W. J. (William J.) Scott.

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fessor Huxley. Its long continuance gives to this war
fare of words the appearance of a theological vendetta.
The last phase of it relates to the "swine miracle" in
the coasts of Gadara. The great English leader insists
that the scriptural narrative of the healing of the demo
niac who had his dwelling amongst the tombs, and of
the subsequent fate of the herd of swine, is sober his
tory. Professor Huxley argues that the whole transac
tion is mythical, and therefore entitled to no credit.

It is fortunate for the Christian system that its pillars
do not rest on these surface facts. The whole of these
might be swept into oblivion, and yet not one jot or
tittle of its essential truth would be affected thereby.
If, in the intervals of official engagements, Gladstone
can find time to try conclusions with the scientists on
these side issues, it may be well ; but, with due defer
ence to the learned combatants, we seriously question
" if the game is worth the candle.''



The thought of the world, like its civilization, moves
in a circle ; therefore it is that history repeats itself.
Even in this age of iron we are now and then confronted
with curious speculations as to apparitions, witchcraft,
clairvoyance, and other phases of what the French call
"diablerie." After all the flippant talk about human
progress, the most advanced races have not fully out
grown the love of such studies, nor the belief in their
alleged facts. Only the other night, in conversation
with my wife, I heard quite distinctly the keys of the
piano trill for a single instant in the front room. No
one else was in the house, and in reason's spite I was
conscious of a nervous twitching. After a moment's
reflection, I mentally exclaimed, " Rats !" and dismissed
the subject. Perhaps I had struck the proper solution ;
possibly was wide of the mark. After all, it may have
been a sensory illusion. I suppose there is hardly a
well regulated household that has not its traditional
ghost story. At the risk of being thought egotistic, I
will tell one in my father's family.

In 1846, my brother, Andrew D. Scott, then a resi
dent of Columbus, enlisted in Company A, of the first
regiment of Georgia Volunteers that went to Mexico.
The latest communication received from him was writ
ten at Camargo, on the Rio Grande, just as he was leaving
with his regiment for Monterey. Several weeks elapsed
before we had further tidings of him. During this in
terval, we naturally became quite anxious about him.
This was especially true of my father, whose health at
the time was much impaired. On the night of the I3th


of December, 1846, my father waked my mother and
said to her : ' ' Wife, I have had a very unpleasant dream
about Andrew. It was so vivid that I fear it has some
significance. I dreamed that he came into this room
and stood just here by the bed. He was looking like
himself, except that he was pale and had a sorrowful
expression of countenance. I said to him : ' Son, how
is it you are here?' He replied : ' Father, I am dead.' '
My mother rallied him gently on his nervousness, as
suring him that there was nothing in a dream. About
ten days thereafter my father received a letter from Cap
tain Calhoun, of Company A, stating that the regiment
had been ordered from Monterey to Tampico, and that
my brother and his old schoolmate, Fleming G. Davies,
of Milledgeville, had been left seriously ill in a hospital
at Monterey. Some weeks thereafter, we had a letter
from Mark H. Blandford, of the same regiment, lately a
judge of the Supreme Court, informing us that he had
understood that this brother died on the night of the
1 3th of December, at Monterey, and was buried, his
grave being marked for future identification. The
dream and the death we were then, and now are, satis
fied occurred on the same night. Of course we believed
there was no ghostly visitation, that the whole affair
was subjective, and the coincidence purely fortuitous.
A large number of very similar instances are recorded
in books of science, notably by Abercrombie and Up-
ham. Quite recently we have seen the statement from
an able writer that ghosts ' ' are neither flesh and blood


entities, nor extremely tenuous bodies, but the result of
the telepathic action of one mind on another."

This definition reminds us of Huxley's definition of
evolution. Both need some one to interpret them to
the laity.

Sir Walter Scott was wont to liken James I. of Eng
land to an old gander running about and cackling all
manner of nonsense. The provocation must have been
very great that would have induced the author of
" Waverly " to speak thus irreverently of a crowned
head, especially of a Stuart. - But James deserved this
and more, tor he was a first-class nuisance in court and
country. This royal pupil of George Buchanan had a
profound conviction that he had mastered the science of
kingcraft, and therefore he was continually seeking to
thrust his views about all sorts of things, great or small,
upon his subjects.

