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This speech constituted almost the lunteer, but he soon rose to the rank of last act in the drama of the first period colonel, and soon after to that of brigadierof the political life of Franklin Pierce, general. He set out for the seat of the for soon after its delivery, in 1842, he war, at the head of his brigade, which resigned his post of senator, and retired consisted of regiments from all parts of into private life. His object in so doing the union. Nothing could bear less was evident. His life as a politician resemblance to a body of regular troops had made him poor, and he was now a than this brigade, all the soldiers who married man, and the father of a family. constituted it being, like their comHe took this step, therefore, in order to mander, simple citizens, merchants, create for it resources for the future. lawyers, agricuturists, and men of all He renewed his attempts to gain suc- professions. cess at the bar, resolutely determined to He embarked with his detachment overcome all difficulties, and he did in May, 1846, at Newport, in the ship overcome them. Then commenced his Kepler, and landed at Vera Cruz, about successful career as an advocate. As a month after setting sail, without such he possessed the quality most essen- knowing to anything like a certainty in tial to success, namely, sound common what part of the country the main body sense. He had also, in a high degree, of the United States army was situated, the sentiment of the ridiculous, and the or in which direction he must proceed art of skilfully interrogating witnesses. to join it. We have the journal which he He carried into the exercise of his func- kept during his march from Vera Cruz to tions as a barrister a strict sense of Peubla, where was stationed the army of equity; and he showed himself always General Scott. This march, through ready, even at the expense of his pecu- a burning desert, with here and there a niary interest, to take the part of the few little villages scattered over it, bears oppressed and spoilated. The conse- a singular resemblance to some of Wel. quence was that every one regarded him lington's marches in India, and to the with the highest possible respect. “The marches of some of the French troops feelings of respect and affection which the in Africa. At each instant General citizens here entertain toward General Pierce was placed upon the qui-vive. Pierce," wrote once one of his colleagues, He would hear a pistol shot, and, turn. to a mutual friend,“ are exactly such ing the corner of a mountain, find a deas the poor Scotchman must have been tachment of the enemy placed to oppose inspired with towards Henry Erskine his passage. His progress was rendered when he said, “Not a poor man in all wearisome and difficult by all manner Scotland will want a friend, or have need of little obstacles, and was in reality a to fear an enemy, so long as Henry kind of rolling battle; it being very selErskine shall remain alive.'"
dom that a couple of miles were gone Franklin Pierce cannot be reproached over, without a body of the enemy with ambition, for he has several times having to be encountered and put to refused the most important and lucrative flight. The guerilla harassed the men posts. A democratic convention once under his command unceasingly, small nominated him for the governorship of bodies of them appearing always when New Hampshire, but he decidedly re- the least expected, taking aim at whatfused to let the matter proceed. In ever officers where within their reach, 1846, Mr. Polk offered him a post in and when they could shoot none of his cabinet, namely, that of attorney-them, resting content with a few general, but he declined the offer in a privates, securing as many prisoners note in which he said, “ when I resigned and as much booty as they could, my seat in the senate, in 1842, it was and then gallopping away with the utwith the determination not again to se- most possible fleetness. Add to all parate myself for any lengthened period this, the inconveniences caused by the from my family, unless my country climate, the excessive heats or torrential should need my military services." His rains which often interrupted the march, country did need them almost immedi- and the maladies of the country which ately after, for this was just before the put hors de service a large number of period of the breaking out of the Mexi- both officers and privates, and we shall can war.
have some faint idea of the difficulties When that war broke out Franklin which beset the transport of General Pierce enrolled himself as a simple vo- | Pierce and his soldiers from Vere Cruz to Peubla. More interesting to us than Scott himself endeavoured to persuade all the accidents which are recorded him to retire, but all in vain. Mr. Hawin the General's journal put together, thorne thus relates the conversation are the evidences which are always which passed between the two generals. peeping out of the superiority of the General Scott, having ridden from one race of the Anglo-Americans over that end of the line to the other, on hearing of the Spanish-Americans. This su the news of Pierce's wound, on purperiority reveals itself in all manner of pose to try to persuade him to leave his ways, and in numberless instances; in post. “Dear fellow," was his exclamabon mots, in acts of energy, and in reso- tion, in coming up to him; and that lutions made and executed without fear epithet of familiar kindness and friendor hesitation. Thus the Mexicans had ship, upon the battle-field, was the destroyed a magnificent bridge, the | highest military commendation from work of their more energetic ancestors, such a man; “ you are badly injured ; and the army of General Pierce is com- you are not fit to be in your saddle."pelled to stop. “ These people have “ Yes, general, I am,” replied Pierce, destroyed,” an officer remarks, “that " in a case like this!"_" You cannot which they will never be able to recon- touch your foot to the stirrup,” said struct.” However, it is necessary for the Scott; “ One of them I can,” answered brigade to pass. A Captain Bodfish Pierce. The general looked again at demands five hundred men, and pro- Pierce's almost disabled figure, and mises to construct within four hours a seemed on the point of taking his irrebridge over the river which shall bevocable resolution. “You are rash, sufficient for the passage alike of men, General Pierce,” said he ; " we shall lose stores, guns, and the heavy baggage of you, and we cannot spare you. It is the detachment. The promise is ful-my duty to order you back to St. Aufilled, and the troops pass over, railing gustine.”—“For God's sake, general.” at the Mexicans, who thought they had exclaimed Pierce,“ don't say that! This placed an invincible barrier in their is the last great battle and I must lead way. “Bodfish's road,” writes their my brigade.” The commander-in-chief general in his journal, “unless the made no further remonstrance, but gave Mexican nation shall be unexpectedly the order for Pierce to advance with his regenerated, will be the road, at this brigade. place, for Mexican diligences for half a Some days after the battle, General century."
