. This
reconciles him to life, and life's cares, troubles, and joys. His
spirit is buoyant, come what may; for there is an angel at home, and
there is happiness with her: she is the mother of his children; she
unites with him in love and exertions for the benefit of these. They
are one in these, and with every birth there is a new link to bind and
gladden two hearts. Without the virtuous love of woman, man is a
miserable being, worthless to himself and useless to his kind. But when
the heart's wealth is given to one who has no sympathy with it, and
gives only in return coldness and hate; who betrays every confidence
and disappoints every hope; who is only happy when he is miserable, and
refuses the generous aid a wife owes to his exertions; who rejoices in
his failures, and intrigues to produce them, and weeps over his
successes with the bitterness of disappointment; who hates her
offspring, because they resemble their father; who spurns his caresses,
and turns away from his love--then life's hopes are blighted, and all
is black before. His energies die out with his hopes; the goading
thought is eternally present; he shrinks away from society, and in
solitude and obscurity hides him from the world--which too often
condemns him as the architect of all his misery.

"Oh, a true woman is a treasure beyond price, but a false one the
basest of counterfeits."




CHAPTER XXIV.

THE SILVER-TONGUED ORATOR.

JOHN A. QUITMAN--ROBERT J. WALKER--ROBERT H. ADAMS--FROM A COOPER-SHOP
TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE--BANK MONOPOLY--NATCHEZ FENCIBLES--SCOTT IN
MEXICO--THOMAS HALL--SARGENT S. PRENTISS--VICKSBURG--SINGLE-SPEECH
HAMILTON--GOD-INSPIRED ORATORY--DRUNK BY ABSORPTION--KILLING A
TAILOR--DEFENCE OF WILKINSON.


John A. Quitman came to Mississippi in early life. He was a native of
the State of New York; had, at first, selected a location in Ohio, but,
not being pleased, he determined on coming South, and selected Natchez
for his future home. His father was a Prussian; a minister of the
German Lutheran Church, and a very learned man. He had preached in
seven kingdoms, and in every one in the language of the country. He
came to the State of New York when young, and was the bearer of the
recognition of the independence of the United States by Frederick the
Great, of Prussia. He settled in one of the interior counties of New
York, where was born and reared his distinguished son.

When young Quitman came to Natchez, he found the Bar a strong one; but
determined to follow the profession of law, and after a short time
spent in the office of William B. Griffith, he was admitted to the Bar,
and opened an office. Regardless of the overwhelming competition, his
open, frank manners soon made him friends, and the stern honesty of his
character won the confidence of every one. In a short time, he married
the only daughter of Henry Turner, a wealthy planter, and was received
into copartnership by William B. Griffith, a lawyer of great ability
and eminence, then in full practice at Natchez, and who had married the
daughter of Judge Edward Turner, and the cousin of Quitman's wife.
Quitman's rise to eminence was rapid in his profession, but more so in
the public estimation as a man of great worth. His affability,
kindness, and courtesy were so genial and so unaffected as to fasten
upon every one, and soon he was the most popular man in the county.

Soon after Quitman, came Duncan and Robert J. Walker--the latter
subsequently so distinguished as a senator in Congress from
Mississippi, and still more distinguished as the Secretary of the
Treasury during the Administration of Mr. Polk. A close intimacy grew
up between Quitman and R.J. Walker. This intimacy influenced greatly
the future of Quitman. Walker was from Pennsylvania, and had married
Miss Bache, the niece of George M. Dallas, sister to the great
Professor Bache, and great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin. Mrs.
Walker was a lady of great beauty, of rare accomplishments, and
distinguished for her modesty and womanly bearing. Mr. Bache, the
father of Mrs. Walker, emigrated to Texas, was in the Senate of her
Congress at the time she was received into the United States, and was
the only man who voted against the union. He represented Galveston,
and, after his death, that young city, in honor of his services,
erected a monument to his memory.

Walker was of ardent temperament, great abilities, strong will, intense
application, and was soon, at the Bar, among the first lawyers in the
State. He wanted the softness and genial qualities of Quitman, but was
superior to him mentally; and in prompt, decisive action his was the
stronger character, and controlled. Quitman, being intimately
associated with the leading men of the party supporting Mr. Adams, had
adopted their opinions and politics; Walker was an ardent supporter of
Jackson, and claimed to be the first man who brought forward his name
for the Presidency, when he was a citizen of Pennsylvania. Soon after
the election of General Jackson, Quitman, displeased with Mr. Clay,
abandoned his Whig associates, and united himself with the Democratic
party, and from that time until his death was a devoted Democratic
partisan. These two men exercised, perhaps, more influence in the State
than any others of their day.

Robert H. Adams and William B. Griffith, who were considered the ablest
members of the Bar in the State, died young, and in the opening of
their political career. Adams was a man of remarkable ability. He was a
native of East Tennessee, and was a mechanic, with limited education,
and without one single advantage save his talents. He came a stranger
to Natchez, and in a few years was eminent in his profession, and
intellectually one of the first men in the State--a man of fine
appearance, with large head, and intellectual features. He was sent by
the city of Natchez to the Legislature of the State, and such was the
impression upon the members of his great abilities, that they, at the
ensuing session, elected him to the United States Senate. He served but
one session, but made, in that short period, a high reputation with the
first minds of the nation. Returning home, he resumed his profession;
and, after severe fatigue during the heated period of summer, he
imprudently drank too freely of ice-water, and died from its effects.

There was, at this time, no man of more promise in all the country. He
was but thirty-eight years of age, and, without patronage or patrimony,
had risen from the cooper's shop to a distinguished position in the
Senate of the United States.

Griffith preceded him to the grave one or two years, a victim of yellow
fever.

Quitman and Walker came now prominently before the people. They resided
in Natchez, and there was a strong prejudice in the east and the north
of the State against the people of that city and the County of Adams.
There were quite a number of families, in the city and county, of large
fortunes. These were exclusive in their associations. With one or two
exceptions they belonged to the Whig party, but none of them aspired to
political preferment.

There was but one bank in the State--this was located in Natchez, and
was under the control of these men of fortune. It had at the time of
obtaining its charter paid an extravagant bonus to the State, upon
condition no other bank should be chartered for the period granted to
this. It was a monopoly, and was charged with great partiality in its
management. Its accommodations were for the few, and these only granted
for the purpose of enhancing the already bloated wealth of the
stockholders, directors, and their special pets. This exclusive
aristocracy was odious to the fierce democratic feelings of the masses.
They counted their wealth by millions; their homes were palaces; their
pleasure-grounds Edens; and all this was the fruit of an odious and
oppressive monopoly. This fallacious and most ridiculous idea fastened
itself upon the minds of the masses, and was fostered and encouraged by
many who knew better, but who were willing to pander to the popular
taste for popular preferment. R.J. Walker seized hold upon this
popular whim, and leading the multitude, succeeded in procuring
charters for several other banks, in defiance of the vested rights of
the Bank of Mississippi.

Stephen Duncan was the president of the bank, and, under his advice,
the directors surrendered the charter, and wound up the business of the
bank. Duncan was one of the best business-men in the Union. From very
small beginnings he had amassed an immense fortune--was a man of rare
sagacity and wonderful energy. He was the cousin of Walker, but was
always opposed to him in politics. This was the commencement of the era
which culminated in the repudiation of the State's obligations and the
general ruin of her people. It was about this period that Jefferson
Davis first made his _debut_ as a public man in the State, with William
M. Gwinn, and Henry S. Foote, McNutt, J.F.H. Claiborne, and Albert
Gallatin Brown. Quitman was made chancellor of the State, and
disappointed sadly his friends. His administration of this branch of
the judiciary was weak and wild; a vast number of his decisions, or
awards in chancery, were overruled, and, in disgust, or from a
consciousness that a chancery judgeship was not his speciality,
resigned. His mind was greatly overrated: it was neither strong,
logical, nor brilliant. His classical attainments were of the first
order, and I doubt if the Union furnished two better or more finished
linguists than John A. Quitman and H.S. Foote.

Walker and Davis were the leading minds of the period. They were both
men of education, extended reading; both men of fine oratorical powers;
both men of strong will, ripe judgment, and exceedingly tenacious of
purpose. Walker was many years the senior of Davis, and was in advance
of him some years as a successful politician. Foote, as an orator, was
greatly the superior of all of these; but there was in him want of
judgment, want of fixed principles and fixity of purpose. When first
appearing before the people of the State, he carried the multitude with
him as a tempest drives a feather. In a contest for Governor he came
out in opposition to Quitman, drove him from the canvass, and triumphed
over Davis, who was placed by his party in nomination to fill the place
of Quitman. This triumph was evanescent: he left the position, perhaps,
the most unpopular man in the State.

Quitman's abilities were almost exclusively military. This proclivity
of mind manifested itself in very early life. He organized a volunteer
company, the Natchez Fencibles, soon after he came to the Bar, and took
great pride in its drill and soldierly bearing and appearance. He
seized with avidity the opportunity the Mexican war presented, and
there greatly distinguished himself. After the termination of this war,
he was engaged (very little to the honor of his sagacity) in
endeavoring to organize a filibustering expedition against the Island
of Cuba. In this he signally failed. He was elected to Congress, where
he was principally distinguished by his extreme Southern views, but
gained little or no reputation as a politician or statesman.

In the qualities of heart, Quitman was surpassed by no man; his moral
character was unstained. In sincerity and devotion to his friends, no
man was his superior. He had acquired large wealth by his
marriage--this he had increased by judicious management, and none more
freely used it for the benefit of his friends or the public interest.
He was especially generous toward poor, enterprising young men; such
instances of assistance rendered are innumerable. His friends never
deserted him. To his command, during the Mexican war, he was
exceedingly profuse with his means in aiding their necessities and
supplying their wants. He was universally commented upon as the most
munificent officer of the army. He was ambitious and courageous; and
this ambition knew no bounds.

Upon his return from Mexico, I met him in New Orleans, in company with
that ill-starred man, General Shields, of Illinois, and who, Irishman
as he was, fell fighting to fasten upon the South the fetters she now
wears. We had not conversed ten minutes before, taking my arm, he
walked apart from his visitors and Shields, and commenced to converse
upon the consequences of the war. Turning to me, he remarked: "General
Scott is greatly wanting in ambition, he has no daring aspirations; he
has thrown away the finest opportunity ever presented to man for
aggrandizement. Had I commanded the army, and accomplished this great
success, I would have established an empire, and made of Mexico a great
nation. He had only to say so, and the Mexicans were ready to crown him
emperor. He could have made dukes, marquises, lords, and barons of his
officers, and endowed them with principalities; the soldiers would have
remained with him; and in six months, enough from the United States and
Europe would have joined his standard, to have held in check the
lawless brigands who make anarchy for the country. The spoils of the
Church would have rewarded the soldiers; immigration would have poured
into the country, and his name and fame have been commensurate with
time. Everything invited him to the act; he could not or would not see
it--he had but one idea, 'This will make me President!' and a lifetime
of glory and power was sacrificed for the empty hope of four years
filling the Presidential chair."

It was a grand conception, but he seemed to take no account of the
difficulties which would have interposed. He assumed that the United
States would have been content with the great outrage, and have
sanctioned the act; and that European nations would have immediately
recognized the new empire. I knew him well enough to know that he would
have attempted the enterprise and braved the consequences; but doubt
whether he or Scott had the talent for the accomplishment of such an
undertaking. General Quitman was one of the unfortunates who received a
portion of the poison prepared for some victim or victims at Washington
upon the inauguration of Mr. Buchanan. It was not immediately fatal,
but he never fully recovered from it, and in a few months after sank
into the grave.

No man ever died more regretted by his personal friends than John A.
Quitman. He was in every relation of life a true man, chivalrously
brave, nobly generous, and sternly faithful to all that ennobles human
nature. Had his brain been equal to his soul, he had been the world's
wonder. It was said of him by one who knew and loved him:

  "His spirit has gone to the Spirit that made him,
    The rest of the virtuous, chivalric, and brave;
  He sleeps where the friends of his early youth laid him,
    And green grows the laurel that springs by his grave."

Duncan Walker practised law with his brother until elevated to the
Bench of the criminal court for the city of Natchez and County of
Adams. He served with distinguished capacity for only one or two years,
when he was prostrated by a severe attack of yellow fever. From this he
never entirely recovered. Retiring from the Bench, he directed his
attention to planting in Lower Louisiana; but his health continuing to
decline, he was induced to try for the winter the climate of Cuba. It
was but a few weeks after reaching there that he died at St. Jago de
Cuba. Judge Walker was distinguished for great purity of character as
well as superior legal attainments. His modesty was almost feminine;
yet he was a man of remarkable firmness and decision. By many he was
thought superior intellectually to his more distinguished and prominent
brother. Few men may be truthfully termed superior to R.J. Walker.

In 1826, there came to Natchez, from Maine, a youth who was a cripple.
He was without acquaintances or recommendations, and also without
means. He was in search of a school, and expressed his intention of
making the South his future home. His appearance was boyish in the
extreme, for one who professed to be twenty years of age. At that time
most of the planters in the region of Natchez employed private teachers
in their families, who resided with the family as one of the household.
A lady near Natchez, the widow of Judge Shields, was desirous of
employing a teacher, and tendered the situation to the young Yankee.
Mrs. Shields had grown-up sons, young men of fine attainments, and who
subsequently distinguished themselves as men of sterling worth. They
were soon delighted with the young stranger, who was busily employed in
his new vocation with their younger brothers. I remember to have heard
Mr. Thomas Shields say the young man teaching at his mother's was a
most remarkable man, and narrate some instances of his great powers of
memory, accompanied with facts which came within his own knowledge.
These were so very extraordinary, that notwithstanding the high
character for integrity borne by Shields, there were many who doubted
them.

There lived at no great distance from Mrs. Shields, a planter, Mr.
Thomas Hall. This man was a coarse and illiterate overseer for some
years in the county, but having carefully husbanded his earnings, was
enabled, in company with James C. Wilkins, to commence planting upon an
extensive scale. At the time this young man was teaching at Mrs.
Shields', Hall had accumulated quite a fortune, and was a man of
comparative leisure. His mind was good, and now that he had an
abundance of the world's goods, and was becoming a man of consideration
in the community, he felt, in his intercourse with his educated
neighbors, the want of that cultivation which would make him their
equal. This had made him morbidly sensitive, and whenever an
opportunity presented, he improved it in acquiring all the information
possible.

On Saturdays the young schoolmaster would frequently ride over and
converse with Hall. The strong mind and coarse but cordial manners of
Hall pleased him. He was a specimen of the Southerner possessing
salient points, and was a study for the Down-Easter. Never before had
he met such a specimen, and it was his delight to draw him out, little
deeming he was filling the same office for his friend. They were
mutually agreeable the one to the other, and their association grew
into intimacy. Each to their friends would speak of the other as a
remarkable man. Assuredly they were; for neither had ever met such
specimens as they presented to each other. They sometimes joined in a
squirrel-hunt about the plantation of Hall. The schoolmaster's lameness
compelled him to ride, while Hall preferred to walk. After a fatiguing
tramp upon one occasion, they sat down upon the banks of Cole's Creek,
where Hall listened with great delight to the conversation of his
companion. Suddenly Hall started up, and exclaimed, with more than his
usual warmth:

"You have taught me more than I ever knew before meeting with you; but
I ought not to say what I am going to say. You, sir, were never made
for a schoolmaster. By the eternal God!"--Hall was a Jackson man--"you
know more than any man in the county, and you have got more sense than
any of them, though you are nothing but a boy. Now, sir, go to town and
study law with Bob Walker; he's the smartest of any of them. In two
years you will be ahead of him. If you haven't got the money to pay
your way, I have, and you shall have it."

The term for which he had engaged was now expiring, and, as Hall had
requested, he went into the office of Robert J. and Duncan Walker, and
commenced the study of law.

This Yankee youth was Sargent S. Prentiss. Prentiss remained in the
office of Walker for one year, and was a close student. When admitted
to the Bar, he went to Vicksburg and opened an office. At that time
Vicksburg was a new place, and presented peculiar inducements to young
professional men. The country upon the Yazoo River--and indeed the
entire northern portion of the State--had but recently been quit of its
Indian population, and was rapidly filling up with an active and
enterprising people. The soil was fertile, and the production of
cotton, to which it is so eminently suited, was daily growing in
importance. Vicksburg was the market-point. Trade was increasing daily,
and rapidly filling up the town with mercantile men. The young and
enterprising were hurrying thither, and in a few years there was met
here more talent and more enterprise than at any other point in the
State. The Bar had Prentiss, John Guion, McNutt, Sharkey, the three
Yergers, Anderson, Lake, Brook, Burwell, and many others of
distinction, including the erratic H.S. Foote.

The entire population was a live one, and every branch of business was
pushed with a _vim_ commensurate with the abilities and enterprise of
the population. The planters of the immediately adjacent country were
men of intelligence and character, and were animated with the spirit of
the people of the town, forming on the whole a community of almost
reckless enterprise. It was at such a time and in the midst of such a
people that young Prentiss had made his selection of a home, and a
field for the future exercise of his professional abilities.

Young, ardent, and ambitious, he sought to rival his seniors at the
Bar. Unwilling to wait on time, he aspired to leap at once to this
equality. It was the daring of genius, and of a genius which counted as
only a stimulant the obstacles intervening. To grapple with giants,
such as he found in Guion, Yerger, Sharkey, McNutt, and Lake, would
have intimidated a less bold and daring mind; but Prentiss courted the
conflict _con amore_, and applying all his herculean powers with the
vigor of youth and the ardency of enterprise, he soon found himself
quite equal to any competitor.

When an infant, a fever settled in his leg, causing it to wither from
the knee to the foot, and doomed him through life to lameness. Like
Byron, he was sensitive upon the subject of this physical defect. It
was a serious obstacle to his locomotion, and in speaking compelled a
sameness of position injurious to the effect of his oratory. Scarcely
had two years elapsed from the time of his admission to the Bar before
his fame as a lawyer and advocate was filling the State. His business
had increased to such an extent as to require his undivided attention,
as he was employed in almost every important suit in that section of
the State. His qualities of heart were as conspicuous as those of his
brain, which had endeared him to the people of Vicksburg perhaps more
than any other citizen. This social and professional popularity caused
him to be elected to the Legislature of the State. He belonged to the
Whig party, which was largely in the minority in the Legislature, but
was powerful in talent.

Before this time, Colonel Adam L. Bingaman, of Adams County, had been
the acknowledged leader of this party. He was a man of rare
qualifications for a popular leader--highly gifted by nature in mind
and personal appearance, which was most splendid and commanding, with a
polished education and fascinating manners, and by nature an orator.
Added to these advantages, he was a native of the State, the
representative of great wealth, and with extensive family influence.
These two met as friends personally and politically in the Legislature.

Prentiss--though known as a great lawyer and a powerful advocate at the
Bar--had until now taken but little part in politics. None knew of his
proficiency as a politician or as a popular political orator, and, long
accustomed to the eloquence and the debating abilities of Bingaman, the
lead was accorded to him as usual. Party excitement was fierce, and
involved every one. The Democracy, armed with numbers and men of great
abilities, felt secure in their position. They had no fears that any
powers possessed by any man or set of men could operate a change in
public opinion dangerous to their supremacy in the State.

Socially, Prentiss knew no party distinction. With all who were
gentlemen he mingled, not as a partisan, but as a man. The kindness of
his nature won upon all equally, and it was soon discovered that a
personal favor to Prentiss would sometimes override party allegiance.
His personal friends were all gentlemen, and once within the magic
influence of his social circle was enough to bind him to the heart of
every one. The session had made but little progress before his powers
as an orator were beginning to be felt.

During an exciting debate, in which Bingaman had, as usual, taken the
lead, when all the ablest of the Democracy had, as they supposed,
exhausted the argument and demolished the position of their
adversaries, and the House seemed impatient for the question, Prentiss
rose, and claimed the attention of the chair. His clear and succinct
statement of the pending question put a new phase upon it, and the
House seemed surprised.

He proceeded then to debate the question; and very soon he was in
_medias res_, and his bold and lucid argument won the attention of
every one. The position of the Democracy was dissected to the
separation of every fibre; its character and future effects denounced
and exposed in a strain of invective eloquence which thrilled to every
heart. Turning from this to the national policy of the Democracy, then
in power, and which the measure under consideration was intended to aid
and sustain, his powers seemed to expand with the magnitude of the
subject, as he went on to analyze the policy and the measures of the
Government, and to demonstrate the disastrous consequences which must
follow these remotely, if not immediately, corrupting, undermining, and
ultimately destroying the Constitution, and, of consequence, the
Government. He spoke for three hours; his peroration was so grandly
eloquent as to bring down the House and galleries in a round of
applause.

From that day forward, Prentiss was the great man of the House and of
the State. A fire in a prairie never spread or ran faster than his
fame; it was on every tongue, in every newspaper. Such fame from one
speech had never been won by any man in America, save Patrick Henry.
Single-speech Hamilton, of the British Parliament, astonished England;
but he was never afterward heard of, and is known to this day as
"single-speech Hamilton." As with Henry, this was but the beginning of
a fame which was to grow and expand into giant proportions. Prentiss
was now a national man. Soon after this, he visited Boston and New York
during an exciting political campaign. Throughout the North, wherever
he appeared and spoke, he bore the palm from every rival.

The speech of Prentiss in Faneuil Hall will long be remembered as
perhaps the finest specimen of oratory ever listened to in that
venerable hall. It was at the time said by the men of the North to
surpass the best efforts of Fisher Ames. Subsequently he spoke in New
York, and for three hours held spell-bound an immense audience.

The writer was informed by a venerable judge, of New Jersey, that he
had never believed any man possessed such powers of oratory as to
interest him and chain his attention for that length of time. Hearing
this young man from the wilds of Mississippi could do so, he embraced
the first opportunity of hearing him. When he reached the place, he
found the assemblage very great, and with difficulty he succeeded in
reaching a point where he might hear well. He was unable to procure a
seat, and was compelled to stand, thoroughly jammed by the crowd. He
took out his watch to time him, as he commenced, and noting the minute,
he essayed to replace his watch: something said arrested his attention
and his hands from their work of putting the watch in its fob.