He had a childish dread of witches and an invincible
dislike to heretics, two of whom he caused to be burned
at Smithfield. When Sir Walter Raleigh introduced
tobacco into the realm he turned author and wrote a
most furious and pedantic "Counterblast" against its
use. When his Queen Anne of Denmark imported the
farthingale from France he issued a royal proclamation
against this style of female underwear. He was not
without learning of a sort, but his lack of practical sense
made him a perpetual bore when he was not a laughing
stock in his own palace. Possibly, if he had been a
wiser sovereign, Raleigh would not have been beheaded


nor Bacon disgraced. He transmitted to his son and
successor a zeal for Episcopacy and prerogative that
cost him his throne and cost England twenty-five years
of civil war.

There is no solitude like that which may be found in
a great city. When Cowper was heartsick and weary
of the garrulity of Mrs. Unwin and her tea drinking
neighbors, he wished for "a lodge in some vast wilder
ness." The poet of "The Task" would have found
quicker relief if he had plunged into the heart ot Lon
don. What a man, in nervous condition, needs is
diversion quite as much as seclusion. But if the latter
is desired it can be better secured in a great metropolis
than in "some boundless contiguity of shade." It is
related of Dr. Johnson that for forty years he walked
through the streets of London, when, by the merest
chance, he met the first time a schoolboy friend who had
come to that vast city the same year and month with
himself. Although their residences were only a few
squares apart, yet during that long period, their paths
never crossed

Who was the "War Horse of Troup?" We put this
question a few days ago to a lady who was reared in
LaGrange. She promptly and rather naively answered :
"I suppose Governor Gordon or Burrus Jones." Both
these gentlemen were rather conspicuous for their fight
ing qualities during the late war. Some queer things
are told of Colonel Jones, especially his coolness under


fire. It is said that when on picket duty with his regi
ment, his habit (whenever the enemy's fire slackened)
was to light his pipe and sit down to his favorite game
of " Old Sledge." But the real war horse of Troup was
Colonel Julius C. Alford, of whom current literature
makes but little mention. During the Creek and Semi-
nole troubles he made an enviable reputation as a
soldier, but with the details of his military career we
are in no wise familiar. In the presidential campaign
of 1840 he was known far and wide as the " War Horse
of Troup." Indeed, he was a man of stalwart build, a
ready debater, and of a personal courage that never
flickered in any presence. He was one of the few Whig
campaigners that could measure swords with Walter T.
Colquitt. They were well matched on the hustings, for
Colquitt, although of less physical power, had equal or
superior gifts as an orator, and a like faculty for enthus
ing his audience. To compare things strikingly unlike,
we might say they were as well matched as Bill Stal-
lings and Bob Durham, the respective bullies of the
upper and lower battalions, whom Longstreet has so
vividly portrayed in "Georgia Scenes.'' The issue of
the fight which Longstreet describes, settled the cham
pionship of the country as between Stallings and Durham,
the latter wearing the belt. The Whigs and Democrats,
however, could never agree as to whether Alford or Col
quitt was the champion debater. The only time I ever
heard Alford was at an immense barbecue held in the
High School grove at LaGrange. Dr. R. A. T. Ridley
presided and introduced the speakers. Besides Colonel


Alford, I remember Colonel Hutchinson, of Montgom
ery, Ala., who was quaintly surnamed the "Prairie
Bull. " His boisterous delivery may have suggested this
ungainly sobriquet. He afterwards entered the Metho
dist ministry, and died, I believe, a distinguished mem
ber of the Alabama conference. Colonel Alford, who
was on his native heath, came last, and, by his severe
castigation of the Van Buren administration, and his
decidedly emphatic way of stating his facts and figures
about extravagance in the White House, he fully en
titled himself to be called the " War Horse of Troup."
To speak more soberly, Colonel Alford was a man of
marked ability, who attained to legislative and con
gressional honors. But for a comparatively early death,
he would have reached yet higher distinction in the
councils of the nation. Some of his descendants and
other relatives are amongst the best people of Troup
and adjoining counties.

