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R03:i:rt l. pai'jiish 









AtAhoT of ^*The American Crisis, or pages from the Note^book of a State" 
agent during the Civil War ;" " Over the Alleghanies, and across the 
Prairies;^* ^^ The Adventures of my Qrandfaiher,^^ etc^etcy etc. 

*'Zvtt^ man ba« ft Wstorg vmrfh taJixwIuuf." 









PriBted by Fbeoebick ClabkE; 

States Arcade. 



His birth and early education — Statmton in 1805 — ^The 
Chancery Court — Legal men of that day — Memorable ana — ^War 
of 1 8 12- 1 5 — He wishes to join the army and follows volunteers — 
His mother's death and character — ^Jefferson's rules of health, 
etc. — ^The Staunton academy — His course there . . , i 


Princeton University — His rapid progress in this place — 
Combat with Thomas Van Bibber — Celsus on the preservation of 
health — ^Whig , society — He wooes the muses — His manly 
conduct 16 


Life at Montgomery Hall — His love affair discovered — 
Colonel Stuarf s memoir — Staunton founded by John Lewis — 
Superstition of the early inhabitants — ^Judge Allan Taylor — ^The 
Old Stone house — Life in Virginia before the introduction of 
railways— Changes wrought by time 27 

iv. Contents. 


He enters Yale College — His career there — Influence on his 
opinions by reason of a residence in the north — Dr. Sims' opinion 
of his character — He studies law — His travels and adventures — 
Singular incident of life in Florida — His want of ambition — 
Singular scene at Huntersville, where he bums his clients 
bonds — His love of nature 43 


His life on returning from Yale — Amusing occurrence at 
General Jackson's dinner table — ^Jackson's dogma *' to the victors 
belong the spoils " and its corrupting effects — ^John H. Peyton's 
speech against a horse-thief, and William Peyton's singular 
defence of the accused — Sketch of Chapman Johnson junior — 
His advice to a young man whose marriage is opposed . 61 


Leaves the Hot Springs and settles in Roanoke — Society 
there — His home and life in that place — ^He is elected to the 
Legislature ; nominates W. C. Rives for the U. S. Senate — 
He writes an address on the subject to the people of Virginia — 
Text of the address 85 


He is re-elected to the Legislature — General aspect of the State 
of Virginia — Physical divisions and the political divisions created 
thereby — Opposition of Eastern Virginia to internal improve- 
ments, a system advocated by the western coxmties — His speech 
ip favour of a general system 129 

Contents. v. 


The author's first visit to his brother in Roanoke — Primitive 
style of travelling in Virginia — His valet Ned Phipps — Scenery 
on the route — William Peyton's domestic life — Kind treatment 
of his slaves, etc. — Colonel William L. Lewis and his discussions 
on religion and politics with John H. Peyton — A catholic church 
established in Monroe, etc i66 


History of the public lands of the United States — How 
augmented by the purchase of Louisiana and Florida, and the 
English defeat of the French Canadians — Colonel Peyton's speech 
in reply to General Bayly, and advocating a distribution among 
the States of the money arising from their sale . . i86 


Popular education and free schools in Virginia strongly urged 
by Colonel Peyton — His views on the subject of education and 
the bad effects of ignorance in ancient and modem times — Mr. 
Jefferson's plan for educating the masses — A man up to the 
times 200 


He is defeated in the next election and retires from public 
life — Course of Thomas Ritchie and Bowyer Miller — It is not the 
most deserving who are elected by the people — ^Trickery and 
demagoguism often controlling the polls — His eloquent resolu- 
tions in favour of Henry Clay's election to the Presidency — His 
life on his estate — He discovers channel coal and some of its 
properties — Foundation of the town of *'Peytona" . 209 

vi. Contents. 


Signs of a revolution in the U. S. — ^The Presidential election 
of i860— Lincoln elected — S. C. secedes — ^The president calls 
out 75000 men— Virginia secedes and the war begins — Colonel 
Peyton's eloquent letter to Mr. Rives . . . . 235 


Colonel Peyton under surveillance in New York — Lives with 
his old friend Dr. Sims — He writes a second letter to W. C. 
Rives in which he announces the new position in which southern 
men have been placed by the course of the President — He 
advises Virginia to take an attitude of armed neutrality — His 
analytical review of Mr. Lincoln's policy. . . . 277 


His escape from New York and arrival in Canada — Journey 
thence to the north-west and south through Ohio, Indiana and 
Kentucky — Political situation in Kentucky and Tennessee — ^Battle 
of Millmount and death of General Zollicoffer and Captain 
Balie Peyton, junior — His gallant conduct on the field of 
battle— His fathers sword in the Capital of Minesota — Colonel 
Peyton reaches his home in Virginia and gives his property and 
employs his pen in the Confederare cause .... 290 


His death — The hope derived from the demise of such a 
man .......... 301 

Contents, vii. 



Abridged pedigree of the Peyton family . . . 310 

Isleham Hall — Priory and Church in 1870 . . 337 


Memoranda of the Preston family 355 

Abridged pedigree of the Lewis family .... 375 

Extract from pedigree of the Washingtons . . . 380 






The pithy remark of Taylor, in Philip Van Artevelde, 
that the ** world knows nothing of its greatest men/' is 
so universally accepted in the present day, as to have 
passed into an axiom. And never has its force and 
beauty been more impressed upon my mind than when 
contemplating the life and character of the subject of 
this sketch. Of him it may be said that he was a great 
man in all that constitutes true greatness. A man of 
comprehensive ideas, deep sympathies and generous 
impulses, which took the form of noble deeds ; — a man 
of varied endowments, cultivated intellect, extensive 
learning, and refined tastes and affections, who wielded 
a powerful influence on tiie circle in which he moved, 
and upon all with whom he came in contact ; — a man 
always mentioned by his friends and acquaintances with 


2 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton, 

affectionate respect and as one gifted with the inspira- 
tion of genius. Yet few beyond the limits of his native 
state have heard his name or known ought of his life. 
To me the office of rescuing from unmerited obUvion 
the character of such a man is too grateful to be 
neglected. A higher motive^ however, directs my 
course than the gratification of personal feelings. His 
character was singularly instructive, and, while the life 
of a good man cannot be written without pleasure, it is 
equally true that it cannot be read without improve- 

WiUiam Madison Peyton, of Roanoke, Virginia, 
was the only child of John Howe Peyton, of Montgomery 
H^, by his first wife Susan, daughter of WiUiam 
Strother Madison ♦ and was bom September 4th, 1805, 
in Montgomery County, Virginia, where his mother was 
at the time on a chance visit. Descended from an 
ancient tioble family on the father's side,t ^^ 1^ the 
good fortune to be related by blood through his mother 
to some of America's greatest men X. At the period of 

* William Strother Madison was the nephew of the Bigrht Beverend 
James Madison, D.D., Bishop of Virginia, and cousin to the celebrated 
author of the ** Constitution," James Madison^ fourth President of the 
United States, and married Elizabeth Preston, daughter <d William 
Pr^rfcon, of Smithfield, Montgomery County, Virginia. 

t Soe Appendix A. 


X Amonff others, he was cousin to the celebrated Presbyterian 
Divine, B<H>ert J. Breckenridge, of Kentucky ; to Major-General John 
C. Breckenridge, late Vice-President of the United States ; to the stem 
patriot, John Brown, of Kentucky, a member of the Continental Congtess 
m 1787, and eightec^ ^rears United States Senator for Kentucky, after 
the Independfflioe of bis coxxatry was achieved ; to the eloquent gOYem^r 
James McDowdl, of Virginia ; to the great South Carolinian Orator, 
WiUiam Campbell Preston; to Qoieral James Patton Preston, Cbyemor 




Memmr of William Madison Peyton. 8 

his birth, our revered father, then about twenty-seven 
years of age, was a rising barrister on the Fredericks- 
burg circuit, and resided in the neighbourhood of that 
city and of his birth place *♦ Stoney Hill." Four years 
subsequently he removed to Augusta Co., which was 
erver after his home, and from which he was never long 
absent, except under the following circumstances. 

At no period since the existence of a misunderstand- 
ing and controversy between Great Britain and the 
United States, on the subject of what was styled *^ The 
Right of Search," had the excitement in America at^ 
tained the height it did in the winter of 1811-12. The 
signs of approaching war were numerous and unmis- 
takeable. The British Gbvemment claimed the right to 
impress native-bom British subjects, though they had 
become naturalized American citizens, found on Ameri- 
can national vessels as well as from merchantmen. This 
lamentable extravagance on part of the EngUsh 
Cabinet caused no small irritation in the United States, 
and it became — sooner than was imagined in Downing 
^areet— a matter of grave importance how the question 
might be disposed of peaceably. Both Presidents 
Jefferscm and Madison pointed out that to accomplish it 
by treaty the susceptibilities of the American people 
must not be offended by the slightest concession on a 
point which touched their honour. Jefferson, however— 

of Virginia ; to Hon. Francis Preston Blair, of Missouri ; to Thomas F^ 
Marshall, M.C. for Kentnokj ; to Benjamin Howard, Gk>Yemor of 
Missouri ; and to Eobert WioUiffe, M.C. for Kentncky.-~See i4>pendi3C 
B., a reprint of Orlando Brown^s*' Memoranda of the Preston family,'* 
Albany, New York, 1864. 

4 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

8uch was his desire for peace— opened negotiations with 
Great Britain on the vexata qmzstio as early as 1806« 
The negotiations failing, and a collision arising out of 
the British claim, between the United States frigate 
Chesapeak and the British frigate Leopold^ in 1807, in 
which the British were worsted, the Q-ovemment of Mr. 
Jefferson once more sought to arrive at a pacific solution 
of the dificulty, and a treaty to this end was signed by 
the representatives of the two Governments in London 
during the winter of 1807-8, Immediately thereafter 
it was transmitted to Washington, but owing to some of 
its vague features, President Jefferson signified to Con- 
gress his refusal to ratify it on the 18th of March 1608« 
Meantime, Great Britain had opened that series of 
attacks upon neutral rights known as the ''Orders in 
Council," in retaliation for which Napoleon issued his 
equally aggressive Berlin decrees of 1806-10. Jeffer- 
son determined to follow the example of the French, 
and an embargo was declared in 1807, but was shortly 
afterwards revoked. Then non-intercourse or non- 
importation acts with regard to Great Britain were 
passed by the American Congress. Indignation and 
excitement still increasing in the United States, 
President Madison was re-elected, on condition that 
he would declare war against England, and on the 
re-assembling of Congress, after this election, a new 
embargo was laid, an increase of the army voted, and 
other steps taken as preparation for war. On the 1st 
of June, President Madison sent a war message to 
Congress, and, in accordance ^th his views, war was 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 5 

declared by the United States against Great Britain on 
the 18th of June, 1812. 

The nation was much divided on this policy. By 
the opposition party, . the main strength of which was in 
the Northern and Eastern States, it was considered as a 
m^re adniinistration measure, resistance to which argued 
no want of patriotism, but quite the contrary; and so 
from the beginning to the close of hostilities the 
Federalists did all they could to stay the course on 
which they thought the Government wAs driving to 
destruction. The Hartford Convention met, and some 
of the New England States went so far as to nullify an 
Act of Congress regarding enlistments. During all this 
time the country was in great want of resources, which 
nothing but unanimity could supply. The army was 
but a handful, and the miUtia, instead of coming forward 
in large numbers, remained at home to attend party 
meetings and discuss the right of the Government to 
call them out; the supply of war material was very 
scanty, and the treasury almost empty. 
. Such was the unpromising state of affairs, when my 
father, who had voted for Mr. Madison and warmly 
supported the war policy, came fonvard and exerted 
every energy of mind and body to stir up popular 
enthusiasm in support of the war. He volujiteered at 
once into the army, to serve until peace was proclaimed, 
and was immediately appointed Chief of the Staff of 
General Robert Porterfield. Forgetting everything but 
his duty to his country, which, with the patriot is 
paramount,, he abandoned his lucrative practice, which 

6 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

more selfish men greedily sought to appropriate^ and 
left his wife and family in order to join the army in 
Eastern Virginia, with the active operations of which he 
was identified until the declaration of peace, February 
17th, 1815. 

But to return from this digression. In 1809, when 
our gallant father changed his residence to Augusta, 
Staunton was already a considerable place and the seat 
of the Superior Courts of Law and Equity for Western 
Virginia, the jurisdiction of the Chancery Court, extend- 
ing south 300 miles to the Tennessee frontier, and west 
about 400 miles to the Ohio River. To lawyer and 
litigant alike, it was, therefore, not only the most 
interesting, but the most important point west of the 
Blue Bidge. To its quiet streets and attractive suburbs 
the principal members of the profession throughout 
Virginia were periodically drawn at term time. Among 
the most conspicuous legal men of those days who 
attended these terms were George Hay, author of 
**Hortensius" and other political tracts, George Wythe, 
PhiUp Doddridge, Edmund Randolph, William Wirt, 
author of the Life of Patrick Henry and of ** The British 
Spy/' John Marshall, afterwards Chief Justice of 
the Supreme Court of the United States, Henry 
Peyton, James and Philip P. Barbour, and among 
the junior members of the bar, who were always 
present and subsequently became eminent lawyers, 
were Benjamin Watkins Leigh, John Wickham, 
Littleton W. Tazewell, Mr. (afterwards Judge) 
Coulter, Chapman Johnson, Briscoe G. Baldwin, 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 7 

Samuel Blackburn, Heniy St. George Tucker, author of 
a ** Coiximentary on Blackstone" and Stirling Claiborne. 
Neither raiboads nor steamboats then existing. Judges, 
Chancellors, and Lawyers often travelled hundreds of 
miles on roads Uttle better than Indian war paths, in 
ricketty stage coaches, or on horseback, carrying their 
briefis in portmanteaux or saddle bags. Their physical 
powers were as sorely tried by the profession, as their 
mental energies, and a sound mind in a sound body was 
indispensable to the successful practitioner. One of the 
egal lights of that day was the late Daniel Sheffey, who 
was wont to say, there was nothing like leather. He 
was a man of excellent abilities and remarkable energy. 
Exerting both these quahties, he rose from the bench of 
a journeyman shoemaker to a seat in Congress and the 
front rank of his profession. Mr. She£fey facetiously 
used to remark, in his later life, that when he was a 
young man the most important preliminary for the legal 
tyro was not the study of Coke and Blackstone, but 
(Mr. Sheffey drew his joke from his trade) the tanning of 
his cutkle, a precaution which one of his cUents observed 
would certainly lessen the pains of horsemanship, but 
render the gentlemen of the long robe insufferable, if 
their brazen airs increased as their hides toughened. 

It did not unfrequently happen that the ^^ bench and 
bar ** must swim across rivers and pass over high and 
rugged mountains to attend term; and it is related 
among the ana of this period^that a solicitor to whom a 
horse was sold with a warranty that ^^the animal 
possessed the usual quaUties of a riding horse," brought 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

an action and summarily recovered damages, the teuA 
transpiring after the sale, that the horse was unable to 
swim. Inasmuch as the lawyer had been detained 
from a term of the court by reason of this defect, the 
jury mulcted the defendent in heavy damages, requir- 
ing him at the same time to receive back the compa- 
ratively useless ammal. 

To this important town of Staunton, the centre of 
all that was learned in the law, our respected father 
was called by his appointment as pubHc prosecutor in 
1808, and was now reaping the honours and rewards of 
his profession. Absorbed by these duties, he could give 
little of that care and attention to his son's education 
which my grandfather had bestowed upon his. His 
wife, however, a woman (^ energy and experience 
combined with rare good sense, and whose nature was 
tempered with singular tenderness of affection and 
adorned by much simpHcity of character, a freshness of 
wit and an unfaih'ng cheerfulness, which made her the 
delight of every circle, quaUties which were transmitted 
with exceptionable fideUty to her son, undertook and 
performed this task. His mind was early stored by her 
^th MeM knowledge, hi. h«>rt tortiSed with genLu. 
principles, and his passions regulated by discipline. She 
sought to make him good rather than great, beHeving 
that nothing can make a man truly great but being 
truly good. She had none of the ambition and worldly- 
mindedness of the mother of Zebedee's children, who 
brought her two sons to Christ, and said: ^' Ghrant that 
these may sit, the one on Thy right hand and the other 




Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 9 

on the left, in Thy Kingdom, "She was wiser than that 
mother whom the Saviour so sharply reproved for her 
haughty spirit, by saying : "Ye know not what ye ask/' 
She understood too well that the wings of Icarus are but 
the instruments of self destruction to the simpletons 
who try to soar away upon them ; ** that it is better to 
be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the 
spoil with the proud." 

In his fifteenth year he had the misfortune to lose the 
guardianship of this excellent woman. The illness 
which terminated her life was sudden and unexpected. 
She had long been in deUcate health. This had, how- 
ever, at no time given rise to symptoms causing much 
anxiety. The melancholy event overwhelmed the world 
of Staunton, where she had made hosts of friends, with 
grief. She was a dear and admired friend and her body, 
says one of those present, was followed to the tomb by 
multitudes, who responded to the sad summons with 
tears and marks of sympathy. 

Mrs. Susan Madison Peyton often spoke with a 
mother's pride and affection of the obedient, truthful, and 
ingenuous character of her son, remarking that he had 
never, save upon one occasion, deliberately defied her 
authority. This occurred in his tenth year, when, 
during the war of 1812-15 between England and the 
United States, a call was made for volunteers. Our 
patriotic father, who had been two years in the service, 
returned on furlough, from Camp Holly, near Biehmond, 
to pass a few days with his family. During this short 
leave he was actively engaged recruiting, and a number 


10 Memoir of William Madison Pet/ton. 

of young men were enrolled in the service. On his 
arrival at home, he presented my brother with a fowling- 
piece, purchased in Richmond, WilUam was greatly 
delighted with this plaything, and was the whole day 
'* banging away " at beast and bird. 

Some of Napoleon's biographers have endeavoured to 
account for his sanguinary tastes and love of war, by 
the supposition that these were called forth and 
stimulated by a dismounted field-piece, which he used 
in his childhood as a plaything, K there be any truth 
in this itccount, which I doubt, it is possible that 
William ^Peyton's fowling-piece and the smell of 
villanous saltpetre aroused in him something of the 
like martial spirit, for he was quickly seized with a 
desire to join the Augusta forces and proceed to the 
seat of war. The idea was simply ridiculous^ and its 
absurdity was explained to him by his mother. 
Inexpressibly disappointed, chagrined, and mortified, he 
held his peace and "waited an opportunity. Next 
morning our father bade farewell to his family, giving 
much good advice to my brother. The substance of 
this was contained in the cel^rated President Thomas 
JeflTerson's ten good rules to hb observed in practical 
life, a copy of which he left with William. With Mr. 
Jefferson our father had been on terms of intimate 
friendship for many years, always passing a night at 
Monticello when attending the superior court of 
Albemarle, and having been Mr. Jefferson's (H>unsel in 
the Bivanna canal and other suits. 

Mr. Jefferson's rules, which my brother committed 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 11 

to memory, but which I doubt whether he governed 
himself strictly by, were : 

1. Never put off tOl to-morrow what you can do to-day. 

2. Never trouble others for what you can do yourself. 
8. Never spend your money before you have it. 

4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap. 

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold. 

6. We never repent of having eaten too little. 

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. 

8. When angry, count ten before you speak : if very angry, one 


9. Take things always by the smoothest handle. 

10. In all cases when you cannot do as well as you would, do the 
best you can. 

After my father's farewell, he took command of the re- 
cruits and proceeded by forced marches to the front. The 
day following, my brother was missed. A diligent search 
failed to disclose his hiding place. Messages were 
despatched in pursuit towards Eichmond, his old nurse 
declaring her belief that he had followed the ** sogers." 
On the next day they came upon him twenty-five miles 
from home on the Eastern slope of the Blue Eidge 
mountain, When overtaken, he was sitting, appa- 
rently in meditation, munching a piece of salt pork, 
amcmg a party of teamsters belonging to the supply 
trains, covered with dust, wearied and foot sore, his 
fowlii^ piece loaded lying by his side. Though nearly 
exhausted in body, his resolution was as determined as 
ever to follow the troops, and stand up, as he said, for 
old Virginia. He seemed to think his country in dire 
extremity. Lake his companions, the teamsters, he 
believed, however, that she would emerge from the 
Morm and have a brilliant future. For himself, he 

12 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

asked no recompense, but to serve her, to fight for her. 
Such were the notions akeady floating through his 
juvenile mind. Was this patriotism? Could such 
sentiments find a place in the breast of one so 
young or had the smell of gunpowder and the 
fowling-piece aroused the spirit of war in his 
bosom ? He was at once taken prisoner and borne 
home in the most inglorious manner. Finding on 
his return, his mother ill and in tears, he was 
deeply grieved at his behaviour; his conscience, 
indeed, seemed to overwhelm him with reproaches. 
Becoming at once sensible of the reckless cruelty of 
his foolish conduct, he made every apology and atone- 
ment in his power ; sought to soothe her with a voice 
and manner of touching sorrow, and ever after was the 
most affectionate and obedient of sons. It is not, 
surprising then, that he was the darling of her heart. 

It may not be here out of place to anticipate and to 
remark that from this period, throughout life, deference 
to his parents was one of his leading traits. He 
honoured them by loving them, confiding in them, obey- 
ing them, abstaining from whatever was disagreeable to 
them, and doing everything in his power to promote 
their comfort and happiness. After the loss of his 
mother, and our father's second marriage to one of her 
cousins, Anne Montgomery Lewis, daughter of Major 
John Lewis, of the Sweet Springs, a distinguished ofl&cer 
of the American revolutionary army, and grandfather of 
the writer, he extended to her, not only deference and 
respect, but a truly filial affection. My mother was, 

Memoir of William Madison Peytorij 13 

therefore, soon warmly attached to him, and taught her 
chUdren to love him before they learned to do so for his 
own qualities, for the variety of his endowments and 
the extent of his accomplishments, as they were deve- 
loped to the family in after years. My aflfection hurries 
me on, I pause, and ask myself why I speak of his 
great accomplishments. Can any human knowledge be 
all-comprehensive ? The most eminent philosopher is 
of yesterday, and knows nothing. Newton felt that he 
had gathered but a few pebbles on the shores of 
a boundless ocean. The moment we attempt to 
thoroughly penetrate a subject, we learn that it probably 
has unfathomable depths. That which is known is the 
prelude to the infinite unknown. Every discovery gives 
us a glimpse of greater things to be discovered. In 
everything, from the grain of sand to the stars, the wise 
man finds mysteries before which his knowledge sinks 
into insignificance. It must be understood that the idea 
sought to be conveyed is that his attainments were vast 
only in relation to those of other men. 

In his twelfth year he entered, as a pupil, the Staunton 
Academy, then under a head master of the name of 
Fuller, a man of much learning and of a plodding 
character. Here he remained four years and was 
quickly distinguished for his superior parts ; was known 

** As a sharp witted youth — 
Grave, thoughtful, and reserved among his mates, 
Turning the hours of sport and food to labour." 

The common recreations of volatile youth, the games 
invented to kill time without improvement, he never 
enjoyed ; but sought for higher gratification in science 

14 Memoir of William Madison Peyton^ 

and meditation. It soon became a common remark of 
his teachers and acquaintances, that he was '' a boy of 
singularly gifted intellect." He spoke at this time 
with peculiar vivacity and fluency, was already 
brilliant in his juvenile wit, and quick in the acquisition 
of knowledge. His liveliness too, was not the noisy 
accompaniment of emptiness, but the offspring of a 
rich imagination. It may not be out of place to 
mention here that at this time, and indeed throughout 
life, his health, like that of his mother, was delicate — at 
times alarmingly so. This may account in a measure 
for his neglect of sports and his studious habits. At tl^e 
Academy he was obedient and industrious, and mani- 
fested in his every act a kind and affectionate 
disposition, which was combined with a rare upright- 
ness and love of truth. Such was the sweetness of his 
temper, his amiability and readiness to oblige, his 
simplicity of character and thorough ingenuousness, 
that he won the affectionate confidence of all with 
whom he came in contact. His influence, as will be 
readily inferred, over his youthful companions was 
marked, and was solely due to his superior power, his 
firmness and moderation, and not to any bullying or 
self assertion. To the youngest and weakest he 
always acted as the kindest and humblest brother. 
Like the apostle of old, he was gentle towards all, even 
as a nurse cherisheth her children. Consequently the 
intimate connections formed in his boyhood were never 
relaxed or broken through life. On the contrary he 
was noticed for maintaining among men throughout 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 15 

life the ascendency which he acquired at school over 
his youthful conapanions. Possessing a clear judgment 
send a fund of common sense, he was always able to 
give his young companions sage counsel and to 
extricate them from the little difficulties of the daily 
course. Many a time he was seen, during this period, 
in the play grounds of the school, the centre of a circle 
of lads, with whom he conversed about their studies, 
thus lightening their labours and clearing away their 
difficulties. His frank and kindly manner, his tenacity 
of principle and feeling, his power of beUef, the entire 
absence of cynicism, all of which he displayed at that 
early period, invited the confidence of all his companions. 
In their little griefs and sorrows his schoolfellows 
appealed to him, and such was his joyous, buoyant spirit 
tiiat he never failed to soothe and comfort them. It is 
not surprising, then, that he exerted the most salutary 
influence in the Academy. At this school he obtained 
a good classical and mathematical education, and was 
ccmsidered so mature, both in character and attain- 
ments, that he was, in 1822, withdrawn, and matricu- 
lated at the University of New Jersey, Nassau Hall, 
Princeton, whither we will follow him in the next 


In order to understand and fully appreciate the 
character of the promising boy introduced to the reader 
in the preceding chapter, it is expedient to foUow him 
from the school in which he began to climb the 
hill of knowledge to the University of New Jersey, 
and to dwell briefly upon his career in that place. 

This northern institution had long been a favourite 
with the southern people, and especially those of 
Virginia, as it stiU is. Many of the leading Southern 
States scholars and politicians of the past century and 
early part of the present were educated at Princeton. 
Among them was Archibald Alexander, an eminent 
author and divine ; his sons James and Joseph Addison 
Alexander, scarcely less distinguished ; John Macpherson 
Berrian, U.S. Senator for Georgia ; William Gaston and 
Nathaniel Macon, of North Carolina; Robert J. 
Breckenridge, of Kentucky; Charles Fenton Mercer 
and John Peyton, of Virginia, and many others. And 
our father himself was one of the Alumni^ having been 
graduated M.A. in 1797, in the same class with 
Richard Rush, late minister Plenipotentiary from the 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 17 

United States to England, apd author of a well kQOwn 
book entitled ^^ Memoranda of a residence at the Court 
of London from 1817 to 1825." 

For these reasons it was selected rather than the 
college of "William and Mary" in Virginia, which 
was in a declining state, probably owing to the 
unhealthy climate of Williamsburg; but of which 
uistitution our paternal grandfather John Bouse* Peyton, 
was a graduate. The course of study in the University 
of New Jersey is comprehensive, embracing Hebrew, 
Qreek, Latin, and the modem languages, mathematics, 
natural and moral philosophy, ethics, etc. Notwith- 
standing his youth, my brother's scholastic attainments 
put him at once in an advanced position in the 
University, and during his second year he rose to the 
first distinction as a scholar. His diligence gave 
perfect satisfaction to his tutors, by whom he was both 
loved and respected. The noble features of his 
diaracter, too — ^his open, affable, manly, and cheerful 
disposition and his active habits — ^made him a general 
favourite, not only with his teachers and fellow students, 
by whom he was regarded as a model, but by all his 
acquaintances, whether in the college or out of it. He 
seemed ever to have engraven upon his mind that 
sacred rule ''do all things to others, according as you 
wish that they should do unto you." He was absolutely 
without any of the dissimulating in youth, which is the 

* This name has been spelt in several ways, thus: Bons, Bonse, 
Bowse, or Bowze (as by Dr. Lodwiok Bowze, author of *' The Queenes 
Welles" London 1630), and Bows^e. 

18 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

forerunner of perfidy in old age. His manners were 
natural and engaging, free from anything like affeeted 
politeness, and were marked by much courtesy of 
demeanour. A friend and contemporary at Princeton, 
John Randolph Bryan, of Gloucester County, Virginia, 
once informed the author, as they were sailing up the 
James River from Norfolk to Richmond in 1848, that he 
regarded William Peyton while at college as the finest 
pattern he had ever known of the thorough conservative 
high-toned gentleman. In a letter addressed to the 
author, in 1856, by the distinguished writer, N. Parker 
Willis, he spoke of him, when they were fellow students 
in Yale, in the same terms of commendation. Mr. W. 
held him to be a man of genius, whose failure to 
achieve greatness he would have deemed a marvel, but 
that he knew the race was not always to the swift, nor 
the battle to the strong. 

ffis influence in preserving order, or stilling storms, 
among the Princeton students was of great service 
to the faculty. On occasions when disorders were 
apprehended from rough and reckless students, and the 
combinations they formed among the idle, the dissolute, 
and refractory, the masters applied to him, and through 
his exertions many a disturbance was avoided. Such 
in fact was his success in this way, arising from the 
power of influence he possessed, that the epoch of his 
college life was marked as one of the most quiet and 
respectable which had for many years occurred. 

It was soon discovered at Princeton that he had a 
warm imagination, a feeling heart, and keen passions. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton^ 19 

These latter were, however, under such control that 
they did not betray him into idleness, sensuality, or any 
of the usual vices of youth. From his earliest years, 
indeed, he seemed imbued with the necessity of 
acquiring virtuous habits. So much was he noted 
for his pTire and lofty principles, that he was, while yet 
in his teens, the subject of remark, some attributing his 
excellence to the training of his parents, particularly 
to the influence of his mother, while others believed 
they were innate ; for in whatever he undertook he 
was guided by the principles of virtue; they formed so 
essential a part of his character that through life he 
inspired aU with whom he came in contact with 
perfect confidence, and consequently could not fail to 
exercise great influence. And it may be said with truth 
that the world at no period of his life ever narrowed or 
debased his affections, but his virtuous youth led to an 
accomplished manhood and tranquil old age. 

K the newspapers of Virginia be consulted during the 
period of his public life, it will be found that those 
journals, of whatever poUtical complexion, and however 
heated the contest might be, always spoke of him with 
the utmost respect, and paid high tribute to his talents, 
but above all to his lofty personal character. It is a 
matter of deep regret to the writer that none of these 
papers are contained in the library of the British 
Museum, or can now be procured, else many interesting 
extracts would be adduced to illustrate the esteem in 
which he was held by the people of his native State. 
It is not too much to say that in after life his honesty 

20 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

and straightforwardnesSy his invincible fortitude, gave a 
yigoor to his mind, a weight to his character, and a 
nobleness to his sentiments, which exalted him to the 
highest fame aifiong the gentlemen of Virginia. With 
those who were near him, his personal popularity was 
unbounded, yet he never resorted to a dishonest act or 
stooped to the slightest meanness. There are but few 
public men of whom this can be truly said ! It is 
proper that I should say on this subject, that, though 
singularly amiable, he never neared, or much less fell into, 
that vicious prostitution of mind in which a man has no 
will, sentiment, or principle of his own. So far from 
wanting the courage to avow his opinions, however 
distasteful they might at times be, his openness of 
character caused him often to display a generous, almost 
reckless boldness, in their expression. 

His physical and moral courage, it should not be 
forgotten to mention, was, as may be readily imagined, 
soon proved to be equal to his frankness, and was of the 
heroic type. In illustration of which it may be related 
that on his return to Yale in his nineteenth year, 
when he was over six feet in height and of great 
bodily strength, he fought with and overcame, after a 
severe contest, Thomas van Bibber, known as ^'Big 
Tom" an intrepid fighting cock and recognized AthletsB. 

His health was so much impaired by the end of his 
second year's residence at Princeton, his physical system 
so unstrung by close application to books, that he was 
withdrawn, and he returned to pass some time in the 
pure, diy atmosphere of Western Virgmia. This course 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 21 

was deemed necessary for his restoration to health, and 
the result was highly complimentary to the hygienic 
qualities of the mountam air. A few months spent in 
the AlleghanieSy far from his studies and confinement, 
and near the trout stream and the hunting ground, 
enabled him to recover his customary tone and vigour, 
and at the end of six months he resumed his labours. 

On his return to college, our wise father gave him the 
following abstract of the advice of Gelsus, with respect 
to the preservation of health. ^'A man,'' says he, 
''who is blessed with good health, should confine him- 
self to no particular rules, either with respect to 
regimen or medicine. He ought frequently to diversify 
his manner of living; to be sometimes in town, 
sometimes in the country; to hunt, sail, indulge 'in 
rest, but more frequently to use exercise. He ought to 
refuse no kind of food that is commonly used, but 
sometimes to eat more and sometimes less ; sometimes 
to make one at an entertainment ; sometimes to forbear 
it ; to make rather two meals a day than one, and 
always to eat heartily, provided he can digest it. He 
ought neither too eagerly to pursue, nor too scrupu- 
lously to avoid, intercourse with the fair sex ; pleasures 
of this kind, rarely indulged, render the body alert and 
active, but when too frequently repeated, weak and 
languid. He should be careful in time of health not to 
destroy, by excess of any kind, that vigour of constitu- 
tion which should support him under sickness." 

Notwithstanding the youth's amended health, our 
prudent father determined, upon the advice of his 

22 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

family physician, the late William Boys, M.D., of 
Staunton, a noted provincial member of the profession, 
and a descendent, I believe, of the Boys, of County 
Kent, in England, so many of whom have found a 
sepulchre in Canterbury Cathedral, to send him farther 
north, to the more bracing air of Connecticut. He was 
accordingly entered at Yale College, in 1824. 

As a proof of the high estimation in which he was 
held at Princeton, it may be mentioned, that when it 
was known that owing to ill health he would not return 
to the University, the authorities wished, in considera- 
tion of his fine scholarship and exemplary deportment, 
to confer upon him the degree which he would have 
obtained had he remained there two years longer. 
Indeed they were prevented from doing so only by 
the statutes of the Institution, which were found, on close 
examination, to prohibit that course, and also William 
Peyton's declared purpose not to accept such a degree. 
The Whig Society, however, a literary association 
and debating club to which he belonged, conferred upon 
him the honour reserved for their most distinguished 
members, and though he refused this mark of apprecia- 
tion from his comrades also, the society dispatched to 
our father, in Virginia, the diploma my brother would 
not accept. This document, handsomely framed, long 
graced the walls of the library, at Montgomery Hall, 
and is now (1873) in the possession of my eldest sister. 

It was the opinion of the litterateurs of Princeton that 
the peculiar faculty of acquiring languages was 
developed in him in the highest degree, and that he 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 23 

would rival the fame of Crichton, Walton, Pocock, Sir 
William Jones, Mezzofanti, or any of the great English 
or eontiaental linguists. Some of the accounts, indeed, 
of his feats at this day are so remarkable that I am 
disposed to regard them as legendary, such as the 
stories told of Buddha and Mahomet, the first of whom 
is said, at the age of ten years, to have taught his 
master Babourenon, fifty non-Indian tongues and their 
respective characters, while the second, according to 
his biographer Prideaux, was promised before the 
throne of the most High that he ** should have the 
knowledge of all languages." 

At the period, when he left Princeton, his personal 
appearance was that of one who had grown too 
rapidly into manhood. He was tall and slender. 
In his movements, however, he was easy, graceful, 
and firm, withal showing the nobleness of his 
origin. His hair and complexion were light brown, 
the forehead broad and expansive, his nose aquiline, 
his eyes dark blue and brilUant, and the appear- 
ance of his whole person pleasing and dignified. 
His mind had rapidly expanded at Princeton, and he 
now showed a keen penetration, clear judgment, and 
comprehensive intellect. He added to these the talent 
of wit and ridicule in a remarkable degree, recited ad- 
mirably, possessed a rich fond of anecdote, an easy flow 
of worS, \md high «mmJ spmto, mi impk>™ed ver^s 
and epigrams. The first efforts of his genius, id fe^ct, 
seemed to be in the direction of the muses. Unre- 
strained at this early day by the coldness of argument 

24 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

and the confinement of rules, his mind seemed 
gladly to indulge in flights of imagination, a thing 
not unconmion with men' of genius. Indeed an early 
taste for the beauties of poetical composition is in my 
opinion an almost infallible mark of a refined and 
elegant mind. Cicero, Valerius, Cato and other ancient 
philosophers, orators, and historians, are known to have 
sacrificed to the muses in their earlier productions. 
This talent for versification sometimes led him into 
difficulties. On one occasion, previous to his return 
to Yale, he wrote some verses upon an entertainment 
given by an old lady of Staunton. She was a connec- 
tion of the family, and he had been accustomed to call 
her auntj though she was really no relative. At this 
party, to the surprise of the small fiy, and the disgust 
of the young gentlemen, the only wine suppUed was 
made by herself from the blackberry, a favourite 
fruit which flourishes in Augusta. The gay youths 
expected to sip the juice of the grape in the form of 
sparkling champagne. This domestic wine is an 
excellent summer drink, but was not what the fashion- 
able boys expected. When their host provided it, she 
considered that she was not only conferring a favour, 
but paying them a compliment. Her well known 
hospitaUty, at all events, excluded the idea that in 
proffering it she was influenced by any mean con- 
siderations of economy. " Young America," however, 
was dissatisfied with the change. These youths were 
decidedly of the opinion of Diogenes, who, when asked 
what wine he preferred, answered, **the foreign." 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 25 

The thirsty popinjays of that day were as fond as those 
of our generation of the glass which not only exhilarates, 
but inebriates, and felt the slight in two ways. Their 
pride was stnng, their wrath kindled, and their thirst 
remained unslaked, at least by the desired champagne. 
Consequently they set their wits together to be avenged, 
and persuaded William Peyton to compose a few 
stanzas, as they expressed it, ''suitable to the occasion/' 
Without a moment's reflection, and evidently while 
inspired by the Blackberry cordial, he compUed with 
their wishes. His Unes began somewhat after this 

This blackberry wine is all very fine, 

Bnt it makes Jack go to bed with his breeches on. 

Probably my reader loses nothing by reason of my 
inabiUty to procure a copy of these lines, which 
proceeded in a comical vein to eulogize the home-made 
beverage, but ridiculed its heady qualities, and the 
wine itself in comparison with vin etranger. The verses 
ran through the town, causing no small merriment. 
Coming finally with the author's name to the 
knowledge of the old lady, her wrath was kindled. 
The verses were sent her by a marplot. She put on 
her spectacles and proceeded to read them, and, though 
her anger waxed hot, she could not help exclaiming, as 
one happy joke after another flashed upon her sight, 
" Marvellous boy ! marvellous boy." The improvisator 
called some days later, before his departure for college, 
when she had somewhat recovered her temper, and in a 
graceful manner made his peace with his old friend by 


26 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

explaiiung the simple circumstances under which the 
jeu desprit was perpetrated. Thus, by a display of 
that frankness and candour which formed so 
prominent a part of his character, and which education 
and cultivation only rendered more conspicuous, he 
disarmed her resentment. Her sense of injury 
removed, she laughed as heartily as anyone at the 
vexation of the young people and the sparkling wit of 
the Quixotic bard. A few weeks later, when he left to 
resume his academic duties, he was supplied by this 
generous friend with a case of her best "blackberry," 
with which, in the midst of his college fellows, he often 
drank to her health and long life. 

It is obvious from this incident that he did not then 
belong, if he ever did, to that rare class who are never 
foolish even when they are young ; who never cry out 
when they are hurt ; never are driven out of their 
course by adverse winds, and are always able to see 
that every thing is for the best. Such people in this 
world of troubles are not only rare but blessed, and 
are very unlike the rest of us, who cry out a great 
deal, and are very foolish generally, not only when we 
are young, but all our lives. 


Wjbbe I detailing the life of one whose career had 
been eventful, I should not occupy the space given in 
this chapter with what might prove of little interest to 
the reader. But as few lives worth recording are more 
devoid of incident, it is not expected that this simple 
record of his will be adapted to the tastes of those who 
enjoy only what is now termed sensational reading. As 
I neither write for, nor expect to please, this class, I 
shall not omit such minor occurrences in his career as 
may appear likely to prove useful and interesting to 

On a fine sunny afternoon of early September, in the 
year 1825, two young gentlemen dressed in shooting 
costume were lying on the grass beneath the out- 
stretched branches of an old walnut. This venerable 
tree threw its grateful shade over an ancient stone 
building covered with woodbine, honeysuckle, and grape 
vines, and from which a gurgling stream issued forth. 
Their fowling-pieces and game-bags were by their sides. 
This house protected the bubbling spring from which 

28 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

the supply of water at jolly old Montgomery Hall, 
the red gables of which were seen amidst foliage 
about four hundred yards distant, was drawn. Jolly 
old Montgomery Hall ! 

" In that mansion used to be 

Free-hearted hospitality: 

His great fires np the chimney roar*d ; 

The stranger feasted at his board : 
• • • • 

There gronps of merry children play'd 

There youths and maidens, dreaming, strayed." 

Gushmg from the side of a rock, covered with moss 
and wild flowers, and shaded by waving branches, the 
fountam, though not large, sent forth a stream of pure, 
bright water. This rivulet lies in the lap of the rich 
and partly wooded valley of Peyton's brook, a tributary 
of Lewis' creek, in the midst of a sea of verdure, for it 
meanders through meadows, which extend through dale 
and over gently undulatiug hill. Overlooked by the 
high grounds on which the hall stands, and the more 
distant north mountains, it is the coolest and most 
picturesque of vallies. 

Fatigued from their morning's amusement, the young 
sportsmen were looking out lazUy, ahnost insensibly, 
upon this scene of blue and green, and the various 
beauties soliciting their admiration, the while carrying 
on a desultory conversation. Both were tall and 
graceful, and about both there was the charm of happy 
youth. One of them had black eyes, large, bold, and 
sparkling, and hair dark as the raven's plumage — ^this 
was Jefferson Stuart. The other was brown haired. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton, 29 

blue eyedy and fSsurer of oomplexion, was taller and 
more robust of figure than his handsome companion. 
He was really his junior by two or three years, and 
seemed not to have attained his fall growth — ^the 
darkening down only just shaded a cheek somewhat 
sunburnt though naturally fair — ^this was WiUiam 
Madison Peyton. They had gone forth some hours 
before to shoot partridges, which are plentiful in this 
section of Virginia. Beaching on their return the 
beautiful fountain, hot and dusty they quenched their 
thirst and threw themselves on the grass to indulge, 
perhaps, in a short siesta. Here they remained some 
time in silence, apparently listening to the peculiar 
sounds of the country, which replace the hum of the 
city, the rustle of the leaves, the waving of the com, 
the song of birds, the humming of insects. For some 
time they did not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word, but 
remained delighted by the rural sights and sounds. 
Stuart, whose curiosity had often been excited by the old 
building, and the numberless names carved upon 
its sides, rose to examine it more closely. In the 
act of raising some ivy leaves which covered its 
hoary sides, he started back with an arch smile, as he 
saw engraved upon one of the stones, Sally Tatlob. 

'V^niliam Peyton, who saw the movement and the smile 
of his friend, quickly turned away and sent his hat into 
the air with a squir, then, seizing his gun, he fired at a 
skylark and, of course, brought down no game. Stuart, 
who observed his confusion, with that sensitive delicacy 
for the feelings of others which always characterised 

80 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

him, said nothing of his discovery, and the two, after a 
further short delay, went their way merrily. 

The town of Staunton, though its foundation does 
not date anteriorly to the year 1780, when it was 
traced out by the Huguenot emigrant. Colonel John 
Lewis, ♦ the pioneer and first white settler of 
Augusta, has nevertheless, so new is new America, 
something of the odour of antiquity about it. '^ Age 
cannot wither nor custom stale the infinite variety," 
indeed, of the reminiscences connected with the name of 
Staunton and its old and noted houses. These houses, 
like all those which have seen better days, in every 
ancient town or viUage, are not unillustrated by their 
legends of terror. Some are historical, and strange 
stories they have, some are haunted and with the worst 
kind of goblins, and there are evenings when one 
might believe, with Chaucer, that the 

Queen of Faery, 
With haips, and pipe, and symphoney, 
Were dwelling in the place. 

Of the houses whose names are written in Virginian 
history, many thrilling tales are told connected with the 

* Colonel Stuart, of Greenbrier, in his Memoir of the Indian Wars, 
publiahed by his son, Charles A. Stuart, under the auepices of the 
Virginia Historical Society, in Biohmond, 1833, remarks that the river 
Greenbrier received its name from Colonel Lewis, in the following 
manner. ** The next year, 1778," says Colonel Stuart, " Greenbrier was 
separated from Botetourt Couninr, and the county took its name from 
the river, which was so named by old Colonel John Lewis, fatiier to 
the late C^eral Andrew Lewis, and was one of the (Grantees under 
H.M. Order in Council, who, in oom^my with his son Andrew, explored 
the country in 1751. He, Colonel Lewis, entangled himself one day 
in a bimoh of sreen briers on the river banks, and declared he would 
ever after call the stream Greenbrier river." 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 31 

bloody border wars. Stories of how they were 
besieged by the Eed-skhis, who alternately tried the 
experiment of burning or starving out the indwellers, of 
the stratagems and surprises to which they were 
subjected, and the direct attacks they sustained. The 
best known and most famous of these old houses was, 
of course, that of GoL John Lewis, which was not 
inaptly styled "The Fort." It was built of huge 
masses of stone, with walls of extraordinary thickness, 
pierced with windows of slender proportion, and looked 
more like a fortress than a mansion. The truth is, it was 
both. Here the brave old pioneer lived many years — 
indeed till his death in 1762, defending his family and the 
infant colony from their savage foes. Another of those 
houses is '^ Spring farm" mansion, which was built of 
adoube (bricks dried in the sun) by Hessian prisoners 
taken by the American army during the war of the 
Revolution. Sent west of the blue mountains to remain 
during the war, these mercenaries were turned to 
valuable account. Houses were built, lands drained, 
private grounds embellished^ and roads constructed by 
their labour. 

Of the houses haunted, of spectres still more horrible, 
stories are told of the spirits of evil and goblins 
danmed by which they are infested. One of these 
ancient, tumble down buildings — a soot begrimed, 
leaky-roofed centenarian, occupied by an old woman, 
whose appearance at an earUer period would have 
subjected her to the ordeal of fire and water — ^was the 
teiTor in our youth of young folks. In addition to 

82 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

the venerable occupant^ Mrs. Fitzpatrick, it was popularly 
supposed to shelter a great population of goblinSi whose 
horrible noises oft startled the dull ear of night. The 
old crone who lived in this desolate and weird house 
had been married to an improvident man. At his 
death she was left poor and childless, and continued to 
occupy her solitary house on the outskirts of the common. 
Strange reports began to be circulated regarding her and 
the house. Lights were seen burning in her attic 
windows, strange sounds were heard in the house at 
unseasonable hours, her cow gave bloody milk. So(m 
the stock of the neighbouring farmers was found with 
tangled and knotted tails and manes, the horses waxed 
poor, the supply of milk fell off, the cattle caught 
disease (what is now called the pleuro-pneumonia), the 
potatoes grew mouldy. These misfortunes were traced 
to poor Lovie. She was regarded as a witch, and her 
dwelling as the abode of disembodied spirits, of astral 
spirits, gnomes, salamanders, and naiads. The young 
people never passed the cottage without tucking up 
their garments and veering to the opposite side of 
the street, especially about nightfall. The belief in 
ghosts, gobhns, and wraiths still lingered among the 
rustic population, in spite of the schoolmaster and tiie 
newspaper. Barely did these simple folk visit the town 
without peering furtively round as they passed (if during 
twilight's hour) the lonely home of Lovie, lest bogles might 
catch them unawares. Another of these prematurely aged 
houses — ^a house whose days seemed numbered, whose 
space of life was rapidly drawing to a close — was three 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 38 

stories high, standing between two heavy squalid-looking 
Imildmgs, having one story each; consequently the 
beholder might easily acquire the impression that its 
altitude had been caused by the pressure of its sleepy 
neighbours. It had four tall, lanky chimneys, which had 
apparently eschewed smoke for years, and eight front 
windows. These windows had most of their panes 
broken, but were aU fortified on the inside with 
ricketty shutters, which excluded light and air, 
and frustrated the curiosity of passers-by to obtain 
a view of the interior — save of two small rooms. 
I might go on describing the peculiarities of this strange 
building until I had filled pages of my MS., could I but 
afford the space. It was owned and partly occupied by 
an eccentric old man, named Bury Hill, who was a cross 
between a monomaniac and a hypochondriac. This 
house was, of course, classed among the haunted* Mr. 
Hill was >a grocer, but his principal business consisted in 
selling inferior whiskey to what our town snobs called 
low Iwish. These ignorant sons of Erin feared ghosts, but 
were never known to shrink from spirits. This singular 
but inoffensive man, Hill, took quite a fancy to the writer 
in his boyhood, and often refreshed him in hot weather 
with "cobbler."* Mr. Hill was supposed to occupy his 
house in common with " Old Nick " himself. Aged 
negroes, especially those belonging to the class of nurses, 
declared that they had seen the hideous salamander 

* The sherry cobbler belongs to that catalogue of American drinks 
which have a nomenclature of their own, and is an iced drink much in 
request during the summer. Made generally of imitation sherry, 
it yields only a temiK>rary refreshment. If long indulged in, it is 
sure to end by destroying the stomach. 


84 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

there, " ye deville bodilie, being like unto one hngeons 
black gote, with homis and taille/' In common with 
the children of the town, I believed these stories, but 
it did not impair my taste for his cobblers. Oh 
the charming simplicity of childhood ! How rare* and 
refreshing! Who does not long once more for the 
happy dreams and sweet illusions of youth I 

These were not the only, nor the most attractive, 
houses of which our town could boast. There were 
many comfortable mansions, with an air of substantial 
and aristocratic prosperity. Of some of these I will speak 
presently. The streets of the town itself were narrow, 
with badly-paved footpaths; the houses generally tall 
and roofed with shingles— thin boards. An ancient 
church, with a gray, moss-rusted tower, clothed from 
base to summit with the Virginian creeper, a decrepid 
wooden bridge spanning the pebbly creek, and a 
tottering mill (Fawkler's) near the centre of it, a 
desolate looking court-house and dreary prison, were, 
omitting the private residences, the principal features 
of the town. Such was the borough of Staunton of 
early days — ^my native loved old village. It is painful 
to look back upon a home and social circle broken up, 
upon a sunny childhood faded, and upon parents lost but 
unforgotten — ^upon Virginia dismembered, subjugated, 
a prey to "carpet baggers," harpies, and negroes. 
Nothing can ever eflFace from my heart the remembrance 
of " the old dominion." Nothing is comparable, amidst 
the arts and ruins of older lands, to the splendour with 
which nature decks herself ia her woods and vallies, 

Memoir of WilKam Madison Peyton. 86 

her motiiitain& and her streams. Capable of yielding 
every comfort, oflFering every charm, what can exceed 
ihe enthusiasm of her sons for sach a country ? 

The foregoing in regard to Staunton has been 
altogether by way of digression — ^has no immediate 
connection with this history. Digressions are not 
unfrequently indulged in by the writer, and are, as a 
cleveir man has said, the sunshine, the life, the soul 
of reading. Take them out of a book, and you might as 
well take the book along with them — one cold, eternal 
winter would reign in every pi^e of it : restore them 
to the writer, he steps forth like a bridegroom, bids all 
hail — brings in variety, and forbids the appetite to fail. 

Though our history has no concern with what has 
been described of my native town, it is closely connected 
with two of Staunton's solid houses, about which I shall 
now speak : on them hangs a tale. The first of these 
was a brick building, frontmg on Beverly, near its 
intersection with Augusta Street. It was a thoroughly 
comfortable and respectable abode — a picture in its 
way. That plain Yirgroian house, its cheerfal face of 
red bricks, its solid squareness of shape — a symbol of 
the substance of its owner — ^was the residence of the' 
Hon- Allan Taylor, Chancellor of the Equity Court, 
which I have mentioned as having such an extensive 
territorial jurisdiction. Chancellor Taylor was much 
respected for the probity of his character, the accuracy 
of his learning, and the fidehty with which he devoted 
himself to the business of his court. 

It was often said of him, that he might be mistaken in 

36 Memoir of Wiiliam Madison Peyton, 

Bin opinion ; but, if so, it was an error of the head and 
iiot of the heart. His social habits were winning, as 
well as those of his contemporaries; this has given 
celebrity to what is known in America as Virginian 
hospitality* His house was therefore a favourite resort, 
where the old oaken board was always spread for 
friends, and the old chairs ranged in a wide cres- 
cent around the log-heaped fire. In early life 
he married an accomplished lady. Miss Elizabeth 
Thompson, who, besides many personal charms, was 
an heiress, and he was now surrounded by an interesting 
brood of children. His two daughters were named 
Elizabeth (or, as she was commonly called, Sally) and 
Juliet. The elder, Elizabeth, at this time (September, 
1825) in her eighteenth year, was the acknowledged 
village beauty, which was not surprising, for she 
looked, according to all contemporaneous accounts, 
like the fairest and youngest of the muses. In a 
dreamy moment of youthful love, William Peyton had 
engraved her name upon the side of the old building. 
Entertaining for her a tender and deep affection, which 
began in childhood, it was now one of the most 
profound sentiments of his heart. 

Elizabeth Taylor was, in Sept. 1825, rather petite^ had 
the look of those young people who have not quite done 
growing, giving her an appearance at once elegant and 
interesting. Her features were regular, the nose 
aquiline, eyes blue, eyebrows in a simple, almost 
severe, arch, like those of a Circassian, and there wias 
something resolute and original in her expressicm 

Memoir of WUUam Madison Peyton^ 87 

that was exceedingly attractive. Her month, which 
was small, had even then a slight expression of disdain. 
Notlpng could exceed the brilliancy of her complexion, 
in which were mingled the lily and the rose, and her 
hair, which was light chestnut, fell in ringlets about her 
neck. The grace and dignity of her movements 
bespoke a noble nature and descent. Such was the 
young creature destined to play an important part in 
the life of William Peyton. Through the partiality of a 
rdation, she enjoyed a separate estate, and was regarded 
as the richest prize in the community. In the slang of 
the town and country fops, she was known as, ^^ beauty 
and bootyy*' and there were few of those coxcombs who 
did not aspire to her hand. Some were disinterested 
and attracted solely by her personal charms and accom- 
plishments, but it is beyond doubt that others were 
drawn by the fortune. As several of the gallants of 
that day are stiU Uving, and have grown wiser with years, 
I wiU L menUon tteir n« which might mie it 
necessary to indicate those who were attracted by the 
beaisty and those by the booty — an invidious task which 
is gladly avoided. The united causes, however, gave 
her a marked pre-eminence among the belles of a town 
famous for the beauty of its women. The chancellor's 
house was, of course, one of the chosen spots where the 
village butterflies most loved to congregate. 

In Augusta Street, facing the east, was a capacious 
residence, called ** The Old Stone House," from the fact 
Uiat it was built of blue limestone, which exists 
eveiywhere in large quantities ia the Shenandoah 

88 Memoir of WUliam Madison PeyUm. 

valley. It was erected at an early period, and was 
intended to be, .as it really was, half dwelling-house, 
half fortress. The inunense thickness of the buttressed 
walls, the narrow windows, the front door through 
which a gun carriage might pass, and the situation 
of the edifice, which commanded the approaches, 
leave little doubt of its original purpose. It was 
evidently designed both as a residence and as an 
outpost, a kind of detached fort set up in early days 
against the attacks of Bedskins. This was the town 
residence of our father for several years, while Mont- 
gomery Hall was being rebuilt upon the site of an 
ancient edifice. Though facing another point of the 
compass, and in a different street from Chancellor 
Taylor's residence, the grounds of the two establish- 
ments were adjacent, and communicated by a small vine- 
covered gate-way. The grounds were large and 
ornamented, in addition to much shrubbery, with oaks, 
walnuts, and chestnut trees. Through this rustic gate- 
way, the two fEuniUes of Taylor and Peyton kept up a 
constant intercourse, and not a day passed without their 
children spending some hours together. It was during 
this happy period that William Peyton and Elizabeth 
Taylor had unconsciously learned to love. And it does 
not appear that their case illustrated the trite adage that 
the " course of true love never did run smooth," for, as 
they advanced towards adolescence their affection 
'^ grew with their growth and strengthened with their 
strength" — ^nothing occurred to mar their happiness. 
They probably were, however, themselves then uneon- 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 89 

scions of the character and depth of these tender 
JBelings. The hero of this little tale of real life had 
made no declaration of his passion, and neither the 
parents of the one nor the other suspected the 
existence of a secret attachment. The affair attracted 
less attention from the fact that in the next property 
sonth of the stone hoose, there lived the family of a 
seafaring man, Captain WiUiamson, of the United 
States Mercantile Marine, whose family were in the 
constant habit of joining the group of young people 
playing in the grounds. The worthy Captain had 
a daughter also, who was afterwards famous for wit 
and beauty. WiUiam Peyton was as frequently with 
one family as the other, and was known years later to 
derive no small pleasure from the society of the captain's 
fair daughter. Probably he was more with the 
Williamsons than the Taylors at this time, for 
Captain W. had enriched his house with many 
curiosities collected iu Europe, Asia, Africa, and 
other distant quarters of the globe. He had many 
rare paintings, vases, statuettes, Chinese-pagodas, 
tapestries, medals, coins and other objects of virtu ; and 
for the study of these, William Peyton evinced a strong 
passion. Much of his time was spent in examining 
them, and the correct taste he afterwards displayed in 
the decorations, the furniture, the paintings, etc., of 
his establishment, at Elmwood, in Boanoke, was 
probably in some measure due to the direction now 
given to his mind. Being much in the society of 
both fGumlies until the completion of his education, if 

40 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

anyone thought of the probability of his losing hia 
heart with either of these beautiful girls, they wete at a 
loss to imagine which fair charmer 'twould be. It 
was, therefore, something of a discovery for his young 
friend and companion, Stuart, to have penetrated so 
unexpectedly and unwittingly into the secret workings 
of his soul; for who can doubt but to Stuart's 
mind the hoary sides of the Spring house told a tale of 
love. Stuart may have jested with him upon the 
subject of his passion, in their solitary walks, and may 
have been taken into the lover's confidence ; but, if so, 
he preserved the secret with fidelity, for up to 
William's return from Yale, in 1824, the world had 
no knowledge of the afiair. 

It may not be uninteresting to the reader if I 
conclude this chapter with a brief allusion to some of the 
changes which time has wrought in the Staunton of 
1810-20. Railways and telegraphs have penetrated 
beyond the mountains, and the village of earlier days 
has passed away. Now trains, like comets with 
" fiery tresses," hiss and foam through the frightened 
fields and crowded ways. Shops have taken the place 
of homes, and grass no longer grows in streets which 
reverberate with the music of commerce, and are full 
of the stirring stream of life. Judge Taylor's house tas 
been despoiled, "gutted", the lower story metamorphosed 
into a place of business, where sugar and salt, firesh 
butter and dried herrings, are offered for sale. The 
ivy, the jessamine, and the woodbine have been 
stripped from the walls and replaced with firesh 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 41 

stucco, and the old home bears a new nsune. Now it 
16 called after a recent occupant, " The McDowell 
House. " Many other changes have taken place. The 
dignified gentleman of the old school, with his blue 
coat and brass buttons, buff waistcoat and top boots, 
viermillion face and powdered hair — ^the type of a 
proud and generous race — one of the institutions, if I 
may so speak, of the Virginia of the past> has disap- 
peared. Indeed, he is almost forgotten by a bustling, 
money-making, and irreverent posterity. The ancient 
constitution and conservative local government, the 
habits and customs of the inhabitants, have also passed 
away, and, what they were, will in a few years, in aU 
probability, become a matter of curious enquiry. 

At the period of which I speak, railways and 
telegnq)h8 were unknown — ^people travelled on horse- 
back and in coaches, when they did travel, which was 
seldom the case. There were horses of every breed, 
and coaches light and heavy, single and double, long 
and short — all the crosses between a hearse and an 
omnibus ; but if people moved more slowly in those days 
may they not have been happier ? There was no 
talking to distant minds by means of lightning, no 
travelling on the wings of steam — ^none of the ** fast " 
and ^^ slap-dash'' propensities of the present; but again, if 
there was less excitement, was there not more quiet 
comfort ? If our ancestors were not happier, if modern 
improvements are all for good, and nothing for evil, let 
wiser heads and deeper philosophy than mine deter- 
mine. What remains to me of this bygone age but the 


42 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

hearts'B memory of old things ?"I camiot but remember 
aaoh things were, and were moat dear to me." With 
the fine old gentleman, the whole throng have vanished 
throngh the raby skies. Yes, the men, dear honest 
race, and their manners and cnstoms, the spirit of the 
age in which they lived, like their houses and festival 
days, have departed ! 

Oh I friends regretted, scenes for ever dear — 
Ksmembrance hSLls y oh with her warmest tear ! 


The vacation of 1823, which William Pejrton spent 
at home, had scarcely passed away before he was on his 
return to Yale. During the term which followed, he 
completed his academic education, giving such increased 
evidence of talent and scholarship, that there were few 
of his associates who did not believe he would achieve 
great things in after life. Professors and students 
alike regarded him as the coming man, as well by the 
cleverness he had displayed in his Uuniversity career, as 
by his conversation, conduct, tone, and manner, by his 
ready writings and speeches, or, in other words, by the 
thousand signs and tokens through which mind can be 
recognized and made known. 

It may not be uninteresting to remark, that his resi- 
dence and partial education in the north exercised a 

wholesome influence upon his opinions in after life. 
Many of the prejudices which he imbibed in youth 
against the northern people, and more especially those of 
New England, were removed. He learned to take 
larger and more catholic views, to respect the New 

44 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Englanders for their great virtues of intellect, per- 
severance, and morality. In later years these youthful 
impressions were strengthened by further inter- 
course with the northern people, and he did much 
to create a better feeling between the inhabitants 
of the two great sections of the Republic. Among 
other things, he invited one of his college friends, 
Mr. B., subsequently the Rev. E. Boyden, to make him 
a visit. Mr. Boyden, who accepted the invitation, was 
so much pleased with the Bociety, climate, and scenery 
of Virginia, that he adopted it as his home, and, some 
years after this visit, married a Stauntonian. Through 
the influence of my father and his wife's family, he was 
appointed curate, and afterwards rector, of Trinity 
Church, Staunton. The Rev. E. Boyden is still 
( 1873 ) living in Virginia, where he is much esteemed 
and respected. 

On my brother's return from Yale, oiu* kind 
father, by a rare display of wisdom and liberality, 
placed at his son's absolute disposal, the estate he had 
acquired through his mother. Under the laws of 
Virginia, the husband is entitled, on the wife's death, 
by what is termed the " courtesy of England, '* 
to the usufruct of her property for life. My father 
did not choose to exercise this right, because, having 
married again, and having already one child bom 
with every prospect of a large family, * he did 
not desire or intend that the offspring of his 

* The writer was bom of this second maniage the year following, 
namely on the 15th of September, 1824. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 45 

seoond wife should participate, to the slightest extent, 
hi the property of the first. According to his strict 
sense of hononr, his elder son was equitably 
entitled' to his mother's estate, and it was accordingly 
transferred to him, at his coming of age. He took 
this course for the further reason that it showed — 
certified — ^his confidence in the prudence, good sense 
and mature judgment of a son, of whom he had so 
much reason to be proud. The sagacity of his 
course in this matter was apparent in after 
times. It had the happiest effect, among other 
things, of preventing any envy or jealousy between the 
son of his first marriage and the children of 
the second. William Peyton always felt and acted 
towards his half brothers and sisters with the affectionate 
sohcitude of a parent. During the thirty-odd years 
of the writer's intercourse with him, down, in &ct, to 
the period of his death, he never spoke an unkind 
word, or was guilty of a single action unworthy of 
the fraternal relations existing between them. On 
the contrary he was always anxious to promote the 
success and prosperity of his sisters and brothers, 
but more especially of the author, in his every plan 
and project ; was, in a word, everything that a brother 
could or should be. Well may my hand tremble, and 
my eyes grow dim, as the memory of the past rises up 
out of the grave. Turning back to the period when 
I first remember him, now after the lapse of forty years^ 

His every look, His every word, 

His very voice's tone, 
Come back to me like things whose worth 

Is only prized when gone. 

48 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

The past stirs up again the churchyard of memory, 
and I see him as I saw him when a lad of ten. I 
loved him as a boy can love ; and boys love with a 
devotion, a truth, a purity which few preserve in 
youth and manhood. My affection for him, however, 
was always the same. Time, business contact with the 
cold and selfish world did not impair or lessen it. But 
why dwell upon my grief at his loss ? a grief heightened, 
if possible, in my case, since the blow was received 
when my home had become strange to me, and a strange 
land my home. The heart only knows its own bitter- 
ness. Suffice it to say, that in those days he com- 
pletely fulfilled my boyish notions of the beau ideal. 

From that period, I follow our intercourse down to his 
death, without recalling a single instance in which his 
anxious care, affectionate kindness failed. All my 
recollections of him, indeed, are associated with his 
almost parental solicitude on my behalf. It cannot be 
surprising, then, that I feel warmly concerning him, that 
I cherish his memory, that I have spoken of him and 
must still do so in high — ^in what some might consider 
extravagant — terms. Far be it from me, however, to 
indulge in idle praise. Elsewhere I have remarked 
that such praise is weak as unjust, reflecting credit 
neither upon the eulogist nor the person commended. 

Nor does his fame require it. In his case the simple 
truth is more eloquent than the highest- wrought praise. 
Bom with a love of the good, the pure, and the true, a 
lovelier character never existed. If I may be permit- 
ted, after having already said so much on this subject, 
to refer to it again, it would be to say that if such a 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 47 

umltiform and mixed thing as the human character 

can be described by a single word, his might very 

neariy be concentrated into that one word — ^magnamity. 

His genius allied itself to deep thoughts, great Indies 

and objects. His intellect was solid, vigorous and 

comprehensive ; taking in the whole range of knowledge^ 

but was particularly devoted to those branches which 

require industry, sustained attention and the power of 

abstract thought. He was learned in the languages^ 

thoroughly versed in the law, an adept in mathematics 

and the natural sciences. But, if his varied abilities 

elicited admiration his virtues were greater. Truth 

and honour were the two poles within which his whole 

actions revolved. He was capable only of the loftiest 

conceptions, of the noblest sentiments. Everything 

little, false, and corrupt, was spumed by him as the 

dust beneath his feet. In a crooked path he could not 

walk : in a foul atmosphere he could not breathe. 

Some years since, I met the distinguished Dr. J« 

Marion Sims, of New York, at a private party in Paris. 
He had taken refuge there during the civil war in 

America, and, by his professional abihties, was not only 

making a support, but extending his fame.* In the course 

of the evening, our conversation turned upon the subject 

of the civil strife in the United States, which was then 

at its height, and to Colonel Peyton's actual detention 

under surveillance, his quasi imprisonment for some 

months after its commencement in New York. A 

gentleman present, one of my brother's old friends, 

* He was Consnlting Physician to the Enipress Eugenie, and Physician 
in Ordinary to the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton. 

48 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

asked Dr. Sims if Colonel Peyton was an acquaint- 
ance of his ? " Yes '' said Dr. Sims " I know and love 
him. We have been intimate friends for years. He 
is a man of superior intelligence, versed in the arts, in 
science, and in politics — in everything, in short, which 
can enrich and elevate the human mind, " *' He has," 
continued Dr. S. ** a heart superior to his head — ^is, 
in a word, as near perfection as is possible with a 
human being. » 

Perhaps an apology is due to the reader for the 
abruptness of my transitions, and for the want of strict 
sequence as to time in relating these recollections. It 
arises from the difficulty of combining all the facts of a 
personal history in a continuous recital. The assurance, 
however, that it does not interfere materially with the 
continuity of the narrative, will palliate, if it does not 
altogether excuse, the adventurous freedom of my pen. 

The estate previously mentioned as having been 
transferred to my brother, consisted of lands in Virginia 
and Kentucky, negro bondsmen, and a considerable 
accumulation of money. He found himself, therefore, 
at his majority, in command of a handsome fortune, the 
representative of a family, which in point of antiquity, 
of high connexions and the political influence it 
exercised, second to none in the land. It is not 
surprising, therefore, that the law had faint allurements 
for him, that he turned reluctantly to its study and then 
only to gratify a father who was ambitious that he 
should shine in the forum. Of all the professions, that 
of jurisprudence affords the fairest and most promising 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 49 

field for the exercise of abilitieB. Neither patronage, 
connections, nor address, can make a man an able 
lawyer or an eloquent pleader. In this profession 
there must be intrinsic merit, which will at last 
snimonnt all difficulties and command that attention 
which the generality of men are obliged to court. 
Knowing my brother's abilities, and that he must make a 
conspicuous figure in the forum, my father felt a strong 
desire that he should pursue this profession. The law 
was also at that time, as it now is, the avenue to every dis- 
tinction in Virginia, and this fact also induced our learned 
father to urge him to adopt it. Our father was a man 
of high and honourable ambition, and naturally sought 
the distinction of his son, at the same time he ever kept 
in view, that our chief end in this world is to prepare 
for a better one — often recalling his son from too eager 
a pursuit by remarking, verily, it would be no profit if 
he gained the whole world, and lost his own soul. 

Perhaps my brother's disinclination for the law may 
be better understood when his character is more fully 
developed before the reader. Among his earliest 
propensities was a fondness for the arts, music, poetiy, 
painting, and sculpture. In both drawing and painting 
he acquired much skill, and while these pursuits were 
necessarily neglected amid the multiplied and pressing 
occupations of after life, he always showed the highest 
appreciation of them. His sense of the beautifdl was 
vivid, his taste exquisite, and it was said of him by the 
late Mr. Sully, an eminent painter of Bichmond and 
Philadelphia, that he was not only an amateur and a 


60 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

connoisseuTy but an axtist as well. Before he was 
twenty-five he had amassed a considerable collection of 
paintings, busts, statuettes, vasds, coins, medals, and 
other rarities, a collection which was augmented from 
year to year till the visitor wandered from room to room 
in his Boanoke mansion bewildered with the embarras 
des richesses. His library, too, was one of the best 
selected, and probably the largest private collection of 
books in Virginia. On his shelves were many old, rare, 
and valuable works, and some of the finest books of 
plates and engravings extant. It would* have required 
the industry and learning of an American Dibden to 
classify the books and set forth their claims to celebrity. 
Such was his proficiency as a linguist, that he wrote 
several of the polite languages with the correctness and 
fluency of an educated native. Yet, with all this 
surface of graceful accomplishments, no one called him 
superficial. On the contrary, it was the habit of his 
mind to search into the depths of things. He had 
sufficient warmth of imagination to appreciate the 


works on which fancy bestows a life more lasting than 
reality, yet that appreciation did not lead him to copy, 
but rather to analyse what he admired. Fond of 
metaphysics, he prized most that kind of poetry in 
which intellectual speculation lights up unsuspected 
beauties, or from which it derives familiar illustration 
of hidden truths. Thus, in his conversation, though it 
had the easy charm of a man of the world, there was a 
certain subtlety, sometimes a depth, of reasoning, which, 
aided by large stores of information, imposed upon his 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 51 

listeners and brought into bolder relief the vantage 
ground for political station, which his talents and his 
knowledge took from the dignity of his birth and the 
largeness of his fortune. 

