W. J. (William J.) Scott.

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friendless to drift away from Heaven and happiness.

It doles out a pittance by proxy, but never soils itself


by closer contact with the dependent classes. If I were
called upon to say who, of the priesthood, had in these
latter days exhibited the most Christ-like spirit, I should
without hesitancy name Father Damien, who ministered
to the leprous community of the Sandwich Islands.
His theology was little better than that of St. Dominic,
the founder of the Inquisition, but his religion was like
that of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and the
Saviour of men.

I remember in my boyhood attending a Harrison
meeting, where Dr. DeGraffenried, of Columbus, Ga.,
the father of our Marshall DeGraffenried, was one of the
speakers. The "Tip and Ty" excitement was just
developing into the political freshet that revolutionized
the country. The doctor was a Virginia gentleman of
the old school, and, like Judge W. H. Underwood, an
avowed federalist. He had just returned from a north
ern tour, and was describing the uprising of the masses
for the old farmer of North Bend. The report electri
fied his Whig audience, and the applause was deafening.
Amongst other palpable hits was his saying that from
Augusta, where he crossed the State line, to Columbus,
he had passed through but one county that would poll
a majority for Van Buren, and that was Trout county.
Some party friend interrupted the speaker with the sug
gestion that it was Pike, not Trout county. The old
doctor paused for a moment, and added in a sort of
parenthesis: "Well," said he, "I knew it was some


blank fish county!" The uproar of laughter that fol
lowed can be better imagined than described. Nothing
like that log cabin campaign has been seen since in
Georgia. The present alliance movement is a tame
affair in comparison.

It was during the premiership of Disraeli that a
mitred dignitary of the English church was remarking
on the perverseness of a brilliant young clergyman.
Said his grace, with evident concern: "He is mani
festly verging on Puseyism, and I am at a loss as to the
proper disposition to be made of him." The great
tory leader responded : " If you will make him a
Bishop, you will cure his doctrinal vagaries." The
proposed remedy was tested, and proved effectual.
Official promotion, whether in church or state, is quite
sure to correct erratic tendencies.

The old Romans had a saying that if a citizen had chil
dren he had given hostages to the republic. With rare ex
ceptions, the ranks of communism are recruited from
those classes that are badly conditioned. A small freehold
is apt to make a man conservative in his political views.
Village attorneys were, indeed, prominent in the French
revolution, but t'^e men that stormed the Bastile, and
did the bidding of Robespiere, were the sans-cullotic
rabble of the slums. Well-to-do people are not likely,
except under great provocation, to rush into riot and


" Duruy's History of Rome" is the most exhaustive
work of its kind that has fallen under our notice.

This French author has completed the work which
Niebuhr began, but left unfinished. No portion of the
six volumes of this elaborate history is of greater impor
tance than that which relates to the period of the two
great triumvirates. Especially do his admirable por
traitures of Cicero, Cataline, Pompey and Julius Caesar
almost compensate for the lost books of Livy. His
explanation of the causes of the decay of agriculture in
the Italian peninsula is a sort of historical revelation.
He argues that with a tariff system like the English corn
laws, the empire would not have fallen so easy a prey
to the northern barbarians. It was certainly an alarm
ing condition of affairs when the world's great capital
was dependent for its food supplies on corn ships from
Egypt, Sardinia, Sicily and remoter countries. It was a
fearful aggravation when one of the twelve Caesars
ordered some of the ships at Alexandria to be loaded
with sand for the arena, making the then existing
scarcity more stringent and appalling. This was but
the prelude to the dark days of the latter empire. Can
it be that the corrupt political methods of these evil
days are preparing our own country for a like doom
and destiny ?

There is a small class of educationists whose cranki
ness borders on lunacy. These have told us that in the
late Franco-Prussian war Germany conquered France by
the Pestalozzian system ot education. They make but


little account of the military drill and discipline be
queathed by the great Frederick, or of the admira
ble transportation service organized by Moltke and Bis

How does this view comport with the admitted fact
that, perhaps, the best fighting troops of modern Eu
rope were the illiterate boy conscripts, that Napoleon
gathered out of the lanes and alleys of Paris and Mar
seilles ? Verily, those learned Thebans are hobby-horsi-
cal in their habits.