Peter the Great well deserves to be styled what a late
writer has called "a beacon light of history." Nor is
another historian wide of the mark when he describes
him as an "inspired barbarian." Be that as it may, he
was in a better sense the founder of that immense mili
tary power, which now overshadows both northern
Europe and Asia, than was the Great Frederick, the
founder of the vast German Empire. When Peter came
to the throne his people were, indeed, in a semi-barbar
ous condition. The story of his travels in disguise
through Europe, observing the civilizations that he was


anxious to introduce into his own Muscovite realm,
reads like a romance especially the statement that for
months he worked in the dock-yards of Holland that he
might master the craft of shipbuilding. But as yet Rus
sia had no outlet to the great oceans of the world, and
it was to accomplish that purpose that Peter built a new
capital, St. Petersburg, in the marshes of the Neva,
hoping to effect his object through the gulf of Finland
and the Baltic sea. Later sovereigns of the house of
Romanoff have steadfastly pursued the same policy.
But for the last half century and more they have aimed
at the seizure of Constantinople and egress by the Bos-
phorus into the Mediterranean, on whose shores have
flourished and fallen some of the greatest civilizations of
the world's history.

Since the days of Catherine II., the legend, "This is
the way to Constantinople," has been the keynote to
Russian progress and the inspiration of military
aggressiveness. Indeed this is the gist of the eastern
question that has so often disturbed the midnight slum
bers of Downing street and sorely perplexed the diplo
macy of Paris and Berlin.

. Nor was this question definitely settled by the charge
at Balaklava or the storming of the Redan. England
has not relaxed her grip on the Sultan, nor has the
Czar ceased to covet the Danubian principalities, and
along with these Constantinople, the last foothold of
Islamism on the European continent. This is to-day
the greatest living issue of European politics. It is
greater by far than the Alsace and Lorraine issue ;


greater than the Egyptian embroglio and a more urgent
issue than whether Germany or England shall control
on the banks of the Congo. There is a strange vitality
in this eastern question, as we have defined it. It
recalls the emphatic utterances of the elder Cato,
" Delerda est Carthago," with which he closed every
address to the Roman Senate. The utterance was pro
phetic and Carthage received her death-blow at the
hands of Scipio Africanus on the plains of Zama.
Sooner or later likewise the Czar of all the Russias
will ride in triumph through the streets of Con-
stantine's favorite capitol. Less than six months before
the untimely and lamented death of Henry Grady, he
asked me when and where would be fought the battle of
Gog and Magog. I answered that the usual opinion
was that this last conflict would be waged on the plains
of Esdraelon the Flanders of Hebrew history. But
that another opinion was that this decisive struggle
would take place under the walls of Constantinople,
where Christian and Saracen had so often and so stoutly
contended for the mastery. In his speech at the Uni
versity of Virginia a few days thereafter, (which was his
best literary work), he made some brilliant points on
this Armageddon affair.

I once heard a minister of high rank preach on the
hackneyed pulpit theme of "Family Government."
There was in the discourse a goodly measure of com
monplace moralizing, but there was one remark that
was solid and suggestive, and that deserves to be writ-


ten on the lintels of every Christian home. It was in
these words : " If you would have your child love you,
you must exact of him thorough obedience." This
precept is as weighty as the best saying of the seven
wise men of Greece. Where one child is won by
parental indulgence a hundred are alienated and spoiled
for life by this sort of leniency. Ancestral worship is
the basis of all true religion. Fatherhood is a sacred
trust, and whatever lowers its dignity or weakens its
authority is a curse to the household and a damage to
society. We offer no apology for the domestic tyrant
who rules his family with a mailed hand or by any other
law than that of kindness. Children and servants have
rights which even pater familias is bound to respect.
But to suffer them, from mistaken fondness, to grow up
like the "wild ass' colt," is to do them a grievous
wrong. Whether the rod is to be employed in the rear
ing of the child depends very much on the temperament
of the child and but little less on the temper of the
parent. An angry father who, in such a mood, bela
bors a rude boy with a hickory or a cowhide, is very
sure to " provoke him to wrath," contrary to the apos
tolic injunction. In such cases the infliction is worse
than the evil sought to be remedied. With these nec
essary qualifications, the maxim, "spare the rod and
spoil the child," while not. as is sometimes claimed,
scriptural in its literal acceptation, is, notwithstanding,
in human experience not without " confirmation strong
as proofs of Holy Writ."