With little taste for the routine and technicalities of 
the common law, he yielded to the earnest desire of 
our father, and, after a short respite from collegiate 
labours, commenced studying for the bar. Two years 
later (1828), when in his twenty-third year, he was 
admitted to the practice. A few months following this 
introduction, during a recess of the courts, he set 
forth upon a tour of the States, or what were termed 
" his travels." It was not only his own, but our 
father's wish, that he should make this tour. No doubt 
there is a period in the existence of every man, when 
he desires to waitder away from the famiUar objects 
around him, when he longs to be far from his best 
friends ; times when the stream of humanity becomes 
dull and prosy, when one tires of routine, and desires 
to be upon the lake shore or the mountain peak. 
This was now his case, and consequently he left 
home in high q,irite. He wae no del inined with 
the meaning of the remark of Beaumont on a similar 
occasion, who said : 

'* lyet rogues be fixed, who have no habitation, 
A gentleman may wander." 

During his absence, he visited the British North 
American provinces^ and, returning by Canada passed, 
thence through the lakes to the north-western States 
and territories, and down the Mississippi to New 

62 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Orleans. From New Orleans he proceeded home 
through Alabama, Florida, Georgia and the CaroUnas* 
These travels were midertaken, not merely to gratify 
his taste for the picturesque, but, in imitation of the 
example of the wise Ulysses, to study the laws and 
institutions, the manners and customs, of the different 
regions which he visited and where he resided. In 
the society of the numerous state and colonial 
capitals where he sojourned, he abstained from all 
giddy and licentious pleasures^ though it was not 
unfrequently the case that youi^g men whom he met, 
sought to make him ashamed of sobriety, and I regret 
to say, many of the women of modesty. 

While in Florida he was prostrated by a violent 
attack of fever. He could scarcely have recovered, 
such was its severity but for the kind and watchfol 
attention of a Virginian doctor, who had years before 
migrated to the territory, and who attended him more as 
a friend than a physician, and the singular fidelity of an 
African freedman, a waiter in the town of Tallahassee, 
who had been his travelling guide and servant far 
some weeks before. This faithful black watched at his 
bed-side, day and night, apparently without ever giving 
way to sleep or fatigue, studying his every motion, 
administering medicine at proper intervals, and fanning 
his fevered brow. When he had sufficiently recovered 
to leave his room, and was once more convalescent, he 
enquired the cause of a sadness which he had all along 
read ui the countenance of his excellent attendant. 
The black informed him, with a simple eloquence, which 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 63 

brought fears to his eyes, that he had long loved a 
atave girl whom he wished to many. Her master, 
however, ohjeeted, not wishing his slaves to intermarry 
with freed persons. The black attributed his refusal to 
anoth» and a difiSsrent cause, and trembled for the girl's 
virtue. He represented that the master was in debt, 
and purposed selling his property, and removing west 
of the Mississippi. In this contingency, William's nurse 
wished to accompany them, though he should leave 
behind an aged and infirm mother, who relied entirely 
iqpon his labour for support. 

Deeply moved by this simple narrative, my brother 
formed a resolution. On the following day he visited 
the girl's master, and, after a long interview, the 
|)articulars of which never transpired, he succeeded 
in not only procuring his consent to the union, but also 
io his parting with the ownership of the beautifdl slave. 
By some arrangement, into which the freedman was 
made a party, the girl passed to her lover, or in 
other words, from the bonds of slavery to those of 
-conjugal life. When this affair was settled, and 
the particulars communicated to the gratefdl black, he 
was overwhelmed, and bewildered at his good fortune. 
SocMQ he burst into a paroxysm of tears, and throwing 
lomself upon his knees, in extravagant terms 
thanked his generous benefactor, commending him to 
the favour of Heaven. 

William Peyton remained long enough in Florida 
to see the lovers married. The night before leavmg 
they came to him with the aged mother, their friends 

54 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

and relatives, to make a last demonstration of their 
gratitude, bringing fruits and flowers as an offering, 
and singing songs of thanks and praise. When he 
left, he was surrounded by a crowd of gratefiil 
Africans, deeply moved with grief and frantic in 
their gestures, and in their wild language of praise 
and thanks. 

This afifecting incident of his travels, which was not 
mentioned on his return, many years later, came to 
the knowledge of the ^author, through a communication 
from a Floridian, who was in Virginia on a summer 

On his return from these well employed travels, 
he became the general object of esteem and attention 
in his own county, not only on account of his noble 
character, but by the elegance of his manners, the 
comeliness of his person, and the delights of his con- 
versation. His reappearance at the bar was now 
anxiously awaited by his friends, many of whom 
supposed he would equal, if not surpass, our learned 
father as a pleader and an advocate. His first 
appearance before a jury, gave the best hopes of 
his abiUties, and inspired his friends with fresh zeal 
for his continuance at the bar. He soon became 
conspicuous for the analytical powers of his mind, 
for the accura<5y of his legal knowledge, the dexterity 
of his handling of an opponent and the fervour of his 
eloquence. Business came in rapidly and his success, 
had not his failing health prevented, must have 
equalled any expectations formed of him by his 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 55 

most sangnine friends. Always in delicate health, 
he suffered periodically from vertigo and severe pains 
in the head, and [after these paroxysms . was subject 
to long periods of weariness. At the end of two 
years, therefore, upon the advice of a medical man, 
he determined to give up the profession, and to 
retire upon his estate, in order to give himself up to 
less exhausting and more congenial pursuits. Thus 
it is that he is not famous in the legal annals of 
Virginia ; that he produced no great work in his 
retirement. In addition to his ill-health, which 
impaired his energies, he wanted ambition, self- 
assertion — ^was extremely placable, and saw other and 
less worthy men advance and pass him, without any 
effort or regret. Had his health been vigorous, had 
he been arrogant, grasping, and faithless, and had he 
been ready to betray or blacken those with whom he sat 
at meat, he would have reached the highest political 
honours and distinctions, and must have passed many 
men, who in the course of his life passed him. But 
without selling his soul for a mess of pottage, had 
he been more zealous for the promotion of his interest, 
more selfish, more conscious of his power and of 
the place nature intended him to occupy, he would 
have acted a great part in life and remained a noted 
cbameter in histoiy. A man, however, cannot be 
what he would, if circumstances do not permit it. 

It may not be out of place to anticipate events at this 
point and to relate the following interesting occurrence 
which took place on his abandonment of the wig and 

66 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

gown. It had not been customary with him to receive 
his fees, while at the bar, in money, but turning a kind 
ear to the complaints of clients, he had satisfied 
himself, following in this the advice of my father, 
with simply taking their I.O.U.'s. These he could 
collect if he required the money, and if not, it was 
evident he would not inconvenience his debtors. 
Previously to the last term of the superior courts 
which he attended, he addressed a letter to each of his 
debtors, informing them of his wish to meet them at 
the next court, and asking them, if possible, not to 
disappoint him. 

What occured when he reached Himtersville, where 
the superior court of Pocahontas county was held, 
will give the reader an idea of what took place every- 
where in the circuit. His clients received these notices 
with various feelings. They were anxious — ^restless. 
Those who owed him large sums were filled with 
apprehension. They could but suppose from the brief, 
almost curt, note they had received, that immediate 
payment of their accoimts would be demanded. 
Somethmg akin to a money panic prevailed at the 
time in the country — ^there was great financial embar- 
rassment, and the stoutest men quailed as they looked 
forward to the ruin in which all industrial interests 
were likely to be involved. The dread, therefore, with 
which his debtors assembled for his appearance at 
Huntersville, may be better imagined than described. 
Many said it was impossible such a man could think 
of pressing them for his claims at such a moment, or 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 57 

indeed, at any time. Others, said he, might be in 
trouble, and thus havB no alternative. A third party 
protested that the human heart was deceitful above all 
things and desperately wicked, and while they never 
could have believed him capable of such oppression, 
they feared they had mistaken his tiature. Still a 
fourth set came forward to cheer the despondent, 
declaring they would never beUeve him capable of 
wrong and injustice, (and it would be both to demand 
immediate payment of these notes, during a period of 
financial distress) until it could be made to appear that 
black was white and white black. 

On the first day of the term, a day which finally 
came, great crowds assembled (as is usual in Virginia 
on assize days) at Huntersville. William Peyton was 
already in his lodgings, where his clients began to drop 
in. When all had arrived they were invited to a large 
room, in the centre of which stood a censer filled with 
burning coals. Shaking hands with his old friends and 
making a few inquiries after their families, he advanced 
to the head of the table, and, in a short address, inform- 
ed them of his continued ill health and of his purpose 
to retire from the bar. He then took from a drawer a 
tin box containing their bonds. A shudder passed 
through the frame of many a poor fellow, as he 
recognised the fatal bills to which his hand and seal 
were affixed. My ' brother then remarked that the 
notes which he took from the box had been given for 
his professional services, while the truth was simply this, 
that he had rendered them little or no service what- 

58 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

ever and that^ therefore, he could not consent to receive 
a penny from any of them — ^that he had called them 
together that day to absolve them from their obU- 
gations — to wish them every kind of prosperity in life, 
and to bid them farewell. Nothing more. 

A profound silence followed these words, his audience 
was momentarily stupified with astonishment. During 
this pause he proceeded to place upon the live coals their 
promissory notes, and the entire bundle was consumed 
before their wondering eyes. His grateful cUents, 
having somewhat recovered their self possession, raised, 
amidst the smoke of the charred papers, shout after 
shout, cheer after cheer. 

Next day they instructed a committee from their 
body, to wait upon and invite him to a pubUc dinner 
and to say in substance, 

** Not that we think ub worthy such a gaest, 
But that your worth wiU dignify our feast 
With those that oome." 

When the committee arrived at his rooms, they found 
them empty and in disorder, a few stray bits of paper, 
the ends of strings and other evidences of hasty packing 
were scattered about the floor. Betimes that morning 
he had risen, and was now probably twenty miles 
distant on his return. He travelled by a road con- 
ducting to the Hot Springs, instead of proceeding 
immediately towards Staunton. This was a common 
thing with him. He often turned away from the beaten 
track, trebling his journey, in order to visit some region 
famed for its scenic beauty. On the present occasion, 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 69 

following this custom, he took a ronte remarkable for its 
diversified and romantic landscapes. Brought up in 
a beantifdl pastoral district, he early imbibed a love of 
nature which he viewed with a poetic eye. He early 
fed upon the open sky influences of the fields, the 
wide vallies, the rolling meadows, the lofty mountains : 
was nurtured upon sunshine and shadow, on hill and 
in vale, by mountain-stream, and in the leafy dell. He 
.knew all the choicest haunts, the sweetest and most 
sublime scenes of nature, throughout a district unrivalled 
in Virginia for varied and picturesque beauty. The 
grandeur of the summer and autumn fogs rolling 
up the hills and mountains, of the roaring cataract 
plunging down into the valley below ; the ineffable 
sweetness of the evening glow enveloping the far spread- 
ing valley, amid which the peaceful flocks browsed in 
quiet joy ; the glory of sunrise, 

** When from the naked top 
Of some lofty peak he beheld the son 
Bifie up, and bathe the world in Hght." 

were all famihar to him from a boy. Thus was his 
mind fed upon nature in her choicest aspects, and his 
enthusiastic heart impelled towards art and its 

It is proper that it should be explained with 
reference to his observation to his clients, when burning 
their notes, " that he had rendered them no service," 
that no man deserved to stand higher for his moral 
qualities and his faithfol discharge of duty. He was as 
much distinguished tor the uprightness of his dealing 

60 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

in all transactions of a business character, as for his 
benevolent affections. In this remark his modesty 
spoke, and only his modesty. He was emphatically 
antiqua homo virtute ac jide^ and, moreover, a philanthro- 
pist in the truest sense of that word. Everything 
tending to the good of his kind, he was on all 
occasions, and particularly in cases of distress, zealous 
to forward, considering nothing as foreign to himself, 
as a man, which related to man. Consequently, he 
counted, as we have before said, many friends, and 
from the great purity and simplicity of his manners, 
few or no enemies, unless I may be allowed to call 
those enemies, who, without detracting from his merit 
openly, might yet from a jealousy of his superiority, 
be disposed to lessen it in private. An old author 
has said on this point, " men take an ill-natured 
pleasure in crossing our inclinations, and disappointing 
us in what our hearts are most set upon; when, 
therefore, they have discovered our ruling passion, 
they become sparing and reserved iu their com- 
mendations, they envy the satisfaction of applause, and 
look on their praise rather as a kindness done to our 
person than as a tribute to our merit. Others, who 
are free from this natural perverseness of temper, grow 
•wary in their praises of one who sets a value on them, 
lest they should raise him too high in his own 
imagination, and, by consequence, remove him to a 
greater distance from themselves." 


In 1824 when WOliam Peyton returned from Yale 
he commenced, as has been previously said, reading 
for the bar. Though he gave sufficient time to this 
grave pursuit to pass for a young man of "steady 
habits," he mingled largely in polite society. His 
name was generaUy found at this period among those 
who frequented balls, theatres, and other amusements. 
Frequently in Richmond and Washington his box was 
well known at the opera. Considering his youth and 
high natural spirits, this was but reasonable, one of 
those things to be expected. 

During an incidental visit to Washington a year or 
two later, when dining with General Jackson, who had 
been recently elected President, the following passage 

occurred between them. It must be remembered that 


with the election of "Old Hickory" in 1829, a new 
and by no means improved order of things was 
introduced into American politics. For the first 
time since the foundation of the Government and 
to the no small disguft of the President's best friends 

62 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

and wisest counsellors, General Jackson announced 
his determination to be guided in all appointments to 
ofl&ce by the maxim that "to the victors belong the 
spoils." Shortly, therefore, after his inauguration, he 
Bmnmarily discharged every poUtical opponent who 
chanced to hold office. That reckless spirit which has 
since degraded American politics was thus introduced, and 
has been from that time to the present in the ascendency. 
Shame has graduaUy perished ; insolence and impudence 
prevail over justice, and possess the land. The 
purity of an earlier and better period of the Republic 
and their traditions are forgotten. Those days 

" Onoe far famed, 
Where liberty and justice, hand in hand, 
Order'd the common weal ; where great men grew 
Up to their natural eminence, and none 
Saving the wise, just, eloquent, were great ; 
Where power was of Good's gift, to whom he gave 
Supremacy of merit, the sole means 
And broad highway to power that ever then 
Was meritoriously tidminister'd, 
Whilst all the instruments from first to last. 
The tools of state for service high or low, 
Were chosen for their aptness to the ends 
Which virtue meditates." 

At the President's dinner our father was present, 
being at the time a guest at the Executive mansion. 
He had been one of Jackson's supporters in the 
election, but, it must be said in justice to his memory, 
under a total misapprehension of the General's political 
character. No man detested and repudiated more 
heartily than did John Howe Peyton the corrupting 
doctrine with which Jackson commenced his official 
career, and he became so convinced in the progress of 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 63 

events of its lowering and corrupting tendencies, that 
he forsook his party and joined the whigs. Dnring the 
second term of General Jackson's administration, 
the control of the party passed into the hands 
of m^e adventurers, E fungis nati homines. At 
this time (1831), however, our father was on the 
best terms with His Excellency, and was staying 
during a business visit to Washington, as he was in the 
habit of doing, at the White House. Some years 
previously General Jackson made the acquaintance of my 
brother, and conceived an especial liking for him. The 
liveliness, wit, and humour of the young man quickly 
captivated ^^old Hickory," who took a rare delight in 
his society and always treated him with marked atten- 
tion. Few indeed could resist the charm of William 
Peyton's manner and conversation. In the course of 
the dinner, ^^old Hickory" expressed his astonishment at 
the numbers attracted to Washington in search of office. 
It must be borne in mind that at this early period in his 
administration, the President had not unfurled the pirate 
flag to which I have referred. Turning to his young 
friend he said jocosely : 

**Well William, What office are you seeking?" 

My brother replied at once with equal humour and 
with his customary animation : 

^* I do not aspire to any post, but if your Excellency 
confer an office upon me let it be one with a fat salary, 
where there is no work and less responsibility." 

Old Hickory received this sally with hearty laughter, 
and said: 

64 Memoir of WtUicmi Madison Peyton. 

"My dear boy, I shall not forget yon. We have too 
many snch sinecures m Washington. It is all salary, no 
^ork, and as for responsibility it is expected that I shall 
assume this and by the Eternal I am not afraid to do 

The year following this visit to the capital, the impor- 
tant Federal office of attorney for the district of West- 
em Virginia became vacant. This is no sinecure, and 
the President oflfered it to William Peyton. A most 
unusual distinction for one so young, and exhibiting in 
the strongest manner the unbounded confidence reposed 
in him by the Government. William hesitated to 
accept or to refuse the appointment. If he continued 
at the bar it was important that he should do the 
former. He was somewhat apprehensive, however, that 
his health might not permit hhn to perform its duties. 
He paused, therefore, before communicating with the 
Govenmxent on the subject. At this moment an aj^eal 
was made to his better nature. A young friend, Mr. 
Harrison, in straitened circumstances, who had with 
difficulty obtained an education, greatly desired the 
office. This gentleman was on the circuit, and gave 
promise of future usefulness, but was absolutely without 
political interest. He appealed to his friend William to 
refuse the position for his benefit. " You are rich," said 
'Mr. Harrison, " and have no need of the salary — ^your 
health is deUcate, why undertake its drudgery — ^you have 
no particular taste for the law, why should you 
unnecessarily impose the heavy yoke of its labours 
upon yourself ? " Mr. Harrison's confidence in William's 

Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 65 

^efOBity was not misplaced. My brother, after Mr. 
H/s earnest appeal, determined to decline the post, and 
recommended his friend's appoiQtment to the President, 
if you have one friend, says the proverb, think yourself 
happy. Here was a friend iadeed, a practical illustra- 
tion of disinterested friendship. Yet there are people 
who calnnmiate poor human nature and speak of self 
sacrifice and true friendship as if it had no existence. 

If it be true that no object is more pleasing to the 
eye than the sight of a man whom you have obliged, 
nor any music so agreeable to the ear as the>oice of one 
that owns you for His benefactor, William Peyton must 
have gone through life cheered by pleasant sights and 
grateful sounds: never was there a man who so 
habitually lost sight of himself, who made more 
numerous sacrifices for his friends, nay even his mere 

Shortly after he entered upon the practice of the law, 
when attending court at the warm springs, Bath Co., he 
mortified my father exceediugly by a piece of off-hand levity, 
which the latter regarded as a most undignified proceed- 
ing, xmworthy of the profession. He was employed to 
defend a man charged with horse stealing, and, as there 
was only circumstantial evidence to prove his guilt, my 
brother, who was much exhilarated, for it must be remem- 
bered that the case came on after dinner, set up the 
deiience that according to the principles of science, and 
of a new science likely to prove both useful and 
ornamental, it was impossible his client could be guilty. 
He then referred to and explained the theories of Gall 

66 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

and Spnrzheimi and declared that according to the 
phrenological bumps on the head of his client, theft was 
a crime he was incapable of committing. He argued 
with much gravity and ingenuity in this direction, 
amidst the suppressed giggling of the bar, to the great 
chagrin of my father, who was public prosecutor, and 
to the thorough mystification of the county court. This 
body was composed of country gentlemen unacquainted 
with law, and it was one of their boasts that they made 
up their decisions, not so much in accordance with the 
principles of common law, as of common sense. My 
brother went on, and drawing from his desk a 
copy of Combe's phrenology, illustrated with plates, 
exhibited it to the jury, and declared that at the point 
upon the pericranium of his client, where there should 
be a protuberance if he were capable of robbery, there 
was not the slightest development, and asked, what is 
the value of science, if we discarded its teachings ? He 
then made an animated and eloquent appeal to the 
feelings of the jury, based upon the humane principle of 
the common law, that it is better that ninety-nine guilty 
men should escape, than that one innocent person 
should suffer, and, declaring his conviction of the 
prisoner's innocence, asked them to give him the benefit 
of every doubt, and lean to the side of mercy. 

My father, in reply, was exceedingly severe in his 
comments upon the airiness of my brother, as inconsistent 
with the administration of justice and the dignity of his 
profession. He ridiculed Ghdl and Spurzheim's far- 
fetched theories, which he declared were not scientific 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 6T 

deductions, but only speculative opinions, and attempted 
to bring the whole defence into contempt, by referring 
to the human skeleton, saying, "If you run your eye down 
the spine it aUghts upon the oscoccyffis.'* Neither the 
court nor the jury understanding what these words 
meant, but overcome by the ludicrous manner of my 
father, both burst into a hearty laugh. * * Now, " continued 
my father, ^^iid&oscoccygis is nothing more nor less than a 
rudimentary tail, as Lord Monbeddo has well said, and I 
suppose we shall soon have some modem philosopher 
startling the world again with the proposition that man 
once flourished a tail, but of which, the civilized use of a 
chair has, in process of time, deprived him." He 
continued somewhat in this style, "I mean nothing 
against philosophers nor tails, both are useful in their 
way. What would a cow do without her tail, especially 
on our fly-pestered prairies, or the Pampas of South 
America ? What would a monkey do without this caudal 
appendage and its prehensile quality ? — ^with him it takes 
the place of hands. And shall we have philosophers 
telling us that we received our hands when we lost our 
tails, and that the monkey lost the use of his hands 
because of his peculiar facility of using a tail ? A beauti- 
ful science," said he, "is this phrenology, according to the 
theory of the learned counsel for the prisoner. To all 
standing in the unenviable position of his client, it will 
prove, if the learned gentleman be correct, not only a 
thing of beauty, but a source of comfort and a joy for 
ever. To the murderer, the thief, the burglar, the high- 
way robber, to all in fact, who wish to be rid of the 

68 Memoir, of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 

responsibility which attaches to their actions^ it will 
become a positive blessing. Not to these only^ bat to the 
entire commnnity — ^it opens a briUiant prospect of life, of 
life as it should be in this enlightened age, at this 
advanced period in the progress of the world. Upon 
the rains of oar present inunatore civilization it will 
uprear a charming state of society. Under the vivifying 
inflaences of this new system, mankind will be happy, 
perfectly happy ; and ontil the aaspicioas day when the 
new order commences this ^^ consammation so devoutly to 
be wished," need not be anticipated. Throughout the 
world, or at least so much of it as is illumined by the sun 
of phrenology, perfect liberty will obtain, and the present 
generation will wonder at the darkness in which their 
ancestors groped. Justice will reign supreme, and our 
statute books will be no longer disgraced by those dread- 
ful laws founded in ignorance, superstition, and cruelty, 
which consign a helpless and irresponsible man, criminal 
you call him, to the merciless hands of the executioner. 
It will then be clear as the noon-day sun, that law and 
liberty cannot exist, that they are natural enemies. 
Along with this knowledge will come a resolution to 
demolish the whole system of our jurisprudence, to cart 
off the rubbish, and substitute in place thereof a new, 
nobler, and higher civilization. Poor weak man wiU no 
longer be held accountable for his actions. The infirm- 
ities of his nature will become a recognised principle, that 
men are but men, will be known of all men. It will be 
understood that from the foundation of the world, it was 
determined, predestined, and fore-ordained that he should 

Memok of William Madison Peyton. 69 

act thns and thus, and that, therefore, he cannot be 
justly rewarded for any action however meritorious, nor 
punished for any crime, as we term it, how atrocious 
soever. Men will stand aghast that laws should have 
existed, and for so many ages, for afflicting a human being 
for actions, over which it is clear, according to the pris- 
(mer's counsel, he had no control — actions, in fact, which 
they were bound to perform, by an irresistible law of human 
nature. Then will it be seen that men commit murder, 
perpetrate rape, and apply the torch because they cannot 
help it. Gentlemen of the Jury, no line of argument 
would be shorter — I leave you to determine its soundness." 
"But to be serious," said my father, who though 
cheerful in his disposition had a manner so tempered 
with gravity as to check the sallies of indecent levity, 
"I must refer, before closing, to the conduct of the 
prisoner's counsel, and remark that some speakers are 
more anxious to display their eloquence, than to 
promote the public good. Now, when this is the case^ 
as I must charitably suppose it to be on this occasion, 
OTatory is a useless gift, and such fine speeches as we 
have had to day are simply disgusting. When great 
tidents are employed to support a bad cause, perhaps 
from selfish motives, (I trust and beUeve that this is not 
the case now), they are objects of universal contempt. 
Oratory, with aU its pleasmg charms becomes an 
instrument of mischief, when used by an unprincipled 
man, as, when resorted to by a good man, its happy 
infloeiices almost exceeds belief. An orator who thus 
uses his talents, without reference to his personal 

70 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

interests, if he do not succeed in his efforts, at least, 
enjoys self approbation, and that of his God." 

In this manner my father threw the defence into 
ridicule and disrepute. His sound sense and keen 
sarcasm was too much for my brother's after dinner 
eloquence, and, from a brief consultation, the jury 
returned and delivered a verdict condemning the prisoner 
to the penitentiary for two years. 

The Hon. David Fultz, of Staunton, recently Judge 
of the Circuit Superior Court of Augusta County, who 
was present on this occasion, told the writer twenty 
years ago, that he had never during his career at the 
bar been so much interested and amused by any trial as 
this. The disgust of my father at such a defence being 
set up, the elation 6f my brother, at the probable 
success of his ruse, the bewilderment of the court and 
jury, both of whom seemed lost in a fog, the suppressed 
merriment of the audience, which did not comprehend 
exactly all that was transpiring, but which to some 
extent entered into the fun, rendered the whole scene 

The reader must not fall into the error of supposing, 
because I have delayed thus far to recur to my 
brother's love affair, that he had lost his interest in 
Miss Taylor. Far from it. On his return from Yale, 
their friendship was renewed, and William gave less 
time to the study of Captain Williamson's art collection, 
wandered more on the banks of the purling streams 
which water the meadows above and below the town. 
In other Words, made a tolerably fair division of his 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 7 1 

time between Coke — Lyttleton, and his amiable friend. 
Of course in a small place these things could not long 
escape public attention, becoming food for gossips. 
Staunton was one of those retired communities, such as 
exist the world over, where everything is known and 
thin fictions flourish in wanton luxuriance. Mrs. 
Brown never had beef and carrots for dinner without 
the knowledge or " unbeknownt," as the jiegroes said, 
to Mrs. Smith. The grocer never called at Mrs. 
Jones' without the extravagance of that unlucky 
woman, who was supposed to be ^* gone in the head," 
because she indulged in an extra quantity of rum and 
molasses, becoming the subject of interesting specula- 
tions among neighbours, as to how long her 
unfortunate husband could bear the drain upon his 
finances. It was a standing joke among the 
« conscript fathers" that in bygone days an individual 
had amassed a fortune in Staunton by attending to 
his oton btcsiness. Something not likely to occur again 
was the doleful commentary upon modern degeneracy 
when people are wont to mind every body's afiairs but 
their own. The old ladies assembled almost daily to 
^'sometimes counsel take and sometimes tea," and 
nothing transpiring in the place was likely to 
escape their observation. 

It must not be supposed because this is an accurate 
description of the town of my boyhood that it was 
worse than^ or very unlike, other small communities. 
Far from it. I shall not, however, attempt any 
vindication or make any apologies for the place. Que 

72 Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 

s* excuse s'accuse. The trath is, the residents were 
. very pleasant after their fsushion, and not more addicted 
to gossip than the rest of the world. As a role they 
were much given to hospitality, and entertained 
strangers on the fiat of the land. They were a little 
lethargic, somewhat like the dwellers in Sleepy Hollow, 
but stagnation in trade rendered the affairs of the social 
life all the brisker. Every now and then daring term 
toe, it enjo^ some ^eb »t festmty, but Boeh 
seasons only occurred twice a year and Staunton had 
ample time to recruit her energies. From these 
periodical festivities she would relapse into placidity, 
and nodded on from month to month contentedly. 

During the latter part of the month of Oct. 1828, a 
party of ladies, (there was only one gentleman present^ 
Mr. Sam. Moore), I do not say old ladies, for one or 
two sweet seventeen's were in the room, were grouped 
around a table from which the hissing urn had just been 
r«noyed. Thej we«, palling, mL«ring, adjosting 
their work, and settling themselves down, after heavy 
potations of that friend to prattle and that foe to 
slumbers, for a cosey tittle-tattle. A jocund wood fire 
illumined the hearth and a brilliant light was diffused 
through the wainscoted room, from an ancient glass 
chandeUer, suspended from the ceihng. Some good 
paintings lined the walls, and several small tables were 
loaded with glittering nick-nacks from all climes and 
countries'. Much old china was disposed about the 
room, a little cracked if closely examined, many books, 
a pretty work box, a bird cage, and a great vase of 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 73 

freshly gathered flowers, the early frosts had not yet 
withered these. Mr. Moore and the young ladies were* 
engaged in a round game, and a fine King Charles dog 
and an Angora cat, after their diurnal squabbles, were 
peacefally sleeping side by side on the rug. This 
wainscoted apartment in which there was a ceaseless 
rustle of silky raiment, a shimmer of jewels, and a glitter 
of eyes brighter yet, was the drawing-room of a 
Staunton mansion. It stood in its own grounds, was 
innocent of stucco, lath or plaster, and was one of the 
finest pictures imaginable of the local respectability of 
former days. This was the "Blackburn House," though 
not then occupied by the family from which it took its 
name, but by Mrs. Lisle, one of the feminine "institu- 
tions" of the town.* 

Mrs. Lisle was the centre of a little coterie, the chief 
personages of which were now assembled around her. 
Every one knows the freemasonry that exists 
in such a set, and it is not without its social 
advantages. However much they trouble themselves 
with their neighbours' concerns, they have the good 
nature and tact to generally keep it to themselves. 
Among those present this evening was Mrs. Bob 
Macdowell, — a large, bony looking woman, with a tumed- 
up nose and a pouting under lip, that expressed a sour 
contempt for all that she heard. The writer remembers 

It is now, or was in 1859, the E^nscopal parsonage, occupied by 
Rev. T. T. Castleman, M. A., Rector of Trinity Church. It has been 
plartered and white wa^ed, the ffrounds stripped of trees, and the build- 
ing stares at you with sharp, har^, and stem, almost forbidding outlines, 
and is, thanis to modem architecture, the most uninviting looking of 


74 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Mrs. Macdowell perfectly^ for she survived this period 
many years, and she was a character, obstinate, opinioti- 
ative, incredulous. She not unfrequently breakfasted on 
beefsteak and Albany ale, daily taking so many pints ct 
that bitter liquid, which was imported into our commun- 
ity by the leading confectioner of the day, Merrill 
Gushing. Mrs. Macdowell was as unangelio in persoa 
as in her diet, dressed gorgeously, and indulged in. 
masterly intrigues, polite hatreds, and a perpetual 
struggle with the little world of fashion around her. 
Having failed in a good fight she had waged since her 
widowhood against all wealthy widowers and bachelors, 
she had dropped to the rear, desperately wounded, but 
with life enough left to carry on a harrassing battle with 
hmn^ty. L indnlgea to ronge, powder. Li jMtm, 
and seemed to have far down in her heart the germ of 
an unlawful admiration for anything scandalous — not to 
say wicked. When listening to the gossip of her 
neighbours, she would sometimes exclaim with the 
affected modesty of a maiden of seventeen "Oh 1 how 
delicious, and so improper 1" Another of the evening party 
was Mrs. Telfair, one of the strong-minded women of that 
day. There was also present Mrs. Blackburn and Mrs. 
Brown, both originals in their way and of many good quali- 
ties. Mrs. Lisle and her friends had been delightfully 
occupied with their small talk about two hours, during 
which they had pretty well discussed the affairs of the 
town, and, among the rumours of the hour, the approach- 
ing marriage of William Peyton and Miss Taylor. At the 
moment they were turning this deUcious morsel over their . 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 75 

tbngaes, the door opmied, and a shadow fell upon the 
taUe. Turning their eyes, they rose and greeted warmly a 
tidl, strongly-built, straight-limbed, fresh-coloured, young 
man who entered, hat and cane m hand. This was 
William Peyton, of whom they had been speaking. He 
called at the instance of Mrs. Boys, to escort her sister, 
Mrs. TeUiGkir, on her return home. There was no resist- 
ing the importunities of the ladies, and he took a seat 
and remained to sip a glass of mulled wine. 

Now, at the moment this was going forward at Mrs. 
lisle's, another scene, a festive scene was taking place in a 
different part of the town. In Augusta Street, at the 
oomer of Court-House Alley, on the spot now (1873) 
occupied by the Augusta Law Offices, there stood in 
1826, a long two-story frame building, called ^^The 
Bryan House." The boards on its sides, from long 
exposure to wind and weather, and to the action of the 
semitropical sun of a Virginian summer, were warped, 
curled, and bent, in a remarkable manner. Originally, 
when the boards had been smoothly arranged, the 
exterior of the Bryan House was not unhandsome — ^now it 
Was horrible to behold. Long since, mischievous boys 
had shattered the glass of the basement windows, and 
the cats and dogs of the neighbourhood roamed at 
liberty through the subterranean vaults. The entire 
sashes of the dormer windows were gone, and two black 
holes, like eyless sockets, stared at you from the roof. 
These ghost-like apertures, where there were no eyes, 
let in light upon an upper story as empty as any ever 
illuminated by visual organs. With Hwo such unprom- 

76 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

ising stories — the upper and lower — little can be 
expected from what remains to be described of the 
*^ Bryan House." Yet there were two floors still habit- 
a];)le — at least to bachelors, who are generally expected 
to put up with slender accomodation, and these were 
known in the legal language of the town as attorney's 
chambers. They were now occupied by two students of 
the law. One of these was the late Chapman Johnson, 
jun., who was at the moment, when WiUiam Peyton 
entered Mrs. LisleJs parlour, sitting amongst a number 
of chosen friends, pipe in mouth, playing the violin. 

Mr. Johnson was a musician out and out, sons tarn les 
rapports. In fact, was so absorbed with music that he 
could not be separated from it : it was himself. He 
recalled the epitaph on the grave stone of the obscure 
Englishman, which records "One Claudius Philips, 
whose absolute contempt for riches, and inimitable 
performance on the violin, made him the admiration ci 
all who knew him." 

Mr. Johnson, certainly from no unusual gravity in 
his manner there, was confessedly something antiquated 
in his appearance, had been called from his fifteenth year 
" Old Chap." He was (for this dear old friend of my 
youth has been gathered to his fathers) a social, 
harmless, improvident, generous fellow. From his 
chambers there was ordinarily a sound of revelry by 
night. As may be imagined, he was personally 
popular, particularly among the younger portion of the 
community. Old Chap possessed more than social 
qualities, was a man of excellent abilities and sound 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 77 

professional knowledge, yet his life had been a failure. 
No success attended his presence at the bar, nor when 
subsequently elected a member of the House of 
Delegates of Virginia did he add anything to his 
fame. His singular inefficiency was attributed to 
various causes. To my mind it seemed that he had 
never proposed to himself a certain aim in life and 
set forward steadily to attain it. Possibly, like 
many boys, he thought there was time enough, and 
grudged all that inteffered with his pleasures ; that, 
unmindful of the wise maxim of the ancient poet, he 
was always " sowing his wild oats," did not renounce 
his gaieties at the proper time. Nee lusisse pudet^ sed 
non incidere hcdum. It may be that he wanted the 
opportunity — Opportunity ! phantom goddess of 
success, that so few seize and make their own. And 
nothing is more true than the remark of the younger 
Pliny, ^'no man possiesses genius so commanding as 
to be able to rise in the world, imless these means are 
afforded him : opportunity and a friend to promote 
his advancement." If it be true that hell is paved 
with good resolutions, may it not be roofed over with 
lost opportunities. " Old Chap" had relations at the 
bar in Virginia, who were, at the time of his coming 
forward, in good practice. Had one of these extended 
a helping hand to him at the critical moment, he 
would in all probability have become a shining light 
in the profession. All watched his sinking, no one 
offered to rescue the drowning man. He was allowed 
to waste his best years in vain waiting, at times 

78 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

goaded by his pecuniary difficulties to desperation, and 
anon driven to despair. His selfish connections who 
pretented to be friends, but were his crudest enemies — 
those who saw him fail and die of a broken heart — 
verily, they have their reward. But what is that 
reward? Not the smiles of heaven ; nor the 
testimony of a good conscience ; scarcely the 
praise of men. If the latter, has been their reward^ 
let them enjoy it. Whether it was the meanness, 
the baseness of his so called fnends— enemies he had 
none who dared to avow it — or his own idleness and 
indifference, which I do not beUeve, his life was never- 
theless a failure, and this man of real legal learning, of 
fine logical mind and persuasive eloquence was wholly 

unsuccessful. No one knew exactly why. My father 
had his opinion upon the subject, and thought he . 

fiddled away his time and leaned too much upon his 

relations. He said of Old phap, in a moment 

of merriment, and no one was fonder of a good jeu 

(Tesprii than John Howe Peyton — " Music is out of 

place in a court house. I never knew a fiddling 

lawyer to succeed^ especially if nature designed him to 

play that useful, yet much despised, instrument, the 

" second fiddle," a good enough instrument for a 

duet, but one cm which no successful solo was ever 


But, to proceed with my narrative, Old Chap's 

friends were, on the night referred to, listening with 

rapt attention to the dulcet strains of music, and 

Paganini never called forth sweeter sounds. Now and 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 79 

again they pledged him a health as they quaffed from a 
bowl of egg-nog. As the evening advanced they 
mellowed into the most delightful companionship. Snch 
are the seductions, too, of this popular Virginian drink, 
that when they left off at eleven o'clock it was without 
exception with glowing faces and watery eyes. A few 
moments after this, William Peyton and his friend 
Moore, having conducted the party of ladies to their 
respective homes, were returning in the direction of the 
old stone house when they espied the Ughts in Old Chap's 
sitting room. As neither of them was disposed for sleep 
<they determined to pay an xmseasonable visit to their 
friend and indulge in a whiff of the calumet. Stumb- 
ling up the dark stairs, they entered without knocking. 
Here they saw Old Chap in the midst of his friends, 
his pipes, and bottles. The warm-hearted fellow greeted 
them cordially, and proceeded to fill two tumblers with 
^gg-^^- After awhile they subsided into arm chairs, 
and continued their chit-chat, while one after another 
of the company dropped off, and the three were left 
alone. William Peyton then informed his friend of his 
approaching marriage and secured his services to attend 
upon him as ''best man," when the nuptials were cele-^ 

The friends sat an hour longer over this absorbing 
topic, indulging in occasional sallies of playfdl wit, 
puffing away at their meerschaums, and watching the 
smoke wreathing up to the ceiling. Young Peyton, and 
indeed Sam« Moore for the matter of that though 
several years his senior, was drinking in worldly wisdom 

80 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

from the Kps of their venerable friend, as they called Old 
Chap, whom they esteemed the very guide-book to 
everything connected with matrimonial life. Why Old 
Chap was so considered it is not the easiest thing in 
the world to tell. Never had he made a trial in that 
direction himself, and more than once he had been heard 
to say rather dogmatically ^^ Mes enfants*' — ^he always 
spoke a little French after his egg-nog ^^voiis ne poiwez 
pas/' ^'wive and thrive." 

But to cut my story short. In accordance with the 
announcement of this evening, William Peyton was 
married to Miss Taylor within a month of this time, in* 
the year 1826. It may not be out of place to say here, 
what was proved by time, that they were well-mated and 
knew each other's worth ; William ever thought that no 
wife surpassed his own ; and she exulted in her husband 
— ^regarding him as her greatest earthly gift from God. 
Their union recalled the lines of Massinger : 

** I know the sum of aU that makes a man — ^a jiist man — happy, 
Consists in the weU chosing of his wife ; 
And then weU to discharge it, does require 
Equality of years, of birth, of fortune ; 
For beauty, being poor, and not cried up 
By birth or wealth, can truly mix with neither." 

The little town broke out in an extravaganza of 
flags and flowers on the occasion of this wedding — 
everyone went in for pleasure with a will. 

One of the landed estates my brother acquired by his 
wife, was the Hot Springs, in Bath county, Virginia — a 
property which was sold*, by the by, in 1864, for three 

Memoir of Wiliiam Madisan Peyton. 81 

hundred thousand dollars (£60,000). Shortly after 
his marriage he removed from Stamiton to the SpringSi 
where he passed three years. When leaving Pocahon- 
tas Court house, after the conflagration of his clients' 
bonds, in order to avoid any demonstration they might 
be disposed to make in his honour, it was to join his 
young wife at this Spa. She was then the happy 
mother of two lovely daughters, Elizabeth Thompson 
and Susan Madison. 

While residing at the Hot Springs, the following 
incident occurred, and though some might consider it 
too trivial to be mentioned, is deemed not unworthy of 
being recorded in further illustration of his character. 
Am<mg the intimate friends of his youth was a young 
gentleman still living, whom I shall call A. B. Young 
Alexander wished to marry an accomplished lady who 
was governess in his father's family. For several 
years, without the fact transpiring, he was her suitor 
and had proffered her marriage. The affair finally 
came to the knowledge of his father, who was greatly 
incensed, as is usual in such cases, and he deter- 
mined, if possible, to break off the match. Old Mr. B. 
declared that if his son persisted in marrying one so 
much his inferior in social position and fortune, he 
would banish him for ever from his presence, 
cut him off with a shilling. Young A. B., who 
had no independent means, was greatly troubled at 
this opposition, and wrote to his friend Peyton, relating 
ihe circiunstances of the case and asking his advice. 
My brother, in reply, said, among other things, that in 


82 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 

the conflict of duties, Alexander owed more to the lady 
than to his father, since he had secured her afifectiona 
and pledged his honour to marry her ; that he owed it 
to himself, as well as to the young lady, to fulfil, his 
engagement. He continued, " Her fanuly is reaUy only 
inferior to your own in wealth and the kind of position 
it gives — ^the opposition of your father is therefore seLflsh 
and unreasonable." Hence he advised him, to be con- 
stant to his engagement. '^As soon as you are 
married," he continued, ''come to my house and 
make it your home, until you are able from your 
legal practice to support your family. I will supply 
you with means in the interim, and will not accept 
payment, unless your father repents of his hasty 
Lwon, aua p^Jt. you .0 As« L property .,U 
with his other children." Delighted with these sentiments 
and with the noble evidence of my brothers friendship, 
Alexander determined to act upon his advice. Before 
taking the final step, however, he thought it 
advisable to confer again with his father and show 
him the letter. Seeking his father's presence, he 
aonounced his resolution, declaring that it was 
absolutely necessary to his happiness and success in 
life. If he was disappointed in this matter, he felt he 
was wrecked ; had he anticipated his father's opposi- 
tion, he would not have allowed his feelings to become 
so mvolved; as it was, matters had gone too far for a 
retreat. He contmued saying that his honour was 
implicated, not only in his own, but in the opinion of 
his best friends, that he had recently received from one 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 88 

of these, William Peyton, whom his father had always 
held tip to him as a model worthy of imitation, a letter 
going over the whole ground. He would leave this 
with him for perusal, and call the next day to ascertain 
what he thought of the advice it contained. It must 
be remembered that the affair had caused so much 
unpleasantness in Mr. B's. family, that Alexander was 
virtually banished from the paternal roof and was 
staying at the house of a relative in the neighbourhood. 
Two days after this interview he called on his father, 
and was greatly surprised and delighted to receive a 
friendly reception. The old man said he had 
never been mare impressed than with the 
good sense and right feeling of William Peyton's 
views, that they had brought him back to 
his good sense and completely changed his 
mind. I no longer oppose, said he, your union 
with a woman who is worthy of you, simply 
because she is poor, one whom you love so tenderly, 
and who returns your affection. A wise man has 
said, continued Mr. B., that he who has one friend 
is fortunate and ought to be happy. You, my 
son have a true friend in William Peyton-— cherish 
Mm. K I felt that you would be guided by his 
counsel and advice throughout life, I should have 
kes regret in giving up the ghost. Promise me 
that you will at least always consult him when in 
trouble* His son was not slow in making this promise, 
and, receiving the blessing of his father, hastened 
to eommunicate the happy news to his affianced 

84 Memoir of William Madmn Peyton. 

bride. They were married soon after. Mr. and Mre. 
B. Borvive, sarroauded by a nomerons offEipnug, the 
learned Mr. B. an omament to his profeBsion and 
an honour to his State. The dear friend, William 
Peyton, to whom they owe so mach sleeps mider 
the green Bod, bnt his memory yet lives and is 
hallowed in the recollecticm of all those who knew 


Finding, after a further residence of a year at 
the Hot Springs, that the climate was not good for 
his health, nor the society congenial to his tastes, he 
made sale of that valuable property to. Dr. Samuel 
(joode, of Mecklenburg, receiving from him in part 
payment an extensive landed estate in Botetourt. 
Shortly after he removed to that county, which is 
situated in one of the most favoured agricultural 
sections of Virginia, and in a part of the country 
remarkable for its picturesque scenery, pure air, and 
cultivated society. 

He resided there, with the 'exception of a few years 
spent (HI the tributaries of the Eenawha river, 
developing the wealth of his coal property almost down 
to the period of his death. He kept a large estab- 
lishment, dispensing a generous hospitality, and was 
surrounded much of the time by the learned and 
accomplished gentlemen of the state. The charms and 
variety of his conversation, and the polite animation 
of his manners and address, made him the delight of 

86 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

his guests and companions. In the county society of 
Botetourt and Roanoke, he soon became the chief 
object. All paid him that deference and respect 
which seemed due to his superior nature. Among 
the most noted in this society, all of whom the 
writer remembers to have seen at his dinners, were 
Edward Watts, James L. Woodville, Harry Bowyer, 
Charles Burrell, William Radford, Dr. John B. Taylor, 
Gary Breckenridge, Major Benjamin Howard Pe)rton, 
Governor Floyd, Hon. William B. Preston, General 
Robert Preston, Charles Beale, George Taylor, 
Alexander P. Eskridge, Colonel Edmondson, The 
Right Rev. Mr. Wilmer, Bishop of Georgia, Colonel 
Wm. Lynn -Lewis, Major Oliver, Edward Valentine, 
J. R. Anderson, George Shanks, Dr. Griffeth, Thomas 
C. Read, and Mr. Langhome 

Some of these gentlemen, though residing in the 
adjoining county of Montgomery, were near enough 
to come on occasions of a dinner party. Among his 
guests from a distance, some of them making him an 
annual summer visit, were the late Governors of Virginia, 
General Campbell, James McDowell, James P. Preston 
and J. B. Floyd, the Honourables W. C. Rives, 
John M. Botts, Wm. L. Goggin, Wm. Taylor, Alexr. 
Rives, Thomas W. Gilmer, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, 
Messrs. Chas. L. Mosby, William Radford, James E. 
Bruce, Vincent Witcher, Thos. W. Flomoy, Dabney C. 
T. Davis, John Howard, James P. Halcombe, Walter 
Preston, James Lyons, Charles Carter Lee, General 
Brenard Peyton, Randolph Harrison, Colonel A. S. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 87 

Gray, Revd. Peyton Harrison, all choice spirits. The 
reader already knows what a polished man was Colonel 
Peyton, and will not wonder at the admirable skill with 
which he played the part of host — a part so difficult to 
sustain. At that early period of my life, when I had a 
seat at his table (and he always insisted on my being 
present on every occasion of a dinner party), I was 
struck and delighted at the ease with which he dissipated 
the constraint and reserve which nsnaUy prevail during 
a formal dinner. He addressed his gaests alternately 
speaking to each concerning those subjects upon which 
he could expect a ready answer, and by a kind of intui- 
tion elicited from each the qualities in which he most 
excelled. Gentlemen sought his society for the pleasure 
and improvement to be derived from his conversation, to 
consult him upon State or Federal politics, and not to 
'' banquet and drain the bowl." The scenes at his house 
recalled to my mind Florence and those merchant states- 
men and munificent patrons of learning, the Medici.* 

* In 1453, Constantinople was taken by the Turks. Its walls had 
sustained the fortimes of the Eastern Empire nearly 1000 years ; that . 
Empire now feU. The news of this event spread terror throughout 
Europe, neyertiieless it proved to be amons^ the things which ** work 
together for good to them that love €k>d." All tlutt could escape, 
fled before the conquering Ottomans, and carried westward aU they 
could save of the accumulated treasure of Gbeeoe; and the outcast were 
gladly received at Florence, which was at that time the resort of all • 
who nad a taste for learning and the arts. Cosmo de Medici, who had 
no hereditary nobility to boast, had risen to tiie highest place of 
authority in the State ; his family had commercial establishments in aU 
the chief,Gitie8 of Europe, and the wealth thus acquired he shared with 
the poorest of his feUow citizens, and expended in improving his city, 
topporiing leamcnl men, and ooUecting all kinds of literary treasures ; 
large numbers of persons were engaged in the costly and tedious 
labour of tanscribing M8S, whidr were so highly valued that a copy 
of livy, sent by Cosmo to the King of Naples, was the means of 
healfng a breach between them. 

88 Memoir of William Madison Peyton^ 

Had the condition of the country admitted of it, 
his home would have been surronnded by the learned, 
as was the Tuscan Capital when the Turks scattered 
the wise men of the Lower Empire, who took refuge 
thither, yet he was not a pedant, but what our 
fathers used to call an elegant scholar. SQs company 
and manner of life recalled to mind the life of Lord 
Falkland, of whom Clarendon thus speaks, ''His 
house being within little more than ten miles from 
Oxford, he contracted familiarity and friendship with 
the most poUte and accurate men of that University, 
who found such an immenseness of wit, and such a 
solidity of judgment in him, so inlQnite a fancy, bound 
in by a most logical ratiocination, such a vast 
knowledge, that he was not ignorant in any thing, 
yet such an excessive humiUty as if he had known 
nothing, that they frequently resorted and dwelt with 
him, as in a college situated in a purer air, so that 
his house was a University in a less volume, 
whither they came, not so much for repose as study, 
and to examine and refine those grosser propensities 
which laziness and consent made current in vulgar 

The universaUty of his learning, its accuracy, and the 
manner in which he discoursed upon even professional 
topics recalled the lines of Henry : 

Hear him but reason in diyinity, 

And, all-admiring, with an inward wish 

You would desire (he) were made a prelate. 

Hear him debate X>f commonwealth's affiurs, 

Tou would say, — ^it has been aU and all his study. 

list his discourse of war, and you shaU hear 

Memok of WHiiam Madison Peyton. 89 

A fettrfnl battle rendered you in mnaio ; 

Tam him to any cause of policy, 

The Goidian Knot of it he will nnloeee 

familiar as his garter ; that when he q»eaik8» 

The air, a chartered libertine, is still, 

And the mute wonder Inrketh in men's ean. 

To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences. 

Much of the happiness, indeed, of his Hfe was 
derived from the companionship of his friends, from 
indulging in this most gratefrd tie of hiunan society ; to 
faim to have lived without friends, would have been 
not to live* A maxim which cannot be understood 
by those, who, entirely, devoid of regard for others, 
have no friends and do not deserve to have any, because 
ihey only live for and love themselves. 

His mansion was like so many others in Virginia, 
timber-built, and though altogether an extensive edifice 
was composed of many diqointed parts* These 
separate buildings were connected by haUs and veran- 
dahs, which gave a picturesque appearance to the 
exterior, while protecting it from the sun, wind, and 
labi. The rooms were spacious and famished with all 
the riches of the Eastern world, nor was there anything 
in ibe embellishment of the house, the fomiture, or 
articles of vertu like ostentatious display — ^the arrange- 
ments were such that the idea suggested by the tout 
ensemble was that of classic grace. It was replete 
with not (mly every comfort, but, indeed, every luxury, 
and surrounded by park-like grounds, which were 
improved with exquisite taste, and yet so consummate 
was the art by which it wa» done, that the hand of man 
was unseen, and it appeared but nature's work. 


90 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Shaded by noble trees and intricate bowers, ^lamelled 
with flowers and all kinds of herbs and plants, which 
basked in the sunshine of the slopes or bloomed in the 
dark vales, ornamented With water which sparkled in 
the light and gUded awaj with refreshing sonnd, the 
whole aspect of the scene was enchanting. 

To this house he brought his extensive collection of 
books, paintings, prints, medals, coins, statues, china 
etc.,* and when not surrounded by society or engaged in 
superintending the affairs of his estate, was either occu- 
pied with these objects of art and curiosity or in com- 
posing essays on some moral, philosophical, scientific oif 
practical subject. Some of these on agricultural chem- 
istry and its application to the growing of crops were 
published in the " Southern Planter," of Richmond, and 
the "Farmers Register. "f 

In one series he discussed the question of rust in 
wheat, and demonstrated the unsoundness of the popular 
theory upon the subject, at the same time putting forth 
his own views to the effect that it was due to an exube^ 
rant growth of straw, stimulated by repeated showers 
of rain followed by very warm weather immediately 

* This Tahiable and recherche oolleotioiii the ooetly fiiniitiiTe» heir- 
looms, etc., which surviyed the civil war, was burnt with Colonel 
Peyton's mansion, in May, 1870. 

t The latter was edited by the late Edmund BufBn author of an 
interesting essay on Oaloareous Manures, who fired the first shot 
against Fort Sumter, S. C, thus opening the civil war of ,1861-65 in the 
17. S. Mr. BufBn committed suicide in 1865, when seven^ years of age, 
unable to bear up under the subjugation of the south. He thus 
proved that he wanted true magnanimity, for it shows the most exalted 
courage to support the accumulated ills of life without despondency. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 91 

l^reeediog the time of harvest, a theory which is now 
ahoost imiversaUy accepted as correct. Of course, his 
attack an the popular theory was not allowed to pass 
Himotioed and a warm discussion arose in the Begister, 
between him and Mr. Jessie Turner , a successful planter 
and agricultural chemist. 

^ His time was further occupied in a series of kindly 
actioBS. His wealth was dispensed with an unsparing 
hand. As magistrate for the county, and sitting 
regularly at the Quarter Sessions, he had opportunities 
of knowing the business and affairs of the county and thus 
becoming acquainted with many real cases of want. 
These — ^for his generosity was judicious not indiscriminate 
— ^he invariably relieved. Honest tradesmen, whose 
Qperations were restricted by lack of means, were 
assisted by him. He paid the debts of prisoners and 
set them free to labour for the support often of depen- 
dait families, relieved the distress of poor widows and 
orphans, and redressed, whenever an opportunity 
presented, the wrongs of the oppressed. Numberless 
were the quiet obscure distresses he thus succoured. He 
did not merely understand what was good, but 
practised it. 

From these remarks the reader will not be surprised 

•to learn that he enjoyed great popularity, and that the 

|ije(^le of Botetourt were anxious to give form and 

substance to their appreciation of his merits by securing 

bis services in the pubUc councils. 

This remote section of Virginia was almost wholly 
without public improvements. There were no navigable 

92 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton* 

streams, no canals, no railways,, no macadamized 
turnpike roads. People were virtually imi»risoned^ 
except during the summer. In winter the roach 
were almost impassable, and it was a conmicm thin^ 
to see the four-horse mail coach floundering in the 
mud, the passengers walking in the fields, taking ifi 
by turns to carry a raU*, 

The people of eastern Virginia, whom the beneficent 
author of nature had supplied with many navigable 
streams, and a porous, sandy soil, which drinks up raioy- 
leaving the roads firm and smooth, were imwilling 
to vote funds from the State Treasury for constructing 
high ways in the transmountain country. By tfaid 
ungenerous conduct they had kept the western counties 
unimproved for upwards of a century. To break 
down this selfish policy and inaugurate a m<^^ 
liberal and generous sptem of internal improvements, 
had long been the cherished object of the western 
people. They had sent to the legistatnre, from time to 
to time, their ablest men, hoping to succeed through 
their efforts in securing a system of general state 
improvement out of a common fund, for the commofl 
good. Among the able men, west of the Blue Ridge; 
whom they elected with this view, were Robert Y. 
Conrad, James M. Mason, General Briscoe, G. Baldwin, 
Thomas J. Michie, George W. Summers, Robt. Trigg^ 
Benjamin Smith, Gov. J. P. Preston, General Samud 
Blackbume, and J. W. Brokenborough. Their efforts 

*A rifled log or long pieoe of split timber used as a leyer to rais^ 
tile ooadi wheels out of ruts and mud holes. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton* 93 

were futile, and many amusing caricatures were 
circulated to mislead the people in Eastern Virginia. 
At one time it was said that the object of 
Western Virginia was to remove the capital from 
Richmond to Staunton, and this rumour contributed 
to band the people of the east against schemes of 
western improvement. 

The inhabitants of western Virginia were daily becom- 
ing more anxious on the subject, and more determined, if 
poBsU>le, to secure such an extension of railroads and 
canals from the east, as would open the markets of 
ike sea-board,' and of the world, to the products of 
their soil of teeming fertility. Though long defeated 
la their enlightened policy, they were still active and 
sanguine of ultimate success. As indispensable to their 
^nds, it was now thought necessary to secure the services 
of th^ ablest citizens in the General Assembly. With 
this view, the voters of Botetourt, wished to avail 
tiiemselves of the talents and influence of their friend 
snd neighbour, Colonel William Madison Peyton. 

Accordingly, during the winter and spring of 1838, he 
received numerously signed requisitions from the prin- 
cipal inhabitants of the county, requesting that he would 
attow them to present him at the forthcoming spring 
Section as a candidate for a seat in the House of Dele- 
gates* After much reflection — ^for he had no taste for 
poUtica — and ihe urgent appeals of his friends, he ac- 
cieoded to their wishes and in the month of May, 
proceeded in company with the late Mr. Shanks of 
Kncastie, to canvass the county. Party spirit ran hi^. 

94 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton 

and the opposition faction were eaxly in the field with two 
oi their best men. Appointments were made for pmhlic 
meetings, and at these the rival candidates appeared and 
addressed, the masses in what are called ^^sttm^ 
speeches/' It was agreed on all sides that Col. Peyton's 
efforts during this canvass were the finest specimens 
of popular oratory which had been heard in Virginia 
since the days of Henry. His colleague, Mr. Shanks, 
surrendered the rostrum almost entirely to him, and 
everywhere he aroused the utmost enthusiasm, resum- 
ing his seat at the end of each speech in the midst of a 
storm and diapason of applause. Indeed, to use a 
strong phrase, he made ^' short work of his opponents," 
who retired firom these intellectual contests completely 
discomfited — entirely routed. It is scarcely necessary to 
add, what the reader will already have anticipated,, that 
he was returned, with his friend Mr. Shanks, at the head 
of the poll, by what is called in our electicmeering lan^ 
guage, a triumphant majority. Upon the opening of 
the next session of the General Assembly, he took his 
seat, and the reader will see with what success he 
advocated the cause of western Yirginia as a claimant 
for internal improvements. It may not be uninterest- 
ing to mention that at the same session our venerable 
father occupied a seat in the Upper House as senator for 
Augusta and Rockbridge. For the movement in behalf of 
and against a general system of. internal improvements 
was general — ^the people of both sections calling from 
retirement their wisest and best men. In this crisis the 
voters of Augusta and Bockbridge urged our father to sinr- 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 96 

rend^ Ms office of Public Prosecutor, which he had held 
neatly thirty years with so much honour to himself, and so 
nmch benefit to the public. He did so, reluctantly, and 
was elected senator. For a like reason they sent to the 
House of Delegates at this session, or within the next 
few years, his life-long friend and associate at the bar 
that able jurist and excellent man, Briscoe G. Baldwin, 
who was some years later elevated to the Supreme 
Court of Appeals of Virginia ; Alexander H. H. Stuart, 
subsequently Secretary of the Interior ; George W. 
Summers, of Eenawha, and others. The people of 
ilie eastern . counties at the same period electing 
their ablest statesmen, such as Bobert E. Scott, 
V. W. Southall, TViUiam Daniel, Oscar M. Crutchfield, 

One of the first duties of this assembly was the 
election of a U.S. senator. The conservative party 
presented Mr. W. C. Bives as their candidate. That 
gentleman had served several times in congress, and 
resided abroad four years as liCnister Plenipotentiary to 
the Court of the Tuileries. In both positions he 
displayed much skill and ability. By some of the leaders 
of the Conservative party, he was mentioned as a suit- 
able successor to Martin Van Buren in the Presidency. 
No means, therefore, were likely to be neglected by his 
opponents for his defeat. By preventing his election to 
the senate, the radicals hoped to outflank him in the 
Presidential contest. Canvassing had proceeded in 
Bichmond with more than the usual animation several 
weeks, yet it was impossible to forecast the result. 

96 _^ Mmovt of William Madison Peyton. 

Willkm Peyton waa an active fidend and supporter 
of Mr. Bives ; they belonged, of conrse, to the same 
party, and he inherited a fidendship for him from onr 
father, which had been cemented by much personal 
intercourse. Besides, Mr. Bives had placed William 
under obligation in the following manner. At 
the period, (years before this time), when Mr. Bives 
was appointed by the President, (Jackson,) Minister 
Plenipotentiary to France, he nominated his young 
friend, Peyton, as Secretary of Legation. Private and 
personal reasons induced Peyton to decline the 
appointment, bjat he always entertained a grateful 
sense of the high distinction conferred upon him. To 
his conscientious conviction, therefore, that the good of 
his party, and in some measure the welfare of his 
county, depended upon Mr. Bives' return, which 
stimulated his zeal, he brought his warm feelings of 
personal friendship to bear in the contest, and spared 
no effort to secure the success of his friend. 

The veteran leaders of the party in the assembly, 
witnessing with admiration his zeal and the success 
with which he laboured, determined in private, the night 
before the election, that his should be the honour of 
nominating Mr. Bives. The position is somewhat similar 
to that in the British Parliament of confiding to the two 
most rising of the younger members of the Government 
party the duty of moving and seconding the address to 
the Sovereign. 

Accordingly, upon the next day, the 14th of February, 
1889, when the House was assembled, and Mr. Speaker 

Memoit of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 9T 

in the ohair, Colonel Peytcm rose and made his nominat- 
ing speech. 

It was published in the daily papers and in pamphlet 
tornij bnt the author has not 'been able to procure a 
copy, notwithstanding repeated efforts to do so through 
correspondence with Mends in America. It was consi- 
dered the most eloquent of his parliamentary utterances* 

Mr. Bives' nomination was seconded by Hon. J. S. 
Pendleton, late M.C. for Virginia, who opened his speech 
with a high compliment to Colonel Peyton upon the 
elegant and eloquent manner in which he had presented 
Mr. Bives claims to the Assembly. 

After a warm contest it was found impossible to elect 
Mr. Bives, whose public course had offended the 
prejudices of certain sections of the party. All eyes 
were then turned to our yenerable father, who, having 
made one sacrifice in giving up a lucrative office to 
enter the Assembly, was expected to make another by - 
going to Washington for six years at his advanced age. 
He, however, feelin^his great weight of years, peremp- 
torily declined under, any circumstances to allow the 
use of his name. The party then held a conference and 
determined to elected my brother, who had offended 
nobody, and whose election, had he consented, was 
beyond a doubt. He, too, firmly refused to accept the 
candidature or station, because he was unwilling to 
interpose between his Mend Mr. Bives and the object 
of his ambition. No other available candidate being 
within reach, from necessity, and by common consent, 
tbe election was postponed until the following session. 


98 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Exciting rumours were afloat this winter of m 
serious difficulty between Great Britain and tlie 
United States on the^ subject of the Oregon boundary 
line, in fact the sovereignty of the whole territory 
was in dispute.. Both Great Britain and Spain had> 
as early as 1789, set up a claim to this extensive region, 
but, as the United States Government considered, on 
vague and unsatisfactory grounds. The American 
Government claimed it by reason of the discovery 
and exploration of two distinguished American pioneers, 
Lewis and Clarke. The citizens of the B^uMio 
had so long been accustomed to deem it their own, 
and so many of their children had settled in it under 
this conviction, that no Government would dare 
surrender it without a war. As England refused to 
allow the American claim, there seemed no peaceable 
way out of the difficulty. Hostilities with Mexico 
were also threatening, owing to the revolt of Texas 
and the aid she had received from American citizens^. 
The Governors of the difierent Sfates were apprized 
of the delicate nature of the Government's foreign 
relations, and ordered to organize the State forces, 
with a view to placing in the field, at short notice, 
two invading armies — one to advance on the city of 
Mexico from Vera Cruz and the river Sabine, and 
the other to converge on Quebec from diflferent points 
on our northern frontier. At this juncture. Governor 
Campbell, of Virginia, a distinguished survivor of 
the war of 1812-15, appointed William Madison 
Peyton to a post on his staflf, with the rank of Colonel 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 99 

«f Cavaky. He informed Colonel Peyton that he 
did this with a direct view to the impending war 
with Gkreat Britain, Mexico, and their allies, and 
because of his perfect confidence in his judgment 
as an adviser, and in his gallantry, which had been 
made conspicuous on more than one occasion since 
his encounter with Van Bibber. Colonel Peyton 
immediately accepted the position. 

During this session of the legislature, the county of 
Botetourt was divided, and a new county formed of that 
portion lying south of a line drawn "east and west 
through the suburbs of the village of New Amsterdam, 
which was* called Roanoke. Colonel Peyton's home 
was in the new county. 

To those whose attention was directed to the career 
(rf Colonel Peyton in the legislature, it was evident from 
his course during this, session that he brought into the 
political arena all his high intellectual qualities, and all 
the grandeur and heroism of his character. He was 
soon^ the object oi everyone's confidence, it might 
almost be said of everyone's veneration. About him he 
carried that priceless talisman, the magic of exalted 
moral character ; he was trusted by the members from 
eastern Virginia, confided in by those from the north- 
west, and looked up to by those from the valley and 
south-west, and is believed to have been more com- . 
pletely the confidant of the whole political secrets 
connected with the movements of that time than any 
oHier man. All-worthy, too, was he of the trust reposed 
in him ! His heart was the temple of hon< 
nothing selfish or unjust could approach. 


100 Memoir of WtUiam Madison Peyton. 

When it was ascertained that, owing to the division 
of parties, no election of senator could take place 
during this session of the General Assembly, a committee 
was appointed, at the head of which Colonel Peyton was 
placed, to prepare an address on behalf of the conservB«« 
tive party to the people of Virginia. This gave rise to 
the following document from his pen, which was widely 
circulated throughout the Commonwealth : — 

To THE People op Virginia,* 

Fdlow citizens: — The term of service of one of the 
senators of this State, in the senate of the United 
States, expired on the 4th day of this month. In con- 
templation of this event, the duty devolved upon the 
present General Assembly, under the Constitution, to 
elect his successor. Hon. William C. Rives was the 
incumbent, and was put in nomination for re-election ; 
and the undersigned adhered to his support with con- 
stancy and zeal. A struggle, unexampled in the his- 
tory of Virginia, for its duration, and the pertinacity 
with which the advocates of the several candidates 
adhered to them, continued until it was believed im- 
possible to make an election; and after consuming 
seven days in fruitless balloting, the order was 
indefinitely postponed. 

As it is determined by all parties, that this subject 
shall not be disturbed during the present session, the 
duty of supplying the vacancy will devolve upon the 
next General Assembly, and thus, in an especial manner, 
it is necessarily and directly referred to the people. 
Under these circumstances it seems to us, that propriety 
dictates a full and candid exposition of the motives 

* This addreee and all the speeches and published letters of Colonel 
Peyton, engrafted in this work, are in the library of the British Museum, 
as they originally appeared in Bichmond. 

Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 101 

and feelmgs which have mfluenced us^ during the late 
exciting contest, and which will govern our future 
course. While we did not desire to avoid that share of 
tiie responsibility of making the election, which rested 
iq>on us as a constituent portion of the legislature upon 
which that duty devolves, we at the same time wish to 
be distinctly understood, as not in the least deprecating 
that apf)eal to the sovere^ authority of the popular 
will which has been produced by tne extraordinary 
state of parties and opinions in the legislature. 
Indeed, the only source of regret on that score is, that 
this appeal cannot be made more absolute and complete. 
The House of Delegates, where the re-election of Mr. 
Rives was repeatedly sustained by a decided plurality, 
is subjected to the ordeal of the popular suffrage every 
year, whereas the Senate is only renewed every four 
years, and three-fourths of that body, by its organiza-^ 
tion are removed for the present, from responsibility 
for any disregard of the popular will, which they may 
have committed in the Senatorial election. That those 
Conservatives who were members of the Senate had 
no disposition to abuse that immunity, is sufficiently 
evinced by the fact that -when it was proposed, in an 
early stage of the contest, to postpone the election, 
indefinitely, an amendment was moved and voted for 
by them, annexing as a condition, that each Senator 
should resign at the end of the session, and thus put 
it in the power of the people to elect a Legislature 
which would fully reflect their wishes. Had this 
obtained, there would, in that event, have been no 
danger that the action of the representatives " fresh 
from the people" would be '^check-mated" by a body 
removed measurably from their control and who might 
safely bid defiance to their wishes. This proposition, 
however, was voted down, and even by some of those 
who most strenuously .urged the propriety and duty of 
waiting for ** new lights from the people,^' before 

102 , Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

venturing to perform the high and responsible duty of 
electing a Senator. ' 

We do not mean to indulge any complaint that 
the election has been postponed. Some of us at last 
voted for it, from a conviction that it had been demon- 
strated that the legislature was so constituted as to 
render it impossible for a majority io agree upon 
any individual. Claiming for ourselves to have acted 
according to our honest and conscientious convictions 
of duty, in refusing to be accessory directly or 
indirectly, to the defeat of Mr. Eives, we have no 
disposition, even if we had the right to question, and 
do not mean to censure the conduct of any one who 
refused to co-operate with us in supporting Jiim. 
Recognizing freely and fully our own responsibility' 
to our constituents and to public opinion, we refer 
others to the same great tribunals, and leave them 
to justify themselves as they may. 

Our main object in this address is, to present 
to our constituents and to the country bur own reasons 
for the course we have felt it to be our duty to take, 
and we shall await their judgment with the calm 
serenity of conscious rectitude. We have no desire 
to abate one jot or tittle of the full weight of responsi- 
biUty which we have assumed. It was repeatedly 
in our power, during the progress of the election, by 
abandoning Mr. Rives, and by throwing our votes 
upon John Y. Mason or Chapman Johnson, to have 
elected either one of them. We could not, however, 
reconcile it with our sense of duty to do so, and 
whatever of credit or blame attaches to us we are 
willing and ready to enjoy or suffer it all. It is, 
however, unquestionably true, and we beg it will 
be borne in mind, that the friends of the other 
nominees stand precisely in the same predicament* 
The friends of Mr. Mason could at any moment have 
decided the contest in favour of Mr. Rives or Mr. 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 103 

Johnson, as the friends of the latter conld at any time 
have decided it by voting for Mr. Bives or Mr. Mason* 

We acted in this matter with due deliberation, taking 
every step candidly and dispassionately, and now plead 
ourTusiiLtion, ^d put "'ourselves In the cou/try." 
Seeing that the large body of the Admmistration party, 
with which we had heretofore acted, were determined to 
withdraw their confidence from Mr. Rives, ai\d willing, 
and even desirous to co-operate with them, so far as we 
could, without an abandonment of principle and duty, 
we anxiously sought to know upon what grounds those 
professing the principles of the EepubUcan party, and 
determined to sustain the. character of this * Ancient 
Commonwealth ' could aid in surrendering up our 
distinguished Senator, as a victim to be sacrificed on 
what was called in debate the altar of the bloody 
Moloch of party. But we appealed in vain — ^no act 
could be instanced which forfeited his claims to Repub- 
lican orthodoxy. We very soon became convinced that 
no just reason existed for the fury and rancour with 
whiih he was assailed by the - shik or swim " oracles 
of the Adnynistyation party on the one hand, or by the 
intolerant leaders of the Impracticable squad that 
attacked him from the opposite quarter. 

