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[179]

Reticence and embarrassment.

Genial and confiding as he was to the friends he knew and trusted, he was reticent and even aversive to those whom he did not like, and was quick to resent any freedom or liberty from those he did not like nor know. Of all men in the world he was the least fitted for the work of canvassing a Virginia district, and he never went upon the hustings that his friends did not fear he would give offence to somebody—and in this we were disappointed. He could not overcome his embarrassment in making an extempore speech, and therefore tried to write out his speeches and get them by heart. But he found it impossible to commit to memory what he had written himself, though in all other directions his memory was the most accurate and retentive. Towards the last years of his life he could not command it in little matters, and was often at a loss for the exact word he wished. This was a great trial to him, and in it he recognized the beginning of the end. There was a magnetic power about him no man could resist, and exact discipline followed at once upon his assuming any command.


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