East Tennessee loyalty reached its high water mark
after the surrender of Appomatox. Of course there
were honorable exceptions, but in the main the political
following of Brownlow, Etheridge and Andy Johnson
consisted of the riff-raff of the mountaineers, who were
as thoroughly wedded to the stars and stripes as were
the provincialists of La Vendee to the Bourbon dynasty
in the early days of the French revolution. During
the contest they were intensely bitter and prescriptive
and but little esteemed even by their associates for
their soldierly qualities. But when the cruel war was
over they vented their spleen on the "secesh," driving
out many of the best citizens and grossly abusing
others, especially the preachers of the Southern
Methodist church. Some of this latter class were
beaten unmercifully by the loyal kuklux for no crime
except the preaching of a non-political gospel. East
Tennessee, as well as Missouri, had its Methodist
martyrs, such as the venerable Brillhart and the saintly
Neal. In 1866, I made a business tour through this
section, occasionally preaching at some personal peril,
as at Athens, where the Southern Methodists were
excluded from their own church and compelled to wor
ship in the court house. On Monday thereafter the
town was thronged with blue coats, who were some
what given to rowdyism Two or three times during
the day I was pointed out and opprobriously designated
by the coarse military rabble as the "rebel preacher."

Some of my friends were apprehensive that I might


meet with harsher treatment, but I escaped any per
sonal violence. At Cleveland and Knoxville matters
had righted up to a great extent, but even at these
points the fires of hate were smouldering rather than
extinguished. Rev. Dr. Park, the Presbyterian pastor
at Knoxville, weathered out the storm of war and was
unflinchingly faithful to the Confederate cause. He gave
me much sympathy during my stay in Knoxville and
much information which I cannot now recall. He still
survives and enjoys the love and reverence of all good
people. Here I renewed ray acquaintance with that
grand Methodist layman, J. W. Gaut, whom I had fre
quently met in Georgia during the war period. At
lanta was greatly benefited by the exodus of Southern
men from East Tennessee. Moore and Marsh and
Lowry and Hopkins and the Inmans, and others of At
lanta's foremost citizens were drifted Southward by the
cumpulsive current of sectional animosity.

A Presbyterian friend asks me to take a hand in the
pending controversy "Shall Women be Allowed to
Preach?" With the thermometer up in the nineties
and still suffering with a remnant of LaGrippe, I am not
in the mood for such heavy work. If the eager public
will be patient the question will settle itself. Isolated
texts, whether from Peter or Paul, cannot arrest the
movement, especially when the texts themselves are of
doubtful interpretation. Let us quietly and prayerfully
await the developments of Providence. Of one thing I


am quite sure, that several of the devout women that I
have heard preach are quite equal in gifts and graces to
the average pulpiteer of the male persuasion. All this
is aside from the widely different question of licensure
or ordination.

We frequently stumble on journalistic discussions of
the comparative value of genius and talent. Like
Macaulay, we have a hearty abhorrence of the latter
term, especially the adjective, "talented." It is in
sooth the characteristic of the coarser mental and moral
fibre, and belongs as little to the higher realm of intel
lect as a sewing machine to the department of fine arts.
As respects genius, it is everywhere a divine gift, and
is not less inspirational than prophecy. Whether we
trace its footprints in the Inferno of Dante or the
transfiguration of Raphael, we stand reverent, with
uncovered head and unsandalled feet, as did Moses at
the burning bush, or with mouth in the dust, as when
Jehovah spoke to his servant Job out of the whirlwind.
We don't undervalue industry as a means of achieving
greatness, but it is an indifferent substitute for the
highest order of genius. These two, talent and genius,
are, as a mathematician would say, incommensurable
quantities. The loftiest flights of oratory, as in the case
of Mirabeau and Burke the sublimest reaches of the
imagination, as in Faust and the Iliad, can never be
rivaled by mere talent, however deep and broad.
The history of literature is replete with these ambi-


tious efforts. It is, after all, soaring on Dedalian
wings that melt in the sunlight of the Empyrean. To
illustrate, Everett was a man of talent. His fellow-
countryman, Webster, was a genius. And so on
through the list of great names.

