페이지 이미지

increasingly sad memento of the proverbial ingratitude of Republics.

J itan Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, one

hundred and twenty miles above New Orleans, is situated upon the first bluff that is to be met with on the Mississippi, ascending from its mouth. It is on a natural elevation, some forty feet above the highest annual rise, and suggests to the least experienced in military science a commanding place for defense. It was here that the Spaniards in early times erected a fortification, and it was one of the last places held by them of their once extensive possessions, then known as Florida.

Upon the absorption of Baton Rouge and the surrounding country by the Americans, extensive buildings were erected as a garrison for troops, and others for the depository of ammunition and arms, within the grounds belonging to the Spanish fort. These stations and depots were for many years the most important upon our southern irontiers; but, by the annexation of Texas, they have become so far in the "interior" as to cease to be much used, save as magazines for military stores.

Directly upon the banks, and near some still visible ruins of the old Spanish fort, was a small cottage-built house, originally inhabited by the proud Castilian Commandant. It is said to have been quite a sumptuous building at the time of its erection, although now it sinks into humble obscurity when compared with the least pretentious private residences in its vicinity. This modest building contained but three large rooms, to which were added, in course of time, a surrounding veranda, and some outbuildings devoted to domestic purposes. Here Colonel Taylor, when ordered to take a command in the army South, refusing the more ostentatious quarters of " the garrison," established himself, and here the members of his family resided, more or less, for the quarter of a century that preceded his translation to the " White House."

Such is the history of what will always be known as General Taylor's residence. At the time of the " Presidential contest," the thousands who traveled upon the great highway of the South and West, the Mississippi, were accustomed to stop their steamers in front of this humble-looking house, and make the welkin ring with exulting cheers; and nothing could exceed the enthusiasm when "old Whitey," grazing in his retirement, would start at the enlivening sounds, and sweep along the bluff in graceful movements, as if cordially acknowledging the honors paid to his master.

A few years more and "General Taylor's residence" will have disappeared. Long ago it was "officially" condemned as worthless, and we know of no circumstances, " even if our army possessed another economic soldier," which would cause him to be stationed at Baton Rouge, providentially as it were, to retard for a few years more the hand of destiny. The engraving presents a faithful picture of the old house, of the old soldier as ho appeared after his return from Mexico, and of his two war horses grazing contentedly upon Vol. IX.—No. 54.—3 C

the sward. The thousands who visited General Taylor will recognize the life-like representation They will remember the ample gallery upon which he received his visitors, the rustic gate through which they entered, to be followed by the hearty salutation so characteristic of the awaiting host.

On the morning of the 23d of January, 1849, General Taylor took his formal leave of the citizens of Baton Rouge, preparatory to his journey to Washington. On that occasion he said, " Gentlemen, I assure you it is with feelings of no ordinary character that I meet with my fellowcitizens on this occasion, many of whom I have known for more than a quarter of a century. Had I consulted my own wishes, I should have much preferred to retain the office I am now about to vacate, and have remained among you;" and there can not be a doubt that, while surrounded by the political corruptions of the national capital, the quiet home he had left behind him often rose to his mind, as a haven where he could find that peace and that enjoyment never accorded to the Chief Magistrate of a great nation.

The mortal remains of General Taylor repose in the old family burying-ground of his father. It is one of the simplest and least ostentatious of all the plantation graveyards in Kentucky. To reach it, you have a solitary walk until, coming to A rude inclosure in an open field, you behold a plain vault, the front composed of roughly hewn limestone rocks; and this is all that indicates the resting-place of one of tho deceased Presidents of the United States. No monument has been erected to his memory, and his name is not even inscribed upon the vault.


THE Americans, of all people in the world, ar. the most connubially inclined. We have little doubt that if the Christian religion inculeated polygamy, our piety in this particular would rival that of Solomon and David, and not be outdone by the lord of the harem, the youthful Abdul Medjid, Sultan of Turkey, or by our fellow-citizen. His Excellency Brigham Young, Governor of the Territory of Utah. Unlike most of the Turks, who, satisfied with the Mohammedan priv ilege of a plurality of wives, content themselves with the Christian practice of one, we would probably fulfill the law to the greatest numerical extent, and shame, by our willing obedience, the reserve of the recreant Moslem. The juvenile jacket has hardly lengthened into the mauly coat, and the down of a nascent beard has cast but the faintest shadow of the coming event of a mustache upon the youthful face, when young America asks, " Whom shall we marry!" Our adolescent, now lusty with youthful vigor, and ardent with the unabated passion of love, stretches out his "marriageable arms" to embrace some sympathetic beauty, and slake his eager thirst in matrimony, "Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets.'' If the connubially disposed be rich, his purse heavy, however light of head or heart, he finds no want of opportunity for investment. His mere presence in the market is sure to attract to him a


