W. J. (William J.) Scott.

Historic eras and Paragraphic pencilings online

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and again at Fontainebleau. It may have been to co
erce the Pope that Napoleon seized St. Peter's patri
mony and annexed it to the Empire long before the
time of Victor Emanuel.

Napoleon I., like Henry VIII., when he set his heart
on Anne Boleyn, would listen to no ghostly counsel,
but proceeded, in spite of the tears and entreaties and
swoonings of Josephine, to the consummation of a mar
riage which allied him to one of the oldest dynasties of
Europe. We need not say that the results were disap
pointing in more respects than one. It was a just retri
bution which befell him, in that, although his Austrian
wife gave birth to a male heir in less than a year after
her espousal, yet it was not the king of Rome, as he
was boastfully called, but a grandson of Josephine, his
repudiated wife, that came to the throne of the French
Empire. It may seem superstitious, and yet we will
venture the remark that it was this Austrian alliance
that paved the way to the decline and ultimate downfall
of Bonapartism. He was prompted to it by "a vault
ing ambition that overleaped itself." It not only failed


to conciliate the crowned heads, but it compromised his
honor with the masses who had hitherto rejoiced in his
good fortune. This it was that gave double fury to the
winds of adversity that followed the inglorious Russian
campaign. This it was that sent him an exile to Elba,
and after the hundred days ending at Waterloo, shut
him up a State prisoner at St. Helena.

When on that "lone, barren rock" he passed away,
not with New Jerusalem visions, but with terrific battle
scenes searing his glazing eyeballs nor yet with the
quiring of cherubim falling on his ears but rather the
tumultuous rush and deafening roar of a Liepsic or an
Austerlitz. If there was in this horrid delirium of death
a single momentary interval of consciousness, there
must have been bitter memories of the injured Jose
phine who generously offered to attend him in his exile
at Elba, and if she had survived would no doubt have
piteously begged the privilege of nursing him in the
later weary years of his imprisonment under Sir Hudson
Lowe. How sharply contrasted the true wifely devo
tion of Josephine and the conduct of his Austrian bride,
who before his death contracted a morganatic marriage
below her rank as a Hapsburg princess, and yet moved
as an Empress of France. In the light of Josephine's
subsequent history, how strange and still how accurate
the forecast of the old sybil of Martinico, who said to
the jaunty Creole maiden : "You will be married soon ;
that union will not be happy ; you will become a widow
and then you will be queen of France ! Some happy
years will be yours, but you will die in a hospital amid


civil commotion." If this statement be true, and Jose
phine vouched for its correctness, the aged sybil's
phrophecy was almost literally fulfilled.

Before dismissing the matter of marriage and divorce
in connection with the First Napoleon, it may be well
to refer to his strenuous effort to induce his brothers,
Lucien and Jerome, to put away their wives for selfish
ends. Jerome was pliable, and for his obedience to his
imperious, as well as imperial, brother, was rewarded
with a petty kingdom perhaps Westphalia. Lucien,
however, was less tractable. In response to his
brother's invitation, he went to the place of St. Cloud,
where Napoleon was closeted with him for one or two
hours, urging Lucien to give his wife and the mother of
his children a bill of divorcement. Lucien was obsti
nate and even resentful. When his brother offered him
a crown on condition that he would repudiate his wife,
"a woman of gallantry," as he stigmatized her, Lucien
was greatly enraged, and replied that if his wife was "a
woman of gallantry," she was at least "pretty and
young." This innuendo, at the expense of Josephine,
fired the indignation of the Emperor, and, holding his
watch in his hand, he dashed it to the floor, saying,
"With like ease I could crush you as I have crushed
that bauble, but you are my brother go." Thereupon
Lucien withdrew, doing honor to himself by the refusal
of a crown rather than do such injustice to his wife.
This whole affair shows how reckless Napoleon was of
marriage obligations when they stood in the way of his
ambition. It illustrates likewise another saying of the


Irish barrister, to whom we referred in the outset, that
so thoroughly had Napoleon shattered the govern
mental institutions of Europe, "that he disposed of
crowns and thrones with as little ceremomy as if they
had been the titular dignitaries of a chess board.

