NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
No. III.—AUGUST, 1850.—VOL. I.
[From the Art-Journal.]
PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOME OF SIR THOMAS MORE.
BY MRS. S. C. HALL.
While living in the neighborhood of Chelsea, we determined to look upon the few broken walls that once inclosed the residence of Sir Thomas More, a man who, despite the bitterness inseparable from a persecuting age, was of most wonderful goodness as well as intellectual power. We first read over the memories of him preserved by Erasmus, Hoddesdon, Roper, Aubrey, his own namesake, and others. It is pleasant to muse over the past; pleasant to know that much of malice and bigotry has departed, to return no more, that the prevalence of a spirit which could render even Sir Thomas More unjust and, to seeming, cruel, is passing away. Though we do implicitly believe there would be no lack of great hearts, and brave hearts, at the present day, if it were necessary to bring them to the test, still there have been few men like unto him. It is a pleasant and a profitable task, so to sift through past ages, so to separate the wheat from the chaff, to see, when the feelings of party and prejudice sink to their proper insignificance, how the morally great stands forth in its own dignity, bright, glorious, and everlasting. St. Evremond sets forth the firmness and constancy of Petronius Arbiter in his last moments, and imagines he discovers in them a softer nobility of mind and resolution, than in the deaths of Seneca, Cato, or Socrates himself; but Addison says, and we can not but think truly, "that if he was so well pleased with gayety of humor in a dying man, he might have found a much more noble instance of it in Sir Thomas More, who died upon a point of religion, and is respected as a martyr by that side for which he suffered." What was pious philosophy in this extraordinary man, might seem frenzy in any one who does not resemble him as well in the cheerfulness of his temper as in the sanctity of his life and manners.
Oh, that some such man as he were to sit upon our woolsack now; what would the world think, if when the mighty oracle commanded the next cause to come on, the reply should be, "Please your good lordship, there is no other!" Well might the smart epigrammatist write:
When MORE some time had chancellor been, No MORE suits did remain; The same shall never MORE be seen, Till MORE be there again!
We mused over the history of his time until we slept, and dreamed: and first in our dream we saw a fair meadow, and it was sprinkled over with white daisies, and a bull was feeding therein; and as we looked upon him he grew fatter and fatter, and roared in the wantonness of power and strength, so that the earth trembled; and he plucked the branches off the trees, and trampled on the ancient inclosures of the meadow, and as he stormed, and bellowed, and destroyed, the daisies became human heads, and the creature flung them about, and warmed his hoofs in the hot blood that flowed from them and we grew sick and sorry at heart, and thought, is there no one to slay the destroyer? And when we looked again, the Eighth Harry was alone in the meadow; and, while many heads were lying upon the grass, some kept perpetually bowing before him, while others sung his praises as wise, just, and merciful. Then we heard a trumpet ringing its scarlet music through the air, and we stood in the old tilt-yard at Whitehall, and the pompous Wolsey, the bloated king, the still living Holbein, the picturesque Surrey, the Aragonian Catharine, the gentle Jane, the butterfly Anne Bullen, the coarse-seeming but wise-thinking Ann of Cleves the precise Catherine Howard, and the stout hearted Catherine Parr, passed us so closely by, that we could have touched their garments; then a bowing troop of court gallants came on; others whose names and actions you may read of in history; and then the hero of our thoughts, Sir Thomas More—well dressed, for it was a time of pageants—was talking somewhat apart to his pale-faced friend Erasmus, while "Son Roper," as the chancellor loved to call his son-in-law, stood watchfully and respectfully a little on one side. Even if we had never seen the pictures Holbein painted of his first patron, we should have known him by the bright benevolence of his aspect, the singular purity of his complexion, his penetrating yet gentle eyes, and the incomparable grandeur with which virtue and independence dignified even an indifferent figure. His smile was so catching that the most broken-hearted were won by it to forget their sorrows; and his voice, low and sweet though it was, was so distinct, that we heard it above all the coarse jests, loud music, and trumpet calls of the vain and idle crowd. And while we listened, we awoke; resolved next day to make our pilgrimage, perfectly satisfied at the outset, that though no fewer than four houses in Chelsea contend for the honor of his residence, Doctor King's arguments in favor of the site being the same as that of Beaufort House—upon the greater part of which now stands Beaufort-row—are the most conclusive; those who are curious in the matter can go and see his manuscripts in the British Museum. Passing Beaufort-row, we proceeded straight on to the turn leading to the Chelsea Clock-house.
It is an old, patched-up, rickety dwelling, containing, perhaps, but few of the original stones, yet interesting as being the lodge-entrance to the offices of Beaufort-House; remarkable, also, as the dwelling of a family of the name of Howard, who have occupied it for more than a hundred years, the first possessor being gardener to Sir Hans Sloane, into whose possession, after a lapse of years, and many changes, a portion of Sir Thomas More's property had passed. This Howard had skill in the distilling of herbs and perfumes, which his descendant carries on to this day. We lifted the heavy brass knocker, and were admitted into the "old clock-house." The interior shows evident marks of extreme age, the flooring being ridgy and seamed, bearing their marks with a discontented creaking, like the secret murmurs of a faded beauty against her wrinkles! On the counter stood a few frost-bitten geraniums, and drawers, containing various roots and seeds, were ranged round the walls, while above them were placed good stout quart and pint bottles of distilled waters. The man would have it that the "clock-house" was the "real original" lodge-entrance to "Beaufort House;" and so we agreed it might have been, but not, "perhaps" built during Sir Thomas More's lifetime. To this insinuation he turned a deaf ear, assuring us that his family, having lived there so long, must know all about it, and that the brother of Sir Hans Sloane's gardener had made the great clock in old Chelsea Church, as the church books could prove. "You can, if you please," he said, "go under the archway at the side of this house, leading into the Moravian chapel and burying-ground, where the notice, that 'within are the Park-chapel Schools,' is put up." And that is quite true; the Moravians now only use the chapel which was erected in their burying-ground to perform an occasional funeral service in, and so they "let it" to the infant school. The burying-ground is very pretty in the summer time. Its space occupies only a small portion of the chancellor's garden; part of its walls are very old, and the south one certainly belonged to Beaufort House. There have been some who trace out a Tudor arch and one or two Gothic windows as having been filled up with more modern mason-work: but that may be fancy. There seems no doubt that the Moravian chapel stands on the site of the old stables.
"Then," we said, "the clock-house could only have been at the entrance to the offices." The man looked for a moment a little hurt at this observation, as derogatory to the dignity of his dwelling, but he smiled, and said. "Perhaps so;" and very good-naturedly showed us the cemetery of this interesting people. Indeed, their original settlement in Chelsea is quite a romance. The chapel stands to the left of the burying-ground, which is entered by a primitive wicket-gate; it forms a square of thick grass, crossed by broad gravel walks, kept with the greatest neatness The tombstones are all that, and the graves not raised above the level of the sward. They are of two sizes only: the larger for grown persons, the smaller for children. The inscriptions on the grave-stones, in general, seldom record more than the names and ages of the persons interred. The men are buried in one division, the women in another. We read one or two of the names, and they were quaint and strange: "Anne Rypheria Hurloch;" "Anna Benigna La Trobe;" and one was especially interesting, James Gillray, forty years sexton to this simple cemetery, and father of Gillray, the H. B. of the past century. One thing pleased us mightily, the extreme old age to which the dwellers in this house seemed to have attained.
A line of ancient trees runs along the back of the narrow gardens of Milman's-row, which is parallel with, but further from town than Beaufort-row, and affords a grateful shade in the summer time. We resolved to walk quietly round, and then enter the chapel. How strange the changes of the world! The graves of a simple, peace-loving, unambitious people were lying around us, and yet it was the place which Erasmus describes as "Sir Thomas More's estate, purchased at Chelsey," and where "he built him a house, neither mean nor subject to envy, yet magnificent and commodious enough." How dearly he loved this place, and how much care he bestowed upon it, can be gathered from the various documents still extant. The bravery with which, soon after he was elected a burgess to parliament, he opposed a subsidy demanded by Henry the Seventh, with so much power that he won the parliament to his opinion, and incensed the king so greatly, that, out of revenge, he committed the young barrister's father to the Tower, and fined him in the fine of a hundred pounds! That bravery remained with him to the last, and with it was mingled the simplicity which so frequently and so beautifully blends with the intellectuality that seems to belong to a higher world than this. When he "took to marrying," he fancied the second daughter of a Mr. Colt, a gentleman of Essex; yet when he considered the pain it must give the eldest to see her sister preferred before her, he gave up his first love, and framed his fancy to the elder. This lady died, after having brought him four children; but his second choice, Dame Alice, has always seemed to us a punishment and a sore trial. And yet how beautifully does Erasmus describe his mode of living in this very place: "He converseth with his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, his three daughters and their husbands, with eleven grandchildren. There is not a man living so affectionate to his children as he. He loveth his old wife as if she were a young maid; he persuadeth her to play on the lute, and so with the like gentleness he ordereth his family. Such is the excellence of his temper, that whatsoever happeneth that could not be helped, he loveth, as if nothing could have happened more happily. You would say there was in that place Plato's academy; but I do his house an injury in comparing it to Plato's academy, where there were only disputations of numbers and geometrical figures, and sometimes of moral virtues. I should rather call his house a school or university of Christian religion; for, though there is none therein but readeth and studyeth the liberal sciences, their special care is piety and virtue."
