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Wells. They were chance companions at a large dinner party, and after some brilliant manifestation of the rare colloquial powers of Mr. Barbour, the good old Bishop naively inquired, “How long, sir, have you been in this country?" "About two months,” was the reply. “You astonish me," said the Bishop, " for you speak the English language remarkably well, considering your brief sojourn here." “Why, sir," said Mr. Barbour, “I represent a country where we flatter ourselves that we have preserved the English language in greater purity than you have in England.” A visit to Mr. Coke of Holkham (subsequently created Earl of Leicester), is referred to in a brief diary kept by Mr. Barbour, as one of rare enjoyment to him. Holkham was a striking manifestation of what agriculture, under the combined influence of skill, capital and perseverance, can accomplish, for these had rendered fertile and bounteously productive, thousands of acres of the sandy lands of Norfolk County, which the merry monarch, Charles the Second, had sarcastically said, was only fit to be cut up into roads for the remainder of his kingdom. Mr. Coke recited to Mr. Barbour many interesting anecdotes relating to the revolt of the American Colonies, at which period he was a Member of Parliament, and was wont, he said, in the greatest throes of the struggle, with Edmund Burke and others, in the luncheon room (with hand over the mouth) to drink “Success to America !” Another reminiscence, recorded by Mr. Barbour, is so remarkable that it is deemed worthy of preservation here. He narrates with manifest satisfaction, that Mr. Coke had the rare privilege and exquisite delight of seeing a vessel launched at Woolwich, which was composed in large part from the timber of trees which he had himself planted when a youth.
Mr. Barbour was recalled by President Jackson, in September, 1829. He now retired to the enjoyments of private life, from which he only again emerged in obedience to the impulses of duty and the claims of friendship. In the Convention for the nomination of President, held at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in December, 1839, Mr. Barbour presided. He was brilliantly conspicuous in his advocacy of the claims of General William Henry Harrison, and prominent and effective in the campaign which resulted in his election as President. Soon after this the disease which was ultimately fatal manifested itself. He died at his seat, Barboursville, June 7, 1842, within three days of the anniversary of his birth. Within half an hour of his decease he said to his son, present at his bed-side, “If any thing is put over me, let it be of the plainest granite, with no other claim than this:
“HERE LIES JAMES BARBOUR,
The following reminiscence, with which the present writer has been kindly furnished by the venerable statesman, the Hon. Alexander H. H. Stuart, Staunton, Virginia, evidences the just esteem in which Mr. Barbour was held by those who were favored in the opportunity to know his worth. Mr. Stuart writes: "In the greater part of my service in Congress, from 1841 to 1843, I was a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of which John Quincy Adams was chairman. During the warm season of the year, Mr. Adams was in the habit of going, immediately after breakfast, to the committee room, which was a spacious and airy apartment in the upper story of the southern wing of the Capitol, where he occupied himself in writing until the committee assembled. As my family were with me, I also found it convenient to go at an early hour to the committee room, to examine my morning mail and to reply to such letters as required prompt attention. In this way it happened that Mr. Adams and I met in the committee room almost every day, an hour or two before the time appointed for the meeting of the committee. And, as it not unfrequently occurred that the other members of the committee failed to attend, Mr. Adams and I were the only occupants of the room from eight to twelve o'clock. This close association often led to very interesting conversation between us in regard to the early political history of our country, and the statesmen who bore a prominent part in it. In these interviews I always found Mr. Adams exceedingly affable, and I need hardly add, interesting and instructive. On one occasion, on entering the room, with my newspapers and letters in my hand, I found Mr. Adams sitting at the table engaged in writing. Not wishing to interrupt him, after exchanging salutations with him,
I withdrew to a window to look over my morning mail. I was shocked to see, in the Richmond papers, the announcement of the death of my venerable and honored friend Governor Janies Barbour. With some strong ejaculation expressive of surprise and grief, I announced the fact to Mr. Adams, who seemed as painfully impressed by the news as I had been. Without uttering a word, he pushed back the papers which were before him, and folding his arms on the table, rested his head on them for some time, as if lost in thought. Then slowly raising his head, he turned his face toward me, and in a voice tremulous with emotion, said: 'Mr. Stuart, I have been connected with this government, in one way or another, almost from its foundation to the present hour. I have known personally nearly all the great men who have been connected with its administration, and I can safely say that I have rarely known a wiser, and never a better man than James Barbour.' Such a noble tribute, coming fresh and spontaneously from the heart of its illustrious author, made an impression on my mind which can never be erased, especially as my own relations to Governor Barbour
enabled me to recognize and appreciate its justice. On other occasions I have heard Mr. Adams speak in the most cordial terms of Mr. Barbour, and refer to incidents which occurred while he was Secretary of War in Mr. Adams' administration, which illustrated his integrity and manly independence of character.” In an “Eulogium upon the Life and Character of James Madison,” by Mr. Barbour, 8vo, Washington, 1836, the paternal affection in which the illustrious subject ever held the reverential eulogist is touchingly manifested. A like dutiful tribute was rendered to the exalted worth of Mr. Barbour by his warm personal friend, Hon. Jeremiah Morton, but the writer has been unable to obtain a copy of it.
