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SOMBRE manners do not always prove the statesman. The greatest men ever knew were plain of speech and plain of dress. Even those who could not tell a good story relished one from others. The clearest logician in the days of Jackson and Van Buren was Silas Wright, who was strangely modest and unobtrusive. Henry Clay, haughty and imperious as he often was, delighted in anecdote. The unequaled Webster was too wise and sensible not to enjoy humor. John C. Calhoun was almost child-like in his ways. William Wirt was ambitious, and literally reveled in the flowers of literature. John Quincy Adams was too thorough a master of diplomacy not to know the value of wit. No man now living, either at home or abroad, more keenly enjoys music, painting, and poetry, and talks better about them, than Charles Sumner. His tastes are refined, his hospitalities generous, and his plate, pictures, and engravings rare; and he could pronounce as learned a discourse upon art as upon politics. There are not many wits in Congress at the present day. If you exclude Nye, of Nevada, in the Senate, and Proctor Knott, of Kentucky, in the House, you will perhaps sigh for such old-time men as James Thompson, of Pennsylvania, and "Jack" Ogle, of the same State; Mike Walsh, of New York; Felix Grundy McConnell, of Alabama; William H. Polk, of Tennessee, and Sergeant S. Prentiss, of Mississippi. All these are dead but Thompson, who now presides over the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, enjoying the confidence of men of all parties. It used to be a saying that the laugh of James Thompson, of Pennsylvania, was the most infectious laugh in the House. He could not sing, but he was a capital story-teller; and to-day, when he unbends his judicial dignity, he can bring back the men of the past more vividly than any other man I know. I recollect well the pleasant evenings I
spent while he was a member of Congress, with winning, magnetic Jack Ogle, from my native State. How rapidly, between the stories of the one and the songs of the other, time passed away! Ogle had two favorites, one the famous poem entitled “ Jeannette and Jeannot,” which ought to have been often sung during the recent war between France and Germany. I shall never forget the effect produced by his exceedingly handsome face, ringing voice, and flashing eye, as he rolled forth these simple stanzas. They deserve to be repeated in every household in the civilized world in this era of approaching peace and fraternization. Excuse me for reviving them :
“JEANNETTE AND JEANNOT. “You are going far away, far away from poor JeannetteThere is no one left to love me now; and you, too, may forget; But my heart it will be with you, wherever you may go, Can you look me in the face and say the same to me, Jeannot ? When you wear the jacket red and the beautiful cockade, Oh! I fear that you'll forget all the promises you've made. With your gun upon your shoulder, and your bayonet by your side, You'll be taking some proud lady, and be making her your bride.
You'll be taking, etc. "Or when glory leads the way, you'll be madly rushing on, Never thinking if they kill you that my happiness is gone. Or if you win the day perhaps a general you'll be ; Though I am proud to think of that, love, what will become of me? Oh! if I were Queen of France, or still better, Pope of Rome, I'd have no fighting men abroad, no weeping maids at home : All the world should be at peace, or, if kings must show their might, Why let those who make the quarrels be the only men to fight.
Yes, let those, etc.”
The other was a piece of domestic poetry, known as the “ Arkansas Traveler." This would have been a monotonous recitation if it had not been relieved by a violin accompaniment, which made it irresistibly comic. It was no doubt borrowed from the extreme South, whence it derived its name, yet it was always a favorite among the Scotch-Irish of Western
WORK WITHOUT PLAY.
Pennsylvania, and is doubtless to this day recited along the Juniata, the West Branch, and in Lancaster and Chester counties, in fact, wherever the Irish Presbyterian element is to be found. Ogle had caught the idea and utilized it in his Congressional campaigns, and it was really a treat to see him, drawn up to his full height, playing the air on the violin, and then asking humorous questions, as follows:
“Stranger, how far is it to the next tavern?” “About a mile," was the reply. Then again, resuming his
" bow, would play the monotonous chorus, and continue the dialogue :
Stranger, can you give us the other part of that tune?”
