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THE brilliant impression that General Taylor | seemed to conspire to make the event captivating
I made upon the imagination of the people and essentially dramatic. of the Union by his victories of the “8th and 9th In addition, General Taylor himself, more than of May,” has not yet been effaced. There was any other of his contemporaries, possessed the all the art of a splendid play accompanying the qualities of a popular hero: he was a soldier, but events; there was the mystery that enshrouded he was in his personal habits essentially a citizen; his forgotten camp at Corpus Christi, his self-sac- in the storm and hurricane of battle his eagle eye rificing march to the Nueces, his call to the peo- anticipated the triumph-in his tent he was as ple of the country for assistance, the painful ru- simple as a child—surrounded by the pomp and mors that “he had been cut off by the enemy," circumstance of war, he lived amidst the excitethe dark cloud of deep regret that followed, to ment as a father among his children. In recalling be suddenly dissipated by the announcement of his person there are no plumes, no epaulets, no battles won, which will ever hold rank among the clanging of arms conjured up; on the contrary, brightest achievements of our victorious arms. there is simply seen a brave, chivalrous old man, Such again were the preliminaries that ushered a vivid personation of republican character, one in the triumph of Buena Vista. Every thing that all feel proud to call eminently American.
Springing as General Taylor did into popular thoughts and actions occurring in the lives of the favor with all the perfection and unexpectedness' early Presidents' and statesmen; and he invaof another Minerva from the brain of Jove, he riably, if necessary, gave his own opinions of what was hurried in such rapid succession from one he related with the utmost frankness. His detriumph to another, and closed his mortal career scriptive powers were of the highest order; and so unexpectedly in death, that the people never his private correspondence, though dwelling upon learned much of his private life; and that biogra- the most familiar subjects, has kindred excelphy, always so interesting and so instructive, if lences with his official papers. A private letter preserved of the truly great, is probably destined written by General Taylor, partially on the day to be lost in oblivion.
before, and concluded on the day following the With the military services of General Taylor Battle of Buena Vista, and now in the possession the world is familiar; we would allude, in con- of an eminent private citizen of Louisiana, connection with a notice of his residence, only to tains passages more eloquent and of more graphic some of his characteristics in private life. Sol-clearness, if possible, than even the official disdier as he was, his great passion seemed to be patches that announced this greatest of his milithe pursuit of agriculture, and there was no time tary victories. in his whole history when he did not have his A peculiarity of General Taylor's social habits farm, upon the management of which he ex- deserves particular notice, and may with propripended much of his thoughts. The first time we ety be mentioned here. Throughout his whole ever saw the “old Colonel”-as he was then life he confined himself to pure water as a bevercalled--was on his plantation, directing the la- age. Upon the necessity of temperance he often bors of some forty or fifty "hands," and the zealdwelt, and gave it as his experience that, throughhe displayed was quite equal to his manner in out his long life, he had seldom known an officer the more stirring scenes of his military life. or soldier, or any one else attached to the army, Brought up upon a farm, he retained all the the- to get into difficulty, be cashiered or disgraced, oretical knowledge of the most practical agricul- that the primary causes could not be directly turist; and from his “head-quarters,” whether traced to indulgence in ardent spirits. Soon in Baton Rouge, Florida, or Mexico, he most fre- after his return from Mexico, he dined with a quently sent his specific directions to his busi- hospitable planter, who insisted upon his trying ness agent as to the details of conducting his his superior wine. General Taylor tasted the estate; and he would at any time drop all other Madeira, and instantly followed it by a draught subjects of conversation to go into the details of of ice-water, and recovering himself remarked, raising wheat or cotton, and grow unusually ani. That he really was no judge of wine." The mated in discussing the value of different kinds first steam-ship that arrived at the Brazos, after of plows. In July, 1848, he wrote as follows: the surrender of Matamoras, brought out from “The subject of farming is one to which I have New Orleans, as presents, fine brandies, clarets, devoted much of my life, and in which I yet con- and ice. General Taylor ordered the whole to tinue to take the deepest interest." Nor could be carried to the hospitals to be distributed among he forget his farmer habits even in times of act- the wounded and sick, so little did he care for ual war; for it was his wont in Mexico, while the commonly considered luxuries of life. accidentally passing a train, to criticise any im- On one occasion General Taylor said, “For propriety in the adjustment of the harness, or more than a quarter of a century my house has evident negligence in the care of the wagons; been a tent, my home in the field.” Such was and probably one of his greatest pleasures arose literally true; yet the old soldier had meanwhile from witnessing the military precision which dis- his residence, where lived his family, where centinguishes the army in the preservation of its tered his affections, where occasionally he stole materiel. Originally, in common with many of from the duties of the camp a few moments of the older officers and Indian fighters, prejudiced domestic repose. A view of that interesting spot, * against the artillery, we can readily imagine that by the genius of Daguerre and the graver's art, his repugnance was somewhat modified by the is now preserved to the world, and for the first magnificent manner with which Ridgely and Dun- time made a heritage to all who remember with can brought it upon the field in their afternoon pleasure the old hero it occasionally sheltered, and displays; for it was not until it swept the serried who has given it an immortal interest by his virranks of the enemy under his own eye, that he tues and exalted career." cordially embraced the artillery as the most effi-| | It is natural to the reverential mind to take a cient as well as the most brilliant arm of the sad pleasure in visiting the identified homes of service.