Mr. Barbour married, October 29, 1792, Lucy, daughter of Benjamin Johnson, of Orange County, a member of the House of Burgesses. The surviving issue of this congenial marriage are: Hon. Benjamin Johnson Barbour, of Barboursville, Virginia, born June 14, 1821, and married, November 17, 1844, Caroline Homoesel, daughter of Dr. George Watson, a distinguished physician of Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Barbour inherits the rare gifts of his eminent father in a marked degree, and is a gentleman of profound culture. His addresses, historical, literary, political, and agricultural, on various occasions, are alike chaste and felicitous. In 1865 he was elected to the United States Congress, but the representatives of unreconstructed Virginia were not allowed in that year to take their seats.
Lucy, daughter of Governor Barbour, married, in 1822, John Seymour
Taliaferro, who was, unhappily, drowned in 1830. Another daughter, Frances Cornelia Barbour, is the wife of William Hardy Collins, a distinguished lawyer of Baltimore, Maryland.
A portrait of Governor Barbour is in the attractive gallery of the governors and distinguished men of Virginia in the State Library at Richmond. Barbour County, now in West Virginia, formed in 1843 from the counties of Harrison, Lewis, and Randolph, perpetuates the name of the distinguished Barbour family.
WILSON CARY NICHOLAS.
The ancestry of Wilson Cary Nicholas embraces several of the most worthily represented families in the Old Dominion. The founder of the distinguished Nicholas family of Virginia was Dr. George Nicholas,*
* The arms of the family, as given the writer, appear to be those of the families of London, Ashton-Keynes, and Ryndway, County Witts, England, as follows: Az. a chev. engr. betw. three owls or. Crest-On a chapeau az. (another gu.) turned up erm. an owl with wings expanded or.
of County Lancaster, England, a surgeon in the British Navy, who settled in the Colony about the beginning of the eighteenth century, and married, about 1722, Elizabeth, widow of Major Nathaniel Burwell, and daughter of Robert “King” Carter. Their issue was: Robert Carter, born about 1723; John, married Martha, daughter of Colonel Joshua Fry; and George Nicholas. Robert Carter Nicholas, statesman, jurist, and patriot, familiarly known as Treasurer Nicholas in colonial annals, from having long and honorably filled that important office, married, in 1754, Anne, daughter of Colonel Wilson and Sarah (Blair -grandniece of the Commissary) Cary (second in descent from Colonel Myles Cary, the emigrant ancestor of the family in Virginia, who was born in Bristol, England, in 1620; died in Virginia, June 10, 1667, and was fourth in descent from William Cary, Mayor of Bristol in 1546, and who lineally descended from Adam de Kari, Lord of Castle Cary, in Somerset, in 1198).† Robert Carter and Anne (Cary) Nicholas had issue five sons and three daughters: John, married Anne Lawson; member of Congress 1793-1801, removed to Geneva, New York, where he has numerous descendants; George, married the daughter of the Hon. John Smith, of Baltimore, Maryland, and was the father of Judge Samuel Smith Nicholas, who published a masterly plea for the Habeas Corpus when it was suspended by President Lincoln, during our late war; Wilson Cary; Lewis; and Philip Norborne Nicholas, many years Attorney-General of Virginia, President of the Farmers' Bank of Richmond, Member of the Virginia Convention of 1829–30, and a Judge of the General Court of Virginia. He was associated with William Wirt and George Hay in an able defence of James Thompson Callender, who was tried in Richmond in May, 1800, before Judge Samuel Chase, of the United States Supreme Court, for publishing a pamphlet entitled “The Prospect before Us,” in which the character of President John Adams was infamously libelled. The prosecuting attorney was Thomas Nelson, son of General Thomas Nelson, Jr., of the Revolution. The zeal of Judge Chase in directing the prosecution subjected him to the charge of having