It will be recollected that scarcely three years have 
elapsed since Mr. Rives was recalled to the Senate of 
the United States, by that party in the Legislature and 
out of it, who are now so industriously plotting his 
downfall. We would respectfully ask them, what just 
expectation has he not fulfilled ? What principle, that 
he ever professed, has he deserted ? What pledge, 
expressed or implied, has he violated ? Not one, no, 
not one. He has not failed to represent the opinions 

* 1 1 wiU not be denied, that if those members of the legislature, who 
were either elected on aocotmt of their declared preference of "Mjt, B., 
or under distinct pledges to snstain him, had redeemed the expecta- 
tions thns created, the election must have been promptly deciaed in 
his favour. 

104 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

of Yirginia in a single particular, and no man in the 
Senate of the United States has heen more diligent, 
prompt) energetic, ahle, and intrepid in defending the 
principles, maintaining the interests, and asserting the 
rights of the people of Virginia. It is, indeed, suspected 
that in his zeal for the connty he has not been 
suflficiently mindful of the interests of his party. It is 
thought,, that in resisting the behests of the Executive, 
he has been more devoted to the duties he owes to his 
constituents, the people of Virginia, than to promoting 
the triumph and adding to the power and importance 
of the President. " The head and front of his offending 
hath this extent, no more." Many of those, who, with 
Pharisaical humiUty, claimed to be the especial repre- 
sentatives of the Bepublican party in the Legislature, 
declared that they did not oppose the re-election of 
Mr. Kives in consequence of his difference of opinion 
with theni and the President on the leading measure of 
the Administration, the Sub-Treasury expedient.. Indeed 
it has been announced, eon cathedra^ by tiie organ of the 
"sink or swim" party, in Virginia, that Mr. Itives 
would have received the united support of that party, 
notwithstanding his hostiUty to the course of Admiois- 
tration on the subject of the finances, provided they 
could have been satisfied he would have supported the 
Administration in all other things. 

Whether such a pledge, under any circumstances, 
would have been consistent with the character of a 
Virginian senator, and proper to be required by the 
Legislature, or any part of it, as the condition of their 
support, we will refer to the judgment of the PubUc. 
We are confident that no man, properly imbued with the 
spirit of freedom, or duly impressed with the sacred 
duties, and solemn responsibiUties of a representative 
of the sovereign state of Virginia, in the senate of the 
United States, would ever require such a pledge, or 
justify any man aspiring to that station, in making, it. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 105 

We trust that the Senate of the United States will 
never be humbled into the cohdition of a mere political 
junto to register the edicts of the I^esidenty and instead 
of being, as it was designed by its organization, the 
guardian of the rights of the States in their sovereign 
capacity, degraded into a mere privy council of the 
Executive, acquiescing in his demands with the humble 
submission of an eastern Divan to the orders of an 
Asiatic despot. W6 are satisfied that many of those 
who raised the objection we are now considering, would 
revolt at the imputation that they wished or demanded 
any such humiliating debasement ; and yet the avowals 
of what would have been sufficient to have secured 
their support and the known spuit of the opposition to 
Mr. Bives, inevitably lead to such degradation of the 
Senate. No declaration of principle was required o( 
him. His opinions, in regard to all the great questions 
of constitutional construction and practical expediency, 
had been long known • and approved by the Kepublican 
party of Virginia. 

It may be well to add, as an instructive fact in the 
history of the late contest, that these same self-styled 
Simon Pures of Democracy, who pride themselves in 
nursing their wrath against the United States Bank, 
publicly proclaim, that the Sub-Treasury is a question 
of minor importance, and the great issue presented to 
the countnr is Bank or no Bcmk — that the former is a 
questi(m of expediency only, while the latter involves a 
constitutional principle of the utmost magnitude and 
importance. With these professions constantly upon 
tiieir lips, it is impossible we can close our eyes to the 
glaring inconsistency in which their conduct involves 
tiiem. Numerous and conclusive proofs might be 
adduced to show, that those who, like ourselves, utterly 
repudiate a National Bank, as both unconstitutional and 
inexpedient, but who are inimical to the Sub-Treasury, 
ace viewed by the friends of the latter measure with 


106 Memoir of William Madison Peyton 


infinitely greater suspicion and distrast than the open 
and avowed advocates of a Bank of the United States ; 
but there are one or two so directly connected with the 
subject of this address, that we cannot omit inviting 
your particular attention to them. The uniform hos- 
tility of Mr. Rives to the incorporation of a National 
Bank, at all times and under all circumstances, is so 
universally known to the people of Virginia, that no 
man has ventured to express a doubt upon the subject ; 
and yet in the late Senatorial election, a portion of the 
friends of the Administration in the House of Delegates, 
including two of the most distinguished members of 
that party, recorded their votes for Mr. Chapman 
Johnson — a gentleman, it is true, of eminent talents, 
and great private worth, but the known and decided 
advocate of the re-charter of the U. S. Bank, and who 
has diflfered with the present and late Administrations 
upon almost every question of principle or expediency', 
whether practical or theoretical. It is equally notorious 
that a large portion of these straight-laced RepubUcans, 
did at one time meditate bringing forward, and openly 
avowed their readiness to sustain, in preference to 
Mr. Rives, the President of the Court of Appeals, with 
all the sins of the Bank, and internal improvements by 
the general Government, unexpiated and unatoned for, 
except by the support of the present financial scheme 
of Mr. Van Buren. And that, when the Van Buren 
Convention assembled, containing as it did, a "large 
infusion" of representative purity, "fresh from the 
people,'' they unanimously, with characteristic consis- 
tency, called this same distinguished gentleman to 
preside' over the deliberations of this newly-christened 
' * Democratic RepubUcan States Right *' party. These 
examples are sufficient to show how little confidence 
can be reposed in the professions of a disposition on 
the part of the supporters of the Sub-Treasury, to treat 
that question as one of subordinate importance to the 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 107 

Bank question, or to regard a difference of opinion with 
them, on that subject, as famishing no sufficient ground 
for withholding from its opponents their countenance 
and support. But it is idle to reason upon this subject, 
when there are none so blind as not to see the plain 
and palpable proofis which are every day presented to 
us, of the settled and deliberate purpose of the friends 
of this measure to make it the test of poHtical orthodoxy 
{See Note A.] 

The opinion is becoming ahnost universal, that there 
is no necessity for the establishment of a National Bank 
to regulate the currency or administer the finances of 
the country. The system of internal improvements 
by the general Government, seems by common consent, 
to be abandoned, and the controversy about the tariff 
for protection has been, it is hoped, terminated by 
the celebrated Compromise Act of 1833. Should any 
of these measures be at any time unfortunately revived, 
we have the most abundant guarantees for his future 
course in regard to them, in the uniform coincidence of 
opinion in past times, between Mr. Bives and the people 
of Virginia, and in his zealous and harmonious co- 
operation with them in opposing these unconstitutional 
4nd dangerous stretches of power. Indeed, we may 
boldly challenge the opponents of Mr. Bives, of what- 
ever hue and shade of poUtical complexion, to point out 
one single prominent measure of Government, on which 
he was required to act at any time since he came into 
public life, in which, as a representative, he has not 
faithfully reflected the public sentiment of the State, 
and discharged his duty to the satisfaction of the 
Bepublicans of Virginia. In respect to no measure, 
has he more unquestionably been a faithful representa- 
tive of the opinions and interests of his own State, than 
upon what was termed by the Bepublicans, in 1834, 
*/that odious Federal conception," the Sub-Treasury 
ischeme. He has, with unflinching steadiness and 

108 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

andannted fimmess, resisted the thrice-repeated st* 
tempt to enlarge executive power and put into the 
hands of the President the means of corruption, dis* 
closed in a manner calculated to alarm the BepuUieans 
of the old Dominion, and '* indicating a hostility to 
State institutions, which augured hadly for the rights 
of the States/' In this he has considerably and steadfiy 
** walked in the footsteps of the illustrious predecessor " 
of Mr. Van Buren, and maintained the position which 
in common, with the whole Eepublican party, and 
indeed in common with ahnost the entire body of the 
Opposition party, he occupied in 1835. [See Nate BJ] 

For what, then, is he to be immolated ? Is it because 
he has been faithful to his principles, or not sufficiently 
submissive to party ? Is it because his political 
moraUty is not sufficiently elastic, to enable him to 
turn a somersault at the word of command ? Is it that 
he prefers the service and approbation of this good old 
Commonwealth, to all the rank and station which power 
can bestow, and will not " bend the pregnant hinges of 
the knee, that thrift may follow fawning"? Or is it 
that, like Aristides, he is to be ostracised for his very 
virtues ? There are some, probably, who feel that the 
daily beauty and integrity of his Me and conversation 
make them ugly, and who like the hump-backed tyrant, 
view him as a "spider in their path, and would have it 
crushed." He gloried in the proud character of a Vrr*^ 
ginian senator, conscious that he was honestly and truly 
discharging the responsible duties of his station, and he 
manfully scorned to make pledges calculated to destixrjr 
the moral force of his opposition to measures which he 
deemed revolutionary, disorganizing and demoralizing, 
and fraught with the most pernicious consequences to 
the prosperity of the country. We see those callinf^ 
themselves Bepublicans, although they approve the 
Sub-Treasury, avowing their readiness to give him their 
support, if he would give assurances for future party 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 109 

devotion to the admini8tiati0ii — ^whenthe hnmiliating 
and almost disgusting spectacle is exhibited, of men 
wiio agree with him in condemning the Sub-Treasnry as 
pemicioas and who have been cheering him on in 
<>PP06ing it, yet demanding his expulsion from the 
senate with all the violence of ^^tone to hatred turned/' 
only because he will not pledge himself to sustain the 
future acts of the administration, and promise in advance 
to '^ sink or S¥^ " with Martdn Van Buren ; when we find 
the ultra^partisans of the Whig party requiring proofis of 
his party devotion to the inte^sts of the opposition, as 
the condition of their support ; when we see all these 
things, are we not folly justified in asserting that the 
great question, the vital principle, involved in this contest 
is, whether the Senate of the United States should be 
reduced to a mere instrument to accomplish the purposes 
and execute the will of the Executive of whatever party 
may be in the ascendant ? He so regar ded it. And 
so viewing it, the contest swelled immensely beyond a 
^esfcion of preference for William C. Bives for his 
superior talents and political orthodoxy ; it became of 
infinitely more consequence than the defeat of the Sub- 
Treasury project, destructive as we believe that measure 
to be in a political, economical and financial view. It 
became a great question of political ethics, reaching to 
the foundations of the edifice of civil liberty. It 
involves the stabiUty of the pillai:s on which our 
B^nblican iustitutions rest. Let it be once established 
88 the recognised and cardinal canon of party fidelity, 
that no politician shall oppose the will of his partizan 
chiefs or stubbornly refuse to accompany his opposition 
vfitix professions of future support, and Continued 
allegiance, without being shot for desertion, or branded 
witibi ignominy as an apostate, and it is obvious, that all 
political responsibihty of the President is at an end, and 
every barrier to the possessi<m of absolute ^ower is 
tfaeown down. B^resentative independence and fidelity 

110 Mmoir of William Madison Peyton. 

to the people are conyerted into treason to the Executive) 
and although the externals of a Bepnblican Oovemmexvt 
may, for awhile, be preserved, we shall have established 
in substance, an elective despotism in its wcnrst icanai. 
The President, from being a servant of the people, asid 
subject, through their organized agents, to constant con^ 
trol and restraint, will have become an irresponi^ble 
monarch. The Representatives of the State and of 
the people deserting the high function and duty of 
** eternal vigilance" upon his conduct, will be bound, tt 
the hazard of being exposed to the most unsparing 
reprobation, as des^ers and apostates, to become his 
apologists and flatterers, aiding and abetting him in 
each new encroachment upon the constitution or out- 
rage upon the principles of free governments. As 
Republicans — as Freemen — as Virginians, we renounce 
and repudiate all such serviUty. As Representatives^ 
we felt that we would have betrayed the trust confided 
to us, if we could have consented to aid in any act 
which would have sanctioned it. — [See Note C] ^ 

Why should a Senator of Virginia be desired to give 
any opinion, or express any preference as to who ought 
to be elected President of the United States two years 
hence ? What has he to do in his character of Senator 
with the election of President ? Nothing — emphatic 
cally nothing. As an individual citizen he may give 
his own suffrage- as every other citizen gives his, for 
that individual whose election, under all the circum- 
stances, will be most likely to advance the prosperity of 
the country : no matter who is elected, the Senator, if 
he be honest and independent, will sustain the 
measures and recommendations of the President, so far 
as they are, in his judgment, consonant to the interests 
and honour of the country, and the principles of the 
State he represents. 

The seductive influences and corrupting tendencies ci 
an overgrown and constantly increasing Executive 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton^ 111 

pfttronage, are snfficiently potent in subduing the 
fl|yixit and weakening the independence and fidelity of 
the Tepresentatiyes of the States and the people. Let 
UB take care how we do anything to require them to 
manifest an obsequious and deferential submission to 
the Executive will, as the only passport to popular 
faYOTT. We believe that, under' the circumstances 
of i^e case, the refusal of Virginia to sustain Mr. Bives 
m his present position would go far, very far, to' infuse 
SBch a spirit amongst the representatives of the people. 
The State of Virginia has ever exerted a powerful moral 
influence in the admimistration of the affairs of the 
general Gt)vemment. It has ever been her boast that 
she adhered to c^ain great principles, and sustained 
her public men so long as they were faithful to those 
principles, no matter from what quarter they were 
assailed. The time has never been, when, in the 
patriotic and eloquent language of Mr. Bives, she 
did not , expect her representatives to remember ^Hhat 
they had a country to serve as well as a party to obey.*' 

It was, we believe, from a conviction that the great 
Conservative principle of representative fidelity and 
independence was about being cloven down, and 
that a servile spirit of undeviating acquiescence in the 
opinions and wishes of party leaders, would be fostered, 
by permitting Mr. Rives to fall a victim to the furious 
and vindictive resentment of remorseless partisans, that 
induced many of the most influential of the Whig party 
in the Legislature to prefer his election to that of a&y 
man in the Commonwealth. It was the same persua- 
sion, strengthened by the disclosures of the feeling of 
peculiar zecd and anxiety exhibited by the Sub-Treasury 
democrats, to defeat him, and even to prefer any one 
(Whig or Tory) to him, that finally reconciled almost 
the entire body of the Whig party to unite. with us in 
endeavouring to re-elect Mr. Eaves. With the course of 
the fragment of that party who refused to co-operate 

112 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

with the rdlst of their brethren, and thus prevented his 
election, we have nothing to do. We shall not even 
impute to th^m the responsibility of defeating the election, 
however justified we might be by a portion of that squad 
who, witti remarkable modesty, have made a similar 
charge agamst the Ck)n8ervatives. 

The support thus given bv the Whig party to Mr. 
Rives, affords honourable testimony, that many of them 
were willing to forego a mere party triumph in the 
support of so important a principle as Senatorial 
independence. And why should we or Mr. Rives 
have any repugnance to such aid fr6m the Whigs? 
For ourselves, we avow our willingness to derive 
support from any quarter, in checking the extravagant 
and pernicious measures of any parlr, in restraining 
its excesses, preventing the abuses which it may run 
into, and preserving the ancient <ind approved principles 
of the Republican party from being overwhelmed by 
the wild spirit of rash innovation, and the mad 
projects of radicalism and agrarianism. 

Who are these Whigs, [See Note BJ] that contam- 
inate by their support and assistance? They are 
our fellow-citizens, comprising nearly one half of 
the population of the State, and embracing a 
full proportion of its virtue, intelligence and patriotism. 
It is true, that they, like their rival contemporaries, 
the Democrats, have in their ranks numbers of every 
variety of complexion, from the rankest nullifier, and 
Ultra State Rights men, down to the most nmforiii 
and consistent consolidationists. If every man were 
obstinately to refuse to support for public oflSce only 
those who agreed with him in every opinion, it k 
obvious that no public man ever could be elected, and 
no popular Government ever could exist. We have 
already shown that there was a great political prin- 
cipal mvolved in the re-election of Mr. Rives, which 
appealed with irresistible force to those Whigs who 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 113 

had been accustomed to denounce the A dministration 
party for its proscriptive spirit and for the bUnd and 
submissive devotion it was charged with exacting 
from its members. Besides the issue really was 
between Mr. Rives and a Sub-Treasury democrat, 
and it is amazing how any Whig really sincere in his 
{»*ofessions of opposition to the financial schemes of 
the Executive could hesitate to sustain the most 
zealous, the most able, and the most efficient opponent 
of that system. Indeed, we believe that there is but 
a moiety of the "forlorn hope" of fourteen, who are 
opposed to the Sub-Treasury principle. 

The great bodv of the Whig party, therefore, as well 
as the Conservatives, had sufficient and manifest reasons 
of public duty, and obvious considerations of high 
political principle, to unite them in sustaining tne 
election of Mr. Rives. We think every true patriot, 
every real republican, in fact as well as in . name, had 
presented to him the most cogent reasons for doing so. 
The imputation, therefore, of a coalition between the 
Whigs and Conservative republicans, . is as ridiculous 
as it is known to be false in fact. We wooed and 
courted no party. We made no stipulations. We 
entered into no arrangements or political combinations. 
We sought for no pledges of support, either from Sub- 
Treasury men or Whigs. We presented our candidate 
as he was, an independent, manly, devoted and able 
representative of the principles of the State, and then 
actually doing battle in their defence, with the chival- 
rous spirit and gallant bearing which became a Virgin- 
ian senator. We called upon every Virginian, no 
matter what might be his party, or what had been his 
political associations, as he valued the ancient and 
proud character of his State — as he cherished the 
venerable usages of his ancestors — as he desired to 
preserve the institutions of the country from destruc- 
tive innovation — as he wished to control and restrain 

114 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 

the encroachments of Executive supremacy over popular 
will — as he respected the Conservative principles o£ 
senatorial freedom and representative fidelity, to rally 
to the standard of our virtuous, eloquent and indepen- 
dent senator, Wm, C, Rives. 

Many, very many, with noble and patriotic alacrity, 
responaed to the call. It is, we verily believe, 
because the sentiments and feelings of the people of 
Virginia were not truly reflected in the Legislature, 
that there were not more who had ears to hear the 
call and voices to answer it. 

To you fellow-citizens the appeal must now be 
made. We have too much abiding confidence in the 
steady adherence to principle, and the noble spirit of 
freedom which animates the people of the old 
Dominion, to have the least apprehension as to the 
manner in which the appeal will be answered. The 
recollection is too recent of the generous enthusiasm 
with which you came to the rescue, and restored to 
the councils of the country this distinguished citizen 
of genius, eloquence, and virtue you are so justly 
proud, to permit the least fear that you will abandon 
him. On that occasion, he was driven from your 
service because he was maintaining, as you thought, 
your principles, and faithfully representing your 
wishes. NoWj the proofs are positive and irresistible 
that he is standing upon the ancient and approved 
principles of the Republicans of Virginia, guarding 
the public domain from profligate waste, endeavouring 
to rescue the Treasury from the control of the 
I'^xecutive, and place it under the dominion of the 
law. Detecting and exposing the first approaches 
towards a meretricious and illicit intercourse between 
the Administration and the Bank of the United States, 
and endeavouring to restrict Executive patronage, 
and prevent the corrupting tendencies of its improper 
exercise, and, in a word, fearlessly sustaining all thoae 

Memm of Wiiliam Madison Peyton. 116 

measures imd principles which, under the administration 
of Jefferson and Madison, constituted the cardinal 
doctrines of the Republican creed. Can you be 
expected to discard him from your service, to place in 
his stead some complaisant smporter of the Administror 
tioHy who wiU perchance aid in fastening the odious 
Sub-Treasury upon the country, who will leave the 
public money in the hands of the subordinates of the 
Treasury, and will see millions of it lost in fraud and 
peculation, permitted by the gross and culpable neglect 
or incompetency of the heads of the Treasury and its 
bureaus, with calm composure and unruffled devotion 
to the Executive? Whatever may have been and 
still may be your predilictions for the Administration, 
your support is that which liberal and generous 
masters will extend to faithful servants. 

You require of your Representatives a watchful 
supervision over the Executive Administration. And 
when it is demanded of you by the parasites and 
sycophants of the Executive, that you shall expel from 
your service one of your most faithful and vigilant 
sentinels, because he is not sufficently devoted to the 
President to comply with all his behests, your sentiment, 
and thrice condemned by the Representatives of the 
people. [See Note JS?.] He still persists in it, and it 
has been announced by his official organ, that he means 
to "sink or swim" with it, and been proclaimed by his 
financud organ in the House of Representatives, that 
this condemned and rejected measure must be submit- 
ted to in spite of lamentations in Congress or elsewhere. 
That this determination is entertained, is still more 
decisively proved by the fact, that everywhere those 
who will not abandon their opposition to this measure, 
BO matter how clearly in accordance with the opinions 
of tiiieir constituents, are put under the ban of the party, 
and the most gross and offensive assaults made upon 
their siucerity and honour, and the whole power and 

116 Memoir of William Madison PeyUm. 

influence of the Executive exerted to withdraw the 
confidence of the people from them. 

Recent developments shew, that the most offensive 
official delinquency and defalcation pervade the public 
departments, and there is too much reason to fear that 
this state of things has resulted from great neglect or 
incompetency in those branches of the public service. 
They furthermore prove, that there is great reason to 
apprehend that this condition of things has, in many 
instances, proceeded from an improper use of the power 
of removal and abuse of the Executive patronage for 
party ends : thus demonstrating the necessity for " that 
reform " which was promised and which is necessary to 
prevent the patronage of the President from beini 
brought in conflict with the freedom of elections. AI 
these things make us pause in the bestowal of our 
confidence in the Administration. We cannot pledge 
ourselves to sink or swim with Martin Van Buren. 
These clouds must be cleared away and these abuses 
reformed altogether. We are in this. Conservatives. 
We desire to preserve the purity and integrity of the 
Administration of the Government ; and if our democra- 
tic friends require that we should make no complaint, 
demand no reform, relinquish all regard to our principles 
and to the safety of the country, or else be no longer of 
their party, we can part company with them, without 
any other regret, than that reply will be, "he has been 
faithful — he is our friend — the friend of the people — 
the friend of Republican principles — ^the champion of 
Representative freedom — and the President must look 
elsewhere, than in Virginia, for Senators to do ^ his 
bidding — to sacrifice the interests of the people in 
compliance with his wishes, and thus contemn and 
disregard the known opinions of their constituents.'* 

Fellow citizens, We constitute that portion of the 
Legislature of Virginia, who have been denominated 
conservative Republicans, and we desire the principles 

Memoir of Wiiliam Madison Peyton. 117 

of our public action to be distinctly understood. We 
were supporters of General Jackson's election, and in 
most of tiie leading questions of principle, policy, and 
party action, which occurred during his time, we 
sustained them and hstrmonized with the party. We 
Bustained the election of Mr. Van Buren, because we 
confided in his professions of devotion to the supremacy 
of the popular will, and of his hostility to those latitu- 
dinous constructions of the constitution which the States 
Right BepubUcan party, of Virginia, had ever condemned, 
and because, in general, he was pledged to ''walk in 
tiie footsteps of his illustrious predecessor," in en- 
deavouring to prevent the exercise of doubtful and 
unconstitutional powers by Congress, in limiting and 
diminishing Executive ^scretion in regard to the 
management and safe keeping of the pubUc revenue, 
in ** reforming those abuses \vhich brought the patron- 
age of the Executive in conflict with the freedom of 
Elections," and maintaining the usages and principles of 
the Bepublican party. In so far as he does, or shall, 
answer these expectations, we will sustain him, but we 
are ready and determiaed to oppose him in all acts and 
measures in conflict with these expectations, as firmly 
and decidedly as if we had never voted for him. We 
have not been able to shut our eyes to the fact that he 
has departed from these promises much and widely. 
He has recommended again and again, a measure 
opposed and denounced by the whole Bepubhcan party 
in 1834 and 1835, as a departure from the practice of 
the Government from 1789 down, condemned by public, 
they, who have always professed to be acting on 
principle, should have surrendered themselves bhndfold, 
a2id with passive submission, to approve everything, or 
at least to make no complaint, no matter what abuses 
may be disclosed, what corruption may be proved to 
. exist, or what mischief may be perpetrated upon the 
, institutions and liberties of the people. If the whole 

118 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 

creed of the democratic faith is reduced to the sii^e 
article of a determination to sink or swim with ^ 
Executive, we no longer belong to the congregation. 

Fellow citizens, We adhere to the ancient and 
venerable principles^ as we continue to cherish the 
ancient patronymic appellation of tfc e Rebublican party. 
We are Republicans. We need no new title or addition 
to designate .our political character, though we have 
no objection to that of Conservatives, which has 
been reproachfully attached to us. Genuine conserva- 
tive principles in this country are conservative of 
the established institutions and long cherished maxims 
of free Government. They are in perpetual conflict 
with the restless spirit of destructive innovation which 
seeks protection and sanction under the guise of some 
new and popular name, as Danton, Marat and Robes- 
pierre perpetrated their atrocious crimes and profanities 
in the sacred name of liberty and reason. Conservative 
principles here characterize those who are in favour 
of maintaining the rights of the States, a strict con- 
struction of the constitution of the Federal Government 
and of restricting and watching with an eye that never 
closes, the approaches of tyranny from the enlargement 
of Executive power and patronage. These are our 
principles. It is these that constitute us Republicans. 
It is not the name, but the conformity of our practice 
to our professions. Men may call themselves 
** Democratic Republicans," or *' Democratic States 
Rights Republicans." They may be re-baptized by 
every new convention at the instance of every new 
convert, but if they continue to apologize for abuses, 
to justify usurpations, to approve everv contempt of 
popular opinion exibited by the Executive, applaud to 
the very echo, measures subversive of the usages and 
principles of Jefferson and Madison, and of the 
Republican party of 1789 to the present day, an^ 
proclaim their determination to sink or swim with the 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 119 

Pregident, no matter what he has done or may do, they 
Hiay add title to title, and addition to addition, untd 
their party cognomen is as long as that of a Spanish 
hidalgo ; and after all their real designation, their actaal 
principles and political conduct will be comprehended 
in the single word, they are subservatives. 

We wUl sink or swim with the principles of the 
RepnbUcan party of Virginia; we wiU sink or swim 
with the maintenance of the free principles handed 
down to us by our ancestors ; we will sink or swim in 
the effort to preserve our representatives in congress 
from executive control and dictation, and will sustain 
them in manfully resisting the mandates of selfish, 
merc^iary and unprincipled party leaders and scur- 
rilous partizan editors. 

These are the leading sentiments which have united 
us under the designation of Conservative Republicans, 
and we cannot but believe they are the sentiments of the 
great body of the enlightened, virtuous and patriotic 
people of Virginia. 

This address was signed by John T. Anderson^ of 
Botetourt; Edmund Fontaine^ of Hanover; Moses C. 
Grood^ of Ohio Co. ; Joseph H. Sherrard^ of Frederick ; 
Oscar M. Orutchfdd^ of iSpottsylvania ; Thomas Shanks^ 
of Botetourt and Roanoke; David Bamett^ of Mont- 
gomery ; Joseph W. Davis^ of Smyth ; WUliam Shands^ of 
Prince George ; John O'Farrd^ of Morgan ; George Park, 
of Hampshire ; Nathaniel E. Venable, of Prince George ; 
Bar. G. Paine, of Fluvanna; and William Madison 
Peyton, of Roanoke and Botetourt. 

Note A. — Since this address was written, a striking 
illustration of the truth, of this remark has been 
famished in the proceedings of a convention of friends 
of the Administration in the Frederick congressional 

120 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

district which met for the purpose of nominating a 
candidate for congress. Mr. James M. Mason, the late 
member, a uniform State Rights Republican, and a 
gentleman of fine talents, had differed with the Admin- 
istration on the Sub-Treasuiy question ; preferring the 
special deposit plan, which was recommended by Mr. 
Van Buren, as his second choice. Mr. Mason, in a 
letter to one of his Constituents, and in an address to 
the people of his district, both recently published, 
distinctly avowed his preference for Mr. Van Buren over 
any of those who have been spoken of as likely to be 
his competitors for the next Presidency, and declared 
that, "whether in pubUc or private life," Mr. Van Buren 
should have his support, " earnestly and zealously given.'^ 
But this, it seems, was not enough to propitiate the 
convention. Mr. Mason had disagreed in opinion with 
them on the Sub-Treasury question, and that disagree- 
ment could not be cured by pledges of earnest and 
zealous support of Mr. Van Buren. The objection was 
fatal, and Mr. Mason was put aside to make room for a 
Sub-Treasury democrat, who received the nomination. 
" Off with his head ! So much for Buckingham ! " 

W. M. Peyton. 

Note B. — The Editor of the Enquirer, ♦ in his 
paper of August 18th, 1838, in the exposition of his 
financial views, reprints and re-asserts the opinions 
which he expressed in 1834, when the Sub-Treasury 
scheme was first broached, and when he charged Mr. 
Leigh with entertaining sentiments favourable to it. 
The immediate inducement to the expression referred 
to, was a passage in a letter written by Mr. Leigh in 
reply to one addressed by 26 citizens of Richmond. A 
short extract from his very lengthy strictures will be 
sufficient to show his opinions as the organ of the 
Republican party at that day, and to establish thesr 

* The woU known Thomas Bitohie 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 121 

identity with the opinions maintained by Mr. Rives and 
the Conservatives at present. 

'*As to the letter of Mr. Leigh," he says, *' it may satisfy 
his twenty-six friends ; but it certainly does not satisfy us. 
The letter which they have called forth, should call 
forth in its turn, another letter to explain" the true 
meaning of that passage '* which speaks" of divorcing 
aU connection with banks, State or Federal. **Doyau 
mean (they might say) that the pubUc money is to be 
left in the hands of the Custom-house officers, responsible 
to the President and removable by him? — If so, is Mr. 
Leigh prepared to incur the irresistable objections urged 
by the globe — and to increase (in so alarming a degree) 
the patronage, power and influence of the Executive? " 

Mr. Ritchie was a faithful exponent of the sentiments 
of the RepubUcan party at that day, and it would seem 
that they were at least opposed to a divorce of the 
Gx>vemment from the State Banks. 

In his paper four days afterwards, August 22, in some 
remarks addressed to two of his correspondents, 
**AtUdus" and ^* Another Democrat^'' he says, they are 
not probably aware of the extent to which this discus- 
sion on the Sub-Treasury had been carried three years 
before, in 1834. " They may npt recollect that their 
Q^item of Sub-Treasuries was advocated by the Whigs 
three years ago, and that the Republicans then resisted 
the proposition. If then we advocate a heresy now, it 
WW the heresy of the RepubUcans in 1834. If it be our 
thunder now, it was our thunder, and what is more 
BDportant, their thunder then. » » » He, ^^Attahis^** 
forgets that at every era when a National Bank came 
into discussion, it was held not to be necessary, because 
the State Banks furnished a sufficient resource. 
Messrs. Madison, Jackson, and Stone suggested their 
10(8 in 1791, Messrs. Burwell, Seybert, P. B. Porter 
and Wright of M., recommended them in 1811. They 
all concurred in the sentiment of Mr. Wright, that " the 

122 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Btate Banks are abundantly sufficient to supply 
every requisition, if the U. S. deposits are made in 
them." Not a word from any of these orators about an 
Independent Sub-Treasury system ! The same ground 
was taken when the second U. S. Bank was put down ; 
and when the debate came on upon the removal of 
the deposits, the same ground was taken by the 
KepubUcan party, when, also, the substitute of the Sub- 
Treasuries was pressed by Mr. Gordon it received the 
vote of but one Eepublican member of the House of 
Kepresentatives. » » » The RepubUcan press of that 
day took up Mr. Leigh's speech and denounced the 
scheme of resorting to treasurers, appointed by the 
President, and removable at his will, and having the 
public money in their actual possession, " in their 
pocketSy desks J trunks , and vaults." They contended 
that the present system of deposits for the public 
money, regulated by law, as it will be, is as good for 
safety and the least liable to abuse by the Executive, 
of any which the wit of man can conceive ; and declared 
" that the power now exercised over the State Banks is only 
such as has been exercised by the Administrations of 
Washington, the Adamses, Jefferson, Madison and Monroet 
but if Congress can be induced to impose upon it new 
and wholesome restrictions, General Jackson will glory 
in it as another of the happy fruits of his harassed, but 
for himself and his country, most fortunate Administra- 
tion." And yet, says Mr. Ritchie, we are to give up 
this system now without any imperious necessity, and 
fly to the system proposed by the Whigs, and opposed 
by the staunchest Republicans in 1834 ! 

We will merely add, without comment, a few more 
extracts from the Enquirer, as we are anxious to derive 
the full benefit of its potential influence in this appeal 
to our Republican brethren. 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 12S 

From the ** Enquirer." 

Septemhisr 8ihy 1837. — How is it that the great masses 
of the two parties seem to be respectively shifting the 
grounds they occupied in '34 — the friends of the 
Administration violently assailed it — most of the 
Eepubhcans, with the President at their head, are 
inclined to support it. A better soldier than ourselves 
then gave forth the most serious objections to the 

The pubUc moneys, from the time of their receipt 
to the time of their disbursement, amounting as they 
often do, to ten or twelve millions of dollars, muiat 
remain in the hands of individuals appointed by the Presi- 
dent and removable at his will I They ought not to be 
kept in their pockets, chests or vaults, where they can 
approach it every day and use it, without the checks of 
warrants drawn, countersigned, registered and recorded, 
and passing through many hands, without which (that 
is their warrants) not a dollar can now be touched by 
any pubUc officer, not even the President himself." 

We have no desire to see such accumulation of power 
in the hands of the Executive — ^no wish to put the 
money directly into the palms of his friends and parti- 
sans. We wish to see the power and patronage of the 
Executive increased as little as possible — ^the powers of 
the Federal government not enlarged — the purse and 
sword not more strongly united, than they are in the 
hands of the President, and as few means of corruption 
as possible trusted in his possession. 

From the same. 

September 15th, 1837. — ^He designates it as **a wild 
and dangerous scheme" estabUshing two sorts of 
eurrency — the better for the officers of the government, 
the baser one for the people. 

124 Memoir of William Madison Peyton 

October 20th, 1837.— Re says the Sub-Treasury vnH 
enlarge the Executive power, already too great for a 
Bepublii^. In the same paper, speaking of the special 
deposit, he says, "such is the compromise we beg leave 
to submit to all the friends of a limited Executive and a 
guarded exchequer." 

Jcmuary 20thy 1838. — Speaking of the change made in 
the bill from extra session to the session in December, 
and of the rapid growth of Executive patronage, which 
would follow the adoption of the measure, he says: "It 
has already expanded from collectors to receivers and 
who shall say that it shall not expand from four 
receivers to 20 or 60. In fact who shall stop the 
augmentation of tax receivers under the Administration 
of some future ambitious President ? The bill increases 
the Executive patronage by the appointment of Beceivers 
Generals, Bank Commissionaries, and places the public 
funds more immediately under the control of officers 
appointed by and removable by the President." 

In another editorial of the 12th September, (date 
omitted,) alluding to the premium the merchant must 
pay to obtain specie for his duty bonds, he says: " who 
pays all these expenses? The people — ^for, let the 
merchants, for instance, pay their bonds in specie, they 
will ultimately receive it in the advances on their goods. 
A tax, then, to all intents and purposes, is laid on the 
people at large, to the amount of the psemium on specie, 
and it goes into the pockets of every man who feeds from 
the pubUc crib." 

Note C. — On the 4th of May, 1830, a select com- 
mittee, raised at the instance of Hon. Thomas n« 
Benton, on the subject of Executive patronage, of which 
he was chairman, and Mr. Van Buren with other dis- 
tinguished gentlemen . of the Jackson party, wero 
members, reported their views at length to the senate of 
the United States. They represented, with a pencil of 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 126 

light, the inherent tendency of patronage to increase- 

its insidnous approaches — its aknost seductive and 
MsiBtless influences, and its overpowering energy, when 
it has once acquired the ascendant. We must look 
forward, say they, to the time (that period is now 
arrived) when the pubhc revenue will be doubled ; when 
tiie civil and military officers of the Federal Government 
will be quadrupled; when the influence over individuals 
will be multipHed to an indefinite extent; when the 
nomination by the President can carry any man through 
the senate, and his recommendation carry any measure 
through the two Houses of Congress ; when the principle of 
public action will be open and avowed, the President 
wants my vote and I want his patronage. I will vote as he 
wishes and he will give me the office I wish for. What 
will this be but the government of one man ? And what 
k the government of one man but a monarchy ? Names 
are nothing. The nature of a thing is in its substance, 
and the name soon accommodates itself to the substance. 
The first Roman Emperor was styled ** Emperor of the 
Bepublic," and the last French Emperor took thd same 
title, and their respective countries were just as essen- 
tially mon^chical before as after the assumption of 
them. It cannot be denied or dissembled, that the 
Federal Government gravitates to the same point, and 
that the election of the executive by the Legislature 
quickens the impulsion. "Those who make the Presi- 
dent, must support him. Their poHtical fate becomes 
identified, and they must stand or fall together. Bight 
or wrong they must support him." 

What would the authors of these trulyjpatriotic and 
BepubHcan sentiments have thought of that jpohtical 
servility which openly and unblushingly inculcates a 
" sink or swim" poUcy ? How would these slavish 
doctrines square with their Bepubhcanism, as laid down 
in this report ? If Colonel Benton and Mr. Van Buren 
ifrere sincere and honest in this solenm expression of 

126 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 

their sentiments, they would be compelled by ihdir 
principles, to repudiate, with as much scorn and 
indignation as any Conservative, this degrading 
oath of fealty to a party chief, this nnscmpiil0ii8 
endorsement in advance of opinions and conduct 
which cannot be foreseen or anticipated, this odions 
and unmanly submission to the capricious and des- 
potic exactions of party. If sincere, their patriotic 
apprehensions for the perpetuity of our institutions 
would have been greatly excited and they would have 
made the very walls of the capitol tremble with 
the thunder of their denunciations. They would 
have told us that the prophecy and its fulfilment were 
contemporaneous; that our Government was a mon- 
archy now. Is there nothing at this day to mske us 
fear that our Government gravitates to monarchy ? If 
the recommendations of the President can carry this 
Sub-Treasury measure through the two Houses of 
Congress, stamped as it has been by the reprobation of 
almost all men of all parties, throughout our extensive 
dominion, and receiving especially the almost unani- 
mous reprobation of that party now advocating it, what 
cannot the President do, under this vassal doctrine of 
blind and indiscriminate support? 

Note D. — ^When Mr. Boane was elected to tiie U. 
States senate, the vote in the House of Delegates, so far 
as the Whig party was concerned, was for Boane 24, 
against him and for Judge Daniel 16, with some few 
scattering. In the senate, for Boane 6 Whigs , against 
him 2. So that he received the votes of 29, and his 
competitor those of 18 only. Without the Whigs, Mr. 
Boane would not, and could not, possibly have been 
elected. [Note to Mr. Pendleton's speech]. 

At the dinner which was given to Mr. Bives in ttie 
City of Bichmond, after the close of the session of 
Congress, and very shortly after the election of Mr. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 127 

Boane, Mr. Bives in responding to a complimentary 
tofipt, to<^ occasion to vindicate the principles of that 
ewr^icj bill, which is now so mnch the subject of 
oliloqay among those very gentlemen who, at the time, 
were paying the homage of heart-felt gratitude for 
has distinguished services, and lavishing the most 
extravagant encomiums upon his repubUcan virtues. 
Not Ja discordant note in this numerous assemblage, 
disturbed the harmonious greeting and joyous gratula- 
ticms which animated them. It also becomes worthy 
of remark on this occasion, as Mr. Bives is assailed and 
eondemned by many of Mr. Boane's poUtical Mends for 
not repudiating the aid of the Whigs in the late 
senatorial election, that Mr. Boane, who, it seems, was 
obnoxious, in the estimation of some, to a similar 
objection, in the course of a speech which he made at 
the same dinner, with a correctness of judgment and 
feeling, alike creditable to his head and his heart, 
repelled this new idea of contamination in Whig 
support. Among many other just and forcible remarks, 
be said, " Let us never forget that our adversaries are 
^ bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,' that they are 
our fr^ds, our neighbours and our countrymen." To 
those who press this objection to Mr. Bives, we would 
commend the old adage, "ye who live in glass houses 
should not throw stones at your neighbours' windows. 

Note E. — The official organ of General Jackson (the 
Globe) in 1885, shortly after the Sub-Treasury scheme 
was broached, and when it was alone countenanced by 
a few ultra whigs, assailed it in the most violent terms, 
as a measure fraught witH mischief, and threatening our 
liberties. It asserted ^Hhat it would enlarge Executive 
power by putting in its hands the means of corruption." 
•*That it would transfer the money directly into the 
palms of Executive agents, the Mends and partizans of 
the President, instead of its being kept on deposit in 

128 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

banks, whence it coald not be drawn for other than 
pablic purposes, without certain detection, and thus 
exposing it to be plundered by a hundred hande, where 
one cannot now reach it. " Sed tempora mxttaiUur et nos 
mtUamw in illis." 

"Men change -with fortune, mann 
Tenets wiui books, and principli 

W. M. Peyton. 

On the reassembUng of the Legislature, Mr. Bives 
was elected and took his seat in Congress. On the 14th 
of the following January, he delivered his able speech on 
the Fiscal arrangements of the Government with the 
United States Bank, and reviewing the annual report of 
the Secretary of the Treasury. 


Yielding to numerous and urgent importunities^ 
Colonel Pejiion consented to become a candidate, the 
following Spring of 1838, for the House of Delegates 
for Roanoke and Botetourt, and* was elected without 
opposition. At this time he did not seek for, nor 
despise, honours. Shortly after the meeting of the 
Legislature, the subject of internal improvements 
came up for consideration. On all sides the question 
excited the liveliest interest. The delegates for 
Eastern Virginia were as hostile as formerly to a general 
tax for what they sophistically termed local improve- 
ments, and under the leadership of Messrs. Yerby, 
Edmunds, y enable, and others, marshalled their forces in 
a solid phalanx. On the other hand the western dele- 
gates were equally determined to carry their point, and 
were led by the young and eloquent delegates for 
Roanoke and Botetourt, Augusta, Montgomery, and 
Kenawah, — Peyton, A. H. H. Stuart, W. B. Preston, 
and George W. Summers. 

To understand this question it should be remarked, 


130 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

that the Virginia of 1838 extended from the Atlantia 
to the Ohio, a length af 425 miles, and north and south 
from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and Tennessee, a 
distance of about 210 miles. Its area was 61,352 
square miles, being considerably more than that of 
England. With the exception of Pennsylvania^ 
Virginia was the only State which extended across the 
great Appalachian chain. The State was traversed from 
north to south by several other well-defined mountaia 
ranges, among them the Blue-ridge and the North momv- 
tain, which is an extension of the Kittatinny mountain of 
Pennsylvania. These mountains are pierced by num^r^ 
ous rivers, some flowing east to the Atlantic and others 
west, emptying into the Ohio and Gulf of Mexico. 
The principal rivers which rise in the great valley 
between the Blue-ridge and AUeghanies, and find 
their way to the Atlantic, are the Potomac, the James, 
and the Staunton; and those which rise east of the 
Blue-ridge and run in the same general direction, are the 
Rappahannock, which is navigable 110 miles above its 
mouth in the Chesapeake bay to Fredericksburg — ^the 
York river, formed by the Confluence of the Mattapony 
and Pamunkey, each a hundred miles long, and ia 
navigable about forty miles from its mouth — the Black* 
water, Nottoway, and Meherrin, which, like the Staunton, 
find their way to the ocean through North Carolina. 
The principal rivers flowing west, and emptying 
ultimately into the gulf of Mexico, are the Ohio, the 
great Eenawha, which rises in the valley between the 
Blue ridge and Alleghanies, the Monongehela, the 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 131 

Gir^andot, the little Eenawha, and the Big-Sandy. 
From thk brief description of the direction of the 
waters, it is seen that the State rises from the Atlantic 
to the mountains, and there slopes down .to the Ohio. 
Divided into four natural parts, it was also formed into 
four political divisions. The first of these was the 
•ndMoater district, lying east of the lower falls of the 
nvers, and consisting for the most part of a flat country 
nowhere more than sixty feet above the sea. Further 
w^; is the Piedmont district, extending as far as the 
Blue-ridge. This is more elevated and diversified in 
its surface than the former, as it is traversed by a range 
of hills parallel to the Blue-ridge, and about 30 miles 
firom it- The VaUej/ district extends from the Blue- 
ridge to the most westernly ridge of the Alleghany 
mountains; and is occupied by various chains of these 
QiountainSi and the fertile vallies that lie among them. 
The extreme west of the State is occupied by the Trans- 
AOeghcmy district, which slopes westward and is 
oocupied by various branches and ofi^sets of the 
mountains. In a country of such extent, and with such 
ph3rB]cal peculiarities and divisions, it is not surprising 
that different and antagonistic local interests arose. 
Nitore supplied with noble rivers that portion of the 
State comprised in the Tide-water district, and lying 
upon the Atlantic and the Chesapeak bay, which is 
sometimes styled the American Mediterranean. By 
these tie inhabitants enjoyed every facility for sending 
to. the markets of the world the products of their lands. 
The soil, too, of this district is light and sandy, and after 

1 32 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

rain soon becomes firm and dry, hence little labour or 
money is required to keep the roads in repair. The 
people of eastern Virginia therefore asked nothing on 
the score of improvements, nor did they wish to 
contribute from the common treasury towards the 
improvement of less favoured districts. In support of 
this ungenerous and LQiberal policy they adduced a 
variety of arguments, some of them not without 
considerable plausibility, but all really imsound. The 
western people, who lived above the falls of the rivers, 
where the streams were too small for navigation, and 
where the soil is clayey and the roads in winter 
impassible, asked, as their means were unequal to the 
expense, that the State should undertake to lock and 
dam the principal rivers, cut canals where required, and 
construct leading roads which were necessary for the 
development of the country and for its defence. 
They argued that the increase in population, the 
augmentation in the wealth, the multiplication in the 
subjects of taxation which would result from such a 
system of improvement, would redound in the end to 
the prosperity of the whole State, thus benefitting the 
Tide-water population. Thus was the issue made up 
by the two parties, and on this question delegates were 
elected from all parts of the State. 

In this particular House of Delegates the party of 
the west was led, as previously mentioned, by (with 
others) the subject of this biography; and c«i the 15th 
and 16th days of February, 1839, he delivered the 
following speech of great force and eloquence in the 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 183 

General Assembly on behalf of a general scheme of 
State improvement. 





In support op the Report and Resolutions recom- 
mending A Scheme op Internal Improvement;^ 


House op Delegates op Virginia, February 15, 1838. 

The Internal Improvement Report being called np. 

Colonel Peyton remarked, That the late hour at which 
the Rq)ort of the Committee on Roads and Internal 
Navigation had been called np, together with the 
protracted discussion which it had already excited, 
made it proper he should inform the House tiiat he did 
not expect to trespass long upon their patience. That 
he would endeavour to avoid detail and unnecessary 
digresrion, „ -mach „ poBsible. and oontoe htaS 
strictly to the great leading principles which were 
involved. He assured the House that he would not 
wander into the regions of imagination, in quest of the 
roses and garlands of fancy, to embeUish his sentiments. 
He would neither stoop on the one side to cull a 
flower, nor on the other to collect a gem ; but would 
proceed directly to the development of his views as. 
succinctly as the nature of the subject would allow. 

* This speech was published in Richmond, in 1838, by Shepperd and 

134 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Colonel Peyton said he did not partidpate in the 
Burprise of the friends of the Beport at the violeirl 
opposition which it had encountered. He thought ib 
was to have been expected, however strong might 
have been the evidences in favour of its adoption. Ixt 
a numerous body Uke this, representing a territory so 
extensive, and embracing interests so varied, he said' 
it was to be expected that local considerations would 
influence the course of some gentlemen, while others^, 
operated upon by an over-timid and over-cautioufi- 
policy, would be found arrayed against it, solely on tie 
ground of its novelty and apparent magnitude; and 
some few, perhaps, might find an excuse for their 
hostility in the extraordinary reason assigned by ihB 
gentleman from Prince Edward (Mr. Venable) a few 
days since : that the adoption of the proposed scheme 
would defeat the improvement of the State. But, said 
Colonel Peyton, notwithstanding the combination of 
all these adverse impulses, I beHeve there is an en-> 
hghtened spirit awakened in the land, which cannot be 
repressed or fettered, but which, bursting through all 
the barriers of ignorance, is rapidly diflfusing its 
regenerating influences and giving a healthy tone to 
public opinion. The ball, said Colonel Peyton, is in 
motion, receiving its impetus from the lofty sunmuts ^ 
of our mountains. He trusted it had already gathered 
sufficient velocity and power to overcome and defy* 
all opposition. He said that the difficulties which, 
beset tne friends of improvement at the threshhold q£ 
their innovation upon the established policy, of the. 
State; ought not to dishearten them — that it waa 
not reasonable to expect so radical and important', 
a change of State policy would be aquiesced*- 
in without a severe struggle ; and that the history. . 
of all our sister States, which have adopted aa,. 
enlightened and liberal system of internal improvemeut^ 
exhibits a perfect identity in all the circumstancej^,. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 135 

•ttendmg its introduction. And here, said Colonel 
Peyton, we find the same argnments relied upon by 
genkleinen, which were urged upon the legislature of 
Sew York, when it was proposed to construct the 
Erie and Hudson Canal on State account. And 
BOtwithstandiQg the obvious necessity and utility of 
Hwt great work, and notwithstandiag it was recom- 
mesided and advocated by one of her most distinguished 
sons, by one upon whom nature had profusely scattered 
<4ie rays of genius and the inspiration of intellect, by 
the then reputed theorist, but now revered sage, De 
Witt "Clinton. I repeat, said Colonel Peyton, that not- 
withstanding it was brought forward under the auspices 
ci^^^DJB gifted individual, and sustained with all his zeal, 
and all his ability, and all his influence, it was with 
the utmost difficulty pressed through the legislature. 
And when its adoption was promulgated through the 
country, it produced an excitement so violent and 
uncompromising in its character, as to threaten with 
pc^tical ostracism all those who had taken a prominent 
pert in its support. In the commotion, said Colonel 
V^ytcm, the dregs all floated to the surface. Whip 
syllabub lawyers and artful demagogues sprung up 
like mushrooms in every quarter of the State, and 
called upon the " dear people " to hold fast their purse 
strings. They represented the legislature, said Colonel 
P^fton, as adopting some monstrous Briarean scheme, 
wmch would stretch forth its hundred arms and plunge 
its hundred hands iato the breeches pockets of the 
people, and plunder them of the hard earnings of 
their daily labour, to make, in the cant phrase of these 
m09t special friends of the " dear people,^' " the rich 
richer, and the poor poorer." The psuedo political 
economists, too, said Colonel Peyton, of whom there is 
always an over supply in every community, and 
especially in every political association, fortified in 
their own estimation by some absurd and incongruous 

186 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

dogmas of a science, the true principles of whicli lay 
greatly beyond the reach of their intellectual visions, 
urged that the State, possessing no funds, having no 
hoard, nor any certain or ascertained, or even 
conjectural resources, other than those anticipated from 
the projected works, had no right to construct a work 
at the expense of the whole community, which was 
partial in its benefits. That it was oppressing and 
desolating one portion of the State to coidfer blessings 
upon another. To these pseudo political economists, 
there came, said Colonel Peyton, as auxiliaries in this 
war against liberal legislation, the pseudo philan- 
thropists, a class who, more anxious ior the welfso^ 
of the the " unborn millions'' who are to follow them, 
than for the generation to which they themselves 
belong, insisted that we had no right to transmit 
these debts, incurred for public works, to posterity, 
as it was imposing a burthen upon them in whioh 
they had no voice or agency, and over which they 
cordd not by possibility have exercised any control. 
And I have no doubt, said Colonel Peyton, that diese 
philanthropic worthies, in their learned dissertations 
at the comers of the village streets, and at the cross 
roads and grog-shops of the country, gravely argued 
that it was a gross violation of the great fundamental 
principles of our Government, that it was neither more 
nor less than taxation without representation. Such, 
he said, were a specimen, of the miserable batchy or, 
said he, to borrow from high authority a mcwre 
appropriate expression, the miserable rabble of objec- 
tions which were urged against the enlightened policy 
of the empire State. Such, said Colonel Peytcm, were 
the obstacles that were thrown in the way of the 
steady, conestoga, onward march of the miscalled 
Bceotia of this confederacy, in a system which is every 
day illustrating the energy and wisdom and patriotism 
of its legislation by the solid wealth and substantial 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton 137 

blessings which it is confemng upon its citizens. And 
such, I need not tell you, Mr. Speaker, after what you 
have heard on this floor, are the cogent arguments, the 
m^ty missiles with which we are assailed, and which 
renders it necessary that the Mends of internal improve- 
ment should put on their armour and invoke the 
Protecting Egis of Minerva. Survey, said Colonel 
Pttyton, ttie whole ground which has been occupied by 
the opponents of our scheme, and analyze what 
they have said, and you will find it all at last resolved 
into some one of the objections which I have 
enumerated, or into something which bears a strong 
family likeness to them. And, said Colonel Peyton, I 
most say, they are only diginified on the present 
occasion, by their very respectable endorsement, and 
the talents which they have enhsted in their support. 

The talented representatives from Prince Edward 
and Halifax predicated the greater portion of 
their arguments upon the assumption, that the State 
Was, from its poverty, unable to construct the improve- 
m^ts recommended in the report. The financial 
estimate presented by the pfentlemen from Augusta, a 
few d./Bmce, in L ex/oBitioo of the viewfof the 
c<mumttee, Colonel Peyton thought entirely conclusive 
upon this point, and he had heard nothing as yet, in 
the slightest degree calculated to weaken his confidence 
in it. The objection to the calculation, in the estimation 
of Colonel Peyton, was, that it yielded too much to 
his opponents, and did greater iujustice to the financial 
resources of the Commonwealth. But, said Colonel 
Peyton, notwithstanding this estimate, which proves 
beyond doubt the entire ability of the State to 
accompUsh the improvements proposed without abstract- 
ing one cent from the pockets of the community, we 
are told by the inteUigent gentleman from Halifax, 
that they will create a national debt, which will result 
in national bankruptcy. This idea, monstrous, 


138 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

illnsory, and unfounded as it is, in the face, too, of 
the most irrefragable testimony of figures which e^tfii^ 
lie, is reiterated and echoed by the opponents of ^And 
measure from every part of the hall, as though it l^^ii^ 
species of axiom. That the estimate is based on isi^ 
purely legitimate, and that its foundations are firtth^ 
fixed in truth, the abortive efforts of our opponc^tit 
to impugn and destroy them, afford the hi^^ 
evidence. That all the antagonist items \i^ch ai^ 
entitled to be considered as oflEsets or charges upon til9^ 
internal improvement fund, are fairly and propl^rty 
stated, is not denied ; but it is pretended that th^ 
estimate of the profits upon the works in process of 
execution, and upon those contemplated, is extravagaSitv 
Gentlemen, said Colonel Feyton. wiser and mote 
experienced than oar engineers, who axe generaUy 
presumed to be the best acquainted with these matteifs^ 
and wiser and more astute than that numerous and 
intelligent class of the community who have vested their 
money in many of these schemes, after a close scrutiny 
into the chances of reimbursement, have come to the 
conclusion, that they are all .dsionary speculations, 
and doomed to disappoint and ruin those who engage 
in them. It is true, said Colonel Peyton, as has been 
said by the anti-improvement gentlemen, that consider^ 
able reliance is placed upon the anticipated profits from 
the James Biver improvement. And this estimate 
being conjectural, he knew of no better mode of 
approximating the truth, than by consulting those who 
have embarked their fortunes in it, and whose interests 
have led them to examine it narrowly. The testin^my 
of all these, he said, would more than sustain the 
humble estimate. K, said Colonel Peyton, the mature^ 
wisdom of a Marshall in the east, and the cool, calculate 
ing, practical good sense of a Breckenridge in the westy 
and the combined intelligence of the most enlightened 
portions of the State, after a long, and anxious, sanSt 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 139 

tiummgh investigation of the ntility and productiveness 
of this work, could cheerfully embark all their available 
joeans in it, and appeal, in all the sincerity of a burning 
patriotism to their fellow-citizens to unite in its con* 
otniotion, I think we may safely rest with this assembly 
^e very humble estimate which we have placed upon 
ita productiveness, upon this authority, in opposition 
to the round and unsustained assertions of the gentle- 
' mm from Prince Edward and Halifax. Colonel Peyton 
ilikid» that he should therefore claim with confidence 
ib(tt the calculation of the profits from this work, which 
%fA been used in the financial estimate, and which was 
confessedly so far below the estimates of persons so 
eminently qualified, should be received, until some 
0tr(mger argument than the empty denunciations of an 
^oemy, [or the bold assertions of inexperience were 

--. Colonel Peyton said, that the only other conjectural 
Morce^pf revenue relied upon, is the contemplated 
ifaprovements, and these but for a very limited amount 
$md for a short period. He said, that the gentleman 
from Halifax, in combating this source of revenue, 
instead of dissecting, and sifting, and exposing the 
^daravagance of the very moderate and gi;arded 
estimate twhich we presented, launched forth into a 
denunciatory attack upon the report of the principal 
engineer, in which the estimates were more than ten 
times higher than we claimed ; and having in the 
blmdness of his zeal imagined that he had utterly 
jeDM>li8hed the engineer's report, he very gravely and 
most logically concluded, that our estimate, by conse- 
^nwoe, shared the same fate. He said, that feeling 
disposed to admit a paralogism so palpable, he felt 
authorized, by the failure of the gentleman, to object 
specifically to the dividend claimed by the friends of 
the report, in construing it into an admission of its 
correctness. But this, he said, was unnecessary. To 

140 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

those, said Colonel Peyton, who are familiar with tiie 
trade and travel of that section of the State, which 
will be accommodated by the South-western road, and 
with the powerful auxiliaries which it will receive whcfn 
extended to Knoxville, not only the extreme modera- 
tion of our estimate will be manifest, but the much 
derided and apparently extravagant calculation of our 
chief engineer will be found, upon examination, to be 
entirely within the bounds of probability. Fortunately, 
said Colonel Peyton, we were not driven upon the 
fanciful speculations of its ardent friends for the 
maintenance of our opinions. In the year 1831, a 
convention was held in the town of Abingdon, com- 
posed of delegates from the city of Richmond, and all 
the intermediate country to Ejioxville, in Tennessee, 
who, after carefully collating all the facts necessary in 
enabling them to determine whether the tonnage and 
travel of this route would justify the expense of a 
railroad, decided most confidently in its favour. From 
the report of their proceedings it appeared that 
even then the tonnage transported by waggons 
amounted to 7,297 imports, and 60,352 exports, msMng 
an aggregate of 67,649 tons ; calculating the imports 
at 6 cents per mile, and the exports at 3 cents, it gav« 
nearly five hundred thousand dollars. They then 
deducted one-third from this amount to cover the error 
in the calculation from some of the exports and a large 
portion of the imports being distributed along the line, 
instead of being carried the whole way through. Tins 
left for imports 64,798 dols., for exports 267,963 dols., 
making an aggregate of 332,761 dols., which, taking 
the cost of the railroad from New River to Knoxville at 
3,108,000 dols., would produce a dividend of upwards 
of 10 per cent on the cost of that part of the road from 
New River to Knoxville, or nearly 7J per c^it. on 
4,408,000 dols., the total cost of constructing a railroad 
from Lynchbury to Knoxville. In this calcolatiea, 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 141, 

the tolls accraing upon that portion of the line 
bjMfween New iUver and Lynchburg, and which 
would nnquesticmably be the most productive, 
ara excluded. Nevertheless the convention had 
BO hesitation in saying, upon the very meagre 
information which they possessed, that this section 
would yield at least 10 per cent, to the stockholders in 
the then condition of the trade of the country. And 
this, too, it will be observed, without relying upon the 
profit to be derived from the transportation of passen- 
gers, which of itself, I have no doubt, is justly 
considered by our chief engineer as the most valuable 
source of revenue. Colonel Peyton said, that in 
addition to the facts elicited by this convention, there 
was a most important one derived from the register 
kept at Inglis's ferry, on New River, in the year 1836. 
FixHU this, it appeared that between thirty-four and 
thirty-five thousimd travellers crossed at that single 
point during the year. These, said Colonel Peyton, 
t(^ther with those who crossed at the numerous fords 
and ferries above and below, would probably swell the 
estimate to between 40 and 60,000. This travel 
at the ordinary charge of six cents per mile, 
would give an income of 576,000 dols., or between 18 
and 20 per cent, on the whole cost of construction. 
Th«s showing the ability of this improvement to 
eustain itself by a moderate toll upon the travel, and 
oonsequently, removing the necessity of heavy imports 
vsfoa tfie agricultural and mineral products of the 

But, said Colonel Peyton, when you recollect that the 
moment you construct this work, and thus remove the 
mountain barriers which separate this country from 
market, you at once awaken the industry and stimulate 
tbe e2:^rgies of its inhabitants, and that you develop 
ibe varied and inexhaustible mineral and agricultural 
jssources of one of the fairest and most salubrious 

142 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

portions of the State — a region where lead, salt, 
gypsmn, coal, iron, and an exhuberant fertility of soil 
have been lavished with almost prodigal profdsion. It 
is impossible, said he, to conceive the width and depth 
of the stream enriched from all these prolific sources, 
which will pour its golden flood upon our commercial 
marts, exciting their enterprize, and re-invigorating 
their languishing commerce. Not only this, said Col. 
Peyton, but when the work shall have been extended 
to Knoxville, a short distance beyond our South- Western 
border, it will constitute the focus of improvements, 
radiating to the Atlantic on the one side, the Ohio on 
the other, and the Gulf of Mexico on the third — em- 
bracing within its influence two-thirds of the confederacy, 
and drawing within its vortex, by the sure attraction of 
its being the nearest, most natural, and direct route to 
the east, the largest commerce ever enjoyed by a 
railroad, and an amount of travel beyond the anticipa- 
tions of the most sanguine and credulous. But, said 
Colonel Peyton, I will not fatigue myself, or waste the 
time of the House in proving the value and productive- 
ness of a work against which not a single plausible 
argument has been offered. The ingenious gentleman 
from Halifax, himself finding that a closer scrutiny 
into our estimate of the profits from the Jameif 
lUver and Eenawha improvements and the South- 
western road, was more likely to prejudice than 
to promote his cause, seemed to yield the point, and 
shaking the dust of the old Dominion from nis feet^- 
he embarked upon the railroads and canals of the 
great States of Pennsylvania and New York, in quest^ 
of facts to support his theory. There, said Colonel 
Peyton, entrenching himself behind a rampart of 
reports and imposing arithmetical calculations, he 
seemed to defy and almost deride his opponents. Lei 
us, said Colonel Peyton, examine him in his new' 
position, and see whether it will not yield to the iirfirt 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 14t 

a^sauli To say nothing at present, said Colonel 
peyton, of the numerous errors of fact and inference in 
wluch the gentleman involved himself at every step, 
i&ere was one prominent and striking and radical 
^eat in his whole argument, and that was, said Colonel 
J^eyton, his neglect of the ameliorating influences of 
Quese unprovements upon the comfort and happiness 
and pecuniary circumstances of the inhabitants of the 
States penetrated by them. He seemed, said Colonel 
Peyton, to lose sight altogether of the immense enhance- 
ments of individual property which resulted from them, 
and the consequent increase of the stream of taxes 
which would be annually pouring its golden treasures 
i^th a continually increasing volume into the publio 
coffers. Not only this, but he seemed to be blind — ^yes, 
stone blind — ^to the incalculable addition to the aggregate 
of national wealth from the development of the rich 
mineral treasures locked up in inaccessible mountains, 
snd which, without these improvements, were utterly 
valueless. He seemed to forget, too, the extensive 
Tnannfactories which would grow out of the working 
of these mines and cluster around every waterfall in 
their neighbourhood. He overlooked, too, the immense 
pigmentation of agricultural products . which the 
stimulus of a ready market would create* And still 
more, said Colonel Peyton, he excluded from view the 
increase of population resulting from the combination 
of all these other blessings — an increase only 
limited *by our mines of coal and iron, which 
cure said to be boundless and inexhaustible. Great, 
manifold, and important, said Colonel Peyton, as 
are these, the legitimate offspring of a judicious 
q^tem of internal improvement, embracing as they do 
fl^ the important elements and essentials which 
constitute a prosperous and happy people, under the 
benign influence of free institutions, and which in 
HQ^ opinion ought to be cherished as a blessing, even 

144 Memoir of WiUiam Maddson Peyton. 

if it was conpled with a system of direct taxation for 
the reimbursement of the debt incurred in producing 
it. Great, manifold and important, repeated Colonel 
Peyton, as were all these beneficial results from an 
improvement of the means of inter-communicatian, 
the gentleman never once adverted to them, but 
confined himself to a cold stock-jobbing calculation 
of the dividends accruing from the various works 
finished and contemplated. Is this, said Colonel 
Peyton, the view of a Statesman ? Is it the voice of 
patriotism ? Or is it the barking of a treasury watch- 
dog, a Cerberus chained at the mouth of the vaults, 
and with brute instinct denying access to all persons 
indiscriminately, without respect to the character of 
the claim or the applicant. Is it possible, said Colonel 
Peyton, that a policy so narrow and so contracted, so 
miserably parsimonious and so obviously suicidal, is 
to be countenanced and sustained by the representatives 
of a generous and magnanimous people. But said 
Colonel Peyton, my feelings have hurried me into 
a degression fi-om the point m my argument to which 
I had arrived, and upon which I wish to bring the 
attention of the house to bear for a few moments. 

I was about to admit, for the sake of argument, and 
for the purpose of exhibiting in a still stronger point 
of view, the indefensible character of the position 
assumed by the gentleman from Halifax, that all the 
ameliorating influences of these improvements upon 
society — ^the increase of population — the augmentation 
of agricultural products — the development of mineral 
treasures — the creation of manufactories and the 
increase of the public revenue — ^that all these should be 
discarded from consideration, and that we should view 
it simply as a money-making, stock-jobbing scheme on 
the part of the State. Even, said Colonel Peyton, in 
this narrow and contracted and unstatesmanl^e point 
of view, if the lessons of experience are suflered to shed 

.Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 145 

their broad and full light upon the question, there will 
be no diflSculty in maintaining before this A ssembly 
iJie policy of the system. 1 am willing, he said, to 
narrow the ground on which we stand, for the present, 
still more, by permitting its correctness to be tested 
by the Pennsylvania system, which has been so 
firequently referred to and so confidently relied upon 
by the opponents of improvement, as affording the 
strongest testimony in their favour. I am fully aware, 
said the Colonel, that I place myself in the most 
disadvantageous position in relinquishing the mass of 
testimony which the triumphant success of the State 
system in other parts of the Union affords, an4 
submitting the question to a test, selected by our 
enemies, and which wants the analogy which is 
necessary to give weight to the deductions against us. 
Those who are acquainted with the history of 
internal improvements in the State of Pennsyl- 
vania, know that it was commenced under every 
disadvantage, at a time when the construction of 
canals and railways were not well understood in 
this country, and when, from the want of that skill, 
and experience, and knowledge which she now 
possesses, she expended at least one -fourth, or six 
millions more, according to the estimates of her most 
practical men, than would be necessary to do the same 
work now. There is another circumstance, said Col. 
Peyton, which weakens the parallel. An inspection of 
the map will satisfy every one acquainted with the 
geography of the United States, that in point of 
natural advantages, she cannot compare with us. By 
* position, she commands the commerce of no State but 
her own, whilst Virginia, from the nature of the 
Carolina coast, is the natural market of Carolina 
products, and from her position, possesses advantages 
' over Pennsylvania, in a competition for the Ohio trade, 
^'and superadded to this, the rich products of East 

146 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Tennessee and North Alabama flow as certainly to her 
ports as she provides an outlet for them. But, notwith- 
standing all this, he hoped he would be able to satisfy 
the House in a few words, that the system of Pennsyl- 
vania, prompt, bold, expanded, and in one sense, 
extravagant as it had been, so far from presenting n 
picture to discourage and dishearten the friends of 
improvement, offered every inducement and stimulus 
to increased exertion. In looking into the Pennsylvania 
system to ascertain whether the funds she has invested 
in public works have been squandered or judiciously 
expended, it certainly affords no evidence against them 
to find, that upon an expenditure of nearly 25,000,000 
dols., they received during the past year of paralysis 
and commercial pressure, only 975,350,49 dols. The 
general plan is not yet carried out, many important 
links are unfinished, which, when completed, will swell 
the tonnage immensely. The energy, and industry, 
and enterprize of the community has scarcely had time 
to get under way. The mineral and agricultural 
resources are just developing themselves; so that the 
present tolls, handsome as they are, scarcely * afford an 
earnest of what they will be, when the system is 
complete, and has had sufficient time to work out its 
great results. Equally unsatisfactory is any argument 
drawn from the statistics of detached works. There 
are so many circumstances connected with them, 
special and peculiar in their character, and of which 
we are ignorant, that no general arrangement can be 
drawn from them upon this point, entitled to the 
slightest consideration. Instead, therefore, of suffering 
ourselves to be carried away by the bold assertions of 
gentlemen or specious deductions from particular improve-^ 
ments, and sections of improvements, of which we know^' 
nothing, or the jaundiced calculations of the profits "oP 
a system which is imperfect and unfinished, I wonI(f| 
refer you to the testimony of the citizens of PennsyJP^ 

Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 147 

yania themselves — ^to the report of the canal commis- 
Siioners, who are entrusted with the control and 
iflanagement of the public works, and who $re familiar 
with the influences, favourable and unfavourable, 
which operate upon them — to the message of the 
governor, who exercises a supervisory care over the 
whole State, and who derives his information from 
the best sources. Do you find their opinions 
of the value and productiveness of the public 
works accordmg with those deduced by the gentlemen 
from Prince Edward and Halifax, from their selected 
statistics? Do you find them deploring the system 
as one leading to national bankruptcy ? No 
they are proud of it, and cherish it as a nerer- 
failing source of the richest blessings; as the broad 
basis of individual wealth and national grandeur; as 
the key-stone which crowns their political edifice, giving 
strength and durability and finish to the structure. 
Colonel Peyton said, in the report of the canal com- 
missioners for the year 1837, they say, "one aspect 
of the operations of the year must, however, prove 
cheering to every Pennsylvanian. While the revenue 
derived from similar great State improvements, all 
around us, has materially fallen short of last year, ours 
has advanced in a ratio corresponding with that of 
former years. If we can thus maintain our career in 
the midst of such untoward circumstanceSy what mind 
can estimate the eflfects that will be produced by 
the return of a more healthy policy. If, in connexion 
with this view of the subject, the competition of the 
improvements now in progress, and which will effectu- 
ally bring into use the immense mineral productions 
of the Lykens valley, Shamokin, Mahamy, Wyoming, 
and the bituminous coal and iron fields of the west 
branch and Juniata, be also contemplated^ the result 
ia incalculable. But little now passes on the canals of 
tbe Susquehaona, its branches and the Juniata. When^ 

148 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

however, the improvements in process to complete the 
original design of these works begtn to unfold their destined 
utility^ the addition to the already increasing reventie 
derived from t/iose sources^ will be immense. As evidence 
of this, it is only necessarv to notice the rich return 
which the mining operations in the Schuylkill coal 
fields impart to the Schuylkill Navigation Companjr'g 
works. This improvement is only 108 miles in length, 
and has produced tolls the present season, amounting to 
560,141,50 dols., up to the 13th of November. 