The king was used to visit his "beloved chancellor" here for days together to admire his terrace overhanging the Thames, to row in his state barge, to ask opinions upon divers matters, and it is said that the royal answer to Luther was composed under the chancellor's revising eye. Still, the penetrating vision of Sir Thomas was in no decree obscured by this glitter. One day the king came unexpectedly to Chelsea, and having dined, walked with Sir Thomas for the space of an hour, in the garden, having his arm about his neck. We pleased ourselves with the notion that they walked where then we stood! Well might such condescension cause his son Roper—for whom he entertained so warm an affection—to congratulate his father upon such condescension, and to remind him that he had never seen his majesty approach such familiarity with any one, save once, when he was seen to walk arm in arm with Cardinal Wolsey. "I thank our Lord," answered Sir Thomas, "I find his grace my very good lord, indeed; and I do believe, he doth as singularly love me as any subject within the realm; however, son Roper, I may tell thee I have no cause to be proud thereof, for if my head should win him a castle in France, it should not fail to go off."
With the exception of his own family (and his wife formed an exception here), there are few indeed of his contemporaries, notwithstanding the eulogiums they are prone to heap upon him, who understood the elevated and unworldly character of this extraordinary man.
The Duke of Norfolk, coming one day to dine with him, found him in Chelsea Church, singing in the choir, with his surplice on. "What! what!" exclaimed the duke, "what, what, my Lord Chancellor a parish clerk! a parish clerk! you dishonor the king and his office." And how exquisite his reply, "Nay, you may not think your master and mine will be offended with me for serving God his master, or thereby count his office dishonored." Another reply to the same abject noble, is well graven on our memory. He expostulated with him, like many of his other friends, for braving the king's displeasure. "By the mass, Master More," he said, "it is perilous striving with princes; therefore, I wish you somewhat to incline to the king's pleasure, for 'indignatio Principis mors est.'" "And is that all, my lord?" replied this man, so much above all paltry considerations; "then in good faith the difference between your grace and me is but this—that I may die to-day, and you to-morrow."
He took great delight in beautifying Chelsea Church, although he had a private chapel of his own; and when last there they told us the painted window had been his gift. It must have been a rare sight to see the chancellor of England sitting with the choir; and yet there was a fair share of pomp in the manner of his servitor bowing at his lady's pew, when the service of the mass was ended, and saying, "My lord is gone before." But the day after he resigned the great seal of England (of which his wife knew nothing), Sir Thomas presented himself at the pew-door, and, after the fashion of his servitor, quaintly said, "Madam, my lord is gone." The vain woman could not comprehend his meaning, which, when, during their short walk home, he fully explained, she was greatly pained thereby, lamenting it with exceeding bitterness of spirit.
We fancied we could trace a gothic door or window in the wall; but our great desire would have been to discover the water-gate from which he took his departure the morning he was summoned to Lambeth to take the oath of supremacy. True to what he believed right, he offered up his prayers and confessions in Chelsea Church, and then, returning to his own house, took an affectionate farewell of his wife and children, forbidding them to accompany hum to the water-gate, as was their custom, fearing, doubtless, that his mighty heart could not sustain a prolonged interview. Who could paint the silent parting between him and all he loved so well—the boat waiting at the foot of the stairs—the rowers in their rich liveries, while their hearts, heavy with apprehension for the fate of him they served, still trusted that nothing could be found to harm so good a master—the pale and earnest countenance of "son Roper," wondering at the calmness, at such a time, which more than all other things, bespeaks the master mind. For a moment his hand lingered on the gate, and in fastening the simple latch his fingers trembled, and then he took his seat by his son's side; and in another moment the boat was flying through the waters. For some time he spoke no word, but communed with and strengthened his great heart by holy thoughts; then looking straight into his son Roper's eyes, while his own brightened with a glorious triumph, he exclaimed in the fullness of his rich-toned voice, "I thank our Lord the field is won." It was no wonder that, overwhelmed with apprehension, his son-in-law could not apprehend his meaning then, but afterward bethought him that he signified how he had conquered the world.
The abbot of Westminster took him that same day into custody, on his refusal to "take the king as head of his Church;" and upon his repeating this refusal four days afterward, he was committed to the Tower. Then, indeed, these heretofore bowers of bliss echoed to the weak and wavering complaints of his proud wife, who disturbed him also in his prison by her desires, so vain and so worldly, when compared with the elevated feelings of his dear daughter Margaret.
How did the fond, foolish woman seek to shake his purpose! "Seeing," she said, "you have a house at Chelsea, a right fair house, your library, your gallery, your garden, your orchard, and all other necessaries so handsome about you, where you might in company with me, your wife, your children, and household, be merry, I marvel that you who have been always taken for so wise a man, can be content thus to be shut up among mice and rats, and, too, when you might be abroad at your liberty, and with the favor and good-will both of the king and his council, if you would but do as all the bishops and best learned men of the realm have done."
And then not even angered by her folly, seeing how little was given her to understand, he asked her if the house in Chelsea was any nearer Heaven than the gloomy one he then occupied? ending his pleasant yet wise parleying with a simple question:
"Tell me," he said, "good Mistress Alice, how long do you think might we live and enjoy that same house?"
She answered, "Some twenty years."
"Truly," he replied, "if you had said some thousand years, it might have been somewhat; and yet he were a very bad merchant who would put himself in danger to lose eternity for a thousand years. How much the rather if we are not sure to enjoy it one day to an end?"
It is for the glory of women that his daughter Margaret, while she loved and honored him past all telling, strengthened his noble nature; for, writing him during his fifteen months' imprisonment in the Tower, she asks, in words not to be forgotten, "What do you think, most dear father, doth comfort us at Chelsey, in this your absence? Surely, the remembrance of your manner of life passed among us—your holy conversation—your wholesome counsels—your examples of virtue, of which there is hope that they do not only persevere with you, but that they are, by God's grace, much more increased."
After the endurance of fifteen months' imprisonment, he was arraigned, tried, and found guilty of denying the king's supremacy.
Alack! is there no painter of English history bold enough to immortalize himself by painting this trial? Sir Thomas More was beheaded on Tower Hill, in the bright sunshine of the month of July, on its fifth day, 1535, the king remitting the disgusting quartering of the quivering flesh, because of his "high office." When told of the king's "mercy," "Now, God forbid," he said, "the king should use anymore such to any of my friends; and God bless all my posterity from such pardons."
One man of all the crowd who wept at his death, reproached him with a decision he had given in Chancery. More, nothing discomposed, replied, that if it were still to do, he would give the same decision. This happened twelve months before. And, while the last scene was enacting on Tower-Hill, the king, who had walked in this very garden with his arm round the neck, which, by his command, the ax had severed, was playing at Tables in Whitehall, Queen Anne Bullen looking on; and when told that Sir Thomas More was dead, casting his eyes upon the pretty fool that had glittered in his pageants, he said, "Thou art the cause of this man's death." The COWARD! to seek to turn upon a thing so weak as that, the heavy sin which clung to his own soul!
Some say the body lies in Chelsea Church, beneath the tomb we have sketched—the epitaph having been written by himself before he anticipated the manner of his death. It is too long to insert; but the lines at the conclusion are very like the man. The epitaph and poetry are in Latin: we give the translation:
"For Alice and for Thomas More's remains Prepared, this tomb Johanna's form contains One, married young; with mutual ardor blest, A boy and three fair girls our joy confest. The other (no small praise) of these appear'd As fond as if by her own pangs endeared. One lived with me, one lives in such sweet strife, Slight preference could I give to either wife. Oh! had it met Heaven's sanction and decree, One hallowed bond might have united three; Yet still be ours one grave, one lot on high! Thus death, what life denied us, shall supply."
Others tell that his remains were interred in the Tower, and some record that the head was sought and preserved by that same daughter Margaret, who caused it to be buried in the family vault of the Ropers in St. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury; and they add a pretty legend how that, when his head was upon London Bridge, Margaret would be rowed beneath it, and, nothing horrified at the sight, say aloud, "That head has layde many a time in my lappe; would to God, would to God, it would fall into my lappe as I pass under now," and the head did so fall, and she carried it in her "lappe" until she placed it in her husband's, "son Roper's" vault, at Canterbury.
The king took possession of these fair grounds at Chelsea, and all the chancellor's other property, namely, Dunkington, Trenkford, and Benley Park, in Oxfordshire, allowing the widow he had made, twenty pounds per year for her life, and indulging his petty tyranny still more, by imprisoning Sir Thomas's daughter, Margaret, "both because she kept her father's head for a relic, and that she meant to set her father's works in print."
We were calling to mind more minute particulars of the charities and good deeds of this great man, when, standing at the moment opposite a grave where some loving hand had planted two standard rose-trees, we suddenly heard a chant of children's voices, the infant scholars singing their little hymn; the tune, too, was a well-known and popular melody, and very sweet, yet sad of sound; it was just such music, as for its simplicity, would have been welcome to the mighty dead; and, as we entered among the little songsters, the past faded away, and we found ourselves speculating on the hopeful present.
