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The reflector. (Milledgeville, Ga.) 1817-1819, April 28, 1818, Image 1

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THE REFLECTOR. )L. I. MILLEDGEVILLE, G. TUESDAY, Al’lIlL 28, 1818. NO. 25. BIOGRAPHY. MR. MONROE. ct from “ Letters from Washington on the eotwti- -n, laws and public characters of the United States, Foreigner”—published in the National Register.] ad yesterday tite honor of an introdur- to Mr. Monroe, the. present chief niagis- of the United States. “ It is seldom, Dr. Johnson, that we find men or plac ed as we expect to find them,” ami I confess that in the present instance, the of this observation has been realized. I tl Mr. Monroe alittle different from what ancy had presented him, but neither a Lil- tian nor a Pnatgoniau—He appears to be cen fifty and sixty years of age, with a above the middle size, compart, inns- r, and indicating a constitution of consi-1 any s the silence and peace of obscurity, than the bustle, confusion and glare of public assem blies, but to preserve the custom established by her predecessor, a lady, it id said, of great elegance of manners and dignity of deport ment, she gives what we call conservationi but what is here termed drawing rooms, for the pai'posc of gratifying the wishes and cu riosity of such strangers as may please to vi sit her and the president. These conserva tion! are conducted on principles of repub lican simplicity, and are widely different from the magnificence and splendor of the English levees. They appear to me, howe ver, very unpleasant, The rooms are crowded, the hum of voices so loud, and the motion of the company so constant, that th possibdit' of continuing a conversation on b;.. . is wholly precluded, and you ble. hardiness and vigor ; his countenance t ce obliged to move with the company, by ibits lineaments.of great severity, and •s as if it had been seldom irradiated by rays of joy, or softened by the touch * *f ibility ; he does smile, however, but not Shakes pear’s Cassius, «•“ in such a sort, ‘ s if he mocked himself and scorned his spirit hat could be moved to smile at any thing.” So moments, there is a benignity and ity in him, that invito confidence and * suspicion. He. is rather awkward in jldress for a man who has mingled sc in polite society, and his manners and li incuts are more those of a plain coun- cntleraan, than an arcoinplishad states- and a profound politician. Awkward- of manners, however, seems to be more mon among the Americans, than I had ceived. Their most eminent men are, 1 k, deficient in that ease, elegance and ce, which distinguish the. prominent poli- l characters of France and England.— e nature of their government has a ten- ncy to beget this, by preventing those sa tires to the graces, which are made in the rc refined and polisluod nations of Europe, e importance and magnitude of their pnr- ■(s, and their general association with at we call the lower ranks of society. pre- ; de the acquisition of those exterior em- lislnnents so industriously cultivated by r countrymen. A discipline of Chcstcr- ld, with all his refinement and fascination, uld he regarded in this country as a mere etemaitre, calculated only to charm the and fascinate the heart of female ignor- But 1 have wandered from my sub- Mr. Monroe is attached to what was ,e denominated the republican party ; for present all party distinction seems to be t and the parties thcmselve wholly amalga- ted. In his political career, he lias mani- ted the most unimpeachable and unbend- integrity, and though long hofore the blic, has never failed to meet the experta- ns and to gratify the. wishes of the people, at he possesses ambition, will not be de- d ; but his ambition is limited to tiie at - ment of excellence and distinction within bounds of patriotism and honor. If lie not the unbending sternness of a Cato, has the more pleasing and benignant inte- ty of Fabricius. Mr. Monroe entered *y into public life, and has performed the ious duties of a soldier, a politician and tatesman. His mind has been accustom- to dwell on the nature of governments and revolutions of Europe ; subjects so vast duce a correspondent enlargement of in ert, and sweep of comprehension. The d which is occupied in trilles will not he to amaze by its greatness, or astonish by magnificeneof; it may glitter, but will nc- blaze. The peculiar character and mag- de of Mr Monroe's pursuits have witli- his attention from the minor and less ortant subjects of literature, and he is y far from what we should call a man of ding or general science. The knowledge ossesses has been acquired more by per- al observation, laborious reflection, and uent conversation, than by repealed pr- 1 of books, to which his occupations Id not permit him to devote, his time, but as examined and re-examined that know- e till it has in fact become his mvn ; re ted by combination, established by prac- and tested by experience. It is said, his d