--With a good store of common sense, General Taylor
's mind had not been enlarged and refreshed by reading or much converse with the world.
Rigidity of ideas was the consequence.
The frontier and small posts had been his home.
Hence he was quite ignorant for his rank, and quite bigoted in his ignorance.
His simplicity was childlike, and with innumerable prejudices — amusing and incorrigible — well suited to the tender age. Thus, if a man, however respectable, chanced to wear a coat of an unusual color, or his hat a little on one side of the head, or an officer to leave the corner of his handkerchief dangling from his outside pocket — in any such case, this critic held the offender to whom he would not, to use his oft-repeated phrase, "touch with a pair of tongs." Any allusion to literature much beyond good old Dillworth
's spelling-book, on the part of one wearing a sword, was evidence, with the same judge, of utter unfitness for heavy marchings and combats.
In short, few men have ever had a more comfortable, labor-saving contempt for learning of every kind.--Yet this old soldier and neophyte statesman had the true basis of a great character; pure, uncorrupted morals, combined with indomitable courage.
Kindhearted, sincere, and hospitable in a plain way, he had no vice but prejudice, many friends, and left behind him not an enemy in the world, not even in the autobiographer, whom, in the blindness of his great weakness, he, after being named for the Presidency, had seriously wronged.--Scott's Autobiography.