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tory, and recollect with what anxious, impatient solicitude every eye watched the progress of the little army from Point Isabel, how joyous to ihe American people were the tidings of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, -how the obstacles of a long march, an unpropitious climate, and remarkable disparity of numbers were all overcome, and what splendid success attended every movement, until the crowning triumph of Buena Vista,—it is impossible not to admire his intrepid courage and marvellous success, and even more his singular modesty and unexampled humanity. His whole conduct in the progress of those battles, and his official account of each engagement, prove him to have been as just, merciful, and modest, as he was brave.
Were it needful, we could recite pages of examples, in which these distinctive qualities were displayed in an eminent degree, but one is sufficient for our purpose. At the close of one of those battles he dispatched a train of wagons with surgeons, to administer to such wounded Mexicans as might be found ; and, being doubtful whether the Government would allow his claim for this extra expense, he directed a separate account to be kept, that if the allowance were refused he might pay it himself.
The war with Mexico terminated ; Gen. Taylor returned. to the United States. Previous to his return, his name had been frequently mentioned in the newspapers as a candidate for President, and his consent solicited by many persons and numerous assemblages of his fellow-citizens. To all such he addressed one uniform reply: “ While serving my country in my present capacity, I cannot consent to become a candidate for any office." To this determination he most rigidly adhered, and it was not until the proclamation of peace, nor until large numbers of his fellow-citizens, in every quarter of the Union, had pointed to him as the candidate, that he consented to be placed in this responsible, and to him untried office. He had not solicited the honor; of that he was not suspected. He had not written letters, or made speeches, or attended public assemblies, or adopted any plan, or provided any means by which he could secure a nomination. Probably the idea of being President of the United States had not entered his mind, before his attention was called to it in the papers. And we suppose, that if the Mexican war had not been waged, Gen. Taylor would never have reached that high office. It was his eminent success in that campaign, it was the qualities of mind and heart then and there displayed, it was that consummate skill, that profound judgment, that
prudent courage, that heroism so nicely attempered with mercy, that union and combination of the higher and highest elements of greatness, that grouping of strength with delicacy, of Roman firmness with childlike simplicity, of loyal ambition with scrupulous fidelity,—it was these which enabled him to command the suffrages of his countrymen. And how well and how truly he exemplified the character of a President, and vindicated the policy which he believed would best promote the interests and honor of the American name! Educated as he was in the school of military tactics, his life spent in camp service, many of his best years passed on the frontiers, without the limits of refined society, yet he brings to the discharge of his official duties a wisdom and prudence which astonish those by whom he is most intimately surrounded. We have heard that the members of his Cabinet were amazed at his promptitude and accuracy of judgment, upon all the questions submitted for Cabinet decision, and it has become a proverb that he never made a mistake in his life. He gave patient attention to the counsels of others, deliberately weighed every suggestion, and then with true humility but with equal firmness formed and executed fearlessly his purposes.
In his ability successfully to administer the affairs of government, General Taylor felt and expressed a diffidence. It was this which caused him to hesitate when he was nominated, and which prompted the desire that some other candidate might be selected. But we are not confident that it diminished the authority of his influence after he became President; on the contrary, his influence was essentially increased by this partial want of self-reliance. It taught him to weigh with deliberation, but did not prevent him from acting with decision. When he arrived at a conclusion, then his self-reliance was always at command, and governed bis uniform purpose to maintain and defend the laws and Constitution. An apposite illustration of this appears in that answer which he gave, but a few days before his death, to some one who had addressed him as to the prospect of a dissolution of the Union. “If,” said he, “that standard ever be upreared, I will plant the stars and stripes by its side, and strike it down with my own hand, though no man south of the Potomac come to my aid.” The purpose thus avowed, in language so empathic, his will would have prompted him to execute, with the same quiet courage with which he bore aloft the American standard on the plains of Mexico.
When the history of his brief administration shall be
written by an impartial hand, it will compare favorably with the history of any preceding administration. Gen. Taylor had selected Washington as his exemplar, and we believe his image was constantly before him, prompting his whole conduct, and inciting him to a course of elevated patriotism. With such a model, he had all that was required to carve out and pursue a policy at once peaceful and wise, energetic and conciliatory. He was a President who looked over sectional lines, and beyond present divisions, having at heart the happiness and prosperity, the peace and freedom of all men. It was this catholic spirit which made him an undisguised opponent of the extension of slavery. Citizen though he was of a Southern State, educated in the social habits which slavery creates, and the possessor of slaves in considerable numbers, yet not one word that he has spoken, not one line that he has written, not one deed that he has done, but have all contributed their influence to restrict and control the area of slavery. We had no reason to expect this from a man under such circumstances, and therefore the stronger evidence it is in favor of his discreet, humane, and liberal policy.
