페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

a

[ocr errors]

compensation for labor—and of which there were fifty millions of fives and under in circulation-would no longer exist; but gold and silver, in the hands of the working-classes, would give “stability of a solid character to our currency." The general view presented was of a hopeful nature, and tended to prove that the universal disability of the times would be but temporary. He based his conclusions on the facts that the agricultural crop was estimated at a value of two thousand millions of dollars, and the product of manufacturing industry at about fifteen hundred millions.

He took his seat in the Thirty-Fifth Congress, and opposed the Treasury Note Bill, on the ground that it was the opinion of all statesmen that a resort to a loan in the form of Treasury notes was a matter of doubtful expediency and of dangerous character; that Government should not have recourse to such means unless it had ascertained that necessary relief could be obtained in no other way, as it did in 1837, '41, '42, and '46; and that, further, it was his belief that the country was richer than ever,

and had more gold and silver coin in it than at any time when the Treasury Note question had been presented. In the debates on its merits, he persistently combated the bill, of which Messrs. Glancy Jones, as Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, G. B. Adrain, of New Jersey, and Letcher and Smith, of Virginia, were the prominent supporters.

Mr. Banks also strenuously opposed the passage of the preamble and resolutions directing the Committee on Territories to inquire into the propriety of excluding the delegate from Utah. The preamble gave the reason, by stating that, judging from Brigham Young's proclamations as well as from the President's Message, Utah was in open rebellion. Mr. Banks reminded the House that the President's Message said, “Unless he (Young) should retrace his steps, the Territory of Utah will be in open rebellion." He was willing to aid the proposer of the resolution, Mr. Warren, of Arkansas, in any legitimate course touching Utah; but he protested against assaulting the rights of a delegate or a member from a State except upon a statement of facts touching his direct acts as a member.

Having been elected Governor of Massachusetts in November by a plurality of twenty-four thousand, Mr. Banks resigned his

[ocr errors]

seat in the House of Representatives, (24th of December,) and ascended the Gubernatorial chair of his native State. To this position he did such honor in the eyes of his fellow-citizens, that they re-elected him the following year; and he will probably be retained in the dignity of this office, as at the Republican State Convention, which met at Fitchburg on the 20th of September of the present year, he received, on the first ballot for nomination for Governor, 627 out of the 712 votes, and was afterward nominated unanimously. The resolutions passed by the Convention—which may be taken as the latest definition of the principles upon which Governor Banks is not only before Massachusetts, but the Union-declare that the Republican party was originated in opposition to the slave power, and is necessary for the preservation of State rights; and denounce the Buchanan Administration for extravagance, for truckling to the slave power, for allowing the reopening of the slave-trade, and for refusing protection to naturalized citizens.*

Governor Banks occasionally, as is usual with gentlemen whose recognised talents and position give dignity to public celebrations, has addressed meetings and societies on occasions of historical interest. Among his latest efforts in this line may be mentioned an eloquent address on the laying of the corner-stone of the national monument in commemoration of the Pilgrims, and that of the canopy designed to cover the “ Forefathers' Rock” at Plymouth; and his still more recent speech at the inauguration of Powers's statue of Daniel Webster, on the two hundred and twenty-ninth anniversary of the settlement of Boston.

The acquirement of suitable and various knowledge has kept pace with the progressively successful career of Governor Banks. He has made himself acquainted with the chief languages and literatures of Europe, and is an earnest and assiduous student; all his spare time being devoted to his farm and his books, in the heart and home of his family, in his native town of Waltham.

* Since the above was written, Governor Banks has been re-elected.

с

EDWARD BATES,

OF MISSOURI.

ALTHOUGH Mr. Bates has served but one term in the United States Congress, and that more than a quarter of a century ago, his name and counsel are dearly prized by those who have abiding faith and hope in the principles of the Whig party. He is one of the most distinguished citizens of the State of Missouri, and, as De Bow's Review* observes, a man who has been active in the cause of Western progress and improvement;

who

presided over the deliberations of an important convention held in the Northwest for their promotion; and who, for his high and liberal views, enjoys a reputation in this particular second to none on that side of the mountains.