In another part of the same report, after urging 
the legislature to apply the whole resources of the 
State to the completion of the system as rapidly as 
possible, they remark " In relation to the ultimate 
success 'and prosperity of the public works, the board 
have expressed a decided opinion. The revenue 
derived from public works is already beginning to 
have a decided effect upon the fiscal operations of 
the Government, and will hereafter be the main 
reliance of the State. What amount of revenue will 
be derived from the public works the present fiscal 
year, it is difficult under existing circumstances, to 
determine. But the board feel warranted in giving 
the assurance, that even if the present pressure 
continues, it cannot fall short of 1,200,000 dols. As 
a proof that the above is not an over estimate, and 
that the whole system when perfected will remunerate 
the State for her outlay, and reward the patience 
of her citizens, it may be etc. etc., (instancing the 
most important improvements and the revenue derived 
from them.) In the close of this review of the 
general improvements, they say : " There w, therefore^ 
no doubt^ but that when the now rmproductim branches 
are completed^ and sustain themselves^ as they assuredfy 
willy the whole system will not only support itself but 
pay a handsome revenue to the State J^ 

The governor, in his last message, says, « The 

Memoir of WtUiam Madison Peyton 149- 

2 stem of internal improvement has heretofore been 
e chief draft upon the Treasury. It is now about 
becoming its mam reliance.^' m m m m <* Xhe revenue 
from the public works fell 324,649,51 dols. short, 
diuring the past year, of the estimate of the canal 
ccMZunissioners. Its actual amount was 975,350,46 
dels. But all who are conversant with the matter, are 
convinced that it would have 1,300,000 dols., if the 
paralysis of last May had not fallen on the energies 
of trade. The estimate of the board for the present 
year, 1,400,000 dols, in which I concur, believing, also 
that though it cannot fall materially short of that 
sum, no matter how adverse the State's general business 
may become, it may, and probably will, reach 1,500,000 
dols., if the usual degree of prosperity be restored to 
the country. The tolls of last month alone amounted 
to 130,000 dols, of that sum." In another part of 
his message, after a coup d^oeil at the different 
im{»rovements, he concludes thus : " This view of the 
subject not only enables us to calculate with certainty 
or the increased earnings of the public works hereafter, 
bat justifies all necessary expenditure for their 
completion, even without taking into account their 
other incalculable advantages to the State. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 
Improvements thus increasing m productiveness under 
every disadvantage, demand, because thev are worthy 
of all the care of the legislature." Colonel Peyton, 
aaid, I present these extracts as the testimony of the 
Canal Commissioners and Governor of Pennsylvania, in 
&vour of a scheme which has been represented by gentle- 
men as a perfect Pandora's box, laden with evil, and 
threatening the State with bankruptcy. 

I consider it, Mr. Speaker, and every unprejudiced 

mind must concur with me, as out-weighing all the 

bold assertions and ingenious deductions of gentlemen 

who are confessedly ignorant of the country and its 

^^improvements, and as proving beyond all question 

150 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

the policy of the system as a mere money-making 
machine. It must strike every gehtkman, that ho 
inference prejudical to the opinions advanced by these 
Commissioners and the Governor, which are based upon 
the statistics of any single improvement, or any 
combination of improvements, ought to have any 
influence upon our judgment. If, then it be 
established, that looking only to the revenue from 
the improvements, it is a judicious investment of 
the public funds of Pennsylvania, the State wc 
have selected as a test of its policy in Virginia, 
there can no longer be any difficulty in our embarking 
in the system, even if we had no loftier considera- 
tions to subserve, than those of a mere stock-jobber. 
This brings me to the consideration of the mode 
in which the works shall be made, whether upon 
the joint-stock or the State principle. And upon 
the decision of this question in favour of the latter, we 
believe, depends the cause of internal improvement, and 
the future destiny of the State. 

Colonel Peyton said, the most plausible and ingenious 
argument which has been presented to the house in 
favour of the two-fifth, and in opposition to the State 
plan of improvement, was that of the gentleman from 
Campbell, (Mr. Daniel,) This gentlemen in his zeal to 
discover a spot on which to plant a lever to overturn the 
State system, created an imaginary foundation of imprac- 
ticable abstractions, and opened from thence, with no 
small degree of confidence, and certainly with great skill, 
a furious broadside upon that portion of the report which 
recommended the construction of the South-western 
road on State account. The argument of the gentle- 
man was this — ^He set out with the extraordinary 
assumption, that, upon principles of abstract justice, wq 
have no right to take one dollar from the treasury for 
the construction of public works, that the subscription . 
of two fifths on the part of the State being an appropria-,^ 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 151 

tion of the pnblic funds to public works, was conse- 
quently unjust; and, a fortiori^ inasmuch as the 
whole is greater than a part it is a still greater 
injustice lot the State to bear the whole expense. 
The mere statement of this argument, divested 
erf all the sophistry with which he had surrounded 
it, ought to be sufficient to refute it. But, as 
it had been the foundation of a long and able argument, 
and had been most plausibly and ingeniously maintained, 
he would examine it fully. 

The poUtical maxim, said Colonel Peyton, upon 
which the gentlemen has raised his superstructure, is 
illusory, and, as appUed by him, utterly false. Upon 
principles of abstract justice, the Government has no 
jright to appropriate the public funds on the construc- 
tion of public works ! Why, Mr. Speaker, upon 
principles of abstract juctice you have no right to impose 
any of those restraints upon the actions of men, or 
exercise any of that control over their property, wWch, 
in the finest Governments that have ever existed, have 
exerted so salutary an influence and which has been 
tmiversally conceded as indespensable to the existence 
of society. We abandon the helpless, inefficient, 
isolated and unsocial life of the wandering savage, that 
we may, by union, concert, and harmony be better 
protected in our personal rights and our rights of 
property, and by united counsels, and united means 
and energies, eflfect such measures as will promote the 
public welfare. Mixed up with the abstractions under 
consideration, and resulting in some degree from it, was 
another sophism equally exceptionable, as applied. He 
asserted, said Colonel Peyton, that beyond the protec- 
tion of the country from foreign aggression, and the 
preservation of the due administration of justice, the less 
a l&ovemment interfered with the labour and industry, 
the' pursuit and avocations of its citizens, the nearer it 
approximated the fulfilment of its duties and obligations. 

152 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

and that any step beyond these limits was in derogation 
of certain abstract rights supposed by the gentleman to bB 
be inherent and inalienable, or reserved by the community. 
Suppose for a moment, said Col. Peyton, that the 
gentleman's argument may be placed in the strongest 
point of view, that the principles involved m his proposi- 
tion are true — His argument admits, that it is the dut^ 
of the Government to protect and defend the country 
from foreign invasion, and that it may use the pubnic 
treasure for that purpose. Suppose then, that VirginSi, 
instead of forming one of uus glorious union, were 
isolated and independent, surrounded by warlike neigh- 
hours, and subject to incursions upon the north, south, 
and west, so sudden and desolating in their characte^ 
as to make the rapid transportation of troops and 
munitions of war an important element of her defence. 
Would not the Government, upon the gentleman's own 
principles, have a right to construct roads in every 
direction to promote the public welfare in this particular ? 
And if, Mr. Speaker, the Government in such an 
emergency would have the right to construct these 
pubUc works, has she not a right, and is it not her duty 
to provide before hand for the emergency, instead of 
waiting till the distresses and disasters of war leave 
her no alternative ? If the power belongs to the 
Government in the extreme case supposed, why should 
it not reside in the Government of Virginia under exist- 
ing circumstances, when it would confessedly put hier 
in better condition to withstand foreign invasion, as 
well by the economy with which her troops and baggage 
would be conveyed from point to point, as by the 
promptness with which they could be brought to bear 
where most needed. But, said Colonel Peyton, conclu- 
sive as the argument is, even in this aspect, in &voiir 
of a ^stem of internal improvement, we are not drii^en 
to the necessity of resting it upon such hair-splitting 

Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 158 

Every Government, said Colonel Peyton, rests upon 
iIb own principles, as ascertained by long usage, or its 
vzitten charter ; and the principles of the social com- 
pact, and the spirit of the constitution of Virginia, 
jclearly and unequivocally recognize in its Gt)vemment 
'the nght to do any thmg which, in its wisdom, will 
jiromote the public welfare, provided it is not in contra- 
vention of the charter adopted as a guide and limit to 
its action. There is nothing in the constitution which 
wohibits the legislature appropriating the public 
rands to the construction of public works, or 
in any other way they may deem promotive of the 
public welfare. It follows, of course, that the legisla- 
ture have the right to do it, and that, possessing the 
power, there can exist under the social compact no 
abstract right at variance with the constitutional right, 
and the inference of the gentleman from Campbell, that 
the legislature cannot exercise it without perpetrating 
a wrong — ^an act of injustice — ^is wholly gratuitous, 
and unsustained by any recognized, civil, or poUtical 
principles, as, I trust, I have satis£a*ctorily shown. We 
have thus established, said Col. Peyton, what he did 
not suppose was ever doubted, before the ingenuity of 
the gentleman from Campbell suggested it — ^the right 
of the State to use her treasures for the construction of 
. public works, or for the general welfare, in any way she 
may deem expedient. I have previously shown, he 
, said, the policy of a system of internal improvement, 
and the ability of the State to carry out the scheme 
proposed; and it only remains for me to ofifer some 
remarks as to the manner in which it shall be done. 

[The usual hour of adjournment having arrived, Col. 
• .Peyton gave way, that a motion to that effect might be 

154 Memoir of WUUam Madison PeyUm. 

Second Day. 

House of Delegates of Virginia, 

FebruaiJ/ 16th, 18S& 

The Internal Improvement Eeport being called up^ 
and Colonel Peyton being entitled to the floor, he rose 
and Baid : — 

My argument not having been concluded on yester* 
day, when the hour of adjournment arrived, it is 
necessary that I should throw myself upon your 
indulgence for a portion of to-day. I trust, Mr* 
Speaker, that I satisfied the house on yesterday, that 
no principle of abstract right does exist under the social 
compact, which contravenes the constitution, and of 
course that the act of our legislature appropriating the 
pubUc revenues to the construction <rf public worics, 
does not violate any right, or operate any injustice, and 
of course that the ingenious syllogism of the gentleman 
from Campbell fails to prove, that because npon the 
State system there would be a larger appropriati(« of 
the pubhc funds than under the joint-stock system, that 
therefore it was more unjust and objectionable. Having 
disposed of this branch of the gentleman's argument m 
favour of the two-fifth, and against the State systmt^ 
it brought me to another on the same subject, in which 
he abandoned in some measure his metaphysical abstract 
tions, and treated the subject in a more practical point 
of view. The acuteness of that gentleman's tmA, 
enabled him to present a most imposing view 
of what he considered inherent evils in the pion 
of improvement on State account, and after msm^ 
taining himself most ably upon general reasomag^ 
and entering his formal protest against deductions in 
favour of either system from isolated instances, or ttas^ 
any combination of cases, where all the circumstaneM^ 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton, 155 

moral, political and physical, were not well understood^ 
he proceeded to adduce in support of the two-fifth place, 
the Chesapeak and Ohio canal, the Baltimore and Ohio 
Mlkoad, and several other joint-stock improvements ; 
thereby forcibly illustrating, by the false conclusions to 
which they led him, the truth of his promises. 
I ^ee with the gentleman, that partial statistics 
are worse than useless. It is true, that it is im- 
possible to draw a comparison between works of other 
States, made upon the joint stock and State principle, 
without an intimate acquaintance with the topography 
cf the countries through which they pass — the character 
iof the works, whether they are temporary, requiring 
expensive repairs at short intervals, or permament and 
substantial ; their relative natural advantages — ^in a 
y^oiAj all those influences, moral, political and physical, 
wbi(^ affect them — and hence, I would depend upon no 
anUotority short of it. As then Mr. Speaker, there is no 
discordance in the views of the gentleman and myself, 
us.. to the character of the testimony which should 
influence the decision of this question, we have only to 
l^pply the test. And at the threshold, I would ask 
whether the gentleman from Campbell or any other 
ttend of iiie Vership system/has offered us a 
piartade of testimony in support of it, coming up to the 
ptaAe which we have established ? It is doubtless fresh 
isx tioB recollections of every gentleman within my voice, 
that the gentleman from Campbell did not even pretend 
if^ it» The truth is they have none, while 
jtimodBXii testimony of the most satisfactory character 
^4an be produced in favour of the State, and in 
«oiobdemnation of the joint stock system. Look,' Mr. 
%ieaker at the operati(m of the miserable, crippled and 
JQUcffieient two and three fifths system, which has been 
an GfersAion in our State for the last age 1 Behold its 
^eiriQus results ! See the extensive Unes of railways 
;w^ canals penetrating every quarter of the State, and 

156 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

dispensing wealth, prosperity^ and happinees to Hi 
citizens ! See yonr noble port at Norfolk crowded wi& 
the canvas of every clime, and towns and cities spring 
ing up as if by magic, in every quarter of the country i 
Behold the Birmingham of America! Your own 
capital, parsimoniously husbanding every drop ci her 
almost boundless water power, and a^^lying it iA 
machinery for manufacturing the cotton of Alabamik^ 
the wool of Ohio, and the minerals of Western Yirginial 
See your treasury filled to repletion, and the great Siatibe 
of Virginia advancing abreast of the State of Pennsyb 
vania and New York, who have so unwisely and fatni^ 
tously adopted a system of internal improvement cm 
State account ! ! 

In the eager anticipation of beholding all these 
glorious results of the system so much lauded by the 
gentleman from Campbell, we ask, where are they-f 
where are they ? " and echo answers, where are they ?*! 
No, Mr. SpeaJser, instead of this animating picture, wi 
behold the lacerating efiects of this joint-stock syst^Bk 
We behold a depressing, hag-ridden Commonweaiyi^ 
upon which this incubus has fixed itself so long as te 
paralyze all her energies, and almost dry up the 
fountains of hope. A system, said Col. Peyton, yMA 
should be entitled a system of financial phlebotomy, as 
it is merely used to deplete the body poUtic, and r^lierm 
the treasury when it discovers any symptoms of 
plethora. It is fitly described as a silanf^ 

insidious, thieving system, which plunders ^m 
treasury, without promoting the public welfeure. Millkm 
upcm millions of the public funds are wasted in the 
companies, and many of them are so utterly unprodi» 
tive, that it has been recommended to abandon thatt 
that the State may save the expense of printing the 
annual report of their condition ; and the whole of iham 
taken together do not average one per cent, upont Urn 
capital vested. Such, Mr. Speaker, is the true stataJolf 

Menmr of WUliam Madtson Peyton. 157 

Use testimany afforded by oxir experience in the jcunt- 
jBtMk system. After having lived through an age the 
dimshed policy of the State, it has not been able to 
tecGT a sin^e monnment flattering to the pride, credit- 
M^ to the enterprise, or in any respect worthy of the 
flEOci^it fame of this renowned Commonwealth. The 
friends of internal improvement having aqniesced during 
tkoB hmg period in the hope that some of the promised 
benefits would be realized, and finding every hope 
Qlicifced, the mere precursor of ruinous disappointment, 
ihe^ determined, if possible, to revolutionize the system. 
And after the maturest reflection, and a patient and 
wcnrate examination into the systems of tiiose States 
which have been most successful, they have decided 
iqwn, and recommended, the State system. In 
dMng this, we take the broad ground, that no 
State in this confederacy has ever carried on a 
system of internal improvement successfully, except on 
fiihate account. It is difficult to form a system in any 
dhet way. For that cannot be called a system which 
HbsfeodB upon the disconnected influences and conflict- 
ing interests of an infinity of localities. It wants an 
«i: pervading eye, that wUl embrace within its vision 
file whole State, and a hand of judicious bounty, that 
mSl administer to its wants and necessities as such, 
impartially. Such, is the whole system in theory, and 
mdi has been its operation in practice. In New York 
ttasBT great State work was eligibly situated, as to 
Attribute its blessings over every portion of the State, 
waA the original and wonderful success of this improve- 
ment, with which all are familiar, renders it unnecessary 
te me to dwell on it. In the State of Pennsylvania — 
tile Flanders of this controversy — ^we offer such testi- 
iBOny in support of the system we recommend, as the 
fwtieman firom Oampbell and myself have agreed upon 
m» alone admissible. We offer the testimony of the 
l&OTeinor of that Commonwealth, who, in his message 

158 Memoir of WUlium Madison Peytom 

of 1886, sajB, that when the works then in progrMCf 
shall have been completed, stretching into every quartw 
of her territory, and bearing her immense agricoltiuralj 
mannfactoring, and mineral wealth to her own proud 
metropolis,* and to every State in the Union, it is a low 
estimate, he says, when these works are completed and 
in fall operation^ that her clear annnal income, from this 
source alone, will not fall short of three millions of 
dollars, a sum sufficient to reimburse the whole debt 
incurred, as it becomes one, to continue her improve* 
ments to any extent, and to authorize the apphcation 
of one million of dollars annually to the purposes of 
education. And all this, he says, with moderation^ 
prudence, and caution, is not more than eight, an4 
probably six years distant. We offer you the testimony 
of the canal conmiissioners, which I read to the house 
on yesterday, in which they state, that the revenue from 
the canals and railways is regularly progressive, and 
that the fund arising from them is becoming the main 
reliance of the State. We offer you the acts of the 
Legislature of the State, who are sustaioing audi 
upholding this stupendous fabric by prompt, bold and 
generous legislation : and by implication we offer you 
the testimony of the people of the State — they who are 
supposed to be the victuns of all the oppression and 
grinding exaction which is inseparable from an 
expanded system of improvement, and whose miseries 
and distresses, under the system of taxation which it 
is said will flow from our scheme, has awakened the 
tender sympathies and sickly sensibiUties of gentlemen 
on this floor. 

All these, said Colonel Peyton, are persons, who I 
am sure the gentleman from Campbell will admit are 
£amiliar with the influences moral, political and physical^ 
which affect the system and who from having 

, * Philadelphia. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 159 

pKviotisly tried a partnership system like ours, are 
peculiarly qualified to judge of their respective 
merits. In truth there is oae vital and dis- 
tmgnishing feature in the joint-stock system, which 
18 sufficient of itself, if there was none other to 
condemn it. It administers to the cupidity of indi- 
viduals, and encourages them in unreasonable exactions 
upon the community. It fixes a tariff upon the 
Agricultural and other products of the country, which 
is often intermiuable and always onorous. Whereas 
upon the state system, the legislature would have a 
right to accomodate its tolls to circumstances, and when 
the capital was reimbursed, might abolish them so far 
as to reserve a tax merely sufficient to preserve the 
works in repair, or retain a sufficiency to relieve the 
whole community from taxation. Suppose, for 
example the James river and Kenawha improve- 
ment completed, and the tolls should equal the 
estimates which have been made, viz ; eight hundred 
thousand dollars; you then have the agricultural 
interest contiguous to this improvement, saddled with 
the principle part of this enormous tax, through all 
time — irrevocably and irremediably — ^when, if it were 
a State work, this immense burden might be removed, 
when the cost of construction was returned, and thus 
negatively distribute, through the community, in the 
most salutary form, a sum which would operate as a 
bounty to that interest which is the foundation 
and support of all others. With this example 
and an extract written from a letter by a 
citizen from Pennsylrania, who has long been distin- 
guished for his devotion to the cause of improvement, 
lor his sound practical sense, and his intimate know- 
ledge of the operations of the system in his own State 
fot the last 30 years, I rest the discussion of the 
relative advantages of the two systems. The extract 
is in reply to a query submitted to him on this very 

160 Memoir of WiiUom Madison Peyton. 

point. He says, " An opinion prevailed in our State 
At that time (between 1816 and 1826) that the best 
mode for the Commonwealth to patronize public works, 
was for the Government to subscribe stock in chartered 
conq)anies. It was believed, that the vigilence of 
private stock-holders over their own interests, would 
be a sufficient guarantee for the faithful application of 
the public funds; but experience proved that the 
State, as a sleeping partner, was often shamelessly 
swindled, and always had the worst of a bargain. 
Hence, when what with us is technically called the 
"Pennsylvania improvements," in contradistinction to 
company works, were begun in 1826, our Statesmen had 
become tired of partnersliip concerns, and they began a 
system of canals and railroads, to be constructed alto- 
gether by the funds of the State, to be entirely owned 
by the State, and all the tolls to be collected from the 
"works" to be paid into the State treasury." 

Having shown in the previous part of my argu- 
ment : 

1st That the State has a right to appropriate tbe 

public funds to the construction of public works. 
2nd That the estimate of the resources of the Com- 
monwealth are correct, and consequently that da^e 
possesses the ability to accomplish the works pro- 
posed in the report. 
3rd That it is eminently the policy of the State to 
engage in a system of internal improvements, if 
viewed in reference to its ameliorating influenoes 
upon society, and its augmentation of natioQAl 
wealth and power. 
4th That even as a money^making, stock-jobbing 
scheme, it is a safe and profitable business on tlie 
part of the State. 
5th That the most effective mode of obtaining the 
object is, by adopting the State principle* Jt 
would seem now to devolve upon me to shoir, 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 161 

that the improvements recommended in the report, 

-' are pre-eminently entitled to the consideratioii 

' of the legislature. Bat this branch of the stibje<^ 

has been so folly and so ably elucidated by 

-^ those who have preceded me, and will doubtless 

engage the attention of others who will follow ' 

me, and who will probably be better qualified 

to do it justice, that I will save myself, and 

relieve the house from a tedious discussion of it at 


Colonel Peyton said, before taking his seat he was 

desirous of drawing the attention of the house, and 

especially the friends of the James River and Eenawha 

improvement, more fiilly to a subject which has been 

idluded to in debate, and which has been the topic of 

considerable conversation out of doors. 

There is an impression with many friends of the 
James Eiver and Eenawha improvement — whence 
derived or how sustained, I am at a loss to conceive — 
that the friends of the system proposed by the com- 
mittee, are inimical to their work, and that the success 
of this scheme will be the death of theirs. Surely, said 
Col. Peyton, there is nothing in the report which coun- 
tenances any such idea, nor has anything fallen from any 
member of the committee on this floor, which justifies 
any such infiuence. So far from it, the report of the 
Committee expressly recognizes this improvement as one 
:of primary importance— one in which the character of 
'^e State is involved and to the successful completion 
^ i^hich the fledth of the State is pledged. Nothing 
was asked and nothing desired at present by that 
isompany, and we could not do more than express the 
:4dep interest we felt in its successful issue, and reiterate 
the pledge of the State to advance its three-fifths, 
^whenever the company might deem it necessary. Can 
^it be believed that the chairman of the ''Com- 
mittee of roads and internal navigation," residing 


162 Memoir of William Madison Peyton^ 

in Goochland, on the very banks of the canal, Wonid 
sit by and countenance a report which would be destmC'- 
tive of an improvement in which his interests and 
feeUngs are so perfectly identified ? Can it be supposed 
that I, myself, representing a constituency, every 
individual of whom are vitally interested in the prosecu- 
tion of this work, and representing a county which is 
perhaps to be more substantially benefitted by it, than 
any other in the State, would for one moment have 
given my approbation to any measure which threatened 
its existence ? No, Mr. Speaker. It is an idle surmise^ 
generated by a morbid suspicion, and kept ahve by the 
indiscreet and intemperate zeal of some of the finends 
of that improvement. I certainly do not mean to repre- 
hend the watchful vigilance of those to whom are 
especially entrusted the guardianship of this great wc^k. 
The unsullied purity and patriotism of the amiable 
gentleman who is at the head of the company, and the 
deservedly high standing of the directory, forbid my 
harbouring for one moment an impression unfavourable 
to the integrity of the motives which have influenced 
them in their opposition to this scheme. What I mean 
to say, is, that they have evinced more zeal than 
discretion. They have run off with their false impres- 
sions before they have taken the trouble to acquaint 
themselves with the views of the committee, and have 
enlisted a feeling of suspicion and hostiUty among a 
portion of the James river and Kenawha representative^ 
which, if carried out, it requires no prophet to predict, 
will effectually close the door of the treasury to both 
schemes, at one and the same turning of the key. I 
will then, once for all, at the request of many 
members, make a concise statement of our views, by 
way of disabusing the minds of those who are at all 
disposed to bcv satisfied. 

The friends of the report are the fast friends of the 
James river and Kenawha improvement* They xn^iiA 

. Memoir of WUliam Madisofi Peyton 168 

tbe pledge offered in the report as a bona fide pledge of 
tiie subscription indicated, and they are perfectly 
willing to give to the friends a carte blanche after the 
report has been adopted to incorporate in the bill based 
upon the report, a section in such form as they may 
deem best calculated to place the desired increase cf 
the capital stock to five millions additional beyond all 
casualty, and to secure in the strongest manner, the 
subscription of three millions on the part of the State, 
to be paid pari passu with the subscription on the 
part of the stock-holders. With these fair and 
liberal propositions I call upon the friends of the 
James river and Kenawha improvement, to ground 
their unnatural opposition, if they do not wish 
to defeat that which they are attempting to preserve. 
Separate yourselves from your ill-sorted and suicidal 
alliance with the enemies of all improvement, who are 
tising you to subserve their purposes, and who will 
spurn you when you have lost your weight and 
influence* by the alienation of your true friends. If 
you give a selfish, contracted, and illiberal vote, 
strangUng every other improvement in the State, 
I ask with what face you will present yourselves 
^t the next session of the legislature, or at the 
session thereafter, asking their aid in the prosecu- 
tion of your work ? Do you flatter yourselves that the 
representatives from those portions of the Common- 
wealth, fresh from the defeat they have sustained at 
your hands, smarting under the injuries you have 
mflicted upon them, and exasperated by your monop- 
olizing selfishness, will grant you one dollar. My word 
for it, if this bill fails by your votes, you will have 
itegistered the last vote — certainly the last general vote 
ilf the south-west, north-east and north-west in your 
fiivour. I entreat you, therefore, by the deep iritearest 
Tou feel in this scheme — by the deep stake the 
tJommonwealth holds in it ; by all the glorious result* 

164 Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 

which are expected to flow from it, to patuie and pond^ : 
well before you give it the fatal stab. Stand fordi 
boldly as the friends of a liberal system and you have 
nothing to fear; but shrink back with distrust and 
selfishness within your own sheUs, and you wiU 
assuredly have coals of fire heaped upon your backs. 
A few words more, and I leave the subject with the., 

I hope, said Colonel Peyton, that a fair and candid 
consideration of tte views which I have presented, w21 * 
be somewhat instrumental in advancing a cause which 
I have so much at heart, and which I conscientiously' 
believe will contribute incalculably to the wealth, fame, 
power, and prosperity of the State. The imaginative 
powers are too feeble to conceive, much less to picture 
forth the change which a complete svstem of intemiJ. 
improvement would bring over the land. I will not • 
attempt it. I hope, however, that the splendid results 
of the experiments of our more enterprising neigh- 
bours have had their influence upon the public mind, 
and given the friends of internal improvement a. 
preponderance in our councils. If so, I trust we shaH.^ 
improve the opportunity which it affords of fixing this, 
session as the great epoch from which to date the* 
prosperity of the Commonwealth ; an era which every 
patriot and philanthropist will revert to with heartfelt 
gratitude and the most triumphant feelings; as one 
next only in importance to that glorious day which 
stamped our freedom with the seal of the Declaration 
of Independence, in the lasting and inestimable benefits 
which have resulted from it to the good "Old 
Dominion," the renowned magna mater virum; the 
morning star of our political regeneration — the "pillar 
of cloud by day and fire by night," during its long and 
wearisome, and eventful progress; the Corinthian 
capital which imparts grace, and beauty and finish to 


Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 165 

the magnificent temple which we have erected and 
consecrated to the rights of man." 

The able and animated debate of which the foregoing 
was the concluding speech, was followed by a close 
vote, upon the report of the committee on internal 
unprovements, and to the lasting credit and prosperity 
of Virginia, it was carried, thus becoming the law of 
the land. 

Amidst the onorous and distracting duties in which 
he was involved, during this winter, it is pleasing to 
stiate that he found time to show, by his correspondence, 
that the dear ones sitting in the home circle far away, 
were never long absent from his thoughts. Among the 
numerous letters to various members of the family 
about this time, were many characteristic ones, 
addressed to the writer, then a lad at school, full of 
g6od advice and affectionate expressions of kindness.* 

* The author has endeavoured as previously said by oorrespondence 
Wi& his family and friends in Virffinia to procure some of these letters^ 
hut such was the destruction, by nre and other causes during the dvil 
war, of mansion houses, libraries, etc., that he has been unable to 
prooore any which possess particular interest. 


In the month of June, 1840, my first visit was mudis 
<to my brother on his Roanoke estate. The famiiy, 
from Montgomery Hall, was about to proceed to 
Islehamy on Jackson River, one of my fathers estateti 
about seventy miles from Staunton in the County of 
Bath, to pass the summer. They were in the habit qC 
spending a portion of every summer there and ill 
excursions to the baths which exist in this part oC 
Virginia. Before leaving home my father sent me oa 
my trip to Roanoke, accompanied by one of hia 
favourite slaves, Ned Phipps. Mounted on a hi^d<- 
some bay cob, I was followed, at a respectful distano^ 
by Old Ned carrying my clothing in a huge portnw^ 
teau attached en croupe. This remarkable African, m 
good, kindly, garrulous old man, had attended i^ 
father during the war of 1812-15 as a body senaant 
(of which he was not a little proud) and from }fm 
experience, age, and faithful character, was order^ %q 
follow me in a threefold capacity, as guide, protecM^ 
and valet. Though, as I have stated, the grim and 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 167 

dignified Ned started on the journey in my rear we had 
no sooner lost sight of the Hall, than the sociable 
instincts of the venerable negro led him to spur up 
and place himself by my side. I did not object to this, 
being fond of his stories, some of which would have 
done no discredit to Baron Munchausen. On account 
of his wonderful tales he was slurringly called, by his 
fellow servants, " Ned Fibs." Our familiar conversa- 
tion was kept up somewhat in the style of the famous 
Knight of La Manche and his squire Sancho Panza, 
WB^ we approached a town or village, when, of his 
own accord, Ned would quietly drop to the rear and 
never resume his former position till we had lost sight of 
tlie last house. The force of habit was strong in old 
Ned, who had learned respect for superiors, as he 
daid, ^ while in the army." Besides he was a stickler 
Pair -thit prc^rieties of Ufe, and had I wished him to 
^m^ by my side in public places he would have 
MfoBed. He was tested on this point the first day of 
©tiir journey, when near the village of Fairfield, where 
f--4«dted to replenish my brandy flask and tobacco 
po^h for the benefit of Ned, who was uncommonly 
fifiWd cf both stimulants — neither of which I used. 
^ To my request that he would keep by my side he 
Mnewered firmly, almost peremptorily : 
-***Nosir, I know my right place. Massa can tell 
ytota Ned hasn't served in the army agin the Britishers 
to no purpose. He knows well enough officers post, 
ilAffiers duty, masters place and servants too." Valets 

*■ ( - 

1^ Memoir of WiUiam Mudison p£$ftdfL 

have their point of honour as well te tli^ masters 
and I made no further effort to interfere with Ned. 

Our route carried us by the Backbridge^ m the county 
0f the same name, one of the greatest natural curiosi- 
ties of our country, and through a portipn of the 
valley remarkable for its fertility, careful cultivation, 
and attractive scenery. This was the first occasfi^ on 
which I had seen this region about whieh mti^ ^iMb 
been said and more written and Which is wbfAj^'W 
every praise, I shall however make no attein^i'tt) 
describe it tourist-like. It may be pardonable," ^W^- 
ever to say that so beautiful is thisf section thitP^iWflfe 
gazing upon it I felt — though all my days had t)cfe!h^§M5B 
in the midst of lovely scenery — ^that it was aH-^Wft 
fancy could conceive or poets picture : not oiiljPfteMBl- 
ful, but a blending of all beauties — streams and^SHM, 
fruit, foliage, crag, wood, water, tobacco-plantatioii^,^rft- 
fields, meadows, mountains. It afforded me the g^rffc^ 
delight and I found " books in running brooks, s^ifmftfe 
in stones and good in everything.'' Ned who had' (ffBSb 
travelled on this road lightened the fatigues t)R^*^ 
journey by his gossip, giving the history of ;alrticit 
every house and family which we passed. He' WV^ 
this kind of garrulity, as all negroes do, and wh(&i'5fi8t 
indulging in it showed his appreciation of the'^wfe 
scenery, by nodding placidly in his saddle. ' ' ^ 

During this visit of two months to Roanoke a fo]rtK?r 
ToioWledge of my brother's character was gained. ^ 

^ • :-i:5oa 

.. :_-t:t3i9a 


? - - 

Memoir of William Madison PeyUm. 169 

He was bumble, kind, forgiviiig, meek, 
Easy to be entreated, gracioiis, mild ; 
And, witb all patience and affection, taugbt, 
Bebnked, persuaded, solaced, comisell'd, wam'd. 
In. fervent style and manner. All 
Saw,in bis face contentment, in bis life 
Tbe patb to glory and perpetual joy.'* 

The good relations which existed between himself 
^bA lunily, and the happmess which it diffused through 
the home circle, was also apparent. Never was any 
thing more admirable than the manner in which he 
oc^ducted himself towards his wife, children, and 
dmoiestics. There was perfect tolerance of each other's 
mistakes, lenity shown to failings, meek submission to 
usuries, always a soft answer to turn away wrath. All 
Hub he inculcated to those about him* by word and 
action. He used to say to his children, by way 
of enforcing his views, ^' If you lay a stick of wood on 
^tbe andirons, and apply fire to it, it will go out ; put on 
another stick, and it will bum ; add a half-dozen and 
yon will have a conflagration. There are other fires 
inobject to the same condition. If one member of 
4^ family gets into a passion and is let alone, he will 
cool down, and possibly be ashamed and repent. But 
^oppose temper to temper ; pile on the fuel ; draw in the 
otiher members of the group, and let one harsh answer 
be followed by another, and there will soon be a blaze, 
which will enwrap them all in its lurid splendours." 
In this philosophic and Christian spirit he applied a 
sedative to those ebullitions of passion which ruffle the 
serenity of households, and infiised such sweetness in 


170 Memoif of William Madi$on PeytofkK 

his cup of domestic enjoyment, that I coold htA excladtti 
in the language of Cowper, 

** Domestic happiness, thou only bliss 
Of Paradise, thou hast survived the fall T* 


His conduct to his negro slaves was equally adifidiv 

able. * His only wish wais to rendto them hi^)^^. 

Nothing which had reference to their comfort ksA 

improYement was overlooked in Ms plans for thetti* 

To each couple a hut was assigned, to which WM 

iattached a little garden, in which the slaves cultivated 

ibbacco, maize, potatoes, and where they raised plgB 

«nd poultry. Those who were inclined to make mom^ 

this way were allowed to go every Saturday aftefnodi 

io Big-Lick or Salem to dispose of their produce mi. 

spend the money as they pleased. ' In ; all this he tat 

followed the example of our venerable father, wllo 

treated the slaves upon his several estates in this way; 

and lived the life of a patriarch instead of a ' tyraol; 

Throughout the whole South, during those prospermia 

^days anterior to the civil war, every planter may 1»e 

said to have been either a tyrant or a patriafoh^ 

according to the virtues or vices of his character. Ba& 

^y father and brother belonged to the latter clOM. 

The reader will not be surprised to learn, then, that fiUl 

measure pressed down and running over seemed' tffe 

sum of his happiness. ^ 

' Among the visitors who met at my brothers tills 

summer, was our father, who crossed the. mountains 

:from Lewisburg, where he was attending the Cosiit M 

]\fmoif, of WUlium Madison Petfton^\ Jf 1 

iA|q>6al0» fmd my maternal micle, Colonel Lewis, who wmi 
xm his way from South Carolina to the Sweet Springs.^ 
ArriTing Jn^ Boanoke, at the same time, my nncle 
estopped a we'el^ to enjoy the blandishments of society 
at Elmwood, and to recruit from the fatigues of his 
^kftig journey overland. Colonel Lewis was a man of 
;^(^ain religiou^ and political crochets, and the friendly 
j^flcussions which occurred between him and my father 
.ilforded me no small pleasure. A brief account of 
jsome of these as a sequel to this chapter will not be 
juunteresting, as shewing the kind of life and discourse 
cwlttch sometimes prevailed in my brother's house. In 
:j?ej}gion Colonel Lewis was a Boman CathoUc, and i^ 
^politics a disciple of Calhoun, and was of course consi- 
adtired by our father as a muddle-headed abstractionist, 
^m^ose ideas of eternal salvation were heretical, and 
':itflios^ the(»ies of government could not be reduced to 
iimcticfe wiaiout national rain. With affectionate 
;*6licitude, therefore, for the reputation of Uncle William, 
^Sftther than because he fancied his soul endangered by 
^m adherence to the Pope or the country by the blatant 
.lumsense of South Carolina empiricism, he used every 
fftirgament which suggested itself to his mind to win my 
simcle from his errors. Discussions thus arose, and 
f^ese sometimes became so warm on part of my uncle, 
ddlttit their friends feared their polemics would some day 
irasult in a feud. Not so, however. My lather's modei^a- 
^tioD was equal to his vigour, and he mollified my uncle, 

^2^^^pr ^ridged pedi|;ree of ^ Lewis family see appendix C. . 

}72 Memoir of WUliam Madison PtyMA^ 

aiid soothed his discomfitures, for he was no niflot&ifisi' 
my father in argument, by this style of reasonmg,^ wfa|rii 
I was so often a witness that I am enabled to ghieotfif 
substance of it — ^parts of it almost word for ivoji^.atE^ 
fell from his lips. : .j^ £i3o5 

" There is no necessity William," he would say^ri}^ 
difference of opinion creating ho^ility« li mBotBUi 
admitted by all that there is great Tariety in the \Msa^ 
habits, and opinions oi mankind, and it is neoMSSiydtD 
harmony that it should be so. That part^ ^tHisA 
tends to general harmony is more than poetically iljcii^ 
for, if all men were to set their minds upon liviog iP-ito 
same climate, or under the same goyerament i :wisM 
tdl the people of a country had an unconqueraMe ^Mirt 
to live in the same town ; if all the inhabitaatib^ofs* 
town were to haTO a good opinion of only one phj9iAl% 
or of only one preacher, or lawyer, or meo^ifiid^ 'tif 
could only relish one article of food, or fanc^ P^lf t Ap 
same dress ; or if, all men were to fall m love wijtlli 4P 
same woman, or all the women with the saaEoe »iMl> 
what would be the consequence ? Why, from a.f^^g 
of seeming agreement, universal discord would f?^9^^ 
Even the value of truth is best appreciated bj^ot^ 
opposition it meets with, and falsehood and error^rr^p 
detected by the discriminating powers of opposite? s^ijn^ 
tions and feelings. That there should not be unifong^ 
of opinion upon many important subjects, such as ^^^ 
theory of government, etc., must be the eism^^ 
heaven. For myself I claim freedom of opinion Wji^ 
inherent right, provided it does not distosb th^-i^^il* 

Mem&ir of Wxttiam Madison Peyton. ITi 

UMiAxaieat of society. I fear your nnllificatiim vie^ir, 
M/r.deMSt William, go this l^ogth. Howev^, let me 
fiiceod^ m) man has a right to be offended at my 
lq[mi(»r, or hold me in contempt for entertaining it, if it 
does him no injury; and, what I claim for myself, common 
fAI&cei' requires that I should allow to others ; and 
lUd dm ^well consider, that this disparity of disposition 
jniBfcbe the designation of an overruling Intelligence, 
<#e^isarefy should not suffer it to be the cause of 
tfwKi^ of animosity to our fellow-beings, though their 
ffiilicill or religious opinions should be the opposite to 
Qlttr^4trvfb-Hitill less such old friends and connections as 
^uiwlv^es. For, conthiued my father, unless we had 
4Mi8i'Stll]jeeted to the same involuntary impressions and 
4^ftalions that other persons have been, which id 
^§i^asffi impossible, we can be no judges of the merits 
itt jtefii^its of their opinions, or how they have outraged 
^tk And reason, even admittmg that they are in error. 
^ il^ should be contended that truth and reason arid 
iiWHufable, and when two differ upon a fundamental 
aioft there must be a deviation from reason and truth 
«fff^[fe ^ ilie parties, I would admit it to be so if the 
^^eftion were susceptible of mathematical demonstra- 
^fiftn; This is rarely the case. Were I to meet a man 
*"^HS$'^ i&ould contend, that two and two do not make 
^lyS', or that the amoont of degrees in the three angles 
^■tt triangle are not equal to the amount of degrees in 
^d'rightangles, I must justly charge him with folly or 
^HHStA Msehood ; but, in whatever does not admit of 
'd^lftnBtration, our convictions are our feding^ ; mSi 

|7# Memoir ef WiUiam Mddis&n PeyUnL\ 

irar feelinjga depend more upon involnntaty impreteuWi 
fbm we^are often willing to allow. Certainly troth and 
Teason are the most likely to prevail with coltiTaiod 
minds, for truth and reason are the most likely tk 
jmake the right impression, bat we are too aft 
to overvalue our own kind of knowledge, whiUf 
we underrate that of others. In pomi of 
real utility, the knowledge of the man who n 
skilled in the breeding and feeding of cattle is moni 
valuable to society than is the knowledge of him wli# 
As skilled in mathematics, yet the latter will look down 
upon the former, when perhaps the only advantage he 
has over him is the being able to convey his knowledge 
in more correct and perspicuous language ; and, unle«( 
we possessed all kind of knowledge in an equal degiof^ 
we are liable to be imposed upon in some things, either 
by thinking too little upon them, or too much, to tiie 
.exclusion of other branches of knowledge, the possesi- 
sion of which, though seemingly foreign to the sufajeii^ 
may be necessary to its clear elucidation; for it is bj 
the possession of general knowledge only, that we eaa 
fdaim a superior title to correctness in every particulio^ 
-A, may be able tp solve a difficult problem in mathe- 
matics: B, cannot do this, but B can make a plow 
;upon true mechanical principles, which A cannot; If 
Xj can do both, C must be superior to A or B ; but, ail 
mankind are in the situation of A or B — as possessibg 
-only partial knowledge : we should all, theref<»re» -bfi 
indulgent to each other's deficiencies. Still, My 


Memoir of WilUam Madison Peyton. 


Klipegndr in general knowledge ancl learning may 
be il^ dnpe of a weak prejudice, withoaf justi-^ 
Efing an impeachment of either. ^^I have a brother«in- 
lAw/' he would look askant at my uncle when getting off 
&is kind of fillip, ^^ of whose cleyemess and general 
fioiOirledge I have a very high opinion, yet in politioft 
Ive are quite opposites: we indeed worship different 
idols, and the only superiority I can pretend to claim 
«nrer him is, that I can hear for him to adore his idol 
miwmi in . my- presence and yet keep my temper-Hi 
ifompliment he cannot always repay/' 
f ^^Fudge !" exclaimed my uncle, jumping to his feet, and 
ji?41king hastily to aod fro across the room — ^^I may 
flrarm with my sulject, but as for being offended with 
yaco it is out of the question. I'll never so far forget 

f **Gome, come, be seated," my father would rejoin, giv» 
ipghim a friendly shake of the hand, >4et me proceed : oi 
idoorse you will not think I wish to depreciate i^e value 
cf truth and reason; I only. wish to urge, that the 
oeendng want of them in others may be deceptions^ 
^aad should not be the cause of contempt, acrimony/^ 
or ridicule. All are enamoured even with the shadow 
)of truth; and should see the substance^ if in their power ; 
ibut, placed in a variety of lights and shades, some can 
Ittily. see the^ shadow, and mistake it for the substance/f 
Pbiia their fraternal discussions proceeded. imd termiit- 
jtfied in the discomfiture of my uncle, (who though a 
tsfevQt tnan^ an eloquent talker, full of confidence, and 

•. _ .w 


176 Memoir of WUltam Madison Peifton. 

abundaiice of zeal, was no sach logician as my father)^ 
and left not the slightest pain rankling in his bosom. 

Colonel Lewis had been educated by my matenuA 
grand&ther. Major John Lewis, of the Sweet Springs^' 
as a Presbyterian or Puritan — no man living cotdd^ 
have been more averse to the doctrines of the Bonnsk 
Church than Mi^or Lewis, and to this he trained Us. 
son. Zealous in every cause he espoused, ColoodL 
Lewis conceived the idea of converting the Pope to 
his reUgiou8 views, and was making Feparatioos ta 
visit Rome for this purpose, when he met a beautifiil 
and intelligent maiden lady, in New Orleans — a tenat. 
cious Pa|)ist, who converted him. She soon became him 
wife, and he became one of the most devoted Roma&r 
Catholics who ever bent the knee at the shrine of ft 
Saint. Not long after this, he commenced distributing 
tracts and exhorting people to return to the bosom of 
the mother church. A room in his house, ^^ Lynn-side,'' 
Monroe county, Virginia, was converted into a chapd. 
for private worship, and was ornamented wkk 
sarcerdotal trinkets, relicts^ etc., and the graceful qpiEe 
of a Catholic Church soon shot above the trees of hit 
park-like grounds. Aided by an L*ish family by the 
name of White, and Leonora Stack, a sister of Mrs. 
White, and all Papists ; Colonel and Mrs. Lewis 
succeeded in impressing the minds of many of &e 
people in the neighbourhood of the Sweet SpringSy 
mostly among the poorer aud more ignorant classes 
and on Sundays and Saints Days, in this hitherto 
thoroughly Presbyterian community, quite a respectabls 

ihB^fir.of WiUiam Madison PifftofU VPl 

q^^gh^tion : hath for mimben and appearance 
assemUsdvto Tforship. The service, too, was conducted 
ititfaixjaar JEQ^ieh jo£ the splendour and magnificence of 
^h^ineiiuj cocdd be im^rted into it. The interior of 
tiifarcku^scir is handsome, the accomodations convenient, 
giliiiiiilrtQikBd oi^an sent forth its solenm tones and 
iwiitfislH rchanted. Two Holy Fathers took np their 
ifaridmiie, at ^^Lynnrside," and by their sanctified 
Htumpra and ptons exhortaticttis, seconded by the 
offabiiky and condescaiding ihanners of Colonel and 
HdkiLewisiL and the pleasing deportment c^ the Sisters, 
all the charity freely held out to the needy^ 
-s decided impression on this Puritanistic 
fltHHiqf^oId. Notwithstanding Colonel Lewis' sudden 
«i3otofkal xdiange in religious faith, no one ever doubted 
tpuitiffaerity, but there were not a few to combat his 
^wvoanl sneer at his convert zeal. In the family 
2^jD&^iarticularly there were frequent discussions upon 
Jd^gibu9 tenets and principles. From having despised 
dkhr inyths, my uncle soon became a believer in 
innqRl^, hdly legends, etc., and I remember many 
yeirk> after this an animated conversation between 
hfiiisetf and my fitther on the subject. 
.rMytimde argued wi£h much ingenuity— for he was 
anskver man notwithstanding his crotchets — ^that a 
bcKeli i];i hofy legends was an obligation imposed upon 
^l^fihffttians, and upon the great danger of entertainxng^ 
tibasMasi doubt of their authenticity. My father said 
ifltffi^iyt that he would as soon consider himself under 
afafaMfgattott to bdierve the tales of Baron Munchausen^ 


178 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Mankind, he said, in all ages had been crednlons an^ 
had been imposed upon not only in tales and romanced 
but even in histories. St. Gregory condemned Livy^fc 
history to be burnt on account of its many falsehoods, 
on the plea that belief in such things was contrary to 
the faith of your own church, William. And I say ft 
without intending to be impolite, but merely to express 
a conviction of my mind, that no set of men are more 
to be reproached for filling history with puerilities and 
pious fictions than the Boman Catholics. In the 
middle ages they were a community whose minds were 
filled with idle fancies, and they endeavoured to . stuff 
the minds of other sects with the same vain imagina- 
tions. In his work entitled, " Kevolutions in Spain, ^ 
Father d'Orleans invents, in one action which occurred 
between the Spaniards and the Turks, as many miracles 
as were related by all the Boman historians put 
together. The rapid multiplicity of miracles he averred 
to be interventions by the Diety in favour of the 

"I may further add" — though not a pedant, my fattier 
was a profound scholar, and when engaged in the 
discussion of a subject generally exhausted it — " Vossins^ 
in his ' De Historicis Latinis,' audaciously assures his 
readers, continued my father, that the walls rf 
Agouleme, in the reign of Clovis, suddenly fell to tiiie 
ground by virtue of a small vial ! With more mendacity, 
Maimbourg, in his history of Lutheranism and 
Calvinism, says, that, in 1547, the sun was stopped 
in his course, in order that the Boman Catholics, under 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton 179 

the Emperor Charles Y. might have time to entirely 
defeat the Protestants, under the Duke of Saxony, 
^d Sardoval, Bishop of Fampelnna, Historiographer 
Boyal to Philip m., confirms this statement, adding 
that, during the battle, the sun was the colour of blood, 
imd was so seen over the whole of Spain and France, 
Italy, and Germany. And, in order that his readers 
should not doubt his assertion, he says, ^ I saw the 
nuracle with my own eyes.' That was enough from a 
Bishop — and the people of Spain believe his statement 
to this day. The Monkish writers, who have transmitted 
to us the histories of the Crusades, have inserted into 
them a multitude of miracles, which are so contrary to 
common sense, that it is useless to seek to show their 

. No sensible person in the present generation can 
J>elieye that battalions of angels, clothed all in white, 
fdeecended from heaven to assist men. True, these 
men were Christians, they had good intentions in 
originating the Holy War ; nevertheless, in prosecuting 
that war, they acted with such fearful cruelty and 
jremorseless vengeance as to be perpetrators of atrocious 
crimes. Such men, even in the days of miracles, 
would surely not have been assisted by the interposition 
bf heaven? But the people who lived in those days 
«»day beUeved every invention that had its foundation 
in piety. They also believed such folly as tales of 
enchanters and deeds of sorcerers quite as much as 
vdigious prodigies and miracles. It was the taste of 
idie age ; and in compliance with it, authors who wrote 

180 Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 

the lives of the then illustrious resorted to the Bt^ 
which romance writers alone now adopt. For a great 
man to fight against ordinary men was too insignificaDt 
an achievement. He must have an enchanter for his 
adversary ; then his surpassing valour and virtue were 
sure in the end to attract the attention of some sage 
magician, who protected him against his oppcment. 
Thus was the attention of the reader kept alive by 
wonder at the acts of the rival enchanters, and interest 
taken in the fate of an unconquerable and undaunted 
hero, iQcessantly fighting against his evil fortune^ 
Hence arose such incredible stories as those of Rinaldo 
and Armida. 

And, my dear William, a great light in your choroh, 
Ajobardus, Bishop of Lyons, composed in the 9ih 
century, a treatise, with the view of combating and 
destroying all those absurd whimsies. ^^Such great 
folly'' he exclaims, "has now seized the poor wodd, 
that christians believe absurdities, which heathoBS 
before them would never have believed/' ' 

Great, indeed, were the absurdities believed in the 9di 
century ; but there are quite as great extravagances in 
belief in this, the 19th century — ^so monstrous, that -oae 
knows not how to refute them seriously ; so irrational, that 
one cannot help being amazed at the creduUty of mankinO, 
and coming to the conclusion that anybody having- a 
design to deceive the world can easily find perscxxs 
ready to be duped ; for we have only to open our eyes 
to see that minds are always to be found fitted, to 
receive and believe any folly, be it ever so ridiculovB. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 181 

jlCtf k the falacious things people have faith in ; true, 

• these people are the victims of prejudice, and are 

conunon sense. Countless numbers believe in 
sorcery, witchcraft, vampyrism, clairvoyance, electro- 
bidiofin^. astrology, fortune tellinff— heaven knows what 
i«Zi He^keo, ^ piple .^, «>e 
years of maturity the puny intelligences of that period 
cf their lives when, enclosed in a nursery, they believed 
as a fact every incident related in a fairy tale, c^ a 
giant or hobgoblin story. 

Now, William, I cannot flatter myself that I shall 

convince you of any errors, which in my opinion, you 

have been guilty of in this respect. That is no reason 

however, why I should not attempt to make you 

> entertain a disbelief of all foolish impossibilities. For 

• example, there is the falacious science of astrology — it 
. has been the game of a few designers in all ages, for 

sordid interest, to have duped others and been duped 
themselves. In ancient times they were, in Alexandria, 
compelled to pay a certain tax, which was called the 
^^ Fool's tax," because it was raised on the gain that 
these imposters made from the foolish credulity of 
those who believed in their powers of soothsaying. 
Well may believers in this science be called " fools," 
when they do not seem to consider that if the principles 
of judiciary astrology were correct, and its rules 
certain, the hands of the Almighty would be tied, and 
ours would be tied also. All our actions, aU our most 
Moret thoughts, all our slightest movements would be 

182 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

engraven in the heavens m ineffaceable characters, 
and liberty of conduct would be entirely taken away 
from us. We should be necessitated to evil as to good, 
since we should do absolutely what was written in the 
conjectured register of the stars, otherwise there would 
be falsehood in the book, and uncertainty in the science 
of the astrologer. How we should laugh at'a man who 
thought of settling a serious matter of business by a 
throw of the dice. Yet the decision of astrology i$ 
just^ as uncertain. Our fate depends upon places, 
persons, times, circumstances, our own will; not upon 
the fantastical conjunctions imagined by charlatans. 

Suppose two men are born on our planet, at the same 
hour and on the same spot. One becomes a hewer of 
wood and a drawer of water, and the other an Emperor, 
or a commander-in-chief of an army. Ask an astrq^ 
loger the cause of this difference. In all probility Im 
reply will be — "It was so willed by Jupiter." 

Pray, what is this Jupiter? Why, it is a planet, a 
body without cognizance, that acts only by its influence* 
How comes it, then, that Jupiter's influence acts at tb* 
same moment and in the same climate in so different a 
manner? How can that influence differ in its power? 
How can it take place at all ? How can it penetrate 
the vast extent of space ? An atom — the most minuta 
molecule of matter would stop it, or turn it from its 
course, or diminish its power. Are the stars always 
exercising an influence, or do they exercise it only 
on certain occasions? If they exercise an influenoe 
only periodically, when the particles which, it i^ 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 188 

<Jrtatended, are detached from them, are coming to our 
«^ere, an astrologer must know the precise time of 
tbeir arrival, in order to decide rightly upon their effect. 
If, on the other hand, the influences are perpetual, 
with what wonderful speed they must rush through the 
vast extent of space ! How marvellous, too, must be 
the alliance they form with those vivacious passions 
whence originate the principle actions of our lives! 
For if the stars regulate all our feelings and all our 
proceedings, their influences must work with the same 
»pidity as our wills, since it is by them that our will is 

Here is a young man who takes it into his head to 
have nothing more to do with a young lady he loves, 
because she bestows a tender glance on a rival. What 


a number of influences must be at work, and how 
quickly too ! As quick as the glance the lady shoots 
from her eyes, as swift as the thought of the lover who 
takes offence, for it is these influences which determine 
the lady to tenderness and the young man to jealousy. 
Is this too mean a matter to consider? Oh, no! 
Astrologers maintain that the most insignificant things 
are ruled by the stars. The quarrels and reconcilations 
of lovers are quite in this way, nay they make their 
best market out of them: they have no such faithful 
followers as lovers. Who is so anxious to consult the 
astrologer as a young man in love ? and as to the fair 
sex — we all know how much more inquisitive they are 
tfcan ourselves. No, no! the makers of horoscopes 
have no such constant customers as lovers. Astrologers 

184 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

and lovers 1 What a union ! Both how deceitful ! If tlrt? 
fair would be advised, I should counsel them to guard 
themselves more against the predictions of astrologers 
than the insinuating attentions of gay and gallant 
young men. 

What has been said of planets may be said of comets; 
For a long time it was believed, even by the wise and 
grealj, that the appearance of a comet indicated evil. 
Evils will certainly happen after the coming of a comet; 
why, yes, just as they will happen after the rising and ' 
setting of the sun ; for it is in the ordinary course of ' 
things that there should always be great calamities in 
some part or other of the world. The influence of a 
comet is no greater than that of a man putting his head 
out of a window to look at people passing along the 
Street. His looks have no influence on the pe(^le 
passing, a^nd they would all pass the same, whether he 
put his head out of the window or not. In the same 
manner a comet has no influence over events, and every 
thing would have happened as it did, whether it 
appeared or not. 

People in the past generations were believers in 
these influences. That superstition has now gone out 
and is suppUed by a variety of new kinds of impostures, 
but there is no necessity of endeavouring carefully to 
refute them !" 

After this manner my father sought to persuade his 
worthy brother-in-law of his illogical, chimerical views. 
Vain was the effort. My uncle never recanted, but 
died a firm believer in the religious tenets, principles, 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 185 

sjstA faith he imbibed from the gifted lady who became 
h|p wife. Though miconyinced by my father, he mast 
h%ye derived no small amomit of information from his 
canyersations ; it could not have been otherwise, 
for his common discourse abounded in learning, wit, 
and knowledge. I shall always regret my inability, 
c0Ofiistently with the scope of this memoir, to do ampler 
justice to the virtues of one who filled so considerable a 
place in Virginia with honour and credit, and thus, while 
eventing a memorial to his memory dictated by filial 
aSeciion, to hold out an example of good qualities for 
ib^ imitation of others. Survivors owe this much of a 
d^bt to departed worth; and if ordinary friendship 
iqaposes this duty upon us, how much more binding is 
tbe obligation when the friend and survivor is a son. 

' f 


Among the interesting questions at this time dividing 
the political parties in America, was that of the proptt 
distribution of the money arising from the sales of the 
public lands. 

When, in 1783, the treaty was signed by Gre«t 
Britain, recognizing the independence of the American 
colonies, and the United States were admitted into tbe 
family of nations, the Confederacy owned no public 
lands whatever. It is true that lying within its borders 
was a large tract of unoccupied territory, amounting, in 
the aggregate, to about 226,000,000 acres; but this 
land belonged to the individual States, not to tiie 
Federal Government. ' The English charters had given 
to several of the colonies the coast of the Atlantic as 
their eastern boundary, and had defined, though loosdlf , 
their northern and southern limits ; westward, howefver, 
their territorial rights stretched across the continent to 
the Pacific. The French possessions, on the otber 
hand, extended from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of 
Mexico ; their eastern boundary was not very Aessdy 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 187 

defined, but the line drawn not only ignored the claims 

of the English colonists to the western territory, but 

even infringed upon the limits of some of the colonies 

themselves. In support of their pretensions, the 

French erected forts and block-houses, at intervals, 

from the Great Lakes through the western part of 

Pennsylvania, to the Ohio ; then along the banks of that 

stream to its junction with the Mississippi ; whence 

their chain of military posts followed the course of the 

latter river to its mouth. The English colonists found 

^hj^nselves, by these proceedings of the French, hemmed 

ia, and, in defiance of what they considered their just 

jrights, prevented all expansion westward. A conflict 

between the two races was, under these circumstances, 

sooner or later inevitable. A collision, in fact, took 

j^iaee so early as 1753, on the banks of the Ohio, 

Jbietween some English settlers and the garrison of one 

'M ibe forts already referred to. Both parties to the 

' ^pKffrel hastened to lay the story of their injuries before 

.i^eir respective governments. The consequence was a 

dang and sanguinary war between England and France, 

rm which half Europe became involved. 

: In the New World, Braddock's defeat temporarily 

-delayed, but could not avert, the final catastrophe. 

The superior numbers and indomitable resolution of 

tbe Anglo-Saxon in the end prevailed; Canada was 

^otiquered ; and the forts on the Ohio were necessarily 

: iJbfmdoned. France, it is true, still retained Louisiana, 

*. wUch comprehended not simply the present area of the 

\ Sfaite bearing that name, but a vast tract of territory. 

188 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

extending fromi the Golf to the 49'' of north latitodo ; 
and from the Mississippi, on the east, to the Meidoiui 
frontier, on the west. But, by the time the people of tiHe 
English colonies had become a nation, the French power, 
in America, had been so thoroughly broken, that no 
farther opposition to the expansion of the Oonfederacrjr 
was to be apprehended from it. 

The conflicting claims of the various States to the 
Western territory, derived, as already stated, from their 
old colonial charters, threatened indeed to lead to 
serious legal difficulties, if not to an actual coUisioii, 
between the inhabitants of some sections of the Confede- 
racy : for the boundaries of several of the colonies had 
been so carelessly defined, that they actually in seme 
places overlapped each other ; and the difficulty was of 
such a nature as, apparently, to offer almost insuperaMe 
obstacles to a solution which should be equally 
satisfactory to all parties. The question was, neTter- 
theless, amicably settled; and in a manner highly 
creditable to the good sense of the inhabitants oi ihe 
several States interested. Instead of wrangling with 
each other as to the justice of their respective claims -to 
the unsettled territory, they all, without exception, in 
the course of a few years, embraced a proposition that 
they should cede their rights in the land lying beyond 
their borders to the Federal Government. Tfane 
cessions embraced the entire area now occupied by Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These 
various gifts placed the Confederacy in possession t>f 
over 200,000,000 acres of land. In 1808, Louimaha 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 189 

, was purchased from France ; and this acquisition, alone 
added no less than 1,000,000 square miles of territory 
to the Union. In 1819, Florida was ceded by Spain to 
-the United States making the total aggregate of lands, 
acquired by the Federal Government, smce the revolu- 
' tion to that date at a thousand million acres. At this 
time the sales of public lands produced 3,000,000 dols. 
-a year, and continued to increase until, in 1836, they 
rose to 21,000,000 dols. 

The general government was administered at this 
period with enlightened economy. A low tariff yielded 
HQore than was necessary to meet the annual charges 
upon the treasury for the civil, diplomatic, naval, and 
military services. No taxes were levied, no debt 
existed, and it became an interesting question how to 
distribute the surplus in the treasury, augmented by 
the sum of 21,000,000 dols., arising from the land sales. 
One party, led by Hon. Thomas H. Bayly, advocated 
a reduction in the tariff, and the application of the land 
to supply the deficiency thus created in the ordinary 
expenses of the Confederacy. The opposite party 
wished the tariff left as it was, as no one felt the 
indirect tax thus imposed and the land distribution 
among the separate States, according to their population 
etc., with a view to its being spent in State improve- 
ments, such as the erection and support of schools, 
eoUeges, and the opening of roads, canals, etc., etc. 
To this latter party belonged Colonel Peyton, who in 
rq^ly to a speech of Hon. Mr. Bayly delivered the 
ffoUowing rejoinder in the House of Delegates, of 
Virginia, on the 29th of January, 1839, 

190 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

House of Delegates of Virginia^ 

January 29th, 1839. 
Public Lands. 

The Fourth Besolution being nnder consideration, in 
the following words : 

Resolved, That not only the experience of the past, 
but a wise forecast requires the speedy adoption of somtf 
equitable plan provid^g for the distribution among the 
States, in just proportions, of the proceeds of the saled 
of the pubUc lands ; and this General Assembly doth 
therefore earnestly urge upon Congress the immediate 
adoption of such measures as will be best calculated to 
obtain this desirable object. 

General Bayly moved to amend by striking out all 
after the word resolved, and inserting **that Congress 
ought to adopt some equitable plan, providing for the 
distribution among the States, in just proportions, of the 
nett proceeds of the public lands, or so much thereof as 
may not be necessary, taken in conjunction >vith the 
customs as regulated by the Acts of Congress of the 
2nd of March, 1883, and other sources of revenue, io 
defray the expenditures of the government, economically 

After the Fourth resolution insert Fifth. B^solved, 
^Hhat the adjustment of the tariff, contained in the Act of 
Congress of the 2nd of March, 1838, commonly called 
the Compromise Act, ought to be held sacred and 

Colonel Peyton said, that in throwing himself upon 
the indulgence of the House at this time, he was 
unprovided with the artificial machinery of a set speech, 
which was the best guarantee he could offer that he 
would tresspass upon their patience but a few 
moments. Indeed he felt that it was the duty of ovei^ 
gentleman to be as concise and succinct in the expression 
of his views upon the resolutions as was consistent wHk 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 191 

perspicuity, that we may lose as little time as possible 
in coming to a decision and laying that decision before 
Congress. It was one of those measures which, to 
make it effective, it must be prompt. If, we dally and 
^spute about abstractions much longer, another census 
will overtake us, which will disclose a numerical power 
in the Western and South-western States, which 
ecHnbined with the alliances which they may contract 
with Presidential aspirants, will enable them to substitute 
successfully votes for arguments (volunta pro ratione) 
iDid by a species of legalized spoilation deprive us, first 
f)l our domain, and then, as a natural and inevitable 
consequence, of our population. 

He continued, and said, he should forbear at present 
from presenting his views of the iniquity of the several 
graduation bills which had been discussed in Congress, 
Qt of the very modest proposition of some of the States 
to divest us, in toto, of our interest in a common fund 
for which they are principally indebted to our generosity 
luad patriotism, nor would he, at present, attempt to 
picture forth the desolating influences of either policy 
upon the Old States, but confine himself in the few 
observations which he should submit, to an examination 
of the arguments submitted by the gentleman (Gener^ 
Bayly) who had just taken his seat. 

That gentleman opposes an unconditional and un- 
'qualified distribution of the proceeds of the pubUc lands 
among the several States, on two grounds — first, 
because it violates one of the provisions of the Con- 
stitution of the United States — and secondly, because 
it has a tendency to revive the Tariff — ^both of which 
difficulties he proposes to obviate by confining the 
distribution to periods when there is an unappropriated 
balance in the treasury, beyond the wants of the 
Government, economically administered. In the truth 
mod justness of these sentiments, the gentleman from 
v&kOeomac has certainly succeeded in convincing himself 

192 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

most thoroughly ; and hence his assertion that those 
are not only blind, but wilfiilly blind, who do not 
concur with him. It is possible that my mental vision 
may not be as acute as that of the gentleman from 
Accomac. It is possible I may unconsciously labour 
tmder some visual obstruction which exposics me to 
optical delusions, but I do assure the gentleman, that 
whatever be my defects in this particular, I am, to say 
the worst, fortunately not wilfully blind. 

Perhaps it may be a delusion, but I am certainly 
impressed with the belief, that I have a clear perception 
of the fallacy of the gentl^nan's argument as well a& 
the impoUcy of the plan he proposes. 

In the first place, let us scrutinize his constitutional 
argument. He contends that inasmuch as the several 
States had ceded their western territory to the Colonial 
Government, as a common fund to pay the debts 
growing out of our revolutionary struggle, and to defray 
the charge and. expenditure of the several States, thai 
the convention of 1787, which framed our constitution^ 
must necessarily have had these lands in contemplation, 
when they framed that clause which gives Congress the 
power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and 
excises, to pay the debts and provide for the commcm 
defence and general welfare of the country. That, 
looking to this almost boundless domain as a source ck 
revenue, they framed this clause expressly in reference 
to it, and that any attempt to divert the funds arising 
from this source, so as to require all the expenses of the 
Government to be borne by taxes, direct or indirect,' 
would be in violation of the constitution. Thi3 
construction, Mr. Speaker, has at least the recommenda- 
tion of novelty. I am sure there is not a gentleman 
within the sound of my voice, who ever dreamed of it 
before — ^nor can I believe it will find a response in the 
mind of a single member. 