ing foot, the thick fleshy hand, are foreign importations. In no country in the world is the foreigner so readily recognized as with us, notwithstanding the rapidity with which he assimilates in habits of life. This is more true of women than of men. An English, a German, or an Irish woman, need not hoist a national flag. She will be recognized at once, to use a nautical phrase, by her ugly build.

The beauty of American women we consider an established fact, a fact of which none seem more conscious than themselves. The Grand Mogul was in the habit, as we are told by some of the old ravelers, to take his weight annually. His Oriental Majesty would place himself on one side of the balance, and pour in diamonds and rubies in the scale of the other, and thus, year after year, estimated his value. Our caleulating countrywomen follow the Grand Mogul's wise example. They arc no sooner ready for a market than they step into an imaginary scale, and balance themselves with gold. There is not a smile but is estimated at a fixed price by the ready-reckoner; and as for virgin blushes, they, according to their rarity, arc set down at a sum only to be encompassed by the accumulative imagination of a Wall Street financier. A pretty woman, between fifteen and twenty, is held at so enormous a price, that none but the lucky heir of a fortune, or the millionaire, grown luxurious in old age, who has consumed the whole of youth and the better part of manhood in amassing his millions, can hazard a bid. And it is the latter who, oftencr engaged in this matrimonial trade, generally smacks his dry lips over the possession of purchased beauty in its youth and tenderness. The young heir of fortune is more transitory in his enjoyments, and looks only to matrimony as a retreat for tired life in the future.

From fifteen to twenty, then, beauty is a luxury, which, like early peas, is only to be had for money.j The score of years passed, when more youthful beauty throngs in to compete, and the failure of the past darkens the prospect of the future, woman may be purchased at a diminished price. There is now no hope of the millionaire, and the beauty of twenty condescends to content herself with the rising professional man already in the enjoyment of a fair income, or the thriving merchant with a good prospect of a fortune in the future. Each revolving year, which lengthens out the maiden meditation, brings the aspiring bride more and more within the bounds of moderate desire; and we have known the would-be mistress of millions, at sixteen, the actual wife and partner, at twenty-six, of a thousand a year.

Sterne says, that there arc three epochs in the empire of a French woman: she is coquette, then deist, then devote. We do not believe that the term deist can ever be fairly applied to our American beauties; at any rate, they arc never skeptical of their own divinity. Coquettes they always are, and, in advancing age, unquestionably dcrotes. At thirty or so, unless their beauty has resisted tho blight of time by a rare vigor and freshness, they begin to be conscious of the vanUy of the world. Repentance shown itself with the earliest wrinkles, and devotion to heaven dates from the first neglect of earth. Our women have always been church-goers, and as long as the churches afford such excellent opportunities for the display of the fashions and the graceful exhibition of personal charms, they will continue to be. But we do not believe our youthful beauties, in their prime, are remarkable for their devotion to the duties of religion, beyond a regular appearance, during the season, at the fashionable conventicles where they bend their French hats and prostrate their flowing brocades in genteel worship. When the glow of youth, however, is cooled by experience, and the gloss of vanity tarnished by disappointment, the fashionable maid retires within the shrine of piety. But as the cowl does not make the monk, nor a demure look the pious worshiper, we still find the former fashionable in the full exercise of her worldly accomplishments, and bringing to bear the whole artillery of her coquetry upon the susceptible heart of some widowed parson or unsuspecting young sprig of divinity. The vanities of the ball-room, and all the other empty pleasures of society, are now renounced, and the duties of religion, the practical piety of Sunday-school teaching, and the benevolent offices of working slippers for the clergyman, and condoling with his widowed condition, and the helplessness of his children, are undertaken with an enthusiastic piety that should secure the highest place in the parsonage, if not in the mansions of the skies. If this fail, our fading beauty is left to pine away in solitude, or, saturated in "ancient maiden's gall," to wander restlessly about from tea-table to tea-table, and poison the happiness she can not enjoy.

