By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Memoir of John Howe Peyton - in sketches by his contemporaries, together with some of - his public and private letters, etc., also a sketch of Ann - M. Peyton
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoir of John Howe Peyton - in sketches by his contemporaries, together with some of - his public and private letters, etc., also a sketch of Ann - M. Peyton" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's note: For this text version passages in italics are
indicated by _underscores_. Bold is indicated by =bold=. Small caps
have been replaced by ALL CAPS.

Misprints and punctuation errors were corrected. A list of other
corrections can be found at the end of the text.

                             MEMOIR OF

                          JOHN HOWE PEYTON,

                         IN SKETCHES BY HIS


                 LETTERS, ETC., ALSO A SKETCH OF

                           ANN M. PEYTON.

                            COMPILED BY

            The Author of the History of Augusta County.

                     _Rudis Indigestaque Moles._

                [Printed for private circulation.]

                           STAUNTON, VA.:
                       A. B. BLACKBURN & CO.,


The following sketches of John Howe Peyton, by some of his
contemporaries, and the scanty material gleaned from an imperfect file
of the _Republican Farmer_ (newspaper) of 1811-12, and from the
_Staunton Spectator_ from 1838 to 1847, (between 1811 and 1830, only a
few mutilated and unbound Staunton newspapers exist,) and a small parcel
of family papers, letters, etc., which escaped destruction during the
civil war; are all that can be found to throw any light upon the life of
one of Virginia's purest men and greatest lawyers.[1] And thus his fame
must largely rest upon the applause and praises, which his efforts
called forth, with his immediate hearers and admirers. This deplorable
want of material for a portrayal of his life and character, is not
peculiar to his case. Few of those who have astonished their
contemporaries by their wit and genius, and who were held in the highest
admiration in their day, have left behind them memorials sufficient to
justify their fame. This is so as to many of Virginia's eminent lawyers,
and of even some of her most renowned public men. As to some of these
the record is decidedly nebulous. Patrick Henry left behind such scanty
remains, that great as were his oratorical talents and patriotic
services, his fame rests rather upon the praises of others, than upon
what he left behind of his own work. In this reflected or traditional
way, his record is splendid, and so is that of John Howe Peyton, who,
without overrating his merits and doing injustice to the memory of any
of the jurists of the time, may be styled the greatest legal genius of
his day. The universal opinion of his contemporaries goes to prove that
in the science of criminal or penal law, of civil injuries or torts, and
as a Public Prosecutor he had no equal, and it is as well established
that in no department of the law had he any superiors. And this want of
material is equally true of his great contemporaries, such as Daniel
Sheffey, B. W. Leigh, and Chapman Johnson, so that like his, their fame
rests on tradition. Alas, that they had not left something of their own
productions--enough, at least, to enable us to have measured them as
thinkers, writers and speakers. That they were all great men is beyond a
doubt, for it is only the great man who touches the heart of the people,
as well as their intelligence.

 [1] Note.--In the library and papers of his son, J. L. Peyton,
 which were stored for safe keeping on his estate in Alleghany on Jackson's
 River, and in the Valley of the Falling Spring, in the Spring of 1861,
 there were many boxes of MSS., letters from various members of the
 family, written between 1740 and 1860, and often the answers of them.
 The letters were from John Peyton, who died in 1760, John Rowze Peyton,
 John Sergeant, C. J. Ingersoll, Jos. R. Ingersoll, J. M. Berrian, Thos.
 Jefferson, John Marshall, James Madison, Bishop Madison, Governor Tyler,
 John Scott, of Fauquier, Dr. Alexander, D. D., Bishop Meade, B. W.
 Leigh, Chapman Johnson, John S. Archer, Gov'r. McDowell, Governor
 Campbell, Thos. H. Benton, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Wm. C. Rives,
 Gen. Francis Preston, Wm. C. Preston, William Preston, J. M. Preston,
 Wm. B. Preston, John Floyd, Judge A. G. Dade, John Yates, Bushrod
 Washington, Gov. Thos. Mann Randolph, H. A. Wise, John Randolph, of
 Roanoke, John Tyler, Spencer Roane, and others; and Mr. Peyton's letter
 book, beginning about 1806. The whole of this invaluable mass was burnt,
 or destroyed, together with Col. Peyton's library, by Federal troops
 during the civil war. Cr.