One Lossing, who writes history for the youth, in a
contribution to the New York Independent, lectures Dr.
Curry and Bishop Haygood for characterizing the little
unpleasantness that ended at Appomattox as a "war
between the States." He thinks the right term is re
bellion written in capitals. We wish that our people
would boycott all such writers.

Asbury Hull, Elbridge G Cabiness and R. A, T.
Ridley were typical Whigs of the anti-bellum days.
They were close, personal friends and trusted counsel
ors of Berrien, Crawford, Toombs and Stephens. All
of them were prominent figures in Georgia politics.
One thing was strikingly characteristic of these follow
ers of Henry Clay They were noted for their personal
cleanliness. Zeb Vance, who had a knack of saying
sharp things, used to say that the Whigs as a class wore
standing collars, well polished boots and claw-hammer
coats. In a word they had the appearance of gentle
men, and even a bit of the true nobleman look. Asbury


Hull, who died a few years ago in Athens, while reading
his morning lesson in the scriptures, was chosen two or
more times as President of the Senate. Cabiness was a
circuit judge and chairman of the State Executive Com
mittee during the Gordon and Bullock campaign.
Ridley several times represented the grand old county
of Troup in the State Legislature, was more than
once on the Whig electoral ticket and was a bosom
friend of Ben Hill. They were all staunch church
members. Hull and Ridley Methodists and Cabiness a
Baptist. Let it not be inferred, however, that the Clay
and Everett Whigs had a monopoly of the decencies
or elegancies of this remote period. On the contrary,
there were such men as Walter H. Mitchell, Henry
Todd and Dr. Joel Branham, who were Democrats of
the straitest sect. Walter H. Mitchell was the father of
the first wife of Chief Justice Jackson, and was for years
a prominent State House official at the old capitol.
Henry Todd was a wealthy planter, residing near West
Point, who eschewed office-seeking. Joel Branham was
a Middle Georgia physician of great distinction. They
were all educated, and of the best lineage. In one
respect they were all men of note amongst their con
temporaries. As conversationalists and story tellers of
the old school, they had few superiors. Indeed you
must needs go a long journey to find two men who
could better entertain a dinner party than Todd and
Mitchell, when in their best mood. Branham was at
times quite as felicitous in the same role; and then, as a
political stump speaker, he had few equals in his gene-


ration. By a singular coincidence they were all Meth
odists, and great admirers of Lovick Pierce, Sam
Anthony and Billy Parks. Men of the class we have
mentioned have no successors. The changes in polit
ical and social conditions have prevented this, but their
descendants are amongst our most worthy and honored

When Lord Cardigan was ordered to charge the Rus
sian batteries at Balaklava, he instantly sprung to his
saddle, and putting himself at the head of the column,
he shouted in a ringing voice: " Forward, the Light
Brigade." As the column, with dancing plumes and
glittering sabers, dashed forward at a hand gallop, the
brave commander said to his nearest staff officer : "Here
goes the last of the Cardigans." And yet such are the
fortunes of war that he was one of the few of rank that
came out of the "jaws of hell," unscathed by sword or

It has been said that the order that brought about
this terrible sacrifice of human life was a forgery Lord
Lucan denying that he ever signed such an order. This
example, however, of heoric daring was worth all that
it cost. It will hold its place in history with the con
duct of the three hundred that kept the pass at Ther
mopylae and of McDonald's division with its magnificent
charge at Wagram. These transcendental feats of brav
ery make the brightest pages in the annals of war.
They lift it above the low level of brute courage and
savage ferocity and invest it with the iridescent hues of


the noblest exhibitions of chivalry as chronicled by
Froissart or as chanted in epic strains by "the blind old
Bard of Scio's rocky isle." After all, war is not of ne
cessity an unmitigated social evil. As the tempest puri
fies the atmosphere, clearing it of deadly malaria, so the
shock of battle brings out some of the best qualities of
genuine manhood which otherwise would have lain dor
mant and unknown. An occasional blood-letting purges
alike the body natural and the body politic of vicious
humors. Quakerism has never developed the highest
style of Christian civilization.