"There was something, sir, in his eye," said he, "which startled me,
and then the words came bubbling up spontaneously as spring water, so
full of power, so intensely brilliant, and his figures so bold,
original, and illustrating, and the one following the other in such
quick succession; the flights of imagination, so new, so eloquent, and
so heart-searching--that I found it impossible to take my eyes from his
face, or my ears from drinking in every word. At one time, so intense
were my feelings under the effect of his words and the powerful
impression they were making on my mind, that I thought I should faint.
I forgot the presence of the crowd, and, though seventy years of age,
felt no fatigue from my standing position. In truth, sir, I was
unconscious of the time--equally so of the presence of any one but the
speaker. I perceived that his physical man was failing under his
effort, and so intense was my sympathy that I found myself breathing
rapidly and painfully; and yet, when he exclaimed, 'My powers fail!'
and sank into his seat completely exhausted, I regretted the necessity
which compelled him to stop. It was not until then that I found my hand
still holding my watch at the opening of its pocket, where, in my
excitement, I had forgotten to deposit it. I looked, and I had been
standing unmoved in the same position and intently listening for three
hours and fifteen minutes. Near me stood one old as myself--a friend, a
neighbor, and a minister of the gospel; he was livid with excitement,
and his lips trembled as he said to me: 'Will you ever doubt again that
God inspires man?'"

Notwithstanding the immense Democratic majority in the State, the Whigs
determined to run Prentiss for Congress: the election, at that time,
was by general ticket, and there were two members to be elected: the
Whig nomination was Prentiss and Wood; the Democratic, Claiborne and
Gholson.

Claiborne was a native of the State, and the son of General Ferdinand
Claiborne, a young man of very superior abilities, and at the time a
member of Congress. McNutt was the Democratic candidate for Governor.
The campaign was a most animated one, and Prentiss addressed the people
in very nearly every county in the State; the people, _en masse_,
flocked to hear him, and his name was in every mouth. The Democratic
nominees did not attempt to meet him on the stump. His march through
the State was over the heads of the people, hundreds following him from
county to county in his ovation. McNutt alone attempted to meet him and
speak with him, and he only once. McNutt was a Virginian, and was a man
of stupendous abilities; he was a lawyer by profession, and was
Governor of the State. Next to Poindexter, he was the ablest man who
ever filled the chair. Unfortunately, like most of the young and
talented of that day in the West, he was too much addicted to the
intoxicating bowl. Upon the only meeting of these, Prentiss and McNutt,
the latter, in his speech, urged as a reason for the rejection or
defeat of the former his dissipated habits, admitted his great
abilities, his masterly genius, pronounced him the first man of the age
intellectually, but deplored his habits, which were rendering him
useless, with all his genius, learning, and eloquence.

Prentiss, in reply, said: "My fellow-citizens, you have heard the
charge against my morals, sagely, and, I had almost said, soberly made
by the gentleman, the Democratic nominee for the chief executive office
of this State: had I said this, it would have been what the lawyers
term a misnomer. It would be impossible for him to do or say anything
soberly, for he has been drunk ten years; not yesterday, or last week,
in a frolic, or, socially, with the good fellows, his friends, at the
genial and generous board--but at home, and by himself and demijohn;
not upon the rich wines of the Rhine or the Rhone, the Saone or the
Guadalquivir; not with high-spirited or high-witted men, whose souls,
when mellowed with glorious wine, leap from their lips sublimated in
words swollen with wit, or thought brilliant and dazzling as the blood
of the grape inspiring them--no; but by himself: selfish and apart from
witty men, or ennobling spirits, in the secret seclusion of a dirty
little back-room, and on corn-whiskey!--these only, communing in
affectionate brotherhood, the son of Virginia and the spirits of old
Kentucky! Why, fellow--citizens, as the Governor of the State, he
refused to sign the gallon-law until he had tested, by experiment, that
a gallon would do him all day!

"Now I will admit, fellow-citizens, that sometimes, when in the
enjoyment of social communion with gentlemen, I am made merry with
these, and the rich wines of glorious France. It is then I enjoy the
romance of life. Imagination, stimulated with the juice of the grape,
gave to the world the Song of Solomon, and the Psalms of that old poet
of the Lord--glorious old David.

"The immortal verse of wandering old Homer, the blind son of Scio's
isle, was the inspiration of Samian wine; and good old Noah, too, would
have sung some good and merry song, from the inspiration of the juice
of the vine he planted, but having to wait so long, his thirst, like
the Democratic nominee's here, became so great, that he was tempted to
drink too deeply, and got too drunk to sing; and this, I fancy, is the
true reason why this distinguished gentleman never sings.

"Perhaps there is no music in his soul. The glug-glug-glug of his jug,
as he tilts and pours from its reluctant mouth the corn-juice so loved
of his soul, is all the music dear to his ear, unless it be the same
glug-glug-glug as it disappears down his capacious throat. Now,
fellow-citizens, during this ardent campaign, which has been so
fatiguing, I have only been drunk once. Over in Simpson County I was
compelled to sleep in the same bed with this distinguished
nominee--this delight of the Democracy--this wonderful exponent of the
principles and practices of the unwashed Democracy--and in the morning
I found myself drunk on corn-whiskey. I had lain too close to this
soaked mass of Democracy, and was drunk from absorption."

This was more than the Governor could stand, and, amidst the shouts and
laughter of the assembled multitude, he left the stand, and declined to
meet again, before the people, the young Ajax Telemon of the Whig
party.

The memory of that campaign will probably never be forgotten in
Mississippi. Mothers, in stories of Prentiss, tell it now to their
children, and it and he have become a tradition of the early days of
Mississippi. The election terminated in the choice of Prentiss and
Wood, by a small majority; but the certificate was given, through the
basest fraud, to Claiborne and Gholson.

This was contested before the House of Representatives in Congress
assembled, and the contestants permitted to be heard on the floor of
the House. It was here, in the presence of the assembled wisdom of the
nation, Prentiss was to sustain the reputation which had preceded him,
and gloriously did he do it. When he rose to commence his speech, all
was silent, and every face expressed deep and excited expectation. The
unfortunate deformity of his leg was forgotten, in viewing the noble
contour of his head and face. Young, and for the first time in such a
presence--standing there the impersonation of the State of Mississippi,
demanding justice for her at the hands of the nation--he seemed
conscious of the responsibility, and confident of his power to sustain
this. There was little preliminary in his remarks opening the matter.
He went at once, and as a strong man conscious of the right, to the
core. He demonstrated, beyond a doubt, his election, and proceeded in a
strain of burning invective to expose the fraud of the returning
officer, who had shamefully disregarded the popular voice, and
shamelessly violated the law he was sworn to obey, in giving the
certificate to his defeated competitors. Never did the corruption of
party receive so severe an exposition, or a more withering rebuke, than
in this speech.

Very soon after he commenced, the Senate chamber was deserted, and the
Vice-President and Secretary were left alone. Webster, Benton, Calhoun,
Clay, Wright, and Evans came in and ranged themselves near him. Every
space large enough, in the chamber, lobby, and galleries, was filled
with a listener, and all were still and unmoving, however painful their
position, until the enunciation of the last word of that wonderful
oration. The speech occupied two hours and forty minutes, and the
peroration was thrilling. When exhausted, and closing, he lifted his
eyes to the national flag, floating above the Speaker's chair, and
said, in an almost exhausted voice, "If, Mr. Speaker, in obedience to
the necessities and corrupt behest of party, you are determined to
wrest from Mississippi her rights as a sister, and coequal in this
union of States, and turn from their seats her representatives
constitutionally chosen, and place in their stead the repudiated of her
people, strike from the flag which waves above you the star which
represents her there; but leave the stripes, apt emblem of your
iniquity and her degradation."

An adjournment was immediately moved; the painful excitement was
relieved, the spell was broken, and from every side, and from every
party, came men to congratulate him. Webster was the first to stretch
forth his hand, and with more animation than was his wont, said, in his
deep, sonorous tones, "New England claims her own, and is proud of her
son."

The House, notwithstanding the demonstrative proof, and its enforcement
by the powerful and unanswerable argument of Prentiss, sent the
election back to the State, to be determined by a new election. In
this, Prentiss and Wood were triumphantly elected. He was not again a
candidate, retiring for the time from politics, and giving his
undivided attention to his profession.

It was always a matter of astonishment, to all who could never make of
a political enemy a personal friend, why it was that Prentiss, so
bitter in his political denunciations of political partisans, and so
bitter a partisan, should yet, among the opposition, have so many warm
admirers and most devoted friends. His nature was sensitive, generous,
and confiding. There was no malice festering in his heart, and in his
opposition, he was only so to the politics, not the personal qualities
of the man. By these he judged of the man, and the character of these
regulated his conduct toward him. He did not pass through life without
enemies. The man to whom this is possible is one of no positive points
in his character, no strength of will, no fixity of purpose, and of but
little intellect. Such men never occupy the public attention--are
altogether negative, as well in action as in mind. The enemies of
Prentiss were such from envy, or political hatred. His great abilities,
when brought in contact with those suing for popular favor, so
shrivelled and dwarfed them as to inspire only fear and hatred. But men
of this character were scarce in that day in Mississippi. Such was the
tone of society, and such the education of her sons, that traits so
dishonorable rendered odious the man manifesting them, and those of
talent and education emigrating to the country soon caught this spirit
as by inoculation. If there were any who were influenced by such base
and degrading motives, and who felt these a part of their nature, they
most generally could command policy enough to conceal them.

No community is long in discovering the genuine from the counterfeit
character. It did not require months to learn all the heart, all the
nature of Prentiss. Too frequently are great abilities coupled with a
mean spirit, and transcendent genius underlaid with a low, grovelling
nature; but these may be known by the peculiar form or development of
the cranium. The high coronal developments discover the intense moral
organization: the lofty and expansive forehead, the steady, unblenching
eye, and the easy self-possession of manner are all indications of high
moral organization, and the possession of a soul superior to envy,
malice, and vindictive hatred, and one to which little meannesses are
impossible. Such a head and such a soul had S.S. Prentiss. His whole
character was in his face, and so legible that the most illiterate
could read it. This won to him like natures, and all such who knew him
were instinctively his friends.

Judge Wilkinson was such a man, and though as ardently Democratic as
Prentiss was Whig, and as uncompromising in his principles, yet these
two were friends in the loftiest sense of the term. Judge Wilkinson had
a difficulty with a tailor in Louisville, Kentucky, who attempted an
imposition upon him to which he would not submit. A quarrel ensued, and
the knight of the needle and shears determined on revenge. Collecting
about him his ready associates, they went to the hotel where Wilkinson
lodged, and waylaid him at the door between the dining-parlor and the
reception-room, and attacked him on his coming in from supper. In the
rencontre three of the assailants were killed, and the remainder of the
gang fled. Immediately surrendering himself, he was incarcerated and
held for trial: although assaulted with murderous intent, and acting
clearly in self-defence, he was denied bail. He was a stranger, and the
prejudices of the court and the people of Louisville were so manifest
that he demanded and obtained a change of venire.

The trial came off at Harrodsburg. Prentiss, learning the facts and the
situation of his friend, volunteered immediately to defend him in
court, and to befriend him in any manner possible to him. The
celebrated Ben Hardin was employed to assist in the prosecution. The
eyes of all Mississippi and Kentucky were turned to Harrodsburg when
this trial commenced. Others volunteered--and among these was John
Rowan--to assist in the defence. But the case for Wilkinson was
conducted exclusively by Prentiss. It continued for some days. John
Rowan--so celebrated in the State for his talents and great legal
learning, as well as for his transcendent abilities as an advocate--sat
by, and trusted all to Prentiss.

There were many sparrings in the course of the trial between Hardin and
Prentiss upon points in the law of evidence, and as to the
admissibility or rejection of testimony, as also upon many points of
the criminal law of England, whether changed or not by statutory
provisions of the State.

In one of these, Rowan handed an open authority to Prentiss, and was
taunted by Hardin for the act, by saying: "Give your friend all the aid
you can: he needs it."

"I only preserved the book open at the page where Mr. Prentiss had
marked the law," said Rowan: "he requires no aid from me, brother
Hardin. With all your learning and experience, he is more than a match
for you."

This Hardin was not long in discovering, and especially did he feel it
when Prentiss came to reply to his address to the jury. So long
accustomed to defy competition as a criminal lawyer, Hardin was not
only surprised at the tact and masterly talent displayed by his
adversary, but he was annoyed, and felt that to maintain his prestige
as the great criminal lawyer of Kentucky, he must put forth all his
powers. He had done so; and in his summing up before the jury he seemed
more than himself. When he had concluded there were many who deemed
conviction sure.

Prentiss followed, and in his grandest manner tore to tatters every
argument and every position advanced and assumed by Hardin. Towering in
the majesty of his genius in one of those transcendent flights of
imagination so peculiar to him, when his illustrations in figures
followed each other in such quick and constant succession as to seem
inexhaustible, he turned suddenly upon Hardin, and, stooping his face
until it almost touched that of the stern old Kentuckian, he hissed
forth: "Dare you, sir, ask a verdict of such a jury as is here sitting
upon this testimony?--you, sir, who under the verdict of nature must
soon appear before the awful bar to which you now strive prematurely to
consign this noble, this gallant young man! Should you succeed, you
must meet him there. Could you, in the presence of Almighty God--He who
knows the inmost thoughts--justify your work of to-day? His mandate is
not to the gibbet. Eternal Justice dictates there, whose decrees are
eternal. Do you think of this? Do you defy it? If not--if you invoke
it, do it through your acts toward your fellow-man. Have you to-day
done unto this man as you would he should do unto you? I pause for a
reply--none. Then shudder and repent, for the record even now is making
up against you in that high court from which there is no appeal. You,
gentlemen of the jury, are no hired advocates: you are not laboring for
blood-money. Though your responsibility to your God is equal to his,
you will not go to the bar of your Creator with blood--guiltless
blood--upon your consciences. You will not, as he will, in that awful
presence, on that eventful day, look around you for the accusing spirit
of him whom you consigned to the gibbet with a consciousness of his
innocence of murder. How will it be with you? (turning again to
Hardin.) Ah! how will it be with you? Still silent. Despite the
hardness of his features, mercy like a halo sweeps over them, and
speaks to you, gentlemen, eloquently: 'Acquit the accused!' Look over
yonder, gentlemen: within these walls is one awaiting your verdict in
tearless agony--she who but for this untoward event would now have been
happy as his bride: she who has cheered him in his prison-cell daily
with her presence and lovely soul! Hers, not his fate, is in your
hands. To him death is nothing: the brave defy death--the good fear it
not; then why should he fear? But she! O God! it is a fearful thing to
crush to death with agony the young, hopeful, and loving heart of
virtuous woman. His death is only terrible in her future. Go with her,
gentlemen, through life; contemplate the wan features of slow decay:
see in these the one eternal, harrowing thought; list to the sigh which
rives the heart; watch the tear which falls in secret; see her sink
into the grave; then turn away, look up into heaven, and from your
heart say: 'O God! I did it.' You will not; you cannot; you dare not."

Hardin's conclusion was tame, and without effect; the demonstrations on
the part of the jury dispirited him, and his concluding speech had none
of the power of his opening. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty,
without hesitation. Wilkinson was immediately discharged, and in
company with his friends was repairing to the hotel, when, in the
warmth of his emotion, he said, laying his hand on the shoulder of
Prentiss: "How shall I pay you, my friend, for this great service you
have done me?"

"By never mentioning pay again," was the prompt and decisive reply.




CHAPTER XXV.

A FINANCIAL CRASH.

A WONDERFUL MEMORY--A NATION WITHOUT DEBT--CRUSHING THE NATIONAL
BANK--RISE OF STATE BANKS--INFLATED CURRENCY--GRAND FLARE-UP--TAKE CARE
OF YOURSELF--COMMENCING ANEW--FAILING TO REACH AN OBTUSE HEART--KING
ALCOHOL DOES HIS WORK--PRENTISS AND FOOTE--LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG--A
NOBLE SPIRIT OVERCOME--CHARITY COVERETH A MULTITUDE OF SINS.


The rare combination of the elements of the mind in Mr. Prentiss is
only occasionally met with in time. Judgment, imagination, and memory
were all transcendent and equal in their respective powers. With such a
mind, everything possible to man may be accomplished. The invention is
rapid; the combining and applying responds as rapidly; the fitting and
the proper wait on these in the judgment, and the emanation of the
whole is perfect. The imagination conceives, the memory retains, and
the judgment applies. The consummate perfection of all of these
elements in one mind, assures greatness. Charles James Fox, one of
England's ablest statesmen, said this combination, organized in the
brain of Napoleon, was more complete than had existed with any man
since the days of Julius Caesar, and would have made him transcendently
great in anything to which he might have addressed his powers. As a
poet, he would have equalled Homer; as a lawyer, the author of the
Pandects; as an architect, Michael Angelo; as an astronomer, Newton or
Galileo; as an actor, Garrick, or his beloved Talma--as he had equalled
Caesar and Hannibal, and greatly surpassed Marlborough, Frederick the
Great, and Charles XII.; as an orator, Demosthenes; and as a statesman,
the greatest the earth ever knew.

This combination in the mind of Prentiss, with the great development of
the organ of language, made him the unrivalled orator of his age. His
powers of memory were so great as to astonish even those eminently
gifted in the same manner. In reading, he involuntarily committed to
memory, whether of prose or poetry. He seemed to have memorized the
Bible, Shakspeare, Dryden, Ben Jonson, Byron, and many others of the
modern poets. The whole range of literature was at his command: to read
once, was always to remember. This capacity to acquire was so great
that he would in a month master as much as most men could in twelve.

It appeared immaterial to what he applied himself, the consequence was
the same. Scientific research, or light literature; the ordinary
occurrences of the day, recorded in the newspapers, or detailed by an
occasional visitor--all were remembered, and with truthful exactness.
Dates, days, names, and events fastened upon his memory tenaciously,
and remained there without an effort. Hence, the fund of information
possessed by him astonished the best informed, who were gray with years
and reading. The exuberance of his imagination continually supplied new
and beautiful imagery to his conversation; and in private intercourse,
such was the rich purity of his language, and his ideas so bold and
original, that all were willing listeners: no one desired to talk if
Prentiss was present and would talk.

The disasters which followed the commercial crisis of 1837 crushed
almost every interest in Mississippi: especially was this true of the
planting, the great interest of the State. On the healthy condition of
him who tills the soil depends that of every other interest. The rapid
rise in cotton, commencing in 1832, from the increased demand all over
the world for cotton fabrics, caused a heavy immigration to the fertile
cotton-lands of the West, and particularly to the extensive and newly
acquired lands of Mississippi. The world was at peace, and great
prosperity was universal; money was cheap, or rather its
representative, bank paper. The system of finance, so wisely conceived
and put in practical operation subsequently to the war of 1812, had
been disturbed by being made an element in the political struggles of
party. It had paid the war debt, and all the expenses of the
Government--furnished a uniform currency, equal to, and at the holder's
will convertible into coin. Its face was the nation's faith, and its
credit equal in New York, London, and Calcutta. A surplus fund was
accumulating in the United States Treasury, and the unexampled instance
of a nation out of debt, and with an accumulating surplus of money in
her treasury, was presented to the world by the United States.

The political economist, from this fact, would naturally infer that the
people were heavily taxed: not so; there was not on earth a people who
contributed, in proportion to their means, so little to the support of
their Government. The tax-gatherer of the nation was never seen or
known in the house of any citizen; he knew not that he contributed one
dollar to the public treasury. So admirably was the source of revenue
contrived, that no man knew or felt he paid a national tax. The Bank of
the United States received and disbursed the moneys arising from
customs, or tariffs upon imports, without one cent of expense to the
Government; affording at the same time every healthy facility to the
commerce of the country--holding in check and confining the local State
banks to a legitimate business--and was the most complete and perfect
fiscal agent ever organized. In the struggle for party ascendency, the
idea was conceived of using the bank in aid of one of the factions
which divided the country. The machinators of this scheme failed to
accomplish it, and, being in power at the time, determined to destroy
it, upon the plea of its unconstitutionality, and of having been used
to overturn the Government--that is, the party in power. It was
declared dangerous to the liberties of the country.

At the expiration of its charter, then approaching, it was refused a
renewal. So intimately was it connected with every interest in the
country, that its passing out of existence threatened universal
bankruptcy. Its branches located at every important commercial point,
its credit was universally employed. It furnished exchange at almost a
nominal rate upon every commercial city of the world, and permeated
every transaction, giving health and vigor as the circulating fluid
does the animal system.

Suddenly to arrest and destroy this, was universal ruin. But to serve
the behest of party in a double form, it was crushed. But a substitute
was proposed by the party interested, and upon whom the responsibility
rested--the creation of State banks without limit, which were
recommended to discount liberally to the people, and supply the wants
created by the withdrawal of the capital and accommodations of the
national bank. This recommendation was literally and instantly obeyed.
In every State where the dominant party held control--and they did so
throughout the South and West--the legislatures made haste to create,
without limit, State banks, with power to flood the country with
irresponsible bank paper. Each assumed that it must supply not only its
portion, but the entire amount of the banking capital withdrawn, and
double or treble the circulation. The natural consequence was immense
inflation of the currency, or circulating medium, and the rapid
appreciation of every species of property in price. Everybody and every
interest flourished most prosperously--gaunt poverty had fled the land,
and bloated abundance laughed in every home. Suddenly men sprang into
importance who a little while before were humble artizans or employed
in the meanest capacities. A new El Dorado had been discovered;
fortunes were made in a day, without enterprise or work; and unexampled
prosperity seemed to cover the land as with a golden canopy--forests
were swept away in a week; labor came in crowds to the South to produce
cotton; and where yesterday the wilderness darkened over the land with
her wild forests, to-day the cotton plantation whitened the
earth--production was quadrupled--labor doubled in value, land rose to
fearful prices, the wildest extravagance obtained; costly furniture,
expensive equipages, ostentatious display--all were contributing to
hasten the catastrophe. The wise saw what was impending, and the
foolish thought it impossible. All of this was based on credit. The
banks were irresponsible, for they were without capital: they had
created a credit and loaned it in the shape of bank paper to every one.
Finally, the hour came when all was to be paid for. The banks
failed--like the fame of woman, a whisper destroys it; so a whisper
blew away the banks. They could not redeem their promises to pay. These
were no longer available for currency: they had driven from the country
the coin, and there was no money. The merchants failed, the planters
failed, money appreciated to the gold standard, and property
correspondingly depreciated; and ruin--financial ruin--swept over the
country as a consuming fire.

Nowhere was this destruction so complete as in Mississippi. The people
of the State had been collected from all the States of the West and
South. There was no common bond but interest; a healthy public
sentiment, which must result from a homogeneous population, was
unknown; there was no restraining influence upon the conduct of men,
save only the law, and, for the want of efficient administration, this
was almost powerless. Every one was making haste to be rich;
speculation was wild, and everyday was witnessing transactions of
doubtful morality. Society was a chaos, and _sauve qui peut_, or, take
care of yourself, the rule. Every one who owed money, however
inconsiderable the sum, was ruined. Under such circumstances, Prentiss
determined on removing from Mississippi, and selected New Orleans for
his future home. The civil law, or Roman Code, was the law in
Louisiana, and materially differed from the common or English law,
which was the law of authority in Mississippi. Very few lawyers coming
from the common-law States, have ever been able to succeed in
Louisiana, especially after having practised in other States for any
length of time. They have not only to learn the civil law, but to
unlearn the common. Some, who did not know the extraordinary powers of
Prentiss's mind, feared he, like many others who had made the attempt,
would fail; but, almost from the moment of his advent at the New
Orleans bar, his success was complete. To realize the expectations of
the public, required abilities and attainments of the highest order.
Fame had heralded his name and powers to every one: all had and did
expect from him more than from any other man, and none were
disappointed. From this time forward he eschewed politics, and devoted
himself to his profession.