Can it be beUeved for a moment that an Assembly 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 198 

exposed of [such men as prepared our constitution, 
oould have committed a political blunder so palpable as 
te plant one of the main pillars of the Government upon 
& unsubstantial and evanescent foundation? Can it be 
BeKeved that a body, composed of the first civilians of 
tt»e age — men whose reputations for forecast and wisdom 
fiifeme brighter with the lapse of time — ^would, in framing 
ftte constitution of^a great nation, have committed a 
blunder so puerile and absurd as to have made the 
€k)vemment depend for its support upon lands which 
iste every day diminishing in quantity, and which must 
woner or later be entirely exhausted? Ages and 
centuries are but as days and weeks in the histories of 
telions, and it would be an indeUble imputation upon the 
ibiatesmen composing the convention of 1787, to 
establish the construction contended for by the gentle- 
fiian from Accomac. It would make them perpetuate 
the incredible absurdity of providing a fund for the 
ittpport of the Government, which would be constantly 
dfecreasing after a certain period, and which must 
ifltimately be exhausted — constructing a chart of 
€k)vemment for a great nation, which it was hoped 
^^mld marutain its principles and its integral existence 
dependent upon temporary and transient resources. 
Bat, to make this question still plainer, cast your eyes 
^^oi^otively to that period when all these lands shall 
4iave been wrested from us by the plundering rapacity 
5iif the West — or, to the somewhat remoter period, when 
^we rfiall be divested of them by the ordinary operation 
4t the present land system. Then this Pactolus, which 
^Eiow pours its golden floods into the coffers of the 
^iijon, will be dried up and exhausted ; and the Govem- 
tt^t, if the construction of the gentlemen obtains, left 
44e8titute of any mode of defraying its current expenses. 
:^!^s, Mr. Speaker, does appear to me to be a complete 
redtictio ad ahsurdum^ and of course estabUshes its own 
^<&llacy. The plain, obvious, common sense and 


194 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

universally acquiesced in construction of the dadfld 
which gives to Congress the right to lay and coUeofc 
taxes, etc., etc.; to pay the debts, and provide for \\x^ 
conunon defence, etc., is, that the General Govemm^jfc 
is to judge of the exigency, and then exercise it# 
discretion in raising the means to' meet it by taxes^^ 
direct or indirect. I am free to admit, Mr. Speaker, 
that the ardour and zeal which the gentleman haft 
displayed in the support of a proposition so untenable 
has convinced me that he was sincere and honest in hia. 
assurance to the House, that his views on this subject 
were hastily concocted. Eeflection, with a gentleman^ 
of his intelligence, would unquestionably have exposed 
its defects. The next branch of the g^itlemau's 
argument, though more plausible, is equally fallacious* 
He argues that in consequence of the increased and 
increasing necessities of the General Government, and 
the diminution of revenue, growing out of the Compro- 
mise Act of 1833, that an unconstitutional distribution of 
the proceeds of the pubUc lands, would leave the 
Government unprovided with sufficient means to meet 
its wants and drive them to an increase of duties and a 
violation of the compromise. And, hence the propriety 
of his amendment, which, recognizing the constitur 
tionaUty of distribution, restricts it to periods when 
there shall be a surplus beyond the economical wants of 
the Administration, and which further protests against 
any violation of the Compromise. At the first blush, 
the gentleman's argument would seem to be just ana 
legitimate, but a little reflection will satisfy you, Mr. 
Speaker, that it will not stand the test of a rigid 

Establish the gentleman's principle that there shall 
only be a distribution of the surplus beyond the economi- 
cal wants of the Government ; that the revenue derived 
from the sales of the public lands, must primarily be 
exhausted in the discharge of the pubUc liabilities 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 195 

before the Government can legitimately resort to 
tfDother source, and what would he the condition of 
tilings? Does not the gentleman from Accomac see 
Ae constitutional as well as financial difficulties which 
would grow out of it ? With heavy receipts from the 
saies of the public domain, such as we have witnessed 
fdr the last three or four years, there would be a sum 
sufficient under an economical administration of the 
Gk)vernment, to defray all its expenses, without touch- 
ing one cent of the revenue, derived from imposts 
imder the Compromise Act. This would produce a 
redtmdancy in the Treasury by the continual influx 
from the Customs, which according to the gentleman's 
own principles, would be a violation of the spirit and 
meaning of the Compromise, and an unconstitutional 
exaction, as it would not be necessary to meet the 
burdens upon the revenue. But these, Mr. Speaker, 
are theoretical evils, such as often play the part of 
ghosts in Virginia, haunting the imagination and 
disturbing the sickly sensibilities of our ^^uncorighteous^^^ 
straight-laced politicians. They are rather possible 
than probable evils. But there are others of a grave 
and important character resulting necessarily and 
inevitably from the policy of the gentleman from 
Accomac. The truth is, however distant and widely 
separated may be the sources of our revenue, whether 
derived from the tariff, or lands, or excises, all the 
various streams are tributaries to a common reservoir, 
where they all mingle together for a common purpose, 
and lose the distinguishing features of their origin. 
The question is never raised whether an appropriation 
shall be made out of monies derived from any particular 
sources. The draft is on the Treasury, and the money 
taken from the commingled contents of the common 
reservoir. In this state of things is it not as plain as 
noon-day, that there would be a constant effort to 
raise the imposts, that the general fund might be 

196 Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 

augmented, and a surplus created for distribirtkxk; 
The northern and western States, which are principaUjt 
interested in the maintenance of the tariff, united wit&' 
tlose States whose distributable share would compen^ 
sate them for the burdens of the tariff, would scatter 
to the winds all the parchment and moral obligatioiij 
of the Compromise Act, and compel an increase of 
duties. Could a finer field be presented for such 
combinations than the States of our Confederacy? 
Are they not peculiarly liable to temptation ? Engaged 
as most of them are, in devising and carrying oat 
comprehensive schemes of general education, and in 
projecting and executing magnificent schemes of 
internal improvement, both of which require the 
command of enormous sums of money, I ask, woold 
they not yield to the seductive blandishments of their 
tariff friends, and imite in a scheme which promised 
to relieve their necessities and replenish their coffers ? 
Add to this the intrigues of political gamblers for the 
Presidential chair, who would most assuredly trade 
largely upon this very avaUable and efficient capital, 
and none can doubt the corrupting influence of the 
measure, and its direct and inevitable tendency to 
produce the very evils deprecated by the gentlenuaai 
from Accomac, and sought to be guarded against in his 
amendment. But the gentleman finds* the corrective 
to all this, in that part of his resolution which 
sanctified the Compromise Act. Does it afford the 
remedy ? By that Act, Mr. Speaker, the duties are to 
be reduced to twenty per cent ad valorem in 1842« 
Now if this was an imperative and unyielding stipnla^ 
tion that there should be no articles other than those 
at present embraced in the tariff, subject to the duty 
of 1842, and that twenty per cent ad valorem would bi 
the duty through all time and under all circumstances, 
then the gentleman's argument, that our policy 
endangered the Compromise, would have some pkufifr* 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton 197 

Ijiiiky. But such is not the fact. In the year 1842, 
tiie duties, according to the scale agreed upon, will be 
twentj^ per cent. After which time it was agreed, 
diat it should expand or contract according to the^ 
necessities of the Government economically administered. 
If the Government, according to this Utopian standard, 
required a revenue which this twenty per cent fell 
short of producing, then they were authorized by the 
Gompr<Hnise Act to raise the duties to the point 
required by the expenditures. Hence, it is perfectly 
apparent, if you require an absolute distribution, and 
the necessities of the country should demand, what I 
think very improbable, larger means than is aflfbrded 
by the Customs, under the reduced tariff of 1842, the 
duties may be augmented so far as to meet the 
exigency, without violating the letter or spirit of the 

As a general, and indeed almost universal rule, prudent 
individuals are economical according to the means they 
have at their disposal. As with individuals, so with 
Grovemments. The annals of private life and the pages 
of history alike attest its truth as a general proposition. 
Our own Government, whose spirit and genius is at war 
with extravagance and corruption, and which should 
have constituted the exception, if any were exempt, 
presents in its history the most exact conformity to the 
maxim. In the infancy of our institutions, when we 
were stinted in our resources, we prided ourselves upon 
our Republican simplicity, and the moral grandeur of a 
great nation disdaining the ostentatious trappings of 
Governmental grandeur, but as we advanced in popula- 
tion and wealth, the spartan broth yielded to the plum 
Jading ; splendour was substituted for simplicity, until 
m the administration of the second Adams, our 
Governmental expenditures had reached the enormous 
sum of 13,000,000 dols. A sum so far beyond anything 
we had conceived necessary for its support, that he was 

198 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

expelled almost with one voice from the Presidential 
chair. So deep and pervading was the dissatisfactioa^ 
of the people, with these wasteful expenditures of the 
public treasure, that each successive Administration ha^? 
made reform and retrenchment the watch words c^, 
party. And yet, Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding we, 
have gone forth to the battle with "economy" 
emblazoned upon our standard, the immense revenues 
pouring mto our coffers from indemnities, public lands, 
and the customs, have exercised a counteracting 
influence, and our march in extravagance has been, 
almost pari passu with our augmented income. In 
1836 the expenditures had reached the almost incredible 
sum of 40,000,00 dols. Thus showing the tendency of 
our government to spend according to its means, and 
the visionary absurdity of the restraint imposed by the 
terms economical expenditure. 

Pour the wealtn of the Indies into our Treasury, 
and my word for it, the political doctors whom chance 
or fortune may have placed at the head of our affairs, 
will soon discover some happy depletive remedy for 
this oppressive plethora. National roads, fortifications, 
exploring expeditions, and the almost endless et ceteras^ 
which are the natural fruit of ample means, become by 
a "log rolling" combination of the members of Congress, 
necessary and proper in their estimation, and professedly 
consistent with a judicious economy. Hence if the 
amendment of the gentleman- (General Bayly) should 
prevail, reason and experience teaching us that the 
expenses of the Government will keep pace with its 
income and the terms of the Compromise, according to 
the construction of the gentleman, actually exhibiting 
a surplus, we cannot by possibility have the distribu- 
tion which he recommends in the first part of the 
resolution, except in the way I have argued. The 
resolutions coupled with the gentleman's amendment 
is either a stimulant to evil, or it is a reality. It will 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 199 

^her drive us into fraudulent contributions for raising 
tiie duties, that we may have a surplus to distribute, 
or, according to the gentleman's own shewing, it wiU 
be utterly inoperative and ineffectual for any object we 
may have connected with the public lands. In both of 
which aspects I am utterly opposed to it. 

I forbear, Mr. Speaker, launching into a more 
e^nded field of discussioA, for the reason assigned 
when I first rose. Already I have extended my 
remarks further then I contemplated, and I hope the 
House will find an apology for it in the magnitude and 
importance of the subject, and the novelty of the 
positions assumed by the gentleman who preceded me. 


Fob some years previously to 1849 the question of 
popular education and Free schools had excited much 
interest in Virginia. One of the most earnest friends 
of a general system of education was Colcmel PeytoQi 
who made his views known in conversation, by 
communications to the newspapers and speeches at 
public meetings in Roanoke, and at a State Gonvention 
in Richmond. He left th& important affairs of his Coal 
mining and river improvement projects in Boone county* 
at an inclement season and travelled nearly 400 miks 
over the wretched roads of Virginia, in a ricketty stage 
coach, in order to attend this Convention, in which the 
writer was also a delegate from the county of Augusta^ 
Such was the deep and enthusiastic interest he took in 
this vital subject. His private affairs were but as drat 
in the balance, when they were in conflict with thow ke 
owed to society. 

From a lively recollection of his conversations and 
speeches at this period, the author is able to give tbe 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 201 

following brief synopsis of his views on this interesting 

He maintained that popular ignorance was ohe of the 
greatest corses that could afflict a people, and was 
altogether inconsistent with the theory and practice of 
Bepublican Goyemment. Quoting the language of 
Hosea, **my people are destroyed for lack of know- 
ledge," he asserted that the ignorance which prevailed 
among the ancient Jewish people was the principal 
cause of their nnhappiness, betraying them into crimes, 
and consequent miseries. It was this ignorance, this 
fatal lack of knowledge, which caused them to reject 
JesQS Christ and led to their destruction. He then 
considered the mental darknesi which prevailed among 
tiba ancient heathen nations, and traced to it all their 
wretehedness. In their depravity they departed from 
the original ways of Providence, and set up false deities 
to be worshipped. AU true moraUty and reUgion were 
dcslroyed amongst them, and the mass of mankind sank 
into darkness and woe. In his opinion, the only way to 
pteserve the moral world was by a diffusion of true 
knowledge, by which men would be able to see what 
ivas WKmg. From a consideration of the malignant 
cfiaots of ignorance among the people of the ancient 
jTodd, Jews and Gentiles, he passed in review the 
.ignorance prevailing in subsequent ages, and finally 
mma down to what was called the Augustan period of 
EngUsh literature, when Addison, Pope, Swift and other 
^mitaars flcmrished, as well as philosophers, statesmen 
-ttbd heroes. Even at this period he said the mass of 


202 Memoir of William Madison Peyton.' 

English people were steeped in ignorance, and were 
considered by the educated as mere mental barbarians. 
An author never thought of his works being read by 
the debased multitude; they were composed for the 
educated few, who were recognised as a select com- 
munity; and it was one of the most remarkable 
features of the times, that the cultivated part of the 
British nation regarded the mental and moral condition 
of the rest with the strangest indifference. To such an 
extent did ignorance prevail among the lower orders hx 
England, that it might almost be called heathen at the 
time when Whitfield and Wesley began to excite the 
attention of the multitude to that subject. He then 
passed in review its eff^ts upon the character of the 
EngUsh nation, and said that the gratification of their 
senses was then their chief good. It led to a disposition 
to cruelty, which was displayed and confirmed by thehr 
practices, such as prize fighting, cruelty to horses 
and the brutal way of slaughtering animals. And 
what was true of them would prove true of other 
people — ^fallen nature is the same everywhere. Educa- 
tion had done much, since the period to which he 
referred, to enlighten and educate the British people, and 
he trusted that Americans would not be insensible to 
their example. He said it was dishonourable to a 
country that the people should be allowed to remain in 
this condition, a monstrous thing in a Bepublic which 
was supposed to be governed by the people — ^they, at 
least, ought to be able to see that it was necessary to* 
educate their children, unto whom they proposed in time 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 208 

to pass the Goyemment and the destinies of the 
country. He then considered in all its bearings the 
olijection made to popular education by a certain class of 
thinkers — ^those who maintained that it would render 
the common people unfit for their station and discon- 
tented with it, and showed the absurdity of this 
proposition, and illustrated the advantage, to a wise and 
upright Government, of having intelligent citizens. He 
asserted that no pure religion could co-exist with this 
popular ignorance — ^that the want of mental discipline 
caused an inaptitude to receive reUgious information, and 
exemplified its truth by many striking examples. 

From all these views on the subject of the disadvan- 
tages of ignorance and the e^ils and miseries it had 
entidled on mankind in the past, he went on to a 
practical examination of the subject of free Schools in 
Virginia, and maintained, That it was the interest of 
eveiry member of the nation that every other member 
should be educated. Those who declared that a tax 
for this purpose was a hardship on those who had no 
children, forgot that a greater hardship would fall to 
their share if they did not educate the youth of the 
land, namely^ that of keeping up jails, penitentiaries, 
guards, criminal judges, and the like. If education 
spread abroad, morality would also spread, and these 
concomitants of crime would not be needed. The 
money thus expended among an ignorant and vicious 
population would, in an enlightened community, go to 
construct roads, railways, bridges, canals, and other 
Qseiid works. 

204 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Many men believed that education and morality had no 
connection with one another, but he held the oppoflifce 
opinion. If it were false that education improves the 
morals, why does any father desire to educate his soils 
and daughters ? If his educated children were the 
better for it, would not aU be improved by it ? If it 
were not a good thing, why are school-houses, ooUegm, 
universities rising every where over the land ? But it 
was true that education improved, refined, and elevated 
the morals of a people, and where we found a college, 
there was a church, whence a divine morality was 
diffused. But, he said, education meant moral as well 
as intellectual development, and, in any system which 
might be adopted, he would advocate the study of the 
Holy Scriptures in the schools. After dilating on these 
points, and declaring that after a boy was taught 4o 
read and write he was subjected to new and powerfiil 
moral influences, he proceeded to enter upon a more 
practical branch of the subject, namely, the greater 
security it gave us. 

Under our system of government, he said, the pe<^e 
ruled. We may, in time, come to rejoice or lament that 
this is so. Suflfrage is extending, the Govemmemt 
becoming more democratic, property has less influence, 
and numbers more and more weight. What is ow 
duty? To prepare for the change by a system of 
universal instruction. Then universal suffrage mi^t 
be][a^blessing. There was no folly an ignorant mass, 
armed with universal suffrage, might not perpetrate. 
People in this condition are easily imposed on. Dema- 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 205 

gogaes would take advantage of them, lead them 
artraj to their own and the public detriment. France, 
he said, had been afflicted by such demagogues or 
fiuoatiGS, who asserted that all property should be held 
in common, and such pretended friends of the people 
had inflicted the deadUest wounds upon the prosperity 
and happiness of that great nation. A similar class in 
the north were making an effort to do the like in America. 
Only the unthinking could be deluded by their sophistry. 
Suppose it were in their power to vote themselves a 
lum to-day, might not the same power vote it away 
to-morrow ? The only permanent basis of prosperity, 
comfort, and happiness Tor any people, is in the 
knowledge possessed by each one of his duties as well 
as his rights, and the perfect security of both person 
and property. In matters of government as in personal 
ccmcem, justice and right are always wisdom; that 
is, nothing is truly advantageous, which is not truly 

The fathers of our Government had asserted these 
principles. Jefferson said, ** I prepared three bills for 
the revisal, proposing three distinct grades of education, 
reaching all classes : 1st, Elementary schools for all 
children generally, rich and poor. 2nd, Colleges for a 
middle degree of instruction, calculated for the common 
purposes of life. 3rd, A higher grade for teaching the 
soiences generally, and in their loftiest degree." '* One 


provision of the elementary school bill was that the 
expenses of these schools should be borne by the 
inhabitants of the county, in proportion to their general 

206 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

tax rates/' I considered four of these biDs (the school 
bill was one) as forming a system whereby a foundation 
would be laid for a Government truly republican. The 
people, by the bill for a general education, would be 
qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them^ 
and to exercise with intelligence, their parts in self- 
government, and all this would be eflfected without the 
violation of a single natural [right of any one individual 

Education was, in his opinion, essential to the social 
and intellectual well-being of the people, and should 
command the inmiediate attention of the Legislature. 
Otherwise the extension of the suffrage would prove a 
worthless, nay a dangerous gift. Intelligence is the 
condition of freedom ; and unless the enfranchised 
millions are rendered, by education, capable of exercising 
their right of votmg with sense and judgment, the people 
would become the dupes, the victims of unprincipled 

He went on to declare that general education 
developes new sources of wealth and utility, else why 
has it grown into a maxim that " knowledge is power." 
The truth is, the more you multiply knowledge, the 
more you increase the aggregate power of a community. 
What vast sums had been added to the annual produc- 
tion of manufacturing countries by the spinning-jenny, 
the power-loom, the steam-engine, the railroad, and tha 
numberless labour-saving machines of recent yeais. 
All this resulted from educated labour. The reason 
why the useful arts advanced so slowly for centuries^ 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 207 

was because the labour of the world was performed by 
ignorant men. 

Further, he expressed the opinion that general 
education increased the value of property. There were 
several elements which entered into the value of 
property, especially of land, besides its productiveness, 
such as the virtue and quietness of the neighbouring 
community, its character for progressive improvement, 
etc., which makes it desirable as a residence. Many 
examples were adduced from the more prosperous of the 
northern and eastern States, first, to establish this 
proposition, and, after further remarks, to prove that 
general education diffused among all classes will be 
fbimd to make the labour of the country more useful, 
and of course more valuable. He proceeded to say that 
universal education could only be brought about by 
general contribution; and that this might be effected by a 
broad system having due regard to the respective needs 
of various reUgious bodies. 

There were four modes of educating a people. 1. 
Every parent should be left to provide instruction for his 
own children. 2. The Government may aid the more 
indigent alone. 3. The Government may give partial 
assistance to all. 4. The Government may provide, at 
the common expense, for the complete elementary 
instruction of all classes, saving the requirements of 
reUgious Uberty without discrimination. He examined 
an these systems in detail, and declared his opinion in 
fstvour of the fourth. At this point he went into an 
estimate of its cost, imd showed that it would be light. 

208 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Besides, he said, the free schools would not only be 
cheaper than others, but would be better. The teachers 
would be more highly trained, better paid, there would be 
a judicious classification of pupils, suitable apparatus 
such as black boards, globes, maps, prints, models, etc., 
to aid the teacher to explain and the scholar to under- 
stand. These schools, too, would be under a vigilant 
supervision, which would encourage the teachers and 
stimulate the pupils. He concluded his remarks by 
suggesting a plan of the proposed system, which it is 
not necessary to give. 

Most readers will be ready to. concede, I imagine, that 
the man who held such enlightened views with regard to 
education was fully worthy of his age, if not in 
advance of it. 


Few readers, save those who are intimately acquainted 
with the practical working of popular elections in 
America, will be prepared for some of the details of 
this chapter. At the next election the young and 
gallant delegate for* Roanoke and Botetourt was 
opposed by the radical party, which put in nomination 
an illiterate person by the name of Prichard. Colonel 
Peyton did not wish to come forward at this time. He 
he had already seen more than enough of political life, 
with its noisy ambition and its mean passions ; a life so 
poor and base was unsuited to him. Of this he 
frankly informed his friends. These, however, urged 
him to serve another term with such pertinacity, upon 
the ground that he owed it to the country, that his 
disinclination was overcome. It was in a patriotic 
spirit alone that he yielded to their importunities — the 
spirit of Brutus which is thus expressed in the play of 
Julius CsBsar, 

Wliat is it you would impart to me f 
If it be ought towards the general good, 


210 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Set honour in one eye and death i' the other. 
And I will look on both indifferently : 
For, let the gods so speed me, as I love 
The name of honour more than I fear death. 

It was not upon the cards, however, that this 
irreproachable gentleman — this modem Chevalier Bayard 
sans peur et sans repvche — should be allowed to walk 
over the com-se. During his absence from home in 
the discharge of his public duties, the metropolitan and 
provincial leaders of the party of Martin Van Buren, 
called in the parlance erf the day the Looofoco or ultra* 
democratic party, had been in incubation, and hatched » 
plot. The manner in which this formidable plot waa 
concocted, who beside Thomas Ritchie and Bowyer 
Miller were its chiefs, what class beyond demagogues 
took part in it, at what precise time and upon what 
signals it was to break out, need not be recounted. 
For our purpose it is sufficient to premise, that fearing 
the influence exerted against their party in the 
Assembly by Colonel Peyton, and the greater power he 
was destined to wield, if he continued in public life, it 
was determined by the Ma^^ in Richmond, acting in 
concert with the local ringleaders, to bring, if possible, 
his political career to an end. The party organ in 
Richmond, the Enquirer newspaper, edited by Thomas 
Ritchie, struck the first note, and the provincials lost 
no time in taking up the tune and raising the hue and 
cry in Roanoke. Ritchie was a veteran at this sort of 
thing. He had long enjoyed pre-eminence as the most 
wily of Southern editors^ had so unremittingly and 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton 211 

successfoly pulled the wires and directed the machinery 
of Virginia Locofocoism that he was a pronounced Seer 
enjoying the soubriquet of " Father Ritchie." When 
he took snuff every Locofoco in the State was supposed 
to sneeze. This paternal bell-wether figured in the 
Richmond conclaves of the party and pointed out the 
road to success, and rarely was he mistaken as to the 
direction. In many respects he was an admirable 
guide and leader. He united in a remarkable manner 
the fortiter in re with the suaviter in modo. When he 
wished ^ to carry a point he manoeuvred with con- 
summate skill. In his first essays he was as mild as 
Iwt years phoney, spoke in dulcet strains. If his policy 
failed, thi^s tune was quickly changed. He now 
uttered tl{ie harsh and authoritative language of a 
master, trie^d what virtue there was in stones. Success 
generally a^ttended his strategy. If not, sad was the 
fete of hi ,3 victim. If an honest and independant 
opponent vclosed his ears to his soft whispers, he was 
mercilessl)^^ put upon and hunted down. If an 
inexperien jced member of his party ventured to think 
for hims^if, there was no greater crime at head-quarters, 
he soon learned what it was to run the gauntlet. He 
was Teamed by the Enquirer that an open enemy is 
better than a false friend, had a lecture upon a Judas, 
kiss, an essay upon sealing one's[infamy, all the changes 
indeed, were rung upon his perfidy, his presumption, 
and rebellion. The whippers in-baited him in the 
legislative halls, denounced him in the streets, dogged 
at his hotel — ^in a word, persecuted the miserable 

212 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

wretch until, broken down in health and spirits, the 
contumacious bungler was only too glad to secure peace 
by an unconditional surrender, by a quiet return to his 
duty and allegiance. From such a contest with 
Father Ritchie the inexperienced member alwa}^ 
retired a wiser and a sadder man. Indeed, he was 
generally wise enough to appear to relish his 
humble pie. He certainly always afterwards voted 
for his party, right or wrong, through thick and thin. 
When he had sufficiently expiated his offence the 
Enquirer gave him a cheerful pat upon the back, and, 
thus kept in countenance with his constituents the 
inexperienced member stood a chance of re-election, 
of becoming an experienced member. 

Father Bitchie's watchful eye took in the entire State; 
he seemed universal in his knowledge^of provincial 
affairs ; his spirit pervaded, permeated, overspread our 
home politics far and wide. Whenever he Baw a new 
star in the poUtical firmament, a promising mai) rising up 
in the opposition his minions were set to work — first to 
win him over to the Locofoco party, if successful all was 
well — ^if not war was declared. Hostilities having thus 
commenced, nothing was neglected to make the war 
short, sharp, and decisive. Father Eitchie silenced the 
consciences of some of his tools, he had some under- 
strappers not altogether devoid of moral sense, by the 
assurance that all is fair in politics as in love and war. 
With the prescience of an old leader, he saw danger to 
ultra democracy in the rise of Col. Peyton. CJould liie 
young man be won over ? Were his convictions strong ?: 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 21S 

these were the questions to be settled. Flattery was 
first tried, the Enquirer declaring that the delegate for 
Eoanoke was without a rival among the young men of 
Virginia, that he was the worthy son of a noble sire, 
that he was a ripe scholar and trained statesman, had 
been brought up at the feet of GamaUel, was on the 
highway to honour and fame, that but a single danger 
beset his path, namely FederaUsm, of this rock he must 
beware, from such feticism turn away. Let him, said 
the Enquirer^ advocate, Uberal principles, in other words 
turn Locofoco, then every honour and reward, was his 
which a grateful and admiring people could confer, etc., 
etc. It was of no avail. Father Bitchie then tried ridicule 
and abuse, talked of the overweening vanity of young 
men, the idle dreams of youth, and so-forth. Col. 
Peyton was proof against both ; all the insinuating 
arts of the veteran, all his and his minions' violence 
could not shake the resolution, or corrupt the integrity 
of William Peyton; he was absolutely proof against 
every threat, as against all oily flattery, and taught the 
venerable Bitchie that there was at least one exception 
to the maxim with politicians, ** that every man has his 
price." The Enquirer then turned to its old course of 
personally complimenting Col. Peyton, in order the more 
successfully to disguise the party movements and 
privately and industriously set on the beagles of 
Boanoke. It advised the whippers-in of the peril which 
threatened, and of the importance of defeating the 
Colonel. These orders had no sooner been issued than 
i3i6 pursuit commenced. The principal director and 

214 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 

driver on the occasion of these proceedings was Bowyer 
Miller^ a young attorney, a candidate for practice in 
Fincastle. Miller was ambitious and slippery, not 
without a certain cleverness, and an adept][at political 
intrigues. He was also an aspirant for office, a candi*- 
date for anything that **paid." Previous to Colonel 
Peyton's removal to the county, this provincial Machiavd 
had been considered by some, certainly considered 
himself, the most rising man in the district. When 
Colonel Peyton appeared. Miller and his cUque sank 
into obscurity as stars disappear from the sky at 
sunrise. Nor was Father Bitchie ever able to do more 
for him as a reward for his services than to procure him 
a seat in the legislature, where he was a nobody and a 
nothing; absolutely without employment, unless Father 
Bitchie should wish some one's heels tripped up. In 
this case Miller was his right man, and in such feats he 
always found Bowyer equal to the occasion. 

Were it consistent with the plan of this memoir, I 
Qould relate many curious episodes in the legislative 
career of Mr. Bitchie's henchman as recounted by the 
late George Mayse^ of Bath County, who served with 
Colonel Peyton and Mr. Miller in the House of Delegate, 
and with the latter in the Constitutional Convention of 
1850. Mr. Mayse was a thoroughly honest and 
conscientious man, a true patriot and warm friend of 
Colonel Peyton. He therefore felt and expressed no 
small disgust at the course of the Enquirer and Bowyer 
Miller towards his friend. According to Mr. Mayse, 
however, neither Father Bitchie nor Mr. Miller ever 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 21$ 

played at any but a double gamey or set their sails to catch 
any but a side wind. 

Alive to the Colonel's personal popularity, these village 
politicians and pot-house demagogues resorted to every 
trick to compass their ends. They represented to the 
masses of their party that it was necessay to vote " early 
and often ** against Peyton, however friendly their 
personal relations might be ; that it would not be a 
vote against him individually, but against his Federal 
heresies, which they declared tended to monarchy. A 
vote, said they, against him is a shot in favour of con- 
stitutional principles — ^the basis alike of our model 
Bepublican Government and of the Locofoco party. 
In their heat they pronounced the ** citadel of hberty" 
in danger, and they cried aloud beseeching all patriots 
to hasten to its defence. To the ignorant they pro- 
tested that it was not a question of likes or dislikes, but 
altogether one between Uberty and despotism. This 
worked well among the foreign element. Nothing else 
eould draw this class from the Colonel's support, for 
many of these poor strangers remembered him as a 
benefactor when they came hungry and almost naked 
from abroad. It influenced the more ignorant natives 
also, and not another issue could, for he was the idol of 
the poor, by whom he was regarded as a brother and 
protector. Nor was it, said they, a question of voting 
for the wisest and best man. Oh, no ! Were this the issue 
they too would vote for Peyton. In no sense, said these 
harpies, is it a matter of voting for men, but altogether 
mie of voting for measures. ^^ Measures not men," said 

216 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

they, is our motto and onrs are the only measures on 
which onr Government can be administered without 

the destruction of all civil, religious and political liberty. 
In private they represented Colonel Peyton as an 
aristocrat, whose birth, education, and training allied 
him to the patrician element in society • and the kingly 
principle in government, that, if elected, he and his party 
would labour to assimilate our institutions to those of 
Great Britain. If successfol in this direction, the people^ 
the dear people, would lose all which had been gained by 
the Revolution of 1776, and sink once more into the 
condition of serfs — Old world serfs. The fastnesses of the 
forests, the hollows of the mountains, the cellars and 
attics of the grog-shops were penetrated, ransacked, 
every bush beaten, every hole and comer reconnoitred 
to bring to the poll voters against him. Thus, ignorant, 
unsuspecting people, who had hved years in obscurity, 
and many of whom had never so much as heard his name 
were produced as plumpers against him. While the 
Locofoco's were thus employed, his friends were lulled 
by over confidence into a false security. They scorned 
and ridiculed the opposition as contemptible — ^too despic- 
able to be noticed ; they contented themselves, denounc- 
ing it and its authors as demagogues engaged in dirty 
work which was disgraceful to the country. A meeting, 
however, was called of the Coloners supporters, of the 
whole people indeed, at Salem, the county-town. This 
was attended by the county gentlemen en masse as well 
as by all classes. Colonel Peyton drove over, attended 
by his principal supporters and addressed the people in 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 217 

i^ q)eech of snch ability and eloquence that, if never 
Wore, now all opposition was supposed to be silenced. 
Mr. Prichard'declined speaking, saying, "iT^ was no orator^ 
Jte l^mt when he told the people that he were a Locofoco 
krdight out^ and would vote through thick and thin for his 
JMw^y, whether right or wrong j they knew who their man was 
emd where to find him." Mingled laughter, hisses, and 
drunken cheers greeted this enunciation of a purpose to 
**go it blind" as it was termed in the slang of the day, 
and respectable people dispersed to their homes, leaving 
the town to a considerable extent in the hands of an 
intoxicated rabble shouting for Pritchard and liberty. 
Gentlemen returned home satisfied that Colonel Peyton's 
election was certain beyond an accident, and a series of 
dinners took place in the county as a welcome to him 
on his return. These were kept up till the day of 
election. Meanwhile the Locofocos worked like beavers 
in the dark; frightened the timid by stories of returning 
despotism, bribed some by money and others by 
promises, and engaged many of those known to be 
certain voters for Peyton in business undertakings 
which were very profitable, but which these varlets took 
care should call them from the county on election day. 
Those who had conscientious scruples at the prospect of 
being absent were quieted by being told that the Colonel 
did not require their votes — ^that he would be elected 
l)y-a tremendous majority. Many were thus gained 
over to their side through poUtical cowardice, and others 
who were paid either by money or promises. Thus by 
one artifice or another, they succeeded on the day of 


218 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

election in rolling up a majority for Mr. Prichard <^ 
seven votes. Colonel Peyton's friends were equally 
astonished and indignant at the result. They declared 
that it arose from unparalleled bribery and oorruptitm^ 
and they earnestly urged him to contest the election* 
He steadily declined all such importunities, barkened 
not to their counsel, declaring that be bad consented to 
be a candidate, not to gratify any personal wishes, but 
solely to please his friend — ^his own tastes were for 
retirement. At their instance he had come forward; 
the scrutineers of the polls had declared his opponent 
elected, and with this verdict he should not attempt to 
interfere. Nor did he again refer to the election nor to 
the perfidious scheme by which he had been defeated. 
The pure and proud mind can never confide its wrongs 
to another, only its triumphs and its happiness. 

It may be safely said, however, that he was ineffably 
disgusted with the excitement, intrigues, and comiptioii 
of our politics. Brief as was his public career, he had 
doubtless been long enough in the arena to be convinced 
that he who aspires to be the head of a party wiH find 
it more difficult to please his friends than to perplex his 
foes. That he must often act from false reasons which 
are weak, because he does not avow the true reasons 
which are strong. ' That it will be his lot to be fwrced 
on some occasions to give his consideration to the 
wealthy or the influential, although they may be in 
the wrong, and to withhold it from the energetic bi* 
necessitous, although they may be in the right. That 
there are moments when we must appear to sympathize. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 219 

not only with the fears of the brave, but also the follies 
cf the wise. That he must often see some appearances 
tiiat do not exist, to be blind to some that do. To be 
above others, he must condescend at times to be 
beneath himself, as the loftiest trees have the deepest 
roots. And without the keenest circumspection he will 
become conscious that his very rise will be his ruin. 
For a masked battery is more destructive than one that 
10 in sight, and he will have more to dread from the 
secret envy of his own adherents than from the open 
hate of his adversaries. This envy will ever beset 
him, but, if determined to proceed in his career, he must 
not appear to suspect it. It will narrowly watch him, 
but he must not seem to perceive it. Even when he is 
anticipating all its effects, he must give no note of 
preparation, and in defending himself against it, he 
must conceal both his sword and his shield. Let him 
pursue success as his truest friend, and apply to con-^ 
fidence as his ablest counsellor. Subtract from a little 
great man all that he owes to opportunity and all that 
he owes to chance, all that he has gained by the 
wisdom of his friends and by the folly of his enemies, 
und our Brobdignag will often become a Lilliputian. 
I think it is Voltaire who observes, that it was very 
fort^^ate for Cromwell that lie appeared upon the 
stage at the precise moment when the people were tired 
^ kings, and as unfortunate for his son, Richard, that 
he had to make good his pretentions, at a moment when 
the people were equally tired of protectors.' 

Having, as previously remarked, no taste for public 

220 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

life under the conditions surrounding it in those days, 
no ambition to contest the palm with tricksters and 
demagogues and the " little great men " sent from the 
counties generally, through the influence of cross-road 
publicans and local demagogues, he returned to hit 
estate with a firm determination, in accordance with the 
advice of Cato to his son, to pass the residue of his life 
in the real post of honour, the private station. His 
defeat, therefore, gave him the opportunity which he 
coveted. It may be added as a part of his history in 
this connection, that he was on many occasions, solicited 
to become a candidate for sundry offices. The 
principal men of that section of the State united in an 
efibrt to induce him to become a candidate for Congress. 
He declined all importunities, refused to give up the 
comforts of his home again. He only is a great man, 
says Steele, who can neglect the applause of the multi- 
tude, and enjoy himself independent of its favour. 
Most truly may it be said of this excellent man, that 
with him the rewards of virtue exceeded those of 
ambition. He sought to do good rather than be con- 
spicuous. Notwithstanding this determination, to 
which he steadily adhered, he was brought forward by 
his friends in the Legislature, with whom the election 
rested, for the office of Grovemor of Virginia, and 
again for that of Senator in Congress. He would 
doubtless have been chosen for one or both of these 
positions, notwithstanding the intrigues of Fath» 
Ritchie, Bowyer, Miller, and others of the like feather, 
but for his persistent determinati<xi to refuse all sach 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 221 

distinctions and his eloquent advocacy of the claims 
g£ others to the very situations for which he himself 
was proposed. 

The reader will doubtless agree with the author, that 
those upon whom honours are conferred are not always 
the most deserving, and that Colonel Peyton had little 
occasion to regret defeat. Wicked Hamon was 
promoted by Ahasuerus and all the king's servants that 
were in the king's gate, bowed to and reverenced him. 
Absalom, the rebellious son of David, stole the hearts 
of the men of Israel. Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, 
made a speech to the people, and they gave a shout, 
saying, " it is the voice of a God, and not of a man." 
But what was the end of these men ? Hamon was 
hanged on the gibbet prepared for Mordecai ; Absalom 
was slain by the darts of Joab, and Herod was eaten 
by worms, and died miserably. Mighty conquerors and 
their armies have covered themselves with glory. 
Ignorace has deified, and superstition worshipped them 
as gods ; but had they met what they deserved, their 
names would have been handed down to posterity with 
infamy and disgrace. The fact is, the world does hot 
always bestow honour upon real worth ; hence the best 
of men seldom enjoy its smiles, or do so only for a time. 

About this period the Governor of Virginia appointed 
him State proxy, to represent the interest of the 
Commonwealth in the meetings of the stock-holders of 
the James River and Kenawha Canal Company, a work 
by which it was sought to connect the waters of the 
Chesapeake and Ohio, and which originated, with 

222 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Washington himself. This great work was abready 
completed from Bichmond to Lynchbnrg, a distance of 
between one and two hundred miles, receiving tolls to 
the extent of 800,000,00 dols. per annum. With his 
usual energy and fidelity to trusts imposed on him, 
he devoted himself, without pay, for years, to the 
judicious management of this company, attending all 
its meetiQgs and writing all the annual reports of the 
board. The present (1873) secretary of that company, 
William Preston Munford, once said to the writer, that he 
did not know what the company would do without him^ 
he was the life and soul of the whole undertaking. 

Previous to the election of 1844, he was invited to 
prepare a preamble and resolutions embodying the 
principles of the Whig party, and in favour of the 
election of Henry Clay to the Presidency, to be 
submitted to a public meeting of the Whigs of Koahoke. 
This led to the following paper from his pen, setting 
forth the main principles of the party, and giving, in 
vigorous language, his opinion of the great Kentuckian 
Statesman. The preamble and resolutions were 
unanimously adopted. Mr. Clay subsequently became 
the candidate of the party, but was defeated. He had 
been too long identfied with the history of his country — 
was too good and great a man to answer the purpo^M^ 
his party as a candidate. 

The following is the first and an imperfect draught of 
Colonel Peyton's resolutions. It was found among 
some calcined rubbish, after the burning of his mansioa 
in 1870. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 228 


The Whigs of Boanoke being assembled for the 
purpose of party organization, and especially with a 
view to forming themselves into a " Clay Club," deem 
the occasion suitable for announcing the leading prin« 
oiples on which they intend to conduct the coming 
Presidential contest. 

Acting, as they trust, in harmony with the great 
body of the party throughout the union, they are anxious 
to secure the moral weight which is the just reward 
of elevated principles and ingenuous conduct. They 
wish to avoid all surreptitious measures of assault or 
defence, to come into battle openly and boldly, with 
their principles emblazoned upon every fold of their 
standards, thus inviting the scrutiny and defying the 
power of their opponents. A victory gained by fraud 
and deception would be valueless in their estimation, 
since it would destroy the public confidence in their 
integrity as a party, and jeopardize the popularity of the 
principles which they profess, and upon the ultimate 
ascendancy of which they conscientiously believe the 
stabiUty and efficiency of our institutions depend* 
They anxiously desire a just exposition of the political 
creed of the opposite party, and a fair and honourable 
issue upon their conflicting principles. They are 
confident of success if they are thus met before the 
nation in a spirit of candour and fair dealing. They 
believe if they can prevail with their opponents to define 
(heir party faith clearly and unequivocally, and to stand 

224 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

by it sincerely and honestly in every qnaxter of the 
Union without respect to the pjlitical prejudices of any 
locaUty, that there is sufficient patriotism, intelligence 
and enlightened self-interest among the people to insure 
their success. To warn the people from the rocks and 
quicksands of unrestrained and Ucentious democracy to 
the safe haven of well-regulated Republicanism. When 
the honest masses understand the spirit of Locofocoism 
abroad in the land, generating the most destructive 
moral and poUtical principles, despoiling States of their 
credit, and thus weakening the obligations of common 
honesty between individuals ; when they see one of the 
two parties of the country, identifing itself to a consider- 
able extent with these lawless repudiators and 
unscrupulous "bond breakers," who, in the spirit of 
wild reform and mad innovation, trample under foot 
every precedent which time, experience, wisdom and 
patriotism have established ; neither respecting the judg- 
ment of a Washington, nor the opinion of the pure 
and spotless patriots who assisted him in modelling our 
institutions and giving us a hope of enduring national 
existence and national glory, they believe that the sober 
and reflectmg portion of the people will tremble for 
perpetuity of our Government, and will rally to 
its defence undfer the banner of our party whose name 
is the synonyme of constitutional Uberty. 

Not wishing in this hasty address to elaborate the 
views of the Whig party, but simply to announce the 
cardinal features of our political faith, leaving comment 
for future occasions, we declare, 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton 225 

I. That we are in favour of a national bank, being 
firmly convinced that all the industrial interests of 
the country, whether agricultural, commercial or 
manufacturiag, depend for much of their prosperity 
upon a circulating medium of equal value in every 
part of our country, and in sufficient abundance to 
meet the necessities and convenience of trade. 

n. We are in favour of a tariff, which while it 
a£fords a revenue sufficient to meet the wants of the 
Government economically administered, shall be 
80 adjusted as to foster and cherish our infant manu- 
fiEictures, and at the same time awaken a design for 
reciprocity in foreign nations by the imposition 
of counteracting duties upon the productions of 
Buch of these as impose heavy burdens upon our 
principal exports, such as cotton and tobacco. 

in. We are in favour of an equitable distribution of 
the proceeds arising from the sales of the public 
LANDS among the several States, believing that the 
public domain is the rightful property of the 
States; as such we consider the authority exercised 
over these lands by the General Government as 
purely fiduciary, and that the terms of the trust 
precludes all the graduation schemes, and schemes 
of partial cession, which have been advocated at 
different times by the respective branches of the 
Deniocratic party. Relying upon the customs or 
impot dues as an abundant source of revenue for 
the support of the Government economically admin- 
istered, wo wish to divert from the National 


226 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Treasniy this nnnecessary and redundant tribntaiy^ 
and pour its rich blessings into the more legitimate 
State channels, where it will diffuse countless 
benefits in restoring their shattered credit, in pro- 
viding the means of general education, and in 
opening up new and enlargmg old markets for the 
husbandman and manufacturer, by unproving the 
means of intercommunication and developing the 
resources of our interior country. 

IV. We are in favour of the one tebm principle — ^we 
think experience has shewn in these degenerate 
days of the Bepublic, that lust of office is apt to 
swallow up all sentiments of public virtue, and that 
where the President is re-eligible his first term is 
often engrossed by disgraceful intrigues to secure 
a re-election, by the disgusting scenes of official 
profligacy, and by the shameless prostitution of 
offices of the highest responsibility to the unhal- 
lowed purposes of party. We think that destroy- 
ing all hope of re-election would, by withdrawing 
the temptation, increase the chances of an 
independent and honourable administration of the 
General Government, a consummation most 
devoutly to be wished. 

V. We are in favour of a thorough reform in the tone 
and spirit of the Government and its officers, to 
bring back the Washingtonian standard of official 
qualification, and to infuse into the Government 
that enlarged, liberal, and patriotic spirit which 
regulated the policy of that illustrious man, the 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 227 

lustre of whos^ virtues defies the virulence of party, 
and who, standing up before posterity in the full 
proportions of his matchless wisdom and purity, 
challenges the world for an equal. Instead of 
bestowing offices, instituted for the public benefit, 
on unscrupulous Demagogues, as a reward of their 

• sordid services, we would have them conferred on 
men of elevated principles and unquestionable 
quaUfications — ^men who never forget that, *'they 
have a country to serve while they have a party to 

VI. Finally, we are in favour of Henbt Clay as our 
next President. In announcing our preference for 
this distinguished patriof and statesman, we feel a 
just pride in presenting to the consideration of our 
feUow citizens one whose virtues and services give 
him the highest claim to the first office in the gift 
of his countrymen. Imbued with a spirit at once 
bold, generous, acute, comprehensive in its grasp 
and brilliant in its conceptions, yet capable of the 
severest investigation and minutest detail ; ennobled 
by a patriotism which diflEuses itself over his whole 
country, rising in every exigency above all mere 
party considerations and sinking in the cause of his 
country all the conflicting prejudices and feelings of 

or her welfEkre. Enriched with an experience long, 
active, conspicuous in its trials, embracing one of 
the most eventful periods of our history and 
identifying him with all the great and important 

228 Memoir of William. Madison Peyton, 

measnres which mark the era of his brilliant career! 
regulated by a judgment, subtle, profound, 
matured, and harmonizing with the principles of the 
Whig party ; and finally, as a capital to crown this 
noble Corinthian column, sustained by a fidelity 
and fearlessness which can be relied on to enforce 
the principles we profess, we confidently reccnnmend 
him to the American people for the first office 
within their gift, and as a worthy successor to the 
"Father of his country." 

It is obvious from these resolutions that he had large 
and accurate information on political affairs; that he 
knew what was necessaty to make a people great, 
prosperous, and respected. With what earnestness he 
denounces those miserable profligates who have brought 
American credit into disrepute, and made the name a 
reproach on many a Bourse by their "bond breaking," 
repudiating doctrines. To a man however in bis 
station it would have been a real reproach to have 
remained ignorant of the history, laws, and constitution 
of his country — ^to have had no certain, well ascertained 
policy for her wise Government. 

In the political affairs of this election, he took some 
part, making eloquent speeches in favour of Mr. 
Clay's election at Salem, Fincastle, Danville, 


Lynchbury, Kichmond and other places, but he 
avoided those warm and angry debates, which are 
calculated only to inflame the passions and alienate 
parties. He endeavoured by cool and deliberate 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 229 

cUsquisitions on politics to enlighten the minds of the 
people and lead them to a right judgment. He had 
too often seen the effects of ignorance, in leading the 
multitude astray in national affairs, not to exert himself 
to scatter its clouds. Under its influence, the best 
measures of public policy had often been condemned, 
and the worst obtamed popular applause; the wisest 
and purest of our Statesmen had been ostracised, and a 
shallow and noisy race of demagogues foisted into office 
and loaded with honours. He laboured, therefore, 
earnestly to spread true knowledge abroad and dispel 
the mists of ignorance which overspread a portion of the 

There are some men who appear great only while 
the splendour of rank, or the bustle of station dazzles 
the eyes of the spectators ; others become magnified as 
they recede from the public view, and are seen like stars 
in the distant sky. Of this latter description was 
William Madison Peyton, a man . with too much of the 
weakness of humanity to have altogether escaped 
censure ; but whose memory is clear of any considerable 

Most interesting was it to see him in the retirement 
which now followed. Here he communed with his own 
'heart, studied the Holy Scriptures, contemplated the 
works of creation, and formed plans of great usefulness. 
His mind was free to enter upon all these important 
subjects and it cannot be doubted that he calmly con- 
sidered what he would do for his own kinsfolk, friends, 
and acquaintances, and also even for his enemies. 

280 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 

To a public-spirited man like himself, it is equally 
beyond doubt that he considered how he might best 
serve his country and the world. And none of us are 
without the power of doing something for others if bo 
disposed. If we have wisdom, we can contrive for 
them ; if wealth, we can supply their wants ; if power, 
we can protect and advance them ; and if piety and 
goodness predominate in ourhearte, we cai^ a^d do, 
strive to lead them to God. Relatives claim our first 
care and attention. Are they poor, afflicted, despised, 
ignorant, .or wicked? We should think how we may 
improve their circumstances, restore their health, 
redeem their character, inform their minds, or 
amend woes. Friends next claim our attention. 
Can we make them happier, more useful, or respectable ? 
Next our acquaintances. They may not have served 
us; but that consideration should not prevent our 
benevolent plans to serve them — even our enemies, 
should share our good will. They have used us ^te- 
fully ; let us try to do them good. The attempt will 
prove a blessing to us, and it may be also a blessing to 
them. In this spirit his retirement was spent, nor did 
he forget that his comitry had claims upon him. He 
thought how he might best serve its interests and 
promote its happiness — how eloquently the foregosi^ 
resolutions denounce repudiation and all bond breakemi* 
He sought out plans of public utility, and exercised JbtlB 
influence to carry them into effect. In other words^ 
without ostentation, noise, or boasting he endeavoured U> 
do all the good he could. During his retreat he appliedr 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 231 

Idmself to literary and scientific pursuits with as much 
earnest devotion as if his livelihood depended upon his 
success. He doubtless realized the force of the 
femark of Hamlet, 

Wliat is a man, 
If his chief good, and market of his time, 
Be but to sleep and feed ? a beast — ^no more. 
Sure he that made us with such large discourse 
Looking before and after, gave us not 
That capability and God-Hke reason 
To rest in us unused. 

During his scientific studies and investigations he dis- 
covered that cannel coal, which had not previously been 
found in America, always existed in England in the 
region of bituminous coal. From this and other cur- 
cumstances he argued that search would lead to its 
discovery in the bituminous coal fields of America. K 
so, it would be a most important discovery. Accordingly 
in the summer of 1845, he proceeded, in company 
with a few practical miners whom he hired for the pur- 
pose, to the coal beds of the Eenawha. The party 
q[>ent some time in explorations and researches on the 
waters tributary to the Great Eenawha in the county of 
Boone, and the correctness of his judgment was shown, 
aoid his labours rewarded, by the discovery of probably 
the most extensive cannel coal field in the United 
States. His first discovery was at a point on the coal 
rii^^r, about thirty miles from its junction with the Great 
Kena^riia. At sundry spots on the river between this 
pomt «ad the * Eenawha he came upon other vems of 

232 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

this mineral, varying from two to six feet in height and 
thickness. After these valnable findings of hidden 
wealth, he purchased 30,000 acres of this land and pro- 
ceeded to develop the mineral resources of that regloo, 
with which important work he was occupied down to the 
period of the civil was in 1861. At the spot of Mb 
original discovery a town war laid out and in his honour 
called Peytonaf which is now a flourishing place of 

He also ascertained in his numerous experiments 
with this coal that it possessed a variety of useful and 
valuable properties. Among other things, that candles 
might be made from it, surpassing those of wax in 
hardness and beauty. Also that the tar products of 
this and the bituminous coal, decomposed by the oil 
of vitrol, yielded, among other valuable substances, one 
now called paraffine, resembling, when bleached and 
purified, wax or spermaceti ; and that it burnt with a 
clear white flame, free from smoke. Since then this 
substance has become widely known the world over, 
and is largely used by all candle-making companies, 
though at first this and other results which he 
announced seemed more like the dream of a visicmary, 
than the sober reasonings of a modem utilitarian 
philosopher. The magic of chemistry as applied by 
other distinguished American and Eur(,)ean savans 
soon established the correctness of his theories. It is 
probable that he himself did not forsee the value of 
the conclusions he arrived at, which were certaiily 
pregnant with important results. But it was impossible 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 233 

. tiiftt a xuan of his knowledge could direct his attention 
»tD such subjects without benefit arising therefrom. 

During the period he was engaged in his mining 
, operations he spent a hundred thousand dollars of his 
private . means on the improvement of the coal river, 
seeking to make the stream navigable for steamers of 
considerable tonnage and thus to avoid trans-shipment 
of cargoes from the barges which left Peytona, on their 
arrival in the Kenawha, He had not succeeded to the 
extent of his wishes when the civil war put a stop to 
his operations. A New York company on the joint 
stock or limited liability principle, which had been 
organized in Wall Street under his auspices, continued 
• through the war to work the mines upon a minor scale, 
and, as far as the disorganized condition of the labour 
and business affairs of the country would admit, to 
carry on the work for improving the navigation of the 

The perserving energy with which he prosecuted his 
labours on the Coal River for many years, was the 
subject of general remark. The great improvement 
which took place in this remote part of the country 
in the manners and customs of the earlier inhabitants, 
in the roads and other means of communication, in the 
development of industry, and the enhancement in the 
value of property, the legitimate results of his opera- 
tions, caused him to be considered as a public benefactor, 
and his name to be everywhere revered by the warm- 
hearted and affectionate mountaineers. 

The fame he acquired by these operations, the 


234 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

success which attended his practical pursuits recalls 
Sallust's remark upon Cato, that the less he coveted 
glory, the more he acquired it. 

Several joint-stock companies were organized in New 
York under his auspices for working the Peytona mines, 
which are, in 1873, in successful operation. During 
one of his business visits to New York, in 1861, he 
addressed the letter embodied in the next chapter to 
his old friend Mr. Rives, on the subject of the deplor- 
able political situation and the impending crisis* 



In the Antumn of 1860, the United States Presidential 
election occnred, an event ordinary enough in itself, bnt 
which became the cause, or at least the occasion, of one 
of the greatest political revolations which have ever 
changed the fortunes of a nation. A revolution it was 
which overwhelmed the South with disasters, greater 
fjEur than those which conquests bring about, but which 
in the slow progress of events has been succeeded by a 
gradual bettering of the condition of the subdued people, 
and also by the elevation of a servile race to a position 
of political equality with their former masters. Placed 
after centuries of servitude in this new position, for 
which they had had no preparation, it remains yet to be 
proved that the African race is endowed by nature with 
any great mental vigor or aptitude for intellectual labour 
and improvement, such as is requisite for those who 
are invested with the rights of freemen and the 
responsibility of self government. 

The fear so long entertained by patriots that at some 
inauspicious moment a storm would arise in the South, 

236 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

where the public mind was greatly excited by Northern 
hostility to the extension of slavery, and end by 
steeping the country in bl6od and ruin, appeared, in the 
antumn of I860, about to be realized. The secession so 
long and repeatedly threatened by South Carolina, but 
which she had never seriously contemplated carrying 
out, seemed at last imminent. The incredulity with 
which those threats had been received by union men 
north and south ; the ridicule lavished upon the so 
called ** Chivalry men," who were accused of indulging 
in the frothy eflFdsions of demagogues — ^in low tricks and 
bluster to keep up their credit and consequence, operat- 
ing with their real grievances, had goaded the Carolinians 
to desperation. The people of the Pelmetto State who 
had been so long upbraided for fickleness and perfidy^ 
seemed at last ready for action, and a considerable 
portion of the South was prepared to follow their lead. 
The atmosphere was laden with electricity, the political 
sky overcast with clouds — ^the storm ready to burst 
upon the land. The, immediate occasion of this 
breaking out of the public fury was the election of Mr. 
Lincoln to the Presidency. It does not belong to my 
plan to enter into the causes and consequences of this 
event. They are mentioned only in so far as they relate 
to, and bear upon, the subject of this sketch. Mr« 
Lincoln was chosen on 6th of November 1860, the vote 
standing thus, 

For Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, 189, all northern 

For John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, 72 southern 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 287 

^or John Bell, of Tennessee, 39, divided. 

Pot Stephen A Douglas, of Illinois, 12, divided. 

The whole number of electors appointed to vote for 
President for the United States was then 303, o£ which 
a majority is 152. Mr. Lincoln was, therefore, 
declared elected, and on the 8th of the following 
February left his home in the West, for Washington. This 
event increased the southern excitement ; anxiety and 
alarm thickened the gloom which hung over and 
paralysed trade, commerce and manufactures north and 
south. The well known political views of South 
Carolina filled the country with apprehensions. In 
1830, that State attempted to nullify the laws of 
Congress, to remain in the Union and yet act indepen- 
dently of its authority, and a conflict between the State 
and Federal troops was averted only by the firmness of 
President Jackson and the moderation of General 
Winfield Scott. Again in 1850, at the period when the 
admission of California was under discussion, it was 
proposed in the Legislature of South Carolina that a 
*' Southern Congress" should be convoked to initiate 
measures for the defence of the South. A crisis was 
averted, however, by the adoption of what was termed 
the " Compromise Bill " principally through the influence 
of Henry Clay, but, though South Carolina acquiesced, 
she was annoyed, discontented, irritated. AJl the angry 
feelings which prompted this course in 1850 were 
intensified by the result of the Presidential election of 
1860. Accordingly, the Legislature called a State 
convention to take such steps as might be deemed 

2S6 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

necessary to meet the crisis before the inauguraticni of 
the new President. This convention assembled at 
Columbia on the 17th of December, 1861, and after an 
exciting debate passed a formal Ordinance of Secession 
from the Union, in these words, 

** Wkj the people of the State of South Carolina, in Con* 
vention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is 
hereby declared and ordained, that the Ordinance 
adopted by us in Convention on the 23rd day of May^ 
1788, whereby the Constitution of the United Stdka 
was ratified, and also, all Acts and parts of Acts of the 
General Assembly of the State ratifying amendmenU 
of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed, and the 
Union now subsisting between South Carolina and the 
other States under the name of * the United States of 
America,' is hereby dissolved.*' 

The fatal plunge was thus taken, and how to avert 
the untold calamity it portended was the first object 
with all true patriots, especially of Virginians, whose 
State, in the event of hostilities, was to becoine " the 
Flanders of the war." It was natural that the OlA 
Dominion should watch, with greater solicitude than 
any of her sister States, the progress of events in the 
South. Virginia contributed more largely than any of 
the original thirteen colonies to the formation of the^ 
Federal Union, in fact it was mainly her work, and her 
people were by a large majority still warmly attached 
to it and its traditions, yet, from identity of interest on 
the slave question, she felt the warmest S3anpathy with 

Memmr of William Madison Peyton. 239 

the States of the South. All eyes were, therefore, now 
turned to the Old Dominion. Upon her coUrse in great 
measure depended that of the so-called border States 
of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. It rested 
with Virginia and these States to say whether war 
ahould or should not take place. Had these border 
^^ates, with an aggregate population of 4,621,879 
united in upholding the Union of their forefathers, the 
CSotton States, left in a hopeless minority, must have 
lefosed to enter upon the ruinous path taken by 
South Carolina. In this event the sober second thought 
of the gallant, but excitable, population of the Palmetto 
State would probably, a little later, have led to the repeal 
of the Ordinance of Secession. Harmony would thus 
have been restored. K the border States had presented 
an unbroken front to the North, the civil war would 
have been averted, or if not, the North, had she 
entered upon the task of coercion, must have been driven 
from the field defeated, and overthrown. In the 
border States, however, other counsels prevailed. 
Notwithstanding the earnest efforts of the influential 
Union party in each, it was found impossible to band 
the people together in support of a common cause. 
There was a fatal division of sentiment, and, while halting 
between two opinions, Maryland was overrun by Federal 
troops, and was thus hopelessly lost to the South, though 
many of her sons found their way into the Southern 
army, and served with credit through the war.* 

* Thai (General Lee himself belieyedthat Maryland would have 
joined the Southern Confederacy, but for her occupation by Federal 

240 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Sentnckj and Missouri fell away in the same manner. 
Virginia herself was divided into two hostile camps. TISb 
leaders of the secession party were Henry A. Wise, Johii 
Letcher, J. M. Masson, James Barbour, B. M. !?• 
Hunter, William Eitchie, 0. Jennings Wise, T. S, 
Bowcock, James Lyons, J. M. Daniels, Roger A. Rychr 
and others of less note. On the other hand, the leaders 
of the Conservative party were W. C. Bives, Bohert B. 
Scott, Labal A. Early, W. B. Preston, Colonel W. M. 
Peyton, J. H. Gilmer, Alexander H. H. Stuart, John B, 
Baldwin, W. T. Willey, I. S. Carlile, John Lewis, S. 
Mc. D. Moore, I. M. Bolts, C. H. Lewis, Jos^h Segar, 
Alexander Rives, J. J. Jackson, Peachy Gratton, and 

forces, is apparent from the foUowing Proclamation issued by lum 
when he marched the army of northern Virginia into the State in 1862: — 

Head Qva/rters, Army of Northern Virginia^ 

near Fredericktowny September Bth, 1S62. 

To THE Peoplb op Mabyland, 

It is right that you should know the purpose that has brought 
the anny under my command within the Hmits of your State, «o lar^as 
that purpose concerns yourselves. 

The people of the Confederate States have long watched with the 
deepest sympaldiy the wrongs and outrages that have been inflicted 
upon the citiisens of a Commonwealth allied to the States of the South 
by the strongest social, political, and commercial ties, and reduced 'to 
the condition of a conquered province. 

Under the pretence of supporting the Constitution, but in violation 
of its most valuable provisions, your citizens have been arrested and 
imprisoned, upon no diarge, and contrary to aU the forms of law, 

A faithful and manly protest against this outrage, made by a vener- 
able and illustrious Marylander, to whom in his better days no citizen 
appealed for right in vain, was treated with scorn and contempt. 

The Government of your chief city has been usurped by armed 
strangers ; your Legislature has been dissolved by the imlawful arrest 
,o£ its members; freedom of the press and of speech has been suppressed; 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 241 

otiieiB less fiEuniliar to the pnblic. Virginia thns torn by 
fiM^on was soon in arms against herself. Vain were 
the efforts of the Government at Richmond to maintain 
ite authority in the north-western counties after the 
defeat of the confederate army under General Bobert S. 
€tamett> and the unsuccessfdl campaigns in the Eenawha 
valley of Generals H. A. Wise and J. B. Floyd. The 
aorth-westem counties and those on the Kenawha 
organized a new State under a provisional Government 
(June 11th 1861,) which was admitted into the Federal 
Union on the 81 st of the following December. 

In order to avert, if possible, a civil war among 
VirginianS) such as that which soon raged among 
£entuckians> Missourians, and Tennesseans, Colonel 

words liave been declared ofiPences by an arbitrary decree of the Federal 
exeontiTe ; and citizens ordered to be tried by military commissions 
for what they may dare to speak. 

BelieTing that the people of Maryland possess a spirit too lofty to 
submit to such a Gbyemment, the people of the South have long wished 
to aid you in throwing ofiP this foreign yoke, to enable you again to 
enjoy the inalienable rights of freemen, and restore the independence 
and sovereignty of your State. 

In obedience to this wish, our army has come among you, and is 
prepared to assist you with the power of its arms in regaining the 
rights of which you have been so unjustly despoiled. 

This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission so far as you are concerned. 
No restraint upon your free will is intended — no intimidation will be 
allowed, within the limits of this army at least.' Marylanders shall 
once more enj oy their ancient freedom of thought and speech. We know 
no enemies among you, and will protect all of you in every opinion. 

It is for you to decide your destiny freely and without constraint* 
This army will respect your choice, whatever it may be ; and while the 
sonthemj people will rejoice to welcome you to your natural 
position among them, they will only welcome you when you come of 
your own free will. 

R. E. Lee, General Commanding. 

842 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Peyton addressed the letter which closes this chapter^ 
and dated the 8th of January, 1861, to. Mr. Rives^ 
who gave it to the public through the daily piq>er8 
and in pamphlet form. It was widely circulated 
as a poLtical tract, and was everywhere read with 
deep interest, but the wise and moderate counsels 
it inculcated were unavailing. In the frenzied 
condition of the public mind his letter was but as 
a whisper in the ear of death, like the pilot's 
speaking trumpet, the sound of which is drowned 
by the bowlings of the tempest. 

On 7th of January, 1861, the Legislature of 
Virginia assembled in Richmond. Governor Letcher 
in his message stated that '^ all see, know, and feel 
that the danger is imminent, that all true patriots 
are exerting themselves to save the country from 
impending perils." He proposed that a conventicm 
of all the states should meet, and said ^^ it is monstrous 
to see a government like ours destroyed merely 
because men cannot agree about a domestic institu* 
tion. It becomes Virginia to be mindful of her 
own interests. A disruption is inevitable, and ff 
two new confederations are to be formed, we must 
have the best guarantees before we can attach Virginia 
to either of them." He charged the state of afl^urs 
upon the Northern States and said upon them would rest 
the responsibility of disunion, if it occurred. He further 
declared that any attempt of Federal troops to pass 
through Virginia for the purpose of coercing a southern 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 243 

State would be considered as an act of invasion, whidb 
would be repelled. He concluded by saying "Let New 
fingknd and Western New York be sloughed off and 
tify themselyes with Canada/' 

In the House of Delegates a committee was appointed 
atid instructed to bring in a bill for assembling a State 
convention, and anti-coercion resolutions were pa^ed. 
In these the House declared that any attempt to coerce 
a State would be resisted by Virginia. The Staie Con- 
vention met in Richmond, February 13th, and after a 
warm discussion on the 17th of April, passed an ordin- 
imce of secession, similar to that adopted by South 
Otfolina. Thus the last hope of amicable adjustment 
perished, and all men, north and south, prepared for 
9ra^^ for that desolating war which soon followed and 
continued with unparalleled fury, down to the surrender 
of Qaieral Lee and the Confederate army on the 9th of 
April, 1865, at Appomatox Bridge. 

The beguming of strife, says Solomon, is as the 
letting out of water, so continuous and persistent is the 
flow, so like to a mighty torrent, which overspreads and 
carries all before it, and so fraught with consequences 
as difficult to forecast as to avert. 

The history of the war, which Colonel Peyton sought 
to prevent by his judicious and repeated appeals to the 
reason and feelings of the people of both north and 
south, illustrates in a remarkable manner the wise-man's 
saying. By that fratricidal strife more than half a con- 
tinent was filled with mourning, and the wail of victims ; 

244 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

whole States, each greater in territorial extent than most 
European kingdoms, were laid waste, private propeily 
to an enormous amount was destroyed both by land and 
sea, passions, as terrific as ever raged in the human 
breast, welled up to the surface and spread like a. 
volcanic eruption over the surface of society; huma^ 
tariauB thirsted for human blood, the sacred office of the 
Christian mioistry was prostituted to a wild and 
unreasoning fanaticism, and debt and taxation increased 
with portentous rapidity. But the most depressing 
feature of the struggle was the enormous expenditure 
of human life. Official reports show that upwards of a 
million of men perished on the field of battle, in the 
hospitals, and at their homes &om wounds, or diseases 
contracted by exposure. And all of this was the result 
of a war, which however it might end, could cause no 
feelings of satisfaction or triumph to either party 

When, however, war became inevitable, he embraced 
the Southern cause, and sacrificed his all to make it 
successful. Among his friends and fellow Virginians 
who entertained similar opinions and were drawn against 
their better judgment into the struggle, was G-eneral 
Bobert E. Lee, who, in a letter addressed to his sister, 
dated ** Arlington, Virginia, April 20th, 1861. said : 

'^The whole South is in a state of revolution, into 
which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been drawn, 
and, though I recognize no necessity for this state of 
things, and would have forebome and pleaded to the Bnd 
for redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet in my 
own person I had to meet the question, whether I should 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 245 

tal^ part against my native State. With all my devo- 
tion to the Union, and the feeling of loyalty and duty 
of im American citizen, I have not been able to make 
up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my 
diildren, my home. ♦ ♦ I know you will blame me, but 
yoa must think as kindly of me as you can, and believe 
tiiat I have endeavoured to do what I thought right. " ♦ 
What Lee*s struggle of mind must have been at the 
time may be seen from the following passage in a letter 
sent by Mrs. Lee, December 1861, to a Union friend. 
She says " my husband has wept tears of blood over 
tliis terrible war, but he must, as a man of honour and 
a Virginian, share the destiny of his State, which has 
EK^emnly pronounced for independence. " 






ExPBESs" (Newspapeb), in which Colonel Peyton's 
letteb obiginally appeabep, to the second pamphlet 

"The spirited discussion which follows, upon the 
exciting questions of the country, has been most widely 

* See p. 37 '* Sonthcm G^erals, who they are, and what they have 
done. '» N. Y, 1873. 

246 Memoir of William Madison Peyton* 

circulated, and read as an eloquent expression Q£jd» 
feelings and hopes of a large — of nmch the laaBgedl 
portion-of the American peq)le. It is timely, eariBBt 
and unanswerable. The first issue of cc^es faa*im^ 
been entirely exhausted, the author, at the requert hS 
many friends, in various parts of tibe country/ lias 
permitted a second edition to be brought out, to wlack 
some additional notes are appended. Could the vimw^ 
he has expressed in his letter to Mr« Rives ha^ 
received their appropriate valuation and influence, tUnt 
country would still continue its course of unexamfdei 
prosperity and happiness." 

The EnrroB. 

i. A. 

New Yorkf January Sth^ 186J^ 
" My dear Sir, 

" We are in the midst of a revolutiim, bk}odi 
less as yet, but no one feels assured that the rising bun 
will run its diurnal course before the pillars of oue 
constitution will be covered with the blood of iM 
citizens. An unholy crusade has been preached^ iod 
factious political combinations have been formed in the 
North, which are destructive of all fraternal feeliagB 
between the two sections, and utterly at war within 
fair and equal administration of the Government* -it 
deep and wide-spread dissatisfaction has thus been 
excited in the South, which has grown stronger «bd 
stronger, fiercer and fiercer, until at last it has cul- 
minated in one of the States loosing herself from ^e 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. • 247 

LgB of the constitution, and committing her 
fculiny to the perilous waves of Secesedon and Bevolu- 
toL. Other States are verging to the same path, and 
tiieir leaders, almost with one voiee, advocate the policy 
cif pnoipitation and separate State action. 

'< < To precipitate the cotton States into revolution/ is 
ft remark which traces its paternity to Mr. Yancy, the 
great leader of the disunion movement, and, whatever 
of wisdom or folly attaches to it, is his by indisputable 
tLHe. It is certainly all the rage at present. You see 
it in relief on every newspaper, side by side with the 
* irrepressible conflict, ' and you hear it repeated by 
every flippant declaimer, whether on the stump or in the 
grog-shop, until, in spite of its objectionable character, 
it has become the Shibboleth of the South, and is 
cherished as a master-stroke of statesmanlike policy. 

What better evidence can w^* have of the insane state 
eif tlie public mind, than that the people should rally 
imder a sentiment so monstrous and indefensible. For 
a people to ^precipitate themselves into revolution,' is 
Uke a maddened horse, who seizes the bit in his mouthy 
hak rushes headlong over a precipice. Percipitancy 
neter acknowledges the reins of reason, and hasty and 
iiD]Mil8ive action is always the sure harbinger of 
lepentance and remorse. A great question, involving 
the fate of a Government and the happiness of millions^ 
dMMild certainly be approached carefully, considered 
cidmly, determined cautiously, and with a full 
iqppreeiation of the weighty issues and responsibilities 

248 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

*' It is true, we have been grievously wronged by 
the unwarrantable and hostile interference with oar 
domestic institutions by the fanatical portion of the 
North, and it is right that we should manifest our 
purpose of vindicating our rights, under the constituticHL 
Common sense and common prudence would say, thati 
as disunion is a terrible alternative^ a gulf of evils, which 
no man can fathom, we should first exhaust all constitu- 
tional means of redress, before we involve ourselves 
in universal destruction, by pulling down the pillars oi 
our temple. 

** The late elections, which resulted in favour of ihe 
Black Bepublican party, not because of their positivte 
strength, but as the consequence of our divisions, has 
demonstrated that we have a great many warm and 
devoted friends in the North upon whom we can rely in 
any emergency. Recent developments have shown, 
too, that their ranks are rapidly gaining accessions from 
the moderate and conservative portion of the Bepublican 
party and justifies the opinion that the day is near at 
hand when they will be the dominant party, and 
exercise a controling infiuence. The issue which they 
have made, and upon which they stand, is the same 
which vitalizes the contest between the North and the 
South. When the reaction, which is now in such rapid 
progress, places their constitutional party in tbe 
ascendant, a conservative policy will be inauguratedi 
and the rights of the South will be recognized, 
and placed on a firm basis. They will concede all 
the guarantees we require and unite with us in 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 249 

tnaintaining the constitution, and the laws made 
in porsuance of its provisions, in the true 
spirit of the instrument. Can it be otherwise with a 
party, which acknowledge such leaders as O'Concw, 
Dickinson, Hunt, Seymour, and Tillmore, and such 
wgans as those bold defenders of our rights, the 
Herald^ Express^ Journal of Commerce and Day-Book ? ♦ 
If this is a just picture of the condition of 
things around and before us, what madness is 
it to destroy the fairest fabric of Grovemment that 
God, in his providence, has ever vouchsafed to man! 
What plausible apology can be offered for such fatuity ? 
In the Gulf States, I am aware, they have schooled 
themselves into the preposterous opinion that the Union 
is a galling yoke upon their necks, of which they 
should rid themselves, and that when freed from its 
restraints and impositions, they will advance in wealth, 
population, power and greatness, with a rapidity unpar- 
alleled in the history of the world. Without stopping 
to dissect this vainglorious and shallow opinion, or to 
point out the thousand impediments to the fruition 
of their golden visions, I would enquire if there is any 
respectable portion of the border Slave States of 
Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, etc., who do not believe 
that all their dearest interests would be imperilled, and 
all the brightest hopes and most cherished memories 
Uighted, by the dissolution of the Union. All who know 

• To this list may be added the Daily News, the Freeman^ s Journal, 
Stoats Zeitnug, and numerous other weekly papers, all of whom have 
manifested a liberal and catholic spirit in this crisis of the country. 


250 Memoir of Witliam Madison Peyton. 

those States must admit that their response wotiM 
be one of loyalty and devotion to the Union. They have 
too mnch sagacity and good sense, too mnch prudence 
and virtue and patriotism to be deluded by such hait 
brained nonsense. They have too much gratitude for 
the noble sacrifices of our Revolutionary fathers ; tiie^ 
venerate too sincerely the immortal charter they be* 
queathed us, and they appreciate too highly tbd 
manifold blessings they have enjoyed under its auspices, 
to raise their parricidal hands for its destruction, until 
its provisions have been perverted into an insupportable 
tyranny, and all reasonable efforts to reform abuses 
have proved abortive. 