is neither rich nor brilliant, but capable he most laborious analysis, and the most ent research—not hasty in its decisions, not easily changed when its decisions aro ed. Judgement appears to be his prn- ent intellectual feature, and in the exam- ! on of any object, he seldom suffers it to arkened by prejudice or warped by pas- This brief sketch, my lord, will satis- ou I presume, that no man could be cho- better calculated to fill the important 2nhe holds under this government, and no man could be more cordially and sin- y disposed to further the interest and to ote the prosperity and happiness of his try. Mrs. Monroe, to whom I was al Produced, is a lady of retired and do- ’c habits—not elegant, but apparently amiable. She receives company hut re- no visits—she seems more attached to whom you are jostled every instant, without the powi r of enjoying the “ feast of reason,” or even the pleasure of sense. Mr. Monroe has never been blessed with male issii”, and what is remarkable, out of the five pi ’shields who have served since the c.rganizati a of this government, hut one has had sons. I mention this merely as a curious circumstance. Mr. J. Q. Adams, tin present se rotary of state, is l believe tin only son of the second president of the Unit ed States, and is, you know, a man of great talent, information and industry. Mr. Mon roe, since his elevation to the president ir., chair, is said to haw discovered much saga city in the selection of his cabinet counsel or executive officers. These arc the secreta ries of state, war, treasury navy and attor ney general, who with one exception, pos sess the rare gifts of nature in no ordinary degree ; and who have already rendered themselves conspicuous in the walks of lite rature, the fields of eloquence, and on the theatre of poiiiirs. You will understand that 1 do not mean to include in these remarks the secretary of the navy, (the exception I have mentioned) with whom 1 have no ac quaintance, and with whom, from whin cause I am unable to say, the American pub- lii seem to be a little dissatisfied. Mr. Craw ford, secretary of the treasury, is the same gentleman, to whom you were introduced at l’ iris, and though he possesses great dignity, wants the graceful elegance of manners of which I h ave previously spoken. What lie was thought of in Franco 1 ci»not inform you ; hut it is impossible he could have suc ceeded amidst the polite and splendid frippe ry of the Parisian circles—the courtly non sense, and graceful and elegant nonchalance of a French politician, must have been strik ingly and ludicrously contrasted by the re publican simplicity and awkward movements of the American minister. Mr. Crawford has risen from obscurity to the station he now holds, by the force of native genius ; he was employed in his early life in an occupa tion which is now unfortunatvly too much de graded, but which ought to be more highly es teemed—i mean that of “ teaching the young idea howto shoot.” His next career was at the bar, at which he acquired both emolu ment and reputation. The excellence of his understanding and the superiority of his in tellect soon brought him into public life, where lie displayed to advantage those pow ers with which nature had gifted him—be became ambassador to France, and during bis absence, was appointed secretary of war, and afterwards minister of finance. In all of these various stations lie has never failed to discover the same powers and energies of mind ; he has literally the mens Sana in cor- poro sano, and the vigorous and athletic ap pearance of his body serves as an unerring index to the power and energy of his intel lect. It is invidious to make comparisons ; but it is by comparisons we are often enabled to arrive at truth. I will therefore endeavor to draw a parallel between the gentlemen of whom I have been speaking. Mr. Monroe and Mr. Crawford, are alike distinguished by integrity &. understanding ; but the lat ter has more quickness, anil the former a greater range of mind. In the specimens of parliamentary eloquence, which arc pre served here only in the ephemeral and fugi tive columns of newspapers,and which I have take the trouble to examine for my own musement, Mr. Crawford evinces some vig or of imagination, and occasionally some brilliancy of thought—Mr. Monroe has ver wished to excel in the flowery partarre of fancy—his compositions display only the soundness of his mind, and the excellence of his sense, without any of the frippery and festooning of rhetoric, or the meretricious and extrinsic drapery of imagination—Mr. Monroe has more practical knowledge, but is less prompt in his decisions. Mr. Craw ford has greater powers of invention, but is less skilful in combination—Mr. Monroe has had more experience, but Mr. Craw ford, from his superior quickness of com prehension, has treasured up as many re sults, ami acquired as many facts—Mr. Monroe’s knowledge of mankind is more correct and more practical; but he wanks