Some years before leaving Mississippi, Prentiss had married Miss
Williams, of Adams County. This lady was the daughter of James C.
Williams, a large planter; her mother was a Percy, descended from the
proud Percys of Northumberland, and was a most accomplished and
intellectual woman. Her position was the first among the first, and her
birth, blood, and attainments entitled her to the distinction. Her
daughter, grown up under her eye and training, was the mother's equal,
and fit companion for the man of her choice.

Prentiss had lost everything in the general crash, and was commencing
anew, with a growing family to provide for. His business rapidly
increased, and his displays at the Bar were frequent and wonderful.
Some of these, recited here, might, if such a necessity existed, serve
to illustrate his wonderful powers; but there are parties living whose
feelings might suffer, and hence I forbear. It is my earnest wish, in
recording these recollections, to offend no one; nor will I "set down
aught in malice."

The ardent and excitable temperament of Prentiss, combined with his
social qualities, required constant excitement. When employed with the
duties of his profession, or engaged in any matter of business
pertaining to politics, or his relations in any capacity with the
world, requiring attention, he was sufficiently excited to afford
escape for the restlessness of his mind; nor did this man seem fatigued
in such occupations sufficiently to require repose and rest. On the
contrary, it seemed to whet his desire for fiercer and more consuming
excitement. Whenever he went abroad, the crowd followed him, and the
presence of the increasing mass stimulated his feelings to mild, social
delight, and this led him too frequently to indulge beyond a proper
temperance in the exhilaration of wine. This, superadded to the fire of
his genius, was wearing fearfully his vigorous physique.

For the first time, in the case of fraud against James Irwin, in which
he made one of the most powerful efforts of his life, he manifested
mental as well as physical fatigue. It was my good fortune to listen to
that speech made to a New Orleans jury. I had listened many times to
his speeches, and had thought some of these could never be surpassed by
any man, not even by himself, and especially that delivered in Faneuil
Hall, Boston, and the one delivered from the steps of the court-house
at Vicksburg, after returning from his political campaign when a
candidate for Congress. But this one was even grander and more powerful
than any I had ever heard from him. Returning from the court-house with
him upon that occasion, I remarked a flagging in the brilliancy of his
conversation. For a moment he sat silent in the carriage, and then
remarked: "I was never so much fatigued; I am afraid I am getting old.
I have not an idea in my brain."

"Certainly, you have poured out enough to-day to empty any brain," was
my reply; "and you should be content not to have another for a month.
But I am sorry your invective was so severe."

"Ah! my old friend," he continued, "he deserved it all! From my heart I
feel he deserved it all! The magnitude of his iniquities inspired the
rebuke, and I exhausted my quiver in the attempt to pierce his shame;
but I failed. The integuments of his sensibility are armor against the
shafts from my bow; and I feel the failure, but I don't regret the
attempt: the intention was as sincere as the failure has been signal."

"Why, what do you mean?" I asked; "for, assuredly, you have to-day made
the most powerful and telling speech of your life."

"Yes, telling upon the audience, perhaps, but not upon the victim--he
escapes unscathed. I care nothing for the crack of the rifle, if the
bullet flies wide of the mark. I wanted to reach his heart, and crush
it to remorse; but I have learned his moral obtusity is superior to
shame. I have failed in my attempt."

This speech was followed by a challenge to Prentiss from the son of
Irwin. This was promptly accepted, and a meeting was only prevented by
the interference of parties from Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The settlement was honorable to both parties. Soon after, young Irwin
died by his own hand. He was a youth of brilliant parts, and promised a
future of usefulness and distinction.

The habits of Prentiss were daily growing worse--the excitement he
craved he found in the intoxicating bowl. The influence of his lovely
and loving wife greatly restrained him; but when she was away, he was
too frequently surrounded by his friends and admirers, and in social
conviviality forgot the prudence of restraint, and indulged to excess.
The more this indulgence was tolerated, the more exacting it became.
The great strength of his nervous system had successfully resisted the
influence of these indulgences, and after potations deep and long, it
was remarked that they had no inebriating effect upon him. This nervous
strength by degrees yielded to the power of alcohol, and as he advanced
in life it was apparent the poison was doing its work.

Now it was that he found it necessary, in order to stimulate his genius
to its wonted activity and vigor, on occasions demanding all his
powers, to resort to artificial stimulants. His friends urged upon him
temperance, to forbear altogether, to visit his mother and friends in
Maine, recreate amidst the scenes of his childhood, and to do so in
company with his wife and his lovely children, for they were all a
parent could wish them to be. He promised to do so. Sad memory brings
up our last meeting, and when the subject of his intemperance was the
theme of our parting conversation. We stood together upon the portico
of the St. Charles Hotel; he was preparing to leave for Maine; I was
leaving for my home in the country.

"You still keep the old cane," he said, taking from my hand his gift
many years before.

"I shall do so, Prentiss, while I live."

He continued to view the head, upon which our names were engraved, and
a melancholy shade gathered upon his features. "Oh, were I," said he,
"to-day, what I was the day I gave you this!" and he paused many
minutes; still the shade darkened, and his voice trembled as he
proceeded: "We were both young then, and how light our hearts were! We
have gathered about us household gods, and we worship them; how sad to
think we shall have to leave them! You married long before I did. Your
children will grow up while yet you live; I shall never see mine other
than children."

"Say not so, Prentiss. You are yet young. You have but one thing to do,
and you will live to see those boys men; and what may you not expect of
them, with such a mother to aid you in rearing them!"

"I know what you mean, and I know what I will; but, like Laocoon in the
folds of the snake, the serpent of habit coils around me, and I fear
its strength is too powerful for mine. Perhaps, had my angel of to-day
been my angel when first a man, I had never wooed the scorpion which is
stinging me to death; but all I can do I will. This is all I can
promise. Keep this stick to remember me: it will support you when
tottering with the weight of years, and with strength will endure. When
age has done her work, and you are in the grave, give it to your son to
remember us both. Farewell."

With a clasp of the hand we parted, never to meet again. Not long
after, he died at Natchez, and, in the family cemetery of the Sargents,
sleeps near the city.

But few of the speeches of Prentiss were ever reported, and though they
are like and have the ring of the true metal, yet not one of them is
correctly reported. The fragment given in a former chapter is the
report of one who heard it, and who wrote it the very hour of its
delivery, to myself, that the information of the acquittal might be
communicated to the friends of the lady Judge Wilkinson was about to be
married to, who resided in my immediate neighborhood. There is not a
word of it in the reporter's speech, which was some time after written
out from notes. These speeches, with the traditions of his fame, will
serve to perpetuate his memory as perhaps the most gifted man, as an
orator, that adorned his generation.

In stature he was below the ordinary standard, and his lameness seemed
to dwarf even this. His head was large, round, and high; his forehead
expansive, high, and rising almost perpendicularly above his eyes,
which were gray, deep set, and brilliant; his nose was straight and
beautifully chiselled, thin, and the nostrils large, and swelling and
expanding when excited. In speaking, his eyes blazed with a most
peculiar expression. His chin was broad, square, and strong. His mouth
was the most striking feature of his face--large and flexible, with a
constant twitching about the corners. The entire contour of the face
indicated humor, combined with firmness. This latter trait was also
indicated in the large, strong under jaw--no trait was more prominent
in his character than this. Yet he was slow to anger, and always
conciliatory in language and manners. He was charitable in the extreme
toward others for any laches in principle; always ready to find an
excuse for the short-comings of others. Yet no man adhered more closely
and more steadily to his principles and opinions. He never gave an
insult, unless greatly provoked, but never failed to resent one; always
loath to quarrel, but, once in, bore himself like a man, and a brave
one. The high oval crown of his head confessed high moral qualities;
here the moral organs were in wonderful development. Too generous to be
malicious, he was ever ready to forgive, and too noble to permit his
worst enemy to be slandered in his presence.

There was once a quarrel between Prentiss and that erratic man of
wonderful genius, H.S. Foote. This culminated in a hostile meeting, in
which Foote was wounded. In their impulsiveness these two were very
like, as also in the generosity of their natures. Neither bore the
other malice beyond the conflict, and neither ever permitted an insult
to be offered to the name of the other in his absence. A short time
after this affair, Prentiss was with some friends in Cincinnati. There
is always to be found men who swell their importance by toadying men of
character and eminence. Such are as frequently found in Cincinnati as
elsewhere.

One of these had sought out Prentiss, and was attempting to make
himself agreeable to him by abusing Foote: this abuse wound up by
denouncing the distinguished Mississippian as a dog. Prentiss turned
sharply upon him with the exclamation: "If he is a dog, sir, he is our
dog, and you shall not abuse him in my presence!" The discomfiture of
the toady may be easily imagined; he slunk away, nor did he again
obtrude his unwanted presence upon Prentiss during his stay.

Few men have ever so fastened themselves upon the affections of their
friends as did Prentiss: his qualities of heart and head were
fascinating, almost beyond humanity; none ever met him for a day and
went away unattached; strangers, who knew him not, listening to him,
not only admired, but loved him. He never lost a friend; and all his
enemies were political, or from envy. In the society of ladies he was
extremely diffident and unobtrusive, and always apprehensive lest he
should be unable to entertain them agreeably.

On one occasion, not long before our final parting, he said he had
committed two great errors in his life: leaving his native home to find
one in the South, and not marrying when he first commenced the practice
of law. "My constitution was strong and suited to a northern climate,
and there home-influences would have restrained propensities that have
grown with indulgence, and are threatening in their consequences. I
feel this: I am not the strong man I was; mind and body are failing,
and the beautiful lines of our friend Wild are constantly recurring to
my mind:

  "'My life is like the autumn leaf,
    Which trembles in the moon's pale ray:
  Its hold is frail, its date is brief,
    Restless, and soon to pass away.'

"Why did not Wild give his life to literature, instead of the musty
maxims of the law. Little as he has written, it is enough to preserve
his fame as a true poet; and though he has been a member of Congress,
and a distinguished one, a lawyer, and a distinguished one, his fame
and name will only be perpetuated by his verse, so tender, so touching,
and so true to the feelings of the heart. It is the heart that he lives
in. Ah! it is the heart only which forms and fashions the romance of
life; and without this romance, life is scarcely worth the keeping.

  "'Tis midnight--on the mountains brown
  The cold round moon shines deeply down;
  Blue roll the waters, blue the sky
  Spreads like an ocean hung on high,
  Bespangled with those isles of light,
  So wildly, spiritually bright;
  Who ever gazed upon them shining,
  And turned to earth without repining,
  Nor wished for wings to flee away,
  And mix with their eternal ray?'

"We feel as Byron did when he imagined these lines. I see him with
upturned eyes gazing on the blue expanse above, watching the stars;
thinking of heaven; feeling earth, and hating it, and his soul flying
away from it, to meet and mingle in the firmament above him with the
spiritually bright and heavenly pure brilliants sparkling on her
diadem. How mean--how miserably mean this earth, and all it gives! One
diamond in a world of dirt. The soul that loves and contemplates the
eternal--shall it shake off at once the miserable clod, and in a moment
glisten among the millions, pure, bright, and lovely as these? There is
but one idea of hell--eternal torture! But every man has his own idea
of heaven: yet, with all, its chiefest attribute is eternal happiness.
The wretch craves it for rest; he who never knew care or suffering,
desires it for enjoyment; and the wildest imagination sublimates its
bliss to love and beauty. And God only knows what it is, or in what it
consists. But we shall know, and I, in a little time. On Him who gave
me being I confidently rely for all which is destined in my future."

His spirit was eminently worshipful. The wisdom and goodness of God he
saw in every creature; he contemplated these as a part of the grand
whole, and saw a union and use in all for the harmony of the whole; he
saw all created nature linked, each filling and subserving a part, in
duties and uses, as designed, and, his mind filled with the
contemplation, his soul expanded in love and worship of the great
Architect who conceived and created all.

With all this might of mind and beauty of soul, there lurked a demon to
mar and destroy. It worked its end: let us draw a veil over the
frailties of poor human nature, and, in the admiration of the genius
and the soul, forget the foibles and frailties of the body.




CHAPTER XXVI.

ACADIAN FRENCH SETTLERS.

SUGAR _vs._ COTTON--ACADIA--A SPECIMEN OF MISSISSIPPI FRENCH LIFE--BAYOU
LA FOURCHE--THE GREAT FLOOD--THEOLOGICAL ARBITRATION--A RUSTIC BALL
--OLD-FASHIONED WEDDINGS--CREOLES AND QUADROONS--THE PLANTER--NEGRO
SERVANTS--GAULS AND ANGLO-NORMANS--ANTAGONISM OF RACES.


Forty years ago, there was quite an excitement among the
cotton-planters, in the neighborhood of Natchez, upon the subject of
sugar-planting in the southern portion of Louisiana. At that time it
was thought the duty (two and a half cents per pound) on imported
sugars would be continued as a revenue tax, and that it would afford
sufficient protection to make the business of sugar-planting much more
profitable than that of cotton. The section of country attracting the
largest share of attention for this purpose was the Teche, or Attakapas
country, the Bayous La Fourche, Terre Bonne, and Black. The Teche and
La Fourche had long been settled by a population, known in Louisiana as
the Acadian French. These people, thus named, had once resided in Nova
Scotia and Lower Canada, or Canada East as now known. When peopled by
the French, Nova Scotia was called Acadia. Upon the conquest by the
English, these people were expelled the country, and in a most inhuman
and unchristian manner. They were permitted to choose the countries to
which they would go, and were there sent by the British Government.
Many went to Canada, some to Vincennes in Indiana, some to St. Louis,
Cape Girardeau, Viedepouche, and Kaskaskia in Mississippi, and many
returned to France.

Upon the cession, or rather donation to Spain of Louisiana by France,
these, with many others of a population similar to these, from the
different arrondissements of France, were sent to Louisiana, and were
located in Opelousas, Attakapas, La Fourche, and in the parishes of St.
John the Baptist, St. Charles, and St. James (parishes constituting the
Acadian coast on the Mississippi). On the La Fourche they constituted,
forty years ago, almost the entire population. They were illiterate and
poor. Possessing the richest lands on earth, which they had reclaimed
from the annual inundations of the Mississippi River by levees
constructed along the margins of the stream--with a climate congenial
and healthful, and with every facility afforded by the navigation of
the bayou and the Mississippi for reaching the best market for all they
could produce--yet, with all these natural advantages, promising to
labor and enterprise the most ample rewards, they could not be
stimulated to industry or made to understand them.

They had established their homes on the margin of the stream, and
cleared a few acres of the land donated by the Government, upon which
to grow a little corn and a few vegetables. With a limited amount of
stock, which found subsistence upon the cane and grass of the woods,
and with the assistance of a shot-gun, they managed to subsist--as
Peake's mother served the Lord--after a fashion.

Their houses were unique: a slender frame, often of poles cut from the
forest, and rudely squared, served the purpose. Into the studding were
placed pins, extending from one to the other, horizontally, and about
ten inches apart. The long gray moss of the country was then gathered
and thrown by layers into a pit dug for the purpose, with the soil,
until the pit was full, when water was added in sufficient quantities
to wet the mass through; this done, all who are assisting in the
construction of the house--men, women, boys, and girls--jump in upon
it, and continue to tramp until mud and moss are completely
intermingled and made of proper consistence, when it is gathered up and
made into rails about two feet long. These rolls are laid over the
pins, commencing at the bottom or sill of the building, when each roll
is bent down at the ends, covering the intervals between the pins,
pressed hardly together, and smoothed with the hands, inside and out,
forming a wall some five inches in thickness, with a perfectly smooth
surface. The roof is first put on, and the floors laid. When this mud
dries thoroughly it is white-washed; the house is then complete, and
presents quite a neat appearance. It will continue to do so if the
white-washing is annually continued. If, however, this is neglected,
the lime falls off in spots, and the primitive mud comes out to view:
then the appearance is anything but pleasant. No pains are taken to
ornament their yards, or gather about them comforts. There is a pig or
two in a pen in the corner of the yard, a hen-roost immediately at the
house, a calf or two at large, and numerous half-starved, mangy
dogs--and innumerable ragged, half-naked children, with little, black,
piercing eyes, and dishevelled, uncombed hair falling about sallow,
gaunt faces, are commingling in the yard with chickens, dogs, and
calves. A sallow-faced, slatternly woman, bareheaded, with uncared-for
hair, long, tangled, and black, with her dress tucked up to her knees,
bare-footed and bare-legged, is wading through the mud from the bayou,
with a dirty pail full of muddy Mississippi water.

A diminutive specimen of a man, clad in blue cottonade pants and
hickory shirt, barefooted, with a palm-leaf hat upon his head, and an
old rusty shot-gun in his hands, stands upon the levee, casting an
inquiring look, first up and then down the bayou, deeply desiring and
most ardently expecting a wandering duck or crane, as they fly along
the course of the bayou. If unfortunately they come within reach of his
fusee, he almost invariably brings them down. Then there is a shout
from the children, a yelp from the dogs, and all run to secure the
game; for too often, "No duck, no dinner." Such a home and such
inhabitants were to be seen on Bayou La Fourche forty years ago, and
even now specimens of the genuine breed may there be found, as
primitive as were their ancestors who first ventured a home in the
Mississippi swamps.

The stream known as Bayou La Fourche, or The Fork, is a large stream,
some one hundred yards wide, leaving the Mississippi at the town of
Donaldsonville, eighty miles above the city of New Orleans, running
south-southeast, emptying into the Gulf, through Timbalier Bay, and may
properly be termed one of the mouths of the Mississippi. Its current
movement does not in high water exceed three miles an hour, and when
the Mississippi is at low water, it is almost imperceptible. Large
steamers, brigs, and schooners come into it when the river is at flood,
and carry out three or four hundred tons of freight each at a time.

The lands upon the banks of this stream are remarkably fertile,
entirely alluvial, and decline from the bank to the swamp, generally
some one or two miles distant. This Acadian population was sent here
during the Spanish domination, and with a view to opening up to
cultivation this important tract of country. It was supposed they would
become--under the favorable auspices of their emigration to the
country, and with such facilities for accumulating money--a wealthy and
intelligent population. This calculation was sadly disappointed. The
mildness of the climate and the fruitfulness of the soil combined to
enervate, instead of stimulating them to active industry, without which
there can be no prosperity for any country. A few acres, though half
cultivated, were found sufficient to yield an ample support, and the
mildness of the climate required but little provision for clothing.
Here, in this Eden upon earth, these people continued to live in a
simplicity of primitive ignorance and indolence scarcely to be believed
by any but an actual observer. Their implements of agriculture were
those of two centuries before. More than half the population wore
wooden shoes, when they wore any at all. Their wants were few, and were
all supplied at home. Save a little flour, powder, and shot, they
purchased nothing. These were paid for by the sale of the produce of
the poultry-yard--the prudent savings from the labor of the women--to
the market-boats from the city.

There were, at the period of which I write, but half a dozen Americans
upon the bayou. These had found the country illy adapted to the growth
of cotton, and some of them had commenced the planting of sugar-cane.
The results from this were very satisfactory, and consequently
stimulating to the enterprise of men of means, who felt they could be
more profitably employed in this new culture than in cotton, even in
the very best cotton regions.

There was one man of high intelligence and long experience who denied
this--Stephen Duncan, of Natchez--and the subsequent experience of many
brought bitter regret that they had not yielded to the counsels of Dr.
Duncan.

The great flood of 1828 had not touched the La Fourche or Teche, while
the entire alluvial plain above had been covered many feet, and for
many months. This was the most terrible inundation, perhaps, ever
experienced in that region; and every one appeared to be now satisfied
that to continue to cultivate lands already reduced to man's dominion,
or to open and prepare any more, subject to this scourge, was madness.
Hence the emigration from this chosen section to the new El Dorado.
Lands rose rapidly in South Louisiana as an effect of this, while
above, in the flooded district, they were to be bought for almost a
nominal price. Those who ventured to purchase these and reduce them to
cultivation realized fortunes rapidly; for there was not a sufficient
flood to reach them again for ten years. The levees by this time had
become so extended as to afford almost entire immunity against the
floods of annual occurrence. The culture of sugar received a new
impetus and began rapidly to increase, and capital came flowing in.
Population of an industrious and hardy character was filling up the
West, and the demand from that quarter alone was equal to the
production, and both were increasing so rapidly as to induce the belief
that it would be as much as all the sugar lands in the State could
accomplish to supply this demand. Steam power for crushing the cane was
introduced--an economy of labor which enhanced the profits of the
production--and a new and national interest was developed, rendering
more and more independent of foreign supply, at least that portion of
the Union most difficult of access to foreign commerce--the great and
growing West.

The Americans, or those Americans speaking English alone, immigrating
into these sections of Louisiana, so far as the language, manners, and
customs of the people were concerned, were going into a foreign land.
The language of the entire population was French, or a patois, as the
European French term it--a provincialism which a Parisian finds it
difficult to understand. The ignorance and squalid poverty of these
people put their society entirely out of the question, even if their
language had been comprehensible. They were amiable, kind, law-abiding,
virtuous, and honest, beyond any population of similar character to be
found in any country. Out of some fifty thousand people, extending over
five or six parishes, such a thing as a suit for slander, or an
indictment for malicious mischief, or a case of bastardy was not known
or heard of once in ten years. This will seem strange when we reflect
that at this time schools were unknown, and not one out of fifty of the
people could read or write, and when it was common for the judge of the
District Court to ask, when a grand jury was impanelled, if there was a
man upon it who could write, that he might make him foreman. And not
unfrequently was he compelled to call from the court-room one who
could, and trump him on the jury for a foreman, as the action was
termed. There was not upon the La Fourche, which comprised three large
parishes, but one pleasure carriage, and not half a dozen ladies'
bonnets. The females wore a colored handkerchief tastily tied about
their heads, when visiting or at church; and when not, not anything but
blowzed, uncombed hair.