the great dead. These residences recall vividly The leisure that hangs so heavily upon the forgotten associations, and afford useful lessons hands of the soldier in times of peace, was con- for the living ; but there is so much about Montstantly occupied by General Taylor with the study pelier, Monticello, and Mount Vernon that shocks of books; and no one could be much in his soci- the sensibilities of the admirers of departed greatety without being struck, not only with the great ness, that it may be deemed fortunate that at least variety of his reading, but also by the happy ap- one of our "hero Presidents” has left no mansion plication he made of his acquired knowledge. He to go to decay from a nation's neglect, no tomb was particularly successful in relating illustrative upon the current of fashionable travel, to be gazed anecdotes, and took pleasure in detailing the at by the curious tourist, and left each year an
increasingly sad memento of the proverbial in the sward. The thousands who visited General gratitude of Republics.
Wer Taylor will recognize the life-like representation, Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, one They will remember the ample gallery upon which hundred and twenty miles above New Orleans, is he received his visitors, the rustic gate through situated upon the first bluff that is to be met with which they entered, to be followed by the hearty on the Mississippi, ascending from its mouth. It salutation so characteristic of the awaiting host. is on a natural elevation, some forty feet above On the morning of the 23d of January, 1849, the highest annual rise, and suggests to the least General Taylor took his formal leave of the citiexperienced in military science a commanding zens of Baton Rouge, preparatory to his journey place for defense. It was here that the Spaniards to Washington. On that occasion he said, "Genin early times erected a fortification, and it was tlemen, I assure you it is with feelings of no one of the last places held by them of their once ordinary character that I meet with my fellowextensive possessions, then known as Florida. citizens on this occasion, many of whom I have
Upon the absorption of Baton Rouge and the known for more than a quarter of a century. Had surrounding country by the Americans, extensive I consulted my own wishes, I should have much buildings were erected as a garrison for troops, preferred to retain the office I am now about to and others for the depository of ammunition and vacate, and have remained among you;" and there arms, within the grounds belonging to the Span-can not be a doubt that, while surrounded by the ish fort. These stations and dépôts were for many political corruptions of the national capital, the years the most important upon our southern fron-quiet home he had left behind him often rose to tiers; but, by the annexation of Texas, they have his mind, as a haven where he could find that become so far in the interior" as to cease to peace and that enjoyment never accorded to the be much used, save as magazines for military Chief Magistrate of a great nation. stores.
The mortal remains of General Taylor repose Directly upon the banks, and near some still in the old family burying-ground of his father. visible ruins of the old Spanish fort, was a small It is one of the simplest and least ostentatious of cottage-built house, originally inhabited by the all the plantation graveyards in Kentucky. To proud Castilian Commandant. It is said to have reach it, you have a solitary walk until, coming to been quite a sumptuous building at the time of a rude inclosure in an open field, you behold a its erection, although now it sinks into humble plain vault, the front composed of roughly hewn obscurity when compared with the least preten- limestone rocks; and this is all that indicates the tious private residences in its vicinity. This mo- resting-place of one of the deceased Presidents dest building contained but three large rooms, to of the United States. No monument has been which were added, in course of time, a surround- erected to his memory, and his name is not even ing veranda, and some outbuildings devoted to inscribed upon the vault. domestic purposes. Here Colonel Taylor, when ordered to take a command in the army South,
he army South. WHOM SHALL WE MARRY? refusing the more ostentatious quarters of the HE Americans, of all people in the world, are garrison," established himself, and here the mem- 1 the most connubially inclined. We have litbers of his family resided, more or less, for the tle doubt that if the Christian religion inculcated quarter of a century that preceded his translation polygamy, our piety in this particular would rival to the White House."
