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pitality, wealth, wit, and all social graces : when genius threw its spell over the public assemblages and illumined the halls of justice, and when beauty brightened the social hour with her unmatched and matchless brilliancy.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON STEPHENS.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON STEPHENS was born near Crawfordville, Georgia, and received an early and excellent education in his father's private school and at the University of Georgia. The cost of his tuition here was advanced by some friends, and he repaid it as soon as he began to earn money. He taught for a year in the family of Dr. Le Conte, father of the distinguished scientists, John and Joseph Le Conte, now of the University of California.
He pursued his law studies alone and passed an unusually brilliant examination. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1836, and to Congress in 1843, where he served until 1858. He then retired to country life at his home, “Lib
But in 1861 he was elected Vice-President of the Confederate States. After the war he was made prisoner and confined for some months at Fort Warren near Boston. He spent several years in literary work and established a newspaper at Atlanta, called the “Sun.”
He was of small stature and delicate health, and met with one or two severe accidents. His career is a wonderful illustration of the power of the mind over the body. An amusing incident is told of him in regard to his size. He was attending a political convention in Charleston as one of the chief delegates; and one evening, with several other prominent men, he was on the porch of the hotel lying on a
bench, talking with his companions who were standing about him. The hotel-keeper coming out saw the gentlemen standing, and bustling up, said, “Get up, my son, and let these gentlemen be seated.” Mr. Stephens at once arose and his friends burst out laughing; they explained the situation to the hotel-keeper who was profuse in his apologies.
An instance of his remarkable bravery is the affair with Judge Cone. This gentleman considered himself insulted by a remark of Mr. Stephens and demanded a retraction. After accepting an explanation, he still insisted on a retraction, and Mr. Stephens refused to make it. Judge Cone, a tall and powerful man, then drew a knife on him and holding him down on the floor, cried out, “Retract, or I'll cut you to pieces." “Never!” answered Stephens, “cut!” and caught the descending knife in his right hand. Friends interposed ; Judge Cone apologized, and they afterwards became reconciled.
Mr. Stephens was elected to the United States Senate, 1874 and 1876: he was governor of Georgia when he died. See his Life by R. M. Johnston and W. H. Browne.
War between the States.
History of the United States.
LAWS OF GOVERNMENT.
(From History of the United States.*) The chief end of all States, or the " Esprit des Lois,” as Montesquieu maintains, should be the security to each member of the community of all “ those absolute rights which are vested in them by the immutable laws of nature.” * By permission of the National Publishing Co., Philadelphia.
Many writers maintain that the individuals upon entering into society, give up or surrender a portion of their natural rights. This seems to be a manifest error. No person has any natural right whatever to hurt or injure another. The object of society and government is to prevent and redress injuries of this sort; for, in a state of nature, without a restraining power of government, the strong would viciously impose upon the weak.
Another erroneous dogma pretty generally taught is, that the object of governments should be to confer the greatest benefit
upon the greatest number of its constituent members. The true doctrine is, the object should be to confer the greatest possible good upon every member, without any detriment or injury to a single one.
SKETCH IN THE SENATE, FEB. 5, 1850.
(From Johnston and Browne's Life of Stephens.*) Millard Fillmore, occupying the conspicuous seat erected for the second officer of the Government. His countenance is open and bland, his chest full. His eye is bright, blue, and intelligent; his hair thick and slightly gray. His personal appearance is striking; and no one can look at him without feeling conscious that he is a man far above the average. On his right, near the aisle leading to the front door, sits Cass with hands folded in his lap
; his sleepy-looking eyes occasionally glancing at the galleries, and then at the crowd pressing in below. Benton sits in his well-known place, leaning back in his chair, and giving all who desire it a full view of his person. One vacant seat is seen not far off on the same side of the House. A vacant seat in such a crowd excites the attention of all. “Whose seat is that?” goes in whispers around. *By permission of authors, and publishers, J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia.
“It's Calhoun's—not well enough to be out yet.”—“ Who is that sitting by Cass?” says one.—“That is Buchanan,come all the way from home to hear Clay.”—“ What thinvisaged man is that standing over yonder and constantly moving?"
“ That is Ritchie of the Union.”“Who is that walking down the aisle with that uncouth coat and all that hair about his chin? Did you ever see such a swaggerer? He can't be a Senator.”_" That is Sam Houston.”—“But where is Webster? I don't see him.”. “He is in the Supreme Court, where he has a case to argue to-day.”--See Corwin, and Badger, and Berrien, and Dawson, all near Clay; all of them quiet while Clay pursues his writing. On the opposite side, Butler, and Foote, and Clemens, and Douglas.
After the carriage of the motion of Mr. Mangu.mn to proceed to the consideration of the order of the day, Mr. Clay folds his papers and puts them in his desk, and after the business is announced, rises gracefully and majestically. Instantaneously there is general applause, which Mr. Clay seems not to notice. The noise within is heard without, and the great crowd raised such a shout that Mr. Clay had to pause until the officers went out and cleared all the entrances, and then he began. He spoke on that day two hours and fifteen minutes. The speech was reported in the Globe word for word as he uttered it.
I never saw such a report before. His voice was good, his enunciation clear and distinct, his action firm, his strength far surpassing my expectation. He had the riveted gaze of the multitude the whole time. When he concluded, an immense throng of friends, both men and women came up to congratulate and to kiss him.
March 31st.—The Angel of Death has just passed by, and his shadow is seen lingering upon the startled countenances of all. A great man has just fallen,-Calhoun ! His