The enterprise of the new-comers did not stimulate to emulation the
action of these people. They were content and unenvious, and when
kindly received and respectfully treated, were social and generous in
their intercourse with their American neighbors. They were confiding
and trustful; but once deceived, they were not to be won back, but only
manifested their resentment by withdrawing from communicating with the
deceiver, and ever after distrusting, and refusing him their
confidence. They were universally Catholic; consequently, sectarian
disputes were unknown. They practised eminently the Christian virtues,
and were constant in their attendance at mass. The priest was the
universal arbiter in all disputes, and his decision most implicitly
acquiesced in. They had a horror of debt, and lawsuits, and would
sacrifice any property they might have, to meet punctually an
obligation. Fond of amusements, their social meetings, though of most
primitive character, were frequent and cordial. They observed strictly
the exactions of the Church, especially Lent; but indulged the Carnival
to its wildest extent. Out of Lent they met to dance and enjoy
themselves, weekly, first at one, and then at another neighbor's house;
and with the natural taste of their race, they would appear neatly and
cleanly dressed in the attire fabricated by their own hands in the loom
and with the needle.

The method of invitation to these reunions was simple and speedy. A
youth on his pony would take a small wand, and tie to its top end a red
or white flag, and ride up and down the bayou, from the house where the
ball was intended, for two or three miles; returning, tie the wand and
flag to flaunt above the gate, informing all--"_This is the place._"
All were welcome who came, and everything was conducted with strict
regard to decent propriety. Nothing boisterous was ever known--no
disputing or angry wrangling, for there was no cause given; harmony and
happiness pervaded all, and at proper time and in a proper manner all
returned to their homes.

Marriages, almost universally, were celebrated at the church, as in all
Catholic countries. The parsonage is at the church, and the priest
always on hand, at the altar or the grave; and almost daily, in this
dense population, a marriage or funeral was seen at the church. It was
the custom for the bride and groom, with a party of friends, all on
horseback, to repair without ceremony to the church, where they were
united in matrimony by the good priest, who kissed the bride, a
privilege he never failed to put into execution, when he blessed the
couple, received his fee, and sent them away rejoicing. This ceremony
was short, and without ostentation; and then the happy and expectant
pair, often on the same horse, would return with the party as they had
come, with two or three musicians playing the violin in merry tunes on
horseback, as they joyfully galloped home, where a ball awaited them at
night, and all went merry with the married belle.

These people are Iberian in race, are small in stature, of dark
complexion, with black eyes, and lank black hair; their hands and feet
are small, and beautifully formed, and their features regular and
handsome; many of their females are extremely beautiful. These attain
maturity very early, and are frequently married at thirteen years of
age. In more than one instance, I have known a grandmother at thirty.
As in all warm countries, this precocious maturity is followed with
rapid decay. Here, persons at forty wear the appearance of those in
colder climates of sixty years. Notwithstanding this apparent early
loss of vigor, the instances of great longevity are perhaps more
frequent in Louisiana than in any other State of the Union. This,
however, can hardly be said of her native population: emigrants from
high latitudes, who come after maturity, once acclimated, seem to
endure the effects of climate here with more impunity than those native
to the soil.

The Bayou Plaquemine formerly discharged an immense amount of water
into the lakes intervening between the La Fourche and the Teche. These
lakes have but a narrow strip of cultivable land. Along the right
margin of the La Fourche, and the left of the Teche, they serve as a
receptacle for the waters thrown from the plantations and those
discharged by the Atchafalayah and the Plaquemine, which ultimately
find their way to the Gulf through Berwick's Bay. They are interspersed
with small islands: these have narrow strips of tillable land, but are
generally too low for cultivation; and when the Mississippi is at
flood, they are all under water, and most of them many feet. The La
Fourche goes immediately to the Gulf, between Lake Barataria and these
lakes, affording land high enough, when protected as they now are, for
settlement, and cultivation to a very great extent. Its length is some
one hundred miles, and the settlements extend along it for eighty
miles. These are continuous, and nowhere does the forest intervene.

At irregular distances between these Acadian settlements, large sugar
plantations are found. These have been extending for years, and
increasing, absorbing the habitats of these primitive and innocent
people, who retire to some little ridge of land deeper in the swamp, a
few inches higher than the plane of the swamp, where they surround
their little mud-houses with an acre or so of open land, from the
products of which, and the trophies of the gun and fishing-line and
hook, and an occasional frog, and the abundance of crawfish, they
contrive to eke out a miserable livelihood, and afford the fullest
illustration of the adage, "Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be
wise."

The contrast between these princely estates, and the palatial mansions
which adorn them, and make a home of luxuriant beauty, and the little
log huts, their immediate neighbors, tells at once that the population
is either very rich or very poor, and that under such circumstances the
communication must be extremely limited; for the ignorance of the poor
unfits them for social and intelligent intercourse with their more
wealthy and more cultivated neighbors. This is true whether the planter
is French or American. The remarkable salubrity of the climate,
combined with the comforts and luxuries of home, causes the planter to
spend most of his time there, where he can give his attention to his
business and mingle with his brother planters in a style and manner
peculiar to Louisiana and the tastes of her people. Intercommunication
is facilitated by steamboat travel, and as every plantation is located
upon a navigable stream, the planter and family can at any time suiting
his business go with little trouble to visit his friends, though they
may be hundreds of miles apart. Similarity of pursuit and interest draw
these together. There is no rivalry, and consequently no jealousy
between them. All their relations are harmonious, and their intercourse
during the summer is continuous, for at that season the business of the
plantation may be safely trusted to a manager, one of whom is found on
every plantation.

This social intercourse is highly promotive of a general amity, as it
cultivates an intimacy which at once familiarizes every one with the
feelings, situation, and intentions of the other. Sometimes the
contiguity of plantations enables the families of planters to exchange
formal morning and evening calls, but most generally the distance to be
overgone is too great for this. Then the visiting is done by families,
and extends to days, and sometimes weeks. Provisions are so abundant
that the extra consumption is never missed, and the residences are
always of such dimensions that the visitors seem scarcely to increase
the family--never to be in the way; and the suits of apartments
occupied by them were built and furnished for the purpose to which they
are then devoted. The visitor is at home. The character of the
hospitality he is enjoying permits him to breakfast from seven till
ten, alone, or in company with the family if he chooses. Horses, dogs,
and guns for the gentlemen--billiards, the carriage, music, or
promenading, with cards, chess, backgammon, or dominos for the ladies,
to pass away the day until dinner. At this meal the household and
guests unite, and the rich viands, wines, and coffee make a feast for
the body and sharpen the wit to a feast of the soul. This society is
the freest and most refined to be found in the country.

Upon the coast of the Mississippi, from Baton Rouge to many miles below
the city, the proximity of the large plantations presents an
opportunity of close and constant intercourse. A very large majority of
these are the property and habitations of the cultivated and
intelligent Creoles of the State. And here let me explain the term
Creole, which has led to so many ludicrous, and sometimes to painful
mistakes. It is an arbitrary term, and imported from the West Indies
into Louisiana. Its original meaning was a native born of foreign
parents; but universal use has made it to mean, in Louisiana, nothing
more than simply "native;" and it is applied indiscriminately to
everything native to the State--as Creole cane, Creole horse, Creole
negro, or creole cow. Many confound its meaning with that of quadroon,
and suppose it implies one of mixed blood, or one with whose blood
mingles that of the African--than which no meaning is more foreign to
the word.

The Creole planters, or what are termed French Creoles, are descended
from a very different race from the Acadian Creole, or Iberian. The
first colonists who came to Louisiana were men of the first blood and
rank in France. The Ibervilles, the Bienvilles, St. Denises, and many
others, were of noble descent; and the proud prestige of their names
and glorious deeds still clings around their descendants now peopling
the lands they conquered from the desert, the savage, and the flood.
These daring men brought with them the chivalrous spirit which
descended to their sons--the open, gallant bearing; the generous
hospitality; the noble humanity; the honor which prefers death to a
stain, and the soul which never stoops to a lie, a fraud, or a meanness
degrading to a gentleman. They have been born upon the banks of the
great river of the world; they have seen all the developments of
talent, time, and enterprise which have made their country great as the
river through which it flows. Accustomed from infancy to look upon this
scene and these developments, their souls with their ideas have been
sublimated, and they are a population unsurpassed in the higher
attributes of humanity, and the nobler sympathies of man, by any on the
face of the earth--surrounded by wealth, tangible and substantial,
descending from generation to generation, affording to each all the
blessings wealth can give.

The spirit of hospitality and independence has ennobled the sons, as
hereditary wealth and privilege had the sires who planted this colony.
These sires laid the foundation of this wealth, in securing for their
posterity the broad acres of this fat-land where now they are to be
found. None have emigrated: conscious of possessing the noblest
heritage upon earth, they have remained to eliminate from this soil the
wealth which in such abundance they possess. As they were reared, they
have reared their sons; the lessons of truth, virtue, honor have borne
good fruit. None can say they ever knew a French Creole a confirmed
drunkard or a professional gambler. None ever knew an aberration of
virtue in a daughter of one.

The high-bred Creole lady is a model of refinement--modest, yet free in
her manners; chaste in her thoughts and deportment; generous in her
opinions, and full of charity; highly cultivated intellectually and by
association; familiar from travel with the society of Europe; mistress
of two, and frequently of half a dozen languages, versed in the
literature of all. Accustomed from infancy to deport themselves as
ladies, with a model before them in their mothers, they grow up with an
elevation of sentiment and a propriety of deportment which
distinguishes them as the most refined and polished ladies in the whole
country. There is with these a softness of deportment and delicacy of
expression, an abstinence from all violent and boisterous expressions
of their feelings and sentiments, and above all, the entire freedom
from petty scandal, which makes them lovely, and to be loved by every
honorable and high-bred gentleman who may chance to know them and
cultivate their association. Indeed, this is a characteristic of the
gentlemen as well as the ladies.

These people may have a feud, and sometimes they do; but this rarely
remains long unsettled. No one will ever hear it publicly alluded to,
and assuredly they will never hear it uttered in slanderous
vituperation of the absent party. I may be permitted here to narrate an
incident illustrative of this peculiarity.

A gentleman, knowing of a dissension between two parties, was dining
with one of them, in company with several others. This guest spoke to
the hostess disparagingly of the enemy of her husband, who, hearing the
remark, rebuked his officious guest by remarking to him: "Doctor, my
lady and myself would prefer to find out the foibles and sins of our
neighbors ourselves." The rebuke was effectual, and informed the
doctor, who was new in the country, of an honorable feeling in the
refined population of the land of his adoption alien to that of his
birth, and which he felt made these people the superior of all he had
ever known.

No one has ever travelled upon one of those palatial steamers abounding
on the Mississippi, in the spring season of the year, when the waters
swell to the tops of the levees, lifting the steamer above the level of
the great fields of sugar-cane stretching away for miles to the forest
on either bank of that mighty river, who has not been delighted with
the lovely homes, surrounded with grounds highly cultivated and most
beautifully ornamented with trees, shrubs, and flowers, which come upon
the view in constant and quick succession, as he is borne onward
rapidly along the accumulated waters of the great river. This scene
extends one hundred and fifty miles up the river, and is one not
equalled in the world. The plain is continuous and unbroken; nor hill
nor stream intersects it but at two points, where the Plaquemine and La
Fourche leave it to find a nearer way to the sea; and these are so
diminutive, in comparison with all around, that they are passed almost
always without being seen.

The fringe of green foliage which is presented by the trees and shrubs
adorning each homestead, follows in such rapid succession as to give it
a continuous line, in appearance, to the passers-by on the steamer.
These, denuded of timber to the last tree, the immense fields, only
separated by a ditch, or fence, which spread along the river--all
greened with the luxuriant sugar-cane, and other crops, growing so
vigorously as at once to satisfy the mind that the richness of the soil
is supreme--and this scene extending for one hundred and fifty miles,
makes it unapproachable by any other cultivated region on the face of
the globe. Along the Ganges and the Nile, the plain is extensive. The
desolate appearance it presents--the miserable homes of the population,
devoid of every ornament, without comfort or plenty in their
appearance--the stinted and sparse crops, the intervening deserts of
sand, the waste of desolation, spreading away far as the eye can
reach--the streams contemptible in comparison, and the squalid,
degraded, thriftless people along their banks, make it painful to the
beholder, who is borne on his way in some dirty little craft,
contrasting so strangely with the Mississippi steamer. Yet, in
admirable keeping with everything else, all these present a grand
contrast to the valley of the Mississippi, and only prove the latter
has no equal in all that pertains to grandeur, beauty, and abundance,
on the globe. To appreciate all these, you must know and mingle with
the population who have thus ornamented, with labor and taste, the
margin of this stream of streams.

As this great expanse of beauty is a fairy-land to the eye, so is the
hospitality of its homes a delight to the soul. In this population, if
nowhere else in America, is seen a contented and happy people--a people
whose pursuit is happiness, and not the almighty dollar. Unambitious of
that distinction which only wealth bestows, they are content with an
abundance for all their comforts, and for the comfort of those who, as
friends or neighbors, come to share it with them. Unambitious of
political distinction, despising the noisy tumult of the excited
populace, they love their homes, and cultivate the ease of quiet in
these delicious retreats, enjoying life as it passes, in social and
elegant intercourse with each other, nor envying those who rush into
the busy world and hunt gain or distinction from the masses, through
the shrewdness of a wit cultivated and debased by trade, or a fawning,
insincere sycophancy toward the dirty multitude they despise. By such,
these people are considered anomalous, devoid of energy or enterprise,
contented with what they have, nor ambitious for more--which, to an
American, with whom, if the earth is obtained, the moon must be striven
for, is stranger than all else--living indolently at their ease,
regardless of ephemeral worldly distinctions, but happy in the comforts
of home, and striving only to make this a place for the enjoyment of
themselves and those about them.

To the stranger they are open and kind, universally hospitable, never
scrutinizing his whole man to learn from his manner or dress whether he
comes as a gentleman or a sharper, or whether he promises from
appearance to be of value to them pecuniarily in a trade. There is
nothing of the huckster in their natures. They despise trade, because
it degrades; they have only their crops for sale, and this they trust
to their factors; they never scheme to build up chartered companies for
gain, by preying upon the public; never seek to overreach a neighbor or
a stranger, that they may increase their means by decreasing his; would
scorn the libation of generous wine, if they felt the tear of the widow
or the orphan mingled with it, and a thousand times would prefer to be
cheated than to cheat; despising the vicious, and cultivating only the
nobler attributes of the soul.

Such is the character of the educated French Creole planters of
Louisiana--a people freer from the vices of the age, and fuller of the
virtues which ennoble man, than any it has fallen to my lot to find in
the peregrinations of threescore years and ten. The Creoles, and
especially the Creole planters, have had little communication with any
save their own people. The chivalry of character, in them so
distinguishing a trait, they have preserved as a heritage from their
ancestors, whose history reads more like a romance than the lives and
adventures of men, whose nobility of soul and mind was theirs from a
long line of ancestors, and brought with them to be planted on the
Mississippi in the character of their posterity.

Is it the blood, the rearing, or the religion of these people which
makes them what they are? They are full of passion; yet they are gentle
and forbearing toward every one whom they suppose does not desire to
wrong or offend them; they are generous and unexacting, abounding in
the charity of the heart, philanthropic, and seemingly from instinct
practising toward all the world all the Christian virtues. They are
brave, and quick to resent insult or wrong, and prefer death to
dishonor; scrupulously just in all transactions with their fellow-men,
forbearing toward the foibles of others, without envy, and without
malice. In their family intercourse they are respectful and kind, and
particularly to their children: they are cautious never to oppress or
mortify a child--directing the parental authority first to the teaching
of the heart, then to the mind--instilling what are duties with a
tenderness and gentleness which win the affections of the child to
perform these through love only. Propriety of deportment toward their
seniors and toward each other is instilled from infancy and observed
through life. All these lessons are stamped upon the heart, not only by
the precepts of parents and all about them, but by their example.

The negro servants constitute a part of every household, and are
identified with the family as part of it. To these they are very kind
and forbearing, as also to their children, to whom they uniformly speak
and act gently. A reproof is never given in anger to either, nor in
public, for the purpose of mortifying, but always in private, and
gently--in sorrow rather than in anger; and where punishment must be
resorted to, it is done where only the parent or master, and the child
or servant, can see or know it. This is the example of the Church. The
confessional opens up to the priest the errors of the penitent, and
they are rebuked and forgiven in secret, or punished by the imposition
of penalties known only to the priest and his repentant parishioner. Is
it this which makes such models of children and Christians in the
educated Creole population of Louisiana? or is it the instinct of race,
the consequence of a purer and more sublimated nature from the blue
blood of the exalted upon earth? The symmetry of form, the delicacy of
feature in the males, their manliness of bearing, and the high
chivalrous spirit, as well as the exquisite beauty and grace of their
women, with the chaste purity of their natures, would seem to indicate
this as the true reason.

All who have ever entered a French Creole family have observed the
gentle and respectful bearing of the children, their strict yet
unconstrained observance of all the proprieties of their position, and
also the affectionate intercourse between these and their parents, and
toward each other--never an improper word; never an improper action;
never riotous; never disobedient. They approach you with confidence,
yet with modesty, and are respectful even in the mirth of childish
play. Around the mansions of these people universally are
pleasure-grounds, permeated with delightful promenades through
parterres of flowers and lawns of grass, covered with the delicious
shade thrown from the extended limbs and dense foliage of the great
trees. These children, when wandering here, never trespass upon a
parterre or pluck unbidden a flower, being restrained only by a sense
of propriety and decency inculcated from the cradle, and which grows
with their growth, and at maturity is part of their nature. Could
children of Anglo-Norman blood be so restrained? Would the wild
energies of these bow to such control, or yield such obedience from
restraint or love? Certainly in their deportment they are very
different, and seem only to yield to authority from fear of punishment,
and dash away into every kind of mischief the moment this is removed.
Nor is this fear and certainty of infliction of punishment in most
cases found to be of sufficient force to restrain these inherent
proclivities.

Too frequently with such as these the heart-training in childhood is
neglected or forgotten, and they learn to do nothing from love as a
duty to God and their fellow-beings. The good priest comes not as a
minister of peace and love into the family; but is too frequently held
up by the thoughtless parent as a terror, not as a good and loving man,
to be loved, honored, and revered, and these are too frequently the
raw-head and bloody-bones painted to the childish imagination by those
parents who regard the rod as the only reformer of childish errors--who
forget the humanities in inspiring the brutalities of parental
discipline, as well as the pastoral duties of their vocation. They
persuade not into fruit the blossoms of the heart, but crush out the
delicate sensibilities from the child's soul by coarse reproofs and
brutal bearing toward them. The causes of difference I cannot divine,
but I know that the facts exist, and I know the difference extends to
the adults of the two races.

The Anglo-American is said to be more enterprising, more energetic and
progressive--seeks dangers to overcome them, and subdues the world to
his will. The Gallic or French-American is less enterprising, yet
sufficiently so for the necessary uses of life. He is more honest and
less speculative; more honorable and less litigious; more sincere with
less pretension; superior to trickery or low intrigue; more open and
less designing; of nobler motives and less hypocrisy; more refined and
less presumptuous, and altogether a man of more chivalrous spirit and
purer aspirations. The Anglo-American commences to succeed, and will
not scruple at the means: he uses any and all within his power, secures
success, and this is called enterprise combined with energy. Moral
considerations are a slight obstacle. They may cause him to hesitate,
but never restrain his action. The maxim is ever present to his mind:
it is honorable and respectable to succeed--dishonorable and
disreputable to fail; it is only folly to yield a bold enterprise to
nice considerations of moral right. If he can avoid the penalties of
the civil law, success obviates those of the moral law. Success is the
balm for every wrong--the passport to every honor.

  "His race may be a line of thieves,
    His acts may strike the soul with horror;
  Yet infamy no soiling leaves--
    The rogue to-day's the prince to-morrow."

This demoralizes: the expedient for the just--that which will do, not
that which should do, if success requires, must be resorted to. This
idea, like the pestilence which rides the breeze, reaches every heart,
and man's actions are governed only by the law--not by a high moral
sense of right. Providence, it is supposed, prepares for all exigencies
in the operations of nature. If this be true, it may be that the
peculiarities of blood, and the consequence to human character, may, in
the Anglo-American, be specially designed for his mission on this
continent; for assuredly he is the eminently successful man in all
enterprises which are essential in subduing the earth, and aiding in
the spreading of his race over this continent. Every opposition to his
progress fails, and the enemies of this progress fall before him, and
success is the result of his every effort. That the French Creoles
retain the chivalry and noble principles of their ancestry is certainly
true; but that they have failed to preserve the persevering enterprise
of their ancestors is equally true.

Emigration from France, to any considerable extent, was stayed after
the cessation of Louisiana to the United States, and the French
settlements ceased to expand. The country along and north of Red River,
on the Upper Mississippi and the Washita, was rapidly filled up with a
bold, hardy American population, between whom and the French sparsely
peopling the country about Natchitoches on the Red, and Monroe on the
Washita River, there was little or no sympathy; and the consequence was
that many of those domiciled already in these sections left, and
returned to the Lower Mississippi, or went back to France.

There had been, anterior to this cession, two large grants of land made
to the Baron de Bastrop and the Baron de Maison Rouge, upon the Washita
and Bartholomew, including almost the entire extent of what is now two
parishes. These grants were made by the European Government upon
condition of settlement within a certain period. The Revolution in
France was expelling many of her noblest people, and the Marquis de
Breard, with many followers, was one of these: he came, and was the
pioneer to these lands. A nucleus formed, and accessions were being
made, but the government being transferred and the country becoming
Americanized, this tide of immigration was changed from French to
American, and the requisite number of settlers to complete the grants
was not reached within the stipulated period, and they were, after more
than half a century, set aside, and the lands disposed of as public
lands by the United States Government. Had the government continued in
the hands of France, it is more than probable that the titles to these
tracts would never have been contested, even though the requisite
number of settlers had not been upon the lands to complete the grants
at the specified period; and it is also probable there would have been,
in proper time, the required number. But this transfer of dominion was
exceedingly distasteful to the French population.

The antagonism of races itself is a great difficulty in the way of
amalgamation, even though both may belong to the same great division of
the human family; but added to this the difference of language, laws,
habits, and religion, it would almost seem impossible. In the instance
of Louisiana it has, so far, proved impossible. Although the French
have been American subjects for more than sixty years, and there now
remain in life very few who witnessed the change, and notwithstanding
this population has, so far as the government is concerned, become
thoroughly Americanized, still they remain to a very great extent a
distinct people. Even in New Orleans they have the French part and the
American part of the city, and do not, to any very great degree, extend
their union by living among each other. Kind feelings exist between the
populations, and the prejudices which have so effectually kept them
apart for so long a time are giving way rapidly now, since most of the
younger portion of the Creole-French population are educated in the
United States, and away from New Orleans; consequently they speak the
English language and form American associations, imbibe American ideas,
and essay to rival American enterprise. Still there is a distinct
difference in appearance. Perhaps the difference in bearing, and in
other characteristics, may be attributable to early education, but the
first and most radical is surely that of blood.