There was little of incident or stirring adventure in the life of Mr.
Peyton, and this is the case generally, as to literary and professional
men, but the life of such a man should not be permitted to sink into
oblivion. He is represented by his contemporaries to have been a great
and truly good man, who pursued his profession, not merely to gain a
subsistence, but to do good, to advance justice and humanity, to promote
the well being of his fellow creatures, and the general interests of
society. Not his eloquence alone, but all of his powers were ever
exerted for the cause of right and justice. And thus his gifts became a
public benefit and blessing. If such a man does not deserve to be
remembered, we might well ask, who does?

During the two brief episodes in his professional life, when a member
first of the lower and then the upper House of the General Assembly, he
labored to improve the Criminal laws, the Land laws, the laws relating
to the rights of person and the rights of property; in fact, our whole
system of jurisprudence, and to advance the cause of popular education
and of internal improvements.

He was a man of large and progressive ideas, ready to accept any and all
improvements, if persuaded that the remedies proposed were, indeed
improvements, but while always ready to correct abuses, he was far from
believing that all change meant reform--was too sagacious and far
seeing, too much alive to the public interests, to encourage rash and
ill advised men or measures, was wise and firm enough to oppose all
fanatics and _doctrinaires_, in their excesses. In fact he stood in the
way of these men and opposed their measures, as tending to the
subversion of existing laws and the Constitution, and the introduction
of anarchy and confusion. As a Public Prosecutor, it was both his duty
and ambition to see the laws faithfully executed, and an example made of
evil doers. In a word, he was a man who sought to do his duty, not to
gain the applause of men, but to meet the approval of his God. At all
times, and on all occasions, he was zealous for the common weal; and
such was his goodness and magnanimity, that he desired to conceal,
rather than display his deeds, and derive fame from them. If his course
was beneficial to mankind--advanced the interest and prosperity of
society and his country--he was content. For himself, he asked nothing,
and always derived happiness from the preferment of others. Public
honors were often bestowed upon others, which were looked upon as his
due. So far from regretting it, or envying those who got them, he
enjoyed seeing competent men promoted and when incompetent men were
advanced, he would say, "let us make the most of them," so far was he
from and above the littleness of vanity and jealousy. In a word he
belonged to the class which "finds tongues in trees, books in running
brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." Of ambition for
noisy honors, newspaper notoriety, or office, he had none. If ambition
he had, it was gratified by the general recognition of the purity of his
motives, the inflexibility of his personal integrity, by the evidences
he constantly received that his labors to alleviate human suffering and
to cure social disorders, were understood and appreciated. If he had
ambition, it was to do good to his forlorn fellow creatures, to excel in
his profession, and this latter he did so eminently that the great
lawyers in every part of the State consulted him on many if not all
important cases and abstruse points, and for years no law was passed,
nor any important change made in existing laws, by the Legislature of
Virginia, without members of the body, especially of the judiciary
committee, asking his opinion and advice. That he had true ambition,
loved honorable fame, we doubt not, and thus this exalted passion was,
as we opine, the source of those noble actions and life-long labors,
which caused him to be so much honored while living, and to be so
venerated now that he is dead. And it is the duty of posterity to
bestow on him that praise, after his death, which he declined while

Believing that the most efficacious method of exciting the talent of the
living, is to confer due honors on departed merit, we have, nearly fifty
years after his death, and thirty years after the destruction of his
papers and almost everything throwing light upon his life undertaken
this compilation. It must necessarily be very imperfect and incomplete,
but inadequate as it is, it seems well to preserve it, as showing a
wish, at least, to give to heaven-born talent its due.

We should like to have had sufficient material for fully portraying this
remarkable man, his actions, his feelings, his thoughts and his
adventures. Such a work would have derived additional interest from the
fact that it would have recalled and preserved the recollection of his
companions and friends, the kindred spirits of his day, now dead and
nearly forgotten. As this could not be done, we have garnered up, in a
fragmentary way, and not always in chronological sequence, the material,
some of it light and trivial, [for it is said, P's 1st, "of the Godly
man" "his leaf also shall not wither,"] presented in the following
pages, and while it is only a half lifting of the veil of oblivion, it
gives us a glimpse, at least, into an almost forgotten life, and serves
too, to keep in memory his interesting family of Montgomery Hall. Like
all families, it has been dispersed, but it richly deserves to be held
in memory and handed down to posterity.

