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home market - the protection, namely, of our cotton against foreign competition at the very doors of our own manufacturers.
The Yankees are shrewd fellows. They have learned how to manufacture cotton cloths cheaply and cleverly: and they are now spering about every nook and corner of our little planet, and perhaps of the moon to boot, to see where they can get the raw material at less price than our negroes furnish it. Then, “down with the tariff,” will be the Yankee cry:- and what will the Southerns respond?
But here I must stop to breathe a moment—though but just fairly landed in medias res.
F. G. F.
REV. SAMUEL STANHOPE SMITH, D.D., LL.D.
A LETTER TO REV. DR. WM. B. SPRAGUE.*
NASHVILLE, February 2, 1848. MY DEAR SIR:
You request me to communicate my impressions of the character of the late President Smith. I suppose you do not expect me to write an obituary notice or biographical sketch of this eminent person, nor yet a review of his several publications. What you ask for, if I mistake not, is my own individual estimate of the man, as spontaneously formed during the period of my personal intercourse with him. This, too, notwithstanding the elaborate “Memoir of his Life and Writings” prefixed to an edition of his posthumous sermons, which appeared in 1821, and which has probably left little or nothing to be told. Rather, therefore, in compliance with the wishes of a friend, than with a hope of furnishing any additional matter of interest or moment, I am willing to make the attempt to revive and record some desultory reminiscenses of my venerated instructor.
When I first became acquainted with Dr. Smith, he had already attained the summit of his well-earned celebrity. Throughout the Middle and Southern States, he was regarded as the most eloquent and learned divine among his contemporaries. His reputation as a popular preacher had been long before established in Virginia, where Samuel Davies was still remembered by multitudes of his hearers, and while Patrick Henry was yet in the zenith of his brilliant career. There too he had founded a flourishing college; and to his sole agency and influence Hampden Sidney owed its origin and early prosperity. In the midst of his successful labours, as its principal, and as the pastor of a church in its vicinity, he had been invited by his Alma Mater to return to the scene of his youthful studies, and his first essays as a tutor. He had accepted the invitation, and for years, first as professor, and afterwards as president, had contributed to elevate the college to a position of the highest usefulness and respectability.
* Republished, by permission, from the Annals of the American Pulpit, for which it was originally prepared.
It was in these auspicious circumstances, -just after the desolations occasioned by the fire in 1802 had been repaired,—that I began to attend his instructions, and to know him as the president. The opinion of college lads about men and institutions may be of little value in the great world; and yet it is oftentimes but the echo of the public voice, or a somewhat exaggerated expression of the popular judgment. They are apt to think and speak of their teachers as they hear others speak of them. From our childhood, we (the students) had never heard the Doctor's name pronounced but with praise. We came to the college, therefore, prepared to look up to him as the great man of the age. His superior talents and accomplishments, as a preacher, scholar, philosopher and writer were everywhere spoken of and acknowledged. And we never doubted that he possessed all the attributes and graces which could dignify and adorn the high station which he filled. Such were our prepossessions in his favour at the outset. And there was no subsequent reaction. He daily grew in our esteem. We thought not only that he was equal to every emergency, but that no other man could have succeeded so well. He seemed always to say and to do everything in the happiest manner. In his various college performances, in the chapel, and in the recitation room, however brief or unpremeditated, or by whatever occasion suggested,—as well as in the more ornate and studied exercises of the pulpit,--he satisfied every expectation. It seemed natural for him “to put proper words in proper places," and to select the most expressive. There was no affectation or mannerism, or artifice, or formality, about him. He was simple and unostentatious, and apparently regardless or forgetful of himself. We admired his personal appearance and deportment. And we always listened to his speech with pleasure if not with profit. We never questioned his sincerity and uprightness. We revered him as a faithful Christian minister,—far above reproach or suspicion.
He was less obnoxious, probably than most other men in the like office, to the witticisms, and ridicule, and swaggery, of the disorderly and mischievous portion of the students. That these should not have been always particularly gratified with his discipline, might be presumed. But I never witnessed any attempt to excite a laugh at his expense, or to play off a trick
any fashion, or to exhibit him in a ludicrous attitude, or to caricature any of his remarks or actions. He never betrayed any foibles, or defects, or peculiarities, which could serve the purpose either of fun or abuse. He was the well-bred, courteous gentleman, everywhere, at all times, in all companies, on all occasions. The dignity of his bearing, though not repulsive or oppressive, was uniform and imposing. His very presence would rebuke, overawe, and silence the most turbulent assemblage of youth that ever met for sport or riot,—during my time at least.
Instead of reading his written Lectures on Moral Philosophy, and the Evidences of Christianity, they were previously placed in the hands of the students, and carefully studied in manuscript as text-books. Each member of the Senior class possessed a copy,--transcribed by himself or some person whom he employed to do it, or purchased from a predecessor. Questions were asked upon the subject matter of the lecture, accompanied or followed by pertinent illustrations and explanations. I have already said enough to show how we appreciated these familiar instructions.
Of the government of the college at this period of its greatest prosperity, under President Smith, I can hardly use language too favourable. It was maintained in rigid accordance with the spirit and letter of the printed code of laws, which every student at his matriculation, prom