Some one has designated Victor Hugo in thoroughly
French phraseology as the "enfant sublime," and yet
it is on record by the family physician, or perhaps his
mother, that at his birth he was not longer than a break
fast knife, with a life expectation hardly worth the labor
of computation. But he survived the perils of infancy,
became a peer of France and a writer unequaled by any
European contemporary. Political troubles drove him
from his native land in 1851 and shut him up in the
island of Guernsey, one of the five channel islands best
known for their superb breed of milch cows. In this
literary seclusion he wrote his masterpieces, " Les
Miserables '' and " The Toilers of the Sea." It was in
the former that he discussed John Brown's murderous
raid on Harper's Ferry. It was a singular misappre
hension which led him to discover an analogy between
this foray of Brown and the battle of Bunker Hill. The
object of Brown and his aiders and abettors was plunder


and rapine. It is not credible that he hoped in any
degree to better the condition of the slaves. The most
charitable construction of the affair is that he was a
monomaniac, who was used by the abolition leaders to
precipitate a sectional struggle that might bring them
official position and personal emolument. It is not to
be wondered at that Gerrit Smith, who had instigated
the movement, lost his head when informed of Brown's
disastrous failure and his subsequent execution. It is
difficult to believe that Brown's entire force consisted of
but seventeen whites and three negroes. He, however,
counted largely on recruits from the Virginia slaves,
but these recruits did not materialize.

There is no room for questioning John Brown's cour
age. That was shown on the hottest battlefields of
Kansas when, as at Lawrence, Ossawatomie and Black
Jack, he distinguished himself as an intrepid and skill
ful partisan leader. He met his doom under the gallows
tree with stolid indifference. The story of his kissing
the child of the slave-mother at the foot of the scaffold is
sheer fiction, but it is true according to the testimony of
eye-witnesses that as he ascended the steps of the gallows
he showed the courage of his convictions. When asked
by the sheriff to take a handkerchief and drop it as a
signal when he was ready, he replied that he "did not
want it, but do not," he added, "keep me longer than
is necessary.' 1

Since his death it has been claimed that his ancestors
came over in the Mayflower. Whether this be an after
thought invented by those who would invest his brow


with the aureole of the martyr it is quite evident that
he had a measure of the pluck and persistence of the old
Puritan warriors that fought under Cromwell and Ireton.
This Harper's Ferry raid was the initial chapter of the
war between the states and only antedated the first gun
at Sumter by about eighteen months.

Before finally dismissing the subject, we recur to our
statement that the slave population in the vicinity of
Harper's Ferry kept aloof from any complicity with
the movement. The colored troops are accredited by
Northern histories with "fighting nobly" on some
occasions, but this usually occurred when there were
bayonets at their backs to urge them forward. At Har
per's Ferry, the Virginia darkey had no fancy for
handling John Brown's pikes. We find in an old Balti
more magazine this reminiscence of one who was on
the ground: "One sturdy fellow said that when he
was taken a pike was put into his hand, and the old
abolitionist exhorted him to 'strike for liberty. 1 '
" Good Lord, Massa," cried Cuffy in a tremor, " I don't
know nuffin' about handlin' these tings." "Take it
instantly," shouted Brown, "and strike home." The
negro couldn't see the point, however. "Don't you
know me ? " cried Brown. " Didn't you never hear of
John Brown, of Ossawatomie?" This frightened the
negroes all the more, and they fled to the hayricks and
other places of refuge for shelter. This writer ex
presses the belief that they would then and there have
fought at the bidding of their old master.


Our friend, Mr. J. H. Rucker, furnishes another Cal
ifornia story of a graver tone than that concerning Bill
Jones and his Jersey sweetheart. At Gold Hill, which
was Mr. Rucker's mining headquarters, religious ser
vices were seldom conducted by the ministry. At
longer or shorter intervals a preacher would come that
way, and all classes would importune him to give them
an appointment. On one occasion a Methodist minister
consented to preach, and as there was neither chapel
nor suitable hall in the village, the landlord of the hotel
improvised a desk in front of the bar, where wines and
stronger beverages were sold by the single drink or the

