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THE brilliant impression that General Taylor made upon the imagination of the people of the Union by his victories of the " 8th and 9th of May," has not yet been effaced. There was all the art of a splendid play accompanying the events; there was the mystery that enshrouded his forgotten camp at Corpus Christi, his self-sacrificing march to the Nueces, his call to the people of the country for assistance, the painful rumors that "he had been cut off by the enemy," the dark cloud of deep regret that followed, to be suddenly dissipated by the announcement of battles won, which will ever hold rank among the brightest achievements of our victorious arms. Such again were the preliminaries that ushered in the triumph of Buena Vista. Every thing
seemed to conspire to make the event captivating and essentially dramatie.
In addition, General Taylor himself, more than any other of his contemporaries, possessed the qualities of a popular hero: he was a soldier, but he was in his personal habits essentially a citizen; in the storm and hurricane of battle his eagle eye anticipated the triumph—in his tent he was as simple as a child—surrounded by the pomp and circumstance of war, he lived amidst the excitement as a father among his children In recalling his person there are no plumes, no epaulets, no clanging of arms conjured up; on the contrary, there is simply seen a brave, chivalrous old man, a vivid personation of republican character, one that all feel proud to call eminently American.
Springing as General Taylor did into popular favor with all the perfection and unexpectedness of another Minerva from the brain of Jove, he was hurried in such rapid succession from one triumph to another, and closed his mortal career so unexpectedly in death, that the people never learned much of his private life; and that biography, always so interesting and so instructive, if preserved of the truly great, is probably destined to be lost in oblivion.
With the military services of General Taylor the world is familiar; we would allude, in connection with a notice of his residence, only to some of his characteristies in private life. Soldier as he was, his great passion seemed to be the pursuit of agriculture, and there was no time in his whole history when he did not have his farm, upon the management of which he expended much of his thoughts. The first time we ever saw the "old Colonel"—as he was then called—was on his plantation, directing the labors of some forty or fifty "hands," and the zeal he displayed was quite equal to his manner in the more stirring scenes of his military life. Brought up upon a farm, he retained all the theoretical knowledge of the most practical agriculturist; and from his "head-quarters," whether in Baton Rouge, Florida, or Mexico, he most frequently sent his specific directions to his business agent as to the details of conducting his estate; and he would at any time drop all other subjects of conversation to go into the details of raising wheat or cotton, and grow unusually animated in discussing the value of different kinds of plows. In July, 1848, he wrote as follows: "The subject of farming is one to which I have devoted much of my life, and in which I yet continue to take the deepest interest." Nor could he forget his farmer habits even in times of actual war; for it was his wont in Mexico, while accidentally passing a train, to criticise any impropriety in the adjustment of the harness, or evident negligence in the care of the wagons; and probably one of his greatest pleasures arose from witnessing the military precision which distinguishes the army in the preservation of its materiel. Originally, in common with many of the older officers and Indian fighters, prejudiced against the artillery, we can readily imagine that his repugnance was somewhat modified by the magnificent manner with which Ridgely and Duncan brought it upon the field in their afternoon displays; for it was not until it swept the serried ranks of the enemy under his own eye, that he cordially embraced the artillery as the most efficient as well as the most brilliant arm of the service.
The leisure that hangs so heavily upon the hands of the soldier in times of peace, was constantly occupied by General Taylor with the study of books; and no one could be much in his society without being struck, not only with the great variety of his reading, but also by the happy application he made of his acquired knowledge. He was particularly successful in relating illustrative aneedotes, and took pleasure in detailing the
thoughts and actions occurring in the lives of the "early Presidents" and statesmen; and he invariably, if necessary, gave his own opinions*of what he related with the utmost frankness. His descriptive powers were of the highest order; and his private correspondence, though dwelling upon the most familiar subjects, has kindred excellences with his official papers. A private letter written by General Taylor, partially on the day before, and concluded on the day following the Battle of Buena Vista, and now in the possession of an eminent private citizen of Louisiana, contains passages more eloquent and of more graphic clearness, if possible, than even the official dispatches that announced this greatest of his military victories.
A peculiarity of General Taylor's social habits deserves particular notice, and may with propriety be mentioned here. Throughout his whole fife he confined himself to pure water as a beverage. Upon the necessity of temperance be often dwelt, and gave it as his experience that, throughout his long life, he had seldom known an officer or soldier, or any one else attached to the army, to get into difficulty, be cashiered or disgraced, that the primary causes could not be directly traced to indulgence in ardent spirits. Soon after his return from Mexico, he dined with a hospitable planter, who insisted upon his_trying his superior wine. General Taylor tasted the Madeira, and instantly followed it by a draught of ice-water, and recovering himself remarked, "That he really was no judge of wine." The first steam-ship that arrived at the Brazos, after the surrender of Matamoras, brought out from New Orleans, as presents, fine brandies, clarets, and ice. General Taylor ordered the whole to be carried to the hospitals to be distributed among the wounded and sick, so little did he care for the commonly considered luxuries of life.
On one occasion General Taylor said, "For more than a quarter of a century my house has been a tent, my home in the field." Such was literally true; yet the old soldier had meanwhile his residence, where lived his family, where centered his affections, where occasionally he stole from the duties of the camp a few momenta of domestic repose. A view of that interesting spot, by the genius of Daguerre and the graver's art, is now preserved to the world, and for the first time made a heritage to all who remember with pleasure the old hero it occasionally sheltered, and who has given it an immortal interest by his virtues and exalted career.
It is natural to the reverential mind to take a sad pleasure in visiting the identified homes of the great dead. These residences recall vividly forgotten associations, and afford useful lessons for the living; but there is so much about Montpelier, Monticello, and Mount Vernon that shocks the sensibilities of the admirers of departed greatness, that it may be deemed fortunate that at least one of our " hero Presidents" has left no mansion to go to decay from a nation's neglect, no tomb upon the current of fashionable travel, to be gaud at by the curious tourist, and left each year an 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.
WHOM SHALL WE MARRY!
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 vanity of the world. Repentance showt 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, arc 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, arc 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 are 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 paUied into anxious fears, should be timid, watchful, and suspicious, is, however melancholy a spectacle, but the natural termination of such an existence—the caput mortnum 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 wo 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 we 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!
Fathers and mothers lead their daughters to the sacrifice. The young victims, decked in the flowers of fashion, gayly dance to the altar, whero 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 affections hang in withered drapery over the tomb upon which we may inscribe, " Sacred to the memory of the lost heart, dead ere its prime." The skeleton bride is borne to tho nuptial couch, while the world looks on in decent reverence.
We 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 thou