* * * * *
We close Mrs. Hall's pleasant sketches of Sir Thomas More and his localities, with a brief description of a scene in his prison, which the pencil of Mr. Herbert, of the Royal Academy, has beautifully depicted. It must be remembered that More was a zealous Roman Catholic. He was committed to the Tower in 1534, by the licentious Henry VIII., partly to punish him for refusing to assist that monarch in his marriage with Anne Boleyn, "the pretty fool," as Mrs. Hall calls her; but particularly because he declined to acknowledge the king's ecclesiastical supremacy as head of the Reformed Church. There he remained until his execution the following year. "During his imprisonment," says his son-in-law and biographer, Roper, who married his favorite daughter Margaret, "one day, looking from his window, he saw four monks (who also had refused the oath of supremacy) going to their execution, and regretting that he could not bear them company, said: 'Look, Megge, dost thou not see that these blessed fathers be now going as cheerful to their death, as bridegrooms to their marriage? By which thou may'st see, myne own good daughter, what a great difference there is between such as have spent all their days in a religious, hard, and penitential life, and such as have (as thy poore father hath done) consumed all their time in pleasure and ease;'" and so he proceeded to enlarge on their merits and martyrdom. His grandson, Cresacre More, referring to this scene, says, "By which most humble and heavenly meditation, we may easily guess what a spirit of charity he had gotten by often meditation, that every sight brought him new matter to practice most heroical resolutions."
 After the death of More, this favorite home of his, where he had so frequently gathered "a choice company of men distinguished by their genius and learning," passed into the rapacious hands of his bad sovereign, and by him was presented to Sir William Pawlet, ultimately Lord High Treasurer and Marquis of Winchester; from his hands it passed into Lord Dacre's, to whom succeeded Lord Burghley; then followed his son, the Earl of Salisbury, as its master; from him it passed successively to the Earl of Lincoln, Sir Arthur Gorges, the Earl of Middlesex, Villiers duke of Buckingham, Sir Bulstrode Whitelock, the second Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Bristol, the Duke of Beaufort, and ultimately to Sir Hans Slonne, who obtained it in 1738, and after keeping it for two years razed it to the ground; an unhappy want of reverence on the part of the great naturalist for the home of so many great men. There is a print of it by J. Knyff, in 1699, which is copied (p. 292); it shows some old features, but it had then been enlarged and altered. Erasmus has well described it as it was in More's lifetime. It had "a chapel, a library, and a gallery, called the New Buildings, a good distance from his main house, wherein his custom was to busy himself in prayer and meditation, whensoever he was at leisure." Heywood, in his II Moro (Florence, 1556), describes "the garden as wonderfully charming, both from the advantages of its site, for from one part almost the whole of the noble city of London was visible, and from the other the beautiful Thames, with green meadows by woody eminences all around, and also for its own beauty, for it was crowned with an almost perpetual verdure." At one side was a small green eminence to command the prospect.
 The conduct of this great man's house was a model to all, and as near an approach to his own Utopia as might well be. Erasmus says, "I should rather call his house a school or university of Christian religion, for though there is none therein but readeth and studyeth the liberal sciences, their special care is piety and virtue; there is no quarreling or intemperate words heard; none seen idle; which household discipline that worthy gentleman doth not govern, but with all kind and courteous benevolence." The servant-men abode on one side of the house, the women on another, and met at prayer-time, or on church festivals, when More would read and expound to them. He suffered no cards or dice, but gave each one his garden-plot for relaxation, or set them to sing or play music. He had an affection for all who truly served him, and his daughters' nurse is as affectionately remembered in his letters when from home as are they themselves. "Thomas More sendeth greeting to his most dear daughters Margaret, Elizabeth, and Cecily; and to Margaret Giggs, as dear to him as if she were his own," are his words in one letter; and his valued and trustworthy domestics appear in the family pictures of the family by Holbein. They requited his attachment by truest fidelity and love; and his daughter Margaret, in her last passionate interview with her father on his way to the Tower, was succeeded by Margaret Giggs and a maid-servant, who embraced and kissed their condemned master, "of whom, he said after, it was homely but very lovingly done." Of these and other of his servants, Erasmus remarks, "after Sir Thomas More's death, none ever was touched with the least suspicion of any evil fame."
 Wood and Weaver both affirm that the body of More was first deposited in the Tower Chapel, but was subsequently obtained by his devoted and accomplished daughter, Margaret Roper, and re-interred in Chelsea Church, in the tomb he had finished in 1532, the year in which he had surrendered the chancellorship, and resolved to abide the issue of his conscientious opposition to the king's wishes, as if he felt that the tomb should then be prepared.
 Faulkner, in his history of Chelsea, adheres to this opinion, and says that the tomb in that church is but "an empty cenotaph." His grandson, in his Life, says, "his body was buried in the Chapel of St. Peter, in the Tower, in the belfry, or, as some say, as one entereth into the vestry;" and he does not notice the story of his daughter's re-interment of it elsewhere.
 The Ropers lived at Canterbury, in St Dunstan's-street. The house is destroyed, and a brewery occupies its site; but the picturesque old gateway, of red brick, still remains, and is engraved above. Margaret Roper, the noble-hearted, learned, and favorite daughter of More resided here with her husband, until her death, in 1544, nine years after the execution of her father, when she was buried in the family vault at St. Dunstan's, where she had reverently placed the head of her father. The story of her piety is thus told by Cresacre More, in his life of his grandfather, Sir Thomas: "His head having remained about a month upon London Bridge, and being to be cast into the Thames, because room should be made for divers others, who, in plentiful sort, suffered martyrdom for the same supremacy, shortly after, it was bought by his daughter Margaret, lest, as she stoutly affirmed before the council, being called before them after for the matter, it should be food for fishes; which she buried, where she thought fittest." Anthony-a-Wood says, that she preserved it in a leaden box, and placed it in her tomb "with great devotion;" and in 1715, Dr. Rawlinson told Hearne the antiquary, that he had seen it there "inclosed in an iron grate." This was fully confirmed in 1835, when the chancel of the church being repaired, the Roper vault was opened, and several persons descended into it, and saw the skull in a leaden box, something like a bee-hive, open in the front, and which was placed in a square recess, in the wall, with an iron-grating before it. A drawing was made, which was engraved in the Gentleman's Magazine of May, 1837, which we have copied in our initial letter; Summerly, in his Handbook to Canterbury, says: "In the print there, however, the opening in the leaden box, inclosing the head, is made oval, whereas it should be in the form of a triangle." We have therefore so corrected our copy.
[From Hunting Adventures in South Africa.]
A BUFFALO CHASE.
Early on the 4th we inspanned and continued our march for Booby, a large party of savages still following the wagons. Before proceeding far I was tempted by the beautiful appearance of the country to saddle horses, to hunt in the mountains westward of my course. I directed the wagons to proceed a few miles under guidance of the natives, and there await my arrival. I was accompanied by Isaac, who was mounted on the Old Gray, and carried my clumsy Dutch rifle of six to the pound. Two Bechuanas followed us, leading four of my dogs. Having crossed a well wooded strath, we reached a little crystal river, whose margin was trampled down with the spoor of a great variety of heavy game, but especially of buffalo and rhinoceros. We took up the spoor of a troop of buffaloes, which we followed along a path made by the heavy beasts of the forest through a neck in the hills; and emerging from the thicket, we beheld, on the other side of a valley, which had opened upon us, a herd of about ten huge bull buffaloes. These I attempted to stalk, but was defeated by a large herd of zebras, which, getting our wind, charged past and started the buffaloes. I ordered the Bechuanas to release the dogs; and spurring Colesberg, which I rode for the first time since the affair with the lioness, I gave chase. The buffaloes crossed the valley in front of me, and made for a succession of dense thickets in the hills to the northward. As they crossed the valley by riding hard I obtained a broadside shot at the last bull, and fired both barrels into him. He, however, continued his course, but I presently separated him, along with two other bulls, from the troop. My rifle being a two-grooved, which is hard to load, I was unable to do so on horseback, and followed with it empty, in the hope of bringing them to bay. In passing through a grove of thorny trees I lost sight of the wounded buffalo; he had turned short and doubled back, a common practice with them when wounded. After following the other two at a hard gallop for about two miles, I was riding within five yards of their huge broad sterns. They exhaled a strong bovine smell, which came hot in my face. I expected every minute that they would come to bay, and give me time to load; but this they did not seem disposed to do. At length, finding I had the speed of them, I increased my pace; and going ahead, I placed myself right before the finest bull, thus expecting to force him to stand at bay; upon which he instantly charged me with a low roar, very similar to the voice of a lion. Colesberg neatly avoided the charge, and the bull resumed his northward course. We now entered on rocky ground, and the forest became more dense as we proceeded. The buffaloes were evidently making for some strong retreat. I, however, managed with much difficulty to hold them in view, following as best I could through thorny thickets. Isaac rode some hundred yards behind, and kept shouting to me to drop the pursuit, or I should be killed. At last the buffaloes suddenly pulled up, and stood at bay in a thicket, within twenty yards of me. Springing from my horse, I hastily loaded my two-grooved rifle, which I had scarcely completed when Isaac rode up and inquired what had become of the buffaloes, little dreaming that they were standing within twenty yards of him. I answered by pointing my rifle across his horse's nose, and letting fly sharp right and left at the two buffaloes. A headlong charge, accompanied by a muffled roar, was the result. In an instant I was round a clump of tangled thorn-trees; but Isaac, by the violence of his efforts to get his horse in motion, lost his balance, and at the same instant, his girths giving way, himself, his saddle, and big Dutch rifle, all came to the ground together, with a heavy crash right in the path of the infuriated buffaloes. Two of the dogs, which had fortunately that moment joined us, met them in their charge, and, by diverting their attention, probably saved Isaac from instant destruction. The buffaloes now took up another position in an adjoining thicket. They were both badly wounded, blotches and pools of blood marking the ground where they had stood. The dogs rendered me assistance by taking up their attention, and in a few minutes these two noble bulls breathed their last beneath the shade of a mimosa grove. Each of them in dying repeatedly uttered a very striking, low, deep moan. This I subsequently ascertained the buffalo invariably utters when in the act of expiring.