transcended his powers, and occasioned his famous trial for impeachment before the United States Senate. Judge Philip Norborne Nicholas was twice married; first, to Mary Spear, of Baltimore, Maryland (and had issue three sons, of whom only oneJohn Spear Nicholas, of Baltimore, survives); and, secondly, to Maria Carter, daughter of Thomas Taylor and Mary Anne (daughter of William Armistead) Byrd, of Clarke County, Virginia, and granddaughter of the third Colonel William Byrd, of Westover, James River. The issue of the second marriage of Judge Nicholas was Philip Cary (a well known member of the bar of Richmond, and long the efficient + The descendants of Colonel Myles Cary, in the first five generations, intermarried with the Milner, Wills, Wilson, Scarborough, Barbour, Blair, Selden, Whiting, Scarbrook, Jacqueline, Randolph, Bell, Spiers, Fairfax, Nicholas, Taylor, Page, Bolling, Kingcade, Carr, Nelson, Peachy, Curle, Snowden, Herbert, and other families of worth.
librarian of the State Law Library of Virginia), Sydney Smith, and Miss Elizabeth Byrd Nicholas, an accomplished lady, foremost in the art and literary circles of Richmond, and who was a leading originator in the Colonial Court Ball, mentioned in the preceding sketch of Lord Botetourt as having been held in Richmond, February 22, 1876, the pecuniary proceeds of which were patriotically devoted to the furnishing of the Virginia Room in the Mount Vernon mansion. Of the three daughters of Robert Carter and Anne (Cary) Nicholas, Sarah, married John Hatley Norton; Elizabeth, married Governor Edmund Randolph; and Mary, died unmarried. Wilson Cary Nicholas, the subject of this sketch, the third son of Robert Carter and Anne (Cary) Nicholas, was born January 31, 1761, in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, which continued to be the residence of his father until the opening of the Revolutionary War in 1775, when he removed his family to a country seat, called “The Retreat," in Hanover County, and at which he died in 1780. The year following, Cornwallis, in the route of his invasion of Virginia, stopped at “The Retreat.” Mrs. Nicholas, being apprised of the approach of the British troops, had taken the precaution to conceal her plate and jewels in the chimney. One of her children betraying the place of deposit, Lord. Cornwallis begged, with a bland smile, that she would give herself no uneasiness as to their fate, and indeed demeaned himself with courtly consideration throughout his brief visit. The visible apprehension of Mrs. Nicholas had a more serious cause of excitement. Her maternal instincts were keenly upon the rack for the fate of her eldest born, John, whose flight under hot chase by the British dragoons, she witnessed through the open door with eager eyes and tumultuous heart. Happily the superior fleetness of his horse enabled him to escape his pursuers. After this intrusion, Mrs. Nicholas, in her unprotected situation, deemed it prudent to remove her residence to Albemarle County, where her husband had purchased an extensive estate on James River. Wilson Cary Nicholas was a student at William and Mary College, which he left in 1779, at the age of eighteen, to enter the army. His gallantry met with deserved promotion, and he was the commander of Washington's Life Guard until its disbandment in 1783, when he returned to Albemarle County and took possession of his estate there, called “Warren.” In the same year also he married Margaret, daughter of John Smith, of Baltimore, and the sister of the wife of his brother George. It was a happy union, and Mr. Nicholas was fortunate in the possession of a companion and helpmate who united the gentle graces of womanhood with rare judgment and fine intellectual powers. Sent from Baltimore in early girlhood to avoid the dangers to which a seaport was necessarily subjected in time of war, she was yet cognizant of many of the stirring events of the Revolution. In her place of refuge in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, she was apprised of