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all parties meet, and must, of course, be polite to each other. Parties innumerable, weddings, and grand dinners, fill up all the evening; visits and visitors, all the morning. In this brilliant and polished society, in which moved Clay and Calhoun, Webster, Benton, Everett, and Scott, Lieutenant Johnston had his first experience of the great world; but it made slight impression on a soul bent upon martial enterprise, and impatient for strenuous action. Mrs. Johnston exerted herself to mand singular beauty: after her death he married her cousin, Mrs. Radford. His descendants and collaterals are prominent citizens of St. Louis and Louisville. Thomas H. Benton belongs to history. Counted among the first, when Jackson, Webster, Calhoun, and Clay were his competitors, his name reopens a page illustrious in American annals. His wife was a daughter of Colonel James McDowell, of Rockbridge County, Virginia, and sister of the eloquent Governor of Virginia, of the same name. She w
x country. He spent two or three days in Washington; but, as has been stated, his request was refused. In a letter to his brother-in-law, William Preston, he says: I had the good fortune on Monday to hear many of our most distinguished Senators address the Senate on the expediency of employing railroads for the transportation of the mail, etc., under the provisions of the bill reported by Mr. Grundy, who supported it in a speech of some length. The remarks of Messrs. Webster, Clay, Calhoun, and Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, were brief, but long enough for a stranger, who only wished to gratify a curiosity with regard to their different styles. . . . The more I see of great men, the more I am convinced that they owe their eminence to a fortunate combination of circumstances, rather than to any peculiar adaptation or fitness for their stations. There is not that wide difference in mental endowment that most persons are apt to conceive; and hence every young man of moderate abilit
bmerged, and had risen from the deep, by numerous successive elevations of the most gradual character. On the hill-sides the well-defined water-levels, beaches of a vanished ocean, resembled walled terraces, and were surmounted by summits which looked like the remains of embrasured strongholds; so that everywhere was presented the illusion of ancient fortifications on the most gigantic scale. These high plains are the border-land of the desert. At Fort Chadbourne, we were told, by Captain Calhoun and Dr. Swift, that on the 9th of June, 1854, a terrible hailstorm had swept over them, which had drifted six or eight feet deep in the bed of the creek; twenty wagon-loads of hailstones were gathered, and a hundred more might have been, had it pleased them. Hailstorms followed for two weeks. In October, a flight of grasshoppers from the northeast was three days in passing over the place; and such was the multitude, and so constant the flitting of wings, that it resembled a snow-storm.
ured upon a freedom with him. In the course of an eventful life and extensive travel, I have come in con. tact with many of the historic personages of the day; and yet I scruple not to say that of them all, but three, to my thinking, would stand the test of the most rigid scrutiny. Of these, by a singular coincidence, the colonel and lieutenant-colonel of a cavalry regiment in the United States Army, afterward respectively the ranking officers of a hostile army, Albert Sidney Johnston and Robert E. Lee, were two; the third was Mr. Calhoun. No time-serving or self-seeking entered into their calculations. Self-abnegation at the bidding of duty was the rule of their lives. Could our much-maligned section lay no further claim to the consideration of mankind, the fact that it produced, almost in the same generation, such a triumvirate, typical of their people, is enough to place it among the foremost nations of the earth in the realms of thought, honor, patriotism, and knightly grace.