It would be a profanation to speak of love in connection with this cool, caleulating course which we have traced out as the career of our beautiful countrywomen. We are told that young hearts are ever generous, disinterested, and self-sacrificing to imprudence; but we look in vain for the exhibition of conduct which such qualities would prompt. A love-match, for example, is an anomaly in these days of finance. We might put one of the most impatient of our young misses upon a course of French novels for a month, supply her with a perfectly accomplished villain in a Spanish cloak, a Fra Diavolo hat, and beard to match, attach the silken ladder to her bedroom window, bribe the chambermaid, throw a sop to the house-dog, and have a carriage-and-four in attendance, and we arc sure the young lady would not be tempted to look out at the casement even. Mothers may quiet their nerves, and fathers may slumber in peace; their daughters are not to be enticed away by any thing short of the cash in hand.

Female sentiment has grown luxurious. It no longer contents itself with the tenure of a cottage and a diet of rose leaves; it must revel in marble halls and fare sumptuously every day. In the romantic ages, it is true, our grandmothers were absurdly sentimental, and the Chloes and Delias talked a great deal of love-sick nonsense,

but, withal, the heart was seen to beat beneath its flimsy covering of sentiment. Our worldlywise daughters eschew sentiment, and take a practical view of life, which closes upon a brown stone mansion in the Fifth Avenue, where they may make a display of that wealth they alone covet. As for their hearts, they are so deeply buried in lucre, that, if not completely crushed by the superincumbent weight, they are too remote for human sympathy.

We have spoken of the mercenary spirit of youth, for it best illustrates the wide-spread famine of the heart with which mammon has afflicted our land. That the old age of a sordid, money-getting career, with the juices of life dried out of its bones by the ardor of gain, its heart withered by the blight of selfishness, and its early desires palsied into anxious fears, should be timid, watchful, and suspicious, is, however melancholy a spectacle, but the natural termination of such an existence—the caput mortuum of an attempt to transmute all into gold. That youth should anticipate age in its vices, and be eager for gain, shows the heart not only corrupt but distorted. The natural vices of the young are but the exaggerations of their virtues. Generosity flows into extravagance, confidence widens into recklessness, and passion is relaxed into dissipation. If the young heart, and that of woman, moreover, be dried up in its fountains of love; if the ways of pleasantness and peace, which should lead to the shrine of her affections, where we all would worship, be thronged with the money-changers, and the temple itself desecrated by unholy barter; then, truly, is life but a frightful reality of woe. Arc we never to win the sympathy of woman's love? Aro there no longer any hearts to be won? Must wo toil and moil until, tempered by the hot lust of gain, and beaten by the rude strokes of life, we become so hardened as not to distinguish between the reality and that semblance of love, which is all our women have to offer, and that we, if it be accompanied by a fair show of flesh and blood, arc ready to purchase I

Fathers and mothers lead their daughters to the sacrifice. Tho young victims, decked in the flowers of fashion, gayly dance to the altar, where they willingly offer up heart and affections to avarice; while parent sanctions, and the priest, in the name of religion, blesses the unholy ceremony. The young heart is entombed in gold with all the honors, and the youthful aflections hang in withered drapery over the tomb upon which we may inscribe, " Sacred to the memory of the lost heart, dead ere its prime." Tho skeleton bride is borne to tho nuptial couch, while the world looks on in decent reverence.