Scott gave another proof of the high At last, after more than a month's esteem in which he held the man who march, General Pierce came up with the became soon after his competitor and principal body of the army, on the 7th rival. Santa-Anna, after the defeat of of August. Twelve days afterwards, the Mexicans, at Contreras, proposed namely, on the 19th, took place the bat- an armistice, and Franklin Pierce was tle of Contreras. The American army named by the American commander as was commanded by General Scott, one of the commissioners charged with and that of the Mexicans by General | drawing-up of the treaty of peace. The Valentia. The former had taken all treaty was soon broken, however, and possible precautions to prevent the the contest recommenced with renewed junction of the troops of Valentia with vigour, and General Pierce distinguished those of Santa Anna. The result was himself remarkably in all the ensuing equal to his hopes, for the battle was de-actions, particularly in the battles of cidedly gained. General Pierce, during Chepultepec and Molinodel-Rey. ' Inthe course of it, was wounded by a fali deed, throughout the whole war his from his horse, but, in spite of the en-conduct was unimpeachable, couragetreaties of the officers who surrounded ous, and honourable. He was not a him, he obstinately refused to abandon professed soldier, and did not possess his command. His leg was severely any scientific military knowledge; but he bruised and his thigh-bone broken, and knew how to do his duty, and to execute they told him that it would be impossi- with promptitude and courage the comble for him to hold himself on horse mands of superiors. Upon the field of back. “Ah! well, then," was the reply, battle he exhibited no more presumption "you must tie me in my saddle;" and than in his own house; he remained he did not retire from his post till the there, as everywhere, a modest, simple completion of the victory. General citizen and a patriot.
Since the conclusion of the war with still higher in the estimation of the Mexico, General Pierce has taken no citizens. A describer of the scene says: part in the general politics of the Union, "The sentiments, the tone of the address, but has confined his action to, and been the earnest manner in which it was content to exercise his influence only spoken, his beautiful action, his manly, in, his own neighbourhood. He has erect appearance, his pale cast of countaken part only in the political affairs tenance, in which intellect and courage of his own state of New flampshire, but were the predominating features, and these local affairs have closely touched his clear, loud voice, distinctly heard by upon the one or two great questions the remotest of his audience, all comwhich, par excellence, interest the whole bined to make a deep impression in Union. Thus he has sustained with favour of General Pierce, and many asenergy, in opposition to the Free-soilers, serted that this was the best inaugural who are so numerous in New Hamp- address ever delivered from that spot. shire, Henry Clay's measures of com. He is, undoubtedly, a very effective promise; and on the occasion did not speaker. He remained with his hat off hesitate to pronounce himself against until the close of the proceedings. The a personal friend, Mr. Atwood, who, ladies were in ecstacies, and so anxious being put in nomination by the demo- were some who happened to be in the cratic party for the governorship of New rear to see and hear him, that they Hampshire, had made engagements climbed upon the pediments of the with the Abolitionists and Free-soilers. columns of the capitol, to their no small In 1850, a democratic convention as- danger. Altogether it was a glorious sembled at Concord, for the purpose of spectacle of sublime majesty, casting revising the constitution of New Hamp- into the shade the idle pomp and unsbire, and General Pierce was named its meaning pageantry of the coronation of president. In that character he es- kings and emperors." sayed, but it was without success, to Such has been till now the life of obtain the abolition of a certain clause General Franklin Pierce; such is the in the constitution, which provided that man who is now the first magistrate of no public office in the state should the United States. In the incidents of be filled by any but Protestants. The his former life, as we have seen, there old Puritan spirit which is still so has been nothing extraordinary. In all strong in some of the States of New epochs of the world's history there have England, twice caused the proposition been men, who have been more remarkto be rejected, and still maintains the able than their positions, and superior clause as an arm of oppression and to the affairs of which they have been insult, in spite of the general spread employed in the direction. In this in. of tolerant ideas, and the almost uni-stance, whatever may be the undoubted versal acknowledgment of the prin- merits of General Pierce, the contrary ciple of liberty of conscience.