In one of his eloquent sermons, Dr. Talmage thus speaks of oblivion,
which he styles the cemetery of the human race. "Why, just look at the
families of the earth how they disappear. For awhile they are together,
inseparable and to each other indispensable and then they part, some by
marriage going to establish other homes, and some leave this life, and a
century is long enough to plant a family, develop it, prosper it, and
obliterate it. So the generations vanish."

Mr. Peyton's family, forming no exception to the rule, has been
dispersed, but it survives in its branches and without signs of decay.
Indeed, some of the young shoots exhibit the life and vigor, the virtue
and valor of the original stock, which has stood for centuries, in the
language of Lord Bacon, "against the winds and weathers of time." May
these vigorous branches spread out, increase, keep pace with the grand
march of humanity, and the oblivion of the family be as distant in the
future as was its origin in the past.

This, we believe, will be the case, for we do not belong to those who
imagine that humanity is on the decline, that the energy of man is
decaying, that the heart is becoming harder, and the imagination and
intellect are dwindling away. On the contrary, in our opinion, man is,
on the whole, advancing, and will continue to advance, intellectually
and morally, until the world shall have answered all the purposes of its
creation and the immortal state begins. What else means the vast
improvement in morals, the ameliorations of war, the progress of
political science, the redemption of woman from her degradation and
bondage, the abolition of slavery, the general and wonderful progress of
the race the last hundred years.

To his descendants now scattered through the States of Virginia, West
Virginia, Maryland, New York, and the far West, this compilation will
possess deep interest, if it possess none for others, and for them and
their connections alone, it is designed. May the remembrance and
contemplation of his virtues inspire them with a desire to imitate



                          JOHN HOWE PEYTON.

John Howe Peyton, who acquired so much fame as a lawyer, statesman and
orator, was descended from Henry Peyton, of "Acquia", Westmoreland
county, Va., the first of the Peytons to leave England for Virginia,
which he did about the year 1644. Henry Peyton died at his home
"Acquia", in Westmoreland county, 1659. We learn from the National
Cyclopedia of Biography that from the period of their settlement in
Virginia to the present day, 250 years, the family has been "prolific of
men full of gallantry and public spirit, of thrifty habits, hospitable,
charitable and generous, whose lives have been useful and blameless, and
whose characters were without blemish". The grandson of the first
emigrant, or Henry Peyton the third, who removed to Stafford county,
left among other issue, a son, John Peyton, of Stony Hill, Stafford, who
was the grandfather of John H. Peyton, and is described as a man of
"undeviating rectitude of conduct, of unshaken constancy in friendship,
active in benevolence and pure in his habits."

John Peyton left by his second wife a son, John Rowze Peyton, of Stony
Hill, Stafford county, who served seven years in the Revolutionary Army
and acquired by his dauntless valor and faithful discharge of duty, the
sobriquet of the "hero boy of 1776". He was a man of strong convictions,
probably of strong prejudices, and enforced his views in newspaper
articles, showing marked ability as a thinker and writer. His son, John
Howe Peyton, the subject of this sketch, was born at Stony Hill, April
27th, 1778, and died at Montgomery Hall, near Staunton, Augusta county,
Va., April 3rd, 1847. And it may be truly said that no one was more
loved, more honored or more mourned by those who knew him best.

When a boy attending a country school near his birth place, young John
Howe Peyton was conspicuous for the beauty and intelligence of his
countenance, the comeliness of his person, the quaintness of his humor,
the vivacity of his spirits, and the pungency of his wit. The lad was
fond of outdoor sports and all athletic exercises, in which he engaged
daily, thus in good time developing his strength and securing for life a
sound mind in a sound body. These pastimes, however, did not interfere
with his studies, to which he devoted himself for years assiduously. And
he succeeded so well, in both mental and physical exercises, that it was
commonly said of him, that he was a boy who seemed to have come from the
hand of nature, formed and destined to do extensive good, and to excel
in every pursuit. So superior was he generally to his young companions
that he was, before twelve years of age, pointed out as one who already
gave evidence of his future abilities. When only sixteen years of age,
he had grown into a young man of remarkable strength of body and vigor
of mind, was full of pluck and spirit, and had acquired no small stock
of learning. His father determined to send him to the North for further
education. Accordingly he was entered at Nassau Hall Princeton
University, N. J., in 1794, then, as now, one of the most famous seats
of learning in the country, and much patronized by Southerners. His
previous training prepared him well for the University, where he quickly
took and kept a leading place till his graduation as A. M. in 1797.