On going up to them I was astonished to behold their size and powerful appearance. Their horns reminded me of the rugged trunk of an oak-tree. Each horn was upward of a foot in breadth at the base, and together they effectually protected the skull with a massive and impenetrable shield. The horns, descending and spreading out horizontally, completely over-shadowed the animal's eyes, imparting to him a look the most ferocious and sinister that can be imagined. On my way to the wagons I shot a stag sassayby, and while I was engaged in removing his head a troop of about thirty doe pallahs cantered past me, followed by one princely old buck. Snatching up my rifle, I made a fine shot, and rolled him over in the grass.
Early in the afternoon I dispatched men with a pack-horse to bring the finer of the two buffalo-heads. It was so ponderous that two powerful men could with difficulty raise it from the ground. The Bechuanas who had accompanied me, on hearing of my success, snatched up their shields and assagais, and hastened to secure the flesh, nor did I see any more of them, with the exception of the two Baquaines, who remained with me, being engaged in a plot with my interpreter to prevent my penetrating to Bamangwato. Isaac did not soon forget his adventure with the buffaloes; and at night over the fire he informed my men that I was mad, and that any man who followed me was going headlong to his own destruction. At an early hour on the 5th, I continued my march through a glorious country of hill and dale, throughout which water was abundant.
[From Household Words.]
"Peace hath her victories, no less renowned than War."
MILTON'S Sonnet to Cromwell.
Two hundred years ago, the moon Shone on a battle plain; Cold through that glowing night of June Lay steeds and riders slain; And daisies, bending 'neath strange dew, Wept in the silver light; The very turf a regal hue Assumed that fatal night.
Time past—but long, to tell the tale, Some battle-ax or shield, Or cloven skull, or shattered mail, Were found upon the field; The grass grew thickest on the spot Where high were heaped the dead, And well it marked had men forgot, Where the great charge was made.
To-day—the sun looks laughing down Upon the harvest plain, The little gleaners, rosy-brown, The merry reapers' train; The rich sheaves heaped together stand, And resting in their shade, A mother, working close at hand, Her sleeping babe hath laid.
A battle-field it was, and is, For serried spears are there, And against mighty foes upreared— Gaunt hunger, pale despair. We'll thank God for the hearts of old, Their strife our freedom sealed; We'll praise Him for the sheaves of gold Now on the battle-field.
 Naseby, June 14, 1646.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LATE PRESIDENT.
Who has not heard of the opening words with which the court preacher Massilon startled the titled throng who had gathered in Notre Dame to do the last honors to that monarch whose reign was the longest and most splendid in French annals, "God only is great!" How often does the knell of vanished power repeat the lesson! How constantly does the fleeting away of our own men of might teach us that
The paths of glory lead but to the grave!
Death has again asserted his supremacy by striking down the most exalted ruler of the land. The last sad cadence, dust to dust, his just been faltered aver one who was our country's pride, and joy, and strength. The love, the gratitude, and the veneration of a nation could not save him. The crying need of an imperiled republic could not reprieve him. His mortal strife over, his appointed task finished, he went down into the cold embrace of the grave, and there, like a warrior taking his rest, he lies and will lie forever. But he has left behind him what can not die, the memory of noble aims and heroic deeds. The plain story of his life is his best eulogy.
ZACHARY TAYLOR was born in Orange County Virginia, in November, 1784. He was the second son of Col. Richard Taylor, whose ancestors emigrated from England about two centuries ago, and settled in Eastern Virginia. The father, distinguished alike for patriotism and valor, served as colonel in the revolutionary war, and took part in many important engagements. About 1790 he left his Virginian farm and emigrated with his family to Kentucky. He settled in the "dark and bloody ground," and for years encountered all the trials then incident to border life. The earliest impressions of young Zachary were the sudden foray of the savage foe, the piercing warwhoop, the answering cry of defiance, the gleam of the tomahawk, the crack of the rifle, the homestead saved by his father's daring, the neighboring cottage wrapped in flames, or its hearth-stone red with blood. Such scenes bound his young nerves with iron, and fired his fresh soul with martial ardor; working upon his superior nature they made arms his delight, and heroism his destiny. Zachary was placed in school at an early age, and his teacher, who now resides in Preston, Connecticut, still loves to dwell on the studiousness of his habits, the quickness of his apprehension, the modesty of his demeanor, the firmness and decision of his character, and a general thoughtfulness, sagacity, and stability, that made him a leader to his mates and a pride to his master.
After leaving school, the military spirit of young Taylor was constantly fanned by the popular excitement against the continual encroachments of England; and soon after the murderous attack of the British ship Leopard upon the Chesapeake, in 1808, he entered the army as first lieutenant in the 7th regiment of infantry. He soon gained distinction in border skirmishes with the Indians, and the declaration of war with England found him promoted to the rank of captain. Within sixty days after the commencement of hostilities in 1812, the imbecility of Hull lost to the country its Michigan territory, and fearfully jeoparded the whole northwestern region. It was of the utmost importance to intrust the few and feeble forts of that great dominion to men of established valor and discretion. Captain Taylor was at once invested with the command of FORT HARRISON, situated on the Wabash, in the very heart of the Indian country. The defenses of this post were in a miserable condition, and its garrison consisted of only fifty men, of whom thirty were disabled by sickness. With this little handful of soldiers, the young commander immediately set about repairing the fortifications. He had hardly completed his work, when, on the night of the 4th of September, an alarm shot from one of his sentinels aroused him from a bed of fever, to meet the attack of a large force of Miami Indians. Every man was at once ordered to his post. A contiguous blockhouse was fired by the enemy, and a thick discharge of bullets and arrows was opened upon the fort. The darkness of the night, the howlings of the savages, the shrieks of the women and children, the fast approaching flames, and the panic of the debilitated soldiers, made up a scene of terror, but could not shake the determination nor the judgment of the young chieftain. He inspired his men with his own courage and energy. The flames were extinguished, the consumed breast-works were renewed, and volley answered volley for six long hours till day break enabled the Americans to aim with a deadly precision that soon dispersed their foes. This gallant repulse, at odds so unfavorable, prompted a report from Major General Hopkins to Governor Shelby that "the firm and almost unparalleled defense of Fort Harrison had raised for Captain Zachary Taylor a fabric of character not to be affected by eulogy;" and forthwith procured from President Madison a preferment to the rank of brevet major, the first brevet, it is said, ever conferred in the American army.
Major Taylor continued actively engaged throughout the war; but, being without a separate command, he had no opportunity to again signalize himself by any remarkable achievement. After the treaty of peace, he remained at the West, faithfully performing his duties at different military posts, and preparing himself for any future call to more active service. In 1832, he was promoted to the rank of colonel; and soon after the opening of the Florida war, he was ordered to that territory. Here he was in constant service, and distinguished himself for his discretion and gallantry in circumstances of the most trying difficulty and peril. His entire career won for him universal esteem and confidence.
The greatest achievement of Colonel Taylor in Florida was his victory of OKEE-CHOBEE, which was gained on the 25th of December, 1837. The action was very severe, and continued nearly four hours. The Indians, under the command of Alligator and Sam Jones, numbered about 700 warriors, and were posted in a dense hammock, with their front covered by a small stream, almost impassable on account of quicksands, and with their flanks secured by swamps that prevented all access. Colonel Taylor's force amounted to about 500 men, a portion of whom were inexperienced volunteers. By an extraordinary effort, the stream in front was crossed, under a most galling fire of the enemy, by our soldiers, who sunk to the middle in the mire. A close and desperate fight ensued, during which the five companies of the sixth infantry, who bore the brunt of the fray, lost every officer but one, and one of these companies saved only four privates unharmed. The enemy's line was at last broken, and their right flank turned. They were soon scattered in all directions, and were pursued till near night. The American loss was 26 killed and 112 wounded; that of the Indians was very large, but never definitely ascertained. Throughout the whole engagement, Colonel Taylor was passing on his horse from point to point within the sweep of the Indian rifles, emboldening and directing his men, without the least apparent regard for his own personal safety. This victory had a decisive influence upon the turn of the war; and the government immediately testified their sense of its importance by conferring upon its gallant winner the rank of brigadier-general by brevet.
In the following May, General Taylor succeeded General Jesup in the command of the Florida army, and in this capacity, during two years, he rendered vast services to the country by quelling the atrocities of Indian warfare, and restoring peace and security to the southern frontier. In 1840, at his own request, he was relieved by Brigadier-general Armistead, and was ordered to the southwestern department. Here he remained at various head-quarters until government had occasion for his services in Texas.