is the case. The situation is more imThis was the last political action of portant than the man, the circumstances General Pierce before he was put in by which he is surrounded of greater nomination for the presidency. In moment than himself. We shall seek, January, 1852, certain democrats of New uselessly, in General Pierce for any thing Hampshire began to speak of him in besides modesty, patriotism, liberality; connection with the forthcoming elec- indefatigable perseverance, and an imtion, but he wrote to inform them that mense capacity for work. In these few the use he made of his name was one words we have a resume of his whole entirely contrary to his wishes and incli- character. What effect that character nations. His name was not placed will have upon the destinies of the upon the democratic list of candidates Union, it would be hard to say; and the at first. It was only when the demo- future only can reveal. But that future crats had begun to despair of their cause is not a distant one; it is comprised that it was really brought forward. It within the narrow limits of four years. answered the triumph of his party-a It can only be said that should the new triumph which was welcomed, as we President cause eril to the Union by all know, with the utmost enthusiasm giving way to the violence of the exto the whole Union.
treme section of his party, he will give He has subsequently given his inau- the lie to the whole tenour of his past gural address, and thereby raised himself life.
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN. ONE morning, in the year fifty-seven, I opportunities of judging ;-what the or thereabouts, of the last century, a affirmation may be worth the present lady waited upon a respectable school- writer will not undertake to say. Kindly master, just commencing practice in reader, bethink thee, how learned blockDublin, for the purpose of placing un- headism is apt to draw its inferences der his charge two of her sons, who were respecting genius, of which it has in rapidly growing out of nursery control. itself no forecast or apprehension, and Entering graciously into conversation doubt not that the grave authorities with the inexperienced Dominie, she were in this case mistaken. One can ventured to impress upon him how admit Dr. Parr's competency to report needful a thing was patience, in the of Sheridan's deficiency in regard to profession which he had perhaps incon. those “studies which were the pride of siderately undertaken. “These boys," Harrow seminary;" but of his ability to said she, "will require a good deal of it. understand the character of his pupil's Hitherto I have been their only in- capabilities one can hardly entertain so structor, and they have sufficiently ex-confident an opinion. The Doctor, howercised mine; for two such impenetrable ever, observes that “ He was a favourite dunces I declare I never met with.” among his schoolfellows, mischievous,
One of the youngsters, thus con- and his pranks were accompanied by a temptuously introduced, was RICHARD sort of vivacity and cheerfulness; he BRINSLEY SHERIDAN; afterwards the bril- was a great reader of English poetry, liant and witty dramatist and politician but was careless about literary fame." whom we all know, and whose memory In after life, indeed, when Sheridan had not a few of us delight to honour. He given proof of superior talents, the was scarcely at this period seven years Doctor could remember that he had of age; a boisterous, impetuous fellow, at one time been addicted to classical whose aversion to useful knowledge was reading, and was "well acquainted with probably the counterpart of a lively dis-the orations of Cicero and Demos. position. Utterly stupid we cannot thenes," and had even impressed him conceive him to have been; but only with the notion that “his classical atindifferent to the popular hornbooks of tainments were considerable.” the day, whose select narratives of good. During his residence at Harrow; and naughty boys might seem to incul- Sheridan learnt his first lesson in the cate a too severe morality. What pro- significance of sorrow.” He had to gress he made under Dominie Whyte's lament the loss of his mother, who died, training, neither authentic chronitle at Blois, in 1766. The wild reckless nor tradition has been careful to inform nature of the boy was for a while subus. The perplexities he encountered dued and softened by the mournful and overcame, the difficulties that were thoughts which this sad event awakened. too hard for him, the birchings he un- With bowed dejected head he shunned derwent, the practical jests and whimsi-converse with his gay companions, and calities he perpetrated the whole min- sounded the awful depths which till now gled tragedy and comedy and farce, lay unrevealed within him. Time, howa which made up the drama of his school- ever, brought back the olden cheerfuldays, went out of recollection for ever ness. Bright sanative season of blessed with the extinguished memories of the youth, how it soon dries up with its boys that were at school with him. joyful sunshine the dreary fountain