^^History has been strikingly said to be 'Philosophy 
teaching by example,' and I would ask if there is any 
more settled and indubitable axiom drawn from the 
political throes and convulsions of the world, than thai 
a people should never overturn one Gh)vemment until 
they see their way to a better? Any G-ovemmeni 
is better than anarchy. If there are evils in the system, 
they should be probed and healed. If there satt 
grievances^ they should strive to have them redressed^ 
If there are deficiencies, they should labour to have 
them supplied.* If there is tyranny,, it should be curbed 
after the manner of the patriotic barons of our Father- 
land at Bunnymede ; but never unnecessarily plunge the 
country into all the horrors of anarchy and civil war, with 
desolated hearths, decimated families, and the prostration 
of all interests, social, commercial, agricultural and 

" The probabilities are, that the States of our confede- 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 251 

taoy will never dissolve peaceably, and that whenever 
ihey do separate, they will tear apart violently. The 
4ie9 which bind us together, are not of a character to 
be lightly and easily broken. Our common origin, our 
eotnmon language and institutions — with one excep- 
tion — our common struggle in the Revolutionary contest, 
the joint inheritance of the glory which sheds itself 
over our past history, the pride universally felt in the 
growth and greatness of our country, and the cherished 
anticipation that the day is not distant when the United 
States will take precedence of all the nations of the 
earth — these constitute ties, which can only be severed 
as Alexander severed the gordian knot. It will never 
be done until the people are maddened by a sense o£ 
deep injury and driven headlong by feelings so 
exasperated as to be reckless of consequences. The 
cause of irritation, unless promptly arrested, wiU 
increase, and the spirit of resentment, retaliatil and 
revenge will intensify with each new complaint, until 
at last violence will break the bonds of union, and 
Uood will flow in just such profusion as the respective 
sections may deem sufficient to wash out the wrongs 
they have suffered. All constituted authority being 
broken down, all reverence for the past and respect for 
die present being swept away, revolution springs up 
jMi an indigenous plant, and seizing the charter of our 
liberties, rends it to pieces, and overturning tte 
Government, inaugurates a reign of anarchy, bloodshed 
and civil war. Such is the goal to which we are 
travelling ; such is the abyss to which we are hastening. 

262 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Indeed, we have reached the brink, and another 
Btep is destruction — another step and we precipitate 
ourselves into a gulf, the fathomless depths of which no 
eye is keen enough to discern. 

**Now, it is undeniably true, that the Northern States 
are justly responsible for opening up those fountains of 
bitterness which flood the land with their poisonous 
waters. Fanatics, inspired by a demoniacal &enzy, oo« 
operating with heartless demagogues and corrupt party 
organization, have succeeded, by a fortuitious concur* 
rence of circumstances, in gaining a political ascendency 
in the North, and, profiting by a want of concert among 
the friends of the Constitution, have elected the 
candidate of their party to the Presidency. 

** Upon the temporary and transient event (Lincoln's 
election) the South are thrown into the most violent 
state of excitement, and, in their indignation, swear 
that they will not submit to their defeat, but that they 
will dissolve all connection with a people who have 
manifested by this election a deliberate purpose to 
bring them into subjection, and inaugurate a policy 
which will undermine slavery. The objection is 
certainly well taken and the cause of discontent well 
founded, but the remedy proposed partakes a great deal 
more of passion than thought, more of violen(!e than 
reason, faiore of chivalrous impulse than of statesman- 
like prudence and wisdom. 

** The President was elected by a little over one-third 
of the votes polled, by a meagre pluraUty — ^and will 
come into power with his constitutional advisers in tbe 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 268 

senate against him, so that he will be utterly powerless 
aad unable to advance a single step in the admmistration 
of the Gk)vemment, except at the will and pleasure of 
the defeated party. The rights of .the South, whatever 
may be the disposition of the executive, are, for the 
present, perfectly protected. They occupy the vantage 
ground, and risk nothing in deUberate action. In this 
condition of things, she should have improved her 
advantage by constraining the action and policy of the 

" The occasion, too, would be most opportune to 
demand of the North a full and distmct recognition of 
the rights of the South, the abrogation of all unfriendly 
laws, and the final adjustment of all causes of 
complaint and difference. This course, taken with 
determined firmness, would have secured unanimity and 
concert of action throughout the South, and would have 
conunanded the hearty approbation and coK)peration of 
the noble body of patriotic citizens, who stood by us 
with unflinching courage in the late contest, and who 
polled more votes in our favour than the South gave 
themselves. Is it not reasonable to suppose that this 
policy would have been successful. If otherwise, then, 
when we had exhausted all constitutional means of 
redress, and time and circumstances h^d rendered more 
certain the fixed purpose of the Republican party to 
degrade and enslave us, to strip us of our just rights 
and maintain the control of the Government upon a 
sectional basis, the South would be prepared, upon 
such corroboration, with unbroken front, and with the 

254 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

approbation of the civilized world, to demand Hm 
recognition of all their rights under the constitution, YriHk 
such tdtimatum as their wisdom might suggest. 

"Whether that alternative should be war in the Unicoi 
or out of it, it would be sustained with unanimity md 
alacrity by the whole South, backed in all probability by 
the great middle States, and New York, the gre$i^ 
national, conservative city of the Union. 

"If there is any force or truth in this hypothesis, does 
it leave a single loophole to hang a doubt that a yme 
comprehension of the interests of the South reqoirai 
them to pursue the course indicated? Some would 
condemn it as a Fabian policy, but such was the policy 
of Washington, and such will ever be the policy of those 
who think before they act, who ponder well on coa^ 
sequences before they provoke them, and who sound the 
depths of the ocean over which they are to sail, befcHTO 
they commit themselves to its waters. 

" Souih Carolina, shutting her eyes to all prudential 
considerations, has adopted and avowed the opposite 
poUcy. Without consultation with her sister States* 
without co-operation, and almost without countenasM 
from more than a minority of the Slave States, in 
disregard and contempt of the appeals and wishes i^ 
of those exposed and most aggrieved by north^ro 
inteference, she has thrown herself, with headlong 
impetuosity, into a labyrinth of inextricable difficujy^ 
sundering and trampling under foot the golden a)iaH) 
which bound together our glorious Union, and comply 
eating the unhappy controversy which agitates the 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 256 

ihe oonntry, bo as to fill every patriot's heart with, the 
ittmost apprehensions for the issue. She makes no appeal 
to her erring and offending sisters. She gives no time 
or opportunity for reformation. She leaps with one 
bcnmd to a rash resolve, and with equal haste to action. 
I^e spurns the advice of those who have a common 
interest with her, and flouts, through her organ, with 
most offensive presumption, the gallant old Common- 
wealth of Virginia, whose chivalry and patriotism, whose 
justice and prudence, whose steady valour and -con- 
mmmate wisdom, have been always illustrated by her 
6ons, before whose historic renown Carolina always has 
and ever must ' pale her ineffectual fires.' [See Note A."] 
" By this course Carolina weakens the cause of the 
So<ath. She creates division among those who should 
be and who would be united under a wise conduct of 
tiieir difficulties. She drives off our allies in the 
North, and, of course, strengthens the power we have 
to contend with. In fine, she attains nothing, and mars 
everything. She cures no evil; she redresses no 
grievance ; she vindicates no right ; she rights no wrong ; 
hut on the contrary, aggravates all her troubles, and 
complicates her difficulties, so as to defy their solution 
by the wisest heads. Folly, madness, and a reckless 
disregard of consequences, rule her counsels, and there 
fe no telling what damage she may not do to herself 
and others in her unbridled fury. She may be likened 
in her dismemberment to a planet, which, by some 
disturbance of the forces that keep each orb in its 
proper sphere, is driven through space, impelled alone 

256 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

in its eccentric movemenis by its internal fires, ana 
endangering in its path the whole heavenly system) 
To be the tail to such a comet would be the hardest of 
fates. It would imply on the part of Virginia a want 
of self respect, a lack of proper pride, a painful degen-^ 
eracy, and a demoralization, which ill comports with 
her past history. 

** Without wasting more words in the discussion of the 
past, or criticising what is irrevocable, let us probe thd 
issues as they exist, and lay them open to the core, that 
we may be the better enabled to apply such remedies a* 
are necessary for the restoration of our afflicted 
Government. Virginia, whose interests are* our especid 
object of consideration, and whose policy, by parity of 
reason, should be the policy of all the other border 
slaveholding States, is the oldest of them all, as she 
is also the most populous, and of greater territory. 

"She stands in the centre of the confederacy, and 
represents in her staples the interests alike of the planter 
and the grain-grower, and not inconsiderably those of 
the grazier and manufacturer. She furnished tlfe 
matchless hero who was a * pillar of cloud by day ami 
of fire by hight,' in our struggle for freedom; she 
furnished the orator whose inspired eloquence thrilled 
the colonies with patriotic feeling; she furnished the 
genius which penned the Declaration of Independence ; 

she furnished the civilian who was the chief architect 
of our constitution. Out of our loins sprang Kentucky, 
and her generosity gave to the Union the great Western 
States, extending from her border to the Mississipjii. 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 257 


In all Ihe patriotic movements which initiated the revo* 
lution, in all the measures which marked its progress^ 
in all tl^e features which were stamped on our Charter of 
Uxuon, and in the administration of the Q-overnment, 
ehe has exerted an influence beyond any other State. 
To love the Union, therefore, is with her most natural 
and almost inevitable. 

"Under the constitution, Virginia has been prosperous, 
contented, and happy, her children have grown up 
with the idea that it Was as sacred as the ark of the 
covenant, and that under its shadow we reposed in 
peace and security, and in the enjoyment of all rights 
and privileges consistent with the largest liberty. 
All were taught to revere it as the precious legacy of 
patriotism and wisdom, and to cling with filial devotion 
to the Union as the great palladium of their liberties. 
In the meantime, however, a cloud, which for a while 
was just visible above the northern horizon, scarcely 
exciting observation, has increased in size until it has 
spread itself like a pall over the political heavens, and 
awakened a feeling of distrust, anxiety, and appre* 
hension for the safety of our institutions. A &natical 
abolitionism, which feeds upon its own ravings and 
grows by what it feeds on, has adopted the pseudo- 
philosophy of the Jacobins, and by connecting themselves 
with corrupt party and political organizations, have 
acquired a political ascendency in so many of the non- 
slave-holding States, as to enable them, by the assistance 
of our divisions, to elevate their candidate to the 




268 Memoir of William Madison Peyton, 

^* This is certainly a condition of things well calculated 
to arouse the fears of the South, and prompt them to 
active efforts to avert the evil, and ward off 
threatened danger. All agree that the evil is seriottd 
and imminent, and that the measures for our protection 
should be taken without delay. Postponement, now 
that the attention of the whole nation is aroused to itd 
consideration, would weaken our position, and we must 
face the tide of fanaticism, and arrest its further 
progress. In doing this it is the policy of all, and most 
obviously that of Virginia, and all others than the Gulf 
States, so to accomplish the desired result, as to leave 
our glorious Union intact, and its stars and stripes still 
floatmg over us as a united people. 

^' A great many plans have been suggested in and out 
of Congress, many of which would, doubtless, be 
acceptable to the great body of the nation, but ncme of 
which will satisfy the extremists. In the desire io 
please all, we offend all ; and while the time of Congress 
is wasted in first one and then another abortive scheme, 
the disease is making fearful headway, and the never-to« 
be-recalled oj^ortunity for healthful measures passes by. 
The face of the political heavens changes with every 
circuit of the sun, and measures which would have been 
efficacious on one day, have no virtue on the next. 
The constitutional means which, if exercised in season, 
would probably have been equal to the emergency, are 
of more questionable potency since the strategic 
movements at Charleston, and the impotent labors of 
the Senate and Congressional committees^ have bic^ii^^ 

Memoir of WiHiam Madison Peyton. 259 

the Goyemment and the Carolinians into such a position 
that force must almost necessarily be employed. Should 
then all constitutional means be rejected as inadequate, 
let the middle States and the border Slave States unite 
logger on some just and equitable basis which secures 
the slave-holding States all the guarantees required for 
the rendition of slaves, for the right of transit without 
molestation throughout the Union, and for equal 
privileges in the territories. 

" The great central Union, embracing the heart and 
strength of the nation, its wealth, its population and its 
capital, would, by the happy working of the old constitu- 
tiau under new influences, by its rapid growth in aU 
that constitutes national greatness, by it^ dignified and 
impoortant position among the powers of the earth, by 
the contentment, the happiness and the prosperty of its 
law-and-order-loving and law-abidmg citizens, be the 
admiration, as it Juld be the model LemmJnt of the 
world* Those States who in a moment of exacerba- 
tion, either from wrongs inflicted or passions and 
prejtidices aroused, had withdrawn themselves from the 
confederacy, would soon have their follies cured by 
bitter experience; and feeling and comprehending the 
disadvantages of their position, they would easily seek 
annexation with us, and gladly embrace the basis fixed 
by us. Moreover, this consolidation of all the great 
central States, will serve to keep apart the beUigerent 
extremes of New England and the Cotton States, and 
will furthermore effectually protect the middle States 
from the evils of anarchy and civil war. Nor need they 

260 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

fear any serious contests with the States on ^tuir 
northern or southern borders, as their overwhehmn^ 
superiority would shield them effectually. : 

^^ Virginia, in her exposed position as a border Staie^ 
suffers severely, and complains bitterly of the wroBgB 
inflicted upon her ; but she cannot .see how a seporatim 
from the Union will redress her grievances, increase her 
security, or fortify her rights. She cannot compr^eiid 
how the abrogation of all compacts for the pres^nratioB 
of our institutions^ the breaking down of all judicial 
tribunals established for their protection, and the 
sundering of all the ties of patriotism, which must.ib 
some extent, stretch forth the arms of sympathy and 
justice to aid us, will add to our repose, quiet oat 
apprehensions, or rid us of the vexatious annoyancea 
the irritating controversies, or the flagrant abduction of 
our slaves, which now exist. On the contrary, she takes 
warning from the impunity and protection extended by 
Canada to our fugitives, and &irly concludes thai 
separation would strengthen the aboUtion infiuenoe and 
power, and magnify and aggravate all the troubles whidi 
now disturb her as a member of the Confederacy. 

" The dogma of peaceable constitutional secession^ 
as claimed by the South, is a solecism, subversive of ail 
just authority, and revolutionary of necessity. It d^iira 
to the Government the power of protecting and i)or- 
petuating itself, and converts what was intended to be at 
perfect union, to endure ^forever/ into a rope of sand^ 
to be separated by every ^ disturbing cause. It impairs^ 
the political dignity and utterly destroys the fmanqiat' 






Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 261 

credit of the Government, weakening the force of all 
^kresty stipulations and making it extremely difficult, if 
not impossible, for loans to be negotiated to meet the 
ax^eneies of the nation. Indeed, every fair and legiti- 
mate argument, abstractly considered, is conclusive 
mgamst this doctrine. 

<< But the history of the formation of our Government 
idieds its full light upon it, there is no room left for 
argument, there is no obscurity in which ingenuity may 
grope for. specious excuses without having its nakedness 
exposed. Without dwelling upon the fact, that the old 
Confederation was a bond of ' perpetual union,' and that 
omr present constitution was intended to form a more 
^perfect union,' the correspondence between the represen- 
tatives of New York and Virginia is conclusive of the 
question. Mr. Hamilton suggests that New York will 
eome into the Union, with the reservation that she shall 
have the privilege of leaving it, if it should not woi^ to 
hsat satisfaction ; to which Mr. Madison replies emphati- 
cally that this mode of adopting the Constitution has 
been mooted, and it was decided that it would invalidate 
the ratification, and that none could be received who 
did not accept the Constitution absolutely, unqualifiedly, 
and forefoer. This is certainly clear and explicit, and 
leaves nothing further to be said. Secession, then, is 
revolution, and Carolina, upon the theory of our Govern- 
ment, is in a State of revolt and rebellion — so will be 
1^ those^ States who follow in her footsteps. The right 
of coercion in the Government follows as a corollary. 
But it does not follow, by any means, that it will be 


262 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

wise or jndicions to exercise this right. Fran the 
peculiar structure of our GoTemment, the issue is nol 
exactly analogous to a rebellious province, as our BtatM, 
in the formation of our Union, reserved a larger Afu» 
of sovereignty, and preserved more completely the 
forms and appliances of an independent people tiian ift 
found in the provinces of any other Government 
Hence, when they secede or revolt, they present 
themselves with the dignity of a regular Govemmenti 
which of itself gives power and respectability, ami 
necessitates a great modification of the means to be 
employed to reduce them or win them back to tbdr 
Constitutional obligations. [See Note J5.] 

"In the existing revolution, where one State openly 
defies the authority of the Constitution, and where a 
great many other States, from identity of interest, com* 
munity of feeling, and the strongest sympathy, are 
ready, with the sound of the first Federal gun, to draw 
their swords and risk their lives and fortunes with 
Carolina. However much they may condemn h» joer 
cipitancy, it would be madness to provoke a 
controversy which would only drench each secticxi with 
blood, without bringing back the dissatisfied Stid^es. 
On the contrary while smoking cities and desolated 
fields would mark the devastating progress of the 
armies, a deep rcbted and vindictive hostility would 
spring up from these bloody enactments, that would 
render a restoration of fraternal relations impossible. 

"It is better, therefore, now that this dissatiB&ctiQii 
has grown to such magnitude, that the States w)a<^ 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton 268 

iasve resolved on separation should be allowed to go in 
l^eaeei and that all unnecessary causes of irritation 
fdioold be avoided. This will leave the distracting 
questions which divide us, and which have produced 
this calamitous State of things^ to be settled by the 
States which remain. Should they be satis&ctonly 
fl^usted, then the Government will move on as hereto- 
fore, winning for itself at every step, the applause and 
admiration of the world. The States^ which in a 
moment of excitement, had left us, finding all the 
obnoxious weeds in our system pulled up, and having 
their feelings of irritation mollified by time and our 
forbearing policy, would in all probability, resume their 
position in our glorious galaxy of States. This, in my 
judgment, is the best solution of our difficulties, and 
liie only mode of which I can conceive, to avert civil 
war and the dismemberment of our Union, with its 
flood of untold calamities. 

*^Por the present, the public mind in the border Slave 
States is unfortunately captivated with the idea that a 
solution of all our troubles is to be found in the scheme 
of a general "break up" and "reconstruction" of the 
Union. But, with uplifted hands and an overflowing 
hearty I would warn my countrymen against this fatal 
delusion. We have all been taught from children to 
loc^ upon the Union as too sacred to be profaned by the 
hoopiety that would pluck a single star from its firma- 
menty or displace a single stone in the structure. 
Would you break down this reverence for our political 

^ . 

264 Memoir of WUUam Madison Peyton. 

'^When, with ratiiless vandalism, you haye pnttel 
down this honoured monument of the wisdom nA. 
virtues of your fathers^ under whose shelter you h»v# 
grown with unparalleled thrift in strength, intelligenoe^ 
in wealth and power, in commerce, agriculture, manur 
factures, and science, until you are recognized as ond of 
the greatest powers of the earth, do you flatter yourself 
that those who break this crystal goblet can mmd 
it without marring its beauty ? Do you think that the 
madness which undermines and demolishes the templd 
will be a safe reliance for its reconstruction ? A cool 
judgment can only yield a negative response. ^ 
instinctive sense of the blessings flowing from our 
Union, which, with patriotic people, rises to a religious 
sentiment, gives it a charmed power, which exercises ^ 
most salutary influence upon their character an4 
conduct. The respect, affection and reverence, whieb 
strike their roots in the heart of the people, and which 
entwine themselves around the pillars of a Ck)venimaat 
which has afforded them perfect security in the pursuit 
of happiness, which has opened wide the portald of 
human progress, by unmuzzling the press, untrammelling 
the conscience, and by making every citizen an active 
agent in the double character of sovereign and sulg^K^ 
in its administration, thrown around it bulwarks for its 
defence and support, whose adamantine ramparts can 
never be scaled, until demoralization has sapped iha 
foundations of public and private virtue. 

" In overturning this Government, then, with ike 
hope of constructing from the scattered elements a 

Mmmr of William Madison Peyton. 266 

fetter, do you not incur a fearful hazard? Is it 
^Mcmftble to expect, in these days of degeneracy and 
fUbf axoess, a fi*ame oS Goremment more just, more 
IMmral, more wise, better moulded to suit the diversified 
kttdMBts, to balance the conflicting views, and harmonize 
&e disturbing elements of the different States and 
tttfkms sections, than that created by those intellectual 
litans who achieved our liberties, and who gave us 
tids Constitution, as the cap-sheaf of their patriotic 


^ " History lights up the past to little purpose, and 
0S^ri^ice enforces its lessons uselessly, if the people 
IM^ be led to entertain any such fallacious hopes. 
Tear down this crowning work of heroes, chastened by 
* seven years^ struggle of patriots, animated and 
lavpir^d by a just and holy cause, of men who with 
bomidless devotion, consecrated their all to accomplish 
4hd gtelit work, and jrou will find it a labour of Sisyphus 
to return to the summit from which you have fallen. 
ITou will find that the age affords no anchor of hope 
and salvation to supply the place of the immortal father 
and founder of our Government. 

"These conservative views are pressed the more 
^earnestly from a conviction that the great body of the 
^^Ople desire to preserve and perpetuate the Union, if 
It' can be done without a degrading sacrifice of their 
Qi^btt aild hotiour, and that a patient, forbearing, deter - 
lAhied policy on the part of the South, resolutely 
' iteiiting on the full recognition of their rights under 
^Iw Oonstittt^cmy as set forth in the resolutions of Mr. 


266 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

Crittenden, will be conceded and corroborated, by an 
amendment to the Constitution, making their recogni- 
tion perpetual. Any plan, which will stay, aggression, 
and give the 'sober second thought' of the people time 
to disabuse there minds, soothe their excited feeliqgs, 
and calmly weigh the mighty consequences involved in 
their action, must have a happy tendency in adjusting 
all our difficulties. It is, of course, the obvious duty of 
every well-wisher to the perpetuity of the Union, to 
discountenance every measure which leads to collision* 
Let all pour oil upon the angry waves, and the ship of 
State may yet reach a safe anchorage. 

*' Twenty odd years since, you unfurled the banner of 
Conservatism, and I stood by your side in its defence ; 
we have never hauled down that flag. It is the standard 
borne by the juste milieu of every nation when evoking 
order from anarchy. It represents truth, justice, mode- 
ration and courage ; and if the nation should rally under 
its folds, it will be regenerated, fraternity will be restored, 
and the Constitution vindicated. 

^'I am, with sentiments of esteem, 

" Yours truly, 

**W. M. Peyton." 

Note A. — Ten years since, (in 1851,) Soutli 
Carolina, under one of her periodical excitements, was 
threatening secession, one of the most trusted and dis- 
tinguished of her sons, the Hon. W. W. Boyce, 
addressed a protest against secession to the people of 
his State, in which was introduced the foUowiiig 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 267 

temark: *' South Carolina cannot become a nation; 
God makes nations, not man ; yon cannot extemporize 
a nation ont of South Carolina. It is simply impossible ; 
we have not the resources. We could exist by toler- 
ance — and what that tolerance would be, when we 
consider the present hostile spirit of the age to the 
institution of slavery, of which we would be looked 
upon as the peculiar exponent, all may readily imagine. 
I trust we never may look upon the painfal and 
humiliating spectacle. 
** From the weakness of our National Government, a 
feeling of insecurity would arise, and capital would take 
the alarm and leave us. But it may be said, let capital 
go. To this I reply that capital is the life-blood of a 
modem community, and in losing it, you lose the vitality 
of the State. Secession, separate Nationality, with all 
its burdens, is no remedy. It is no redress for the past, 
nor security for the future. It is only a magnificent 
sacrifice of the present, without in any wise gaining in 
the future. We are told, however, that it is resistance, 
and we must not submit to the late action of Congress. 
Now I would like to know which one of these measures 
we resist by secession ? It is not the prohibition of 
slave-marts in the district of Columbia. It is not the 
purchase of Texas territory. It is certainly not the 
admission of California. Which aggression, then, do 
we resist by secession ? These are all the recent 
aggressions which we resist now by secession. Seces- 
sion, gallant as may be the spirit which prompts it, is 
only a new form of submission. 

2$S Memoir of William Ma^Usm Fejftm^ 

For the various reasons I have stated, I object^ in 
6tro^g terms as I can, to the secession of Sooth 
Carohna. Such is the intensity of my convioti(m upon 
the subject, that, if secession should take plac6-**af 
which I have no idea, for I cannot believe in thd 
existence of such a stupendous madness — ^I shall wsmAm 
the institution of slavery as doomed, and that the Ghreat 
God in our blindness has made us the instrument of its 

Note B. — The advocates of secession claim that it is 
a reserved right, in the exercise of which a State maj 
secede peaceably and constitutiopally, without let or 
hindrance. It leads to a confusion oi ideas to oonfouud 
it with revolution. Revolution is a revolt, with a view- 
to overtmming the Government, by those who are its 
legitimate subjects, and who, from dissatisfaction, hava 
combined to rid themselves of its yoke. Secession, as 
claimed, is an inherent and reserved State right — a 
simple, natural, peaceful dissolution of a compact or 
co-partnership, which is binding only so long as it n>ay, 
in the judgment or caprice of the parties, be promotive 
of their interests. 

That this right cannot co-exist with our nationality, 
is obvious. A nation is a body politic, presenting a 
consolidated front to the world, and so firmly knit 
together as to be able to preserve its integrity against 
any transient want of coherence in any of its parts. 

It is not a mere union of independent nations bound ^ 
by a treaty, but a solid, compact, national Gov^nss^nt, 

Mmoir of William Madison Peyton. 360 

iritfa all the great essential attributes of savexeigntf, 
xeaehing and sheltering the hxuublest citizen in the 
nmotoet comer of its territory, Ita national unity is 
ioanifeated in its legislative, jndicial, and ezecntiTe 
fiinctionB — recogmsed eveiywhere as supreme witiun 
its Efphere — and in ite flag, which is nnfbrled upon the 
tamparts of every fort mthin its territorial limits, and 
which floats at the mast-head of every ship which leaves 
its' ports. The world deals with us as a nation 
possessed of political unity. It is not competent for 
them to comprehend all the intricate workings of our 
internal and complex machinery. They only look to 
the externals, and, recognizing us u a nation possessed 
d the usual attributes of nationality, they hold us to all 
tiie reqionsibilities of such a relation. 

Mr. Madison, who is the highest authority in regard 
to the Gonstitntion, as he was the chief architect of it, 
nys that our G-overmnent is, in some of its aspects, 
oraiBolidated, and in others confederated. He says it 
was not formed by the Crovermnent of the component 
States as the Federal Government, for which it was 
Bobstitated; nor was it formed by a n^jority of the 
people of the United States as a single community, in 
the manner of a consoUdated Government. It was 
formed by the State — that is, by the people in each of 
the States, acting in their highest sovereign capacity, 
and formed, consequently, by the same authority whicl> 
formed the State Constitutions. Being thus derive 
from the same source as the Constitutions of the State 
it has within each State the same authority as tl 

270 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

constitntion of the State, and is as much a constitution^ 
in the strict sense of the tenn, within its prescribed 
sphere, as the costitntion of the States are within their 
respective spheres ; but with this essential and obvious 
difference, that being a compact among the States in 
their highest sovereign capacity, and constituting the 
people thereof one people, for certain purposes, it 
cannot be altered or annulled at the will of the States 
individually, as the constitution of the State may at its 
individual will. If this be sound reasoning, it is clear 
that we are a nation, and, within the limits of the 
constitution, one people. The constitution prescribes 
boundaries to our internal administration, but to the 
world we present a national face, by which alone we are 
known and recognized, whether it be in public loans, or 
treaty stipulations, in declaring war or concluding a 

During our late war with Great Britain, the New 
England States, under the pressure of the Embargo 
laws, which paralyzed all the leading interests of that 
portion of our country, became so dissatisfied with the 
burdens of the national policy, that she sent Delegates 
to the Hartford Convention, to consult as to the mode 
and manner of redress, and some of its members 
advanced the theory that they had a right to " Secede 
from the Union?'' The mere intimation of such a 
purpose fired the whole nation with indignation, and 
the stigma of having been a member of the convention 
could never be effaced, but, like the mark of Cain, 
followed all its members through life. The Richmond 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 271 

Enquirer^ then under the able management of Mr. 
Ritchie, and commanding the confidence of the 
Democracy in the highest degree, commented upon 
the proposed movement in the following forcible 
terms : — 

"No man, no association of one State, or set of 
States, has a right to withdraw from the Union, on its own 


account. The same power which knit us together, can 
unknit us; the same formality which formed the limits 
of the Union is necessary to dissolve it. The majority 
of the States which form the Union, must consult as to the 
withdrawal of any one branch of it. Until that consent 
has been obtained, any attempt to dissolve the Union, 
or distract the efficiency of its constitutional law, is 
treason — treason to all intents and purposes" 

The incougruity and absurdity of this doctrine is, 
perhaps, made more manifest by its practical workings ; 
e. g. Louisiana was purchased from the French at a cost 
of 16,000,000 dols., and a dangerous stretch of 
Constitutional power. But the assumption of power 
was overlooked, and the debt cheerfully paid, to secure 
to the United States, and especially to the vast country 
growing up on the Mississippi and its tributaries, 
the navigation of the Mississippi and the command " of 
its outlet to the Gulf. Now the doctrine of secession 
would sustain Louisiana, a mere infinitesimal portion 
of this great region, in seceding, and thus defeating the 
whole object of the purchase. Florida was purchased 
at a cost of 10,000,000 dols., and the Indians removed 
at a further cost of 40,000,000 dols. or 50,000,000 dols. 

272 Memoir of William Madison Peyton$ 

and now that she is able to stand on her feiet, she would 
unceremoniously, under the doctrine of secession, walk 
out of the Unicm, without returning a. dollar of what 
she has cost. Cuba we have proposed to purchase at a 
cost of 120,000,000 dols., because we view it as the 
key to the Gulf, into which is poured the vast trac^e 
flofited down the Mississippi. Yet, under this dootriaa, 
It would be admissible for Cub» to secede from the 
Union at her pleasure, and sell herself, if she pleased, to 
some other power. These instances constitute a sort of 
reductio ad absnrdum of the whole doctrine. It id 
impossible that any people of half the sagacity of ours, 
would ever consent to make such extravagant 
purchases, imless they felt assured they were 
securing a hold on them, which could not be wrested 
against their will. 

William M. Peytoh. 

trhe spirit, in which the war, that Colonel Peyton so 
earnestly sought to avert, was waged, when it did occur, 
by at least a portion of the North against the South, may 
be conveniently referred to at this point and may be T 
gathered from the address of Colonel Bahlgren to th6 
officers and men composing his command in Yirgmia* 
Colonel Dahlgren was killed before reaching Richmond, 
and his troops dispersed. In his pocket the foUowiiig 
orders were found :— - 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton 278 

^■Head Quarters, Third Division^ Cavalry Corps. 

** Officers and Men, 

^^ You have been selected from brigades 
tmd regimehts as a picked command to attempt a 
desperate undertaking — an undertaking, which, if sue- 
cessfal, wiU write your names on the hearts of your 
countrymen in letters that can never be erased, and 
which will cause the prayers of your fellow-soldiers, 
now confined in loathsome prisons, to foUow you and 
yours wherever you may go. We hope to release the 
prisoners from Belle Isle first, and having seen them 
^&irly started, we will cross the James River into 
Richmond, destroy the bridges after us, and exhorting 
-the released prisoners to destroy and bum the hateful 
city, will not allow the rebel leader, Davis, and his 
traitorous crew to escape. The prisoners must 
render great assistance, as you cannot leave your 
ranks too far, or become too much scattered, or you 
will be lost. Do not allow any personal gain to lead you 
off, which would only bring you to an.ignommiou8 death 
at the hands of citizens. Keep well together and obey 
orders strictly, and all will be well ; but on no account 
scatter too far, for in union there is strength. With 
strict obedience to orders, and fearlessness in their 
execution, you will be sure to succeed. We will join 
the main force on the other side of the city, or perhaps 
• meet them inside. ^ Many of you may fall, but if there 
V ifir any man here not willing to sacrifice his life in such a 
great and glorious undertaking, or who does not feel 


274 Memoir of WUUam Madison Pegton. 

capable of meeting the enemy in snch a desperate fight 
as will follow, let him step ont, and he may go hence iQ 
the arms of his sweetheart, and read of the braves wh^ 
swept through the city c^ Bichmond. We want no m«n 
who cannot feel sure of success in such a holy cbx^{ 
We will have a desperate fight ; but stand up to it 
when it does come, and all well. Ask the 
blessing of the Almighty^ and do not fear the enemy • 

U. Dahlgbek, Colonel Commanding^ 

The following Special Orders were written on % 
similar sheet of paper, and on detached slips, the whole 
disclosing the diabolical plans of the leaders ci the 
expedition : — 

"Special Orders and Instructions. 

" Guides and pioneers, with oakum, turpentine, and 
torpedoes, signal ofiicer, quartermasters, commissaries, 
scouts and pickets, and men in rebel uniforms — these 
will remain on the north bank, and move down with 
the force on the south bank, not get ahead of them, 
and if the communication can be kept up without giving 
an alarm it must be done; but ever3i;hing depends 
upon a surprise, and no one must be allowed to pass 
ahead of the column. Information must be gathered 
in regard to the crossings of the river, so that should 
we be repulsed on the south side, we will know where 
to recross at the nearest point. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 275 

'< An mills must be burnt and the canals destroyed, 

tod abo everything which can be used by the rebela 

ttmst be destroyed, including the boats on the riyer. 

Should a ferry boat be seized which can be worked, 

have it moved down. Keep the force on the south side 

posted of any important movement of the enemy, and 

hi case of danger some of the scouts must swim the 

river and bring us informatioif . As we approach the 

cilgr, the party must take great care that they do not 

get ahead of the other party on the south side, and 

must conceal themselveis and watch our movements. 

We will try and secure the bridge of the city, one mile 

from Belle Isle, and release the prisoners at the same 

time. If we do not succeed they must then dash down,^ 

and we will try to carry the bridge by storm, When 

necessary the men must be filed through the woods 

and along the river bank. The bridge once secured 

and the prisoners loose and over the river, the bridges 

will be burnt and the city destroyed. 

"The men must be kept together and well in hand, 
and once in the city, it must he destroyed, and Jeff Davis 
and his Cabinet killed. Pioneers will go along with com- 
bustible materials, 

"Everything on the canal and elsewhere of service to 
the rebels must be destroyed. 

"As General Custer may follow me, be careful npt to 
give a false alarm. The signal officer must be pre- 
pared to communicate at night by rockets, and in other 
things pertaining to his department. The quarter- 
masters and commissaries must be on the look out for 

276 Memoir of William Madison Peyton, 

their departments, and see that there are no delays on 
their account. The engineer officer will follow, and 
survey the road as we pass over it, etc. The pioneers 
must be prepared to construct a bridge or to destroy oae. 
They must have plenty of oakum and turpentine 
for burning, which will be soaked and rolled into balls 
and be given to the men to burn when we get into the 
city. Torpedoes will oflly be used by the pioneers, for 
burning the main bridges, etc. They must be prepared 
to destroy the raiboads. 

^^ Men will branch off to the right with a few pioneers 
and destroy the bridges and railroads south of Richmond, 
and then join us at the city. They must be wett 
prepared with torpedoes, etc. 

** The line of Falling Creek is probably the best to 
march along, or as they approach the city, Good's Greek, 
BO that no reinforcements can come upon any cars. 

** No one must be allowed to pass ahead for fear of 
communicating news. 

** Bejoin the command with all haste, and if cut off, 
eross the river above Bichmond, and rejoin us. Men 
will stop at Bellona Arsenal and totally destroy it and 
everything else but hospitals ; then follow on and lejotn 
the command at Bichmond with all haste, and, if cat 
off, cross the river and rejoin us. As General Custer 
may follow m6, be careful not to give a false alarm/' 


Afteb the secession of Virginia, (25th of April, 1861)^ 
Colonel Peyton, who had up to this time been detained • 
by business in New York city, prepared to return to the 
South. The Federal authorities, however, were 
instructed to watch his movements and to arrest him if 
he attempted to leave the place. A friend of his 
informed him of the receipt in New York of orders to 
this effect from Washington. He heard the news, not 
without surprise, for up to this time he had taken no 
part in the revolution except to prevent it if possible, 
or if not, and it should come, to mitigate its severities. 
On enquiring of the Federal Marshal for the district of 
New York, as to the truth of the rumour, and, if true, 
the grounds upon which the Government based its action 
he had confirmation of its truth. He was consequently 
undar surveillance, but was allowed to go at large. The 
Federal officer in New York was considerate enough to 
say that President Lincoln knew that he, Colonel Peyton, 
had committed no act of hostiUty to the Government, 
but was convinced that he would, if in the South again, 

3^8 Mmoir of William Madison Peyton. 

«xert his influence on behalf of the Confederate ^ief^r, 
with which Virginia had formed an alUance. Fearing 
tluBy the Plresident had determined to prevent his rettcm. 
** If the Government was wrong in this belief *' continued 
the Marshal^ '^ and Colonel Peyton would give his parole 
that he would not engage in the war against the Federal 
Government, or in any way, by word or action give aid 
and comfort to the South, he was instructed to take no 
further account of his movements/' Colonel Peyton 
declined these terms and went immediately to live at the 
house of his old friend and fellow-countryman, Dr. J. 
Marion Sims, who had been for some years a resident 
of the city. Under his hospitable roof he remained 
some months, subjected to the annoyance of constant 
overlooking, but in no other way was he molested. 

During this period he addressed the folloWing, his 
second letter, to Mr. William C. Bives, which was 
published in the New York papers, and afterwards in 
pamphlet form. 

The Editor of the New York Journal^ introduced it 
with the following remarks : — 

<<When Virginia was considering the position that 
Commonwealth should assume in the existing dislocation 
of American affairs, and when the Convention of that 
State was about to assemble for the purpose, Colcmel 
William M. Peyton, then resident temporarily in New 
York, addressed a letter to his old fidend, William C. 
Bives, with whom he had so long and so honourably 
co-operated in Virginian politics. Colonel Peyton was so 
Y^dely known for the broad, statesmanlike, cast of his 

Memoir^ WiUiam MadUm Ptylon. 279 

iggfA and the unsullied generosity of his hearty and 
fitpod 00 eminently a representative of the Virginia 
.i^i. .m.dd«d k <^<d<m with the g».t S^^ 
^HT earliest national era, that his letter attracted 
nnnsaal attention. It was reproduced, again and again, 
i^ the journals of different places, and also in pamphlet 
form. It presented the most solid arguments why 
Virginia should not link her fortunes, distinctively, with 
ibose of the cotton States, in their contemplated 

'^ Events have hurried on. The second letter, here 
pv^sented as a sequel to the former, is indicative and 
empathic, as showing how these events have forced the 
most wisely Conservative elements of the border States, 
and statesmen elsewhere, to recognize that the interests 
c^ political liberty, and of the sovereignty of freemen 
over th^ own forms of Government, require from 
Virginia and her sister States the repudiation of the 
perverted authority claimed by the Black Bepublican 
hOTdes of the North, in the abused name of Federal 

'^ Friends of the American Union, as it was, and who 

desire, not party triumph, but the common goody have 

solicited Colonel Peyton to furnish a copy of this second 

letter for publication.'' 


280 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 




'' New York, May 15th, 1861. 

** To THE Hon. Wm. C. Rives, ViBaiNiA. 

" My dear Sir, 

^* Since the publication of my letter addressed 
to yon on the 8th of last January, the nation has been 
subjected to a Ceesarean operation, which has brought 
forth a revolution of giant proportions and defiant power. 
Surmises, conjectures, and vaticinations have given 
way to facts, and what was speculation then, is history 
now. The nation is filled with amazement at the 
portentous magnitude of tj^e events by which it is 
environed. One by one, it has seen the pillars of their 
magnificent temple removed from its Southern side, until 
the structure has lost its balance and threatens to h,ll 
and crush in its ruins all who remain. 

" These events have swept Southern men, who were 
distinguished as Union men, into a new position, from 
which they overlook the field of revolution. From 
this stand point, they find the picture changed in all 
its features, with entirely new lights and shadows, 
and opening up to them a plain and immistakable path 
of duty, along which they think the instincts of 
patriotism conducts them unfailingly. 

" As you are aware, the course adopted by Virginia 
was not in accordance with my judgment. I believed 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 281 

that a Government, which recognized so dangerous a 
solecism as the right of secession, thereby admitting 
its want of power to enforce the laws, made in 
conformity with the charter of its being and authority, 
was so entirely emasculated of all the qualities which 
gite force, vigour, and durability, as to be unworthy 
of support or respect from intelligent freemen. I 
thought it bad policy to countenance the heresy, by any, 
even equivocal action, lest in the future ^ it might 
return to plague the inventors;* or prove to be as 
the homely old English adage expresses it, ^ a chicken 
that would return to roost.' 

" I think Virginia should have acted more wisely, 
more for her own honour and glory, and more for 
the ultimate good of all, if with her prestige as the 
great head of the Slave States, she had planted her foot 
upon the opening lid of this Pandora's box, and taken 
a position of armed neutrality. Surpassing the other 
Southern States in her resources, in population, extent 
of territory, in wealth,* and in her slave interest; 
commanding, in a remarkable degree, the esteem and 
confidence of her sister States, North and South; 
exposed by her border position to serious evils, 
whether in or out of the Union; and being assured 
that her assumption of the position suggested, would 
be sustained by all the border Slave States, including 
Tennessee and North Carolina, it seemed to me that 
she would have consulted her own interests and those 
of the nation, if she had consolidated this great 
central power into an armed neutraUty. 


282 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

^^ She could then have dictated her own terms to tiba 
North and to the South ; faith, justice, honour, would 
thus have been vindicated, and the glorious inheritance 
from our revolutionary fathers would have been rescued 
from the ruthless tramp of civil war and the wild confa-r. 
sion and scorching desolation of unbridled anarchy. 

'' But Virginia, in convention and at the polls, has 
decided differently, and that, with all her patriotic sons, 
ends the discussion of this, as well as all other questions 
upon which her citizens were divided before she resolved 
on revolution. [See Note AJ] 

'^ She strikes now for the independence of the Slave 
States, and, trampling under foot the olive branch she has 
borne so long and so patiently, and under so muck 
discouragement, she boldly defies the Government, at 
Washington. That she takes this extreme step under 
circumstances of great aggravation, none can deny, as 
a short analytic review of recent events will make 
manifest : — 

** First. — Mr. Lincoln was nominated for and elected to 
the Presidency, mainly, if not solely, on the ground of 
his hostility to slave institutions, having advocated 
openly the opinion, that the nation could not exist 
* hoi/ slave and half free/ 

^^ Second. — He called to the first post in the cabinet the 
author of the ^irrepressible conflict' dogma, and the 
acknowledged founder of the Black Republican party. 

" Third. — He has filled all the important and 
unimportant posts of the Government, foreign and 
domestic, with those Ultra Republicans, who are 

Menunr of WUliant Madison Peyton. 288 

uncomprising in their warfare, and who have rendered 
themselves particularly obnoxious to the South. 

Fourth. — He announced, in his inaugural, that the 
decisions of the Federal Judiciary had no binding force 
on the executive, and thus struck from the arm of the 
South the only shield of her rights which remained. 

Fifth. — ^When efforts were made by patriotic, Union- 
loving members of Congress to heal our divisions and 
prevent the disruption of our Union, the especial friends 
of the administration, the radical republicans, per- 
sistently resisted all compromises^ notwithstanding it 
was known that the adoption, in good faith^ of the 
Crittenden resolutions would satisfy the South, with 
the exception perhaps of South Carolina, and this, too, 
in the face of the strongest evidence that the North 
would also acquiesce, if the people were allowed to 
express their sentiments. 

Sixth. — When Virginia, in an anxious and ardent 
desire to harmonize our troubles and preserve the 
Union, proposed a peace Congress, to be composed of 
Delegates from all the States, the radical republicans, 
instead of co-operating with Virginia in an honest and 
sincere effort to compose and settle our quarrel, spared 
no opportunity of belittling and underating, and fore- 
stalling the patriotic purposes of Virginia and her 
sister border States. The moral effect of the action 
of the convention was thus destroyed and the hopes of 
its friends utterly disappointed. 

Seventh. — When the Virginia convention was in 
session, composed, as it was, of an overwhelming 

284 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

majority of Union men, and having just voted, two tei 
one, against the doctrine of secession, the President, in 
disregard, if not in contempt of their efforts to devise 
some healing measures, issued his proclamaticm, calling 
for 76,000 men to suppress the insurrection. 

''When this proclamation was officially annotmeed^ 
the Union men were confounded, and Virginia concluded 
that the administration had adopted the ultima ra$id^ 
because it was at heart opposed to a peaceful solution 
of difficulties upon any of the bases suggested, and that 
they were determined to coerce the South into submis^ 
sion to their construction of the constitution, as set forth 
in the Chicago platform. That this was a rational and 
just inference, all fair minds, in reviewing this synop^, 
must admit; if so, however impolitic the course of 
Virginia may be deemed, its righteousness cannot be 

** To be subjected to the rule of a Government whiek 
tramples the constitution under its feet at every step ; a 
Government inaugurated by a power avowedly and 
deadly hostile to our institutions; administered bj 
agents, at home and abroad, whose relations to the 
South have made their selection a burning insult ; lapre** 
senting a party so overwhelmingly dominant in the 
North, that all the conservation which survives, is in 
chains too strong to be sundered ; ( certainly not, in time 
to save the Constitution from the ruthless invasion of 
lawless power;) is a poUtical degradation, galling to tiie 
neck of freemen, and impossible to be borne. 

** The Constitution of 1787, around which clusters so 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 286 

Hlany fond memories, and the love of which is so deeply 
fixed in the hearts of Virginians, came to as a monu- 
ment of patriotism and wisdom, with three great 
branches of Gbvemment co-ordinate, but independent. 
One enacting laws in conformity with its provisionSy 
{inother executing them, and the third a^*udging the 
fact of the legal and constitutional exercise of these 
^iosctions by the other two. It goes from us a regulator 
with its balance wheel destroyed; a ship, which has 
parted with its sheet anchor in a storm; a charter, 
peirerted from an segis of protection to an instrument of 
muschief and tyranny, in which the binding force of the 
Jiidiciary is ignored, and the emblematic sword, which 
justice wields in defence of right, is wrested from her 
hands by the combined power of the Executive and 
Legislature, and plunged directly through the vitals of 
the Constitution. It came to us a Government of 
diecks and balances, in which the vicious tendencies 
of democratic license, as well as those of aristocratic 
pretention, were curbed by wholesome restraints. It 
goes from us, a purely popular Government, in which 
the Constitution is ignored, and the will of a party, as 
expressed through the President, is substituted. It 
eame to us a benign Gt>vemment, under whose wings 
were sheltered impartially, the whole brood of States. 
It goes from us an unnatural parent, who refuses shelter 
and protection to that portion of the brood whose 
generosity has kept th^m poor, while it has enriched 
those by whom they are now excluded. It came to us a 
legacy of self-sacrificing patriotism, stamped with the 

286 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

approbation of the immortal father and founder of our 
liberties. It goes from us with its features so distorted 
by rude efforts to change their expression as to be 
nnrecognizable by its friends, and stamped with the 
footprints of Lincoln and abolitionism, which have 
pressed with fearful force on its very vitals. It came 
to us baptized in the blood of the Revolution, endeared 
to us by a thousand sacred associations, and our fealty 
was heartfelt and without reservation. It goes from us 
besmeared, begrimed, and defiled by immersion ip the 
dirty pools of Abolitionism, so that with this stain and 
odour upon it, none can touch or handle it without 

"Against a Government thus perverted Virginia rebds^ 
and it is the duty of her sons to give strength and force 
to her position by every means in their power. Her 
position will be a trying one, and will require all her 
force, moral, intellectual, and physical, to sustain her. 
He has read history to poor advantage, and labours 
under a lamentable ignorance of the work which will 
be carried out by this revolution, both North and 
South, who expects it to be a holiday frolic or a 
transient spasm, which one or two manly efforts will 
enable them to overcome. Nothing short of a total up 
heaval of society need be looked for; a social and 
political earthquake, which will involve in one common 
ruin all the industrial pursuits of life. 

Virginia has generously strapped the burden upon her 
own shoulders, and should comprehend clearly the 
difficulties of the route over which she has to travel, if 

Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 287 

she hopes to sustain herself without faltering and to get 
through her journey safely. She will be the Flanders of 
the contest. Her proximity to Washington ; her border 
position ; the revolt that will inevitably occur in the 
western portion of the State ; her resources in money, 
men, and provisions, all conspire to make Yirgioia the 
chief seat of war. She will be obliged to make soldiers 
of all her citizens capable of bearing arms, and thus 
convert the State into one vast camp. The armies that 
will be assembled within her limits from the Confederate 
States and those of the invaders, will be quartered upon 
her to a great extent. The stratagetic movements of 
these great armies, with their battles, will destroy, to a 
great extent, her public improvements. Desolation will 
follow in their train. The country will be blackened 
with fire and smoke. Want, misery, and destitution 
will rule the hour. Here, as elsewhere, the stem laws 
of necessity will injfringe upon many of our cherised 
political sentiments. The freedom of speech will be 
stifled ; the press will be muzzled ; the habeas corpm 
will be suspended; private property will be appro- 
priated arbitrarily, and all will find an apology and 
justification in the old Boman dictum, ^^ Inter arma leges 

''But in the midst of all this gloom and wretchedness, if 
Virginia is true to her ancient fame, her star will be in 
the ascendant, and her escutcheon, with its glorious 
motto, (Sic Semper TyrannisJ will rise with renewed 
lustre from a baptism of suffering and glory. She will 

288 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

be purged of corrnpt politicians and will enter upon her^ 
new career wiser and better for experience. 

Very truly yours, 

W. M. Peyton. 

Note A. — The great commoner of Kentucky, Henry 
Clay, and many other of our most distingmshed 
Statesmen, held, that in a contest between the States 
and the general Government, allegiance was due to the 
latter. Now, whilst there is great plausibility in this 
view, abstractly considered, it is obviously one of those 
logical deductions which could never have any practical 
force in Grovemment, When a republic of our Union 
unfiirls the standard of revolution, as in the present 
instance, she presents herself before the world, not Uke 
a fragmentary district in a state of insurrection, without 
the machinery and features of consolidated action and 
rational responsibility, but with all the appliances and 
foms of a regular Government, to whSe authority 
her citizens have always bowed in matters of separate 
State interest. Her power and her influence are a unit, 
within her limits and her means of enforcing her 
policy complete. ' Individual resistance would be 
ineflFectual and inoperative. Those refusing obedience, 
would necessarily fall under the sword of the law, 
or be compelled to abandon their property and their 
homes, and to assume a position of hostile antagonism 
to their friends — perhaps their families and the soil 
of their nativity, containing the green graves of their 
fathers. To expect this of any people is preposterous. 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 289 

and those who expect any frame of Government for 
the Union of these States, to awaken a sentiment of 
veneration deep enough and strong enough to under- 
mine and destroy these feelings in the heart of a 
Virginian, will find all their calculations, in the moment 
of trial, like the fabled apples of the Dead Sea, turned 
to dust and ashes. 

** "Whatever may have been the opinions of her sons 
as to the wisdom of her policy, now that she has 
plunged into this sea of revolution, they will rally to 
her standard from all quarters, and whatever of energy, 
or talent, or fortune they may have, will be offered up 
freely for the support and defence of their blessed old 

^'W. M, Peyton.'' 




From May till the latter part of the month of July, 
Colonel Peyton was under surveillance, the eyes of 
Argus, in New York. During this time he considered of 
dilBFerent plans for effecting his escape. One attempt 
to cross the Atlantic to Europe, and thence return 
through Mexico and Texas, was frustrated, and he 
abandoned the idea of making another effort to reach 
home by this circuitous and uncertain route. While 
under the hospitable roof of his Mend Dr. Sims, the 
long wished for opportunity occured. This was during 
the excitement and exultation of the Northen people, 
and consequent relaxation of vigilance, growing out of 
the Federal victory at Carrick's Ford, July 15. It must 
be remembered that in this North-western section of 
Virginia, there was great dissatisfaction with the action 
of the Government at Kichmond, a strong feeling of 
attachment to the Federal Union, and it became a 
matter of no small importance to both parties, how its 
aid and adherence might be secured. The people are 
brave and sturdy, fond of war and the chase, and their 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 291 

power would be immensely felt on whichever side 
exerted. The Confederate authorities, therefore, 
despatched a force to this region, in April and May, 
under command of Colonel G. H. Porterfield. This 
young and gallant, but inexperienced oommander, 
occupied the town of Grafton, on' the 26th of May, and 
soon allowed himself to be out-witted, out-manoeuvred, 
and defeated by General McClellan. On the 29th a 
large Federal force crossed the Ohio under orders from 
General McClellan, and Colonel Porterfield without 
giviQg battle, retired 24 miles to Phillipi where his 
command was strengthened, and where he ill-advisedly 
determined to make a stand. Having once adopted the 
plan of retreat, he should have continued it until he was 
in a place of security. On the 2nd of June, the Con- 
federates were surprised in their new quarters by an 
attack on their position led by Colonels Kelly and Dumont, 
who had marched 24 miles during the night, through 
rain and mud. At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 2nd, 
notwithstanding the rain, their artillery opened a 
destructive fire on the Confederate camp. Colonel 
Porterfield, unable in the confusion resulting from the 
surprise to rally his forces, ordered a second retreat to 
Laurel Hill, on the western slope of the Alleghanies. 
It was effected, but not in a well ordered manner. On 
the 7th of July, General McClellan, with 10,000 men, 
flushed with their successes, advanced on this position 
which was not assaulted, but there was skirmishing 
between the respective forces on the 7th, 8th, and 9th. 
The Confederate rear was now at Bich mountain, which 

292 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

was held by Col Pegram, whose force consisted of 3000 
men. Various movements now occured, the result elf 
which was that the Confederate commander, seeing himself 
greatly outnumbered, commenced a third retreat, and on 
reaching Carrick's ford on the Cheat river, determined to 
make a stand. In this position, however, he was 
out-flanked and compelled again to retire. At another 
turn in the river, about a quarter of a mile below, the 
Confederates again attempted to stand. Grenersd 
Gamett, who had assumed command a few days 
before, while endeavouring to rally his men, was shot dead* 
The Confederate rout was now completed, and only 
2000 men of the Southern army escaped. Colonel 
Pegram hearing of Gamett's defeat and death, surren- 
dered his force at Beverly in these words : — 

Beverly, My 12, 1861. 

To THE Commanding Oi^ficer of Northern Forces, 

Beverly, Virginia. 

I write to state to you that I have, in con- 
sequence of the jaded and reduced condition of my 
command, most of them having been without food for 
two days, concluded, with the concurrence of a majority 
of my captains and field-officers, to surrender my com- 
mand to you to-morrow as prisoners of war. I have 
only to add, I trust they will only receive at your hands 
such treatment as has been invariably shown to the 
Northern prisoners by the South. 

I am, your obedient servant, 

John Pegram, 
Lieut.'Col. P.A.C.S. Commanding. 

Memoir of WtUiam Madison Peyton 2! 

These great and imexpected snccesseB of the Federal 
-troops, which rendered it almost a certainty that at least 
one-third of the State of Virginia, with a population 
approximating half a million, would adhere to the 
Union, naturally created the wildest rapture in the 
Northern and Weetem States. 

Colonel Peyton availed himself of the Northern 
Batumalia to leave New York, and the following day 
arrived on British territory, near Montreal, without 
having met with any annoyance, having travelled 
entire way amidst honfires, fireworks, sky-rockets, 
other evidences of rejoicing. The whole North set 
intoxicated with gladness. From Canada he procec 
notwithstanding his feeble health and an attack of 
gout, to Toledo, in Ohio, and then southwards thri 
that State and Indiana, and after numerous de 
arising &om his weak condition, and the passa; 
troops and mTudtions to the seat of war, arrive 
Kentuc^. While journeying through Ohio and Ind 
the utmost circumspection became necessary to s 
recognition. The Virginian accent is markedly difTt 
from that of the Northern people, particularly thoE 
New England, who have 'settled in large numbers in 
part of the Federal Union. A Southern gentleman 
therefore scarcely utter a word north of Mason's 
Dixon's line, or the Ohio river, without his natiom 
if I may so express myself, being known. He used 
greatest discretion, however, cultivated silence, no d 
remembering how Peter was discovered to be a Grali 
" Svrely thou also art one of them : for thy speech hetr^ 

294 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

As he approached the theatre of active operations, 
his movements were more difficult, but in Kentucky he 
was among fnends and sympathizers. By these he 
was concealed, and on favourable opportunities passed 
on, from place to place, until he reached the mountains 
of East Tennessee. 

Tennessee was, at this period, in the midst of a 
domestic revolution or civil war among her own 
children. Immediately after the proclamation pf the 
President, of the 16th of April, 1861, calling out 75,000 
men, the excitement in this state was intense. The 
Governor Jsham G. Harris, immediately called an 
extra session of the legislature to meet on the 25th 
of that month. His Excellency at the same time 
refused to comply with the President's requisition and 
said in his answer to Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary 
of War: "Tennessee will not furnish a man for 
purposes of coercion, but 50,000, if necessary, for the 
defence of our rights and those of our Southern 
brethren." At the same time an address written by 
Hon. Balie Peyton, was issued to the people, signed 
by the most eminent citizens of the State, namely 
Ex-Governor Neil, S. Brown, Russell Houston, 
the Hons. E. H. Ewing, Cave Johnson, John Bell, 
H. J. Meigs, S. D. Morgan, John S. Brien, Andrew 
Ewing, John H. Callender, and Colonel the 
Honorable Balie Pejrton, in which they said : 

" We unqualifiedly disapprove of secession, both as a 
constitutional right and as a remedy for existing evils, we 
equally condemn the policy of the Administration in 

Memok of William Madison Peyton. 295 

reference to the seceded States. But while we, without 
qualification, condemn the poKcy of coercion as cal- 
culated to dissolve the Union for ever, and to dissolve 
it in the blood of our fellow-citizens, and regard it as 
sufficent to justify the State in refusing her aid to the 
Government in its attempt to suppress the revolution 
in the seceded States, we do not think it her duty, 
considering her position in the Union, and in view of 
the great question of the peace of our distracted country, 
to take sides against the Government. Tennessee has 
wrcMiged no State or citizen of the Union. She has 
violated the rights of no State, North or South. She 
has been loyal to all, when loyalty was due. She haa 
not brought on this war by any act of her's. She has 
tried every means in her power to prevent it. She now 
stands ready to do anything within her reach to stop it. 
And she ought, as we think, to decline joining either 
party; for in so doing they would at once terminate 
her grand mission of peace-maker between the States 
and the general Government. Nay, mwe the almost 
inevitable result would be the transfer of the war 
within her own borders, the defeat of all hopes of 
reconciliation and the deluging of the State with the 
Uood of her own people." 

Affairs in Tennessee were in hopeless confusion — the 
war commenced in the State at an early period and was 
waged with the bitterest animosity. Two of Tennessee's 
favourite sons had been recently killed at the battle of 
Mill Spring, near her eastern frontier, July 19th, namely 
General Zollicoffer, commanding the Confederate forces 

296 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

and his Chief of Staff, Captain Balie Pe3rton, jun., one 
of the most promising young men of his State, who, after 
a European education, commenced the practice of law 
at Nashville a few months previously to the opening of 
hostilities. Immediately after the President's proclama- 
tion he prepared for resistance. He had favoured 
secession, thus differing in opinion with his distmguished 
father, and volunteered at the first prospect of war for 
service in the army and was appointed Chief of Staff 
to the unfortunate Zollicoffer. He fell fighting in this^ 
his first action, for the independence of this country. 
The loss of these two gallant soldiers, and by the hands 
of Southerners too, for they were said to have been 
shot by Union men enlisted in the 4th Kentucky 
regiment, Colonel Pry, contributed in no small degree 
to fan the flames of hatred created by the war.* 

Colonel Peyton, therefore, found the greatest 
difficulty in passing through the Federal and Con- 
federate lines, and was delayed several weeks until the 
movements of the opposing force, the Confederates 
under General Williams since the death of Zollicoffer 
and the Federal under General Thomas, opened the 

* The author has been personally informed by Dayid Bowea» a 
in the 2nd Minesota regiment, Colonel Van Oleve, who was engaged 
in the battle of Mill Springs that Captain Peyton killed, with his own 
hands, two Federal soldiers before he received his mortal wogond* 
From his (Peyton's) body was taken the sword voted by the State of 
Louisiana to his father, Colonel Balio Peyton, for his gallant serviced 
in the Mexican War of 1845-1847. This sword, bearing upon the Uada 
an inscription ordered by the State of Louisiana, is preserved among 
the Federal trophies of the war in the capital of the State of 

Memoir of WilHam Madison Peyton. 297 

way for him. He finally succeeded in reaching lis 
home in Virginia. During the war, his health was so 
dsLattered that he could render no personal assistance 
in the field. But he devoted his fortune to the cause, 
and, Demosthenes Uke, employed his time in writing 
ntmt stirring appeals to the people. The sufferings 
^f his wife and family, too, were at times great, result- 
i»g from the demands on the people for suppUes for the 
support of the Confederate forces, and the wanton 
destruction caused by the marauding parties sent out 
by the Federal Army. In 1863 he and his family 
Uved almost entirely upon the syrup of the sorgham 
eane and hominy made from bruised maize. 

He was much affected in mind and heart by the 
progress of the war in which his kindred and friends 
were daily falling, and in which the people of the 
Gojofederacy were sacrificing all they possessed. A war, 
which it was soon clear to him, would end disastrously 
lor the present generation of Southerners. It is 
thought that the cruel anxiety thus caused led to his 
premature death. Many of his early friends brought 
up in the same political school with himself, the 
companions of his youth, now that the South was 
subjugated, turned to and followed the triumphant 
North. This grieved him to the soul. To see his old 
friends wheeling into line for the North, as soon as the 
South was overcome, well nigh broke his heart. They 
leave the South, he said, because her fortunes have 
fled from her, and he quoted the affecting, but truthful 
lines of old Sir Henry Lee, when deserted by his faith- 


298 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 

fill mastiff. ^^ There is a feeling in nature, affectiflf 
even the interest, as it is called, of dumb amt£{a)^ 
which teaches them to fly from misfortune. The very 
deer will butt to death a sick or wounded buck firrai 
.the herd; hurt a dog, and the whole kennel will fUloil 
him and worry him ; fishes devour their own kind wliefl 
wounded with a spear ; cut a rook's wing, or break itt 
leg and the others will peck it to death." 

The civil war had much divided famiU«i, and ia 
various ways, and, after it was over, the murder of 
President Lincoln and the indiscreet manner in whisoth 
his successor's friendship was shown, increased instead 
of diminished the rage of political hatred. The dd ties 
of kindred and friendship did not regain their fonbet 
influence, and the course of some of Colonel Peyton's 
friends and connections made a re-union of spirit and 
sentiment impossible. No one felt this state ^ tiungs^ 
80 fatal to the kindly social relations which formeriy 
exi^ in Virginia, Lore keenly th«> he. 

After the war of 1865, he continued to reside on his 
Virginian estate, engaged in repairing the damage 
inflicted by the enemy, and deriving solace in his old 
age, from the society of such friends as survived, and of 
his books. He had Uttle idea that the South would 
recover, in this day and generation, from the e£fi9cts'iol 
the contest. When the war began, he was a man of 
large estate. At its close, when so many followexs of 
the successful side were enriched that it gave rise, to a^ 
new term by which they were designated, — the 
** Shoddy Aristocracy," — ^he was so much impoverished 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 299 

that his descendants have since been obliged to sell all 
0{ his estates. 

Truly riches take to themselves wings. The still 
considerable means left him at the termination of 
hostilities were largely drawn on by his charities^ 
Thousands were in a more reduced condition than 
himBelf^ and to all he extended aid — ^was nobody's enemy 
but his own. His want of economy in money matters 
was constitutional. It is not surprising, therefore, after 
having kept ^' open house " for so many years, and 
assisted every one who applied to him in need, that he 
jshould leave the world oppressed with debt. 

In a letter to the author, dated in Virginia, March 9, 
1867, he says in regard to the political situation, 

^^The Beconstruction Bill, embracing the radical 
poHcy, has passed both Houses of Congress, been 
vetoed by the President, * and then passed over his 
head by a two thirds vote, so that it is now the law, and 
the Southern States placed under a provisional Govem- 
msnif in which martial law will prevail, and a General 
and his minions will ride over us ' booted and spurred.' 
The next and last step which fulfills our destiny, ia 
eonfiseation, a bill for which is in the course of incuba- 
tion and wUl be hatched in a few days. So you see, 
my brother, to what a foolish and most preposterous 
war has brought our once flourishing and happy country. 
There is no future for the present generation. All is 
dadk, dismal, hopeless. Having sown in folly, we are 

* Andrew Johnson. 

800 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

reaping in bitterness, we have been victimized by shallow 
and designing politicians, who acquired an influence 
oyer the public sentiment through the madness of party 
altogether disproportioned to their ability or their 
(patriotism. We have turned away from the steady and 
full-orbed light of Washington, to follow the igftus fatal 
of the poisonous pools of party, and yery naturally find 
ourselves swamped and destroyed." 

''I enclose you an elaborate letter from Governor 
Brown, of Georgia, which is very fuU, on the great 
question of reconstruction, and will give you all the 
information attainable. It gives a clear view of our 
miserable predicament and affords a striking example 
of the pitiable condition, to which even our leading men 
are reduced, when they are perpared to give us such 
advice. Governor Orr, of South Carolina, concurs in 
the main with these views and our Governor, of course. 
But I do not agree with them. I prefer a course of 
sullen, defiant obstinacy. I will never assist in forging 
the manacles which are to fetter me.'' 



Qois desidero sit pudor aut modus 
Tain can oapitis P Hor. od. 24. Li.T.i. 

On the afternoon of the 29th of January, 1868, a 
Virginian family residing on their estate in the valley 
between the Blue Ridge and Alleghanies, Montgomery 
county, were assembled in the drawing room, and 
gathered round the wood fire which sent forth iocund 
fp.rkl« ^ ch«rM «y. of heat. Al thia «rly period 
of the new year, when even in our Southern climate 
" winter lingers in the lap of spring," the warm breath 
of the gentle season has not yet melted the snow that 
whitens the mountain peak and shrouds the early flower. 
The family group seemed anxious, restless. If they 
had met for their usual afternoon tea and conversaticm, 
something interfered with its smooth flow. 

At a centre table sat an elderly gentleman turning 
the leaves of a book, facing his wife, about whom still 
lingered the traces of early beauty. She played with 
rather than pUed her work. Several boys and girls 
made up the party. These afternoon reunions, when 

802 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

the children were freed from the nursery and scbool^ 
room^ were usually sweet moments, in whioh ^ 
parents were wont to enjoy their domestic happfaiess; 
while consulting upon plans for the education and 
prospects of their offspring. From time to time, a fine 
boy, whose eyes bespoke a sound mind and whose rosy 
cheeks were graced with the sweet smile of innocence, 
ran to a window and looked down the long avenue of 
trees which lined the road leading to the mansion. It 
was evident that something was expected to approach 
by that smooth lawn road. 

*' What o'clock is it?" suddenly asked Mr, Eskridge, 
looking up from his book. '^ Half-past five,'' responded 
his wife. 

^^I must go out, some accident has befallen thetti," 
said he, ^Hhe carriage should have returned by tiiree/' 
and rising, he proceeded to draw on a fur overcoat. 

"For heaven's sake do not expose yourself to such 
weather," exclaimed the wife, " with a cold and asthnto, 
it may cause your death, consider that our ftncy 

At this moment Mr. Eskridge cast his eyes throtigh 
the window and saw in the distance his large family 
coach, a most undemocratic vehicle, approaching. All 
care and anxiety was at once banished. The f^ars 
which had oppressed them were groundless. In a fdw 
minutes, when the vehicle arrived at the front door, the 
family was there to receive the expected guests. The 
first person who descended with difficulty from the 
carriage was a tall^ handsome old man, much bent 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 303 


Wth 3^ars, with snowy hair and beard ; then followed 
\m wife and grandchildren. Their friends rushed 
forwurd to embrace them, m(»*e after the fashion c^ 
kn^rs than m^e friends. After their hurried, but 
wnirm embraces, they were conducted to the cheerful 
parlour, as the luggage was placed in the hall. 
While divesting themselves of their outer garments, the 
cause of their detention, which was simply a change of 
time in running the trains, was explained. 

The venerable gentleman, who had arrived on a visit 
to his brother-in-law, Alexander P. Eskridge, was 
Colonel William M. Peyton. He was returning home 
from Abingdon, where he had gone to be with his son- 
in-law, Hon. Walter Preston, who was dangerously ill, 
and who died a few days after Colonel Peyton's 
arrival. Availing himself of the opportunity of passing 
near the estate of his friend and brother-in-law, Mr. 
Eskridge, who had years before married Juliet Taylor, 
sister of Mrs. Peyton, he had left the railway at the 
nearest station, where Mr. E.'s carriage, by previous 
arrangement waited to bring the party to his 

Colonel Peyton was now in his sixty-third year, but 
from long sickness and much domestic trouble, (since 
the opening of the war he had lost, by death, a promis- 
ing son, three daughters, and two sons-in-law), he 
appeared wasted, wan, and feeble, bore about him the 
signs of exhaustion which indicate premature decay. 
Though he was apparently without disease, it was 
evident to those who looked on him, that his strength^ 

804 Memoir of WiUiam Madison Peyton. 


was daily decreasing ; that he was now but a ruin of 
hnmanity and spirit, a nobler ruin than ever painter 
depicted on canvas, or stone, or brick; the^wreck 
of a man prematorely old, not stricken by greai 
sorrow, not bowed by great toil, but fretted and 
mined away by daily, hourly excitements wMch 
ceaselessly do their gnome-like work. He seemed more 
than seventy, such was the silvery whiteness of his hair 
and beard, the latter unshorn and descending in silken 
masses to his waist. His eye, however, retained its 
peculiar brightness, and beamed with a gentle light 
difficult to be described, a smile played upon his lips, and 
he spoke even now with a cheerftdness, during which the 
lines of sadness almost disappeared from a fSsice, which in 
repose bore sad evidences of the ravages of illness and 

« Though old he stdU retain'd 
'His manly sense and energy of mind.*' 

Two days had passed since the arrival of the guests — 
days ddnng which they had talked over the past and 
the present. Living a long distance from each other, 
with no direct railway connectmg their homes, these 
friendly visits were few and far between, and of course 
were more appreciated when they occurred. On the 
afternoon of the third day, while Mr. Eskridge was 
dressing for dinner, a servant ran to his room, 
exclaiming out of breath that Colonel Peyton, 

had been seized with a fainting fit. Mr. Eskridge 
hastened to the assistance of his unfortunate 

Memoir of WUliam Madison Peyton. 806 

friend, whom he found prostrate upon a sofa, to 
all i^pearance dead. His eyes were closed, his face 
flushed and swollen, the blood vessels about the neck 
imd temples turgid. Understanding at once the serious 
nature of the attack, which he thought was apoplexy, a 
form of disease common to the Peyton family, and which 
had before threatened him, he despatched a servant 
across the country in quest of the nearest surgeon, while 
raising the sufferer's head and unloosening his neck- 
cloth. Then applying a ligature to each of his legs, 
to retard the motion of the blood from the lower 
extremities, he placed him in an easy position and 
awaited impatiently the surgeon's arrival. 

At the end of two hours the doctor arrived, and 
found him suffering from an attack of sanguine 
apoplexy accompanied with paralysis of one entire side 
of the body. From the severe nature of the attack 
the surgeon said there was little hope of his re- 

Mrs. Peyton, who stood by dumb with the weight of 
grief for a husband, who was her honour, an^ comfort, 
and never until that hour had been a sorrow to her, 
hearing this opinion, fell in speechless agony into a 
chair. She soon, however, recovered her selfpossession, 
and though torn by dreadful apprehensions, watched, 
with unremitting care, at his sick bed. Prom day to day 
her grief visibly increased, one tear after another 
coursed down her cheeks as she stood for hours by the 
sinking sufferer. They were those bitter tears which 
steal singly from our eyes, to let us taste the bitterness 


306 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

of every solitary drop that trickles down our cheeks, not 
those salutary tears by which a kind Providence 
unburdens the heart and animates us with strength to 
bear new griefs. In a few days death released the 
sufferer, and the spirit of as true, as pure, as loving, and 
as brave a man as ever lived winged its way to the 
regions of the blessed : a soul who never indulged a 
passion unfit for the place he is gone to. 