Three Confederate officers, amongst the most con
spicuous for personal gallantry in the battle of the Wil
derness, were Gordon, Evans and Phil Cook, all Geor
gians, and all of them at this time residents of Atlanta.
Speaking of General Evans, it may not be generally
known that he commanded the rear guard of Lee's army
during the retreat from Petersburg. In the melee his
wife was captured, but luckily fell into the hands of
General Custer, who treated her with great kindness
and consideration, informing Evans at the first oppor
tunity of her safety.

Custer, who was a knightly soldier, was, with his com
mand, afterwards massacred by the Modoc Indians.

We have through the press nowadays a great deal
of discussion of dietetics and pedagogics the stom
ach and the school. One writer on the "curiosities of
eating and drinking," justly remarks, "that every kind
of food and drink is proved by some scientific discov
erer or another to be rank poison. " He quotes amongst
others a German physiologist who claims that Buffon
and Voltaire drank enormous quantities of coffee to their
deadly hurt, and that "the descriptions that the former
penned of the dog, the tiger and other carnivorous ani-


mals were written under strong cerebral excitement."
With like confidence others aver that tea, which even
Cowper drank with such gusto from the silver urn of
Mr. Unwin, is a dangerous beverage to tamper with.

A dozen or more years ago, when I was oscillating
between life and death, I chanced to meet an unknown
gentleman who was evidently struck with my semi-
cadaverous aspect. He was, I am quite sure, a learned
physician from the far West. He asked me in regard
to my dieting, and I informed him that I was advised
to restrict myself to milk, and a small quantity of tea and
vegetables. This remark seemed to startle him. "Why,
my friend," he rejoined, "your medical adviser must be
a very incapable personage. I insist that you should
eat as much as your stomach craves of good roast beef
and pork steak, washed down with liberal potations of
the best whisky or brandy." "Why," said I, half smil
ingly, "have you forgotten that Moses prohibited
swine's flesh as a sanitary measure?'' "That was well
enough," he answered, "when applied to the razor-
back hogs around Jerusalem, but it will not hold with
the Berkshires and Graziers of Kentucky and Missouri.
No better diet than that for an invalid if it is properly
prepared." I left the train at the next station, and
taking my hand he walked to the platform of the car,
and giving me a hearty hand-shaking, he said: "Don't
forget the roast beef and whisky and it will make you a
new man."

Only a few days ago I made an early morning call on
a lady friend, and found her drinking a cup of hot water


preparatory to a late breakfast. I asked if she found
any virtue in it. She replied that it was the best medi
cine she had ever tried for indigestion. She drank it so
hot that it almost blistered her tongue. And yet chem
ists inform us that pepsin, the most important ingredi
ent of the gastric juice, is rendered inert and valueless
for digestive purposes when fluids are taken into the
stomach of a higher temperature than 120 or 130 Fah
renheit. Such is the great uncertainty touching this
whole question of diet and medication.

Our own conviction is that instinct, or whatever else
it may be called, is the safest guide in this matter of
eating and drinking. If a man has, like Sir Roger de
Coverly, "a roast beef stomach," let him tackle a sir
loin ; if his stomach craves cheese, let him call for it,
even if it be sweitzer. If he relishes a plate of turtle
soup or a cup of black coffee, let him have it according
to his liking. The brutes find their medicine in herbs
and grasses, and possibly never make a mistake, and
likewise as to their food unless it is tampered with. In cases
of willful or accidental poisoning, their instinct stands
them as little in stead as man's higher reason avails him
under like circumstances.

We reserve to another time what we may wish to say
on the subject of pedagogics, which we referred to in
the outset of this "penciling."

Some unknown friend has placed us under obligations
by sending me a pamphlet copy of the alumni address
of Col. N. J. Hammond. It is issued by The Comtitu-


tion job office, and in the best style of the typographic
art. Elsewhere we have spoken in a general way of the
merits of the address. We propose now to illustrate
the correctness of our former statement by reproducing
a single brief but striking passage which will serve as a
fair sample of the whole address :

It is a grand thing to have the courage of one's con
victions. Three examples stand out in sacred history
to teach this noble courage. Joshua proclaiming that
whatever Israel may decide " as for me and my house
we will serve the Lord ;" Daniel worshipping after the
proclamation of the king to the contrary, just as he did
before ; and Paul saying he would go to Jerusalem in
spite of the warning of Agabus and the fears and
entreaties of his friends. No less in business affairs and
politics than in religion is such a quality admirable. He
inspires confidence who hesitates not when duty calls,
to stake the presidency upon a message.