A congregation of fifty or more assembled at the hour
appointed for the service. The minister having sung
and prayed, was proceeding to announce his text, when
two well known and much dreaded desperadoes, par
tially intoxicated, appeared upon the scene. They
seemed bent on some deviltry, as with a swaggering and
defiant air they demanded drinks of the bartender.
Everybody knew that a refusal of their demand might
lead to riot and bloodshed. The minister paused with
out exhibiting any signs of trepidation. The bar
tender quietly directed them to help themselves, which
they did in presence of the preacher and congregation.
Having each imbibed a half pint or more, they deliber
ately walked away. Out of ear-shot, the minister went
on with his sermon without further molestation. Such
scenes, many of them more turbulent, not unfrequently
occurred in the mining regions in those early days of


California history. The preachers of that day did not
wear a sword, but they were, emphatically, militant
saints, and on rare occasions were forced to resort to
carnal weapons for self protection. The late Dr. Jesse
Boring was engaged in this pioneer work for several
years, and many of his California adventures and expe
riences ought to be perpetuated in book form. Bishop
Fitzgerald and Rev. R. W. Bigham have both contrib
uted some very readable volumes to the literature of
this subject.

General John H. Morgan was no ''literary feller" as
Simon Cameron phrases it, but a lively fighter, who
stirred up things generally beyond the Ohio. At one
time he visited Atlanta, being chaperoned by Colonel
Bob Alston, himself a dashing cavalier. Morgan was a
man of majestic stature, and of a personal daring and a
personal magnetism that fitted him to head a forlorn
hope in the crisis of battle. He was greeted in Atlanta
with great enthusiasm, and especially by the female citi
zenry. During his stay quite a number of our most
prominent ladies wished to present him with a beautiful
gold-headed cane, upon which he might lean, after he
had hung up his battered sword in the halls of victory.
A gentleman well-known to the writer was asked to
make a short presentation speech. Consenting to do
so, he thought it proper to see the General and inform
him of the programme. When the General learned that
a reply would be expected from him, he turned pale
and red by turns and said to the gentleman : " My dear


sir, I am no speaker and I had rather storm a yankee
battery than to make a speech." At his earnest request
the programme was changed so that the cane was
handed him with a note in behalf of the ladies. To this
he made a very tasteful written reply. The ladies,
however, called on him in a body. He conversed very
pleasantly with them for some fifteen minutes. During
this interview a young miss was toying with the hand
kerchief in the General's coat pocket, and by some
legerdemain succeeded in extracting it. The General
was evidently conscious of the mischief, but good-hu-
moredly feigned ignorance. After the ladies retired the
handkerchief was torn into strips and distributed amongst
the party. My lady informant tells me that she kept
hers as a sort of souvenir of the General's visit for some
years, until it was misplaced and lost.

A much admired conversationalist of the olden times
once said that "conversation between more than two
persons was an impossibility." This disposes of table
talk and other babblement of a convivial kind Addi
son's statement was perhaps too strong, but it is un
questionably true that a conversation tete-a-tete is prefer
able to the din of the city club, or the buzz of the vil
lage sewing circle. In these promiscuous gatherings
cheekiness rather than brains takes the leadership, and
the Gratiano "who talks an infinite deal of nothing,"
carries the crowd. To soliloquize is one thing and to
converse, as the terms imply, is quite another thing.
Coleridge was a great success in the former role ; so was


Madam de Stael, the daughter of Necker, who would,
at times, monopolize both the big and small talk of a
Parisian salon. Most persons have, at times, encoun
tered the monologist, who would put the "Ancient
Mariner'' to the blush. Think of a man with an im
portant engagement staring him in the face, who is
abruptly button-holed at the street corner and con
strained to listen to a dry narrative of a half-hour's
length. Some years ago we had a carload of Northern
visitors at one of the State fairs. Albert Lamar, who
was not in the best humor with these visiting brethren,
remarked that he was glad they were to be entertained
by Colonel , who was distinguished for his exu
berant loquacity. Lamar said that it was a sweet
revenge for the downfall of the Confederacy. "Live
and let live " is a good motto in conversation as in
business. Give your patient listener credit for know
ing something.