Wc have no design upon the heart—even if we knew where to find it—of the daughter, or upon the fortune of any of our wealthy and fashionable fellow-citizens. It matters little to us, in our disinterested bachelorhood, how much fathers are affected by the present alarming state of Wall Street. The ring of cent, per cent, is no musk to our ears, whether it is set to the tune of thousands or millions. We are not particularly interested—God save the mark!—in the life and prosperity of any bloated millionaire, nor especially anxious for his death, with a view to a share in the cutting up, as the phrase goes, of his remains. Independent as we are, we hold ourselves perfectly at liberty to despise, enviously of course, that filthy lucre for which life and soul arc bartered, and these eternal grubbers and sordid hoarders of it. That men will sell the souls of their fair daughters for gold, when they have long since sold their own for copper, is not surprising; but there is a want of fairness in these matrimonial transactions, which is contrary to all the ordinary laws of trade. A man of wealth, possessed say of three or four hundred thousand dollars, marries his daughter. He has early inculeated her, by precept and example, with a reverence for the idol of his worship; be decks her with the expensive gewgaws of fashion; he accustoms her to the habits of profuse expenditure; he, with the aid of Madame Gigaway, or some other Parisian fashioner of female youth a la mode, laboriously unfits her for a useful life, by furnishing the chambers of her mind with the tawdry furniture of fashion, where substantial knowledge and plain common sense are never guests. The spoiled maiden, though fair to outward show, is married. There never was a prettier bride, more richly attired. Her vail from Paris; her robe of the glossiest and thickest white satin; her diamonds a present, probably, from her betrothed; her trousseau, with its treasures of silk, fine linen, and genuine lace; the wealth of presents, mostly contributions of friends and relations; the jewels and plate; the goldenleaved and heavily-clasped Bible "from her affectionate father, with the blessing of God," arc delicately exposed to stimulate the emulation of rival donors, and become the talk of the town for a week. Papa resigns his daughter with a kiss, hands a check, perhaps for a thousand dollars, perhaps for two or three, to his son-in-law, with the express understanding that it is to be laid out in rosewood and damask. The respectable parent now buttons his pockets, congratulating himself that one of his family is off his hands, and his current expenses diminished by a thousand dollars per annum, more or less. The shrewd tradesman never made a better bargain, in all his wide experience, in Pearl Street. By a small investment of two or three thousand dollars, he sav es the annual interest of some fifteen or twenty thousand. A splendid transaction, which does credit to the head of the knowing caleulator, and is the very best disposition he could have made of his daughter for the advantage of—himself. The practice of marrying children without dowries began in this country, when daughters and large fortunes were scarce, and it has been continued until now, when hoth are comparatively abundant. When habits of life were simpler with us—when it was cheaper to live and easier to support If wife—there was no occasion for any aid from the falher-in-law. Now, however, the ability to sustain a family, in consequence of the

luxurious and expensive requirements of living, is not easily acquired, and seldom at an age when men should marry. The withholding of the dowry is another obstruction, in addition to the inordinate desires of luxury, to those early marriages which are essential to virtue, as they are in accordance with the instincts of nature. The laws of the country, says Goldsmith in one of his Essays, arc finely caleulated to promote all commerce but the commerce between the sexes. Our stock-jobbing patriarchs are never content to invest a sum, or place a daughter, without a very considerable shave by which they may be gainers at the expense of the needy.

One very obvious result of the pecuniary spirit which controls the union of the sexes is a frightful increase of old maids. We know a respectable old gentleman who has six daughters on his hands, each one of whom has gone through the several phases of budding, blooming, and fading belle. The aged patriarch, surrounded by his maiden daughters, is like some old oak, with decay at its roots. He looks as if there had been vigor enough in him to have propelled his lifeblood into a perpetuity of forests, yet his roots, vigorous and tough enough in their original structure, are, instead of giving off-shoots in some new soil, still clinging to the parent stock, and drying and decaying from mere want of congenial nutriment. The old gentleman is rich, and his note circulates in Wall Street as currently as a new eagle fresh from the mint, while his domestic stock stagnates in the Fifth Avenue like the Russian loan in Europe, or the Schuylei issue of New Haven "in the street."

No expense was spared in accomplishing his daughters; Madame Gigaway's indispensable services were secured for the " finishing polish;" the aid of the fashionable milliners, the confectioners, and the Browns of tho day, was obtained, without regard to expense, for the suitable "coming out." Season after season parties were given, and invitations accepted, and every maid of the six of the house ran the gauntlet of matrimonial expectation for a succession of years. The millionaires, however, being few, and the greedy bidders many, the marriageable men of promise, in the professions and trade, being busy and discreet, and the parsons shy, the six daughters have passed their bloom of life, in spile of the restless activities of avaricious papa, enterprising mamma, and the costly assistance of the Gigaways, and all the camp followers of intrepid fashion, and now pine away in single misery, without even a prospect of the benefit of clergy that forlorn hope of the maiden sisterhood. How many young men, who, at an early stage of the career of the six sisters, had nothing but iVea intellect and virtue to recommend them, and who, of course, were never looked at, or scared away by a sneer at their poverty, have since become prosperous, and wealthy enough now to 08 eagerly caught at by the greedy pureucrs of fortune. When shall we ever have in New York an illustration of Hogarth's good apprentice marrying his master's daughter? If our raer