Edward Bates is a Virginian by birth, having been born in Goochland County, the 4th of September, 1793. His family is of the plain Quaker stock, which for several centuries dwelt in the low countries between James and York Rivers. His ancestors came from the west of England to the Jamestown settlement in 1625, about eighteen years after Bartholomew Gosnell had made his second and successful expedition for its colonization, and brought with him Captain John Smith, of ever-famous memory. The descendants of the Bates settlers remained in this region until the war of the Revolution, when the younger branches, taking up arms against the king, forfeited, as did Nathaniel Greene in Rhode Island, and others, their membership in the peace-loving Society of Friends. If, however, they were disowned by the “Friends,” they found a host of other friends in the country. Among those who took up arms were Thomas Fleming Bates, the father of Edward, and several of his uncles.

Thomas Fleming Bates was a man of fair talents, had a store of practical information, and was educated to habits of business in one of the best mercantile houses in the colony. In proof of his capacity, it may be stated that he was several times sent to England, Spain, Portugal, and Madeira, as supercargo and purchasing agent.

* To which I am largely indebted in the preparation of this sketch. Vol. xii., New Orleans, 1852.

About the period of the Revolution, believing himself in comfortable circuinstances, he settled up his accounts in Henrico (or Charles City) County, and moved to a new plantation on James River, in Goochland. He soon discovered that his claims and Jook-accounts were of no value, the times were so out of joint, and the Continental money so depreciated. To add to his dilemma, the British army, in one of its marches, destroyed his plantation. His heart, however, was not a broken bank. Like all of the strong and sturdy men whose disinterestedness and devotion made what the Annual Register called the “Rebellion in America” a war of independence, Mr. Bates was above personal despondency; and, despite his Quaker coat, he was a soldier and a Whig.

It is related of him that when the British army was encamped on his plantation, and the lower story of his house occupied for twenty-four hours as head-quarters, he was called into the presence of Lord Cornwallis, and there a written protection was handed to him by an aid-de-camp. He read it deliberately, and reflected sorrowfully on his wife and six young children, who had been ordered to the upper apartments. He rapidly considered their claims on his safety, but more seriously thought of the disgrace he would bring on them by accepting a protection that would compromise his patriotism, and, folding the paper into a narrow slip, thrust it among the burning coals in a chafingdish standing on the hearth to furnish his lordship's tea. In his mind's eye he beheld certain arrest, and the prison-ship, awaiting him as the result of his course; yet he pursued it. Cornwallis, in a spirit inspired by that of his Quaker prisoner, with a calm countenance, only said, “Mr. Bates, would to God that you, and

, all such men as you, were loyal subjects !"

A few months subsequent, our Quaker was a volunteer soldier in the ranks under Lafayette, and at Yorktown, October, 1781, witnessed the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his army. His son Edward has the gun with which his father helped to bring

a

about that result, “still as good a deer-gun as can be found.” At the close of the war the British debts of Bates remained, and they sufficed to break up his worldly prospects. He died in May, 1805, leaving no estate, but a widow, five daughters, and seven sons, Edward being the youngest of the twelve children.

Thus left an orphan, Fleming Bates, of Northumberland, Va., one of his brothers,—all of whom were industrious, prospering, and generous men,—took Edward in charge. He sent him to Charlotte Hall Academy, Md., “a very good school for boys who were anxious to learn, but a very poor one for those who required compulsion," where he attained, among other things, the elements of mathematics, with some knowledge of the Latin and French languages. An accident unfortunately broke off his regular course of study; and, having fractured a leg-bone, he was obliged to return to his brother's, to suffer a painful confinement of nearly

[ocr errors]

two years.

In this state he found solace in a good library and writingmaterials at discretion. Without advice or assistance to guide either his taste or judgment, he plunged into the books, devouring every thing that bore the name of poetry, from Homer and Shakspeare down to Peter Pindar, and all manner of histories, from “Weems's Revolutionary Worthies" up to Livy and Herodotus; allowing his hand also to run a race with the acquirements of his head, scribbling with a ready and unresting quill. In this way he accumulated a heterogeneous mass of ideas, and fused them into shapes of his own unguided moulding.

Looking forward from boyhood to the sea as his business in life, his kinsman, James Pleasants, then the representative in Congress of his native district, procured for him, in the winter of 1811-12, the promise of a midshipman's warrant; but the tears of his mother overcame his boyish ambition to win fame in the threatened war with England, and he renounced the sea. On the other hand, he now prepared to turn his steps far inland, and go to St. Louis, at the invitation of his brother Frederick, and study law. But he was not quite rid of his warlike propensities. Just as he was getting ready to start for the West, in the winter of 1812–13, a British fleet made its appearance in the Chesapeake, and troops were called for the defence of Norfolk. Enrolling himself in a company of volunteers, he marched to Nor

« 이전계속 »