me results could have been obtained with less cost. Except among a few, there was no system of united action; and those few, from paucity of means and insufficient influence, maintained profound secrecy and gave no inkling of ulterior objects. Calhoun and others spoke sententiously, and their hints contained volumes of meaning to the student; but the majority had such implicit confidence in the honesty and integrity of the North that any thing to the contrary would have been construed into dght treason, because too apathetic in watching the current of events and the manifest destiny of our cause. That is correct, said another, but it must be confessed that our statesmen have been more energetic and watchful since the time of Calhoun than before, and it is mainly owing to President Davis that our country has risen at all. Since his debut in public life, Jeff has applied himself to the study of past history, and of men and measures. No one understands the wants and aspiratio
, that the enemy do not get time to repair the openings. The fall of Charleston will be a great humiliation to the rebels, since it was at that place they seized the first Government property, and made the first attack upon the United States troops. They are not having such a jolly time as when they were besieging Major Anderson's little command, in April, 1861. They will, unquestionably, be in a bad way when the hot-bed in which their secession ideas have been nurtured since the days of Calhoun, shall have been captured by our forces. Information received here from several points along the border towards Kansas City, indicates that the guerrilla bands in the counties of Jackson, Cass and Johnson, are displaying unusual activity. It is just a year ago since they concentrated in Jackson County, and attacked Lone Jack, and captured two pieces of artillery from our troops. This present great activity portends some mischief. It is not thought now that they can get together more
The Annals of the Civil War Written by Leading Participants North and South (ed. Alexander Kelly McClure), The old Capitol prison. (search)
e use to which they were devoted in the late war was far enough from that for which they were originally constructed, and, in fact, in their earlier and better days, they earned, historically, a higher reputation than many more pretentious Washington edifices. The Old Capitol, especially, after its abandonment by Congress, was occupied as a fashionable boarding-house, and was largely patronized by the creme de lac creme of the Southern dwellers in Washington. The great original nullifier, Calhoun, boarded here, and from out its doors went the gallant, but ill-fated, Commodore Decatur, the morning he met his enemy, Barron, at Bladensburg, in the duel that cost him his life. No brick walls, old or new, in the capital, have shut in stranger episodes and vicissitudes of life than these, and, I doubt not, each of its four stories could many a tale unfold worthy special record of life at our National Capital in those comparatively primitive days. At the breaking out of our civil war th
J. B. Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary, Preface. (search)
Preface. This diary was written with the knowledge of the President and the Secretary of War. I informed them of it by note. They did not deprecate criticism on their official conduct; for they allowed me still to execute the functions of a very important position in the Government until the end of its career. My discriminating friends will understand why I accepted the poor title of a clerkship, after having declined the Chargeship to Naples, tendered by Mr. Calhoun during the administration of President Polk. J. B. J. Onancock, Accomac Co., Va., March, 1866.
J. B. Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary, I. April, 1861 (search)
My family cannot go with me-but they may follow. The storm will not break in its fury for a month or so. Only the most obnoxious persons, deemed dangerous, will be molested immediately. 8 O'Clock P. M.-My wife and children have been busy packing my trunk, and making other preparations for my departure. They are cheerful. They deem the rupture of the States a fait accompli, but reck not of the horrors of war. They have contrived to pack up, with other things, my fine old portrait of Calhoun, by Jarvis. But I must leave my papers, the accumulation of twentyfive years, comprising thousands of letters from predestined rebels. My wife opposes my suggestion that they be burned. Among them are some of the veto messages of President Tyler, and many letters from him, Governor Wise, etc. With the latter I had a correspondence in 1856, showing that this blow would probably have been struck then, if Fremont had been elected. April 9 My adieus over, I set out in the broad light
J. B. Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary, chapter 3 (search)
gnizance, and a nice discrimination of details. As a politician he attaches the utmost importance to consistency — and here I differ with him. I think that to be consistent as a politician, is to change with the circumstances of the case. When Calhoun and Webster first met in Congress, the first advocated a protective tariff and the last opposed it. This was told me by Mr. Webster himself, in 1842, when he was Secretary of State; and it was confirmed by Mr. Calhoun in 1844, then Secretary of Mr. Calhoun in 1844, then Secretary of State himself. Statesmen are the physicians of the public weal; and what doctor hesitates to vary his remedies with the new phases of disease? When the President had completed the reading of my papers, and during the perusal I observed him make several emphatic nods, he asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted employment with my pen, perhaps only temporary employment. I thought the correspondence of the Secretary of War would increase in volume, and another assistant besides Major Tyl
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