in New Orleans in 1831; his faith in the virtues of the mad-stone, when he took his son Robert to Terre Haute, Indiana
, to be cured of the bite of a rabid dog; and the strange double image of himself which he told his secretary, John Hay
, he saw reflected in a mirror just after his election in 1860, strongly attest his inclination to superstition.
He held most firmly to the doctrine of fatalism all his life.
His wife, after his death, told me what I already knew, that “his only philosophy was, what is to be will be, and no prayers of ours can reverse the decree.”
He always contended that he was doomed to a sad fate, and he repeatedly said to me when we were alone in our office: “I am sure I shall meet with some terrible end.”
In proof of his strong leaning towards fatalism he once quoted the case of Brutus
, arguing that the former was forced by laws and conditions over which he had no control to kill the latter, and, vice versa, that the latter was specially created to be disposed of by the former.
This superstitious view of life ran through his being like the thin blue vein through the whitest marble, giving the eye rest from the weariness of continued unvarying color.1
For many years I subscribed for and kept on our office table the Westminster
and Edinburgh Review
and a number of other English periodicals.
Besides them I purchased the works of Spencer