Mr. Crawford’s energy to render it exten sively useful. In political shrewdness, mo ral integrity, and intellectual acquirements, they are supposed to he nearly equal. With this brief parallel, 1 shall dismiss these gen tlemen, and , proceed at your desire, to sketch the portrait of the secretary of war, and the Attorney General. Mr. Calhoun is a young man, of about thirty years of nge —his form is above the middle size, but mea gre, bony and slender—his face wants beau ty, but his eyes possess all the brilliancy and lire of genius. He is a native of the south, and lias been educated for the bar. It is not my intention to enter into any abstract speculations, on the influence of climate up on the human intellect. On this subject much ingenuity and learning have been wasted, .mil the visionary theories of Bulfon, Ray- nal. See. have been laid aside as the lumber of the schools, or tiie idle sportings of fancy ; hut it has always appeared to me that some climates arc more propitious to genius, and 'lie rapid developcnient of the intellectual powers than others. The soft and voluptu ous climate of Jonia, for exa nplc, is better adapted to nourish and expand the genius ot man, than the inclement “ thick Boctian air” of nothern latitudes. Be this however, as it may ; whether Mr. Calhoun be indebt ed to climate, to nature, or to circumstances for the powers he possesses, he is unquestion ably an extraordinary youug man. Hestart- d up, on the theatre of legislation, a politi- i al Roscius, and astonished the veterans a- round him, by the force, of his mind and the singulaiity and rcsistlessness of his elo quence. He has the ingenuity without the sophistry of Godwin, to whose mind his bears it striking analogy. On all subjects whether abstract or common, whether political or moral, he thinks with a rapidity that no dif ficulties can resist, and with a novelty that never fails to delight. Ho has tbe brilliancy w ithout the ornament of Burke, the correct ness without the literature of Fox, With an invention, which never abandons him, and wli ose fertility astonishes, he seems to loath the parade of rhetoric and the glitter and decorations of art—bis style of eloquence is peculiar and extraordinary— without any apparent pageantry of imagination, or any of the flowers of language, he seizes on the mind, which like the unfortunate bird under the influence of fascination becomes passive and obedient to the power it neither can nor wishes to resist. In the « tempest and whirl wind” of his eloquence, his argumentation is so rapid, his thoughts are so novel, and iiis conclusions so unexpected, yet correct, that you Can neither anticipate nur think—the at tention is rivetted, and the mind occupied a- lone with the subject which lie is handling, and it is not until the fascination of his man ner has subsided that you fool inclined to rea son or become capable of detecting hrs er rors—even then bis witchery lingers on the imagination, and casts a veil over the judge ment which it cannot remove, and which, in opposition to the strongest efforts, obscures its perceptions and weakens its energies. 1 have heard gentlemen, who were associated with him, declare, that when lie spoke, they were for some time after lie had closed, una ble to remove the spell by which they were bound, and that, by condensing almost to ob scurity, they could not answer the whole of his numerous arguments and ingenious de ductions, without occup) ing too much of the time of the house. And yet, wliat is very singular, he has never been known to at tempt but one rhetorical flourish, and in that he unfortunately failed. His oratorical sty le lias none of the embellishments of art, or the witcheries of fancy, but is almost to dry ness, plain, unadorned and concise. With all the excellencies I have mentioned, howev er, Mr. Calhoun has some great faults—« il n’ appartient,” says the duke de la Rochcfo- cault, “ qu’aux grands hommes d’avoir des rands defauts.” He wants consistency and perseverance of mind, and is incapable of long and patient investigation—what he does not see at the first examination, he takes no pains to search for; but still the lightning glance of his mind seldom fails to furnish him with all that may he necessary for his immediate purposes. In his legislative career, which though short, was uncommon ly luminous ; he sometimes advocated a mea sure w hich he afterwards abandoned, and of ten opposed a question which ho afterwards supported. His decisions were in many ca ses, marked with a precipitation and haste, inconsistent with the character of an able statesman, and though he sometimes could satisfy his coadjutors, he but seldom was su successful as to satisfy himself—His love of novelty, and bis solicitude to astonish were so great, (hat he has often been known to go beyond even tin; wildest dreams of acknow ledged political visionaries, and to propose schemes that were wholly impracticable, and that he seemed to offer merely for the