The project for the annexation of Texas, which was first officially broached in the last year of President Tyler's administration, acquired more and more weight and influence, until finally, in March, 1845, an act to that effect was passed by both Houses of Congress, and was soon after ratified by the Texian government. Mexico, although the independence of Texas had been long before de facto secured, stoutly protested against the annexation. The special American envoy sent to the Mexican capital to attempt an adjustment of this and other difficulties, was refused a hearing, and great preparations were carried on by the Mexican government for another invasion of Texas. In June, General Taylor received orders to advance with his troops over the Sabine, and protect all of the territory east of the Rio Grande, over which Texas exercised jurisdiction. He accordingly marched into Texas, and in August concentrated his forces, amounting to about 3000 men, at Corpus Christi. Receiving orders from Washington to proceed to the Rio Grande, the general, with his little army, moved westward in March, 1846: and after considerable suffering from the heal and the want of food and water, reached the banks of the river opposite Matamoras on the 28th of the month. Colonel Twiggs, with a detachment of dragoons, in the mean time took possession of Point Isabel, situated on an arm of the Gulf, about 25 miles east. General Taylor took every means to assure the Mexicans that his purpose was not war, nor violence in any shape, but solely the occupation of the Texian territory to the Rio Grande, until the boundary should be definitively settled by the two republics.
After encamping opposite Matamoras, the American general prepared with great activity for Mexican aggression, by erecting fortifications, and planting batteries. The Mexicans speedily evinced hostile intentions. General Ampudia arrived at Matamoras with 1000 cavalry and 1500 infantry, and made overtures to our foreign soldiers to "separate from the Yankee bandits, and array themselves under the tricolored flag!" Such solicitations were of course spurned with contempt. The American general was summoned to withdraw his forces at the penalty of being treated as an enemy; he replied that, while avoiding all occasion for hostilities, he should faithfully execute the will of his government. General Arista soon arrived at Matamoras, and, superseding Ampudia, issued a proclamation to the American soldiers, begging them not to be the "blind instruments of unholy and mad ambition, and rush on to certain death." He immediately threw a large body of troops over the river, in order to cut off all communication between General Taylor and his depot at Point Isabel. A detachment of 61 soldiers, under Captain Thornton, was waylaid by a Mexican force of ten times their number, and after a bloody conflict and the loss of many lives, was obliged to surrender. With but eight days' rations, and the country to the east fast filling up with the Mexican troops, the position of General Taylor became very critical. He at once resolved, at every hazard, to procure additional supplies; and, leaving the fort under the command of Major Brown, he set out with a large portion of his army, on the 1st of May, for Point Isabel. He reached that place the next day without molestation. Soon after his departure, the Mexicans opened their batteries upon Fort Brown. The fire was steadily returned with two long eighteen and sixteen brass six pounders by the garrison, which numbered about 900 men. The bombardment of the fort was kept up at intervals from batteries in its rear, as well as from the town, for six days. The Americans, though possessed of little ammunition, and having to mourn the fall of their gallant commander, sustained the cannonade with unyielding firmness until the afternoon of the 8th, when their hearts were thrilled with exultation by the answering peals of General Taylor at PALO ALTO.
On the evening of the 7th, the American general, with about 2000 men and 250 wagons left Point Isabel for the relief of Fort Brown, and after advancing seven miles encamped. The next morning he resumed his march, and at noon met 6000 Mexican troops under Arista, with 800 cavalry, and seven field-pieces, in line of battle, on a plain flanked at both sides by small pools, and partly covered in front by thickets of chaparral and Palo Alto. General Taylor at once halted, refreshed his men, advanced to within a quarter of a mile of the Mexican line, and gave battle. The conflict first commenced between the artillery, and for two hours Ringgold's, and Duncan's, and Churchill's batteries mowed down rank after rank of the enemy. The infantry remained idle spectators until General Torrejon, with a body of lancers, made a sally upon our train. The advancing columns were received with a tremendous fire, and faltered, broke, and fled. The battle now became general, and for a time raged with terrific grandeur, amid a lurid cloud of smoke from the artillery, and the burning grass of the prairie. It rested for an hour, and then again moved on. The American batteries opened with more tremendous effect than ever; yet the ranks of the enemy were broken only to be refilled by fresh men courting destruction. Captain May charged upon the left, but with too few men to be successful. The chivalrous Ringgold fell. The cavalry of the enemy advanced upon our artillery of the right to within close range, when a storm of cannister swept them back like a tornado. Their infantry made a desperate onset upon our infantry, but recoiled before their terrible reception. Again they rallied, and again were they repulsed. Panic seized the baffled foe, and soon squadron and column were in fall retreat. The conflict had lasted five hours, with a loss to the Americans of 7 killed and 37 wounded, and to the Mexicans of at least 250 killed and wounded.
In the evening, a council of war was held upon the propriety of persisting to advance upon Fort Brown in spite of the vastly superior force of the enemy. Of the thirteen officers present some were for retreating to Point Isabel, others for intrenching upon the spot, and only four for pushing ahead. The general, after hearing all opinions, settled the question by the laconic declaration, "I will be at Fort Brown before to-morrow night if I live." In the morning the army again marched.
The enemy were again met most advantageously posted in the ravine of RESACA DE LA PALMA within three miles of Fort Brown. About 4 P.M. the battle commenced with great fury. The artillery on both sides did terrible execution. By order of General Taylor, May, with his dragoons, charged the enemy's batteries. The Mexicans reserved their fire until the horses were near the cannons' mouth, and then poured out a broadside which laid many a proud fellow low. Those of the dragoons not disabled rushed on, overleaped the batteries, and seized the guns. The enemy recoiled, again rallied, and with fixed bayonets returned to the onset. Again they were repulsed. The "Tampico veterans" came to the rescue, were met by the dragoons now reinforced with infantry, and all but seventeen fell sword in hand after fighting with the most desperate bravery. This decided the battle. The flanks of the enemy were turned, and soon the rout became general. The Mexicans fled to the flat boats of the river, and the shouts of the pursuers and the shrieks of the drowning closed the scene. A great number of prisoners including 14 officers, eight-pieces of artillery, and a large quantity of camp equipage fell into the hands of the victors. The American loss was 39 killed and 71 wounded; that of the enemy in the two actions was at least 1000 killed and wounded. Fort Brown was relieved, and the next day Barita on the Mexican bank was taken by Colonel Wilson without resistance.
The victories of the 8th and 9th filled our country with exultation. Government acknowledged the distinguished services of General Taylor by making him Major-general by brevet; Congress passed resolutions of high approval; Louisiana presented him with a sword, and the press every where teemed with his praise.
As soon as means could be procured, General Taylor crossed the Rio Grande, took Matamoras without opposition, and made Colonel Twiggs its governor. The army soon received large volunteer reinforcements, and on the 5th of August the American general left Matamoras for Camargo, and thence proceeded through Seralos to MONTEREY, where he arrived the 19th of September. The Mexicans, under General Ampudia had placed this strongly fortified town in a complete state of defense. Not only were the walls and parapets lined with cannons, but the streets and houses were barricaded and planted with artillery. The bishop's palace on a hill at a short distance west of the city was converted into a perfect fortress. The town was well supplied with ammunition, and manned with 7000 troops of the line, and from 2000 to 3000 irregulars. The attack commenced on the 21st, and two important redoubts without the city, and an important work within, were carried with a loss to the Americans in killed and wounded of not less than 394. At three the next morning, a considerable force under General Worth dragged their howitzers by main strength up the hill, and assaulted the palace. The enemy made a desperate sortie, but were driven back in confusion, and the fortification was soon taken by the Americans with a loss of only 7 killed and 12 wounded. The next night, the Mexicans evacuated nearly all their defenses in the lower part of the city. The Americans entered the succeeding day, and by the severest fighting slowly worked their way from street to street and square to square, until they reached the heart of the town. General Ampudia saw that further resistance was useless, and, on the morning of the 24th, proposed to evacuate the city on condition that he might take with him the personel and materiel of his army. This condition was refused by the American general. A personal interview between the two commanders ensued, which resulted in a capitulation of the city, allowing the Mexicans to retire with their forces and a certain portion of their materiel beyond the line formed by the pass of the Rinconada and San Fernando de Presas and engaging the Americans not to pass beyond that line for eight weeks. Our entire loss during the operations was 12 officers and 108 men killed, 31 officers and 337 men wounded; that of the enemy is not known, but was much larger. The terms accorded by the conqueror were liberal, and dictated by a regard to the interests of peace; they crowned a gallant conquest of arms with a more sublime victory of magnanimity.