The settlements upon the Red and Washita Rivers did not augment the
French population in the country; it has declined, but more signally
upon the latter than the former river. There remain but few families
there of the ancient population, and these are now so completely
Americanized as scarcely to be distinguishable. The descendants of the
Marquis de Breard, in one or two families, are there, but all who
located on the Bayou Des Arc (and here was the principal settlement),
with perhaps one family only, are gone, and the stranger is in their
homes.

The French character seems to want that fixity of purpose, that
self-denial, and steady perseverance, which is so necessary to those
who would colonize and subdue a new and inhospitable country. The
elevated civilization of the French has long accustomed them to the
refinements and luxuries of life; it has entered into and become a part
of their natures, and they cannot do violence to this in a sufficient
degree to encounter the wilderness and all its privations, or to create
from this wilderness those luxuries, and be content in their enjoyment
for all the hardships endured in procuring them: they shrink away from
these, and prefer the inconveniences and privations of a crowded
community with its enjoyments, even in poverty, to the rough and trying
troubles which surround and distress the pioneer, who pierces the
forest and makes him a home, which, at least, promises all the comforts
of wealth and independence to his posterity. He rather prefers to take
care that he enjoys as he desires the present, and leaves posterity to
do as they prefer. Yet there are many instances of great daring and
high enterprise in the French Creole: these are the exceptions, not the
rule.




CHAPTER XXVII.

ABOLITION OF LICENSED GAMBLING.

BATON ROUGE--FLORIDA PARISHES--DISSATISFACTION--WHERE THERE'S A WILL,
THERE'S A WAY--STORMING A FORT ON HORSEBACK--ANNEXATION AT THE POINT
OF THE POKER--RAPHIGNAC AND LARRY MOORE--FIGHTING THE "TIGER"--CARRYING
A PRACTICAL JOKE TOO FAR--A SILVER TEA-SET.


That portion of Louisiana known as the Florida parishes, and consisting
of the parishes east of the Mississippi, was part of West Florida, and
was almost entirely settled by Americans when a Spanish province. Baton
Rouge, which takes its name from the flagstaff which stood in the
Spanish fort, and which was painted red, (_baton_ meaning stick, and
_rouge_, red, to Anglicize the name would make it red stick,) was the
seat of power for that part or portion of the province. Here was a
small Spanish garrison: on the opposite bank was Louisiana; New Orleans
was the natural market and outlet for the productions of these Florida
settlements.

When the cession of Louisiana to the United States occurred, these
American settlers, desirous of returning to American rule, were
restless, and united in their dissatisfaction with Spanish control.
They could devise no plan by which this could be effected. Their people
reached back from the river, along the thirty-first degree of north
latitude, far into the interior, and extended thence to the lake
border. On three sides they were encompassed by an American population
and an American government. They had carried with them into this
country all their American habits, and all their love for American laws
and American freedom; to the east they were separated by an immense
stretch of barren pine-woods from any other settlements upon Spanish
soil. Pensacola was the seat of governmental authority, and this was
too far away to extend the feeble arm of Spanish rule over these
people. They were pretty much without legal government, save such laws
and rule as had been by common consent established. These were all
American in character, and, to all intents, this was an American
settlement, almost in the midst of an American government, and yet
without the protection of that or any other government. It was evident
that at no distant day the Floridas must fall into the hands of the
American Government. But there was to these people an immediate
necessity for their doing so at once. They could not wait. But, what
could they do? Among these people were many adventurous and determined
men: they had mostly emigrated from the West--Tennessee, Kentucky,
Western Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and some were the descendants of
those who had gone to the country from the South, in 1777 and '8, to
avoid the consequences of the Revolutionary War. This class of men met
in council, and secretly determined to revolutionize the country, take
possession of the Spanish fort, and ask American protection.

They desired to be attached to Louisiana as a part of that State. This,
however, they could not effect without the consent of the State; and to
ask this consent was deemed useless, until they were first recognized
as part of the United States. In this dilemma, a veteran of the
Revolution, and an early pioneer to Kentucky, and thence to West
Florida, said: "'Wherever there is a will, there is a way:' we must
first get rid of the Spanish authority, and look out for what may
follow."

They secretly assembled a small force, and, upon a concerted day, met
in secret, and under the cover of night approached the vicinity of the
fort. Here they lay _perdu_, and entirely unsuspected by the Spanish
Governor Gayoso. As day was approaching, they moved forward on
horseback, and entered the open gate of the fort, and demanded its
immediate surrender. The only opposition made to the assault was by
young Gayoso, the governor's son, who was instantly slain, when the
fort surrendered unconditionally. Perhaps this is the only instance in
the history of wars that a fort was ever stormed on horseback. Thomas,
Morgan, Moore, Johnson, and Kemper were the leaders in this enterprise.
They were completely successful, and the Spanish authorities were
without the means to subdue them to their duty as Spanish subjects.

The next step in their action was now to be decided. If the Government
of the United States attempted their protection, it would be cause for
war with Spain; and it was deemed best to organize under the laws of
Louisiana, and ask annexation to that State. This was done. Members of
the Legislature were elected in obedience to the laws of this State,
and appeared at the meeting of that body, and asked to be admitted as
members representing the late Florida parishes, then, as they assumed,
a part and portion of the State.

When asked by what authority they claimed to be a part of the State,
they answered, succinctly: "We have thrown off the Spanish yoke, and,
as free and independent Americans, have annexed ourselves and the
parishes we represent to this State, and claim as our right
representation in this Legislature: we have joined ourselves to you,
because it is our interest to do so, and yours, too; and we mean to be
accepted." At the head of this representation was Thomas, who was the
commander of the party capturing the fort; associated with him was
Larry Moore. Thomas came from the river parishes; Moore from those
contiguous to the lakes; both were Kentuckians, both illiterate, and
both determined men. They did not speak as suppliants for favors, but
as men demanding a right. They knew nothing of national law, and,
indeed, very little of any other law; but were men of strong common
sense, and clearly understood what was the interest of their people and
their own, and, if determination could accomplish it, they meant to
have it.

There were in the Legislature, at the time, two men of strong minds,
well cultivated--Blanc and Raphignac; they represented the city, were
Frenchmen--not French Creoles, but natives of _la belle_ France. They
led the opposition to the admission of the Florida parishes as part of
the State, and their representatives as members of the Legislature.
They were acquainted with national law, and appreciated the comity of
nations, and were indisposed to such rash and informal measures as were
proposed by Thomas and Moore. The portion of the State bordering upon
this Spanish territory, and especially that part on the Mississippi,
were anxious for the admission and union; they were unwilling that
Spain should participate in the control and navigation of any part of
the river; and, being peaceable and law-abiding, they wanted such close
neighbors subject to the same government and laws. The influence of
Blanc and Raphignac was likely to carry the majority and reject the
application of the Floridans.

The pertinacious opposition of these men inflamed to anger Moore and
Thomas. The matter, to them, was life or death. By some means they must
get under the American flag, and they saw the only preventive in these
two men. Moore (for it was a cold day when the decision was to be made)
was seen to place the iron poker in the fire, and leave it there.
Thomas was replying to Blanc in a most inflammatory and eloquent
address; for, though rude and unlettered, he was full of native
eloquence, and was very fluent: if he could not clothe his strong
thoughts in pure English, he could in words well understood and keenly
felt. They stimulated Moore almost to frenzy.

At that critical moment Raphignac walked to the fireplace, where Moore
had remained sitting and listening to Thomas. Warm words were passing
between Thomas and Blanc, when suddenly Moore grasped the heated
poker--the end in the fire being at white heat--and calling to Thomas
with a stentorian voice, "General Thomas! you take that white-headed
French scoundrel, and I'll take blue-nose," and, brandishing his hot
poker over his head, he charged, as with the bayonet, pointing the
poker at the stomach of Raphignac. "_Tonnerre!_" exclaimed the
frightened Frenchman, and, lifting both hands, he fell back against the
wall. Moore still held the poker close to his stomach, as he called
aloud, "Take the question, General Thomas! We come here to be admitted,
and d--- me if we won't be, or this goes through your bread-basket, I
tell you, Mr. Raphy Blue-nose!" Raphignac was a tall, thin man, with a
terribly large bottled nose. At the end it was purple as the grape
which had caused it. The question was put, and the proposition was
carried, amid shouts of laughter. "Oh!" said Raphignac, as the poker
was withdrawn, and Moore with it, "vat a d--- ole savage is dat Larry
Moore!" Thus a part of West Florida became a part of Louisiana.

From that day forward, many of these men became most prominent citizens
of the State. The son of Johnson--one of the leaders--became its
Governor. Thomas was frequently a member of the Legislature, and once a
member of Congress, from the Baton Rouge district, where he resided,
and where he now sleeps in an honored grave. Morgan and Moore were
frequently members of the Legislature. But of all the participants in
this affair, Thomas was most conspicuous and most remarkable. He was
almost entirely without education; but was gifted with great good
sense, a bold and honest soul, and a remarkable natural eloquence. His
manner was always natural and genial--never, under any circumstances,
embarrassed or affected; and in whatever company he was thrown, or
however much a stranger to the company, somehow he became the
conspicuous man in a short time. The character in his face, the flash
of his eye, the remarkable self-possession, the natural dignity of
deportment, and his great good sense, attracted, and won upon every
one. In all his transactions, he was the same plain, honest man--never,
under any circumstances, deviating from truth--plain, unvarnished
truth; rigidly stern in morals, but eminently charitable to the
shortcomings of others. He was, from childhood, reared in a new
country, amid rude, uncultivated people, and was a noble specimen of a
frontier man; without the amenities of cultivated life, or the polish
of education, yet with all the virtues of the Christian heart, and
these, perhaps, the more prominently, because of the absence of the
others. It was frequently remarked by him that he did not think
education would have been of any advantage to him. It enabled men, with
pretty words, to hide their thoughts, and deceive their fellow-men with
a grace and an ease he despised; and it might have acted so with him,
but it would have made him a worse and a more unhappy man. He now never
did or said anything that he was ashamed to think of. He did not want
to conceal his feelings and opinions, because he did not know how to do
it; and he was sure if he attempted it he should make a fool of
himself; for lies required so much dressing up in pretty words to make
them look like truth, that he should fail for want of words; and truth
was always prettiest when naked. In the main, the General was correct;
but there are some who lie with a _naivete_ so perfect that even he
would have deemed it truth naked and unadorned.

Larry Moore was a different man, but quite as illiterate and bold as
Thomas, without his abilities; yet he was by no means devoid of mind.
He resided upon the lake border, in the flat pine country, where the
land is poor, and the people are ignorant and bigoted. Larry was far
from being bigoted, save in his politics. He had been a Jeffersonian
Democrat, he knew; but he did not know why. He lived off the road, and
did not take the papers. He knew Jefferson had bought Louisiana and her
people, and, as he understood, at seventy-five cents a head. He did not
complain of the bargain, though he thought, if old Tom had seen them
before the bargain was clinched, he would have hesitated to pay so
much. But, anyhow, he had given the country a free government and a
legislature of her own, and he was a Jefferson man, or Democrat, or
whatever you call his party. He had been sent to the Legislature, and
volunteered to meet the British under General Jackson.

From Jefferson to Jackson he transferred all his devotion; because the
one bought, and the other fought for, the country. Some part of the
glory of the successful defence of New Orleans was his, for he had
fought for it, side by side with Old Hickory; and he loved him because
he had imprisoned Louallier and Hall. The one was a Frenchman, the
other an Englishman, and both were enemies of Jackson and the country.

Now he adored General Jackson, and was a Jackson Democrat. He did not
know the meaning of the word, but he understood that it was the slogan
of the dominant party, and that General Jackson was the head of that
party. He knew he was a Jackson man, and felt whatever Jackson did was
right, and he would swear to it. He was courageous and independent;
feared no one nor anything; was always ready to serve a friend, or
fight an enemy--_a fist-fight_; was kind to his neighbors, and always
for the under dog in the fight. It would, after this, be supererogatory
to say he was popular with such a people as his neighbors and
constituents. Whenever he chose he was sent to the Senate by three
parishes, or to the House by one; and in the Legislature he was always
conspicuous. He knew the people he represented, and could say or do
what he pleased; and for any offence he might give, was ready to settle
with words, or a _fist-fight_. Physically powerful, he knew there were
but few who, in a rough-and-tumble, could compete with him; and when
his adversary yielded, he would give him his hand to aid him from the
ground, or to settle it amicably in words. "Any way to have peace," was
his motto.

There was, however, a different way of doing things in New Orleans,
where the Legislature met. Gentlemen were not willing to wear a black
eye, or bruised face, from the hands or cudgels of ruffians. They had a
short way of terminating difficulties with them. A stiletto or
Derringer returned the blow, and the Charity Hospital or potter's field
had a new patient or victim. These were places for which Larry had no
special _penchant_, and in the city he was careful to avoid rows or
personal conflicts. He knew he was protected by the Constitution from
arrest, or responsibility for words uttered in debate, and this was all
he knew of the Constitution; yet he was afraid that for such words as
might be offensive he would be likely to meet some one who would seek
revenge in the night, and secretly. These responsibilities he chose to
shun, by guarding his tongue by day, and keeping his chamber at night.
Sometimes, however, in company with those whom he could trust, he would
visit, at night, Prado's or Hicks's saloon, and play a little, just for
amusement, with the "tiger."

Now, in the heyday of Larry's political usefulness, gaming was a
licensed institution in the city of New Orleans. The magnificent
charity of the State, the Hospital for the Indigent, was sustained by
means derived from this tax.

It was the enlightened policy of French legislation to tax a vice which
could not be suppressed by criminal laws. The experience of
civilization has, or ought to have taught every people, that the vice
of gaming is one which no law can reach so completely as to suppress
_in toto_. Then, if it will exist, disarm it as much as possible of the
power to harm--let it be taxed, and give the exclusive privilege to
game to those who pay the tax and keep houses for the purpose of
gaming. These will effectually suppress it. Everywhere else they are
entitled to the game, and will keep close watch that it runs into no
other net. Let this tax be appropriated to the support of an
institution where, in disease and indigence, its victims may find
support and relief. Make it public, that all may see and know its
_habitues_, and who may feel the reforming influence of public opinion.
For, at last, this is the only power by which the morals of a community
are preserved. Let laws punish crimes--public opinion reform vices.

Larry was a lawmaker, and though he loved a little fun at times, even
at the expense of the law, he was very solicitous as to the health of
the public morals. In several visits at Prado's, he was successful in
plucking some of the hair from the tiger. It was exceedingly pleasant
to have a little pocket-change to evince his liberality socially with
his friends, when it did not trench upon the crop, which was always a
lean one on the sand-plains of St. Helena; for, like the great
Corsican, Larry had a desolate home in St. Helena.

On one occasion, however, he went too close to the varmint, and
returned to his little dirty apartments on the Rue Rampart minus all
his gains, with a heavy instalment from the crop. His wonted spirits
were gone. He moped to the State House, and he sat melancholy in his
seat; he heeded not even the call of the yeas and nays upon important
legislation. Larry was sick at heart, sick in his pocket, and was only
seen to pluck up spirit enough to go to the warrant-clerk, and humbly
insist upon a warrant on the treasurer for a week's pay to meet a
week's board. On Monday, however, he came into the Senate with more
buoyancy of spirit than had been his wont for some days; for Larry was
a senator now, and had under his special charge and guardianship the
people and their morals of three extensive parishes.

The Senate was scarcely organized and the minutes read, when it was
plain Larry meant mischief. The hour for motions had arrived, and Larry
was on his feet: he cleared his throat, and, throwing back his head,
said: "Mr. President, I have a motion in my hand, which I will read to
the Senate:

"'_Resolved_, That a joint committee, of one from the Senate, and two
from the House, be appointed to report a bill abolishing licensed
gaming in the city of New Orleans.'"

Larry had declared war, for he added, as he sent his resolution to the
clerk's desk: "At the proper time I mean to say something about these
damnable hells." Throughout the city there was a buzz; for at that time
New Orleans had not the fourth of her present population. Any move of
this sort was soon known to its very extremes. The trustees of the
hospital, the stockholders in these licensed faro-banks--for they were,
like all robbing-machines, joint-stock companies--and many who honestly
believed this the best system to prevent gaming as far as possible,
were seen hanging about the lobbies of the Legislature. Each had his
argument in favor of continuing the license, but all were based upon
the same motive--interest. The public morals would be greatly injured,
instead of being improved; where there were only four gaming
establishments, there would be fifty; instead of being open and public,
they would be hid away in private, dark places, to which the young and
the innocent would be decoyed and fleeced; merchants could not
supervise the conduct of their clerks--these would be robbed by their
employes. As the thing stood now, cheating operated a forfeiture of
charter or license: this penalty removed, cheating would be universal.
"What would become of the hospital?" the tax-payer asked. "God knows,
our taxes are onerous enough now, and to add to these the eighty
thousand dollars now paid by the gamblers--why, the people would not
stand it, and this great and glorious charity would be destroyed."

To all of these arguments Larry was deaf; his constituents expected it
of him; the Christian Church demanded it. They were responsible to
Heaven for this great sin. The pious prayers of the good sisters of the
holy Methodist Church, as well as those of the Baptist, had at last
reached the ears of the Almighty, and he, Larry, felt himself the
instrument in His hands to put down the _d----d infernal sons of
b----_, who were robbing the innocent and unsuspecting.

There was no use of urging arguments of this sort to him: if the
Charity Hospital fell, _let_ her fall, and if the indigent afflicted
could not find relief elsewhere, why, they must die--they had to die
anyhow at some time, and he didn't see much use in their living,
anyhow; and as for the taxes, he was not much concerned about that: he
had but little to be taxed, and his constituents had less. "I, or they,
as you see, are not very responsible on that score. By the God of
Moses, this licensed gambling was a sin and a curse, if it did support
seven or eight thousand people in the Charity Hospital every year: that
was the reason so many died there, the curse of God was on the place;
for the Scripture says, the 'wages of sin is death,' and I see this
Scripture fulfilled right here in that hospital, and the moral and
religious portion of my constituents so feel it, and I am bound to
represent them. And the d----d gamblers were no friends of mine or of
the Church."

There was one, a little dark-moustached Spaniard, who was listening and
peering at him, with eyes black and pointed as a chincapin, and,
murmuring softly in Spanish, turned and went away. "What did that
d----d black-muzzled whelp say?" Larry asked. "I don't understand their
d----d lingo." An unobtrusive individual in the background translated
it for him. He said: "He who strikes with the tongue, should always be
ready to guard with the hands!" "What in the h--- does he mean by
that?" asked Larry. "_Je ne sais pas!_" said one whom Larry remembered
to have seen in the tiger's den, and apparently familiar there, for he
had been on the wrong side of the table.

"I suppose they mean to shoot me." The Frenchman shrugged his shoulders
most knowingly. Larry grew pale, and walked from the lobby to his seat.
Here he knew he was safe. He laid his head in his palm, and rested it
there for many minutes. At last, he said sharply: "Let them shoot, and
be d----d."

The committee was announced. Larry, who was the chairman, and two from
the House, constituted this important committee. One of these loved
fun, and never lost an opportunity to have it. The meeting of the
committee soon took place, and the chairman insisted that the first
named on the part of the House should draft the bill. This was the wag.
He saw Larry was frightened, and peremptorily refused, declaring it was
the chairman's duty. "I do not wish to have anything to do with this
matter any way. It was a very useless thing, and foolish too, to be
throwing a cat into a bee-gum; for this was nothing else. This bill
will start every devil of those little moustached foreigners into fury:
they are all interested in these faro-banks. It is their only way of
making a living, and they are as vindictive as the devil. Any of them
can throw a Spanish knife through a window, across the street, and into
a man's heart, seated at his table, or fireside; and to-day I heard one
of them say, in French, which he supposed I did not understand, that
this bill was nothing but revenge for money lost; and if revenge was so
sweet, why, he could taste it too. Now, I have lost no money
there--have never been in any of their dens, and he could not mean me."

"Gentlemen, we will adjourn this meeting until to-morrow," said Larry,
"when I will try and have a bill for your inspection." The morrow came,
and the bill came with it, and was reported and referred to the
committee of the whole House. On the ensuing morning, Larry found upon
his desk, in the Senate chamber, the following epistle:

  "MR. LARRY MOORE: You have no shame, or I would expose you in the
  public prints. You know your only reason for offering a bill to
  repeal the law licensing gaming in this city is to be revenged on
  the house which won honorably from you a few hundred dollars, most
  of which you had, at several sittings, won from the same house.
  Now, you have been talked to; still you persist. There is a way to
  reach you, and it shall be resorted to, if you do not desist from
  the further prosecution of this bill."

The hand in which this epistle was written was cramped and evidently
disguised, to create the impression of earnestness and secrecy. It was
a long time before Larry could spell through it. When he had made it
out, he rose to a question of order and privilege, and sent the
missive to the secretary's desk, to be read to the Senate. During the
reading there was quite a disposition to laugh, on the part of many
senators, who saw in it nothing but a joke.

"What in the h--- do you see in that thar document to laugh at, Mr.
Senators? D--- it, don't you see it is a threat, sirs!--a threat to
'sassinate me? I want to know, by the eternal gods, if a senator in
this house--this here body--is to be threatened in this here way? You
see, Mr. President, that these here gamblers (d--- 'em!) want to rule
the State. Was that what General Jackson fit the battle of New Orleans
for, down yonder in old Chemut's field? I was thar, sir; I risked my
life in that great battle, and I want to tell these d----d scoundrels
that they can't scare me--no, by the Eternal!"

"I must call the senator to order. It is not parliamentary to swear in
debate," said the President of the Senate.

"I beg pardon of the chair; but I didn't know this Senate was a
parliament before; but I beg pardon. I didn't know I swore before;
but, Mr. President, I'll be d----d if this ain't a figure beyant me:
for a parcel of scoundrels--d----d blacklegs, sir!--to threaten a
senator in this Legislature with 'sassination, for doin' the will of
his constituents."

"The chair would remind the senator that there is no question or
motion before the Senate."

"Thar ain't? Well, that's another wrinkle. Ain't that thar hell-fired
letter to me, sir--a senator, sir, representing three parishes,
sir--before this House? (or maybe you'll want me to call it a
parliament, sir?) It is, sir; and I move its adoption."

This excited a general laugh, and, at the same time, the ire of Moore.

"By G--, sir; I don't know if it wouldn't benefit the State if these
hell-fired gamblers were to 'sassinate the whole of this House or
parliament."

The laugh continued, and Moore left the Senate in a rage.

The next morning found a second epistle, apparently from a different
source, on Moore's table. It was written in a fine, bold hand, and
said:

  "LARRY: You splurged largely over a letter found on your desk
  yesterday. I see you have carried it to the newspapers. I want you
  to understand distinctly and without equivocation, if the bill you
  reported to the Senate becomes a law, _you die. Verbum sapientis_."