At Princeton he continued, as may be surmised, diligent in his studies,
and while going through the usual scholastic routine engaged in an
extensive private course of philosophical, metaphysical, historical and
general reading. His thirst for knowledge was insatiable, and he kept up
this habit in after years, and to give his family a taste for literature
was in the habit of reading aloud to his children of evenings the plays
of Shakespeare, the writings of Addison, Swift, Johnson, Goldsmith and
other standard authors. He also attended the debates in the Whig
Society, (an association of young collegians, formed for mutual
improvement,) where he won distinction as a speaker and debater. He was
singularly free from the usual vices of youth and that sensuality and
egotism, which is the source of so many miseries. In consequence of his
high standing as a scholar, orator and man--and no young man was more
noted for his exemplary habits, straightforward conduct and nice sense
of honor--he was held in great respect in the University, alike by
professors, tutors and fellow students. But he never showed the
slightest consciousness of his endowments or discovered any vanity at
the extent and variety of his attainments, and the impression they made
on others, but enjoyed his success with propriety and good sense. He
made many friends at Princeton, and if they were not afterwards of
service to him, they were certainly a comfort. His object then, as ever
afterwards, was not to shine, for ambition was not his failing, but he
was incited by a thirst for knowledge and a desire for excellence.
Having secured high academical honors, which are the laudable objects
of any young man's generous ambition, by taking his A. M. degree, he
returned to Virginia in 1797, immediately thereafter commenced, and in
due time completed his legal education, and in 1799 entered on the law
practice. Judge R. C. L. Moncure, President of the Supreme Court of
Appeals of Virginia, says of him in his private journal: "He took a
position on being admitted to the bar, which brought him immediate and
continued popularity as a lawyer, a pleader and a scholar." His progress
was indeed rapid, and he soon proved to be acute, deep, cautious,
methodical and persevering, with extraordinary administrative ability;
and was noted for his personal magnetism, his animal spirits and social
powers, as well as his forensic abilities.

At this time he was six feet two inches high, of strong, lithe and
vigorous frame, weighing about 180 pounds. His manners were affable and
engaging, and were characterized by dignity and grace. He was fond of
conversation, and his conversation was animated and instructive. He
always, indeed, spoke with so much point that he appeared superior to
others of his age in wisdom and understanding. To his solid attainments
and well-bred and polished manners he joined a generous heart, virtuous
principles and a chivalric sense of honor. These gifts and
accomplishments soon inspired all who knew him with respect and esteem,
and this admiration was due to none of those artifices so common with
"people's men," or of that subserviency which so often leads to
popularity, and which contra-distinguishes the man without principle,
who wants office, from the man of principle whom office wants. It was
also discovered that he was broad and liberal in his views and opinions
on politics and religion, and indeed on all social questions--was free
from cant and hypocricy, and was without any of that duplicity in youth
which is the forerunner of perfidy in old age. Toward all men he was
charitable, and did not require them to see things as he saw them; he
allowed of a difference of opinion without treating a man as a heretic
in religion, or a knave and traitor in politics because he sought to
serve God or his country by a different course or policy from himself.
He not only respected but venerated all men who were loyal to truth. His
influence was consequently very great and was soon enhanced by the
discovery that he was a man of stern and uncompromising integrity and
inflexible firmness, or unlimited courage, a courage which extended to
rashness, a man who could not be moved from the path of duty by "fear,
favor or affection," and we may add that he went through a long,
eventful and trying life without suspicion of any kind of vice. He was
soon looked up to as a person not only of eminent merit but exalted
character, who would, if the occasion arose, become a hero, ready and
able to defend the rights of the people and the liberties of his
country. Early in the century 1802-3 he was commissioned captain of a
volunteer company of cavalry and drilled his command, composed of young
gentlemen of Stafford and Spottsylvania counties over the country from
Acquia Creek to Fredericksburg, and the annals of British Field sports
were never illustrated by more daring feats of horsemanship, the
clearing of fences, gates, hedges and ditches, than were performed by
these Virginian riders.