General Taylor could not long remain inactive, and with a bold design to seek out the enemy and fight him on his own ground, he marched as far as Victoria. But by the transfer of the seat of the war to Vera Cruz, he was deprived of the greater portion of his army, and was obliged to fall back on Monterey. Here he remained until February, when, having received large reinforcements of volunteers, he marched at the head of 4,500 men, to meet Santa Anna; and on the 20th, took up a position at BUENA VISTA, the great advantages of which had previously struck his notice. On the 22d, a Mexican army of 20,000 made its appearance, and Santa Anna summoned the American commander to surrender. General Taylor, with Spartan brevity, "declined acceding to the request." The next morning the ten-hour's conflict began. We shall not attempt to rehearse the history of that fearful battle: it is written forever on the memory of the nation. The advance of the hostile host with muskets and swords, and bayonets gleaming in the morning sun; the shouts of the marshaled foemen; the opening roar of the artillery; the sheeted fire of the musketry; the unchecked approach of the enemy; the outflanking by their cavalry and its concentration in our rear; the immovable fortitude of the Illinoians; the flight of the panic-stricken Indianians; the fall of Lincoln; the wild shouts of Mexican triumph; the deadly and successful charge upon the battery of O'Brien; the timely arrival of General Taylor from Saltillo, and his composed survey, amid the iron hail, of the scene of battle; the terrible onset of the Kentuckians and Illinoians; the simultaneous opening of the batteries upon the Mexican masses in the front and the rear; the impetuous but ill-fated charge of their cavalry upon the rifles of Mississippi; the hemming-in of that cavalry, and the errand of Lieutenant Crittenden to demand of Santa Anna its surrender; the response of the confident chieftain by a similar demand; the immortal rejoinder, "General Taylor never surrenders!" the escape of the cavalry to a less exposed position; its baffled charge upon the Saltillo train; its attack upon the hacienda, and its repulse by the horse of Kentucky and Arkansas; the fall of Yell and Vaughan, the insolent mission, under a white flag, to inquire what General Taylor was waiting for; the curt reply "for General Santa Anna to surrender;" the junction, by this ruse, of the Mexican cavalry in our rear with their main army; the concentrated charge upon the American line; the overpowering of the battery of O'Brien; the fearful crisis; the reinforcement of Captain Bragg "by Major Bliss and I;" the "little more grape, Captain Bragg;" the terrific carnage; the pause, the advance, the disorder, and the retreat; the too eager pursuit of the Kentuckians and Illinoians down the ravines; the sudden wheeling around of the retiring mass; the desperate struggle, and the fall of Harden, McKee, and Clay; the imminent destruction, and the rescuing artillery; the last breaking and scattering of the Mexican squadrons and battalions; the joyous embrace of Taylor and Wool; and Old Rough and Ready's "'Tis impossible to whip us when we all pull together;" the arrival of cold nightfall; the fireless, anxious, weary bivouac; the general's calm repose for another day's work; the retreat of the enemy under the cover of darkness—are not all these things familiar to every American schoolboy? The American loss was 267 killed, 456 wounded, and 23 missing. The Mexicans left 500 dead on the field, and the whole number of their killed and wounded was probably near 2000. History tells not of a battle more bravely contested and more nobly won: and well did the greatest warrior of the age, in learning it exclaim, "General Taylor's a general indeed!"
The victory of Buena Vista was the last and crowning achievement of General Taylor's military life. His department in Mexico was entirely reduced by it to subjection, and the subsequent operations of his army were few and unimportant. At the close of the war he retired from Mexico, carrying with him not only the adoration of his soldiers, but even the respect and attachment of the very people he had vanquished. Louisiana welcomed him with an ovation of the most fervent enthusiasm. Thrilling eloquence from her most gifted sons, blessings, and smiles, and wreaths from her fairest daughters, overwhelming huzzas from her warm-hearted multitudes, triumphal arches, splendid processions, costly banners, sumptuous festivals, and, in short, every mode of testifying love and homage was employed; but modesty kept her wonted place in his heart, and counsels of peace were, as ever, on his tongue. His prowess in conflict was no more admirable than his self-forgetfulness in triumph.
His last great deed had hardly ceased to echo over the land, before the people began to mark him out for their highest gift. He coveted no such distinction, and constantly expressed a wish that Henry Clay might be the chosen one. But the popular purpose grew stronger and stronger; and General Taylor was named for the Presidency by one of the great political parties of the country. During the political contest he remained steadfastly true to himself. He neither stooped nor swerved, neither sought nor shunned. He was borne by a triumphant majority to the Presidential chair, and in a way that has impelled the most majestic intellect of the nation to declare, that "no case ever happened in the very best days of the Roman Republic, where any man found himself clothed with the highest authority of the State, under circumstances more repelling all suspicion of personal application, all suspicion of pursuing any crooked path in politics, or all suspicion of having been actuated by sinister views and purposes."
The Inaugural Address of President Taylor was redolent with old-fashioned patriotism, and breathed the very spirit of Washington. And his subsequent administration, though beset by sectional strifes of fearful violence, was conducted with wisdom, firmness, equanimity, and moderation, on great national principles, and for great national ends. Owing to his profound deference to the co-ordinate branches of government, and his inability to either dictate or assume, his policy in reference to some of the exciting questions of the day was not, during the short period of his administration, fully proclaimed to Congress, and pressed upon its adoption; but, though a southern man and a slaveholder, he had deliberately and explicitly declared himself in favor of the prompt and untrammeled admission of California into the Union. He was taken away in the midst of the controversy, just as he was about to submit his views upon the subject to the representatives of the people. His last public appearance was in doing homage to Washington, on the birthday of our liberties, and his last official act was adding a new guaranty to the peace of the world, by signing the convention recently concluded between our country and Great Britain respecting Central America. Disease soon did its work. Confronting Death with the fearless declaration, "I AM PREPARED—I HAVE ENDEAVORED TO DO MY DUTY," the old hero succumbed—his first and last surrender.
General Taylor married in early life a lady of Virginia, and was connected either by affinity or blood with many of the most noted families of the Old Dominion. His excellent consort, a son, and a daughter, survive him. In person, General Taylor was about five feet eight inches in height, and like most of our revolutionary generals, was inclined to corpulency. His hair was gray, his brow ample, his eye vivid, and his features plain, but full of firmness, intelligence, and benevolence. His manners were easy and cordial, his dress, habits, and tastes simple, and his style of living temperate in the extreme. His speeches and his official papers, both military and civil, are alike famed for their propriety of feeling and their chastity of diction. His private life was unblemished, and the loveliness of his disposition made him the idol of his own household and the favorite of all who knew him. His martial courage was only equaled by his Spartan simplicity, his unaffected modesty, his ever wakeful humanity, his inflexible integrity, his uncompromising truthfulness, his lofty magnanimity, his unbounded patriotism, and his unfaltering loyalty to duty. His mind was of an original and solid cast, admirably balanced, and combining the comprehensiveness of reason with the penetration of instinct. Its controlling element was a strong, sterling sense, that of itself rendered him a wise counselor and a safe leader. All of his personal attributes and antecedents made him pre-eminently a man of the people, and remarkably qualified him to be the stay and surety of his country in this its day of danger.
A braver soldier never wielded sword— A gentler heart did never sway in council. But he is dead—and millions weep his loss.
[From "Hunting Adventures in South Africa."]
ENCOUNTER WITH A LIONESS.
Suddenly I observed a number of vultures seated on the plain about a quarter of a mile ahead of us, and close beside them stood a huge lioness, consuming a blesblok which she had killed. She was assisted in her repast by about a dozen jackals, which were feasting along with her in the most friendly and confidential manner. Directing my followers' attention to the spot, I remarked, "I see the lion;" to which they replied, "Whar? whar? Yah! Almagtig! dat is he;" and instantly reining in their steeds and wheeling about, they pressed their heels to their horses' sides, and were preparing to betake themselves to flight. I asked them what they were going to do. To which they answered, "We have not yet placed caps on our rifles." This was true; but while this short conversation was passing the lioness had observed us. Raising her full, round face, she overhauled us for a few seconds, and then set off at a smart canter toward a range of mountains some miles to the northward; the whole troop of jackals also started off in another direction; there was, therefore, no time to think of caps. The first move was to bring her to bay, and not a second was to be lost. Spurring my good and lively steed, and shouting to my men to follow, I flew across the plain, and, being fortunately mounted on Colesberg, the flower of my stud, I gained upon her at every stride. This was to me a joyful moment, and I at once made up my mind that she or I must die.
The lioness having had a long start of me, we went over a considerable extent of ground before I came up with her. She was a large, full-grown beast, and the bare and level nature of the plain added to her imposing appearance. Finding that I gained upon her, she reduced her pace from a canter to a trot, carrying her tail stuck out behind her, and slewed a little to one side. I shouted loudly to her to halt, as I wished to speak with her, upon which she suddenly pulled up, and sat on her haunches like a dog, with her back toward me, not even deigning to look round. She then appeared to say to herself, "Does this fellow know who he is after?" Having thus sat for half a minute, as if involved in thought, she sprang to her feet, and, fating about, stood looking at me for a few seconds, moving her tail slowly from side to side, showing her teeth, and growling fiercely. She next made a short run forward, making a loud, rumbling noise like thunder. This she did to intimidate me; but, finding that I did not flinch an inch, nor seem to heed her hostile demonstrations, she quietly stretched out her massive arms, and lay down on the grass. My Hottentots now coming up, we all three dismounted, and, drawing our rifles from their holsters, we looked to see if the powder was up in the nipples, and put on our caps. While this was doing the lioness sat up, and showed evident symptoms of uneasiness. She looked first at us, and then behind her, as if to see if the coast were clear; after which she made a short run toward us, uttering her deep-drawn murderous growls. Having secured the three horses to one another by their rheims, we led them on as if we intended to pass her, in the hope of obtaining a broadside. But this she carefully avoided to expose, presenting only her full front. I had given Stofulus my Moore rifle, with orders to shoot her if she should spring upon me, but on no account to fire before me. Kleinboy was to stand ready to hand me my Purdey rifle, in case the two-grooved Dixon should not prove sufficient. My men as yet had been steady, but they were in a precious stew, their faces having assumed a ghastly paleness, and I had a painful feeling that I could place no reliance on them.