chants and traders, instead of staking their children's all at the red and black of those gamblers, Fortune and Fashion, where the noir tarns up , nineteen times out of twenty, would bring into the conduct of life some of the shrewd maxims of the shop or the counting-house, there would be less disappointment and more happiness. Absurd old hucksters in dry goods and hardware, don't shut up your common sense with the close of the ledger for the day, but take it home with you in the evening; eschew fashion, its follies, its risks, and its failures, and, instead of decking your daughters with the sham flowers of fashion, and throwing them into that grave of the affections, the fashionable world, keep them at home, where they may grow up in the grace and proportion of fair columns of that temple of the affections; bring to your home the young merchants and clerks with whom you have some sympathy in common, and where, by your firetide, surrounded by your daughters, youthful hearts may hold communion, and be knit together in the strength of holy love. We need not enlarge here—for it does not come within the compass of our present purpose—upon the obvious effect of this miserable money-seeking policy upon the male sex. The young men are driven to the loose pleasures of the town, the debauchery of illicit relations, or the restricted life of perpetual bachelorhood, while a puny offspring, bred of doting old age or idiotic youth of wealth and fashion, is the only hope of a coming generation.

What kind of wives does the system produce! It might be naturally inferred, that when our young ladies marry a brown stone house, a carriage, and the other perquisites of a wealthy establishment, with an aged proprietor to boot, that, having satisfied their avarice and love of display, they keep their hearts in reserve for a lover to whom they dispense their fondness as liberally as they draw upon the purses of their husbands. The wicked Charivari entertained us, not long since, with a characteristic lithograph, drawn by the free hand of Cham, where two young ladies were represented comparing notes about their suitors. Rose says to Blanche: "How many suitors have you?" "Two," answers Blanche, "A and B." "Which one do you love?" resumed the fair interrogator. "A," answers the innocent beauty. "Then of course you will marry B," replies Rose, with the wisdom of the serpent. This was in Paris, and what is true of that profane Babylon, is of course false in this Christian community. Notwithstanding the sly innuendos and sneers of our town cynies, and the open boasts of our would-be rakes, we believe our wives are virtuous. Their practice is, we feel quite confident, much better than might be naturally inferred from their matrimonial principles. Whether it is virtue or insensibility we do not know, but we hope it is the former which justifies the wisdom of our children. There is, however, a reckless freedom among our married women of fashion which entertains the approach of unlicensed suitors

with a disregard of appearances and the happiness of a husband, which, to say the least, has the semblance of vice, and is decidedly uncomfortable to their wedded lords,

If the morals are not loose, the manners of our women are certainly easy. There is no country in the world where such unrestrained intercourse between the sexes before marriage is allowed as in the United States—an inalienable republican right which the women never surrender. There is an innocent freedom from suspicion, on the part of parents, and a rollicking enjoyment of the license they possess on the part of daughters, which are as charming to the lovers of nature as they are convenient to the experienced in art. This freedom began early in this country, dating back to the patriarchal times of our earliest settlement, and was consonant with, as it was secured by, the simplicity of life of our ancestors. Debauched Europe could not understand it at all. When Jerome Bonaparte was the brother, as he is now the uncle of an Emperor of the French, and was in the lustiness of his youth, though not inexperienced in the ways of the world, he visited, as we all know, the United States. While in Baltimore, before he had concentrated his affections in matrimony, he wandered from flower to flower in that garden of beauty. The prince was a favored visitor every where. On one occasion, being invited as a guest to a ball, a young belle, yet in her teens, called for him, and invited him to a seat at her side in the paternal carriage in which she lounged unattended. The prince joyfully accepted the invitation, and had hardly seated himself by the side of beauty and innocence, when he showed by his ardent admiration of the charms of the former, how incapable he was of appreciating the simplicity of the latter. The young girl expressed her indignation, and, discharging her companion, drove home and invoked the aid of a brother in the emergency. The Prince was called to account, and was ready with an apology. In France, he said, he would have lost his claim to gallantry if he had acted otherwise; but, upon his faith as a Frenchman, the Prince continued, he would not have treated the young beauty as he had done, had he not supposed that was what she expected, and the express object of her visit. He acknowledged, with a shrug of the shoulders, that he was a bete, and ought to have known that old Europe was one thing, and new America quite another. Such was the virtue and simplicity of our American grandmothers. Their beautiful descendants have lost nothing, we are sure, of their ancestral virtue, but have become much more knowing, If they should take up a Prince, and a Frenchman, they would know what to expect.

The fast young lady is one of the developments of female liberty. Young and handsome she is, of course, and brim full of vitality. Daring and dashing, she does a thousand extravagant things; but youth and beauty lend such a grace to all she does, that we are attracted more than is quite right for our prim propriety to acknowledge. From the very first, she is vailed by no maiden

« 이전계속 »