that of Solomon and David, and not be outdone Such is the history of what will always be by the lord of the harem, the youthful Abdul known as General Taylor's residence. At the Medjid, Sultan of Turkey, or by our fellow-cititime of the Presidential contest," the thousands zen, His Excellency Brigham Young, Governor who traveled upon the great highway of the South of the Territory of Utah. Unlike most of the and West, the Mississippi, were accustomed to Turks, who, satisfied with the Mohammedan prixstop their steamers in front of this humble-look-ilege of a plurality of wives, content themselves ing house, and make the welkin ring with exult- with the Christian practice of one, we would probing cheers; and nothing could exceed the en-ably fulfill the law to the greatest numerical exthusiasm when "old Whitey,” grazing in his tent, and shame, by our willing obedience, the retirement, would start at the enlivening sounds, reserve of the recreant Moslem. The juvenile and sweep along the bluff in graceful movements, jacket has hardly lengthened into the manly coat, as if cordially acknowledging the honors paid to and the down of a nascent beard has cast but the his master.
faintest shadow of the coming event of a mustache A few years more and “General Taylor's res- upon the youthful face, when young America idence" will have disappeared. Long ago it was asks,“ Whom shall we marry?” Our adolescent, “officially” condemned as worthless, and we know now lusty with youthful vigor, and ardent with of no circumstances, “ even if our army possessed the unabated passion of love, stretches out his another economic soldier,” which would cause “marriageable arms" to embrace some sympathetic him to be stationed at Baton Rouge, providential beauty, and slake his eager thirst in matrimony, ly as it were, to retard for a few years more the "Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets." hand of destiny. The engraving presents a faith-/ If the connubially disposed be rich, his purse ful picture of the old house, of the old soldier as heavy, however light of head or heart, he finds no he appeared after his return from Mexico, and want of opportunity for investment. His mere of his two war horses grazing contentedly upon presence in the market is sure to attract to him a
Vol. IX.-No. 54.-30
mercenary crowd with their enticing commodities / ing foot, the thick fleshy hand, are foreign imof feminine charms, set off with all the display of portations. In no country in the world is the the latest fashion. No sooner is the arrival of the foreigner so readily recognized as with us, notwealthy purchaser announced than the dealers, withstanding the rapidity with which he assimieager for a sale, deluge him with advertisements. lates in habits of life. This is more true of woThe “honor of his company is requested"--S0 men than of men. An English, a German, or runs the stereotyped civility of the trade-at every an Irish woman, need not hoist a national flag. fashionable establishment in the town. He re- She will be recognized at once, to use a nautical sponds to the polite request, and goes the round phrase, by her ugly build. of the market. He is dazzled by the display ;! The beauty of American women we consider an Circassia, with all its beauties, could not make a established fact, a fact of which none seem more fairer show. He feasts upon female loveliness, conscious than themselves. The Grand Mogul sucking in sweets that are openly exposed before was in the habit, as we are told by some of the him, and regaling his imagination with the hidden old cravelers, to take his weight annually. His charms in store for the lucky purchaser. He is Oriental Majesty would place himself on one side invited to touch and handle for himself. He grasps of the balance, and pour in diamonds and rubies the tender hand of beauty; he embraces the slen- in the scale of the other, and thus, year after year, der waist; he feels the palpitating heart; he in- estimated his value. Our calculating countryhales the warm breath; he measures the light women follow the Grand Mogul's wise example. step; he balances the feather weight. There is They are no sooner ready for a market than they not a point, a line, or a movement, which is not step into an imaginary scale, and balance themfairly submitted to the minute investigation of the selves with gold. There is not a smile but is escurious purchaser. Such we submit as a fair state- timated at a fixed price by the ready-reckoner; and ment of the intimacies of the polkas or the waltzes as for virgin blushes, they, according to their rarity, of our fashionables. We know of no mart in the are set down at a sum only to be encompassed by world—not excepting the slave market of Con the accumulative imagination of a Wall Street stantinople in its most prosperous days—where financier. A pretty woman, between fifteen and so much beauty abounds, where its charms are so twenty, is held at so enormous a price, that none openly exposed and so freely offered for sale, as in but the lucky heir of a fortune, or the millionaire, our own Christian land.