Oh, yes," and repeat precisely the same strain, in addition to the printed words of the song.
Ogle, during his performance, would introduce every person present and every joke in his recollection, and would thus run through an interminable length, tiring nobody except the chief actor himself, who would finally drop his instrument out of sheer exhaustion.
So true it is that work without amusement is a sure preparation for death; that the brain, like the body, must have rest, and that when either is overworked, it is like the taper that goes out for want of oil. There is no sight more painful than the incessant occupation of public men, whether statesmen, scholars, editors, railroad officers, divines, or mechanics, who, misled by the fatal idea that labor may be pursued without pause or repose, discard all relaxation, and end either in sudden death, or, what is worse, premature decay. There is no class of what may be called public men who live a longer average life than the actors, and why? Because, however hard they may work, they alternate work with pleasure. In fact, their work itself is pleasure. The philosophy of it consists, perhaps, in the romance of their profession, that while they are personating nature and depicting art, they are separated from
the hard realism of the outer world; but whatever it may be, we are taught one lesson—that no man can enjoy real happiness without occasional recreation and freedom from care.
Abraham Lincoln was a character by himself, incomparable and unique. He was among the saddest of humanity, and yet his sense of the ridiculous was so keen that it bore him
from difficulties that would have broken down almost
other man. That he gave way to uncontrollable fits of grief in the dark hours of the war is a fact beyond question-that sometimes his countenance was clouded with sorrow, all who met him know; and yet he could, so to speak, lift himself out of his troubles, and enjoy his own repartees and the good things of others. Nothing gave me more pleasure in my frequent visits to him, as Secretary of the Senate and editor of The Chronicle, than to take with me men who would tell original stories in an original way; for I felt that if I could lighten his cares and brighten his gloom I would be conferring a real favor, and I never was half so welcome as when in such company. The old quirks and quips of the clown in the circus, the broad innuendoes of the low comedian, the quiet sallies of the higher walks of the drama, interested him more than the heavy cadences and profound philosophy of tragedy. Had his life not been extinguished by the assassin, his rare love of his kind, his perfect disinterestedness, his uncouth, yet entirely natural simplicity of character, and his absolute idolatry of every thing that was happy in nature and in man, would, I believe, have prolonged his life far beyond the Psalmist's age.
[May 21, 1871.]
No Pennsylvania statesman is more kindly remembered than William Wilkins, who was born at Carlisle, Pa., December 20, 1779, and died at Homewood, near Pittsburgh, June 23, 1865, in the 86th year of his age. His career may be said to have been unusually fortunate and distinguished; and when called away he was sincerely mourned by a community in which he had lived a long period, and taken an active part in public affairs. A Senator in Congress from 1831 to 1834, successor to James Buchanan at the Court of St. Petersburg, Representative in Congress from 1843 to 1844, Secretary of War under John Tyler from 1844 to 1845, member of the State Senate in 1857, and intermediately a successful practitioner of the law and judge in the higher courts of his district, he filled all these diversified stations with signal dignity and tact. His family was closely identified with the Government in its political, judicial, military, and naval service-many of his connections to this day holding high and responsible positions. Reared to the habits and manners of good society, and well educated, he was one of the most agreeable of men; and yet, while mingling much in fashionable life, he had confessedly few of its vices. I have seen him many an evening, when jollity, wit, and humor ruled the hour, yet he never touched a glass of wine, and was the chief attraction, by his endless flow of spirits and his peculiar magnetic amiability. When I was the Democratic candidate for United States Senator, in 1857, before the Legislature of Pennsylvania, of which Mr. Wilkins was a member, I felt that we should have exchanged places, and that the post for which I was selected ought to have been tendered to him, and called upon him to make the suggestion. His answer was characteristic: "Ah, my young friend, I have seen the elephant, and it is quite time that you should have an opportunity of