Where are now thy plans of justice, of truth, 
of honour? Of what use are the volumes thou 
hast collected, the arguments thou hast invented, 
the examples thou hast followed? Poor were 
the expectations of the .studious, the modest, and 
the good, if the reward of their labours were only 
to be expected from man. No, my friend, thy 
intended pleadings, thy intended good offices to thy 
friends, thy intended services to thy country are 
already performed, as to thy concern in them, in His 
sight before whom the past, the present and future 
appear at one view. While others with thy talents were 
tormented with ambition, with vain glory, with envy, 
with emulation, how well didst thou turn thy mind to 
its own improvement in things out of the power of 
fortune ; in probity, in integrity, in the practice and 
study of justice : how silent thy passage, how private 
thy journey, how glorious thy end. Many have I 
known more famous, some more shrewd, not one so 

From a letter written to the author by one of his 
brothers-in-law, Colonel John B. Baldwin, dated in 


Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 307 

Virginia, February 16, 1868, the following further 
particulars of this melancholy event are given : — 

"We have received to-day a telegram announcing 
the death of your brother William, which occured this 
morning at the residence of his brother-in-law, Alexander 
P. Eskridge, in Montgomery county. Colonel Pejrton 
had been with his wife in Abingdon, on a visit to his 
daughter, Mrs. Preston, whose husband died recently, 
as you have probably learned, and was on his return 
home, when stopping for a short visit at Mr. Eskridge's, 
he was attacked by paralysis, on Monday, 27th of 
January. The attack was so violent as to deprive him 
of the use of one side, and to render his speech wholly 
unintelligible for more than a week. After that time, 
he so far recovered consciousness and voice, as to be 
able to communicate with his family, all of whom were 
with him — but at no time from his first seizure was there 
the least hope of his recovery, or even of his living for 
more than a very few days. His death, following so 
soon after that of Mr. Preston, has, as you will under- 
stand, overwhelmed his family with a complication of 
sorrow, such as rarely fells upon one household. The 
condition of Susan's health and the pressure of my 
business engagements rendered it impossible for her to be 
with her brother in his illness — and I have never seen 
Susan more distressed and grieved than by the fact 
that she was so prevented." 

^^The death of the Colonel, as yon may suppose, 
gives us all great distress, for we appreciated him as a 

808 Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 

most noble and affectionate, as well as a high-toood 
and honourable gentlemen/' 

A week after his death his remains were consigned to 
the earth, after the manner of the country, in the 
private cemetery of his brother-in-law, but, as Joseph's 
bones were carried into Canaan after they had been 
embalmed 400 years, so his are destined to be removed, 
in time, to the family vault in Augusta, or at Stoney 

Colonel Peyton's intellectual attainments would have 
entitled him to hold a high place in literature and 
science, for both of which he had so keen a relish, but 
Providence, in granting him an independent fortune, 
released him from that stem necessity for mental 
exertion by which so many of the greatest scholars have 
been formed. He had none of the training of the great 
master whose name is Adversity. Accordingly he 
devoted his attention while living, solely to those 
subjects which immediately interested him, and seemed 
to be of service to his kind, without any aspirations 
after posthumous fame. In his immediate sphere he 
sought quietly and unostentatiously to do good rather 
than by striking deeds to attract the attention of man- 
kind, and win the fickle applause of the crowd. In this 
simple, unpretending way, departing, he has left behind 

'* Footprints on the sands of time.*' 

The memoirs of such a man contain little to excite, 
and less to startle, but inasmuch as the example of a 
good man is of more value than the written precept, 

Memoir of William Madison Peyton. 309 

may the writer not hope that he has conferred some 
benefit upon the publicy in not permitting one of so pure 
a hfe, so exalted a character, and so enlightened a mind 
to descend to the grave without some record to do 
honour tp his memory ? A man whom he looked up to 
with no inferior veneration, not so much for his great 
learning and intellectual ability, as for his rare com- 
bination of unswerving justice tempered by the most 
gracious kindliness, of perfect unselfishness, animated 
by the most enlarged love of mankind. Of all the 
memories in our spiritual valhalla, that of William 
Madison Pejrton stands pre-eminent for those qualities 
which have commanded our respect and inspired our 
personal attachment. Who that has had the privilege 
of not only observing the public course of our modem 
Aristides, but of sharing in the amenities of his private 
life, could wish anything better for himself, than that 
the spirit of hisdeparted friend should be his own constant 
and life-long guide; so that whenever its close may 
arrive, he also may be deemed worthy of the eulogy so 
appropriately bestowed on him from the grand old 

** The just shall be held in eyerlastmgremembranoe." 







The Peytons are, says Camden and other antiquarians 
and historians, descended from WiUiam de Malet, 
(de Graville) one of the great barons who accompanied 
William I. to the conquest of England. Malet rendered 
conspicuous service at the battle of Hastings, 14th of 
October, A.D., 1066, where he belonged to the cavalry, 
and was mace-bearer to Duke William. He afterwards 
distinguished himself in the subjugation of North 
Britain, and was reported slain with 3000 of his followers, 
at the seige of York. This, however, is doubtful* 
Thierry, in his History of the Norman Conquest, Book 
iv., says, that the Danes spared the life of Malet, his 


312 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

wife and family, and bore them away in their 
fleet.* Malet was Sheriff of Yorkshire, 3rd year of 
William I. and obtained many grants of Lordships and 
Manors from the Crown, as a recompense for his military 
services, as is recorded in Doomsday Booky which was 
completed, A.D., 1080. Among the estates he acquired 
thus were Sibton and Peyton Halls in Co. Suffolk. 

The first of the family on record, who assumed the 
name of Peyton, according to the usage of the times, 
from Peyton in Stoke, Neyland, Co. of Suffolk, was, 



second son of Walter, Lord of Sibton, younger brother 

of Malet, Sheriff of Yorkshire. This Reginald held the 

Lordships of Peyton Hall, in Ramshold and Boxford, 

in Suffolk, of Hugh de Bigod, who w^s sewer to Roger 

Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, and gave lands to the Monks of 

Thetford, to pray for the soul of Roger de Bigod. He 

had two sons — ^WUliam, who held certain lands in 

Boxford, of the fee of. the Abbey of St. Edmundsbury, 

as appears by charter of his nephew John, and, 


to whom King Stephen and his Cousin German, William 
de Cassineto, Lord of Horsford, granted all his lands in 
Peyton, to hold, as his ancestors before held the same. 
This John had four sons, viz., 

• See also " Saxon Chronicles," edited by Qibson, p. 174,, and 
" Orderic Vital," p. 512. 

Peddgree of the Peyton Family. 818 

I, John (Sir), the elder. 

IL Robert de Pettok, Lord of Ufford in Suffolk, and 

who assumed the surname of Ufford therefrom, and 

of whom presently, 
in, Peter, Lord of Peyton Hall, who held lands in 

Bomshot and Peyton in the time of King John. 
lY. John, the younger, who sold to John, the eldest, 

all the lands which he had in Boxford, of the fee 

of St. Edmundsbury and Stoke Neyland, which 

their father John de Peyton, and WiUiam, their 

uncle formerly possessed. 


second son of the foregoing John de Peyton, assumed 
the surname of Ufford from that Lordship and Jbecame 
Robert de Ufford, his son. 

Sir Robert Peyton de Ufford was summoned to parlia- 
ment as a baron by writ, dated 13th Januaiy, 1308, the 
2nd of Edward II., and was created Earl of Suffolk, 
16th March, 1337. 

He was Lord Justice of Ireland in the reign of 
Henry IH., and again in the reign of Edward I. He 
married Mary, widow of William de Lay, and dying 
in the 26th of the latter King, was succeeded by his 

Sir Robert de Ufford, Knt., who was summoned to 
Parliament as a Baron from the 13th January, 1308, to 
19th December, 1311. His Lordship was in the 
expedition made into Scotland, in the 84th Edwnrd I. 
He married Cecily, one of the daughters and co-heirs 


814 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

of Sir Robert de Valoines, Knt., Lord of Walsham, 
and had issue, 

Robert, his successor. 

Ralph, Justice of Ireland, in the reign of Edward DI. 
Edmund, (Sir), who assuming the surname of 
Walsham, fron> his mother's Lordship became Sir 
Edmund Walsham^ and from him lineally de- 
scended — 
John James Garbett Walsham, of Knill 
Court, in the County of Hereford, who 
was created a baronet on the 15th Septem- 
ber, 1831. He died in 1816, and was 
succeeded by his eldest son, 


second baron, summoned to Parliament from 27th Jan,y 
1332, to 14th Jan., 1337. This nobleman was in the wars 
of Gascony in the reign of Edward H., and he obtained, 
in the begining of Edward HL's reign in requital of his 
eminent services, a grant for life of the town and 
castle of Orford, in the county erf Suffolk, and soon 
after further consideraWe territorial possessicms, also by 
grant from the Crown, in consideration of the personal 
danger he had incurred in arresting, by the King's 
command, Mortimer, and some of his adherents, in the 
Castle of Nottingham:. In the 11th year of the same 
reign, his lordship was solenmly advanced in the Parlia- 
ment then held, to the dignity of ;^arl of Suffolk. 
Whereupon he was associated with William de Bohun, 
Earl of Northampton, and John Darcy, Steward of the 


Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 815 

fs household^ to treat with David Brees, of Scotland, 
touching a league of peace and amity. And the same 
year going beyond sea on the King's service, had 
an assignation of £300 out of the Exchequer, 
towards his expenses in that employment, which 
was in the wars of France ; for it appears that 
he then accompanied the Earl of Derby, being with him 
at the battle of Oagart. After which time he was 
seldom out of some distinguished action. In the 12th 
Edward III., being in the expedition made into Flanders, 
he was the next year one of the Marshals when King 
Edward beseiged Cambray : and his Lordship, within a 
few years subsequently was actively engaged in the 
wars of Brittany. In the 17fh of this reign, the Earl of 
Suflfolk was deputed to the Court of Rome, there to 
treat in the presence of his Holiness, touching an 
amicable peace and accord between the English monarch 
and Philip de Yalois, and he marched the same year with 
Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, to the relief of 
Loughmaban Castle, then beseiged by the Scots. Soon 
after this, he was made Lord High Admiral of England, 
and commanded in person the King's whole fleet 
northward. For several years subsequently his 

Lordship was with King Edward in France, and he was 
one of the persons presented by that monarch with 
harness and other accoutrements for the tournament at 
Canterbury in the 22nd year of his reign. Seven years 
afterwards we find the Earl again in France, with the 
Black Prince ; and at the celebrated Battle of Poictiers^ 
so hardly fought and so gloriously won. In the following 

Bl6 Pedigree of the Peyton Family* 

year, his Lordship achieved the high^ militftry renown 
by his skill as a leader, and his personal courage at Hib 
head of his troops. He was subsequently elected » 
Enight of the Garter. His Lordship married Margaret, 
daughter of Sir John Norwich, and had issue, 

BoBEBT, summoned to Parliament 25th of February, 
1342, died in the life time of his father. 

William, his successor. 

Cecilib, married to William, Lord Willoughby 

Cathebine, married to Bobert, Lord Scales. 

Mabgabet, married to William, Lord Ferrers of Groby . 

The Earl's last testament bears date in 1368, and he 
died in the following year. Amongst other bequests, be 
leaves to his son, William, ** the sword, wherewith the 
King begu*t him. when he created him Earl ; as also his 
bed, with the eagle entire, and his summer vestment, 
powdered with leopards.'' His Lordship was succeeded 
by his only surviving son, 

William de Ufford^ second Earl of Suffolk, who was 
summoned to parliament as a baron, in the lifetime of 
his father, on the 4th Dec, 1364, and 20th January, 
1366. This nobleman was in the French wars at the 
close of Edward III.'s reign, and in the beginning of 
that of Richard II. In the 50th of Edward he was 
constituted Admiral of the King's whole fleet north- 
ward. At the breaking out of Jack Straw's insurrec- 
tion, 4th Richard H., his Lordship understanding that 
the common people contemplated forcing him into their 
ranks, and thus to represent him as one of their l^uiers. 

Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 817 

hsstOy arose from supper, and pursuing an 
unfrequented route, reached the King at St. Alban's 
with a wallet over his shoulder, under the assumed 
character of servant to Sir. Roger de Bois; but 
afterwards, being chosen by the Con^nons in Parliament 
assembled, to represent to the Lords certain matters of 
importance to the public welfiEu:^, the Earl, while 
ascending the steps of their Lordship's house, suddenly 
fell down dead, to the amazement and sorrow of all 
persons, rich and poor, on the 15th February, 1382. 
His Lordship married first, Joane, daughter of Edward 
de Montacute, and grand-daughter, maternally, of 
Thomas, of Brothelrton, Earl of Norfolk, and secondly, 
Isabel, daughter of Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of 
Warwick, and widow of John le Strange, of Blackmere^ 
but having no issue, the Earldom of Suffolk became 
extinct^ while the original Barony of Ufford fell into 
abeyance^ between his sisters and heirs, [refer to 
children of Robert, first Earl,] as it still continues 
amongst their representatives. 

Ufford — Baron Ufford. 
(By writ of summons, dated 3rd April, 1360, 34 
Edward III.) 


brother of Robert, first Earl of Suffolk, having served 
in the wars of France and Flanders in the martial reign 
of Edward IH., obtained large grants of land from that 
monarch, in the counties of Berks and Dorset. Subse- 
quently (20th Edward III.) being justice of Ireland, we 

818 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

are told, ^* he landed in that reahn, with a great nitmb^ 
of men-at-arms and archers." This distiogiushed 
person married, first, Maud, widow of William, Earl of 
Ulster, and sister of Henry Plantagenet, Earl of Lancas- 
ter, by whom he had an only daughter, 

Mand, who married, Thomas de Yere, son of John de 
Vere, Earl of Oxford. 
He married secondly. Eve, daughter and heiress of John 
de Clavering, and widow of Thomas de Audeley, by 
whom he had issue, 
John, of whom presently. 

Edmund, (Sir), who inherited the estates of the family, 
upon the decease of his brother. Sir Edmund 
married Sybil, daughter of Sir Bobert Pierpont, 
and had issue. 

KoBERT, (Sir), who married Eleanor, daughter of 
Sir Thomas Felton, Ent., and left issue, three 
daughters his co-heirs, viz, 

Ella, married to Bobert Bowes, 
Stbil, a nun at Barking. 
Joan, married to WiUiam Bowes, brother 
of Bichard, and left one daughter and 
Elizabeth, married to Sir Thomas, son of 
William, Lord Dacres, 
Balph de U£ford died in 1346, and was succeeded by 
his eldest son. 

John de Ufford, who was summoned to parliament as 
Baron Ufford on the 3rd of April, 1360, but dying the 
following year, issueless, the dignity became extinct, 


Pedigree of the Peyton JFamUy. Sid 

while his estates passed to his brother, Sir Edmond 
Ufford, Knt. 

Sir John de Peyton to whom King Stephen granted 
all his lands, in Peyton, dying, was saceeded by his 
eldest son, 

Sir John de Peyton^ who was Lord of Peyton Hall, in 
Boxford, also possessed lands in Stoke Neyland, in 
Suffolk. He flourished under Henry HI. as appears by 
a Catalogue of lights in that reign, His wife was 
Matilda de Bueris, sister and heir of Symond de NotellOr 
By her he had three sons and one daughter, viz., 

John (his heir), 




His eldest son Sr John de Peyton, Knt., served 
in the Parliament held at Westminister, 29th Edward I., 
as one of the Knts. of the shire for Suffolk, He was 
thrice married, and dying was succeeded by his son, 

Sir Robert de Peyton^ who in many of his evidences is 
styled Chavalier and Monsieur. He had two wives, 
first the lady Christiana de Apleton, widow of William de 
Apleton, and heir to lands in Hanall and Boxford, wha 
died the 10th of Edward H. circa A.D. 1284, leaving no 
children, and was buried at Stoke Neyland, with great 
pomp, the funeral expenses being^ thus set down : fifty 
quarters of wheat £4 10s., one hogshead of wine 
£63 4s., four muttons 5 shillings each, eight bac(Mi hogs 
24 shillings, ten calves, etc. His second wife was Joan 
de Marney, of the noble family of the Mameys, of 
Layer Marney, in Essex, by whom there was issucy 

820 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

Sir John De Peyton, (his heir), 

WiLLUM, from whom there was a release to his &ther 

BoBEBT, dated 13th Edward III., 

John, junior, to whom William Castela)nie, John de 

Rickell, and otbers, granted the Manor of Beedles^ 

Waldingfield, 5 Edward III. 
The eldest son Sir John de Peyton married Margaret, 

daughter and co-heir of Sir John Gernon, Ejit., of 
Lees, in Essex, Lord of Wicken, in Cambridgeshire, 
and of Barkwell, in the County of Derby, and in her 
right possessed the manor of Wicken, as in the 17th of 
Bichard II. he, jointly with her, held part of the manor 
of Esthorpe, by the service of one Knt's. fee. He died 
in Richard's reign, his wife in 2nd Henry V. Their son 
and heir, 

Sir John de Peyton^ wedded Joan daughter and heir of 
Sir Hammond Sutton, of Wicksho, in the Co. of Suffolk, 
and thus that Estate came into the Peyton family. By 
her he had 

John (his heir), 



Mabgebt, who married Thomas Daubeny, Esq., of 
Sherrington, in Norfolk. He died 6th Henry IV., 
and was succeeded by his son. 
Sir John de Peyton^ then in minority. He married 
Grace, daughter of John Burgoyne, of Drayton, in 
the Co. of Cambridge, and had issue, 
John (his heir), 


Pedigree of the Peyton Family. ' 321 

Anne married to Jeffry Lockton, 

He died in the flower of his age, 6th Oct., 4 Henry 
IV. and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

Sir John de Peyton^ who died a minor,' 29 Oct., 11th 
Henry VI., and was succeeded by his brother, 

Svr Thomas de Peyton^ then 17 years of age, and 
seized of the manor of Esthorpe. His mother, Grace, dying 
the six of May, he was found heir to the manor of 
Messing, which was held of the Crown, as of the honour 
of Keynes, by the service of one Knight fee, also of the 
Manor of Binchall, and the Castle. Upon the feast of 
All Saints, 18th Henry VI., his age was proved at 
Cambridge, viz. 22 years, at which time it was sworn 
by John Welford, that he was bom and baptised at 
Dry-Drayton, in that County, A.D. 1418, many 
agreeing in the verdict, among whom Robert Chapman 
alleged, that the day on which he was bom, being the 
feast of St. Valentine, there was a great storm, one 
knew it by the great wind ; another broke his leg by a 
faU from his horse; another for that 'his wife was 
buried ; another, for then his lease was burnt : another 
for then his daughter Margaret was burnt; another 
fell from a tree and broke his arm; as the several 
jurors deposed upon their oaths. This Thomas was 
Sheriff of Cambridge and Huntingdon, 2 1st and Slst 
of Henry VI., and about the 1 7th of Edward IV. ; he 
began to rebuild the Church at Isleham, agreeing then 
with John Waltham, alias Sudbury, freemason for the 
same ; in the chancel of which church he lies 
interred, having a monument erected there to his 


322 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

memory. He married first, Margaret, daughter and 
coheir of Sir John Bernard, Knt., of Isleham ; by that 
lady he acquired the Estate of Isleham, and had 

Thomas, who married Joan, daughter of Sir JameB 
Calthorpe, of Norfolk, and thus acquired the manor 
of Calthorpe, with other lands in that county. He 
died before his father, leaving 

BoBEBT (Sir), heir to his grandfather. 



Elizabeth, married to Edward Langley, of 

Knowlton, in Kent. 
Jane, married to John Langley, of Lowleworthi 

in Cambridgeshire. 
Anne, married to John Asheby, of Harefield, 

in Middlesex, 
His widow, Joan, married William Mauleverer. 
He married secondly, Margaret, daughter and co-heir 
of Sir Hugh Francis, of Giffords, in the Couniy of 
Suffolk, widow of Thomas Ghimish, of Kenton, in 
the same shire, and by her had two other sons, namely : 
Sib Chbistopheb, who had great posessions in Wick* 
hambrook and Bury. In the 12th of Henry of 
Vin. he was sheriff of the Counties of Cambridge 
and Huntingdon. He married a daughter of 
Leonard Hide, of Hide Hall, in Hertfordshire, 


Pediffree of the Peyton Family. 328 

but died in the 15th of Henry VII. without 
Francis, of St. Edmondsbury, heir, was also of 
Coggeshall, in Essex. He married Elizabeth, 
daughter of Eeginald Brook, of Aspallston Hall, 
in SuflFolk, and had two sons, Edmund, the 
younger, who was Customer of Calais, left no 
issue. The elder son, Christopher of St. Edmonds- 
bury, married Jane daughter of Thomas Mildmay, 
and had issue. 
Thomas Peyton died 30th of July, 1484, and was 
succeeded by his grandson. 

Sir Robert Peyton^ of Isleham, who was Sheriflf of the 
Counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon, in the 14th 
Henry VII. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir 
Bobert Clere, of Ormesby, in Norfolk, and had issue, 
Bobert, (Sir), his heir. 

John, (Sir), married Dorothy, daughter of Sir John 
Tyndall, Knt., of Hockwold, in Kent, and from him 
descended a distinguished line of the family, namely, 
the Peyton's of Knowlton and Doddington. One of whom 
was Sir Samuel Peyton, Knt. of Knowlton, and another 
Sir John Peyton, who was Lieutenant of the Tower of 
of London, and Govenor of the Island of Jersey, from 
1603 to 1628, having been succeeded in that office by 
his son. Sir John Peyton, who held the post till 1633, 
Sir John died in 1630, aged 105 years according to an 
inscription on the monument of his Grand-daughter 
Mrs. Lowe, in Christ Church, Oxford.* 

824 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

Inscription prom Tomb, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. 

Neere this place 

Lyes buryed the body of Mrs. Alice Love, 

Wife to Edward Love of Salisbury, in the County of Wilts, Gent, 

Master of the Choristers, and Organist of this Church, 
By whom she had 9 children, 7 Boys and 2 Girls, 5 whereof l)re 

buryed by her, ye other 4 survive. 
She dyed in childbed of her 7th son, the 17th of March, 1678, ye 

42 year of her age, and 1 8th since her marriage ; 
She was ye daughter of Sir John Peyton ye younger, of Doddington, 
in ye Isle of Ely, and County of Cambridge, and Knight, being ye 
first made by King James, at Edenburgh, after his being pro- 
claimed by him King of England. 
Her Grandfather, Sir John Peyton, was Knighted by Queen 
Elizabeth, for his service in ye field, in Ireland, and made her 
Treasurer in that Kingdom ; after that Lieutenant of ye Tower, 
by ye space of 30 years ; then Governor of Jersey above 30 years 
more, and dyed ye 105th year of his age, ye 4th of 

November, 1630. 
Her Grandfather by her mother was Sir John Peyton, of Isleham, 

in ye countye of Cambridge, Baronett. 

This Sir John was a man of strong mind and elegant 
manners, of extensive knowledge, and upright character, 
and governed Jersey wisely and temperately . "He was," 
to nse the words of an old writer " educated after the 
politest manner of the age he lived in, by serving in 
the wars of Flanders, under the most able and 
experienced soldiers and politicians of that time/' 

Amidst the sunshine of a court, and the affluence of a 
large fortune, his conduct was so regular and temperate 
that his life was prolonged to the age of ninety-nine 
years, in so much health and vigour, that he rode on 


Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 825 

horseback, hunting, three days before his death/' * 
It is not necessary to our purpose to follow further 
this line of the family, which became extinct in 
the male line in 1683, on the death of Sir Thomas 
Peyton, who was a member of the first Parliament, 
after the Restoration, and who enjoyed a Government 
grant of £2,000 per annum. It is, however,, 
in 1873, represented by Major-General Sir Thomas 
Peyton, Baronet, who succeeded his nephew. Captain 
Sir Algernon Peyton, Bart., on his -death without 
issue in 1872. This baronetcy was revived in 1776, in 
favour of Henry Dashwood, who was, in the ma- 
ternal line, a descendant of Sir Thomas Peyton, and 
also married his female representative, by whom he 
acquired large estates, 

Margaret, married to Francis Jenney, of Knotshall, 
in Suffolk. 

Elizabeth, married to Sir WiUiam Wigston, Knt. of 
Wolston, in Warwickshire. 

He died in the 9th of Henry YIII. and was succeeded 
by his elder son. 

Sir Robert Peyton^ knt., who was Sheriff of the 
counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon in 17th and 
27th Henry VIII., and accompanied that King to the 
seige of Balleyne. He was again Sheriff in the 1st of 
Queen Mary. He married Frances, daughter and heir 
of Frances Hassylden, of Little Chesterford, in 
Essex, and of Steeple Marden, in Cambridgeshire, and 

* See Le Quesne 
to the Island, also 

t's and Falle's History of Jersey, and Payne's Ghiide 
Hepworth Dixon^s '* Her Majesty's Tower." 

326 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

in her right acquired these estates with other lands in 
the county of Rutland. By this lady (who founded the 
famous hospital at Isleham) had six sons and two 
daughters, viz., 

I. Sir Robert Peyton (his heir), 

II. William, 

III. Richard, of Little Chesterfield, in Essex, 
married Mary daughter of Leonard Hyde, of 
Hyde Hall in Herefordshire. She outlived him 
and married secondly Sir John Carey, Lord 

IV. Christopher, 

V. Edward, 

VI. John, 

1. Catherine, who married M. Williams 
of Oxford. 

2. Elizabeth, who married Thomas Wrenne, 
of Hint on in the Isle of Ely. 

Sir Robert died 1st August, 1550, and was succeeded 
by his son Sir Robert Peyton^ who was M. P. for 
Cambridge in the 4th and 5th of Queen Mary, and 
Sheriff of the united counties of Cambridge and 
Huntingdon, in the 9th of Elizabeth. He received the 
honor of Knighthood from James I. at Royston in 
November 1608. He married Elizabeth, a daughter of 
Lord Chancellor Rich, and aunt of Robert Earl of 
Warwick and had issue, 

RoBEBT, who died unmarried, 

I. John, (his heir), 

II* RiCHABD, who died without issue. 

Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 327 

III. Maby, who married first Robert Balam, of 
Walsoken, in Norfolk, and second Sir Richard Cox, 
of Braham, in the Isle of Ely. 

IV. Frances, who married John Hagar, of 
Bourne Castle, in Cambridgeshire. 

V. WiNTBEDE, married first, M. Osborne, Barrister- 
at-law, second M. Herefleet, of Kent, and third 
John Hombye, of Linconshire. 

, He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

Sir John Peyton^ of Isleham, in the County of 
Cambridge, who received the honour of Knighthood 
from King James I. He was Sheriff of Cambridge 
and Huntingdon, in the 25th of Elizabeth^ when he 
was Km*ghted for the Shire of the latter, as he was again 
in the first of James I. The next year he was again 
Sheriff. In the 9th year of the same reign he was 
created a Baronet^ viz. on the 22nd of May^ 1611, on the 
institution of the order. Sir John married Alice, 
daughter of Sir Edward Osborne, Lord Mayor of 
Lcmdon in 1585, and the founder of the family the Duke 
of Leeds ; and by his said wife Alice had issue, 
I. Edward, (Sir) his heir, 
n. John, died without issue, 

III. Robert, a distinguished scholar and Fellow of 
Queen's College, Oxford, 

IV. Roger, who emigrated to America and was lost 
sight 0^ 

V. William, of Wablingworth, married Tabithe 
daughter of Henry Payne, Esq., of Walthamstow 
and left two sons, John and William, 

828 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

YI. Thomas, slain at Bonrge, in Holland, wbije 

gallantly leading his forces into aotion. 
VII. Anne, married to Sir Bobert Bacon, Bart^ of 

Biborough, in Norfolk, third son of Sir Nichdas 

Bacon, Bart., of Badgrave. 
Vni. Alice, married to Sir John, son and heir of Sir 

John Peyton, of Doddington. 

IX. Elizabeth, married to Sir Anthony Irby, Ent. of 
Boston in Lincolnshire, who was created Loud 

X. Mabt, married to Sir Boger Meers, Ent. of 
Hoghton, in Lincolnshire. 

XI. Fbances, died nnmarried. 

XII. Susan, died unmarried. 

He died about the year 1617, and was succeeded by 
eldest son, 

Sir Edward PeytoUy who was Knighted at White- 
hall, 4th February, 1610, and during the life-time of his 
father was denominated ^^ of Great Bradley, in Suffolk." 
He served in Parliament from 18th of James I. to the 
drd of Charles the I. as one of the Knights of the Shire 
for the County of Cambridge, and was Custos Botulorum 
there, of which office he was deprived by the influence 
of the Duke of Buckingham, ** whereat he was so much 
disgusted, that he first drew his pen against tha Court, 
and writ several pamphlets with great acrimony against 
Charles I. and the royalists." He subsequently sided 
with the Presbyterians in the great rebellion, and so 
impoverished hunself in the cause, that he was obliged 
to sell Isleham, and, drawing his son into joining him. 

Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 329 

sold the whole estate, with the reserve only of annuities 
during both their lives. 

ffir Walter Scott, in his introduction to the secret 
history of the reign of James the I. by Sir Edward 
Peyton, as reprinted in 1811 by Ballantyne of Edinburgh, 
in his '^ Historical Memoirs of the Beign of Elizabeth 
and James," by Francis Osborne says, Sir Edward's 
property was plundered by both parties ; for he complains 
in the following treatise,* that at Broadchock, in 
Wiltshire, four hundred pounds worth of his household 
stuff was seized by the Royalist garrison of Langford, 
which was never restored to him, although the place 
was afterwards taken by Cromwell. In short, as he 
could not, it would seem, serve his party very effectually, 
his attachment, as usually happens in such cases, did 
not save him from neglect and injury. At the close of 
the civil war, in which so many of the success- 
ful side had made their fortune. Sir Edward Peyton 
was so much impoverished, that he was obliged to sell 
Isleham, the ancient patrimony of his family. His 
eldest son, afterwards Sir John Peyton, was induced 
to join in the sale, reserving annuities for his father's 
life and his own. And thus this ancient family was 
totally ruined." 

Sir Edward Peyton was of grave and serious character, 
strong religious convictions, and having long lived near 
Cromwell, in Cambridgeshire, imbibed many of his 
political opinions. They were personal friends, and Sir 
Edward very naturally exerted his influence in favour 

* " The Diyine catastrophe of The KjBgly family of the house of Stuarts." 


880 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

of the Commonwealth. It was his enthncdarai in this 
cause alone, which led to his financial xmxiy and the 
removal of one of his grandsons to Virginia. For ha 
was as far as possible removed in character from, ih0 
roystering, gambling, hard-drinking gentlemen of thf 
Dundreary type who flourished in the reigns of Ifaiy 
and Elizabeth, men like the famous Earl of Caxlisle, 
who in the early part of the era of the Stuarts, spent 
in a jovial life above £400,000, and left not a house nor 
an acre of land to be remembered by. A gentleman 
who at a later period was followed by another of infa- 
mous memory, Bochester, one of whose fits of intoxica- 
tion is said, with brief interruptions, to have lasted five 
years. Sir Edward was the reverse of these gentlemen 
blackguards and gentlemen exquisites, was a regular, 
sincere, and straightforward man, an honest country 
gentleman — ^not blas^, rou^, epuiss^, or ennuy^ of life, 
and never thought of advancing his own interests. 
Thus it is that while others waxed rich on public strife, 
he grew poor. It may not be uninteresting to mention 
that at the time he was made a Baronet, among other 
requisites required for this dignity, the recipient 
must have a clear income above all debts of £1,095, 
a year, and be able to claim descent from a grandfather 
who had borne arms and been under fire. 

Sir Edward married first, Matilda, daughter of 
Robert Livesay, of Tooting, in Surrey, by whom he had, 

John, (his heir), 

Edward, in holy orders, who had three sons, Edward, 
Robert and Henry, 

Robert, and one daughter^ 

Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 881 

Amxt, married to Henry Lawrence, of St. Ives, in 
Huntingdonshire, and of St. Margaret's in the county 
<£ Hertford. He' married secondly, Jane, daughter of 
Sir James Calth(^, knt. of Crockthorpe, in Norfolk 
(widow of Sir Henry Thomelthorpe, Knt.) and by that 
hidy had one son, 

Thomas, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir 

William Yelverton, of Rougham, in Norfolk, and 

dying in 1683, left four sons, William, of Dublin 

married Frances, daughter and co-heir of Sir 

Herbert Lunsford, Knt. by whom he had no male 

issue. He died in 1686. 

KoBBBT, of Isleham, Matthews Co., Virginia.* 

"This young man,"8ays B. Blundell, F.S.A. •^a grand- 

of ^ Edward Peyton, like Ned Poins, a younger 

brother and a proper fellow of his hands, disdaining the 

Kfe of a mere idle hanger-on to elder relatives scantily 

able to support themselves, resolved to try what his 

* There is a tradition in the family in Virginia to the effect that 
shortly after his arrival in the Colony, when some distance up the 
river (James) on a shooting excnrsion, the waters of Virginia abound- 
ing in game and wild fowl, .Bobert Peyton and his companion were 
taken prisoners by a party of Indians, and conveyed to their head- 
quarters in the interior. The Bed-skins reduced tiiem to a kind of 
davery. Peyton's companion was carried off by fever within a few 
weeks. Solitary and alone in their hands, the young Englishman 
revolved plans of escape and finally accomplished his wishes. He 
appeared pleased with Indian life, exerted himself in war, the chase 
and in fishing, and entered with such spirit into their games that he 
won their confidence and friendship. The savage King adopted 
him into the tribe, then as a son, then advanced him to be a chief and 
finally indicated to his natural sons that they must give way to him as . 
his, the Eing*s successor. His life was now far from unpleasant, 
though he had to be constantly on g^ard to prevent being assas- 
sinated by the King's sons, who were to lose their inheritance through 

332 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

long pedigree, backed by a bold heart and a ^J^ur 
intellect, could do in America, towards renovatiis^ his 
fortunes, and shortly after the Restoration emigrated 
to Virginia, circa 1665, where the young adventurer, 
inspired by that affectionate recollection of his ufttiye 
land which is one of the most prominent and praise* 
worthy traits in the character of our American cousins, 
gave his new domain, in Matthews county, the 
appellation of Ideham^ born by the ancestral residence in 
his island home. Here his descendants flourished 
becoming opulent landholders, magistrates, and 
members of the Colonial Parliament." 

Robert, who married in Virginia left among other 

Benjamin John Edward, who married and left oae 

Henry, bom 1700, who married Miss Langley, 
daughter of Roger Langley and left one son, 

his presence. He was proTided with a wife, in the person of the 
daughter of a chief living in the south-west, and in close amity with 
his own tribe. A consolidation of the two tribes was thus thought 
feasible in the future. 

His escape from captivity was thus effected. During the winter, an 
expedition, under the King, advanced against the Whites. When the 
Bed-skins, after a long march through the forest, arrived in front of 
the Colonial settlements, Peyton availed himself of an opportunity 
when scouting to rejoin his countrymen. "From, his knowledge and 
position nothing would have been easier than to betray the whole 
savage force and deliver it up to the Whites. This he declined doing. 
On the contrary, when he was safe he sent an Indian boy to the 
savages with a warning to them to be off. The Indian King did not 
remain to receive a second intimation that he was on dangerous 
ground, but, like a wise man, returned the same night to a place of 

Pedigi^ee of the Peyton Family. 833 

John, of Stafford Co., Virginia, bom 1725, who 
married Elizabeth a daughter of John Rouse, and 
left issue, 

John Rousb and Valentine, M.D. 

John Bouse Peyton married Anne, daughter of Howson 
Howe, and left issue, 

I. John Howe, (of Montgomery Hall) bom April 
27th, 1778, his successor, and of whom presently, 

II. Bebnard Peyton, a Captain in the U. S. Army, 
. and afterwards Adjutant General of Virginia and 

President of the Board of Visitors of the Virginia 
Military Institute at Lezlngton, He married 
Amanda daughter of General Moses Green of 
Faquier, and left issue, 

1* Thomas, a Captain of Artillery in the 
Confederate Army, who married Catherine, 
daughter of the Right Rev. John Johns, Bishop 
of Virginia, and has issue. 

2. Green, a Colonel in the Confederate Army, 
and, since the war, a professor in the University 
of Virginia. He married Champe, daughter 
of Dr. Charles Carter of Albemarle, and has 

3. Bernard, who married Estelle, daughter of 
Dr. Tricon, of California, and has issue. 

4. Thomas, jun., a Major in the Confederate 
Army, who married a daughter of the Hon. 
Dabney Carr, late American Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary to Turkey, and a grand daughter of 

384 Pedigree of the Peyton Family. 

Thomas Jeffersoo, 3rd President of the IT. S. 
and has issue. 
6. Susan, who married Major General W. B. 

Hagner, U. S. Army, and has no issue. 
6. Akakda, married J, C. Washington, and has 
no issue. 
III. Gabnett, who married Agatha daughter of W. S. 
Madison, and left issue,' but only one of his children 
married and had issue, viz., William, who married 
a daughter of William Munford, and has issue. 
rV. Rouse or Bouze, who married, first, Ann Gallagher, 
and left issue : 1st Bernard, and 2nd Ann, who 
married Bronson Murray, of New York, and has 
issue. He married secondly, Eliza daughter of Col. 
J. ,B. Murray and left issue — one son, Hamilton, 
and three daughters, all married and with issue. 

V. LuCT, married General Green, of Hopkinsville, 
Kentucky, and left issue. 

VI. Ann Frances, who married Robert Green, but 
left no issue. 

John Howe^ of Montgomery Hall, married 1st Susan, 

daughter of William S. Madison, and by her left issue 

one son Colonel William M. Pe3i;on the subject of the 

foregoing memoir, who married Elizabeth A. E. Taylor 
and left issue, 

1 Elizabeth, who died in her 16th year unmar- 

2 John Howe, died in infancy. 

3 Susan, who married Joseph H. White, and 

Pedigree of the PeyUm Family. 835 

then Col. Washington, and died without issue 

living by either husband. 
4 William Allan, died of typhoid fever in his 

14th year. 
6 Garnett, married Walter Preston, and has 

issue, one son Pej^on, and a daughter 


6 Sally Preston, married Thomas C. Bead, and 
left issue, one daughter, who married Dr. 
William Berkeley, a descendant of Sir Wm. 
Berkeley, Colonial Governor of Virginia. 

7 Juliet, died in her 17th year unmarried. 

8 Bebnabdine, married in 1872, Lewellyn, of 
Albemarle County, Virginia. 

John H. Peyton, married secondly, Ann Montgomery, 
daughter of Major John Lewis, of the Sweet Springs, 
and left issue, at his death, which occurred at Montgomery 
Hall, 3rd of April, 1847. 

I. John LewiSf bom 15th of September, 1824, who 
married Henrietta E. C. daughter of Colonel John 
C. Washington, of County Lenoir, North-Carolina, 
a relative in the 4th Canonical degree to the illus- 
trious Washington, and has issue, one son, 

Lawrence Washington Howe, bom in Guernsey, 
Channel Islands, 27th of January, 1872. 

II. Yblverton Howe, bom 8th of January 1888, 
and is in 1878, unmarried. 

in. Susan Madison, married Col. J. B. Baldwin, a 

son of Judge B. Gr. Baldwin, and has no issue. 
TV. Ann Montgomery, died unmarried. 

836 Pediffree of the Peyton Family. 

Y. Mabt Preston married R. A. Gray, and has issue 

two sons, 1 Peyton, and 2 Baldwin, and daughters, 
VI. LucT married J. N. Hendren, and has issue one 

son Samuel and daughters, 
Vn. Elizabeth married Wm. Boys Telfair, of Ohio, 

and has issue two sons 1 William and 2nd Baldwm 

and daughters, 

VIII. Mabgabet, married G. M. Cochrane, jun., and 
has issue, one son, George, and daughters. 

IX. YiBGiNiA, married Col. J. F. Kent, and has issue 
one son Joseph, 

X. CoBNELiA, married Dr. Thomas, and has issue two 
sons, 1 Peyton, 2 Baldwin, 

The Peyton arms, as in the visitation of Suffolk, 
Harl., A.D., 1560, are : quarterings, 

1. sable, a cross, engrailed, or^ for Peyton ; 2. Gemon ; 
,8. Colville ; 4. Sutton ; 5. Hassingbome ; 6. Langley ; 
7. Atleze; 8. Atbridge; 9. Langley; 10. Francis; 
11. Lucy ; 12. Chamberlaine. 

Crest — a Grifl&n, Sejant, or^ 

Motto — Patior, Potior : — I labour y I secure. 





IN 1870, BT THE Author of the FOREOoiNa Memoir. 

• • • • 

The forenoon of the next day, the strangers, whom 
the readers will recognize as onrselves, were occnpied 
examining Ely Cathedral, one of the most ornate and 
beautifal in England. The same afternoon we set forth 
ui a gig for Isleham, across a region, commonly 
styled the "Pen Cdmitiy," though terra cotta drainage 
has long since turned the swamp into the driest of dry 
land. This district is flat, monotonous and uninteres- 
ting. There is httle in it to arouse and enlighten the 
imagination, or to inspire artistic genius. In our cloud- 
compelling chariot, we actually scoured the Cambridge- 
shire plains, though the dust was suflfocating and 
the heat tropical, for our steed belonged to a 
class known to London cab proprietors as a retired 
racer, an animal no longer fit for the Olympic 
games of Epsom, but who before a gig rather flies than 
runs, and, I may add, generally leaves a visible wrack 


888 Visit to hlehcm. 

behind, unlike oar perishable hopes and affections. Not 
so, however, in our case, we proceeded safely, passing 
through two or three villages, whose tumble down 
houses, or I should rather say in cockney stylB, itSiooe 
ruined gates and walls told eloquent stcmes of tliai^ 
antiquity. Their present desolation fonned a meHwoAiDif 
contrast to the cheerful cultivation around them. 
There was a soothing stillness in the scene presented 
by the champaign country which we certainly: hdw 
saw under the happiest circumstances of season add 
weather. Passing through a flat, and so £ur m 
picturesque beauty is concerned, a comparatn^ 
barren region, there was yet much to amuse the eyt^ 
and make an agreeable variety. The woods and fieMi 
were in their mid-summer bloom, and the mellow Ught 
of evening heightened the richness of their hues, and 
gave an exquisite effect to the light and shade which £ail 
upon the landscape. The air was scented with blosaonik 
by trees then in flower, which here and there Imol 
the road-sides. Rural scenes of almost eveiy kind ate 
deUghtful to the mmd, gratifying tha senses 
producing an inexhaustible fond of innocent 
and I contemplated these wide plains, with thesr 
luxuriant com crops bending under the breeze, ^i% 
ardent delight. My experience, indeed, satiifies me 
that there are few spots so barren as not to :«Sexd 
picturesque scenes, 

'* BelieTe the mnse. 
She does not know that inauspicious spot 
Where beauty is thus niggard of her store, ^ 

Vuit to Ishham. 839 

';^ . BeSiere the nmae, through this terrestrial watts 

^ . . The seeds of grace are sown, profusely sown. 

Even where we least may hoi>e.'* 

f About sonset we saw the graoefdl spire of Isleham 
€9mrcli nsiiig like a dream from earth to heaven, and 
tito hamlet shining at the extremity of the open country, 


Boon we amved, and, traversing the grassgrown streets 
of. the ancient village, stood in front of, not the 
^wnefable edifice itself, but of an old Prioiy — ^the old 
^rioiy as it is called, or so much of it as remains. This 
supnaateiy was built circa A.D. 1300. Patched up with 
iniak and mortar, this interesting relic of the olden 
time is now used as a bam, pig-sty, and stable. Such 
are tha base uses to which it has come. Notwithstand- 
ing its cracked and battered condition, the sight of it more 
tium repaid my trouble, and its situation gave rise to 
taany suggestive thoughts. The jolly monks of old 
omre not deficient in taste, and selected sites for their 
smestaiies with both wit and wisdom. At present there 
4SbBgB are neither winding paths, trees, ivy, nor water to 
^throw a chann around the Priory, it is left dila- 
pidated and naked> staring and stared at by the 
irreverant world. It once had all these adjuncts, and 
might have them again. In its present wretched 
condition it excites only ideas of solitude, neglect, and 
desolation. It is worthy, however, of a word of 
description. In 1791, it was first converted into use as 
a bam, and has since been called the Priory bam. It 

340 Visit to Isleham. 

consiBts of a nave and chancel, with a circular end joid 
eight buttresses, two small south and one small nxirth 
window, in length about 95 and in breadth 20 feet, and 
the south door has been enlarged since it was made a 
bam. The walls are built herring-bone Cushion. At 
the west end are two heavy buttresses, between- them 
a small window and two round ones above. Whether 
it fell into decay and the lord would not get it 
converted into parochial use, when granted with its 
house by Henry YI. to Pembroke College, does not at 
present appear. 


After a close examination we passed on to the village 
church, which was commenced by Sir Thomas Peyton, 
and the building finished by his son and executor. Sir 
Christopher Pej^on, A.D. 1480. It is one of the most 
beautiful buildings of the kind in England, in a style far 
superior to what could be looked for in so mean, though 
extensive and populous, a village. The edifice is in 
excellent preservation, though the exterior walls are 
green with the accumulated damp of centuries. A 
servant was despatched for the verger, who is likewise 
janitor, who soon made his appearance, bringing the 
keys, and introduced us into the interior of the church. 
It consists of a nave, with two isles and two transepts 
and a choir. The nave rests on five pointed arches, on 
each side supported by slender clustered columns. 
Under the clerestory windows ranges a fascia of 
dentals and one of flowers. In the intervals between 

Visit to Ideham. 841 

the mrbhes are three quatrefoils, the lowermost contain^ 
ing shields with the same arms on both sides : 

Peytoa impaling a lion rampart 

Feytaa quartering a lion rampart 

Peyton smgle 

Peyton impaling a saltire engrailed, a chief 

Erm. Hyde. 

The roof is of wood ; and between the principals are 

whole length statues of angels holding shields with the 

instruments of the passion. On the wooden cornice is 

this inscription cut in relief on both sides : 

Pray for the good prosperity of 

Christopher Peyton and Elizabeth his wife, 

and for the soul of 

Thomas Peyton, Equyer, and Margaret his wife, father and 

mother of the said Christopher Peyton, 

and for the soul of 

All the ancestors of the said Christopher Peyton which did make 

this rofe ♦ in the fere of our Lord, mccxvi. being the 

I year of King Henry III> 

Note. — The wiU of Christopher Peyton, of Isleham, 
dated the eve of the nativite of the blessed virgin, A.I>. 
1505, and proved 8th of July, 1507. Provides ^Hhat he is 
to be buried within the Church of Isleham, in such place 
as shall seem to Elizabeth my wife most convenyent. 
Further to the high altar of the said churchy for my 
tithes negligently paid or forgot, 20s. To my 
neveu Sr Robert Peyton, Knt., A quarters of barley, 
and V quarters of whete. My wife Elizabeth to find 
an honeste prieste to sing for me an hole year. To 

* From this date it appears that the church was btiilt in A.D., 1216» 
unless this ooruice was transferred to the new from an old^ edifice. 

842 Viiit to Isleham. 

my broder ffirancis Peyton XX shepe^ and to his wyfe 
a cowoy and Y combes of malte, and to Xpher his son 
X sheepe. To John Peyton, my godson, 40s. To 
Edward Peyton, my neven, 26s. 8d." " The residue of 
all my goodes I bequeath to Elizabeth my wife, my said 
wife to have for the terme of her life, all my lands, 
tenements, meddowes, pastures, etc., in Isleham afore- 
said, and within the bounds of Fordham.'' He appoints 
" Elizabeth my wife " Executrix.] 

Passing by the tombs of many others, Ve amved t^ 
front of the manor pew. On Spandrils of archwork on 
this are the arms of Sir Christopher Peyton, and the 
saltire and chief erm. Hyde, his wife,' held by angels ; 
St. Michael and the Dragon, etc., etc. 

In the south transept, on a plain low altar tomb 
is an alabaster figure of a knight in armour, in culrled 
hair, with a garland or corolla. Under his head « 
pointed helmet, with a fillet of flewrs de lis, a piked beard, 
gauntlets, studded neck-band, and strap from his chin 
to the shoulder straps; round shoulder and elbow 
pieces ; of his sword and dagger the hilts only remain- 
ing ; a lion looking up at his feet, which are under s 
nich. Inscription gone, but one of the Peyton's 

An altar-tomb of freestone has a slab of speckled 
marble, from the middle of which has been torn a jUain 
cross. Under an arch in the wall at the feet ci a 
headless man and woman, three boys and three girls, 
with a label from the mouth of the first of each to h 
crucifix, and under them this inscription on a brass 

Vmt to lileham. 348 

Otjr charity pray for the soules of 
Sir Robert Peyton, Knight, 


Which departed to God the viii day of March, the yere of our 

Lord, MDViu. 
Also for the soul of 
Dame Elizabeth Peyton, his wife. 
Which departed to God the yere of our Lord, md*** 

[Note. — The will of Sir Robert Peyton, Ent.of Isleham, 
proved the 20th of April, A.D*, 1518, ordered, '' That 
he should be buried in Isleham Church — To the high 
altar of the foreseyde churche, 208. To the reparation of 
Wyken Churche, 20s., to the intent that they shall pray 
for the soule of my brother John Peyton. My gowne 
of cr3rmsyn yelvett to be made a cope and vestment, the 
oope for the p'she churche of Wyken, and the vestment 
for the p'she churche of Boxforth, in the countie of 
Suffolk, upon eche of them being a escocheon of my 
armes and my wife's armes. I will that a remembrance 
be- Uttde upon a escocheon of my father's arms, and sett 
upon the wall of the churche of . St. Giles, Cripullgate^ 
in London. Bobert, my eldest sonne, to have left unto 
him ffyve hundred shepe of those at Wyken. Item, I 
will that my flockes of shepe at Isleham, Shippenham^ 
«nd Bartcm beside Mildenhall, with all the profitts and 
increase of them, goe to the p'forminff this my wjrll. I 
will that John, my second sonne, shall have to hun my 
manor in Bamham, St. Marteyn, in Suffolk, called 
Calthorppys. I will that Dame Elizabeth my wife 
have two partes of my household stuffe. I will that 
Robert Pe}i;on, my eldest sonne, have my chaine of 
golde. Unto ffrances Pe3i;on, wife to my saide sonne 
-Robert, a chain of golde. Item, that Edward, my 
thirde sonne, be provided for by myn executors. To 
Elizabeth, my daughter, CCC merkes. To Edward 
Peyton, my brother, XX merks. To Dorothie Peyton, 

344 Vuit to Isleham. 

my sister X merkes. To ffrancis Peyton, my mide, my 
bikke gowne furred wth blake. To Xpfer Peyton, 
Sonne to my said micle ffrancis Peyton, X shepe. To 
kepe the annirersary of Thomas reyton and Jane his 
wife, father and mother mito me. Ex'ors, Dame 
Elizabeth Peyton, my wife, and William Butte, of 
Cambridge. Supervisor, John Lorde Abbott of St. 
Edmunos Bury, and my welbeloved fader-in-law Sr 
Robert Clere, Knt." 

N.B. The residue of lands, etc., in Isleham, Barn- 
ham, Wyken, and the manors of Seyham Hall, Water 
Hall, and Badleys, in Suffolk, are left to the eldest son, 
Bobert, with aversions to second son John and third 
son Edward."] 

The date has never been filled up, the plate remaining 
smooth. Over this a fine park, and under the east 
window, a rich fascia of vine leaves and grapes, and oak 
foliage above, over the space formerly occupied by the 

South of this is a blue slab, with the arms of Peyton 
impaling a cross flory with a mullet in the centre ; and 
another shield gone : 

On a plate in the middle, this inscription : 

Pray for the soul of 

Sir Robert Peyton, Knight, 

which married Frances, the daughter and heir of Francis Hassylden, 

Esquire, deceased, which Sir Robert deceased the istday of 

August, A.D. M ♦ ♦ ♦ whose sone God pardoned. 

Another slab south of this has the brass figure of a 
knight and lady. He is in armour, bareheaded, cropt 
hair, helmet under head crested with a bear's head, 

Visit to Isleham. 846 

pointed elbow pieces, strait long guard, short dagger, 
muzzled bear at feet, looking up. This is the tomb cA 
Sir John Bernard. On a plate at the head is this 

Hie Jacet Johes Bernard mites, 

qui obiit XXIIII die mens marcii A.D.*ni MCCCCLI, 

£t D*ma Elena Swynton uxis p'dei Johes Bernard milit filie et 

heredis Johis Mallore milit de com. 
Moh'mt qu obiit XIII die Me'ss Octobris Ad. D'no MCCCCXL. 
£t d'na Elizabeth Takevyle> secu'de axis pd'ei Johes Bernard 
milit qe obiit X die me'ss Julii Ad. D'ni MCCCCLXIV q'r ajabus 

p'piciet de. 

On another large slab are the brass figures of 
a man in plated armour, ruff, gauntlets, cropt 
hair, and divided beard, his head on a helmet; at 
his feet a griffin feiant ; his lady reclines on a cushion 
in a coif and ruff, necklace of four rows of pearls, gown 
boddice, and petticoat : nothing at her feet. 

Peyton quartering the cross fleury, a mullet in the 
centre : impales per chevron 3 lions rampart in a circle 
countercharged, quartering. 

1. S. a cross ingrailed 0. Peyton 

2. A. three piles wavy G. Gemon^ 

3. Quarterly, 0. and G. a bend vair^ A. and AZ. 



4. Barry of 80. and G. a lion passant guardant in 
chief 0. 

5. 0. a fess G. 

6. 0. a chevron G. on a chief G. 3 estoiles 0. 

7. A. fess G. or S. in chief 3 roundels 

w . 

346 Visit to Isleham. 

8. Az. a lion rampart S. 
, 9. G. in a bordure ingrailed A. fishes naiant 0. 

10. Az. a demi lion rampart G. 

11. A. a cross V. 

12. A. a cross fleure G. 

Impaling, quarterly, 1. 4. quarterly G. and Erm. a 
cross 0. Osborne^ 

2. A. two barrs and a canton G. on the latter cross 
A. Broughton. 

3. A. a chevron V. between 3 annulats G. 

On the fascia : on a fess between 3 stars 3 roundala, 
Balam, impaling, the cross impailed and the cross fleury. 
On the fascia in Roman capitals, gold, on a black 

Years of sixty-seven did pass in governing, 

Both just and wise he was, 

By ancient stock, but more by merit. 

His body the earth, his soul Heaven inherit. 

The cross ingrailed and cross fleury impaling, 
quarterly, Erm. and Az. a cross 0. Osborne.^ 

Quarterly 1, 4. Barry of 6 Erm. and G. Hussey. 

A man in a coat and furred gown and hose; his 
right hand on his breast, his left hanging down holds a 
book ; his lady wears a coif and hood, standing cape, 
pinkt sleeves, and short ruffles, her apron has strings 
and is laced. Over her, the Peyton arms, with these 

1. Peyton. 

2. Three piles wavy. Gemon. 

Visit to Isleham. d47 

8. Acheviron in three estoiles. 

4. A bear rampant mnzzled. Bernard. 

6. A cross fleory. 

6. Three battle axes. 

7. A lion rampant and a label of three. 

8. A lion rampant. 

In the centre of all a mullet. 
The qnarterings also impale the saltire engrailed and 
chief Erm. Hyde, which last coat is. single in a lozenge. 
Below is the first coat of 8 quarters single, and 
impaling the saltire and chief; and between them this 
inscription : 

" Here under lyeth a worthy Squire that Richard Peyton hight, 
And honest gentleman, and third son to Robert Peyton Knight, 
In Gre/s inn, student of the law, where he a reader was ; 
He feared God, and loved his word, in truth his life did pass ; 
In practising of Justice lo ! was his whole delight ; 
He never wronged any one to whom he might do right. 
Whom he esteemed an honest friend, who he might stand instead 
He never left to do him good with words, with purse and deed. 
Fourteen years space he married was, unto a beautiful wife, 
By parent named Mary Hyde, they lived devoid of strife. 
The earth him bear twice twenty years, and virtuously he livedo 
A virtuous life he did embrace, and virtuously he died 

Anno Domino 1574 
The thirtieth day of April, year seventy and four 
A thousand, five hundred, being put to that more." 

At the South end of this transept are two heavy 
monuments with canopies on four pillars. On the 
2. 3. 4. a chevron between three roses G. seeded 0. 
impaling the crosses quarterly. 

348 Visit to Isleham 

Quarterly Erm, etc. the cross 0. with a creacen:^ (rf 
difference, Osborne^ impaling the quartered crosses 

1. Peyton. 

2. The piles wavy. 
8. 0. a fess G. 

4. The chevron and stars in chief. 



7. The battle axes. 

8. G, a lion rampant 0. with a crest S. under a label 
of 30. 

9. G. a lion rampant. 

On the tomb at the head of this lies a Enight in 
armour, in his hair, piked beard and ruff: und^ his 
legs a heavy shield ; at his feet a griffin 0. his lady in 
ruff, coif, gown plaited, under her feet seems a fox or 
wolf headless. Above the following arms, quarterly. 

1. Peyton. 

2. A. 3. piles G, 

3. Quarterly 0. and G. a bend nebula A. and kz. 

4. 0. a lion chief over barry of G. and 0. or 2 

5. 0. a lion rampant G. 

6. A. a lion rampant S. 

7. Bendy of 12. A. and G. 

8. 0. a bend G. 

9. 0. a chevron G. on a chief G. three stars. 

10. A fess, in chief 3 ogresses. 

11. A. a bear rampant S. Bernard. 

12. S. 3 battle axes ^rect. A. 

Visit to Isleham . 349 

13. Gironne A. and G. 

14. Quarterly A. and S. a bend of chain work S. 

15. A. in a bordure engrailed G. three £sh naiant A. 

16. A. demi-lion rampant G. 

1 7. A. on a bend G. three spread eagles 0. 

18. A. a cross fleuri S. 

19. G. a lion rampant 0. 

20. A. on a fess indented G. or S. 3 bezants. 

21. A lion rampant G. 

Crest : a griffin sejant, 0. 
Nee vi nee metu 
On the fascia the crosses quarterly single^ and impal- 
ing, quarterly, 
1-4. Osborne. 

2. Broughton. 

3. A chevron between 3 roundels. 

The last quarterings single. 

One of these monuments is by the impalment that of 
Kobert Peyton, who married the daughter of Lord 
Chancellor Bich, and was with his wife buried here and 
the other that of Sir John Peyton, Enight and Baronet, 
son of Sir Edward Peyton, Bart., author of " Secret 
History of James I." and last of the family who 
resided here and uncle to Bobert Peyton, who emigrated 
to Virginia. This Sir John married Alice, dau^ter of 
Sir Edward Osborne, Knight, Lord Mayor of London 
and afterwards Duke of Leeds. 

Under a cross on steps between two hands 
elevated, is this inscription. 

850 Visit to Isleham. 

Pray for the soul of 

Elizabeth Peyton, 

Which deceased the IV. day of November, 

the yer of our Lord MDXVI. 

on whose soule Jhu have mercy. 

Under this a saltire engrailed, a chief Ermine; for • 
Elizabeth Hyde, wife of Sir Christopher, patron of QiB 

A large slab had a brass plate and two shields, these 
are worn too indistinct to be deciphered. 

Under the South window is the stone figure of a 
Enight in armour, his helmet flattened at top, a Ikm 
at his feet, and against the west wall of this transept, 
headless, figures of a man and woman, and between 
them three children, praying to the Deity over the latter* 
Under all a plate thus inscribed, 

" God have mercy on the soul of 

Sir Christopher Peyton, and Elizabeth his wife, 

Christopher deceased, the XXVII day of June, 

in the year of our Lord, mcccccvii, (1507.) 

This commemorates the patron of the church before 
mentioned. The brackets of the roof of this transept, 
have angels holding shields of arms of Peyton single and 
impaling Hyde : which last coat is also single. 

In the north wall of the north aisle is a broken 
crossed legged figure in stone in armour, in a round 
helmet ; a fine lion at his feet, and over him an 
elliptical within a pointed arch, or very short round pillars 
sided by purfled finials. This is evidently the figure, of one 

Visit to IsleJuim. S51 

of the Peytons who accomponied Godfrey de Bouillon 
to the seige of Jerusalem and engaged in the rout of 
the Saracens at the battle of Ascalon A. D. 1099. 

In the chancel, on the North side of the communion 
table, are, on an altar-tomb with a gray slab, under a 
treble canopy with black shields in the spandrils, the 
brass figures of Sir Thomas Peyton, Knight, and his 
two wives, Margaret daughter and co-heiress of Sir 
Hugh Francis of Giflford, in the parish of Wickhambrook, 
Suffolk. Sir Thomas was sheriff for Cambridge and 
Huntingdon shires, 21 and 31 Henry V. and died July 
SO, 1484. He is in plated armour, with a standing 
cape and gorget, bareheaded, hair cropt, and has a 
§wordy a cross and a dagger. Both the ladies have the 
gauze head dress of this century ; but no wires appear ; 
one has on the cushion of her head, dress something like 
arms, several chevronels, and a scroll impaling barry of 
6 or 8 ; a rich necklace, furred cape and ruffles to gown ; 
the other has the same head dress and necklace, but no 
fur to her rich embroidered gown; on her cushion is 
inscribed "Lorfy" and " Thy mercy J^ The hands of 
both are held up and spread open, not in the usual 
attitude of prayer. The inscription is, 

Date pro animabus 
Thomas Peyton armigeri et Margeret et Margaret iixores ejus 

dui quidam Thomas, 

obiit XXX die mensis Julie, 

Anno Domini Millimo cccclxxxiiii quom animabus p'piciit 

de ane. 

862 Visit to Isleham. 

Arms on the spandril of the arch above a Gross 
ingrailed in the dexter comer a mnllet of five pomts 
Peyton : single and impaling a bear rampant. Bernard* 
On the comer of the cornice Peyton impaling a aaltire, 

All throngh this sacred edifice are thickly strewn the 
loemorials which claim the passing tribute of a sigh, 
all teaching the silent lesson that man is but m(»rtal, aod 
impressing on the mind the vanity of hnman hopes, — 
that in sober tmth, the path of glory leads bat to the 

Solemnly and sadly quitting the dim cloisters, on the 
marble pavements of which the sunlight, coming through 
the stained windows, cast patches of gold and purple, I 
softly, murmered, as I passed out of the consecrated 

The knights are dast, 

And their good swords rust, 

Their souls are with the Saints I trust. 

From the church we proceeded through the village, 
passing the Priory again, and crossing a com field, 
entered the grounds of the Hall. 

The land on which the church, but not the hall, 
stands, as will be seen by reference to Doomsday book, 
was granted to the Peytons, in 1068, by William the 
Conqueror, who was wont to grant lands to his 
favourites, in the language of an ancient bard, 

From heaven to yerthe, 

From yerth to hel, 

For thee and thine there to dweU. 


Visit to Isleham. 353 

Soon we passed the lonely moated grange and stood 
before the hoary and venerable seat. The first view of 
the onc3 gay and festive Hall is imposing, though it looks 
like a habitation forsaken of men and yet not resumed by 
nature. It is a large, antique Inansion, a vast pile, lone, 
desolate and partly in ruins. The ravages of time are 
strongly marked on everjrthing about it. The old turrets 
at the comers are gone, as also the ample portico in the 
centre. Many of the windows are broken and dismantled. 
There is a ruinous gate-way here and a crumbling arch 
there. While viewing what may be called the ruins of 
this once grand old mansion I could not help thinking 
of the remark of Lord Macaulay, who, when speaking of 
the county gentlemen of the seventeenth century, said, 
that they troubled themselves little about decorating 
their abodes, and, if they attempted decoration, seldom 
produced anything but deformity. A remark even more 
true of those who precede the 17th century. 

One portion of the brick and stone skeleton is 
occupied by a farmer's family, another is used as a 
malting-house, and a third as a barn, while other 
parts have been turned into stalls and stables. Ruined 
walls stretch away in different directions — here propped 
up and repaired — there broken and prostrate. As we 
advanced to the building, a troop of frightened sheep 
crowded beneath one of the gateways where I could 
not help thinking perhaps the doughty Knights of 
old had often stood in shining armour and looked upon 
the extensive walls now crumbling into ruins. Long 


354 Vmt to Isleham. 

I paused and gazed upon the home of my forefeithers 
with a species of awe which enforced silence. 

» » » » » 

The wide domain has dwindled to forty-six acres sur- 
rounding the debris, I may say, for it is scarcely m<M*e, of 
the Hall. Age and the decrepitude of age is furrowed 
in deep lines upon every stcme and timber. The walls 
are hoary with time, the trunks of the trees are white 
with age, and these old monarchs of the forest appear 
to be in a feeble and dying condition— the ivy on the 
wdb h>« gro™ it. gro^I, and i. do^Iy ^ if 
death, the very dust under foot is pale and silvery, as 
if the rains of centuries had washed out of it all semr 

blance of fertility." 

» » » ♦ » 




Orlando Brown, of Frankfort, Kentucky, 


First of the family who came to America, was bom in 
Ireland, in the city of Londonderry. His father and 
three uncles were Englishmen, who served under King 
William, and aided in defence of that city when besieged 
by the Roman Catholics, commanded by King James, 
in 1689. He was a Protestant of the Presbyterian 
denomination, a man of strong mind and correct 
principles. He married Elizabeth Patton, a sister of 
CoL James Patton, of Donnegal, and removed with 
him from. Ireland to the State of Virginia, in the year 
1740. Col. Patton had for some years commanded a 
merchant ship, and was a man of property, enterprise 

356 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

and inflaence. He obtained an order of council from 
the Governor of Virginia, under which he apiH-opriated 
to himself and associates, 120,000 acres of the best 
lands lying above the Blue Ridge, in that State, 
several valuable tracts of which fell to the share of his 
descendants. He was killed by the Indians at Smiths 
field, in the year 1753. He left two daughters, one of 
whom married Capt. William Thompson, the other 
married Col. John Buchanan, and from the latter 
descended John Floyd, late member of Congress and 
Governor of the State of Virginia, James D. Breckinridge 
of Louisville, late member of Congress from Kentucky, 
and William P. Anderson late Colonel in the United 
States army. John Preston, on the passage from 
Ireland, lost part of his property in a storm, but being 
an associate, he obtained, under the order of council 
aforesaid, a valuable tract of uncultivated land, called 
Robinson's^ which descended to his scai, and until lately 
remained in the family. 

John Preston's first residence in Vu-ginia, was at 
Spring Hill, in Augusta county, but about the year 
1 743, he purchased, and with his family settled upon a 
tract of land adjoining Staunton, on the north side of 
that town (now occupied by Gen. Baldwin), where he 
died shortly after, and was buried at the Tinkling 
Spring Meeting-house, leaving a widow and fiva 
children. Mrs. Preston, who possessed much strength 
of mind and energy of character, continued to reside 
upon the plantation they had purchased, imtil her 
children were all educated and married, when she 

Memoranda of the Preston Family. 357 

removed to Greenfield, the seat of her son, Col. William 
Preston, where in 1776 she died, aged 76 years. 

The Children of John and Elizabeth Preston^ were : 

I. Letitia Preston, who was bom in Ireland, in 
1728. She married Col. Robert Breckinridge, a farmer 
in Bottetpurt county, Virginia. After his death, she 
removed to Kentucky, and died in the year 1798, aged 
70 years. Her family consisted of four sons and one 

1st. William Breckinridge, now living, a farmer near 
Lexington, Kentucky, who married Miss Gilham. His 
family consists of two sons and a daughter. His son, 
John B. Breckinridge, is a merchant in Staunton, Va., 
and has been twice married. Meredith Breckinridge 
died unmarried. 

2d. John Breckinridge (dead) married Mary Cabell, 
and removed to Kentucky, in the year 1792. He was a 
laywer of eminent standing, was a Senator in Congress, 
and, shortly before his death, was appointed Attorney 
General for the United States, under Mr. Jefferson's 
administration, and died in 1806. His family consisted 
of five sons and two daughters. 1st Joseph Cabell 
Breckinridge (dead)y who married Miss Smith, a 
daughter of Dr. Smith, President of Princetown College 
and left one son, John C. Breckinridge,* a lawyer in 
Iowa, and four daughters: 1st. Frances Ann, who 
married the Rev. J. C. Young, President of Danville 

• Now, 1864, Gen. Jolin C. Breckmridge, fomerly Vice President. 

358 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

College, and left the following children, viz : Marjr, 
Caroline, Josephine, Jane EUzabeth, and Frances 
Breckinridge. 2d. Caroline L., married the Rev. Joseph 
J. Bullock of Frankfort, and has three children, viz : 
Waller, Mary, and Cabell, all minors. 3d. Mary Cabell, 
married Dr. Thomas P. Satterwhite of Lexington, and 
left two children, viz : Mary and Thomas. 4th. Letitia, 
unmarried. Joseph Cabell Breckinridge was a member 
of the Kentucky Bar, Speaker of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, and Secretary of States when he died in 
1823. 3d. John Breckinridge (deadj^ well known as a 
Presbyterian Minister, and a professor in the Theological 
Seminary at Princeton. He married Miss Miller, 
daughter of Dr. Miller, of Princeton, and left 
one son and three daughters, as yet minors. 8d. 
Robert J. Breckinridge, a lawyer, and for several 
years member of the Kentucky Legislature, now Pastor 
of the 2d. Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. He 
married Miss Preston, daughter of General Francis 
Preston, of Virginia. His family consists of four 
daughters and two sons, viz : Mary, Sally, Maria, So- 
phonishba, Robert and William, minors. 4th. Wm. L. 
Breckinridge, Pastor of the 1st Presbyterian Church in 
Louisville, who married Miss Prevost, daughter of 
Judge Prevost of Louisiana, and has seven children, viz : 
John Barton, Robert James, Marcus Prevost, William 
Lewis, Frances Prevost, Mary Hopkins, and Stanhope 
Prevost, all minors. 5th James Breckinridge, died be- 
fore he was grown. 6th Letitia Breckenridge, (dead) 
who first married Alfred Grayson, by whom she had one 

Memoranda of the Preston Family. 359 

soil; John B. Grayson, an officer in the United States 
Army, and then married Gen. Peter B. Porter, of New 
York, by whom she left a son, Peter B. Porter, and a 
daughter, Elizabeth Porter, minors. 7th. Mary Ann 
Breckinridge, (dead) who married David Castleman, a 
iiEuiner of Fayette county. 

3d. James Breckinridge of Virginia, (dead) a 
member of the bar> a general of militia and member of 
congress. He married Miss Selden, and left four sons 

and four daughters, viz : Carey married Miss ; 

James died unmarried; Robert married Miss Meredith 
of Kentucky, and left a daughter recently married, and 
(me son a minor ; John Breckinridge, unmarried ; Letitia, 
married Col. Robert Gamble of Florida, her eldest 
daughter married Mr. Shepherd, a planter of Florida, 
and her eldest son, John Gamble, married Miss Watts 
of Virginia; Elizabeth Breckinridge married Gen. 
Edward Watts of Virginia, a lawyer, and speaker of 
the Virginia Senate, who has two sons, James and 
William, both lawyers, and six daughters ; Mary (dead), 
married Mr. Gamble of Florida ; Ann married James P. 
Holcomb, a member of the Virginia bar; Elizabeth 
married Thomas L. Preston of Abingdon; and the 
others as yet minors. Marian Breckinridge, died 
unmarried; and Matilda married Harry Bowyer of 

4th. Elizabeth Breckinridge (dead\ married Samuel 
Meredith of Fayette county, Ky., and left three 
daughters. 1st. Letitia, who married William S. 
DaUam^ and has three daughters, viz : Frances married 

360 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

Professor Peter, of the medical School of Transylvank 
University — ^Letitia, unmarried — and Elizabeth recently 
married. 2d. Elizabeth married James Coleman, and 
has several sons and daughters, the eldest of the latter 
recently married. 3d. Jane unmarried. 4th. Mary 
married her cousin, Robert Breckinridge of Virgmia, 
and left a daughter, recently married to Mr. Burch, and 
a son a minor. 