Larry had not returned to his seat during the day; but the next
morning he came in, flanked by several senators, who had come with him
from his quarters. There lay the threatening document, sealed, and
directed to the "Honorable Larry Moore." In a moment the seal was
broken. This he could read without much trouble. After casting his
eyes over it, he read it aloud.

"Now, sir, Mr. President, here is another of these d----d letters, and
this time I am told if this bill passes, I am to die. Maybe you'll say
this ain't before the Senate."

"The chair would remind the senator that the simple reading of a
private letter to the Senate raises no question. There must be a
motion in relation to what disposition shall be made of the paper."

"I know that, sir. Mr. President, I'm not a greeny in legislator
matters. I have been here before, sir; and didn't I move its adoption
yesterday, sir? and wasn't I laughed out of the house, sir? and I
expect if I was to make the same motion, I should be laughed out of
the house again, sir. Some men are such d----d fools that they will
laugh at anything."

"The chair must admonish the senator that oaths are not in order."

"Well, by G--, sir, is my motion in order to-day? I want to know; I
want you to tell me that."

"Order, Mr. Senator!"

"Yes, sir, 'order!' Mr. President, that's the word. Order, sir; is my
motion in order, sir?"

"The chair calls the senator to order."

"Ah! that is it, is it? Well, sir, what order shall I take? I ask a
question, and the chair calls me to order. Well, sir, I'm in only
tolerable order, but I want my question answered--I want to know if
I'm to be threatened with 'sassination by the hell-fired gamblers, and
then laughed at by senators for bringing it before the Senate, and
insulted by you, sir, by calling me to order for demanding my rights,
and the rights of my constituents, here, from this Senate? This, sir,
is a d----d pretty situation of affairs. If General Jackson was in
your place, I'd have my rights, and these d----d gamblers would get
theirs, sir: he would hang them under the second section, and no
mistake."

The laugh was renewed, and the President asked Larry if he had any
motion to make.

"Yes, sir," said Larry, now thoroughly aroused. "I move this Senate
adjourn and go home, and thar stay until they larn to behave like
gentlemen, by G--!" and away he went in angry fury.

For four consecutive days, this scene was enacted in the Senate. Each
succeeding day saw Moore more and more excited, and the Senate began
to entertain the opinion that there was an intention to intimidate the
Legislature, and thus prevent the passage of the bill. These daily
missives grew more and more threatening, and terror began to usurp the
place of rage with Moore. He would not leave the Senate chamber or his
quarters without being accompanied by friends. In the mean time the
bill came up, and Moore had made a characteristic speech, and the
morning following there were half a dozen letters placed upon his
table from the post-office. Their threats and warnings increased his
alarm. Some of these purported to come from friends, detailing
conversations of diabolical character which had been overheard--others
told him only an opportunity was wanting to execute the threats
previously made.

The city became excited--a public meeting was called, strong
indignation resolutions were passed, and highly approbatory ones of
the course and conduct of the intrepid senator, pledging him
countenance and support. A subscription was taken up, and a splendid
silver tea-set was presented him, and in this blaze of excitement the
bill became a law--and the city one extended gambling-shop. The silver
set was publicly exhibited, with the name of the senator engraved upon
it, and the cause for presenting it, and by whom presented.

Moore was contemplating this beautiful gift with a group of friends:
among them were the three individuals who had been the authors of all
this mischief, when one of them asked Moore, "Where will you put this
rich gift? It will show badly in your pine-pole cabin."

"I intend having the cabin, every log of it, painted red as
lightning," said Moore. "The silver shan't be disgraced."

Originally it had been intended by those getting up the joke, when it
had sufficiently frightened Moore, to laugh at him; but it took too
serious a turn, and Moore died a hero, not knowing that every letter
was written by the same hand, and that the whole matter was a
practical joke. All, save only one, who participated in it, are in the
grave, and only a few remain who will remember it.

Larry Moore was a Kentuckian by birth, and had many Kentucky
characteristics. He was boisterous but kind-hearted, boastful and good
at a fist-fight, decently honest in most matters, but would cheat in a
horse-trade. Early education is sometimes greatly at fault in its
inculcations, and this was, in Moore's case, peculiarly so. Had he not
been born in Kentucky, these jockey tricks perhaps would not have been
a part of his accomplishments. For there, it is said, no boy is
permitted to leave home on a horse enterprise until he has cheated his
father in a horse-trade. Moore left the State so young that it was by
some doubted whether this trait was innate or acquired; but it always
distinguished him, as a Kentuckian by birth at least.

He was remarkable for the tenacity of his friendships. He would not
desert any one. It was immaterial what was the character of the man,
if he served Moore, Moore was his friend, and he would cling quite as
close to one in the penitentiary as in the halls of Congress. It made
no difference whether he wore cloth or cottonade, lived in a palace or
pine-pole cabin, whether honest or a thief, the touchstone to his
heart was, "He is my friend, and I am at his service." Not only in
this, but in everything else, he strove to imitate his great friend
and prototype, General Jackson. He lived to be an old man, and among
his constituents he was great, and made his mark in his day in the
State. There was some fun in Larry, but he was the cause of much more
in others. Larry, rest in peace, and light be the sand that lies on
your coffin!




CHAPTER XXVIII.

THREE GREAT JUDGES.

A SPEECH IN TWO LANGUAGES--LONG SESSIONS--MATTHEWS, MARTIN, AND PORTER
--A SINGULAR WILL--A SCION OF '98--FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A LITTLE
FUN WITH THE DOGS--CANCELLING A NOTE.


The Legislature of Louisiana, forty years ago, sat in New Orleans, and
was constituted of men of varied nationalities. It was common to see
in close union, Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Englishmen, and
Americans, with here and there a Scotchman, with his boat-shaped head
and hard common sense. The Creole-French and the Americans, however,
constituted the great majority of the body.

When the cession to the United States took place, and the colony soon
after was made a State of the Union, the Constitution required all
judicial and legislative proceedings to be conducted in English, which
was the legal language. But as very few of the ancient population
could speak or read English, it was obligatory on the authorities to
have everything translated into French. All legislative and judicial
proceedings, consequently, were in two languages. This imposed the
necessity of having a clerk or translator, who could not only
translate from the records, but who could retain a two-hours' speech
in either language, and, immediately upon the speaker's concluding,
repeat it in the opposite language.

This complicated method of procedure consumed much time, and
consequently the sessions of the Legislature were protracted usually
for three months, and sometimes four.

This fact caused many planters, whose business called them frequently
to the city during the winter, to become members of the Legislature.
At this time, too, representation was based on taxation, and the
suffragist was he who paid a tax to the State. The revenues of the
State were from taxation, and these taxes were levied alone upon
property. There were no poll taxes, and very few articles except land,
negroes, and merchandise were taxed. The consequence was, the
government was in the hands of the property-holders only.

The constituency was of a better order than is usually furnished by
universal suffrage, and the representation was of a much more elevated
character than generally represents such a constituency.

Party spirit, at that time, had made little progress in dividing the
people of the State, and the gentlemen representatives met cordially,
and constituted an undivided society. There was no division of
interest between different sections of the State, and the general good
was consulted by all. The Legislature was then composed of substantial
men. The seat of government being in the city, and the sessions held
during the winter and spring months, men of business, and especially
professional men, might represent the city constituency, and yet give
a good portion of their time to their usual avocations.

Good laws were the consequence; and the Bench being filled by
executive appointment, with the consent of the Senate, and their
tenure of office being for life or good behavior, insured the
selection of proper men for judges. The Supreme Court was composed at
that time of three judges, Matthews, Martin, and Porter. Matthews was
a Georgian by birth, Martin was a native of France, and Porter an
Irishman: all of these were remarkable men, and each in his own
history illustrative of what energy and application will effect for
men, when properly applied in youth.

Chief-Justice George Matthews was the son of that very remarkable man,
Governor George Matthews, of the State of Georgia. He was born in
Oglethorpe County, Georgia, and received only such education as at
that time could be obtained in the common country schools of the
State. He read law in early life, and was admitted to the Bar of his
native State. His father was Governor of the State at the time of the
passage of the celebrated Yazoo Act, alienating more than half of the
territory of the State.

This act was secured from the Legislature by corruption of the boldest
and most infamous character. Governor Matthews was only suspected of
complicity in this transaction from the fact that he signed the bill
as governor. His general character was too pure to allow of suspicion
attaching to him of corruption in the discharge of the duties of his
office of governor.

At the period of passing this act, the United States Government was
new. The States, under their constitutions, were hardly working
smoothly; the entire system was experimental. The universal opinion
that the people were sovereign, and that it was the duty of every
public officer to yield obedience to the will of the majority, clearly
expressed, operated strongly upon the Executives of the States, and
very few, then, attempted to impose a veto upon any act of the
Legislatures of the different States. Tradition represents Governor
Matthews as opposed individually to the act, but he did not feel
himself justified in interposing a veto simply upon his individual
opinion of the policy or propriety of the measure, especially when he
was assured in his own mind that the Legislature had not transcended
their constitutional powers; and this opinion was sustained as correct
by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Fletcher
_vs._ Peck.

The great unpopularity of the transaction involved the Governor and
his family. Men excited almost to frenzy, never stay to reflect, but
madly go forward, and, in attempts to right great wrongs, commit
others, perhaps quite as great as those they are seeking to remedy.
Governor Matthews, despite his Revolutionary services and his high
character for honesty and moral worth, never recovered from the
effects of this frenzy which seized upon the people of the State, and
is the only one of the early Governors of the State who has remained
unhonored by the refusal of the Legislature, up to this day, to call
or name a county for him. This unpopularity was keenly felt by the
children of Matthews, who were men of great worth.

William H. Crawford was at this time filling a large space in the
public confidence of the people of Georgia, and gave to Governor
Matthews his confidence and friendship. It was he who persuaded George
Matthews, the son, to emigrate to Louisiana. He frankly told him this
unpopularity of his father would weigh heavily upon him through life,
if he remained in Georgia. "You have talents, George," said he, "and,
what is quite as important to success in life, common sense, with
great energy: these may pull you through here, but you will be old
before you will reap anything from their exercise in your native
State. These prejudices against your father may die out, but not
before most of those who have participated in them shall have passed
away: truth will ultimately triumph, but it will be when your father
is in the grave, and you gray with years. To bear and brave this may
be heroic, but very unprofitable. I think I have influence enough with
the President to secure an appointment in Louisiana--probably the
judgeship of the Territory, or one of them."

Matthews feared his qualifications for such an appointment, and so
expressed himself to Crawford. The civil law was the law of Louisiana,
and he was entirely unacquainted with this. Crawford's reply was
eminently characteristic. The great principles of all laws are the
same. Their object is to enforce the right, and maintain impartial
justice between man and man. In hearing a case, a judge of good common
sense will generally find out the justice of the matter. Let him
decide right, and do substantial justice, and he will, ninety-nine
times out of one hundred, decide according to law, whether he knows
anything about the law or not. And such a judge is always best for a
new country, or, in truth, for any country. The appointment was
secured, and George Matthews left his native State forever.

Soon after reaching Louisiana, he married Miss Flower, of West
Feliciana--a lady in every way suited to him. She was of fine family,
with strong mind, domestic habits, and full of energy. They were very
much attached to each other, and were happy and prosperous through all
the life of the great judge. Mrs. Matthews still lives, and in the
immediate neighborhood of her birthplace, and is now active, useful,
and beloved by all who know her, though extremely old.

When the Territory was organized into a State under the Constitution,
Matthews was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court by Governor
Claiborne--an office he held through life, and the duties of which he
discharged with distinguished ability, and to the honor of the State
and the entire satisfaction of the Bar and the people.

The mind of Judge Matthews was strong and methodical. His general
character largely partook of the character of his mind. He steadily
pursued a fixed purpose, and was prudent, cautious, and considerate in
all he did. There was no speculation in his mind. He jumped to no
conclusions; but examined well and profoundly every question--weighed
well every argument; but he never forgot the advice of Mr. Crawford,
and sometimes would strain a point in order to effect strict and
substantial justice. As a judge, he was peculiarly cautious. However
intricate was any case, he bent to it his whole mind, and the great
effort was always to learn the right--to sift from it all the verbiage
and ambiguity which surrounded and obscured it, and then to sustain it
in his decision. Upright and sincere in his pursuits, methodical, with
fixity of purpose, he was never in a hurry about anything, and was
always content, in his business, with moderate profits as the reward
of his labor. As a companion, he was gentle, kind, and eminently
social; but he gave little time to social entertainments or light
amusements. In his decisions as a judge, he established upon a firm
basis the laws, and the enlightened exposition of these, in their true
spirit. A foundation was given to the jurisprudence of the State by
this court, which entitles it justly to the appellation of the Supreme
Court, and to the gratitude of the people of the State.

The life of Judge George Matthews was one of peculiar usefulness.
Learned and pure as a judge, moral and upright as a citizen,
affectionate and gentle as a husband and father, and humane and
indulgent as a master, his example as a man was one to be recommended
to every young man. Its influence upon society was prominently
beneficial, and was an exemplification of moral honesty, perseverance,
and success. He won a proud name as a man and as a jurist, and
accumulated a large fortune, without ever trenching upon the rights of
another. He secured the confidence and affection of every member of
his wife's family--a very extensive one--and was the benefactor of
most of them. He was beloved and honored by all his neighbors, through
a long life. In his public duties and his private relations he never
had an imputation cast upon his conduct, and he died without an enemy.

Francois Xavier Martin was a native of France. In early life he
emigrated to the United States, and fixed his residence at Newbern,
North Carolina. He was poor, and without a trade or profession by
which to sustain himself, or to push his fortunes in a strange land.
He labored under another exceedingly great obstacle to success: though
pretty well educated, he could not speak the English language. But he
had a proud spirit and an indomitable will. He sought employment as a
printer, choosing this as a means of learning the English language.
Though he had never fingered a type in his life, he had that
confidence in himself which inspired the conviction that he could
overcome any difficulty presenting itself between his will and
success.

He found the editor of the newspaper kind, and apparently indifferent;
for he asked no questions relative to his qualifications as a printer,
but, requiring help, gave him immediate employment. He went to
work--was very slow, but very assiduous and constant, never leaving
his stand until he had completed his work. There was a compositor near
him, and he watched and learned without asking questions. Owing to the
little English he knew, no questions were asked; but it was observed
in the office that he was rapidly improving in this, and in the
facility of doing his work. The paper was a weekly one, consequently
he had ample time for his work, and he improved every moment. The many
mistakes he made in the beginning were attributed to his ignorance of
the language, and it was not until he became the most expert
compositor in the office that it was known that he had never, until he
entered this office, been in a printing-office. He was so abstemious
in his habits that those about the office wondered how he lived. He
rarely left the composing-room, and, in his moments of rest from his
work, was employed in studying the language, or reading some English
author. A bit of cheese, a loaf of bread, some dried fish, and a cup
of coffee constituted his bill of fare for every day, and these were
economically used. He never spoke of home, of previous pursuits, or
future intentions. He held communion with no one--his own thoughts
being his only companions--but steadily persevered in his business.
No amusements attracted him. He was never at any place of public
resort. He was the talk of the town, though none had seen him unless
they visited the little, dirty, inky office in which he was employed.
He never seemed to know he was an object of curiosity, and when--as
sometimes was the case--half a dozen persons would come expressly to
see him, he never turned his head from his work, or seemed to be
conscious of their presence.

In this office his progress was very rapid, and it was not very long
before he became the foreman in the composing-room. He continued in
that capacity until he became the owner of the entire establishment.

Not content with the life of a printer, he disposed of his printing
establishment and paper, and came to New Orleans. Before leaving
France he had read some law, and now he applied himself closely to its
study. In a short time he rose to distinction, and was in a lucrative
practice. It was a maxim with Judge Martin never to be idle, and never
to expend time or money uselessly. He found time from his professional
duties to write a history of Louisiana, which is, perhaps, more
correct in its facts than any history ever written.

Early deprivations, and the necessity of a most rigid economy to meet
the exigencies of this straitened condition, created habits of
abstinence and saving which he never gave up. On the contrary, like
all habits long indulged, they became stronger and more obdurate as
life advanced. Before his elevation to the supreme Bench, he had
accumulated a fortune of at least one hundred thousand dollars, which
he had judiciously invested in the city of New Orleans. The tenure of
his office was for life, and his ambition never aspired to anything
beyond; but he devoted himself to the duties of this with the
assiduity of one determined, not only to know, but faithfully to
discharge them. Judge Martin was conscientious in all that he did as a
man, and remarkably scrupulous as a judge. He was unwilling to hasten
his judgments, and sometimes was accused of tardiness in rendering
them. This resulted from the great care exercised in examining the
merits of the case, and to make himself sure of the law applicable to
it.

The peculiar organization of the Supreme Court of Louisiana imposes
immense labor upon the judges; they are not only charged with the duty
of correcting errors of law, but the examination of all the facts and
all the testimony introduced in the trials in the District Court. In
truth, the case comes up _de novo_, and is reviewed as from the
beginning, and a judgment made up without regard to the proceedings
below further than to determine from the record of facts and law sent
up, holding in all cases jurisdiction as well of facts as law--and in
truth it is nothing more than a high court of chancery.

Judge Martin was fond of labor, but did not like to do the same labor
twice; hence his particularity in examining well both facts and law,
in every case submitted for his adjudication. He wished the law
permanently established applicable to every case, and disliked nothing
so much as being compelled to overrule any previous decision of the
Supreme Court. His mind was eminently judicial; its clear perceptions
and analytical powers peculiarly fitted him for the position of
supreme judge. But there was another trait of character, quite as
necessary to the incumbent of the Bench, for which he was altogether
as much distinguished. He was without prejudice, and only knew men
before his court as parties litigant. It was said of him, by John R.
Grymes, a distinguished lawyer of New Orleans, that he was better
fitted by nature for a judge than any man who ever graced the Bench.
"He was all head, and no heart."

This was severely said, and to some extent it was true, for Judge
Martin appeared without sympathy for the world, or any of the world.
He had no social habits; he lived in seclusion with his servant Ben, a
venerable negro, who served him for all purposes. These two had been
so long and so intimately associated, that in habits and want of
feeling they seemed identical. Ben served him because he was his
master and could compel it. He tolerated Ben because he could not well
do without him. He kept an interest account with Ben. He had paid for
him six hundred dollars, when first purchased. Ten per cent, upon this
amount was sixty dollars. His insurance upon a life policy, which risk
he took himself, was one hundred dollars. His services were regularly
valued by what such a man would hire for. Ben accompanied him on the
circuit, and died at Alexandria. When this was told him, he
immediately referred to this account, and declared he had saved money
by buying Ben, but should be loser if he paid his funeral expenses,
which he declined to do. Judge Martin was very near-sighted, and it
was amusing to see him with his little basket doing his marketing,
examining scrupulously every article, cheapening everything, and
finally taking the refuse of meats and vegetables, rarely expending
more than thirty cents for the day's provisions. His penurious habits
seemed natural: they had characterized him from the moment he came to
the United States, and were then so complete as not to be intensified
by age and experience. For many years, he had no relative in this
country, and he created no relations, outside of his business, with
the community in which he lived. His antisocial nature and his
miserable manner of living kept every one from him. Secluded, and
studious in his habits, he never seemed solitary, for his books and
papers occupied his entire time. His thirst for knowledge was coequal
with his thirst for money--and why, no one could tell. He never made a
display of the one, or any use of the other but to beget money. There
seemed an innate love for both, and an equal disposition to husband
both. He seemed to have no ulterior view in hoarding--he endowed no
charity, nor sought the world's praise in the grave, by building a
church or endowing a hospital. With mankind, his only relations were
professional. He never married, and had no taste for female
society--was never known to attend a ball or private party, to unite
himself with any society, or be at a public meeting--never indulged in
a joke or frivolous conversation, and had no use for words unless to
expound law or conclude a contract; strictly punctual to every
engagement, but exceedingly chary in making any.

As Judge Martin advanced in years, his habits became more and more
secluded. He had written for a brother, who came to him from France.
This brother was quite as peculiar as himself--they lived together,
and he in a great degree substituted Ben, at least so far as society
was concerned. Now he was rarely seen upon the street, or mingling
with any, save an occasional visit to some member of the Bar, who,
like himself, had grown old in the harness of the law. During the
early period of the State Government he reported the decisions of the
Supreme Court: these reports are models, and of high authority in the
courts of Louisiana.

Judge Martin's mind was one of peculiar lucidity and extraordinary
vigor; its capacity to acquire, analyze, and apply was quite equal to
that of the great Marshall; its power of condensation was superior to
either of his compeers, while its capacity for application was never
surpassed. It had been trained to close and continuous thought, and so
long had this habit been indulged that it had become nature with him.
His phlegmatic temperament relieved him from anything like
impulsiveness in thought or action; all work with him was
considerately approached and assiduously performed. His habits were
temperate to austerity, and his mode of life penuriously mean; but, as
said of another judge, this may have been the result of habit growing
from extreme necessity--though the same characteristics were
conspicuous in his brother: like the Judge, he was unmarried, and,
though but little younger, was always spoken to and spoken of as his
boy-brother. Like his confrere, he remained upon the Bench until he
died, which was in extreme old age.

It has been asserted by some that Judge Martin soiled his reputation
in his will. It was a very simple and brief will, giving all he
possessed to his brother, and was autographic--that is, written in his
own hand, and signed, dated, and sealed up, and upon the back of the
document written, "This is my autographic will," and this signed with
his own proper hand. Such a will is almost impervious to attack under
the laws of Louisiana.

The law of Louisiana levies a tax of ten per cent, upon all estates or
legacies made to leave the State for foreign countries. The brother of
Judge Martin, as soon as his will was administered and the proceeds of
his estate were in hand, left the United States for France, carrying
with him three hundred thousand dollars, the entire amount of which
the Judge died possessed; and it was subsequently ascertained that he
had left written instructions with his brother to dispose among his
European relatives this sum in obedience to this secret letter of
instructions. This was considered as his will proper; and it was
contended that the transaction was a fraud, to deprive the State of
the legal percentage upon the amount going out of the country. An
attempt was made to recover this amount from his executor, but failed;
and the attorney for the State was rebuked by the Supreme Court for
attempting an imputation dishonorable to the character of the deceased
Judge--a legacy bequeathed to the State, in the distinguished services
rendered to her by him and through so many years of his life. The
facts are as stated. It is true, the will was a clear bequest of all
his estate to his brother, a resident of the State, and the memorandum
a mere request, and this might have been destroyed or disobeyed with
impunity. The will alone was the authoritative disposition of his
estate; the brother claimed under this, and the property once in his
possession, it was his to dispose of at pleasure.