Two highly esteemed personal friends, Dr. R. B.
Ridley and Judge George Hillyer, have mentioned to
me an English review of a recent date, which is highly
laudatory of our Georgia poet, Sidney Lanier. The
English critic places Lanier in the front rank of
American bards. Several years ago we had occasion to
write and print an elaborate article on Lanier, in which
we assigned him a like position. We even ventured to
say that neither Alexander Pope nor John Dryden, in
their tribute to music, had equaled his masterpiece,
"The Symphony." The English reviewer further says
that Lanier surpasses both Tennyson and Browning.
This estimate needs little modification. The time is
nigh at hand when this illustrious Georgian will be
hailed as the greatest poet of the present generation.

How much is it to be deplored that contemporary
criticism in his case was so greatly mistaken in its ap
preciation of him ! Strange to say, there were profes
sional reviewers that went wild over the oftentimes
vapid versification oi Longfellow that sought to damn
Lanier with faint praise. What think some of these of
the following which one of the most cultured literateurs
in America pronounces a diamond of the first water?



Into the woods my Master went

Clean forspent, forspent.

Into the woods my Master came

Forspent with love and shame.

But the olives they were not blind to Him ;

The little gray leaves were kind to Him ;

The thorn tree had a mind to Him,

When into the woods He came.

Out of the woods my Master camt-
And He was well content.
Out of the woods my Master came
Content with death and shame.
When death and shame would woo Him last;
From under the trees they drew Him last ;
'Twas on a tree they slew Him last,
When out of the woods He came.

What Raphael's " Madonna" is in sacred art, this
ballad is in Christian song.

The remains of the first man that I ever saw who had
been slain in battle, were those of Major Ringgold, the
gallant artillerist of Taylor's army. They were carried
through, overland, by the old Piedmont line of stages to
Baltimore. They were placed on top of the coach, while
a small escort occupied the body of the coach. It will be
remembered that Ringgold fell in the first regular battle
of the Mexican war, May 8th, 1846, at Palo Alto, a few
miles from Point Isabel. Taylor, at the head of 2,000
men, was marching to the relief of Major Brown at Mat-
amoras. General Arista, of the Mexican army, who a
few days before had surprised and captured Captain


Thornton and his dragoons, placed his army of 6,000
athwart Taylor's line of march. At Palo Alto they
met, when the Mexicans were driven back to Resaca de
la Palma, where a heavier engagement occurred on the
9th, which resulted in a thorough defeat of the enemy.
It was in this last battle that Captain May and his dra
goons charged a Mexican battery and captured General
La Vega, who was in command of the battery. Ring-
gold and May, who were the heroes of the hour, were
Southern men. The first departure of troops for the
seat of war that I ever witnessed was at Milledgeville in
1835. It was a small body who went to join others at
Macon and go forward to reinforce the Texans under
Sam Houston. My recollection is that they narrowly
missed the massacre of the Alamo and shared in the
crowning victory of San Jacinto in the following April.

Charles Phillips, the eloquent Irish barrister, in em
phasizing the inconsistencies of the First Napoleon, says
of him, amongst other things ' ' a professed Catholic,
he imprisoned the Pope." To understand the true im
port of this statement we must needs refer to the matri
monial vagaries of " the man of destiny." Most people
know something of his abandonment of the beautiful
and devoted Creole widow of Beauharnais, who gave
him her heart and hand when as yet he was " unknown
to fortune and to fame." Very few, however, are aware
of the fact that this marriage was solemnized in 1796
according to revolutionary forms and not by a Catholic
priest. For this reason it was regarded by Pius VII.,


the reigning pontiff, as uncanonical. Pius, however,
recognized it as a civil contract and theretore binding in
the Court of Conscience. When Napoleon afterwards,
desiring for purely political reasons to put aside the
wife of his youth, asked the Pope to sanction his adul
terous marriage with Maria Louisa, the Hapsburg prin
cess, the request was declined. This refusal was made
at great personal risk, and really subjected him to more
than a constructive imprisonment, first in Rome itself,

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Online LibraryW. J. (William J.) ScottHistoric eras and Paragraphic pencilings → online text (page 11 of 14)