grown luxurious in old age, who has consumed The American women are certainly the pretti- the whole of youth and the better part of manest in the world. If we were Turks instead of hood in amassing his millions, can hazard a bid. Christians, as we profess to be, and were about And it is the latter who, oftener engaged in this to furnish the female department of our Moham- matrimonial trade, generally smacks his dry lips medan establishment, we certainly should prefer to over the possession of purchased beauty in its lay out our sequins in an investment in the beau- youth and tenderness. The young heir of fortune ties of the United States rather than in any other is more transitory in his enjoyments, and looks quarter of the globe. We confess to a gross Turk- | only to matrimony as a retreat for tired life in the ish view, just now, of woman. We are stocking future. a Mohammedan harem; we are buying up the From fifteen to twenty, then, beauty is a lux. finest specimens of the animal, selecting the most úry, which, like early peas, is only to be had for perfect forms, the best proportioned limbs, the money.) The score of years passed, when more finest sculptured features, the most delicate com- youthful beauty throngs in to compete, and the plexions, and the highest grace of movement. failure of the past darkens the prospect of the fu
In mere physical charms our women undoubt- ture, woman may be purchased at a diminished edly excel. It is for the general average, how-price. There is now no hope of the millionaire, ever, of good looks, rather than for those ex- and the beauty of twenty condescends to content ceptional examples of transcendent beauty, that herself with the rising professional man already America is remarkable. It is a stream of female in the enjoyment of a fair income, or the thriving loveliness, sparkling in the sun of life, which, ex- merchant with a good prospect of a fortune in the panding every where, beautifies our land. No future. Each revolving year, which lengthens out where is there such a uniformity of physical ex- the maiden meditation, brings the aspiring bride cellence. The general high standard of living more and more within the bounds of moderate degives the excellence, and the equality of privilege, sire; and we have known the would-be mistress the natural result of our republican institutions, of millions, at sixteen, the actual wife and partfixes the uniformity. This want of variety is no ner, at twenty-six, of a thousand a year. less exhibited by the absence of those surpassing Sterne says, that there are three epochs in examples of infinite beauty, than by the rarity of the empire of a French woman: she is coquette, specimens of supreme ugliness. Were it not for then deist, then dévote. We do not believe that the floods of foreign humanity, which, however the term deist can ever be fairly applied to our fertilizing to the land, are certainly not beautify- American beauties; at any rate, they are never ing, that pour down upon us, bringing the mud skeptical of their own divinity. Coquettes they and the impurities of older countries, America always are, and, in advancing age, unquestionmight boast itself in beauty pure and undefiled. I ably dérotes. At thirty or so, unless their beauty The deformed figure, the irregular features, the has resisted the blight of time by a rare vigor and rough skin and raw complexion, the large spread-freshness, they begin to be conscious of the vanity of the world. Repentance shows itself with but, withal, the heart was seen to beat beneath the earliest wrinkles, and devotion to heaven dates its flimsy covering of sentiment. Our worldlyfrom the first neglect of earth. Our women have wisé daughters eschew sentiment, and take a always been church-goers, and as long as the practical view of life, which closes upon a brown churches afford such excellent opportunities for stone mansion in the Fifth Avenue, where they the display of the fashions and the graceful ex- may make a display of that wealth they alone hibition of personal charms, they will continue covet. As for their hearts, they are so deeply to be. But we do not believe our youthful beau- buried in lucre, that, if not completely crushed ties, in their prime, are remarkable for their de- by the superincumbent weight, they are too revotion to the duties of religion, beyond a regular mote for human sympathy. appearance, during the season, at the fashionable! We have spoken of the mercenary spirit of conventicles where they bend their French hats youth, for it best illustrates the wide-spread famand prostrate their flowing brocades in genteel ine of the heart with which mammon has afflictworship. When the glow of youth, however, is ed our land. That the old age of a sordid, moncooled by experience, and the gloss of vanity tar-ey-getting