The death of Judge Martin was regretted by every one as a serious loss
to the State, though he had attained very nearly to the age of
fourscore. He had failed, from the entire want of social and
sympathetic attributes in the composition of his nature, to fasten
himself upon the affections of any one, though he commanded the
respect of all for the high qualities of his intellect, his public
services, and the consistent honesty of his life. He was followed to
the grave by the entire Bench and Bar, and most of the distinguished
people of his adopted city. But I doubt if a tear was shed at his
funeral. He was without the ties in life which, sundered by death,
wring tears and grief from the living who loved and who have lost the
endeared one. All that the head could give, he had--the heart denied
him all: in life he had given it to no one, and his death had touched
no heart; and no tear embalmed his bier, no flower planted by
affection's hand blooms about his grave. Still he has left an
imperishable monument to his fame in his judicial career.

Alexander Porter, the junior by many years of Matthews and Martin, his
associates on the Bench, was an Irishman by birth, and came in very
early life to the United States. He was the son of an Irish
Presbyterian minister of remarkable abilities and great learning. As a
chemist, he was only inferior to Sir Humphrey Davy, of his day. During
the troubles of 1798, (since known as the rebellion of '98,) he was
travelling and delivering lectures upon chemistry through Ireland. He
fell under suspicion as being an emissary of the Society of United
Irishmen, who was covering, under the character of a scientific
lecturer, his real mission to stir up and unite the Irish people in
aid of the views of those who were organizing the rebellion. To be
suspected was to be arrested, and to be arrested was wellnigh
equivalent to being executed--sometimes with the mockery of a trial,
and, where evidence was wanting to fix suspicion, even by drum-head
court-martial. This latter was the fate of the accomplished and
learned Porter. The wrath of the Government visited his family. The
brother of the sufferer collected his own and the children of his
murdered brother, consisting of two sons and several daughters, and
emigrated to America. A number of emigrants from their immediate
neighborhood had selected Nashville, Tennessee, as a home in the New
World, and thither he came.

The education of Alexander, the eldest of the sons, had progressed
considerably in Ireland, and was continued for some years at
Nashville. Being poor, he was compelled to employ some of his time in
pursuits foreign to study, in order to supply him with the means of
pursuing the latter. This education was irregular, but was the
foundation of that which in maturer life was most complete. He studied
law when quite young, intending at first to remain at Nashville. The
competition at the Bar in that place was formidable, and he could not
hope to succeed as his ambition prompted, without patient application
for years. Louisiana had just been ceded to the United States,
Mississippi was filling with population: both these Territories would
soon be States. Already they were inviting fields for enterprise and
talent, and soon to be more so. Pondering these facts in his ardent
mind, and riding alone on one occasion to a justice's court in the
country to attend to some trifling matter, he chanced to overtake
General Jackson. He had been frequently importuned by Jackson to
remove to Louisiana. Jackson was, to some extent, familiar with the
country, had frequently visited it, and at that time was interested in
a retail store at Bruensburg, a place situated at the mouth of the
Bayou Pierre, immediately on the bank of the Mississippi River.
Mentioning his wish to emigrate to some point or place where he might
expect more speedy success in his profession, Jackson, with his
accustomed ardor and emphasis, advised him to go to one of these new
Territories, and in such colors did he paint their advantages and the
certain and immediate success of any young man of abilities and
industry, that Porter's imagination was fired, and he immediately
determined to go at once to one of these El Dorados--there to fix his
home and commence the strife with fortune, to coax or command her
approving smiles. Returning to Nashville, he communicated his
intentions to his uncle; they met his approval, and in a short time he
was ready to leave in search of a new home.

He was about to leave every friend, to find his home in the midst of
strangers, without even an acquaintance to welcome and encourage him.
But he was young, vigorous, and hopeful; alive, too, to all he had to
encounter, and determined to conquer it. Still, to one of his natural
warmth of feeling, the parting from all he had ever known, and all on
earth he loved, wrung his heart, and he lingered, dreading the parting
that was to come. His kind and devoted uncle, his brothers he loved so
tenderly, his sisters, and the friends he had made, all were to be
left--and perhaps forever. There were then no steamers to navigate the
waters of the West. He might float away, and rapidly, to his new home;
but to return through the wilderness, filled with savages and beset
with dangers, was a long and hazardous journey, and would require, not
only time, but means, neither of which were at his command.

He met General Jackson again. "What!" said he, "Alick, not gone yet?
This won't do. When you determine, act quickly; somebody may get in
before you. And remember, Alick, you are going to a new country--and a
country, too, where men fight. You will find a different people from
those you have grown among, and you must study their natures, and
accommodate yourself to them. If you go to Louisiana, you will find
nearly all the people French; they are high-minded, and fight at the
drop of a hat; and now let me tell you, it is always best to avoid a
fight; but sometimes it can't be done, and then a man must stand up to
it like a man. But let me tell you, Alick, there are not half the men
who want to fight that pretend to; you can tell this by their
blustering. Now, when you find one of these, and they are mighty
common, just stand right up to him, and always appear to get madder
than he does--look him right in the eye all the time; but remember to
keep cool, for sometimes a blusterer will fight; so keep cool, and be
ready for anything. But, Alick, the best way of all is to fight the
first man that offers, and do it in such a way as to let everybody
know you will fight, and you will not be much bothered after that.
Now, Alick, you will hear a great deal of preaching against
fighting--well, that is all right; but I tell you the best preacher
among them all loves a man who will fight, a thousand times more than
he does a coward who won't. All the world respects a brave man,
because all the better qualities of human nature accompany courage. A
brave man is an honest man; he is a good husband, a good neighbor, and
a true friend. You never saw a true woman who did not love a brave
man. And now do you be off at once, look for a good place, and when
you stop, stop to stay; and let all you say and all you do look to
your advantage in the future."

Long years after this parting scene, and when Porter had become a
national man, he used to love to recount this conversation to his
friends, and the impression it created upon his mind of the wonderful
man who had so freely advised him.

When Porter came, he explored the entire country, and selected for his
home Opelousas, the seat of justice for the parish of St. Landry. To
reach this point from New Orleans, at that time, required no ordinary
exertion. He came first to Donaldsonville, where he hired a man to
bring him in a small skiff to the courthouse of the parish of
Assumption. There he employed another to transport him through the
Verret Canal to the lakes, and on through these to Marie Jose's
landing, in Attakapas; then another was engaged to take him up the
Teche to St. Martinsville, and from there he went by land to
Opelousas. This route is nearly three hundred miles.

The banks of the Teche he found densely populated with a people
altogether different in appearance, and speaking a language scarcely
one word of which he understood, and in everything different from
anything he had ever before seen: added to this, he found them
distrustful, inhospitable, and hating the Americans, to whose dominion
they had been so recently transferred.

He used to relate an anecdote of this trip, in his most humorous
manner. "I had," he said, "been all day cramped up in the stern of a
small skiff, in the broiling sun, with nothing to drink but the tepid
water of the Teche. I was weary and half sick, when I came to the
front of a residence, which wore more the appearance of comfort and
respectability than any I had passed during the day. It was on Sunday,
and there were a number of decently dressed people, young and old,
upon the gallery or piazza, and there were great numbers of cattle
grazing out on the prairie. Here, I thought, I may find some cool
water, and perhaps something to mix with it. I landed, and went to the
front gate, and called. This was quite near the house, and I thought
some one said, 'Come in.' I opened the gate, and started for the
house. At this juncture, a tall, dark man, wearing a very angry look,
came from the interior of the house, and stopping at the gallery door,
looked scowlingly down upon me as I approached the steps. '_Arretez!_'
he said, waving his hand. This wave I understood, but not the word,
and stopped. He spoke to me in French: I did not understand. I asked
for water: this he did not understand, as it was pronounced with
considerable of the brogue. Turning abruptly round, he called aloud,
'_Pierre!_' and a negro man came out, who was directed to ask me what
I wanted. I told him, water: this he translated for his master. He
spoke again angrily to the negro, who told me there was water in the
bayou. 'Then, can I get a little butter-milk?' I asked. As soon as
this was translated to him, he flew into a violent rage, and commenced
gesticulating passionately. 'You better run, sir,' said the negro, 'he
call de dogs for bite you.' I heard the yelp in the back yard, and
started for the gate with a will: it was time, for in a moment there
were a dozen lean and vicious curs at my heels, squalling and snapping
with angry determination. I fortunately reached the gate in time to
close it behind me and shut off my pursuers, amid the laughter and
gibes of those in the gallery. I took my boat, and a few miles above
found a more hospitable man, who gave me my dinner, plenty of milk,
and a most excellent glass of brandy. I inquired the name of the
brute, and recorded it in my memory for future use. Ten years after
that, he came into my office, and told me he wished to have my
services as a lawyer. He had quarrelled with his wife, and they had
separated. She was suing him for a separation, and property, dotal and
paraphernal. If she recovered, and there were strong reasons for
supposing she would, he was ruined.

"'Why do you come to me?' I asked.

"'Ah! Advocat Porter, my friend tell me you de best lawyer, and in my
trouble I want de best.' He stated his case, and I told him I would
undertake it for a thousand dollars.

"'_Mon dieu!_' he exclaimed, with a desponding shrug, 'it is not
possible to me for pay so much.'

"'Then you must employ some one else.'

"'But dere is none else dat be so good like you. Monsieur Brent is for
my wife--Got damn!--an' you is de best now, so my friend tell me.'

"'Very well, then, if you want my services, you must pay for them; and
you had better come to terms at once, for here is a note which I have
just received from Mr. Brent, telling me he wishes to see me, and I
expect it is to engage me to assist him in this very case.'

"'_O mon dieu! mon dieu!_' he exclaimed, in agony. 'Vell, I shall give
you one thousand dollar.'

"I immediately wrote a note for the amount, payable when the suit was
determined; but it was with great difficulty I could induce him to
sign it. At length he did, however, and I gained his case for him. He
came punctually to pay his note. When I had the money in hand, I told
him I had charged him five hundred dollars for attending to his case,
and five hundred for setting his dogs on me.

"'I been tink dat all de time,' he said, as he left the office."

There were then several men of eminence at the Bar in the Opelousas
and Attakapas country--Brent, Baker, Bowen, and Bronson. The superior
abilities of Porter soon began to be acknowledged. His practice
increased rapidly, and when a convention was called to form a
constitution for the State of Louisiana, Porter was elected from
Opelousas as a delegate. Still very young, and scarcely known in the
city or along the coast parishes, he came unheralded by any
extraordinary reputation for abilities. Very soon, however, he was
taking the lead amid the best talent in the State.

In every feature of this Constitution the mind of Porter is apparent;
and to-day, to one who has witnessed the forming and passing away of
many constitutions, and their effect upon public morals and the
general interests of the country, it appears the best that was ever
given to a State in this Union. To those who were most active in the
formation of this Constitution, and who had most at heart the
protection of every interest in the State, the judicial system was
most interesting. The preserving of the civil law as the law of the
land, and which was guaranteed by the treaty of cession, and at the
same time to engraft American ideas upon that system, was a delicate
and difficult matter. The French and the French Creoles were desirous
of retaining as much of French law and French ideas as possible. To
these they had always been accustomed: they thought them best, and
were very loath to permit innovations. A written constitution was to
these people entirely a new thing. Accustomed to almost absolute power
in the hands of their Governors, with his council--these being
appointed by the Crown, to which they owed allegiance--they could
hardly comprehend a constitutional representative form of government,
and, naturally distrustful of the Americans, they feared every move on
their part. Porter was an Irishman, and they distrusted him and Henry
Johnson less than any others of the convention speaking the English
language. Where a difference of opinion seemed irreconcilable between
the two interests, Porter was generally the referee, and he was always
successful in reconciling these disputes, and bringing both parties to
the support of his own views, which were those generally between the
two extremes. In this way he succeeded in having a constitution framed
as he wished it, upon the organization of the State Government. Under
this Constitution, with Matthews and Martin, he was placed upon the
Bench of the Supreme Court. Here he remained for many years; but his
ambition sought distinction in the councils of the nation, and he
resigned his seat to become a candidate for the Senate of the United
States.

He had, years before, married the sister of Isaac L. Baker, of the
Attakapas country, by whom he had two daughters. One of them had died
in early life; the other--a most lovely woman--was under the care of
his maiden sister, who resided with him, and had charge of his
household until her death. Subsequently to the death of this lady,
this only child was married to Mr. Alston, of South Carolina, but
survived her marriage only a short time, dying childless.

He was successful in his canvass for the Senate, and in that body he
soon became prominent as an orator of great powers, and as a most
active business man. It was here the long-existing acquaintance with
Mr. Clay ripened into deep friendship. Porter had always been the
supporter of the views of Mr. Clay, and during his six years' service
in the Senate, he gave a hearty and efficient support to the measures
representing the policy of that great statesman.

After the expiration of his senatorial term he retired with an
exhausted constitution to his elegant home in the parish of St. Mary,
where he devoted himself to his planting interest, now very large.
After the death of his daughter, his health declined rapidly; yet,
notwithstanding his debilitated condition, he was chosen by a
Democratic Legislature, a second time, as senator to the United States
Congress; but he never took his seat. Just before the meeting of
Congress, he visited Philadelphia for the purpose of obtaining medical
advice. Dr. Chapman made a thorough examination of his case, which he
pronounced ossification of the arteries of the heart, and which was
rapidly progressing. He advised the Judge to return immediately home,
and not to think of taking his seat in the Senate, as he was liable to
die at any moment, and certainly must die in a very short time. He
left immediately for his home.

Some years before this, Mr. Clay found himself so embarrassed that it
was necessary for him to apply to his friends for aid. Judge Porter
came forward and loaned him a large sum, for which he held his note.
Upon reaching Maysville, in descending the Ohio, on his return from
Philadelphia, Porter debarked, and went, by stage, to Lexington, where
he visited Mr. Clay, and spent one night with him. Finding his disease
increasing, and fearing, unless he hurried, that he might never reach
home, he declined a longer visit. When in the carriage, (so it was
stated at the time, but I do not vouch for the fact,) he took the hand
of Mr. Clay, and, pressing it tenderly, said, "Farewell until
eternity!" and bade the boy drive on. Mr. Clay found his note left in
his hand, marked across the face, "Paid."

On reaching home, his health seemed for a short time to rally; but he
began again to sink. Finding it impossible to lie down to sleep, he
anticipated speedy dissolution. As a politician, he had been greatly
harassed by a dissolute press, and, as a lawyer and prominent man, he
had made some enemies. Among these was Thomas H. Lewis, a
distinguished lawyer of Opelousas, who, of all his enemies, he hated
most, and he was an honest hater. A clergyman was spending some time
with him, and apprehending that he might pass suddenly away, remained,
in company with Mr. James Porter, his brother, almost constantly with
him. Only a day or two anterior to his death, after some conversation
upon the subject of the great change, leaning back in his reclining
easy-chair, he seemed to forget the presence of these two, and, after
remaining for more than an hour entirely silent, without moving or
opening his eyes, he commenced to speak, as if communing with himself.
"I have," he said, "retrospected all my life, and am satisfied. Many
things I have done I should not; but they were never from a bad
motive. I have accomplished more than my merits were entitled to. To
the inconsiderate generosity of the people of Louisiana I owe much of
the success of my life. I have filled the highest offices in their
gift, the duties of which I have faithfully discharged to the best of
my abilities, and, I believe, to the satisfaction of the people of the
State. I have differed with many of my fellow-citizens, and some of
them are my enemies; but from my heart I have forgiven them all, as I
hope to be forgiven by them, and by my God, before whom I must in a
few hours appear." He paused many minutes, and then emphatically
added: "Yes, Lord, even Tom Lewis."

The opinions of Judge Porter in the reports of the decisions of the
Supreme Court are magnificent specimens of learning, logic, and
eloquence. Of every question he took a bold and comprehensive view,
and the perspicuity of his style and the clearness of his ideas made
all he wrote comprehensible to the commonest capacity. In his
decisions he was merciless toward a suitor where he discovered fraud,
or the more guilty crime of perjury. His wit was like the sword of
Saladin: its brilliancy was eclipsed by the keenness of the edge. In
debate he was brilliant and convincing; in argument, cogent and lucid;
in declamation, fervid and impassioned, abounding in metaphor, and
often elucidating a position with an apposite anecdote, both pointed
and amusing. His memory was wonderful, and his reading extensive and
diversified. He had so improved the defective education of his youth
as to be not only classical, but learned. Impulsive and impetuous, he
was sometimes severe and arrogant toward his inferiors who presumed
too much upon his forbearance. In his feelings and social associations
he was aristocratic and select. He could not tolerate presumptuous
ignorance; but to the modest and unobtrusive he was respectful and
tolerant. For the whining hypocrisy of pretended piety he had the
loftiest contempt, while he gave not only his confidence, but his most
sincere respect, to him whose conduct squared with his religious
professions. He was a Protestant in religion, as his father had been;
but was superior to bigotry or the intolerance of little minds and
lesser souls. Like all men of exalted genius, he was erratic at times,
and uncertain in his temper. He died without pain, bequeathing his
large estate to his brother, with legacies to his sister in Ireland,
and to some friends there. To Mr. Clay he left his great diamond ring.
He had, at his death, attained only to the age of fifty-seven years.
Like Judge Martin, his besetting sin was love of money; but he was not
a miser. To his slaves he was remarkably kind and indulgent, never
permitting them to be persecuted by any one, and always treating them
with paternal kindness--attentive to their comfort, furnishing them
with good houses, beds, and an abundance of food and clothing--indeed,
with everything which could contribute to their comfort or happiness.
His hospitality was not surpassed by any gentleman in all the land.
All who have visited at Woodlawn, the beautiful and beautifully
improved residence of Judge Porter, will remember the warm Irish
welcome and luxurious hospitality of its accomplished and talented
master.

Thus have I attempted a slight sketch of the characters, minds,
peculiarities, and services of these eminent men and jurists, who
reduced to order and form the jurisprudence of Louisiana. It was the
eminent abilities and extensive legal learning for which they were so
eminently distinguished, as well as the stern integrity of each one of
them, which prompted the executive of the State to select them for
this delicate and onerous position. At this time, there were not three
other men in the State combining so fully all these traits. Their long
continuance in office systematized the law and the proceedings in the
courts, making order out of chaos, and building up a jurisprudence not
inferior to that of any country. Under the peculiar circumstances,
this was no very easy or enviable task. The country was now American,
and it was important that the judicial system should approximate as
nearly as possible to the American system, and, at the same time,
preserve the civil law as the law of the land. This law is a most
beautiful system of equity, and is disrobed of many of the
difficulties which surround the common law, and which oblige in every
common-law country a separate and distinct system of equity.

The criminal code was that of the common law. It was so radically
different from that which had heretofore prevailed in the country,
that it was absolutely necessary, in order to secure to the accused
the trial by jury, that this change should be made.

Owing to the extended commerce of New Orleans, many cases arose of
contracts made in the common-law States, and this must control these
cases. To reconcile and blend the two systems became, in many of
these, a necessity. To do this required a knowledge of both on the
part of the judges, and this knowledge, in order that no error might
misdirect, should be thorough. It was happily accomplished, and now
the system is clear and fixed, and will remain a monument to the
learning and genius of this court.

Of the three judges, Matthews alone left descendants, and he but
two--a son, who soon followed him to the grave, and a daughter, who is
still living, the accomplished lady of Major Chase, formerly of the
engineer corps of the army of the United States.




CHAPTER XXIX.

AMERICANIZING LOUISIANA.

POWERS OF LOUISIANA COURTS--GOVERNOR WILLIAM C.C. CLAIBORNE--CRUEL
O'REILLY--LEFRENIER AND NOYAN EXECUTED--A DUTCH JUSTICE--EDWARD
LIVINGSTON--A CARICATURE OF GENERAL JACKSON--STEPHEN MAZEREAU--A
SPEECH IN THREE LANGUAGES--JOHN R. GRYMES--SETTLING A CA. SA.--BATTURE
PROPERTY--A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR FEE.


The Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana differs in this from that
of the other States: it has jurisdiction as well of the facts as of
the law.

In the trial of all cases in the district or lower courts, the
testimony is made a part of the record, and goes up to the Supreme
Court for supervision, as well as for the enlightenment of the court,
which passes upon the facts as well as the law; thus making the judges
in the lower courts merely masters in chancery, with the exception,
that where the decision of the judge is considered correct, it is
approved and made the judgment of the Supreme Court.

This court, by reason of its very extraordinary powers, becomes of the
highest importance to every citizen, and is really by far the most
important, as it is the most responsible branch of the Government.

The executive can only execute the law; the legislative acts are
revisable and amendable, so often as the Legislature holds its
sessions; but the judicial decisions of the Supreme Court become the
permanent law of the land. True, these decisions may be revised and
overruled, but this is not likely to be done by those judges who have
made them, and the tenure of office is such as practically to make
them permanent.

Under the first Constitution of the State, these judges were nominated
by the executive, and confirmed by the Senate. This Senate consisted
of seventeen members, chosen by the people from senatorial districts
containing a large area of territory and a numerous population. This
concentration of responsibility insured the selection of men of the
first abilities, attainments, and moral character. So long as this
system obtained, the Supreme Bench was ably filled, and its duties
faithfully and wisely discharged, with one exception only; but for the
sake of those who, though not blamable, would be deeply wounded, I
forbear further remark.

Governor William C.C. Claiborne, who was the Territorial Governor, was
elected by acclamation the first Governor of the State. He was a
Virginian and a man of fine attainments. His peculiar temperament was
well suited to the Creole population, and identifying himself with
that population by intermarrying with one of the most respectable
families of New Orleans, and studiously devoting himself to the
discharge of the duties of his office, he assumed some state in his
style of living, and when going abroad kept up something of the
regality of his colonial predecessors. Thus suiting the taste and
genius of the people, and in some degree comporting with what they had
been accustomed to, at the same time assuming great affability of
manner, both in private and in the discharge of his public duties, he
rendered himself extremely popular with both populations.

Governor Claiborne studiously promoted harmony between the people of
the different races constituting the population of the State, and
especially that of New Orleans. The State had been under the dominion
of three separate nations. The mass of the population, originally
French, very reluctantly yielded to Spanish domination, and not
without an attempt at resistance. For a time this had been successful
in expelling a hated Governor; but the famous O'Reilly, succeeding to
the governorship of the colony, came with such a force as was
irresistible, suppressing the armed attempt to reclaim the colony from
Spanish rule. He made prisoners of the chiefs of the malcontents, with
Lefrenier at their head, and condemned them to be shot. One of these
was Noyan, the son-in-law of Lefrenier. He was a young man, and but
recently united to the beautiful and accomplished daughter of the
gallant Lefrenier. His youth, his chivalry, and extraordinary
intrepidity excited the admiration of the cold, cruel O'Reilly, and he
was offered a pardon. He refused to accept it, unless mercy should be
extended to his father-in-law: this having been denied, he was
executed, holding in his own the hand of Lefrenier, defiantly facing
his executioners and dying with Roman firmness.