5th. Preston Breckinridge married Miss Trigg of 
Kentucky, and left three sons, Robert, William and 
Stephen — and three daughters, Marian, Elizabeth and 
Gabriella, who married Mr. Tarlton, Mr. Dickey, and 
Mr. Shotwell. 

II. Maboabet Pbeston, second daughter of John 
and Elizabeth Preston, was bom in Ireland, about 
1780. She possessed a strong cultivated mind, and 
much energy of character. Ste married the Rev. Jdin 
Brown, a graduate of Princeton College, long and 
extensively known in Virginia and Kentucky as a 
Presbyterian minister of piety and talents. They both 
died in Kentucky — she in the year 1802, aged 73 
years — and he in 1803, aged 75 years. Their children 
who lived to maturity were : 

1st. Elizabeth (dead)^ who married the Rev. Thomas 
B. Craighead of Tennessee, a distinguished Minister of 
the Presbyterian denomination, and left seven children, 
viz : John B., Jane, David, Alexander, William, James 
B., and Thomas David and Thomas are members of the 
Tennessee bar. John B. and David are married, and 
have children. The names of John B. Craighead's 

Memoranda of the Preston Family. 861 

f^Mdren are Joseph and Thomas. The names of David 
Craighead's children are Elizabeth, James, Mary, 
Joanna, and Thomas, all minors. 

2d. John Brown,* now the oldest member of the 
Preston eonnexion. He was a student at Prmceton 
College, when that institution was broken up by the 
British. He afterwards completed his studies at 
William and Mary College, and for several years 
practised law with success. He was a member of the 
Virgmia legislature from the District of Kentucky^ and 
was, by the legislature of that state, appointed a 
r^resentative to the old congress in 1787, and also in 
1788. In 1789 and 1791, he was elected by the people 
of Eentucbjr a representative to the first and second 
congress under the present constitution. After Kentucky 
became a state, he was three times elected a senator, in 
congress, and continued a member of the senate until 
1805. He married Margretta Mason of New- York, 
daughter of the Bev. John Mason, and sister of 
the Bev. John M. Mason, both distinguished ministers 
of the gospel. By this marriage he had five children, 
four sons and one daughter, three of whom died when 
children. Mason and Orlando are now Uving. 1st. 
Mason Brown is a judge of the circuit court of Kentucky, 
and has been twice married — first to Judith Ann 
Bledsoe, daughter of the Hon. Jesse Bledsoe ; by her 
he had one son, Benjamin Gratz Brown, a minor now 

* The Hon. John Brown died at Frankfort, Ky., on the 29th of 
Angiut, 1857, aged 80 years. 


862 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

living — afterwards to Mary Yoder, daughter of Capt. 
Jacob Yoder of Spencer county, Ky. They have three 
children, viz: John, Margaret and Mary, all minors. 
2d. Orlando Brown was educated as a lawyer, and for 
some years edited the • Kentucky Commonwealth. He 
married Mary W. Brown, daughter of Dr. Preston 
Brown. They had five children, four sons and a 
daughter, three of whom are living, viz: Euphemia, 
Mason and Orlando, all minors. 

3d. William Brown, was educated at Princeton — 
studied medicine, and commenced the practice in South 
Carolina, with fair prospects of success, but died 
shortly afterwards, unmarried. 

4th. Mary Brown ( dead ), who married Dr. Al* 
exander Humphreys, an eminent physician o£ 
Staunton, and after his death removed to Kentucky 
with her fanuly, consisting of seven children. 1st. 
John B. Humphreys {dead\ married Miss Kenner of 
Louisiana, and resided in that State. His widow and 
six children, who are all minors, still reside in that 
state. 2d. Margaret Humphreys married Charles 
Sproule, and left four children, Mary Ann, Margaret 
Joseph and John ( dead ) — Margaret married James S. 
Clark, merchant of New Orleans, and has two children, 
minors. 3d. James Humphreys married Miss Harry, 
of Ohio, and left one daughter. Elizabeth Humphreys, 
unmarried. 4th. David C. Humphreys, a farmer in 
Woodford county, Ky., married Miss Scott, daughter of 
Dr. Joseph Scott of Lexington, and has four children, 
viz : Joseph, Samuel, Mary, and Lucy, minors. 5th. 


Memoranda of the Preston Family. 868 

Elizabeth Humphreys married Robert S. Todd of 
Lexington, for many years clerk of the house of rep- 
resentatives of Kentucky, and now a member, and has 
five children, viz: Margaret, Samuel, David, Martha, 
and Emily, all minors. 6th. Samuel Humphreys, died 
unmarried. 7th. Dr. Alexander Humphreys, married 
Miss Perrit of Louisiana, and lives in that state, having 
four children, viz: Elizabeth, Elodie, Amelia, and 
Eulalia, all minors. 

6th. James Brown, a distinguished lawyer, and first 
secretary of state in Kentucky. He was for many years 
a member of the United States senate from Louisiana, 
and for six years American minister to the court of 
France. He married Ann Hart, daughter of Col. 
Thomas Hart, and sister of Mrs. H. Clay, of Ashland, 
and died at Philadelphia, leaving no family. 

6th. Samuel Brown {dead)^ an eminent physician, 
and professor in the Medical school of Transylvania. 
He married Miss Percy of Alabama, and left one son, 
James P. Brown, a lawyer and planter in Mississippi, 
who married Miss Campbell, daughter of George W. 
Campbell of Nashville — and one daughter, Susan 
Brown, who married Charles J. IngersoU, Jr., of 

7th. Dr. Preston Brown (dead)^ of Woodford county, 
Ky. He married Elizabeth Watts of Va., and left one 
son, viz. : John P. W. Brown, who married Miss Nichol 
of Nashville, and is a member of the Tennessee bar, 
and has three children, viz. : Eleanor, Elizabeth W., 
and Preston W., all minors ; and four daughters, viz. r 

364 Memoranda of the Preston FamUtf. 

1st. Louisa, who married Judge Bucks of Mississippi, 
who has six children, viz. : Elizabeth, Preston, Maria 
Louisa, Henrietta, Marian, and Lewis Taylor, all 
minors. 2d. Henrietta, who married Judge Beese oC 
Tennessee, and has a daughter Louisa. 3d. Mary 
{dead)j who married Orlando Brown of Frankfort. 4ih. 
Elizabeth who married Bobert W. Scott of Franklin 
county, £y., and has five children, viz. : Preston, Joel, 
John, Mary, and Bebecca, all minors. 

lU. William Pbbston, only son of John and 
Elizabeth Preston, was bom in L*eland, and was ei^t 
years old when he came to America. He was a man of 
strong active mind, and much energy of character — wai 
a member <^ the Virginia house of burgesses, surveyor 
and county lieutenant of Fincastle or Montgomery 
county, and a decided active and efficient Whig during 
the Bevolutionary war. He married Miss Susanna 
Smith of Hanover county, Virginia, daughter of Franeia 
Smith and Elizabeth Waddy, and died at Smithfield, 
in June 1783, aged 63 years, leaving eleven children, 
viz : Elizabeth, John, Francis, Sarah, William, Susanna, 
James, Patton, Mary, Letitia, Thomas, Lewis, and 

1st. Elizabeth Prestcm, married William S. Madison* 
who died during the Revolutionary war, and left two 
daughters, Susan Smith Madison and Agatha Strother 
Madison. Susan married John Howe Peyton of 
Staunton, a distinguished lawyer and member of the 
Virginia senate, and left one son, William M. Peyton, a 
member of the Virgmia legislature, who married 


Mmmatida of th Preston Family. 865 

Taylor, daughter of Judge Allen Taylor of Bottetourt, 
and has the following children, viz : Elizabeth, Susan, 
Sally, Agatha, Garnett, and William, all minors. 
Agatha married Garnett Peyton, brother of John H. 
Peyton, and has four sons, Benjamin Howard Peyton, 
John R. Peyton, who married Miss White, James M. 
Peyton, William P. Peyton, and Ann Peyton. 

2d. John Preston, eldest son of Col. Wm. Preston of 
Smithfield, was a member of the Virginia senate, 
general of militia, surveyor of Montgomery county, 
and for many years treasurer of Virginia. He first 
married Miss Radford, and then Mrs. Mayo, and left 
three sons and three daughters. 1st. William R. 
Preston of Missouri, married Miss Cabell, and has a 
Iwge family of children minors. 2d. John B. Preston 
of Barren coimty, Ky., was many years a member^of 
the Kentucky legislature. He married Miss Murrell, 
and died on a visit to Texas, leaving several children, 
minors. 3d. Edward C. Preston, married Miss Hawkins, 
and died in Louisiana, leaving one son, a minor. 4th. 
Eliza Preston married Charles Johnson, a lawyer, and 
member of congress from Virginia.* She left one son, 
Preston Johnston of the United states army, and one 
daughter Elvira Johnston, unmarried. 5th. Susan R. 
Preston married her cousin William Radford, and has 
two daughters, minors. 6th. Sarah R. Preston, 
married Henry Bowyer, and has three sons and two 
daughters, minors. Mrs. Radford and Mrs. Bowyer 

* General Joe JolmBton of the Confederate Aimy of the Cumberland 
(1864), is of this stock. 

866 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

both reside at Greenfield, the former residence <rf their 
father and grandfather. 

3d. Francis Preston, second son of Col. Wm. Preston, 
of Smithfield, was member of the Virginia Senate, 
General of Militia, and member of Congress. He 
married Miss Campbell, only child of General 
William Campbell, and left ten children, four sons 
and six daughters, viz : William Campbell Preston, a 
distinguished lawyer and Senator in Congress from 
South Carolina, married first Miss Coulter of that State, 
and after her death. Miss Davis of that State. His 
only child is Sally Campbell Preston, unmarried. 2d. 
Eliza, who married Gen. Edward Carrington of Halifax, 
Virginia. Her children are minors. 8d. Susan married 
her cousin, James M'Dowell, and has nine children. 
4th. Sarah married her cousin John B. Floyd, and has 
no children. 6th. Sophonisba married the Bev. Robert J. 
Breckinridge, and has six children, Mary, Sally, Robert,- 
Maria, WiUiam, and Sophonisba. 6th. Maria (dead)j mar- 
ried John M. Preston of Abingdon, formerly of EentucJ^,^ 
and has two sons, minors. 7th. Charles Preston married 
Miss Beall, and has left no children. 8th. John S. 
Preston married Miss Hampton, daughter of Gen. Wade 
Hampton of South Carolina, and has five children, 
minors. 9th. Thomas L. Preston married Miss Watts 
of Virginia, 10th. Margaret married Wade Hampton,. 
Jr., grandson of Gen. Wade Hampton, and has one son, 
a minor. 

4th. Sarah Preston, second daughter of Col. Wm. 
Preston, of Smithfield, married Col. James M'Dowell of 

Memoranda of the Preston Family, 367 

Rockbridge, Va., an officer in the late war with Great 
Britain. She left two daughters and one son, viz : 1st. 
Susan married William Taylor, a lawyer, and member of 
the Virginia senate. She has four sons, Dr. James 
Taylor, Robert Taylor, a lawyer, Benton Taylor, 
William Taylor, and one daughter Susan, unmarried. 
2d. Eliza married Col. Thomas Hart Benton, a lawyer, 
and Senator in congress from Missouri. She has four 
daughters, Eliza, Jesse, Ann, Sarah, and Susan, and pne 
son, Randolph Benton. Jesse Ann Benton is recently 
married to Lieutenant Fremont of the United States 
Army. 8d. James M'Dowell, member of the Virginia 
legislature, married Miss Preston, daughter of Gen. 
Francis Preston, and has nine children, viz : Sally who 
is recently married to Francis Thomas, Governor of 
Maryland; Mary, Frances, Sophonisba, Susan, Canty, 
Ehzabeth, James, and Thomas. 

5th. William Preston, third son of Col. Wm. Preston, 
of Smithfield, late of Louisville, was for five years a 
captain in Gen. Wayne's army. He married Miss 
Hancock, of Virginia, and left five daughters and one 
son, viz : 1st. Henrietta (dead)^ married Albert S. 
Johnson of the United States army, recently a General 
of Texas, and left one son, William , and one daughter, 
Henrietta, minors. 2d. Maria married John Pope of 
Louisville, and has no children. 8d. Caroline (dead)^ 
married Col. Abram Woolley of the United States army, 
and left one son, William P. Wooley, a minor. 4th. 
Josephine (dead)y married Capt. Jason Rogers of the 
United States army, and left five children, viz : William, 

368 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

Susan, Albert S., Maria, and Jason, minors. 5tii. 
William Preston married Miss Wickliffe, daugliter 
of Bobert Wickliffe, and has one daughter, Mary Owen 
Preston, a minor. 6th. Susan, married Howard 
Christy of St. Louis. • 

6th. Susanna Preston, third daughter of Colonel Wm. 
Preston of Smithfield, married Nathaniel Hart of Wood* 
ford county, Ey., and left five daughters and two sons, 
viz. : 1st. Sarah Simpson Hart married Col. George G. 
Thompson of Mercer, often a member of the Kentucky 
legislature and twice speaker of the lower house. She 
has three daughters, Susan, Virginia (dead)^ and Letitia, 
unmarried. 2d. Letitia P. Hart married Ar&ur H. 
Wallace of Livingston county, Ey., and has two sobs 
and two daughters, Susan, WiUiam, Sarah, and Thomas, 
minors. 3d. Louisiana B. Hart married Tobias Gibson, 
a planter of Louisiana, now of Lexington, Ey . She has 
one daughter, Sarah, and six sons, Bandal, William, 
Hart, Claudius, Tobias, and M'Einley, minors. 4&. 
Mary Howard Hart married William Yoorhies, a mem- 
ber of the Louisiana legislature, now of Woodford 
county, Ey., and has three sons, George, Charles, and 
William, minors. 6th. Nathaniel Hart — and 6th. 
William P. Hart, both unmarried. 7th. Virginia Hart 
married Alfred Shelby, youngest son of Gov. Shelby, 
and has two sons, and one daughter, Isaac, Alfred, and 
Susan, minors. 

7th. James Patton Preston, fourth son of Colonel 
Wm. Preston of Smithfield, was a member of the 
Virginia senate, a Colonel in the United States Army, 

Memoranda of the Preston Family. 869 

and Governor of Virginia. He married Miss Taylor of 
Nosfolk, and has three sons and one daughter, viz. : 1st. 
Wm. Ballard Preston, a lawyer and member of the 
Virginia senate, who married Miss Bedd, of Virginia, 
and has one son, Waller Bedd Preston. 2d. Bobert 
Taylor Preston married Miss Hart of South Carolina, 
and has three children, Virginia, Hart, and James P., 
minors. 8d. James Francis Preston is a lawyer and 
unmamed. 4th. Jane Grace Preston, unmarried. 

8th. Mary Preston, fourth daughter of Colonel Wm. 
Preston of Smithfield, married John Lewis of the Sweet 
Springs, and left six daughters and three sons, viz : 1st. 
Susan nuirried Henry Massie of Virginia, and left three 
daughters and two sons, viz: Sarah married Mr. 
Stanley of North Carolina; Mary married John 
Hampden Pleasants, editor of the Bichmond Whig; 
Eugenia married Samuel Gatewood; Henry Massie 
married Miss Smith, and Thomas, unmarried. 2d. 
Mary Lewis married James WoodviUe, a lawyer, of 
Fincastle, and left one son, Lewis Woodville, unmarried. 
3d. William Lewis married, first Miss Stewart of 
South Carolina, then Miss Thompson of South Carolina, 
and then his cousin, Miss Floyd of Virginia. He has 
often been a member of the South Carolina legislature, 
and has four daughters, one of whom is married. 4th.' 
Ann Lewis married John Howe Peyton of Staunton, and 
has nine children, viz. : Susan, married to Mr. Baldwin 
of Staunton, John Lewis, Ann, Mary, Lucy, Jdiargaret, 
Yelverton, Howe, and Virginia. 6th. Sarah Lewis 
married John Lewis of Eenawha. 6th. Margaret Lrnu 


370 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

Lewis married Mr. Cochran of Charlottsville, and has 
five sons and one daughter^ minors. 7th. Dr. Benjamin 
Lewis married Mrs. Smith of Soath Carolina, and has 
three children minors. 8th. Thomas P. Lewis, mimar-> 
ried. 9th. Polydora married Mr. Goss, a fiEum^ of 
Albemarle, and has one child, a minor. 

9th. Letitia Preston, fifth daughter of Col. Wm. 
Preston of Smithfield, married John Floyd of Kentucky, 
who removed to Virginia ; was many years member of 
Congress, and then Governor of the State. She 
has four sons and three daughters, viz. : 1st. John B. 
Floyd, a lawyer, married Miss Preston, daughter of 
Gen. Francis Preston, and has no children. 2d. William 
P. Floyd, is a practising physician, and unmarried. 8d. 
Benjamin Rush Floyd, a lawyer, married Miss Mathews 
of Virginia, and has one child, a minor. 4th. George 
R. C. Floyd, unmarried. 6th. Letitia P. married 
William Lewis of South Carolina, and has two 
daughters, minors. 6th. Lavalette, unmarried. 7th. 
Nicketti, married Mr. Johnston, a lawyer of Virginia. 

10th. Thomas Lewis Preston, fifth son of Colonel 
Wm. Preston of Smithfield, was a lawyer and member 
of the Virginia legislature. He married Miss Randolph, 
daughter of Edmund Randolph of Virginia, and left one 
feon and one daughter, viz. : John Thomas Lewis 
Preston, Professor in the Virginia Military Institute, 
married Miss Caruthers, and has two sons and two 
daughters, minors. Elizabeth married WiUiam A. 
Cocke of Cumberland county, Virginia, and has three 
sons, minors. 


Memoranda of the Preston Family. 371 

11th. Margaret Preston, sixth daughter of Colonel 
Wm, Preston of Smithfield, married Colonel John 
Preston of Walnut Grove, Virginia, son of Eobert 
Preston, a distant relative, has nine sons and five 
daughters, viz. : 1st. Susan (dead)j married Mr. Ray of 
Tennessee, and left two daughters and a son, minors. 
2d. Bobert, a physician, married Miss Marshall of 
Philadelphia, and has two daughters, minors. 3d. 
Margaret, married James White of Abingdon, and has 
eight children minors. 4th. Alfred, married 
Miss Willey of Tennessee, and has no children. 
5th. Ellen, married Mr. Sheffy of Virginia, and has two 
cjbildren, minors. 6th. John, a lawyer, of Arkansas, 
unmarried. 7th. Thomas, a lawyer of St. Louis — 8th. 
Walter, a lawyer, both unmarried. 9th and 10th. Jane 
and Elizabeth, unmarried — ^and Francis, James, Joseph, 
and Heniy, minors. 

IV. Ann Preston, third daughter of John and 
Elizabeth Preston, born in Ireland, was a woman of 
excellent understanding and unaffected piety. She 
married Francis Smith of Virginia, and removed to 
Kentucky, where she died in 1813, aged 74 years. Her 
family consisted of two sons and four daughters, viz : 

Ist. Elizabeth, married James Blair, a lawyer, and 
Attorney General for Kentucky. She left two sons and 
two daughters, viz. : 1st. Francis P. Blair, the distin- 
guished editor of the Globe, who married Miss Gist, 
daughter of Gen. Nathaniel Gist, and has three sons 
and one daughter, viz. : Montgomery, a lawyer of 
Missouri. — Francis, James, and Elizabeth. 2d. William 

872 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

Blair, a Captain in the United States army, manied 
Miss Cragg, and left <xie son^ Patrick S^ minor. 3cL 
Susanna Blair married Abram Ward, then John 
Honnicut, then Job Stevenscm. She has cxie son, 
Abram Ward, minor. 4th Eliza Jane Blair, manried 
N. A. Spears, and has several children. 

2d. John Smith, member of the Kentucky legislature 
married Miss Hart, daughter of Capt. Nathaniel Hart, 
one of the Pioneers of Kentucky, and has two soos and 
five daughters, viz.: 1st. "V^^lliam P. Smith mairied 
Miss Grayson, and has one daughter, a minor. 2d. 
Isaac S. Smith, married his cousin, a daughter of 
Biehard Hart of Henderson, Ey., and has one child, a 
minor. Mucretia, Susan {dead)j Sally, Ann, and Letitia 

8d. Susanna Smith, married William Trigg, of 
Frankfort, son of Col. Stephen Trigg, who was killed at 
the Blue Licks, 1782, and has no children. 

4th. Jane Smith, married Gteorge Madison, an 
officer In the late war, and Governor of Kentucl^. She 
left three sons and two daughters, all df whom died 
young and unmarried except Myra, who married 
Andrew Alexander, and has the following children, 
viz. : Agatha Apoline, Myra, George, and Andrew, all 

6th. William P. Smith, was a captain in the United 
States army, and died unmarried. 

6th. Agatha Smith married Dr. Lewis Marshall of 
Woodford, and has six sons and one daughter, viz. : 
Ist. Thomas F. Marshall, lawyer and member of 


Memoranda of the Preston Family. 878 

Congress. 2d. William L. Marshall, lawyer of Balti- 
more, married Miss Lee of Virgima, and has one child, 
a minor. 8d. Charles Marshall (dead). 4th. Dr. 
Alexander Marshall married Miss M'Dowell, and has 
several children, minors. 6th John Campbell Marshall — 
6th. Agatha — and 7th. Edward Marshall, unmarried. 

V. Maby Preston, fourth daughter of Jdhn and 
Elizabeth Preston, was a woman of superior under- 
standing and highly cultivated taste. She married 
John Howard of Virginia. Mid removed to Kentucky, 
where she died in 1814, having been bom in America, 
and being 74 years of age. She had one son, 1st. 
Benj. Howard, a member of Congress from Kentucky, 
and Governor of the Territory of Missouri, when he 
died in 1814. He married Miss Mason, daughter of 
Gen. S. T. Mason of Virginia, but left no children. 

2d. Elizabeth Howard married Edward Payne of 
Fayette county, and left six sons, viz : Edward Daniel 
M'Carty, Benjamin, Thomas Jefferson, John B., and 
James B. Payne, all of whom married except 
Bei^amin, who died young. 

8d. Mary Howard married Alexander Parker of 
Lexington, and has one son, Richard B. Parker,^ who 
married Miss Rice — and one daughter Mary, who 
married Thomas T. Crittenden. Secretary of State, 
and Circuit Judge of Kentucky, who has one daughter, 
Mary Crittenden, who married in Texas — and four sons, 
Alexander P., Thomas, Benjamin, and Robert, the 
first married. 

4th. Sarah Howard died unmarried. 

874 Memoranda of the Preston Family. 

6th. Margaret Howard married Robert WickliflFe, an 
eminent lawyer, and member of the Kentucky legisla- 
ture. She left three daughters, viz : Sally Wickliffe, 
who married Aaron K. Woolley, member of the 
Kentucky legislature, Circuit Court Judge, and 
Professor in the Law School of Transylvania. She has 
six children, minors. 2d. Mary Wickliffe, unmarried. 
3d. Margaret married William Preston • of Louis- 
ville, and has one daughter, minor. 4th. Charles, 5th. 
John, and 6th. Benjamin, died unmarried. 7th. Robert 
Wickliffe, lawyer and member of the Kentucky 

* 'n^Uiam Preston, now Oeneral in the Confederate Ana;. 

[The foregoing "Memoranda" was first printed for 
private distribution in the year 1842, and, being in re- 
quest by a few collectors, twenty-five copies were 
re-printed in Albany, N.Y., 1864.] 






The Lewis family are descended from a French- 
Protestant family (Lewis de Dole), which took refuge 
in Scotland from the persecutions that followed the 
assassination of Henry IV. of France. Lewis was a 
gentleman of fortune, and married Margaret Lynn, the 
daughter of the Laird of Lock-Lynn, who was descended 
from a chieftain of a once powerful Highland Clan. He 
left by his marriage, issue, namely : 

I. Thomas^ who was for many years a member of 
the House of Burgesses of Virginia and of the Federal 
convention of 1787. He married and left four sons. 1. 
John, 2. Samuel, 3. James, 4. Thomas, all of whom 
married and left issue. 


376 Abridged Pedigree of the Lewis Family^ 

II. Andrew, a General in the American revolutionary 
army, and the first field officer ever nominated by 
Washington. He is the hero of the battle of Point- 
Pleasant, and was at Braddock's defeat in 1755. Gen. 
Lewis married and left issue. The State c£ Virginia 
has erected a Statue of him^ in the public grounds, 
Richmond, Virginia. 

in, Charles, a Colonel in the colonial service c£ Vir- 
ginia, killed 10th October, 1774, at the battle of Pdnt- 
Pleasant. Lewis County, Virginia, is named in his 
honour. He married and left issue, 

1. John Lewis, who married and left issue, viz., 

General Samuel Lewis, of Lewiston, Rocking- 
ham Co., who married and left issue, 1. Hon. 
John Lewis, United States senator for Virginia, 
in 1878, who married Serena, a daughter of 
Hon. Mr. Sheffey, and has issue. 2. His 
Excellency Charles H. Lewis, Minister President 
at the Court of Portugal, in 1878, from United 
States. He married a daughter of Hon. John 
Taylor Lomax, and has issue, one daughter, who 
is married. 
IV. William, a Colonel in the Colonial forces of 
Virguxia, and present at the defeat of General Braddock, 
in 1755. He married Ann Montgomery of Wihnington, 
Delaware, a kinswoman of General Richard Montgomery, 
and left issue, a large family. His son and successor 

1. M(yor John Lewis y of the Sweet Springs, who mar- 
ried Maty, a daughter of Col. William Preston of 
Smithfield, Virginia, and left issue, . 

Abridged Pedigree of ihe^ Lewis Family. 377 

I. CoIomI William Lyim Lewie^ who married 1st, 
MisB Stnart of S. 0. and by her left issue, 
1st Dr. James Stuart Lewis, and two daughters^ 
CoL Lewis married 2nd., Letitia, daughter of 
His Sxoellency, Governor John Floyd of Va., 
and loft issue, 1st. William Lynn, married Miss 
Dooley, of Richmond, 2nd. John Floyd, mimied 
Misgu-.— of Kentucl^, 8rd, Charles and two 
daughters^ Ist. Susan married Mr. Fredericks of 
South Carolina, and has issue. 2nd. Letitia married 
Mr. Cockes, of Virginia, and has issue, n 

II. Major Thomas Preston Lewis^ unmarried. 

HI* Dr. John B. Lewis married Mrs. Smith, of South 
Calrolina, and left issue, 1st. Dr. John Lewis, of 
Albemarle, County Virginia. 2. William, 3. 
Montgomery killed in the Confederate army. 4. 
Ann . married Mr. White, of Texas, and has issue, 
6. Eugenia, unmarried. 

IV. Mary married James L. Woodville, of Fincastle, 
and left one son, Dr. James L. Woodville, of 
Monroe, County Virginia, who married Mary, a 
daughter of Cary Breckintidge of Botetourt, and 
has issue. 

V. Sudan married Capt. Henry Massie of Alleghany 
Co» and left issue, 1. Henry, who married Miss 
Smith, and has issue. 2. Dr. Thomas^ who married 
the Undow of his cousin Waller Massie, of Ohio, 
and left at his death in 1864, two children. 8 Sarah 
nunrried Bev. F. Stanley, M. A. and died without 
issuci 4 Mearf married John Hampden Pleasants 


378 Abridged Pedigree of the Lewis Family. 

and left two children, 1. James married and has 
issue. 2. Ann Eliza, who married Bazil Gordon of 
Fredericksburg Virginia, and has issue. 5. Eugenia, 
married Samuel Gatewood, and left isssue. 
VI. Ann Montgomery Lewis, who married John 
Howe Peyton, and left issue at her death in 1850. 

1. John Lewis^ who married Henrietta E. C, 
daughter of Col. J. 0. Washington of Lenoir 
County, North Carolina, has issue, one son, bom 
27th January 1872, in the island of Guernsey, 
Great Britain, namely Lawrence Washington 
Howe Peyton. 

2. Yelverton Howe unmarried. 

3. Susan Madison married Colonel John B. Baldwin 
of Augusta County, Virginia, a son of Judge 
Briscoe G. Baldwin. 

4. Ann Montgomery died uniharried. 

5. Mary^ married Robert A. Gray of Rockingham 
County Virginia, and has issue 

6. Elizabeth married William B. Telfair of Ohio 
and has issue. 

7. Lucy, married Judge Jno. M. Hendren of Vir- 
ginia and has issue. 

8. Margaret Lynn^ married George M. Cochran, 
junior of Staunton, Virginia, and has issue two 
sons, 1. Peyton, 2. Baldwin. 

9. Virginia married Col. Jos. P. Kent, of Wythe, 
County Virginia, and has issue, one son. 

10. Cornelia, married Dr. Thomas, and has issue, 
two sons, 1, Peyton, 2, Baldwin. 

Abridged Pedigree of the Lewis Pamily. 379 

Vn. Margaret Lynn Lewis^ married John Cochran, of 
Alb^Diare, and has issue, 1 Judge John Lewis Cochran, 
who married the widow of Dr. Thomas E. Massie, and has 
issue. 2 James, who married an heiress, Miss Brooks, 
of Smith's-foUy, Augusta county, and has issue. 3 Dr. 
Henry. 4 Howe Peyton, who married a daughter of 
General Edward Carrington, and has issue. 6 William 
Lynn, 6 Mary Preston, who married John M. Preston 
and has issue and 7 George Moffatte. 

Vin. Eugenia LeuriSf who married Dr. John Goss, and 
left issue. A tolerably full history of the Lewis family, 
will be found in *' Howe's History of Virginia," under 
head of Augusta County. 




furnished to the authob by 

John Washington, brother of the Hon. William 

H. Washington, Member of Congress for the 

Nbwbebn, (Nobth Carolina) District. 

I. Sir William Washington^ Knight of Packingham, 
county of Leicester, married Anne Yilliers, half-sister 
of the Duke of Buckingham, and left two sons, both of 
whom settled in the colony of Virginia, 

1 .• John, who married Ann Pope, and left issue one 
son, namely, 

Lawrence of Bridge's Creek, Westmoreland County, 
Virginia, who married Mildred, daughter of 
Colonel Agustine Warner, and dying in 1697, 
left issue, three sons, namely: 1. John and 3 
Lawrence, both of whom married, and left issue, 

Pedigree of the Washington Family. 381 

but of ^them it is unnecessary to speak, and 
2. Augustine, who married Mary Ball, of Alex- 
andria, Virginia, and by her left issue, one son, 
the illustrious Washington, founder of the United 
States, and called the "Father of his Country." 
II. Lawrence, who married and left a son John, who 
settled in Pittsford, North Carolina, whose eldest son 
John, of Newbem, N. C, married Eliza, daughter of 
John Cobb, of Lenoir County, and left issue^ 

1. John Cobb, of Vernon, near Kinston, Lenoir Co., 
N. C, a member of the North Carolina State 
Constitutional Convention, of the Secession Conven- 
tion in 1861., etc., and J. P., who married Mary 
Ann Edmunds,- daughter, of the late Southey Bond, 
of Raliegh, one of the descendants of the May- 
flower Colony of " Pilgrim Fathers," and has issue, 
two daughters : 

1. Mary Ann Edmunds, who married Major Wm. 
Augustus Blount, and has issue: 1 Jdbn 
Washington, 2 Wm. Augustus, 3 Eliza, 4 Annie, 
5 Mary, 6 Olivia. . 

2. Henrietta Eliza Clark, who married John Lewis 
Peyton^ of Shirley, Augusta Co., Virginia, and 
has issue one son, viz: Lawrence Washington 
Howe^ bom in the Anglo-norman isle of Guernsey 
January 27th, 1872. 

Augustus^ M. D. of the University of Paris, who 
married Anna, a daughter of William Livingston, 
of the State of New York, and left issue a large 

382 Pedigree of the Washington Family. 

III. George^ who married first Cathende, a daughter 
of Dr. F. Dennison. of South Carolina, and has issue, 
1. George Lawrence, who married in Cuba, and resides 
there in 1873. 2. Catherine, who married Henry Bond^ 
of Morgantown, N. C. He married 2nd Louisa, a 
daughter of General Hernandez, of Cuba, (a grandson 
of Philiphe Hernandez, author, etc.;) and has issue, 1. 
Louisa, 2. Augustus, 3. Eliza, 4. John. 3. Annetta. He 
married thirdly Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of 
the late J. B. Sterens, of Newark, New Jersey, and has 
issue 1. George, 2. John. 

IV. Miza^ married 1st. Franklin Grist of North 
Carolina, and left issue, two children, 1. Franklin un- 
married. 2. Eliza, who married Dr. James Hughes, of 
Newbem, North Carolina. After the death of Mr. Grist, 
his widow married Dr. R. Enox, and has issue, 1. 
Augustus Washington, 2. Elizabeth. 

V. -4nw, who married James Heritage Bryan, and 
left issue, 1. James Augustus, who married Miss 
Sheppard, of North Carolina, daughter and co-heiress 
of Judge Donald, of that State, 2. Washington, unmarried 
3. Laura. 

VI. Svsan^ who married the Hon. William A. 
Graham, twice Governor of North Carolina, long a 
United States Senator for that State, and Secretary of 
State for the Navy department in the Cabinet of President 
Fillmore. Governor Graham was the Whig Candidate 
in 1852, for the Vice-Presidency of the United States, 
General Winfield Scott being the Candidate for 
President. They have issue, 1. Joseph, (a North 


Pedigree of the Washington Family. 383 

Carolina Senator) who married ^ and has issue, 2. 

John Washington, also a member of the Senate of North 
Carolina, who married a daughter of Paul Cameron, 
of Hillsboro, and has issue, 3. George W. 4. William A; 
5. Augustus, 6. Susan. 

VII. Mary^ married Joseph Graham of Canton, 
Arkansas, and has issue.. 

His second son left issue, from whom are sprung 
Hon. William H. Washington, of Newbem, and 
Bichard Washington, of Goldsboro, all of whom 
married and have families. 



Absalom, 221. 

Adams, John Quincey, 197. 

Advice on Marriage, 81. 

Advice to a son, 11, 21. Cato's, 

Address to the people of Virginia 
on Senatorial Election, 100. 

Advice to Children, 169. 

African Nurse, anecdote of, 52. 

An African Valet, 166. 

Anderson, J. T., 119. 

A family group — ^interesting one 

Affectionate disposition, evidence 
of his, 165. 

African race, mental inferiority 
of, 235. 

A good master, 170. 

Addison, Jos., 201. 

Ahasuerus, 221. 

Ajobardus — Bishop of Lyons — 
his wise views, 180. 

Alexandria, The ** fool's tax '' in, 

Alexander the Great, 251. 

Alexander, Archibald, 168. 

„ James and Josebh A., 

Aid-de-Camp to Governor of Vir- 
ginia appomtment to, 98. 

America, official delinquencies in, 

Ambition, his want of, 55. 

Amusing trial of a horse-thief, 

Anderson, Joseph B., 86. 

Anecdote of a gallant boy, 11, 12. 
, , „ General Andrew Jack- 
son, 63. 

Apoplexy — a form of disease com- 
mon to the Pe^ons, 305. 

Alleghany, Virgmia, the district 
beyond, 131. 

Ameliorating effect of public 
work on i£e population, 144. 

American government, one of 

economy, 197. 
Anarchy worse than the worst 

Government, 250. 
Argument of Wm. M. Peyton in 

behalf of pubHc works, 133—165 
Armed neutrality recommended 

to Virginia in 1861, 281. 
Aristocracy, the Shoddy, 298. 

Astrologers, foolish belief in, 

Aspirations, the folly of political, 

218, 219. 

Baldwin Briscoe, G., 6, 92. His 

character, 95. 
Baldwin J. B., 240, 306. 
Bayly Thos. H., 189. 190. 
Bamett, David, 119. 
Berlin decrees of Napoleon, 4. 
Barbour, James and Philip, 6, 

Benton, Thos. H., 124. 
Bayard, The modem, 210. 
Beauty and booty, 37. 
Berrian, John M., 16. 
Beautiful Virginian scenery, 168. 
Blair F. P., 3. 
Boys, DrWm., 22. 
Boyden, Rev. E., 44. 
Boys, Mrs. Wm. 75. 
Boone county, 231. 
Beaumont, IVancis, (Colleague of 

Fletcher ), 51. 
Boy, a gallant, 11, 12, 
Biogra^y, motive for writing, 2. 
Brown, Mrs. Fanny Peyton, 74. 
Brown, Orlando, 3. 

,, John, 2. 

Neil, S— 294. 
Braddock — his defeat, 187. 
British people, early ignorance of, 

Beale, Chas., 86. 
Bowyer, Harry, 86. 



Botts, John, minor, 86. 240. 

Bowcock Thomas, 240. 

Burrell, Chas., 86. 

BeU, John, 237, 294. 

Boyce, W. W., 266. His views 
against Secession, 267. 

Border States, their interest im- 
perilled by secession, 249. 

Brown, Governor, of Georgia, 300. 

Blackberry wine, anecdote of, 24 

Breckenrid^, Eobert, J., 2, 16, 
„ ACajor John C, 2, 16. 
Gary, 86. 

Blackburn, General Sam., 6. 
„ Mrs Anna, 84. 

Bryan, John Bandolph, 17. 

Bryan House, 74. 

Brutus, 206. 

Brobdignags, 219. 

Burning Clients' bonds, 57. 58. 

Buddha, 23 

Brokenborough, J. W., 92. 

Bruce, J. E.. 86. 

Cato, Valerius, 24. 

,, advice to his son, 234. 
Campbell, governor of Virgima, 

86, 98, 99. 
Castlemen, T. T., Rev., 73. 
Canada Conquered by the English, 

Carlile, John 8., 240. 
Cannel coal discovered in Vir- 
ginia, 231. 
Calhoun, J. C, 171. 
Catholic Church in Monrose, 176. 
Clay, Henry, ^Miig Candidate, in 

1844, for Presidency, 225, 228. 
Claiborne, Stirling, 7. 
Clients, their bonds burnt 57. 
Clarke, General, 98. 
Clarendon, Earl of, 88. 
Chesapeake bay— the American 

mediterranean, 131. 
Celsus, his advice for preserving 

health, 21. 
Clinton de Witt, 135. 
Chaucer, Geoffrey — founder of 

English poetry, 30. 
Oicero, 24. 

Christ rebukes a proud mother, 9. 
Coulter Judge, 6. 
Combat with Van Bibber, 20. 

Courtesy of England, 44. 
Coercion — a Government right, 

Coal mining in Virginia, 233. 
Cowper, William, 170. 
Carrick's ford, battle of, 290. 
Compromise, Bill of, 1850, 237. 
Comets, appearance of — onoe 

supposed to indicate evils, 184. 
Conrad, Robt. Y., 92. 
Course of a patriot in the public 

ooimcils, 99. 
Confidence inspired by a good 

man, 99. 
Correspondence, the attention of 

a gentleman to friendly, 165. 
Constantinople, fall of, 87. 
Conservative party of Virginiar 

116, 117. 
Crittenden J. J., 266. 
Crichton, James, 23. 
Cromwell, Oliver, 218. 
Crusaders — their superstitionSy 

Crutchfield, Oscar M., 95, 119. 
Gushing, M., 74. 

Dahlgren, Col., his diabolical 
plans, 273—276. 

Davis, Jos. W., 119. 
„ D. C, 7, 86. 

Daniel, Judge Wm., 95, 150, 152. 

David, King, 221. 

Daniel, John M., 240. 

Deprecations of Civil war, a pa- 
triot's, 248. 

Debt due to the dead by 'sur- 
vivors, reflections on, 185. 

Death of Balie Peyton, [junior, 

Diogenes — ^his opinion of the best 
wine, 24. 

Digressions in writing — their 
value to a book, 35. 

Dibden, Thos. FrognaJl, 50. 

Dickerson, Daniel S., 249. 

Divisions amon Virginian families 
by the civil war, 298. 

Dinner table, the manners of a 
gentleman of the *^ old school " 
at, 87. 

Duty, a conscientious man's idea 
of, 59-6a. 



Domestic lile in Boanoke, 169. 
D' Orleans, Father— his fictions 

inventions 178. 
Dupes always ready found by 

Charlatans, 180. 
Douglas, Stephen A., 237. 

Eastern Empire, fall of, 87. 

Early, Gen. J. A., 240. 

Edmundson. J. P., 86. 

Edmunds, J. R., 129. 

Education, popular, advocated, 
200, 204. 

English literature, Angustan 
period of, 20 L 

England, cause of her war vdth 
U. S. in 1812, 3, 4. 

Enquirer, The Richmond, 210. 

Eskridge, Alexr. P., 86, 302, 304, 
307. , 

Elmwood, Roanoke, 89, 90. 

Executive power, Danger of an 
extension of, 109, 111. 

Executive patronage, 124. 

Eulogy on Henry Clay, 227. 

Ewing, E. H., 294. 

Evil supposed to follow appear- 
ance of a comet, 184. 

Escape of Col. Peyton from New 
York, 190. 

Experienced member of the Leg- 
islature, 212. 

Extremist, prevented a settle- 
ment between North and South 
in 1861, 258. 

Express (Newspaper) Editor's 
introduction to Col. Peyton's 
letter, 245. 
,, „ second letter, 278. 

Fabian policy, 254. 

Falkland, Lord, his life near 
Oxford, 88. 

Failure to secure success in life 
is mainly due to want of ambi- 
tion, 55. 

Festive Scene at the "Bryan 
house," 76, 79. 

Federalism, a Locofoco's borrow 
of, 213. 

Fitzpatrick, Mrs Lovie, 31, 33. 

Fillmore, President, 249. 

Fire, destruction of family papers 
by, 90 (note). 

Florida, life there, 52. 

„ how acquired by United 

States, 189, 271. 
Floyd, John B., 86, 241. 
Florence and the Medici, 87. 
Floumoy, Thos., W., 86. 
Fools tax in Alexandria, 180. 
Fontaine Ed., 116. 
Fraternal aflfection, 45, 46. 
Friendship, an old author's idea 

of, 60. 
Free-schools, in Va., views m 

favour of, 200, 210, 
Fultz, D., 70. 
Gaston, William, 16. 
Gamaliel— President of the San- 
hedrim, under Tiberius, 213. 
Gall, Francis Jos. 65. 
Gamett, General R. S., 241. 
Gentlemen— the Virginian of the 

old school, 41. 
Gilmer, T. W., 86. 

„ J. H., 240. 
General Knowledge, value of, 

Goggin, Wm., L. 86. 
Good Moses, C., 110. 
Griffeth, Dr., 86. 
Greenbrier river, named by John 

Lewis, 30. 
Gray, Col. A. S., 87. 
Gt)vemment, the three basis on 

which all rests, 153. 
Gratton, Peachy, 240. 
Greece, flight of wise men from 

Gulf States, their political follies, 


Hay, George, 6, 
Habits, a boy's good, 61. 
Halcombe, J. P., 86. 
Hamilton, Alexr. 261. 
Harrison, Randolph, 86. 

„ Peyton, 87. 

Hartford convention, 5, 270. 
Hamon, 221. 
Hill, Berry, or Bury 33. 
Health, how to preserve, 21. 
Hessian prisoners, how emijloyed 

in Virginia, 31. 
Harrison, Mr. 64. 
Hot Springs, 81. 
Host, an accomplished, 87* 



Houston Russell, 294. 

Hosea, one of the minor prophets, 

Holy legends and the like refuted, 

177, 179. 
History is philosophy, &o., 250 
Howard, Benjamin, 3. 
Howard, John, 86. 
Hunter. E. M. T, 240. 
Huntersville, A lawyer among his 

clients there, 56. 
Hunt,—, 249. 

Icarius, 9. 

Improvements, modem, 41. 

Impression made in the Virginia 

Legislature by a young 

member, 99, 
Internal improvements in Vir- 
ginia, 131, 132. Peyton*8 speech, 

133, to 165. 
Impression made by beautiful 

ocenenr, 168. 
Illinois, how formed, 188. 
Indiana, „ „ 188. 
Inscriptions on the Peyton tombs 

in Cambridgeshire, 337. 
Ignorance, effects of an early 

British people, 202. 
Inexperiencea member of the 

Virginia Legislature, 212. 
Improvements in the people of 

Virginian from his mining 

operations, 233. 
Introduction to Col. Peyton's Ist 

letter on secession, 245. 
„ 2nd letter, 280. 
Isleham, Co. Cambribge, visit to, 

in, 1870, 337. 
Isleham, inWestem Virginia, 166. 

Jackson, Gen. A., 61, 63, 237. 

„ John J., 246. 

Jews, ignorance, the cause of their 

ruin, 201. 
Jefferson, President, 3, 10. His 
good rules, 11. His educational 
plans, 205. 
Johnson, Chapman, 6, 102, 106. 
n n junior, 76, 79. 

., Andrew, 299. 
Cave, 294. 
Jones, Sir Wm. 23. 

Joseph's bones carried into 
Canaan after they had been 
embalmed 400 years, 308. 

Joab, 221. 

Kenawha river, 85 

Kindlv Acts of a good man, 91. 

Knowledge, the advantage of 

both special and general, 174, 

Knowledge, lack of, among the 

Jews, the cause of their woes, 


Lands, the history of the public 

of U. 8. 186, 188. 
Laws of warranty in Virginia, 7. 
Langhome, Mr. 86. 
Lewis, Major John, 10, 176. 

,, Ann Montgomery, 10. 

„ Col. John, Pioneer, of 

Augusta Co, 30. 

General Andrew, 30. 
Meriweather, 98. 

„ Col. Wm. S. 86, 171, 175, 


„ Hon. John, United States 

senator, 240. 

„ Hon. Chas. H. 240. 
Letcher, John, 240, 242. 
Lee, Sir Henry, 297. 
,, Chas. Carter, 86. 
„ General B. E. 241, 244. 
., Mrs. B. E. 245. 
Legislature, life in, 99. 
Leigh, B. W. 120, 121. 
Legal profession, to succeed in,real 

merit is necessary, 48, 49. 
Letter to the Author from his 

brother, 299. 
Lincoln, President, 252, 277. 
Letters and papers lost during 

Civil War, 50. 
Lisle, Mrs., 73. 
Library, the Peyton, 50. 
" Little great men", 219. 
Louisiana, 189, 271. 
Lovers, the victims of astrologers, 

Locofoco party, 210, 215. 
Lyons, James, 86. 

Marshall, T. F., 3, 




Madison, Wm. S., 2. 

„ James. 2, 3, 5, 261. — ^269. 

Marshall, Jno. 6. 

Maimbourg, Lewis, his falsehoods, 
178, 179. 

MacDowell, James, 2, 86. 
„ Mrs. Bob., 73. 

Maoon, Nath., 16. 

Mahomet, 23. 

Massinger, Philip. 80. 

Marriage, advice on, 81. 

Madness of 8. Carolina's politioal 
course, 255. 

Mansion, Col. Peyton's, consumed 
by fire, 90. 

Mason, J. Y., 110. 
„ J. M., 92, 240. 

Mayse, Gteorge, 214. 

Munford, Wm. P., 222. 

McClellan, Qea, G.B., 291. 

Meigs, R. I., 294. 

Morgan, L. D., 294. 

Mercer, C. F., 16. 

Mezzofanti, Ghiiseppe, 23. 

Magnanimity, antidote of, 56. 

Montgomery Hall — ^life there, 28. 

Moone, 8. McD., 72, 240. 

Monbeddo, Lord, 67. 

Middle 8tate8, their political in- 
fluence in Union, 254. 

Mosby, C. L., 86. 

Medici, the, 87. 
„ Cosmo de, 87. 

Mexico, threatened war with, 98. 

Michie, T. J. 92. 

Michigan, State formed, 188. 

Miller, Bowyer, 210—214. 

Moderation in Opinions taught, 
172, 173. 

Mill Spring, battle of, 295. 

Napoleon, 4, 10. 

National Bank, 107. 

Nature, a love of, 59. 

Natural Bridge, Va., 168. 

Ned Phipps, 166, 168. 

Northern States responsible for 

the Civil War, 252. 
Newton, Sir Isaac, 13. 

Orders in Council, British, 4. 
Oregon, boundary line, 98. 



Oratory, when an instrument of 

evil, 69. 
Old Chap, 78. 
Opportunity necessary to success, 

Oliver Major, 86. 
Ottomans threaten Western 

Europe, 87. 
Official delinquencies in America, 


„ (qualification, the Washing- 
toman Standard, 226. 
Office holders not always the 

most deserving, 221. 
*' Old Dominion," 164. 
O'Parrel, John, 119. 
O'Conor, Chas, 249. 
Open house, 299. 

Party spirit reckless in America, 

Patriotic spirit, 209. 
Peyton, John Bouse, 17. 
John 16. 

John Howe, 2, 5, 6, 9, 62, 
66, 67. Speech of against 
a horse thief, — ^his i<fea of 
a fiddling lawyer, 78. 
Elected Senator, 98. Mod- 
erate opinions, inculcated 
by, 172, 174. His ideas of 
the power of general 
knowledge, l74. Apatri- 
archtd master, l70. His 
discourse on holy legends, 
astrology and common 
superstitions, etc., 177, 
Henry, 6. 

Susan Madison, 8, 9. 
(General Bernard, 86. 
Hon. Balie, 294. 
Balie, junior, his death, 296. 
Col. Wm. M., his address 
to the people of Virginia, 
100. Appointed aid- 
de-camp to the Governor 
of Va., 98. His want of 
ambition, 55. His in- 
ternal improvement 
speech, 133, 165. His man- 
sion burnt, 90. His firmness 









and inoorraptibility, 213. 
His denunoiation of repu- 
diaton, 225, 228. ]EQb oon- 
duot to friends, 229. His 
discovery of Cannel coal 
fields 231. His letters to 
Mr. Bives, 245, 276. His 
second letter, 280. His em- 
«mployment during the 
war, 297. His death 
and character, 301 , 309. 
Major Benjamin H, 86. 
Peytona, town of, founded, 232. 
Pedigree of the Peyton family, 313 
„ of the Preston family, 365 
„ of the Lewis family. 375 
„ of the Washington lamily. 380 
Payne Bar, G. 119. 
Park, Geo., 119. 
Paraffine discovered 232. 
Peaceable secession an absurdity 

Pliny the younger believes a 
friend necessary to our success, 
Phrenology, amusing anecdote 

of, 66. 
Party, the Conservative, of Vir- 
ginia, 116. 
Preston, William Campbell, 2. 
James Patton, 2, 86. 
Elizabeth, 2. 
William, 2, 

Wm. Ballard, 86, 129, 240. 
Robert, 86. 
Walter, 86, 303, 
Pennsylvania, her system of inter- 
nal improvement commended. 
145, 147. 
Porterfield, Gen. Bobt., 5. 
„ Geo. H., 291. 

Pocock, Ed., 23. 
Poetical taste an evidence of a 

refined mind, 24. 
Pope Pius, IX., sought to be con- 
verted, 176. 
,, Alexander, 201. 
Political aspirations, folly of, 218. 
Pocohontas, C.H., Confiagration 

of Clients' bonds, 58. 
Peidmont, district of Va., I3l. 
Prophetical forecast of the results 
of Secession, 287. 







Prichard, an illiterate Locofoco, 

209. His stump speech, 217. 
Presidential election of 1860, 235. 
Pryor, B. A., 240. 
Plot to defeat a gentleman, 210. 
Political Doctors, 198. 
Popular Education, 200, 208. 
Pegram, John, his surrender of 

2000 Confederates, 292. 
Presbyterian stronghold invaded 

by Komanists, 176. 
Public lands of the U. S., history 

of, 186, 225. 
Public improvements, ar^ment 

against the three- fifth prmciple, 

154, 160. 
Princeton University, course of 

Study in, 17. 
Popular estimate of Col. Peyton, 

19, 20. 
Prideaux, 23. 

Randolph, Edn., 6. 

„ Thomas J. 86. 

Radford Wm., 86. 

Bepnblio, the better days of, 62. 

Responsibility, Gen. Jackson always 
ready to assome this, 64. 

Read, T. C, 86. 

Reform, advocated by the Virginian 
Whigs, 225. 

Reconstruction of the 'Union, im- 
possible in 1861, 263, 265. 

Rives, Wm. C. 86, 95, 108, 240, 278, 
„ Alexr. 86, 240. 

Republic, Education necessary in, 202. 

Riches fty away, (illustration), 299. 

Rich, mountain Confederates* retreat 
from, 291. 

Richmond Enquirer, 210. 

Ritchie, Wm. 240. 

Rowze, Dr. L., 17. 

Rons, Rouzee, &c.j 17. 

Boanoke Co. established, 99. 

Rivers of Virginia, 180. 

Ritchie, Thomas 120, 121, 210, 311, 

Bockbridge, 168. 

Roman Catholics in the middle ages ; 

Rannymede, 250. 

Rush, Richard, 16. 

Roles of life, Thomas Jefferson's, 11. 

Ruffin, Edmund, Commits Suicide, 



Sardorali Bishop of Pampelima, his 

fictions, 179. 
Search, right of, 3. 
Sallast, 234. 
Seymour, Horatio, 219. 
Segar, Jos., 240. 
Secession, peaceable, an absurdity, 260 

not a reserved right, 268. 
Shefiej, Danl., 7. 
Shanks, Thos., 80, 93, 119, 
Sherrard, Jos. H., 119. 
Shands, Wm., 119. 
Sims, Dr. J. Marion, 47, 278. 
Sully, T., the painter, 49. 
Spnndieim, Jonann Caspar, 66. 
Smith, Ben., 92. 
Solomon, his idea of strife, 243. 
^tt, R. E., 240, 92; 
Southern Congress, proposed by 

South Carolina, 237. 
Scott, Gen. Winfleld, 237. 
Sic Semper Tyrannis, the motto of 

Va., 287. 
Slavery, bright side of, in Va., 170., 

Cause of Secession, 2i52. 
Stuart, Thomas J., 28. 

„ A. H. H., 129, 92, 240. 

„ Chfts. A., 30. 
SouthaU, V. W., 92. 
Stone House, The old, 36, 3S» 
Summers, O. W., 92, 129. 
Sub-Treasury, 121, 
Stack, Leonora, 176. 
Suffirage, Universal, dangerous unless 

the people are educated, 204. 
South Carolina, her course on seces- 
sion condemned, 254, 

, , contrasted ^ ith Virginia 254 
St. Peter discoved by his accent, 293. 
Stump Speeches, 94. 
Secretary of Legation to Paris, 96. 
Steele, Sir Ricb^rd's idea of a g^reat 

man, 220. 
Shoddy Aristocracy, 298 
Swift, Dean, 201. 
Superstitions, Early. 81, 33, 183. 
State proxy to James Riyer and 

Eenawha Canal, 221. 
Summary of the causes which 

justified Virginia in seceding, 232 

Taylor, Sir Hy. 1. 

Taylor, B. A. B., 85, 86, 80. 

„ Hon Allan, 35. 

„ Dr. John B., 86. 
Telfair, Mrs. J., 74. 
Tariff of 1840, 196. 

„ favoured by Whigs, 225. 

Tazewell, L. W., 6. 

Thompson, Eliz., 35. 

Travelling, a general desire, 51, 

Trigg, Robert, 92. 

Tide Water, Virginia, 131. 

Truth and reason, their value, 174 

Texian revolt, 98. 

Turner, Rev. Jesse, 91. 

Tucker, H. St. Geo. 7. 

Turks threaten Europe, 87. 

Ulysses, 52. 

Ultra-Democratic party, 210. 

U. S. Goyemment, the best eyer 

youchsafed to man, 249. 
Union, a central one advocated, 259. 

,; a love of among Virginians, 

Unfortunates, how treated, 298. 

Van Buren, Martin, 95, 210. 

Van Bibber. T., Combat with, 20. 

Valentine, Ed., 86. 

Venable, N. B„ 119, 129. 

Voltaire, 218. 

Vossius, his false stories, 178. 

Virginia, her territorial extent and 
and general aspect, 131 — Her great 
history and services, 254-56 ; Cannot 
follow S. C. with self respect, 256; 
State Convention, 248; Secedes 
from the Union, 243 : Her exposed 
position in event of civil war, 260, 
She rebels, 286 ; Address to her 
people, 100. 

"^nrgima landscapes 59. Early days in, 
7, 8. 25, 30, 41. Want of improve- 
ments in Western, 92. Valley of, 
131. Rivers of , 130. Natural divis- 
ions, 131. 

Washington, 224, Standard of Official 

qualification, 226, 254. 
War in the Union or out of it, 254, 
Watts, E., 86. 
Wesley, 202. 
Walton, Bryan, 23. 
Williamson, Capt. 39, 70. 
Wickliffe, R., 3. 
Wickham, J., 6. 
Wirt, W., 6. 
WiUis, N. P., 17. 
"Whig Society,*' 22. 
Wife, choice of, f 0. 
Wilmer, Bishop, 86. 
Wise, H. A., 240. 

.. O. J., 240. • 
Willey. W. J, 24a 



Wisconsin, of what territory fonned, 

WickednesB punished, 221. 
Whi^ meeting in Roanoke, 228. 
Whippers-in, political, 211. 
Witcher, Vincent, 86. 
Wise men fly from Greece, 87. 
Wythe, Geo., 6. 

Woodville, J., 86. 

Whigs of Virginia, their character, 

Wright, SUas, 121. 
White, family of papist, 176. 
Yerhy, Mr. Delegate for Aocomac, 

Zollicoffer, Gen., his death, 295, 296. 


Ifihitcd by Frederick Clarke, ChiettiMT' 

tn 2 volumes^ post 8vo^ Price 2U^ 



Pages from the Note Book of a State Agent during the Civil War. 



^chsUyr of Laws of the University of Virginia, Correspondmg Member of th$ 

Wisconsin State Historical Society, Fellovj of the Itoyal Qeogrdi^hioal Society 

vf Qreat Britain^ ^c. Late LieuJt,-Goh CkmvmandMig ISth JPf.Gf. CMoago. 


*< These Tolumes are compiled from the notes of the Author, who was at one 
period an accredited agent in Europe for one of the Lite Confederate States^ 
The incidents commence fh>m the outbreak of the war, and there are numerous 
authentic facts and data given which will throw light upon many cirotUnstancea 
connected with the long struggle between the Northern and Southern States* 
The descriptions of scenes yisited, the reflections on social subjects, and the 
statements connected with the secret history of the war acquired by the 
Author in his official capacity, are of the highest interest and importance**' — 
SwndU^ Observer, 

" The American Crisis rises to the rank of a Toluminous state paper. Colonel 
Peyton's work is destined, we believe, to be the text book for posterity, as far 
as regards the political questions opened up by this Civil War^ the most 
gigantic conflict the world has ever witnessed. The Author gives very 
spirited sketches of the preparations for the fight, and the interest taken in 

them by the veterans of the South Throughout he proves his sound 

common sense and perfect mastery over the difficult science of political 
economy. . . . Colonel Peyton has told the history of the American Civil War, 
its commencement, progress, and ultimate close, with preoision, and with con- 
siderable historic care. He has woven with the main thread of his story > too, 
so many strands of minor interest, so many sketches, and so many glances,, at 
EngUsh and American domestic and country life, that each* succeeding year 
cannot fail to add to its value as a photograph of its own times."— Jersey Ea^ets* 


yoiices of the Press (c/yntinued.) 

<«We hare seen no work npon the American Civil War, more entertaining 
and thoronghly readable than that by Colonel Peyton. The style of which ifl 
terse and vigorous.'* — The Cosmopolitan. 

'' Some of the most interesting portions of these charming volnmes contain 
a summary of Colonel Peyton's experiences as well in the political, as in the 
literary world. His sketches are graphic, and ,beyond all controversy, life-like. 
We commend these volumes cordially and conscientiously to perusal, and we 
err if their circulation be not extensive. Their Author was, we believe, some 
two or three years ago resident for a little while amongst us, and has since been 
for a longer season domesticated in Jersey. It is not improbable that he may, 
ere long, once more be a visitor to the Channel Islands, and in that case we are 
sure that we may promise him for ourselves, and equally confident that we may 
prognosticate for him from our neighbours, a very hearty welcome. What 
Sidney Smith called '' stress of politics," has driven many an honoured exile 
from freedom or for conscience sake, upon our shores, but surely none more 
worthy of our esteem than this intelligent and gallant gentlemen of whom — 
his enemies themselves being judges — the very worst that can be said most be, 
* Victrix causa Diis placuit, victa Peytoni.' " — Qttemsey Stor. 

*' Colonel Peyton's book is half a narrative of his reminiscenses of the 
Great Civil War, or rather of his personal intercourse with its chief actors, 
both military and political, and half a description of his experiences in Eng- 
land, and his impressions of English society. He exhibits considerable skill 
in blending his adverse feelings towards Jefferson Davis (whom he regards as a 
common -place politician and not a genius at all) with the necessary amount of 
attachment for the Confederate cause. Some of the chapters which he devotes 
to his personal observations while in this country, will be read with interest, 
and portions of them with amusement. Of course he does not like Mr. Cobden 
or Mr. Bright. Of Lord Russell's appearance and manner he speaks with a 
contempt which is not wholly unmerited, but ill-becomes a panegyrist of Mr. 
Alexander Stephens, of whose outer man he has given the most unflattering of 
descriptions. But he is at all events impartial in his satirical judgments. 
When he presents what is on the whole a very uncomplimentary portrait of Mr. 
Roebuck he is perhaps more true to life, but he makes a poor return for much 
zealous service." — Daily 8ta/r. 

" This subject is unrivalled in importance to Americans, and a very arduous 
one with which to deal ; the interests involved are so manifold, and the 
questions connected with it so complicated that it requires a master-mind to do 
it justice. Colonel Peyton has taken very elevated views of all these great 
questions. We have rarely met with a writer who combines so much impres- 
sive earnestness with so much sound sense and masculine depth of thought." 
— Qaattte, 

Notices of t1k€ Press (continued.) 

** Here we panse, reluctantly ; — the extreme interest we take in the political 
portion of Colonel Peyton's most valnahle and instractive work, has indnced ns 
to ^iscnss somewhat at large what we may venture to entitle " Sentiments 
proper to the present crisis," and that with reference as well to England as to 
America. It is not, however, to the statesman or historian alone that these 
volumes will be interesting. Their Author has mingled largely in the best 
society on either side of the Atlantic, public and private life in both hemis> 
phereSj with their leading warriors, orators, statesmen ; artists and men of 
letters, have come as a matter of course under his notice, ,and are "sketched 
sbly by his graphic pen ; — ^he is in turn a Hogarth and a Watteau, as eccen- 
tricities and absurdities, graces and amenities are to be delineated. Nor is 
graver information wanting ; his work is replete with historical anecdotes, 
valuable statistics, and sound and apposite reflections upon subjects of 
contemporary or social interest." — British Press. 

** The American Crisis is a work of great interest, written in a most spirited 
and masterly style."— r/wmei Advertiser. 

'* It is curious to see with what contempt this gentleman of high birth and 
solid' position, looks down on the mushroom leaders of secession. Most of 
these men are sketched by Colonel Peyton in sharp and biting acid.'* — T1i& 

'* The American Crisis is a higHly entertaining work, and one in which the 
reader^s interest will seldom or ever flag. Many of the sketches are hit ofiT 
with much skill and effect." — B. Herald. 

*' The earlier portion of Colonel Peyton's work draws a lively picture of the 
feelings which prevailed in the south, and especially in Virginia, during the 
first months of the war. The sanguine advocates of Secession were full of 
hope and animation, predicting a speedy triumph of their cause, which should 
force Massachusetts itself to return all fugi^;7r^lave&,~and place the prosperity 
of New England at the mercy of the Southern Confederacy. Colonel Peyton's 
second volume is devoted, for the most part, to life in England. He gives us 
particulars about hotels and lodging-houses, describes our railway management 
and railway carriages; sketches some of our great men: tells us about our 
dinners, our evening parties, our country houses, and our manner of living in 
them, in point of fact, is communicative to Englishman ; and the other, on 
England for the use of Americans. But we can imagine many reasons ;which 
may have made it more convenient for him to treat together the two countries 
which have been connected by his own experience. He is not at all a fatiguing 
w riter to follow ; we may read with tolerable care what he has to tell us about 
America, and may then proceed with undiminished energy to glance at his 
remarks on a subject which, after all, has an interest for most of us — our- 
selves." — The Guardian. 

N0ti€e8 of the Press (cawUwuedL,) 

«FbU of epiriied sketchet and interestiiig description.''— 7^ MiMK 

**In the American CrisiB, the author presents a candid, intereating, aiii 
raloable series of sketches of men, events, etc., at the commencement of the 
war of 16' 1. Also a y&rj entertaining accoant of the manner in which tho 
'* NashriBe,** (war Steamer) ran the blodtade, and got to sea, and of the fife 
and aooietj of the Bermudas. His style is direct, lucid, unassuming, and at 
all timee full of simplicity and ease.*^ — Southern Eeview, Bolttfaore. 

Loudon, Sauhdebs, Otlzt and Co.^ ^^^ Bbook Stbiet, W. 

In One Volume, demy 8vo. Price 16g. 





Author of ** The American OrisiB.''* A historioai, and statistical view of the 
State of nUnois, ^c* Late Chief of Staff to Qeneral Douglas B. La/yne 

of Virgvnda. 


^'A Yeiy interesting and remarkable work."— £[ir Bernard Burhe. 

'*We have rarely risen from the perusal of any work with greater satis^ 
fiustion. It is an interesting and elegantly written Tolome." — Weymouth 

"Le liYTe est toit de main de mattre. La biographie et les laisons qui 
tiennent les lettres, sont d'on style parfait, et, en somme, le livre est des 
phis int4fressants.'^ — Qaaette de Quemesey. 

*< The adyentnres are in themselyes as fnlly fraught with interest as those 
of Robinson Omsoe, or of the pioneers who first penetrated into the Far- 
west, and had to combat with the terrors of the Rooky mountains, or the 
hostilities of the Red Indians. His agreable volume will give him an 
additional claim to the esteem which has been already and so deserredly 
aooorded to his character and talents by all classes of oar society." — 
Chiemseiy Sta^r. 

" We again heartily commend this volume to the attention of the reading 
public, who will, we are sure, heartily join us in thanking its enlightened 
and accomplished author for the literaiy treat which he has afibrded them.** 
'^British Press, 

<*He has produced a very able and graphic biography. It posesses all 
the qualities necessary to become popular, and there is nothing to hinder 
the work from having an extensive run.'^ — Mail and TelegrapK 

93, Gksat Russel Strket, Loia)ON, W.C. 





1 Tol. Sto. 


"Colonel Pejion, vhoitfnvonnblf knows to the British public b; hia pre- 
Vioni worka, is m inteUigent and oburruit tzaveller, who telli well wh»t ha 
hu seen, so that hii nairatJTe makei aTolmne of Ter; pleasant rsading." — 
Note! and Queriet. 

"The prodnotion of a soholar and a gentleman. We can bnt reoommend oar 
teaden to possess themselree of it, assured that thej will find UuU the; hmn 
■eouied a fnnd of pleaaant reading." — United Service MiujaEinfl. 

*'The TeminisoenoeB are yerj intereBting and give an excellent and trathtnl 
idea of the North American Indians, their mode of life and warfare." — Tha 

" Colonel Fejton'i work is of historical yaloe, and we beutil; commend it 
to all. " — Tht London Revitui. — 

"Fall of personal reminiaoences of an interesting ohaiKotei. Some of the 
episodes are fnU of the romance of real lite. He ihows hinuelf to have been 
a keen obflerrer. " — Fustic Opinion. 

" Colonel Peyton's woA is agreeably written. " — Ttu Ouordion. 

" Hia chapters are fraught with a fresher iutereet than we get in these days 
of raUvayB and taat travelling. " — Low's Pabluhers' Otrcular. 

"This 'raliune,written in a very lively and enl^rtaining style, haa more daima 
upon readers, attention than a glance at the title might lead one to sappose." — 
lllvetmted London Hewi. 


Notices of the Press (continued.) 

** As a nsefol and reliitble companion, few can compare in interest with 
Colonel Peyton, whose agreeable volume we have read with mnch pleasure/* 
— T7he Weekly Times, 

** We commend this volome of stirring stories to the lovers of adven- 
ture. " — Lloye's Weekly. 

"*' An exceedingly interesting volume, abounding in pleasant reminiscences, 
by the well known Colcmel Peyton, son of Senator John Howe Peyton, of 
Virginia. Colonel Peyton is author of two other very clever works well 
known in England, "The Americcm Crisis " and *' The Adoeniwres of My 
Grandfather." To Englishmen the work will prove more interesting 
than fiction, and Americans will find in it a living history of their own day 
and generation. '* — The CoswiopoWton. 

" A pleasant, amusing, and charming volume. *' — Norwood Nemos. 

*' A sprightly, chatty, interesting volume. " — Richmond (Virginia) Whig, 

" An interesting contribution to the history of the recent past. " — The 
Courier (Georgetown District of Columbia) U. S. 

"Books that illustrate the rapid growth of the great empire of the United 
States are always interesting, and that is done by both of the vcdumes before 
ns (Col Peyton*s) and Parker Gillmore's " A hunter's adventures in the great 
West." Mr. Gillmore's work, however, is far less valuable than Colonel Peyton's. 
His book is amusing as well as instructive, &e. '' — The Ewaminer. 

HauteviUe House, 

Guernsey, 2 Janvier, 1870. 
Moncher Colonel, 

J'ai In avec le plus vif int^rM votre excellent ouvrage. Vous 
m'exprimez, sur la premiere page, des sentiments qui me touchent vivement. 
Je suis votre concitoyen en libert6 et en humanity. 

L'abolition de Pesclavage a rendu I'Amerique k elle-mdme ; d^sormais il n'y 
a plus ni Nord, ni Sad ; il y a la grande R^pnbliqne. J'en suis comme vous. 

Rocevez, Colonel, men cordial shake [of the] hand. 


Colonel John Lewis Peyton. 

** That these works possess unusual merits we feel safe in asserting. One 

merit — it is not in our eyes a slight one — is, that Col. Peyton everywhere 

* writes like a gentleman.' The age we live in has carried its * fast ' and 

' slap dash ' propensities into literature. Repose, simplicity, and that 

charming unres^erve which characterizes the well-bred Author as it characterizes 

Nolieti ofth4 Frtu fronfiniwJJ 

ibe well-brad genUenun in societ?, become clftj bj mora isre. * * The rtjle of 
Col. PeTton it that of a gentlemui writing for penonB of oidtiire and intalli- 
genoe. His descriptioDS and oonunentB poiseaB great direotneBa and pietn- 
rasqneneu, mingled with a natnnd and agreeable hnmonr ; abd renders bim 
Tolnmea extremely agraeable reading. ' * The works wonld jRove hl^ify cno- 
oeeslnl, we think, if re-pnbliahed in Anerloa. 

John EsTsn Coon, 

(In the Sonihtm Sevime.) 



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