career, with the juices of life dried out nished by disappointment, the fashionable maid of its bones by the ardor of gain, its heart withretires within the shrine of piety. But as the ered by the blight of selfishness, and its early decowl does not make the monk, nor a demure look sires palsied into anxious fears, should be timid, the pious worshiper, we still find the former fash- watchful, and suspicious, is, however melancholy ionable in the full exercise of her worldly accom- a spectacle, but the natural termination of such plishments, and bringing to bear the whole artil an existence-the caput mortuum of an attempt lery of her coquetry upon the susceptible heart to transmute all into gold. That youth should of some widowed parson or unsuspecting young anticipate age in its vices, and be eager for gain, sprig of divinity. The vanities of the ball-room, shows the heart not only corrupt but distorted. and all the other empty pleasures of society, are The natural vices of the young are but the exagnow renounced, and the duties of religion, the gerations of their virtues. Generosity flows into practical piety of Sunday-school teaching, and the extravagance, confidence widens into recklessbenevolent offices of working slippers for the cler-ness, and passion is relaxed into dissipation. If gyman, and condoling with his widowed condi- the young heart, and that of woman, moreover, tion, and the helplessness of his children, are un- be dried up in its fountains of love; if the ways dertaken with an enthusiastic piety that should of pleasantness and peace, which should lead to secure the highest place in the parsonage, if not the shrine of her affections, where we all would in the mansions of the skies. If this fail, our fad- worship, be thronged with the money-changers, ing beauty is left to pine away in solitude, or, and the temple itself desecrated by unholy barsaturated in “ ancient maiden's gall," to wander ter; then, truly, is life but a frightful reality of restlessly about from tea-table to tea-table, and woe. Are we never to win the sympathy of poison the happiness she can not enjoy. woman's love? Are there no longer any hearts
It would be a profanation to speak of love in to be won? Must we toil and moil until, temconnection with this cool, calculating course which pered by the hot lust of gain, and beaten by the we have traced out as the career of our beautiful rude strokes of life, we become so hardened as countrywomen. We are told that young hearts not to distinguish between the reality and that are ever generous, disinterested, and self-sacri- semblance of love, which is all our women have ficing to imprudence; but we look in vain for to offer, and that we, if it be accompanied by a the exhibition of conduct which such qualities fair show of flesh and blood, are ready to purwould prompt. A love-match, for example, is an chase ? anomaly in these days of finance. We might put' Fathers and mothers lead their daughters to one of the most impatient of our young misses the sacrifice. The young victims, decked in the upon a course of French novels for a month, sup- powers of fashion, gayly dance to the altar, ply her with a perfectly accomplished villain in a where they willingly offer up heart and affecSpanish cloak, a Fra Diavolo hat, and beard to tions to avarice; while parent sanctions, and the match, attach the silken ladder to her bedroom priest, in the name of religion, blesses the unholy window, bribe the chambermaid, throw a sop to ceremony. The young heart is entombed in gold the house-dog, and have a carriage-and-four in with all the honors, and the youthful affections attendance, and we are sure the young lady would hang in withered drapery over the tomb upon not be tempted to look out at the casement even. which we may inscribe, “ Sacred to the memory Mothers may quiet their nerves, and fathers may of the lost heart, dead ere its prime.” The skelslumber in peace; their daughters are not to be eton bride is borne to the nuptial couch, while enticed away by any thing short of the cash in the world looks on in decent reverence. hand.
We have no design upon the heart-even if Female sentiment has grown luxurious. It we knew where to find it—of the daughter, or no longer contents itself with the tenure of a upon the fortune of any of our wealthy and fashcottage and a diet of rose leaves ; it must revelionable fellow-citizens. It matters little to us, in in marble halls and fare sumptuously every day. our disinterested bachelorhood, how much fathers In the romantic ages, it is true, our grandmothers are affected by the present alarming state of Wall were absurdly sentimental, and the Chloes and Street. The ring of cent. per cent. is no music Delias talked a great deal of love-sick nonsense, to our ears, whether it is set to the tune of thou