Is there either "rhyme or reason" in this clangor of
church bells on Sabbath morning? When watches are
so cheap and steeple clocks are so numerous, cannot
the congregation assemble without the summons of a
notice bell? We are aware that Cowper wrote some
thing touching about the sound of "the church-going
bell," and other bards of a melancholy bent have sen
timentalized about the bells of Shandon and of St.
Petersburg. Indeed somebody has ventured the incred
ible statement that Napoleon halted in mid-career on a
hilltop to listen to the bells of Brienne. This may be


poetical, but it is puerile. Why rack the nerves of sick
people on a week night or break the stillness of the
holy day by the "wrangling and the jangling of the
bells, bells, bells?" Poe and Schiller seemed to have
had a reverence for bells, but both were slightly daft.
As a means of assembling the faithful on the patriotic
we prefer the Muezzin's call or the stentorian shout of
the old-fashioned town-crier.

IN A SICK CHAMBER. There is a singular fascination
for most readers in that sort of literature which savors
of autobiography. Hence the vast popularity of such
works as ' ' Caesar's Commentaries, " " The Confession of
St. Augustine," and " Bishop Burnett's History of His
Own Time." The same holds good in regard to fictive
literature, such as the "Jane Eyre," of Miss Bronte,
and the "David Copperfield, '' of Dickens, where the
sitter and the artist are the same person. I find myself,
as I grow older, likely to fall into this autobiographic
strain, as will appear in this paper, dictated in a sick
chamber. On the 4th of March instant, my sixty-fifth
birthday, I was closely shut in by stress of weather and
a thoroughly orthodox attack of la grippe. Not a slight
nasal catarrh, but such an attack as might suggest to the
sufferer the hug of a grizzly, or the grasp of a devil fish ;
an attack involving both the anterior and posterior nares,
both eyes and ears ; the meatus auditorius ex let mis throb
bing and buzzing as if the Anvil Chorus was being
played in the next room. Shade of Esculapius ! Was
such an influenza known in the infancy of medical


science ? It will be observed that my own birthday and
that of Robert Emmet, the young Irish patriot, fall
upon the same day of the calendar, the inauguration
day of the American Presidents. Thinking of Emmet,
I recall a dramatic representation of the trial scene of
the young patriot at Hamilton, Ga. As I distinctly
remember, Colonel W. C. Osborn, the village Boniface,
personated Lord Norbury, the presiding justice. A
bright young lawyer of the village, a nephew of old
Governor Strong, of Massachusetts, enacted the part of
young Emmet with brilliant success. After the applause
which followed the delivery of Emmet's notable defense,
another cultured gentleman rose and recited, most touch-
ingly, the lines of the Irish bard inscribed to the memory
of Miss Curran, the fiancee of the Irish martyr, begin

" She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps."

These lines are, perhaps, the best, certainly the ten-
derest of Moore's melodies, saving that other beginning :

"Come rest in this bosom, my own stricken dear."

It is a lamentable fact that Emmet's epitaph is still
unwritten, in the closing decade of the nineteenth cen
tury. Nor is it likely to be written for another half
century, if that greatest living Englishman, Gladstone,
is to be handicapped by such a marplot as Charles
Stewart Parnell. My charming amanuensis, who had
written thus far, remarked that she preferred Moore's
sacred songs to any of his other melodies. Not bad
taste, we replied, for he wrote nothing better than


" Come, Ye Disconsolate." Strange besides, that a
devotee of fashion and frivolity should have written a
poem whose pious sentiment should have so deeply
touched the religious sensibilities of mankind.

There are lights as well as shadows in a sick chamber.
To say nothing of rare delicacies, kindly sent by gentle
friends, that might coax an appetite when sorely impaired
by disease, and then fruits ard flowers that bring the
sunlight and autumn into the closely curtained chamber.
But there are better things than even the presence and
prayers of godly visitors, clerical and lay. Likewise,
occasional letters from distant friends full of brotherly
sympathy. Witness the following that reached me
amidst a steady downpour from a leaden sky. I was
feeling like Romeo when the friar told him he was
"wedded to calamity," when this sunburst broke on

C , March 9, 1891. Dear Brother Scott: My

habit is to read everything from your pen, and of you ;
so I thought much and prayed about you when I read
a notice of your illness in some paper a week ago. I
hope you are "over it" now "about again." Your
pen has been of exceeding usefulness in taking readers
into religious growth and light where men are not apt
to look for them, and in a way so charming and unusual

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Online LibraryW. J. (William J.) ScottHistoric eras and Paragraphic pencilings → online text (page 13 of 14)