Now, then, for it, neck or nothing! She is within sixty yards of us, and she keeps advancing. We turned the horses' tails to her. I knelt on one side, and, taking a steady aim at her breast, let fly. The ball cracked loudly on her tawny hide, and crippled her in the shoulder, upon which she charged with an appalling roar, and in the twinkling of an eye she was in the midst of us. At this moment Stofolus's rifle exploded in his hand, and Kleinboy, whom I had ordered to stand ready by me, danced about like a duck in a gale of wind. The lioness sprang upon Colesberg, and fearfully lacerated his ribs and haunches with her horrid teeth and claws; the worst wound was on his haunch, which exhibited a sickening, yawning gash, more than twelve inches long, almost laying bare the very bone. I was very cool and steady, and did not feel in the least degree nervous, having fortunately great confidence in my own shooting; but I must confess, when the whole affair was over, I felt that it was a very awful situation, and attended with extreme peril, as I had no friend with me on whom I could rely.
When the lioness sprang on Colesberg, I stood out from the horses, ready with my second barrel for the first chance she should give me of a clear shot. This she quickly did; for, seemingly satisfied with the revenge she had now taken, she quitted Colesberg, and, slewing her tail to one side, trotted sulkily past within a few paces of me, taking one step to the left. I pitched my rifle to my shoulder, and in another second the lioness was stretched on the plain a lifeless corpse. In the struggles of death she half turned on her back, and stretched her neck and fore arms convulsively, when she fell back to her former position; her mighty arms hung powerless by her side, her lower jaw fell, blood streamed from her mouth, and she expired. At the moment I fired my second shot, Stofolus, who hardly knew whether he was alive or dead, allowed the three horses to escape. These galloped frantically across the plain, on which he and Kleinboy instantly started after them, leaving me standing alone and unarmed within a few paces of the lioness, which they, from their anxiety to be out of the way, evidently considered quite capable of doing further mischief.
Such is ever the case with these worthies, and with nearly all the natives of South Africa. No reliance can be placed on them. They will to a certainty forsake their master in the most dastardly manner in the hour of peril, and leave him in the lurch. A stranger, however, hearing these fellows recounting their own gallant adventures, when sitting in the evening along with their comrades round a blazing fire, or under the influence of their adored "Cape smoke" or native brandy, might fancy them to be the bravest of the brave. Having skinned the lioness and cut off her head, we placed her trophies upon Beauty and held for camp. Before we had proceeded a hundred yards from the carcass, upward of sixty vultures, whom the lioness had often fed were feasting on her remains.
[From Dickens's "Household Words."]
THE YOUNG ADVOCATE.
Antoine de Chaulieu was the son of a poor gentleman of Normandy, with a long genealogy, a short rent-roll, and a large family. Jacques Rollet was the son of a brewer, who did not know who his grandfather was; but he had a long purse and only two children. As these youths flourished in the early days of liberty, equality, and fraternity, and were near neighbors, they naturally hated each other. Their enmity commenced at school, where the delicate and refined De Chaulieu being the only gentilhomme among the scholars, was the favorite of the master (who was a bit of an aristocrat in his heart) although he was about the worst dressed boy in the establishment, and never had a son to spend; while Jacques Rollet, sturdy and rough, with smart clothes and plenty of money, got flogged six days in the week, ostensibly for being stupid and not learning his lessons—which, indeed, he did not—but, in reality, for constantly quarreling with and insulting De Chaulieu, who had not strength to cope with him. When they left the academy, the feud continued in all its vigor, and was fostered by a thousand little circumstances arising out of the state of the times, till a separation ensued in consequence of an aunt of Antoine de Chaulieu's undertaking the expense of sending him to Paris to study the law, and of maintaining him there during the necessary period.
With the progress of events came some degree of reaction in favor of birth and nobility, and then Antoine, who had passed for the bar, began to hold up his head and endeavored to push his fortunes; but fate seemed against him. He felt certain that if he possessed any gift in the world it was that of eloquence, but he could get no cause to plead; and his aunt dying inopportunely, first his resources failed, and then his health. He had no sooner returned to his home, than, to complicate his difficulties completely, he fell in love with Mademoiselle Natalie de Bellefonds, who had just returned from Paris, where she had been completing her education. To expatiate on the perfections of Mademoiselle Natalie, would be a waste of ink and paper; it is sufficient to say that she really was a very charming girl, with a fortune which, though not large, would have been a most desirable acquisition to De Chaulieu, who had nothing. Neither was the fair Natalie indisposed to listen to his addresses; but her father could not be expected to countenance the suit of a gentleman, however well-born, who had not a ten-sous piece in the world, and whose prospects were a blank.
While the ambitions and love-sick young barrister was thus pining in unwelcome obscurity, his old acquaintance; Jacques Rollet, had been acquiring an undesirable notoriety. There was nothing really bad in Jacques' disposition, but having been bred up a democrat, with a hatred of the nobility, he could not easily accommodate his rough humor to treat them with civility when it was no longer safe to insult them. The liberties he allowed himself whenever circumstances brought him into contact with the higher classes of society, had led him into many scrapes, out of which his father's money had one way or another released him; but that source of safety had now failed. Old Rollet having been too busy with the affairs of the nation to attend to his business, had died insolvent, leaving his son with nothing but his own wits to help him out of future difficulties, and it was not long before their exercise was called for. Claudine Rollet, his sister, who was a very pretty girl, had attracted the attention of Mademoiselle de Bellefonds' brother, Alphonso; and as he paid her more attention than from such a quarter was agreeable to Jacques, the young men had had more than one quarrel on the subject, on which occasions they had each, characteristically, given vent to their enmity, the one in contemptuous monosyllables, and the other in a volley of insulting words. But Claudine had another lover more nearly of her own condition of life; this was Claperon, the deputy governor of the Rouen jail, with whom she had made acquaintance during one or two compulsory visits paid by her brother to that functionary; but Claudine, who was a bit of a coquette, though she did not altogether reject his suit, gave him little encouragement, so that betwixt hopes, and fears, and doubts, and jealousies, poor Claperon led a very uneasy kind of life.
Affairs had been for some time in this position, when, one fine morning, Alphonse de Bellefonds was not to be found in his chamber when his servant went to call him; neither had his bed been slept in. He had been observed to go out rather late on the preceding evening, but whether or not he had returned, nobody could tell. He had not appeared at supper, but that was too ordinary an event to awaken suspicion; and little alarm was excited till several hours had elapsed, when inquiries were instituted and a search commenced, which terminated in the discovery of his body, a good deal mangled, lying at the bottom of a pond which had belonged to the old brewery. Before any investigations had been made, every person had jumped to the conclusion that the young man had been murdered, and that Jacques Rollet was the assassin. There was a strong presumption in favor of that opinion, which further perquisitions tended to confirm. Only the day before, Jacques had been heard to threaten Mons. de Bellefonds with speedy vengeance. On the fatal evening, Alphonse and Claudine had been seen together in the neighborhood of the now dismantled brewery; and as Jacques, betwixt poverty and democracy, was in bad odor with the prudent and respectable part of society, it was not easy for him to bring witnesses to character, or prove an unexceptionable alibi. As for the Bellefonds and De Chaulieus, and the aristocracy in general, they entertained no doubt of his guilt, and, finally, the magistrate; coming to the same opinion, Jacques Rollet was committed for trial, and as a testimony of good will. Antoine de Chaulieu was selected by the injured family to conduct the prosecution.
Here, at last, was the opportunity he had sighed for! So interesting a case, too, furnishing such ample occasion for passion, pathos, indignation! And how eminently fortunate that the speech which he set himself with ardor to prepare, would be delivered in the presence of the father and brother of his mistress, and, perhaps, of the lady herself! The evidence against Jacques, it is true, was altogether presumptive; there was no proof whatever that he had committed the crime; and for his own part, he stoutly denied it. But Antoine de Chaulieu entertained no doubt of his guilt, and his speech was certainly well calculated to carry that conviction into the bosom of others. It was of the highest importance to his own reputation that he should procure a verdict, and he confidently assured the afflicted and enraged family of the victim that their vengeance should be satisfied. Under these circumstances could any thing be more unwelcome than a piece of intelligence that was privately conveyed to him late on the evening before the trial was to come on, which tended strongly to exculpate the prisoner, without indicating any other person as the criminal. Here was an opportunity lost. The first step of the ladder on which he was to rise to fame, fortune, and a wife, was slipping from under his feet.
Of course, so interesting a trial was anticipated with great eagerness by the public, and the court was crowded with all the beauty and fashion of Rouen. Though Jacques Rollet persisted in asserting his innocence, founding his defense chiefly on circumstances which were strongly corroborated by the information that had reached De Chaulieu the preceding evening—he was convicted.