But some will say that such conduct will bring defeat.
That depends upon what we mean by defeat. If mere
ephemeral success be all that is hoped for, if the best
role is that of the trimmer, and the missing of the tem
porary rewards of such conduct be want of success, they
are right. But

" Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
But in ourselves are triumph and defeat."

When Burke was taunted that the Whig party had
been disgracefully beaten, he replied : " O illustrious
disgrace! O victorious defeat ! May your memorial be
fresh and new to the latest generation. * * * Let


no man hear of us who shall not hear that in a struggle
against the intrigues of courts, and the perfidious levity
of the multitude, we fell in the cause of honor, in the
cause of our country, in the cause of humanity itself.
But if fortune should be as powerful over fame as she
has been over virtue, at least our conscience is beyond
her jurisdiction."

"Honest" Hugh Latimer, of immortal memory, was
wiser than some preachers of the present generation, in
that he believed in a "personal devil." Not a few have
outgrown this article of the creed and are disposed, like
Burns, to poke fun, and now and then to extend sym
pathy to "old Splayfoot," as Sam Jones has christened
him. Barring the occasional profanity, Burns' "Ad
dress to the Deil, " is one of the best serio comic poems of
British literature. How widely different the conception
of that "rhyming, ranting bardie" from the portrait of
Milton in "Paradise Lost." That council of pande
monium in which Mammon, Moloch and Belial, and
Satan himself, debate in parliamentary style the burning
issues of war and peace, reads like a page of modern
history in which the Castlereaghs, Metternichs and Tal-
leyrands figure in high diplomatic discussion.

Some critics are not far wrong who say that the devil
is the hero of the great English epic. Compared with
him, the lesser devils are dwarfed into pigmies. In like
manner Adam is reduced to the level of a country
squire, and Eve, the mother of us all, is a common
place personage, except when departing from Eden she


breaks forth into that superb apostrophe to the lost
Paradise with its nuptial bowers and its beautifully
graded walks, which remind us of some of the best
work of the landscape gardener. Addison was the first
English writer to popularize "Paradise Lost," which
else had fallen still born from the press. In these latter
days it is frequently talked of, but seldom read. I
fairly devoured it fifty years ago, but I question if in the
last twenty years I have read a hundred consecutive
lines at a sitting. My experience in this line is not ex
ceptional. The shorter poems of Milton, such as
' 'L' Allegro and II Penseroso, " "Comus"' and the sonnets
are still read, and the same remark applies to some of
his prose writings.

But, it may be asked, what has all this to do with the
devil? We might reply in the words of St. Paul, with
reference to another matter, " Much every way, chiefly
because the Satan of the orthodox creed is perhaps
quite as much Miltonic as scriptural. We do not mean
to concede that the scriptures do not teach clearly and
impressively the fact that there is a being, if you please,
"an arch-angel ruined," who is the great adversary of
Christ and his kingdom. Nor, as St. Peter says, are
the enlightened "ignorant of his wiles." How far he
may be suffered to impress and influence human des
tiny is not fully revealed. But of this we are assured,
that " if we resist him he will flee from us."

The oldest man probably since Mathuselah was a
Tyrolese peasant, who was born in the seventeenth


century and survived the storming of the bastile and the
downfall of the French monarchy. A visit which he
made to Paris is described by Carlyle in his history of
the French revolution. He was granted almost as
striking an ovation as was Voltaire on his last visit to
Paris. How checkered the experiences of a centena
rian ! If compiled, what a volume they would make !
What a blending of smiles and tears! What a jumble
of tragic and comic scenes ! What a mixture of pathos
and pleasantry ! But greater still the manifold experi
ences of a man who lived nine hundred and sixty and
nine years. Is the scriptural chronology at fault ? If
we remember that the Hebrew writers had neither Ara
bic nor Roman numerals, we see how mistakes might
have occurred.