And thus as he was opposed to the extension of slavery, so did he exert his official influence to disseminate the principles of peace. Hero though he was, at home on the battle-field, inured to its toils and its perils, and flushed with many glorious victories, yet he permitted no occasion to pass, without a personal effort to adjust controverted questions. Not every man, occupying his place, would have brought to a successful and honorable issue the many difficult and vexatious points, which have been settled by diplomacy rather than the sword. It is a significant fact, that the only two Presidents who have died in office, although military men, both habitually studied to preserve peace.
From all that we have observed in the newspapers, in Congressional debate, and elsewhere, we are inclined to the opinion that General Taylor was not appreciated as he deserved to be. His military reputation, that is to say, the qualities which establish the name of a chieftain, courage, promptitude and discretion, these were accorded to him universally. But he was as far removed above the mere hero, as Washington was above the ambitious conqueror who led the armies of France over so many crimsoned fields. His mind was subjected to a severe discipline. He had none of the accomplishments of a rhetorician, none of the graces or gifts of an orator, none of that varied learning or profound know
ledge which are the results of habitual and patient study. Destitute of all, he was nevertheless a great man, and we would select him as an example of true greatness. Review his conduct in the remarkable scenes in Mexico,-his humanity, his honor, his truthfulness, bis courage, his justice, his urbanity, his modesty; take these several qualities, and see them all in such harmonious development; then look at him as the chosen candidate for the highest reward conferred by a grateful people. Observe the same unpretending spirit, the doubtful, hesitating expression of his fitness for the place, the propriety of his conduct during the contest; and when it is decided in his favor, and he is at the seat of government to assume the duties and responsibilities of Chief Magistrate, his pride is not elated, he is the same quiet, unobtrusive, and amiable man. Standing in his presence you are not abashed, for his kind and attentive politeness, so natural and sincere, will not permit it. You feel that he is your friend, and that. you are his friend, and as you leave him a pleasant benedic-. tion goes with you. As the Executive to defend the honor, promote the happiness, and secure the prosperity of increasing millions, elevated to a place of more splendid power than ever sword or throne could command, he is the same just and generous man, mingling with his fellow-citizens of every grade, with a pleasant word of encouragement, and even engaging the affections and reciprocating the love of children, as he meets them frolicking in the public grounds. In his domestic life temperate, punctual, exemplary, these qualities and the qualities illustrated in military and civil stations, so. beautifully blended, made him a great man, and an eminent example for others to emulate.
As General Taylor was possessed of so many attractive qualities, we may well inquire when and how he grew into this noble stature. Aside from the early impressions made upon his docile spirit by 'his good mother, General Taylor made himself. The long period passed on the frontiers, the months and years spent in the camp, were not years of profitfitless and exhausted strength. All this time habits of selfdiscipline were forming, the mind was busy while the body was active, and purposes were formed and plans laid out through whose influence a character was created which has made a deep impression upon the military and political history of this age.
Some sixteen years ago an attempt was made in Congress to reform the army service. It was assailed with great earnestness by the officers of the army then visiting Washington,
A member of the House of Representatives, who proposed the scheme and who was very zealous in its support, pending the discussion of the subject received a letter from a stranger, then Colonel commanding at Prairie du Chien, approving the plan, and tendering the aid of such suggestions as his experience in the service would enable him to make. This Colonel was Zachary Taylor. The member acknowledged the receipt of the letter, and soon Colonel Taylor addressed another to him, of sixty pages, in which thė proposed reform was discussed with marked, ability. The arguments of its adversaries he examined in detail, and in conclusion recommended a searching reform of all abuses in the several departments of the public service, and a return to the first principles of the government.
It seems to have been the destiny of General Taylor, if we may use that word in this connection, while he was President of the United States, to be deserted by many of those strong and able men, from whom he had a right to expect support. That this originated in personal ill-will we do not believe. There were other causes, which it is not necessary to enumerate, and as we refer to the fact, we cannot but express sorrow that he was subjected to this severe and unfortunate trial. He was a sensitive man, and neglect or censure on the part of a friend caused him unhappiness. It has been said, that the exciting questions before the country had some influence in hastening the period of his departure. In his extreme anxiety to be just to all interests, and to each section of the Union, in his scrupulous honesty and integrity, in his devotion to duty, and his reverence for truth, he displayed a greatness which deserved and ought to have commanded the universal approval of his countrymen, as it certainly will the applause of history.
Art. IX.—DR. JOHANN AUGUST WILHELM NEANDER,
PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BERLIN, CONSISTORIAL
THE death of this illustrious and venerated man has already been announced in many of the weekly journals of our country. He died at his residence in Berlin, on the 15th day of July, at sixty-one years of age.