In 1804 he married Susan, daughter of William Strother Madison, a niece
of the Right Rev. James Madison, Bishop of Virginia, and relative of
President Madison, by whom he left an only son, the late Col. William M.
Peyton, of Roanoke, who was himself a man of gifted intellect and
extensive acquirements, of upright and honorable character, who acquired
as a public speaker and member of the House of Delegates of Virginia, a
distinguished reputation for ability and statesmanship. We anticipate
events in order to state that after losing his wife by her untimely
death, he married in 1821 Ann Montgomery Lewis, a daughter of the old
Revolutionary hero, Major John Lewis of the Sweet Springs; by his wife
Mary, a daughter of the gallant Col. William Preston, of Smithfield,
Montgomery county, who was wounded at the battle of Guildford, from the
effects of which he died years afterward. By his second marriage he left
ten children. In 1806 he was elected to the House of Delegates. This
gave him little or no pleasure, as he preferred the profession but he
served several years, up to 1810 on public grounds. Though there was not
much scope in the House for his powers, he took an active part in all
business and in the debates, and such was his political sagacity, his
indomitable energy and his vehement eloquence, that he had almost
unrivaled power over his hearers and soon became a leader, inspiring his
followers with enthusiastic love and admiration, and was regarded by
them, if not by both sides of the Chamber, as the ablest man in the
House and the equal of any in the State. At that period he was as
remarkable for his wise and prudent counsels as for his invincible

During the session of 1809-10 Mr. Peyton made the celebrated report as
to an amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which is
appended to this sketch.

Staunton was early in the century a no inconsiderable town, and to
lawyer and litigant alike the most important point west of the Blue
Ridge Mountains, because the seat of the superior courts of law and
chancery--the jurisdiction of the chancery court extending over the
whole western part of the State. This fact caused many able and learned
lawyers to make it their home, among the most prominent were Judge
Coalter, Daniel Sheffey, Chapman Johnson, Briscoe G. Baldwin and Samuel
Blackburn, and the terms were attended by such legal lights, from other
circuits, as George Hay, William Wirt, P. P. Barbour, B. W. Leigh, L. W.
Tazewell, Henry St. G. Tucker and others. Staunton was then regarded,
and for many years later, as having the ablest resident bar in the

In 1808, Mr. Peyton removed to the town to enter the arena against these
great men, and in a very brief period, indeed, he gained, in the opinion
of the court and the lawyers and of the people, the first place at the
bar. Such was his vigor, originality and learning, that Col. Preston,
one of his biographers, says that "he met in contest the strongest men
in each department of the law and he made himself a champion in all."
Daniel Sheffey said "he possessed gigantic power without effort, was
leader in his circuit and at the head of the profession."

From 1808 to 1846, when struck down by apoplexy, he bent the whole
energies of his mind and body to the profession--the only interruption
in this long period of practice being a brief episode of military
service, from 1812 to 1815, as Chief of Staff to Gen. Porterfield in the
war against England, and one of five years in the Senate of Virginia
from 1839 to 1845, when he resigned during his second term from ill
health. He did not desire, still less seek, a seat in the Senate, but
yielded to the importunities of his Rockbridge and Augusta friends, the
leading men of Rockbridge particularly importuning him to accept the
position, in order to promote, among other things, the fortunes of the
Virginia Military Institute; a school they esteemed of great importance
to the county and the cause of State education, and to which it was well
known Mr. Peyton was most friendly, for he was everywhere known and
recognized as the friend and promoter of learning and the liberal arts.
And his deep interest in the cause of education was evinced by his
acceptance of the position of trustee of Washington College in 1832,
which he held till he resigned in 1846, having during this long period
at great inconvenience to himself, attended the meetings of the Board,
of which he was an active and useful member. He also acted for many
years before and after 1832 as President of the Board of Trustees of the
Staunton Academy; was one of the founders of the Virginia Female
Institute at Staunton, and a member of the Board of Trustees; was one of
the most earnest advocates of the scheme for establishing the Virginia
Military Institute and suggested the union of the Institute and
Washington College under one management, believing that the United
University ought to be and would become one of the greatest seats of
learning in the country. He also accepted, in 1840, the position of
visitor to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, and wrote the able,
interesting and instructive report of the Board for that year. This was
said at the time to be the ablest report ever written on the condition,
the mode of instruction, the changes and improvements which should be
introduced in the course of study and discipline and the future
usefulness of West Point.