We may form some idea of the immense longevity of
Mathuselah, if we compare his age with that of the
British Empire. The old Hebrew patriarch might have
fought at Hastings in 1066, and lived on until the last
Plantagenet was entombed at Westminster. He would
have been in the prime of life during the Wars of the
Roses, and might have witnessed the funeral obsequies
of Elizabeth, the last of the Tudor line. He would
have been but little past middle life when Marlborough
fought and won at Blenheim, and when Anne of Den
mark, the last of the Stuarts, gave way to the house of
Hanover, and thus on and on until now he would be
somewhat gray and wrinkled, and yet in a fair way to
see the close of the twentieth century. The brain reels
under the weight of such a computation, and we are


disposed to thank the gracious One that now fixes four
score years as the limit of man's life-pilgrimage.

Ex Senator Strother, of Lincoln, is known to be a
great admirer of the ladies, but it is not so generally
known that he has a passion for mathematics, especially
the calculus integral and differential. After talking with
him quite awhile on that subject I switched him off on
Longstreet's story of the dark corner of Lincoln in the
" Georgia Scenes." He says that this famous locality
is in the Southeastern corner ot the county where it
abuts on the Savannah river, and only about thirty
miles distant from Augusta. The hero of the tale was
one Shade Wethers, a sort of happy-go-lucky wight,
who was excessively fond of strong drink. He was
anything but a bully himself, being a very inoffensive
personage. But Wethers, like Ransy Sniffle, had a
keen relish for a cross roads fisticuff, and would often
walk to the court house on muster or election days that
he might witness any exhibition of the kind which should
turn up. He was in this mood probably when he impro
vised the private theatricals in the skirt of woods through
which Longstreet passed on his way to Lincolnton. From
the amount of cussing and cavorting made by Wethers,
Longstreet thought that he was in a stone's cast of a
Donnybrook fair, and when the Judge turned aside to
read the riot act or command the peace, he was amazed
to find but a single actor in the melee.

Wethers, as the Judge states, put on a hang dog look
when he demanded of him where his antagonist was.


He naively replied that he was "jest'er seeing how he
could have fout. " It was for printing such humorous and
sketches as this that some of the strait-breasted Metho
dist clergy, like Uncle John Collinsworth, who voted
against licensing George Pierce to preach, were inclined
to call Judge Longstreet to account at the bar of the
conference. Senator Strother protests that the militia
muster, of which Oliver H Prince contributed an
account to the Georgia Scenes, did not occur in Lincoln,
but in Wilkes. He is probably jealous of the honor of
the county which he has so ably represented.

Our Pat Calhoun is clearly ' ' a chip of the old block. "
We do not accept his subtreasury views, but, take his
address to the Legislature in its totality, and it is char
acterized by a vigor of thought and terseness of state
ment that reminds us of that great Carolinian who met
and triumphantly refuted the great Webster in their
joint discussion of the States' rights resolutions in 1834.
We are certainly influenced by no personal considera
tions in this estimate, for our acquaintance with Mr.
Pat Calhoun does not go beyond a single introduction.

Queen Victoria conferred a baronetcy on General
Havelock for his gallant services during the Sepoy
rebellion. But the merited honor came too late, for
that noble Christian warrior had died three weeks
before the distinction was bestowed. The next best
thing was done in conferring the title on his oldest son,
a young man of rare promise and of splendid character.


At one period of his life John C. Calhoun dom
inated the thought and politics of South Carolina as
fully as did Pericles the thought of Athens in its palm
iest days. So that it become a proverb, coarse but
expressive, that when Mr. Calhoun took snuff the whole
State from Pickens' Nose to Charleston would sneeze.
Hammond and Pettigru and a few others were possible
exceptions, but the one man who was his peer in schol
arship and intellectual compass, and who boldly antag
onized his theory of government, was Hugh Swinton
Legare, the head and front of Whigism in that Jeffer-
sonian stronghold. As David B. Hill proclaims "I am
a Democrat," so Legare thanked God "that he was a
Huguenot." His educational opportunities were of the
best. In early boyhood he was a pupil of Waddell at
the Wellington Academy in Abbeville district. From
thence he went to the State College at Columbia, where
he graduated with the highest distinction. From Colum
bia he went to Edinburgh, having Preston for his fellow
collegian. In that far-famed university he took high
rank, and was occasionally brought in personal contact
with the great lights of "Auld Reekie," the center of
learning in Great Britain. After a good deal of conti
nental travel he returned to Charleston and opened a
law office, and at the age of forty-five was Attorney-
General of the United States. He died three years
thereafter in Boston, at the house of his bosom friend,
Ticknor, whose studies in Spanish literature have been
an honor to his country.

