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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

393

vain declamation, but pursuing it closely in language pure, classical, and copious, soothing always the feelings of his adversaries by civility and softness of expression, he rose to the eminent station which he held in the great National Convention of 1787." George Wythe, also of Virginia, "was a man of the first order of wisdom among those who acted on the theatre of the Revolution.” “Lafayette is a most valuable auxiliary to me," Jefferson writes from Paris; "he has a great deal of sound genius, is well remarked by the king, and rising in popularity.”

But no character shines with a purer lustre than that of Benjamin Franklin, who, besides being a natural philosopher, was also a politician and a statesman. Jefferson writes about him from Paris, September 11, 1785, as follows:

“At a large table where I dined the other day, a gentleman from Switzerland expressed his apprehensions for the fate of Dr. Franklin, as he said he had been informed that he would be received with stones by the people, who were generally dissatisfied with the Revolution, and incensed against all those who had assisted in bringing it about. I told him his apprehensions were just, and that the people of America would probably salute Dr. Franklin with the same stones that they had thrown at the Marquis Lafayette."

Could I better conclude this letter of reminiscences than by the following extract from Franklin's reply to Lord Howe, commander of the British forces, dated Philadelphia, July 30, 1776?

“It is impossible we should think of submission to a government that has, with the most wanton barbarity and cruelty, burned our defenseless towns in the midst of winter, excited the savages to massacre our peaceful farmers, and set our slaves to murder their masters; and is even now sending foreign mercenaries to deluge our country with blood. These atrocious injuries have extinguished every spark of affection for that parent-country we once held so dear; but, were it possible for

us to forget and forgive them, it is not possible for you, I mean the British nation, to forgive the people you have so heavily injured."

[December 1, 1872.]

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What a delicious volume that famous man of the world, Sam Ward, who is every body's friend, from black John who drives his hack to the jolly Senator who eats his dinners and drinks his wine—from the lady who accepts his bouquet to the prattling child who hungers for his French candies—what a jewel of a bock he could make of the good things he has heard at his thousand“ noctes ambrosianæ !” He is again domesticated at John Welcker's, in Washington City, where, during the session, he will preside like a very prince of good fellows, attending to business and pleasure at the same time. Such men are treasures in many ways. They live to make themselves and others happy. They have seen so much of the world that they have ceased to quarrel with other men's ideas. They have lost their reverence for mere names, but not their love for genuine greatness. True cosmopolites, they are every where at home. Eager to know all that is going on, they will give you in return for your news or jokes hours full of gossip and stories. They know every body if every body does not know them, and, as they are always well-bred gentlemen, they never descend to vulgarity or slang. To sit at Ward's table, to see him manage a dinner, and to hear him call out his guests, not to speak of his mastership of the cuisine, including his science in wines, is to enjoy something more than the delicacies he spreads before you. He would have made a capital companion for Sheridan or Tom Moore, and doubtless spent many a joyous night with James T.

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Brady and John T. Sullivan. I heard him relate how he helped a friend with the present Emperor of Brazil, a few days ago, and I question if ever Lever wrote a more amusing incident. Sam Ward belongs to the old school, though he is full of the progress of the new era. He looks very like the late David Paul Brown, dresses with equal care and taste, and his heart is as big as was the heart of that good man and grandiloquent orator.

“Once on a time,” many years ago, I saw Webster, Benton, John M. Clayton, James Buchanan, Judge Douglas, and William R. King at dinner. I was a sort of David Copperfield among them-a minnow among Tritons. But I never shall forget their conversation and their humor. Buchanan was a capital host. He did not tell a good story, but he enjoyed one; and when Webster was roused he kept a table in a roar. And “ Colonel King," as they used to call the bachelor Senator from Alabama, was amusing in his dry way. Douglas was almost unrivaled. His repartee was a flash, and his courtesy as knightly as if he had been born in the best society. But none of them could surpass Sam Ward either in giving a good dinner or in seasoning it with Attic wit and Chesterfieldian politeness.

Rough John C. Rives, of The Globe, was a different character. His anecdotes always had a special flavor, and never a sting. One day, when Douglas and a few of us were standing in the Hole in the Wall," a celebrated resort for Senators and members, Rives came in and joined us. It was in 1854, just after Douglas had introduced his bill to repeal the Missouri Compromise Line. Rives, like his partner, Francis P. Blair, was opposed to it, and made no hesitation in saying so. Douglas twitted him about getting out of the party lines, and tried to convince him that his measure was right. “I don't like it, Douglas, and never can like it. It is uncalled for. It reminds me of the fellow who, having gone pretty nearly through all the follies of life, took it into his head to hire a bully to do his fighting. He made a contract with the stoutest bruiser he could find, and they started on their journey down the Mississippi. At every landing the quarrel was picked by the one and the battle fought by the other. It was tough work sometimes, but rather enjoyable. At last they reached New Orleans. On the levee they found a stout, brawny stevedore, and, after some chaffing, a row was started, and the two began to pummel each other. They were well matched, but, aided by his experience, the bully beat the stevedore. “I say, boss,' said his fighting man, 'I give up this job; you is too much for me!

I don't see any reason in that ere last fight.'Of course, the laugh was against Judge Douglas, and none relished the hit more than himself.

But perhaps nobody at a dinner-table of the present day is so welcome as James W. Nye, Senator from Nevada. I wish I could congratulate him upon his certain re-election, though Mr. Jones, who will probably succeed him, is himself a character, and will make his mark. Governor Nye will always be a noted personage. His memory is prodigious, his wit electric. A face of singular fascination and a manner debonair, in his Senatorial seat he recalls the best ideals of the past. Social, genial, generous, he takes possession of a dinner-table at once. His magnetism seems to pervade the whole company, and when he tells a story, always relating to some incident familiar to the guests, and illustrated by quaint expressions, with a bright eye and musical voice, the gravest must bow to his irresistible influence. He dines with Sam Ward frequently, when it will be worth much to be present.

[December 8, 1872]

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DEATH is busy among the brave and the gifted. William Prescott Smith, George Gordon Meade, Horace Greeley, have been called in the prime of life and usefulness. They faded suddenly from the ranks of men; and nothing remains save the

! memory of the exquisite humor and kindness of the one, the modest courage of the other, the various resources and ceaseless benevolence of the last. But none of the many that have been summoned will live so long in our hearts, not even William H. Seward, the venerable sage who led the way full of honors and of years, as the silver-haired philosopher of the New York Tribune. The incidents preceding his death, the manner of it, and the rare events that followed and crowned it, will supply material fifty years hence for a most touching drama. In one respect the tributes to his memory must always be unequaled. I mean the literary laurels laid upon his grave by his associates of the press. The eulogies upon Washington and Lincoln were more numerous, perhaps, but they were not so original, and certainly not more sincere. Differing from the worship of Lincoln, martyr as he was, what was said of Greeley came as warm from the impulses of his enemies as from the impulses of his friends. To employ Mr. Sumner's splendid figure: “Parties are always for the living; and now, standing at the open grave of Horace Greeley, we are admonished to forget the strife of party, and to remember only truth, country, and mankind, to which his honest life was devoted. In other days the horse and armor of the departed chieftain have been buried in the grave where he reposed. So, too, may we bury the animosities if not the badges of the past. Then, indeed, will there be victory for the dead which all will share.” Every journalist who has written, and all have written, has, with some unforgotten exceptions, poured his warmest affections into the sobbing hearts of a sympathizing

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