This bloody tragedy was transacted upon the square in front of the
Cathedral, where now stands the colossal statue of Andrew Jackson, in
the midst of the most lovely and beautiful shrubs and flowers
indigenous to the soil of Louisiana. The orange, with her pale green
foliage, and sweet, modest white flowers, so delicate and so
delicious; the oleander, the petisporum, and roses of every hue unite
their foliage and blend their fragrance to enchant and delight the eye
and sense, and to contrast too the scene of carnage once deforming and
outraging this Eden spot.

Scarcely had the people become reconciled to Spanish domination,
before the colony was retroceded to France, and again in no great
while ceded to the United States.

The French were prejudiced against the Spaniards and despised them,
and now the Americans were flowing into the country and city, with
manners and customs intolerable to both French and Spaniards, hating
both and being hated by both, creating a state of society painfully
unpleasant, and apparently irreconcilable.

This state of affairs made the Governor's position anything but
pleasant. But distressing as it was, he accomplished more in
preserving harmony than one well acquainted with the facts would have
deemed possible.

In doing this he was skilful enough to preserve his popularity, and
secure his election to the Gubernatorial chair upon the formation of
the State. Indeed, so great was his popularity, that it was said some
aspirants to Gubernatorial honors incorporated the clause in the
Constitution which makes the Governor ineligible to succeed himself,
lest Claiborne should be perpetual Governor.

Few men ever lived who could so suit themselves to circumstances as
Governor Claiborne. There was a strange fascination in his manners,
and a real goodness of heart, which spell-bound every one who came
within the range of his acquaintance. He granted a favor in a manner
that the recipient forever felt the obligation, and when he refused
one, it was with such apparent regret as to make a friend. He
sincerely desired the best interest of every one, and promoted it
whenever he could. It was said of him that he never refused, but
always promised, and always fulfilled his promise whenever it was in
his power.

When coming to take charge of the Territorial Government he stopped at
Baton Rouge, and spent the night with an honest Dutchman who kept
entertainment for travellers. In the morning, when his guest was
leaving, learning his official character, he took him aside, and
solicited the appointment of justice of the peace for Baton Rouge.
"Certainly, sir," said the Governor, "certainly;" and the Dutchman,
supposing the appointment made, hoisted his sign above his door, and
continued to administer justice in his way until his death, without
ever being questioned as to the nature of his appointment. The
Governor never thought a second time of the promise.

The selection and appointment of Governor Claiborne for the very
delicate duties devolving on an American governor, with such a
population as then peopled Louisiana, showed great wisdom and prudence
in Mr. Jefferson: he was to reconcile discordant materials within the
Territory, and reconcile all to the dominion of the United States. He
was to introduce, with great caution, the institutions of a
representative republican form of government among a people who had
never known any but a despotic government; whose language and religion
were alien to the great mass of the people of the nation. An American
Protestant population was hurrying to the country, and of all
difficulties most difficult, to reconcile into harmonious action two
antagonistic religions in the same community is certainly the one.
Claiborne accomplished all this. His long continuance in office showed
his popularity, and the prosperity of the people and Territory, his
wisdom.

In all his appointments he exercised great discretion, and in almost
every case his judgment and wisdom were manifested in the result; and
to this, day his name is revered and his memory cherished as a
benefactor. He was twice married, and left two sons--one by each
marriage; both live, highly respected, and very worthy citizens of the
city of their birth. His name is borne by one of the finest parishes
of the State and one of the most beautiful streets in the city of New
Orleans, and no man ever deserved more this high and honorable
commemoration from a grateful people than did William C.C. Claiborne.

Among those most conspicuous in Americanizing the State and city at
the early commencement of the American domination, after the Governor
and Supreme Court, were Henry Johnson, Edward Livingston, James Brown,
John R. Grymes, Thomas Urquhart, Boling Robinson, and General Philemon
Thomas.

Edward Livingston was a citizen at the time of the cession, having
emigrated from New York in 1801, where he had already acquired fame as
a lawyer. He was the brother of the celebrated Chancellor Livingston,
and had, as an officer of the General Government, in the city of New
York, defaulted in a large amount. To avoid the penalties of the law
he came to New Orleans, then a colony of a foreign government, and
there commenced the practice of his profession. After the cession he
was not disturbed by the Government, and continued actively to pursue
his profession.

He was the intimate friend of Daniel Clark, who was the first
Territorial representative in Congress; and it has been supposed that,
through the instrumentality of Clark, the Government declined pursuing
the claim against him. He first emerged to public view in a contest
with Mr. Jefferson relative to the batture property in the city of New
Orleans. Livingston had purchased a property above Canal Street, and
claimed all the batture between his property and the river as riparian
proprietor. This was contested by Mr. Jefferson as President of the
United States. He claimed this as public land belonging to the United
States under the treaty of purchase. The question was very ably argued
by both parties; but the title to this immensely valuable property
remained unsettled for many years after the death of both Jefferson
and Livingston, and finally was decreed by the Supreme Court of the
United States to belong to the city of New Orleans.

When, during the invasion of New Orleans by the English forces in the
war of 1812 and '15, General Jackson came to its defence, Livingston
volunteered as one of his aids, and rendered distinguished services to
Jackson and the country in that memorable affair, the battle of New
Orleans. A friendship grew up between Jackson and Livingston, which
continued during their lives. Soon after the war, Livingston was
elected to represent the New Orleans or First Congressional District
in Congress. He continued for some time to represent this district;
but was finally, about 1829, beaten by Edward D. White. At the
succeeding session of the Legislature, however, he was elected a
senator to Congress in the place of Henry Johnson. From the Senate he
was sent as Minister to France, and was afterward Secretary of State
during the administration of General Jackson. It was in his case that
Jackson exercised the extraordinary power of directing the Treasurer
of the United States to receipt Mr. Livingston for the sum of his
defalcation thirty-four years before. At the time this was done,
Tobias Watkins was in prison in Washington for a defalcation of only a
few hundreds to the Government. These two events gave rise to the
ludicrous caricature, which caused much amusement at the time, of
General Jackson's walking with his arm in Livingston's by the jail,
when Watkins, looking from the window, points to Livingston, saying to
the General: "You should turn me out, or put him in."

Immediately upon this receipt being recorded, Livingston presented an
account for mileage and per diem for all the time he had served in
Congress, and received it. So long as he was a defaulter to the
Government, he could receive no pay for public services.

As a lawyer, Mr. Livingston had no superior. He was master of every
system prevailing in the civilized world; he spoke fluently four
languages, and read double that number. As a statesman he ranked with
the first of his country, and was skilled as a diplomatist. In every
situation where placed by fortune or accident, he displayed ample
ability for the discharge of its duties. It is not known, but is
generally believed that, as Secretary of State, he wrote the state
papers of General Jackson. The same has been said of that veteran Amos
Kendall. There was one for which Livingston obtained the credit, which
he certainly did not write--the celebrated proclamation to the people
of South Carolina upon the subject of nullification. This was written
by Mr. Webster. Upon one occasion, Mr. Webster, per invitation, with
many members of Congress, dined with the President. When the company
was about retiring, General Jackson requested Mr. Webster to remain,
as he desired some conversation with him. The subject of South
Carolina nullification had been discussed cursorily by the guests at
dinner, and Jackson had been impressed with some of Webster's remarks;
and when alone together, he requested Webster's opinions on the
subject at length.

Mr. Webster replied, that the time was wanting for a full discussion
of the question; but if it would be agreeable to the President, he
would put them in writing and send them to him. He did so. These
opinions, expressing fully Mr. Webster's views, were handed to Mr.
Livingston, who, approving them, made a few verbal alterations, and
submitted the document, which was issued as the President's
proclamation. The doctrines politically enunciated in this paper are
identical with those entertained in the great speech of Mr. Webster,
in the famous contest with Robert T. Hayne, on Foote's Resolutions,
some years before; and are eminently Federal. They came like midnight
at noon upon the States-Rights men of the South, and a Virginian,
wherever found, groaned as he read them.

Mr. Livingston, though a Jeffersonian Democrat in his early life, and
now a Jackson Democrat, held very strong Federal notions in regard to
the relations between the States and the United States Government, and
was disposed to have these sanctioned by the adoption of General
Jackson.

Jackson, probably, never read this paper; and if he did, did not
exactly comprehend its tenor; for General Jackson's political opinions
were never very fixed or clear. What he willed, he executed, and
though it cut across the Constitution, or the laws, his friends and
followers threw up their caps and cheered him.

Mr. Livingston was charged with the delicate duty of discussing the
claims of our Government, representing its citizens, for spoliations
committed upon our commerce under the celebrated Milan and Berlin
decrees of Napoleon, and, backed by the determination of Jackson,
happily succeeded in finally settling this vexatious question. A sum
was agreed upon, and paid into the United States Treasury; but if I am
not mistaken, none, or very little of it, has ever reached the hands
of the sufferers. Upon the proof of the justice of their claims,
France was compelled to pay them to the Government; but now the
Government wants additional proof of this same fact, before the money
is paid over to them.

Mr. Livingston's learning was varied and extensive; he was a fine
classical scholar, and equally as accomplished in belles-lettres. In
the literature of France, Germany, and Spain he was quite as well
versed as in that of his native tongue. His historical knowledge was
more extensive and more accurate than that of any public man of the
day, except, perhaps, Mr. Benton. At the Bar, he met those eminent
jurists, Grymes, Lilly, Brown, and Mazereau, and successfully. This is
great praise, for nowhere, in any city or country, were to be found
their superiors in talent and legal lore.

Livingston never had the full confidence of his party, and perhaps
with the exception of General Jackson, that of any individual. In
moneyed matters, he was eminently unreliable; but all admitted his
great abilities. In social qualities, he was entirely deficient. He
had no powers of attraction to collect about him friends, or to attach
even his political partisans. These were proud of his talents, and
felt honored in his representation, and with the rest of the world
honored and admired the statesman, while they despised the man. He was
illiberal, without generosity, unsocial, and soulless, with every
attribute of mind to be admired, without one quality of the heart to
be loved. In person he was tall and slender, and without grace in his
movements, or dignity in his manners. With a most intellectual face,
his brow was extremely arched, his eye gray, and his prominent
forehead narrow but high and receding; his mouth was large and well
formed, and was as uncertain and restless as his eye. No one could
mistake from his face the talent of the man; yet there lurked through
its every feature an unpleasant something, which forced an unfavorable
opinion of the individual. Mr. Livingston lived very many years in
Louisiana, and rendered her great services in codifying her laws, and
making them clear and easy of comprehension. He shed lustre upon her
name, by his eminent abilities as a jurist and statesman, and thus has
identified his name most prominently with her history. But without
those shining qualities which clasp to the heart in devoted affection
the great man, and which constitute one great essential of true
greatness. And now that he is in the grave, he is remembered with cold
respect alone.

Stephen Mazereau was a Frenchman, a Parisian, and a lawyer there of
the first eminence. When about to emigrate to Madrid, in Spain, the
Bar of his native city presented him with a splendid set of silver, in
respect for his position as a lawyer and his virtues as a man. He
remained ten years in Spain's capital, and was at the head of the Bar
of that city; and when leaving it to come to New Orleans, received a
similar testimonial from his brethren there to his worth and talents.
Immediately upon coming to New Orleans, he commenced the practice of
the law, and at once took rank with Livingston, Lilly, Brown, and
Grymes, who, though then a very young man, had already gained eminence
in his profession.

Mr. Mazereau, except giving his State, in the Legislature, the benefit
of his abilities, avoided politics, confining himself exclusively to
his profession. In the argument of great questions before the Supreme
Court of the State between these eminent jurists, was to be seen the
combat of giants. Mazereau was a short, stout man, with an enormous
head, which made his appearance singularly unique. In his arguments he
was considerate, cautious, and eminently learned. Sometimes he would
address the people on great political questions, and then all the
fervor of the Frenchman would burst forth in eloquent and impressive
appeals. I remember hearing him, when he was old, address an immense
gathering of the people. He looked over the crowd, when he rose, and
said: "I see three nations before me. Americans, I shall speak to you
first. Frenchmen, to you next--and to you, my Spanish friends, last. I
shall probably occupy two hours with each of you. It will be the same
speech; so you who do not understand the English language, need not
remain. You who understand French, may return when I shall dismiss
these Americans--and you, my Spanish friends, when I am through with
these Frenchmen." This he fulfilled to the letter in a six-hours'
speech, and I never knew a political speech effect so much.

For many years he was attorney-general of the State, and legal adviser
and counsellor of the Governor. Although his practice was eminently
profitable, he was so careless and extravagant in money matters, that
he was always poor and necessitous, especially in his old age.

It really seems one of the attributes of genius to be indifferent to
this world's goods, and when time and labor have done their work, and
the imbecility of years obscures its brilliancy, to droop neglected,
and, if not in want, in despised poverty. Such was the fate for a
short time of this great man--but only for a short time. His powerful
intellect retained its vigor, and his brilliant wit all its edges, to
within a little while of his death. Sadly I turn back, in memory, to
the day he communicated to me that his necessities would compel him to
dispose of the beautiful and valuable testimonials of the Bar of two
proud nations to his character and abilities. His great intellect was
beginning to fade out; but, as the sun, declining to rest canopied
with increasing clouds, will sometimes pierce through the interstices
of the dark masses, and dart for a moment the intensity of his light
upon the earth, the mind of Mazereau would flash in all its youthful
grandeur and power from the dimness that was darkening it out.

He was a noble specimen of a French gentleman: a French scholar, and a
Frenchman. His memory is embalmed in the hearts of his friends of
every nation who knew him in New Orleans. Strictly moral in his
habits, full of truth and honor, and overflowing with generosity,
social in his habits, and kindly in his feelings, he made friends of
all who came in contact with him; and yet he had his enemies. His
intolerance of everything that was little or mean, and his scorn and
hatred of men of such character, was never concealed, either in his
conversation or conduct. Such men were his enemies, and some, too,
were his foes from the intolerance of political antagonism; but the
grave obliterated these animosities, and the generous political
antagonist cherishes now only respect for this truly great man. With
deep gratitude my heart turns to his memory: his generous kindness,
his warm friendship was mine for long years, and to me his memory is
an incense.

John R. Grymes was a Virginian and close connection of John Randolph,
of Roanoke, whose name he bore; but of this he never boasted, nor did
any one hear him claim alliance of blood with Pocahontas. Mr. Madison
appointed him district attorney of the United States for the district
of Louisiana, when a very young man. This appointment introduced him
to the Bar and the practice immediately. He was one of those
extraordinary creations, who leap into manhood without the probation
of youth: at twenty-two he was eminent and in full practice, ranking
with the leading members of the Bar. Truly, Grymes was born great, for
no one can remember when he was not great! Never, in company, in
social life, with a private friend, at the Bar, or anywhere, was he
even apparently simple or like other men; in private, with his best
friend, he spoke, he looked, and he was the great man. He was great in
his frivolities, great in his burlesques, great in his humor, great in
common conversation; the great lawyer, the great orator, the great
blackguard, and the great companion, the great beau, and the great
spendthrift: in nothing was he little.

His language was ornate, his style was terse and beautiful; in
conversation he was voluble and transcendently entertaining; knew
everybody and everything; never seemed to read, and yet was always
prepared in his cases, and seemed to be a lawyer by intuition. He was
rarely in his office, but always on the street, and always dressed in
the extreme of the fashion; lived nowhere, boarded nowhere, slept
nowhere, and ate everywhere. He dined at a restaurant, but scarcely
ever at the same twice in succession; would search for hours to find a
genial friend to dine with him, and then, if he was in the mood, there
was a feast of the body and flow of the soul; went to every ball,
danced with everybody, visited the ladies; was learned or frivolous,
as suited the ladies' capacities or attainments; appeared fond of
their society, and always spoke of them with ridicule or contempt;
married, and separated from his wife, no one knew for what cause, yet
still claimed and supported her. She was the widow of Governor
Claiborne, and a magnificent woman; she was a Spaniard by blood,
aristocratic in her feelings, eccentric, and, intellectually, a fit
companion for Grymes. She was to Claiborne an admirable wife, but
there was little congeniality between her and Grymes. Grymes knew that
it was not possible for any woman to tolerate him as a husband, and
was contented to live apart from his wife. They were never divorced,
but lived--she in New York, or at her villa on Staten Island; Grymes
in New Orleans. He never complained of her; always spoke kindly, and
sometimes affectionately of her; denied the separation, and annually
visited her. Their relations were perfectly amicable, but they could
not live together. Grymes could have lived with no woman. In all
things he was _sui generis_; with no one like him in any one thing,
for he was never the same being two consecutive days. He had no fixed
opinions that any one knew of; he was a blatant Democrat, and yet
never agreed with them in anything; a great advocate of universal
equality, and the veriest aristocrat on earth; he would urge to-day as
a great moral or political truth certain principles, and ridicule them
with contemptuous scorn to-morrow. He was the most devout of
Christians to-day, the most abandoned infidel to-morrow; and always,
and with everybody, striving to appear as base and as abandoned as
profligate man could be: to believe all he said of himself, was to
believe him the worst man on earth. He despised public opinion and
mankind generally; still he was kind in his nature, and generous to
profligacy; was deeply sympathetic, and never turned from the
necessitous without dropping a tear or giving a dollar--the one he
bestowed generously, the other he rarely had to give; but, if an
acquaintance was at hand, he would borrow and give, and the charity of
heart was as sincere as though the money had been his own.

On one occasion I was with him when charity was solicited of him by a
wretched old woman. "Give me five dollars," he said to me; the money
was handed the woman, and she was sent away, to be drunk and in a
police-station within the hour. I remarked: "That old wretch has
brought all this upon her by an abandoned profligacy." "Then I owe her
sympathy as well as charity," was his reply; "I do not know the cause
of her suffering, but I know she is suffering: it may be for food, it
may be for drink; if either obliterates her misery, your money is well
spent."

He had no idea of the value of money; was constantly in the receipt of
large fees, with a most lucrative practice, but was always
embarrassed, owed everybody, loaned to everybody, gave to everybody,
and paid nobody.

During the existence of the law which imprisoned for debt, he was
constantly in the sheriff's hands, but always settling, by the most
ingenious devices, the claim at the jail-door. It is told of him, that
the sheriff on one occasion notified him that there was a _ca. sa._ in
his hands, and that he did not want to arrest him. The sum was large,
some two thousand dollars--Grymes had not a dollar. He paused a
moment, then said, "Come to me to-morrow. I have a case of Milliadon's
for trial to-morrow; he is greatly interested in it. When it is
called, I will give you the wink, then arrest me." In obedience to
directions, the sheriff came, the case was called, and Grymes
arrested. Milliadon was in court, his hopes were in Grymes, and when
he was informed that Grymes was in custody of the sheriff, he groaned
aloud.

"Oh! Mr. Grymes, vat am I to do?"

"Why, you must employ other counsel," said Grymes.

"_Mon dieu!_ but I have pay you for attend this case, and I want you.
You know about it, and it must be try now."

"Yes," continued the imperturbable Grymes, "you have paid me, I know,
and I know it would be dangerous to trust it to other counsel, but it
is your only hope. I have no money, and here is a _ca. sa._, and I am
on my way to jail."

"Oh! _mon dieu! mon dieu!_ vat is de amount of de _ca. sa._?"

"Two thousand dollars," said the sheriff.

"Two thousand dollars!" repeated Milliadon.

"Goodall _vs._ Milliadon," said the Judge, "Preston, for
plaintiff--Grymes, for defendant. What do you do with this case,
gentlemen?"

"We are ready," said Preston.

"And you, Mr. Grymes?" asked the court.

"Vill you take my check for de _ca. sa._, Mr. Sheriff?"

"Certainly, sir," replied the officer.

"Say we is ready too, Mr. Grymes--all my witness be here."

"I believe we are ready, your honor," answered Grymes. Milliadon was
writing his check. "Enter satisfaction on the _ca. sa._," said Grymes.
The sheriff did so, as Milliadon handed him the check. Grymes now
turned his attention to the case as coolly as though nothing had
occurred. That was the last Milliadon ever heard of his two thousand
dollars.

Laurent Milliadon and the millionaire John McDonough were litigious in
their characters; and their names occur in the report of the Supreme
Court decisions more frequently than those of any ten other men in the
State. Grymes was the attorney for both of them for many years. They
were both men of great shrewdness, and both speculative in their
characters, and both had accumulated large fortunes. Without any
assignable cause, McDonough ceased to employ Grymes, and intrusted his
business to other counsel, who did not value their services so
extravagantly. Mentioning the fact upon one occasion to Grymes, "Ah!
yes," said he, "I can explain to your satisfaction the cause. In a
certain case of his, in which he had law and justice with him, he
suddenly became very uneasy. 'I shall certainly lose it, Grymes,' he
said excitedly to me. I told him it was impossible; he had never had
so sure a thing since I had been his attorney. In his dogmatical
manner, which you know, he still persisted in saying, he was no great
lawyer as I was, but some things he knew better than any lawyer, and
'I shall lose that case.' At the same time he significantly touched
his pocket and then his palm, signifying that money had been paid by
his adversary to the court, or some member of it. 'Ah!' said I, 'are
you sure--very sure?' 'Very sure--I know it; and you will see I shall
lose this suit.' He was not wont to speak so positively, without the
best evidence of any fact. 'Well, Mac,' said I, jestingly, 'if that is
the game, who can play it better than you can--you have a larger stake
than any of them, and of course better ability?' Well, sir, he did
lose one of the plainest cases I ever presented to a court. From that
day forward I have not received a fee from him: and now the secret is
before the world. He has been detected in bribing one of the judges of
the Supreme Court."

As an orator, Grymes was among the first of the country. All he
wanted, to have been exceedingly eloquent, was earnestness and
feeling; of this he was devoid. His manner was always collected and
cool; his style chaste and beautiful, with but little ornament; he
spoke only from the brain--there was nothing from the heart. In
argument he was exceedingly cogent and lucid, and when the subject
seemed most complicated, the acuteness of his analytical mind seemed
to unravel and lay bare the true features of the case, with an ease
and power that required scarce an effort. His powers of ratiocination
were very great, and this was the forte of his mind; his conclusions
were clearly deduced from arguments always logical.

There were times when he would be serious--and then there was a
grandeur about him very striking. At such times, bursts of passionate
feeling would break from him that seemed like volcanic eruptions. They
appeared to come from a deep and intense tenderness of heart. These
were momentary--the lightning's flash illuminating the gloom and
darkness of its parent cloud. I have thought this was the m