In spite of the very strong doubts he privately entertained respecting the justice of the verdict, even De Chaulieu himself, in the first flush of success, amid a crowd of congratulating friends, and the approving smiles of his mistress, felt gratified and happy: his speech had, for the time being, not only convinced others, but himself; warmed with his own eloquence, he believed what he said. But when the glow was over, and he found himself alone, he did not feel so comfortable. A latent doubt of Rollet's guilt now burst strongly on his mind, and he felt that the blood of the innocent would be on his head. It is true there was yet time to save the life of the prisoner, but to admit Jacques innocent, was to take the glory out of his own speech, and turn the sting of his argument against himself. Besides, if he produced the witness who had secretly given him the information, he should be self-condemned, for he could not conceal that he had been aware of the circumstance before the trial.
Matters having gone so far, therefore, it was necessary that Jacques Rollet should die; so the affair took its course; and early one morning the guillotine was erected in the court-yard of the jail, three criminals ascended the scaffold, and three heads fell into the basket, which were presently afterward, with the trunks that had been attached to them, buried in a corner of the cemetery.
Antoine de Chaulieu was now fairly started in his career, and his success was as rapid as the first step toward it had been tardy. He took a pretty apartment in the Hotel Marboeuf, Rue Grange-Bateliere, and in a short time was looked upon as one of the most rising young advocates in Paris. His success in one line brought him success in another; he was soon a favorite in society, and an object of interest to speculating mothers; but his affections still adhered to his old love Natalie de Bellefonds, whose family now gave their assent to the match—at least, prospectively—a circumstance which furnished such an additional incentive to his exertions, that in about two years from the date of his first brilliant speech, he was in a sufficiently flourishing condition to offer the young lady a suitable home. In anticipation of the happy event, he engaged and furnished a suite of apartments in the Rue du Helder; and as it was necessary that the bride should come to Paris to provide her trousseau, it was agreed that the wedding should take place there, instead of at Bellefonds, as had been first projected; an arrangement the more desirable, that a press of business rendered Mons. de Chaulieu's absence from Paris inconvenient.
Brides and bridegrooms in France, except of the very high classes, are not much in the habit of making those honeymoon excursions so universal in this country. A day spent in visiting Versailles, or St. Cloud, or even the public places of the city, is generally all that precedes the settling down into the habits of daily life. In the present instance St. Denis was selected, from the circumstance of Natalie's having a younger sister at school there; and also because she had a particular desire to see the Abbey.
The wedding was to take place on a Thursday; and on the Wednesday evening, having spent some hours most agreeably with Natalie, Antoine de Chaulieu returned to spend his last night in his bachelor apartments. His wardrobe and other small possessions, had already been packed up and sent to his future home; and there was nothing left in his room now, but his new wedding suit, which he inspected with considerable satisfaction before he undressed and lay down to sleep. Sleep, however, was somewhat slow to visit him; and the clock had struck one, before he closed his eyes. When he opened them again it was broad daylight; and his first thought was, had he overslept himself? He sat up in bed to look at the clock which was exactly opposite, and as he did so, in the large mirror over the fire-place, he perceived a figure standing behind him. As the dilated eyes met his own, he saw it was the face of Jacques Rollet. Overcome with horror he sunk back on his pillow, and it was some minutes before he ventured to look again in that direction; when he did so, the figure had disappeared.
The sudden revulsion of feeling such a vision was calculated to occasion in a man elate with joy, may be conceived! For some time after the death of his former foe, he had been visited by not unfrequent twinges of conscience; but of late, borne along by success, and the hurry of Parisian life, these unpleasant remembrancers had grown rarer, till at length they had faded away altogether. Nothing had been further from his thoughts than Jacques Rollet, when he closed his eyes on the preceding night, nor when he opened them to that sun which was to shine on what he expected to be the happiest day of his life! Where were the high-strung nerves now? The elastic frame? The bounding heart?
Heavily and slowly he arose from his bed, for it was time to do so; and with a trembling hand and quivering knees, he went through the processes of the toilet, gashing his cheek with the razor, and spilling the water over his well-polished boots. When he was dressed, scarcely venturing to cast a glance in the mirror as he passed it, he quitted the room and descended the stairs, taking the key of the door with him for the purpose of leaving it with the porter; the man, however, being absent, he laid it on the table in his lodge, and with a relaxed and languid step proceeded on his way to the church, where presently arrived the fair Natalie and her friends. How difficult it was now to look happy, with that pallid face and extinguished eye!
"How pale you are! Has any thing happened? You are surely ill?" were the exclamations that met him on all sides. He tried to carry it off as well as he could, but felt that the movements he would have wished to appear alert, were only convulsive; and that the smiles with which he attempted to relax his features, were but distorted grimaces. However, the church was not the place for further inquiries; and while Natalie gently pressed his hand in token of sympathy, they advanced to the altar, and the ceremony was performed; after which they stepped into the carriage waiting at the door, and drove to the apartments of Madme. de Bellefonds, where an elegant dejeuner was prepared.
"What ails you, my dear husband?" inquired Natalie, as soon as they were alone.
"Nothing, love," he replied; "nothing, I assure you, but a restless night and a little over-work, in order that I might have to-day free to enjoy my happiness!"
"Are you quite Sure? Is there nothing else?"
"Nothing, indeed; and pray don't take notice of it, it only makes me worse!"
Natalie was not deceived, but she saw that what he said was true; notice made him worse; so she contented herself with observing him quietly, and saying nothing; but as he felt she was observing him, she might almost better have spoken; words are often less embarrassing things than too curious eyes.
When they reached Madame de Bellefonds' he had the same sort of questioning and scrutiny to undergo, till he grew quite impatient under it, and betrayed a degree of temper altogether unusual with him. Then every body looked astonished; some whispered their remarks, and others expressed them by their wondering eyes, till his brow knit, and his pallid cheeks became flushed with anger. Neither could he divert attention by eating; his parched mouth would not allow him to swallow any thing but liquids, of which, however, he indulged in copious libations; and it was an exceeding relief to him when the carriage, which was to convey them to St. Denis, being announced, furnished an excuse for hastily leaving the table. Looking at his watch, he declared it was late; and Natalie, who saw how eager he was to be gone, threw her shawl over her shoulders, and bidding her friends good morning, they hurried away.
It was a fine sunny day in June; and as they drove along the crowded boulevards, and through the Porte St. Denis, the young bride and bridegroom, to avoid each other's eyes, affected to be gazing out of the windows; but when they reached that part of the road where there was nothing but trees on each side, they felt it necessary to draw in their heads, and make an attempt at conversation. De Chaulieu put his arm round his wife's waist, and tried to rouse himself from his depression; but it had by this time so reacted upon her, that she could not respond to his efforts, and thus the conversation languished, till both felt glad when they reached their destination, which would at all events furnish them something to talk about.
Having quitted the carriage, and ordered a dinner at the Hotel de l'Abbaye, the young couple proceeded to visit Mademoiselle Hortense de Bellefonds, who was overjoyed to see her sister and new brother-in-law, and doubly so when she found that they had obtained permission to take her out to spend the afternoon with them. As there is little to be seen at St. Denis but the Abbey, on quitting that part of it devoted to education, they proceeded to visit the church, with its various objects of interest; and as De Chaulieu's thoughts were now forced into another direction, his cheerfulness began insensibly to return. Natalie looked so beautiful, too, and the affection betwixt the two young sisters was so pleasant to behold! And they spent a couple of hours wandering about with Hortense, who was almost as well informed as the Suisse, till the brazen doors were open which admitted them to the royal vault. Satisfied, at length, with what they had seen, they began to think of returning to the inn, the more especially as De Chaulieu, who had not eaten a morsel of food since the previous evening, owned to being hungry; so they directed their steps to the door, lingering here and there as they went, to inspect a monument or a painting, when, happening to turn his head aside to see if his wife, who had stopped to take a last look at the tomb of King Dagobert, was following, he beheld with horror the face of Jacques Rollett appearing from behind a column! At the same instant, his wife joined him, and took his arm, inquiring if he was not very much delighted with what he had seen He attempted to say yes, but the word would not be forced out; and staggering out of the door, he alleged that a sudden faintness had overcome him.
They conducted him to the Hotel, but Natalie now became seriously alarmed; and well she might. His complexion looked ghastly, his limbs shook, and his features bore an expression of indiscribable horror and anguish. What could be the meaning of so extraordinary a change in the gay, witly, prosperous De Chaulieu, who, till that morning, seemed not to have a care in the world? For, plead illness as he might, she felt certain, from the expression of his features, that his sufferings were not of the body but of the mind; and, unable to imagine any reason for such extraordinary manifestations, of which she had never before seen a symptom, but a sudden aversion to herself, and regret for the step he had taken, her pride took the alarm, and, concealing the distress, she really felt, she began to assume a haughty and reserved manner toward him, which he naturally interpreted into an evidence of anger and contempt. The dinner was placed upon the table, but De Chaulieu's appetite, of which he had lately boasted, was quite gone, nor was his wife better able to eat. The young sister alone did justice to the repast; but although the bridegroom could not eat, he could swallow Champagne in such copious draughts, that ere long the terror and remorse that the apparition of Jacques Rollet had awakened in his breast were drowned in intoxication. Amazed and indignant, poor Natalie sat silently observing this elect of her heart, till overcome with disappointment and grief, she quitted the room with her sister, and retired to another apartment, where she gave free vent to her feelings in tears.