Returning home with me, after I retired to civil and political life, Mrs. Butler
remained the same good adviser, educating and guiding her children during their young lives with such skill and success that neither of them ever did an act which caused me serious sorrow, or gave me the least anxiety on their behalf.
She made my home and family as happy as we could be. She took her place in society when at Washington
, and maintained it with such grace, dignity, and loveliness of character that no one ever said an unkind or a disparaging word of her.
From my earliest vote I became deeply interested in politics.
By politics I do not mean such questions only as how far the Virginia
resolutions of ‘98 should be the guide of the future of this country, leaving its frame of government virtually a conglomeration of States by no means indissolubly bound together, each of which should conduct for itself every substantial function of government, as independent sovereignties united only for purposes of common defence in war and insurrection, having a general government with so little power of interference in any matter that affected the prosperity of the whole country, except the postal service and the least degree possible of judicial control of legal questions by the Supreme Court, that as Jefferson
proposed, the general government should be what he wished it named, “The Department of Foreign Affairs of the United States
;” or whether the doctrines of Hamilton
should obtain, whose sagacity foresaw that the United States
must, after it passed the period of its earliest youth, grow into a nation wherein the national authority could override and supersede all the powers of the States except so far as their domestic concerns were involved, into which theory and practice of government we are fast and inevitably drifting.
The politics in which I very early took part was that practical politics which dealt with the condition and welfare of the citizen.
From my earliest youth I had been taught to believe in democracy, of which Jefferson
was the apostle, and to abhor federalism, of which Hamilton
was the exponent.
While I had been dazzled with the brilliancy of Jackson
's administration of national affairs, I early had sense enough to see that it conflicted, in a very considerable degree, with the teachings of Jefferson
I may as well state here as anywhere the conclusions to which I have been brought by a lifetime of the closest study and