About the year 1762, father Sheridan, springs of grief, and repaireth the ruins for reasons of his own, packed up his of its habitation with the flowers that household and settled his family in grow spontaneously in its path! We England. Harrow was then selected as shortly find Sheridan assisting a fellow the school considered most suitable for pupil in the composition of a farce; advancing Brinsley's education. The from which they expected to realize a reputation of dulness still clings to him; sum of not less than £200. Fortune, he exhibited as yet none of those supe- however, seldom grants her bounties rior qualifications for which he was to that extent, to striplings; and this afterwards illustrious. So at least it golden expectation was destined to be has been affirmed by those who had suddenly cut off, Other schemes were
projected ; a miscellany in the manner trarch ; Mr. Pliny Melmoth, “ thinking of the British Essayists, which did not nobody half so considerable as himself, proceed beyond the first number; a and therefore playing primary violin translation of Aristænatus, an obscure without further ceremony;" CumberGreek author, into English verse, which land, “the querulous, the dissatisfied, was published but did not sell; occa- | determined to like nobody and nothing sional poems, tales of love and wonder, except Cumberland;" Dr. Harrington, and other general medley of authorship, “ dry, comic, and agreeable ;" and a enthusiastically undertaken but never | whole host besides of magnificent obfinished. Of the translation of Aris- scure mortals, who had the luck to be tænatus a certain reviewer of the period celebrated in their day, but whose mecandidly remarks, “ We have been idly mory has now gone to that bourne whence employed in reading it;" and adds, un- no memory returns. All these, in their graciously, “Our readers will in pro- several degree, fluttered and danced atportion lose their time in perusing this tendance at the court of a certain allearticle.” It is clear, nevertheless, from gorical-fantastic-fashionable Queen of these several crude performances, that | Bath-one Lady Miller, admirably deSheridan is beginning to care a little about scribed by Horace Walpole and Madame “ literary fame;" from the bleak Pisgah D'Arblay, and living in barbaric splenof popular indifference he is looking dour at Bath Easton, where she held down over the confused valley of Litera- every Thursday a wonderful and brilture; and though the scouts wbich heliant entertainment, poetically styled a has sent forth bring him but unfavourable" fair of Parnassus." In London it tidings, he does not abate one tittle of seems Bath Easton was much reviled his faith that it is a land flowing with and laughed at; but Madame D'Arblay milk and honey.
asserts that nothing was here “more After leaving Harrow, Sheridan spent tonnish than to visit Lady Miller, who for some time rather a gay life at Bath, is extremely curious in her company, where his father, a distinguished actor admitting few people who are not of and teacher of elocution, had fixed his rank or fame, and excluding all who family while he pursued his engage- are not people of very unblemished ments elsewhere. In the idleness and character." Horace Walpole says, it dissipation of the place the young man was the practice of “all the flux of readily participated. Of a lively social quality" to contend for prizes gained sensitiveness, he rapidly makes acquain- for rhymes and themes. “A Roman tance with many men and women of vase, dressed with pink ribbons and consideration, of rank, of even ques- | myrtle, received the poetry contributed, tionable reputation; sees into the splen- which was drawn out at every festival. dour and insipidity of fashionable cir- Six judges of these Olympic games recles; captivates young maidens by his tired and selected the brightest comlively brilliant talk; and makes a laugh-position, which was rewarded by pering-stock of elder ones by his witty and mission for the author to kneel and kiss ingenious sarcasm. Any day in the year the hands of Lady Miller, who crowned he might be seen lounging about the the victor with myrtle.” Flimsy foolish Crescent, the Circus, or the Parades; mortals! heard ye never how poor men in the Pump-room, at concerts, at pri. toil and spin in this weary workshop of vate parties, at the theatre; living a a world, that ye could find no worthier very butterfly's existence, and draining pastime than even this? Pitiful truly, the cup of pleasure to the very dregs and empty beyond conception, must of weariness. Among the illustrious have been all that paltry worship and people whom Bath society included, apotheosis of vanity was the respectable Hannah More, Nevertheless, one can well enough pious, and clever, and insipid; Mrs. understand that to any one in the midst Thrale, the lively and the rain, who of it, it might seem not altogether decould relate personal anecdotes of Dr. ficient in elegance and grace. For Johnson; Fanny and Harriet Bowdler, though Dame Miller turns out on near blue-stockings both, of very deep com- inspection to have been only a coarse plexion; Anstey, the author of the plump-looking vulgar personage, “aim** Bath Guide," "with an air, look, anding to appear a woman of fashion, and manner, mighty heavy and unfavoura- succeeding only in having the appearble;" Mrs. Dobson, who translated Peance of an ordinary person in common