We have reproduced these biographic details partly


to illustrate the facility with which a very great man
may be forgotten, but chiefly as preparatory to a more
important statement, that but for the opposition of
Legare and Pettigru to the nullification movement
South Carolina might have precipitated a dissolution of
the Union thirty years before the first gun was fired at
Sumter. In that event we might long ere this have
had two sister republics side by side in good working
order. On such slight contingencies very often hinge
the fate of great men and the destiny of vast empires.

Poor Goldsmith had at times a misanthropic mood,
or perhaps we ought to say a fit of nervous depression
that beclouded his usually sunny temper. It was at
such a time doubtless that he penned that hackneyed

"What is friendship but a name ?

A charm that lulls to sleep,
A shade that follows wealth or fame

And leaves the wretch to weep."

There are many faithless ones in all circles, but the
above sentiment is too broad a generalization. That
man has been indeed singularly unfortunate whose
experience does not contradict this pessimistic state
ment. It is not every day that we encounter a " fidus
Achates," nor are we apt to stumble with even less fre
quency on a friendship like that which knit the souls of
David and Jonathan. And yet we ourselves must be
quite undeserving if we have not on our list of friends,
a goodly number, who have never faltered in their devo-


tion to us and our fortunes. These life-long friendships
do not always have their root in similarity of tastes.
As opposite electricities attract each other, so differ
ences of mental and physical temperament will often
bind men together as with "hooks of steel."

Goldsmith and Johnson were unlike in very many
respects, and yet there is no reason to question that
Goldsmith loved his illustrious friend, however he was
worried by his dogmatism nor is there any reason to
doubt that this affection was reciprocated.

Some of the ablest writers for the religious press are
beginning to realize that the multiplication of societies
for various moral purposes is likely to prove a hindrance
to the church in its legitimate work. The danger seems
imminent that the church will be cumbered and weighed
down by a superabundance of machinery. Nor is it less
to be feared that individual Christian efforts will be
weakened or utterly paralyzed. The " fad " comes from
New England, where, amongst some good things, many
evil things are wont to originate. The colored brother
has caught the infection, and we see processions with
badges and banners moving through our streets, bear
ing such unique inscriptions as these : " The Weeping
Sons of Jacob," and "The Mourning Doves of Zion."
To take a single illustration of our main thought, alms
giving, which is an eminent virtue and an obvious per
sonal duty, is relegated to benevolent associations, to
the serious detriment of the pious giver. The Apostle
James has given us the best Scriptural definition of relig-


ion. "True religion and undefiled * * * is to visit
the fatherless and the widow in their affliction, and to
keep himself unspotted from the world. " The word visit
in the text is not put there by accident, but for a wise
purpose. It involves the idea of personal contact with
human want and wretchedness. It enjoins something
beyond the mere bestowment of money, needful as that
may be. It implies a personal visitation, during which
there shall be the expression of sympathy for the suffer
er and an earnest endeavor by word and look to uplift
the forlorn and shipwrecked brother.

It was wise in the Apostle Peter, when he would
relieve the impotent man at the beautiful gate of the
temple, to take him by the hand and lift him up. The
Apostolic touch thrilled the poor fellow and put him in
a receptive mood, so that he was ready to respond to
the foregone commandment, "In the name of Jesus
Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk " Is it strange
that immediately he rose and stood erect, and walked
and even leaped ? It was in allusion to this incident
that Erasmus said to Leo X. that the church of the six
teenth century had lost its power to make the lame man
rise up and walk. The church of to-day is only in a less
measure shorn of its strength from like causes. It
affects cushioned pews, frescoed walls and carpeted
aisles ; it withdraws itself from the company of publi
cans and sinners. Outside of the Salvation Army and
the half-starved missionary, it leaves the poor and the

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Online LibraryW. J. (William J.) ScottHistoric eras and Paragraphic pencilings → online text (page 12 of 14)