pur pose of displaying the exuberance of his mind, and the extent of his integrity. Youth and the necessary want of experience, may be pled as an apology for his eccentricities of intellect, his apparent aberrations, ami his occasional perversion of talent. The wisdom of age, and a more correct and ex tensive acquaintance with men and things, will doubtless allay the ardor of bis mind, anil lessen the impetuosity of his passions. Like our eccentric countryman, Darwin, be is capable of broaching new theories, but wants the perseverance, depth of thought, and patience of judgoinent, necessary to bring them to maturity, or to render them useful. Such men are often both very ser viceable and vcry\ injurious to society. In such a body as the congress of the Un.ictl Statos, where the concentrated wisdom of the nation is assembled, such a man’s sphere of usefulness cannot be ascertained or de fined. Amidst the variety of schemes, his ingenuity suggests, and his ambition urges him to propose, many will no doubt be found to be practicable ; and though he cannot himself mature them, the mass of mind by which he is surrounded, anil on which he blazes, will reduce them to shape, and give to his “ airy nothings a local habitation and a name.” In short, Mr. Calhoun is one of those beings whom you can only trace like the comet by the, light, which he casts upon his path. But the situation to which lie has recently been elevated, has, I fear, abridged his sphere of usefulness, and as Secretary of War, Mr. Calhoun, who occupied every tongue during the sessions of th >• national legislature, may dwindle into obscurity, but will never be forgotten. TOPOGR APHIC AL. WESTERN COUNTRY. Extract of a letter from a gentleman who sometime since emigrated to the western country, dated at St. Charles, near St. Louis in the Missouri territory. I have finally concluded to fix my family here. In point of healthiness, beauty of coun try, and fineness of land, I have seen no place that I like so well. This village is sit uated by the Rivers forty miles from the town of St. Louis, and about twenty miles up the Missouri, which is navigable inure than three thousand miles above this. The land about this town is the most delightful that can be imagined. Great part of it. is a kind of land of which the people in New- England have no idea ; an open, level plain of the richest possible soil, 40 feet deep, per fectly free from bushes, and covered with grass higher than nty head. On these fields the people got 80buslielsof corn, 30 of wheat, 2000 lbs, of tobacco, and tbe same q nuitiiy of imps to the, acre, with no manure, and very little cultivation. Where they have or chards, they raise most beautiful fruit i ima ginable. Plumbs and hops grow wild in great abundance. As thousands of acres of the. finest pasture lies open, every one keeps as many cows and horses as lie chooses, and cuts any quantity of hay for them, where he pleases. And yet butter and cheese arc higher here than in New-En- gland. This arises from the extreme lazi ness of the people, and from not one in a hundred knowing how to make cheese. Me- elranics get from 2 50 to 3 dollars a day.— Land may now be had from 2 25 to 3 dollars the acre—hut as emigrants are flowing in Ire hundreds it will shortly rise in value. We are here near the mouth of the Missouri, anil the Illinois, and only four miles from the Mississippi. Goods are conveyed from here, to Ncw-Orleans cheaper, than 59 miles back in the country to Boston. Wild game is a- bundant; I seldom go out without seeing a tfetr—and in a ride last Monday lam confi dent I saw 500 wild turkeys. And yet Ihe. land is great part of it open, and looks like old field.—The country is as heaithy, l think as in New-Engiand and I am inclined to think it more so for feeble people. I never have hud my health better. The summers here are very hot-, but the air is dry anil healthy. The winters are short and mode rate. 1 am about tyring to build me a brick house in the Village—but if I am able, I mean in the spring to have a log house anil a farm on the beautiful prarie near this town in view of the Missouri, Illinois and the Mis sissippi. The soil is the richest anil the pros pect the most delightful of any place I have ever seen. I languish indeed for the society of my friends ; hut if we are to see each o- ther’s faces no more in this world, let us so live, that we may have some grounds to in dulge tlm hope that we may meet in heaven. Fort Folio. Marietta, —** I find this to be a poor, muddy hole ; the mud here is more disagree able than the snow in Massachusetts. It is the most broken country that I ever saw. Lean pork is 12 cents per pound ; salt at 4 cents per lb; poor dry fish 20 cents per lb. rum 25 cents a gill; sugar 37 cents per lb. molasses, none ; iron 12 1-2 cents per lb. There has been lately a great freshet in Ma rietta, they hail to drive the cattle back to the hills, and to paddle all through town in to their houses.—Ibid\