Education he considered the philosophy of the human mind, enriching it
with all that is useful or ornamental in knowledge, teaching us how to
avert evil and produce good. It was not so valuable for the learning
acquired, for to be well informed, was not, in his opinion, to be well
educated; as for the moral character it formed, for the habit of thought
engendered, for the preparation it was for the practical duties of
life--in a word, he regarded education or intellectual progress as the
sure forerunner of moral improvement.

It may not be out of place to mention here that his interest in, and
sympathy for the unfortunate and afflicted was manifested in various
ways, but especially by his services as a member of the Court of
Directors of the Western Lunatic Asylum at Staunton for over twenty
years, during ten of which he was President of the board.

Mr. Peyton's political life can be briefly summarized. He voted for the
election of James Madison and zealously supported his administration. He
also voted for James Monroe, and opposed the election of John Quincy
Adams, voting for Gen. Jackson. He voted for Jackson twice, reluctantly
when a candidate for a re-election, because of his refusal to sign the
bill to recharter the United States Bank, but under a belief that
Jackson's course was more due to the feelings created by the particular
time when congress passed the bill, it being just previous to his second
election, than to any settled hostility on his part to a United States
Bank, and he subsequently abandoned that party, and ever afterwards
adhered to the Whig party.

Mr. Peyton thus gives his reasons for abandoning the democratic
party--he said: "shortly after his (Jackson's) re-election, he commenced
a train of measures, to which I was utterly opposed, measures of a novel
and alarming character, which in their origin and their subsequent
developments, brought distress and embarrassment upon the banks, upon
the country at large, and especially upon all our commercial interests.
I allude to his wild, violent and undigested schemes of finance,
commencing with his pet bank system and ending with his order in
council, the specie circular. This warfare upon the bank of the United
States, the currency and the commerce of the nation, reduced us in 1837
to the degradation of witnessing a general suppression of specie
payments by the banks. These acts, connected with the corrupting system
of party discipline, introduced by that administration, with the view of
compelling private judgment to succumb to the behest of the party,
completely separated me from the administration of Andrew Jackson." (See
his letter of date May 1st, 1839, and addressed to the people of Augusta
and Rockbridge counties.)

In the Senate, he opposed the annexation of Texas, a revenue tariff, and
a war with England on the question of the Oregon boundary line, saying
in regard to Oregon, "while our title to the whole of that vast region
extending westward from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, and
the 42nd degree of north latitude to 54° 40' was certainly as good as
that of any other nation, and probably better, we had ourselves, on
repeated occasions virtually admitted that it was not so complete and
unqualified as to preclude all other claims to any portion of it; and
therefore a war for Oregon, unless an attempt was made to wrest it
forcibly from our possessions would be not only a blunder but a crime."

The annexation of Texas he opposed on many grounds. He declared first
that America was already too vast to be national, and too rich to be
democratic, and any extension of her borders would increase the evils.
Secondly, he objected to a clause in the constitution of Texas which
refused to the legislature power to pass laws for the emancipation of
slaves. Thirdly, he was opposed to the United States Government assuming
the debt of Texas and he thought annexation might lead to useless wars
about boundary, etc.

On the question of the tariff, he held that direct protection was a
legitimate object of legislation and he opposed any tariff which gave
merely incidental protection. He derived his doctrine on the question
both from the necessity and justice of the case, and the explicit
avowal of those who framed the constitution and of those who sat in the
first Congress under it, that it was designed and desired to lay duties
for the encouragement and protection of domestic manufactures and he
would allow no arguments of expediency to induce him to abandon his
ground and to fall in with the friends of a revenue tariff giving
incidental protection. This phraseology he denounced as a device of
demagogues who were willing to conceal or abandon their principles in
order to secure success. He also supported the "Monroe Doctrine,"
opposed nullification and secession, and favored a United States bank
and popular education by means of State aid. He also spoke on behalf of
a generous system of internal improvement and against the great liberty
of divorce. In a word, he gave a general support to the principles of
the old Whig party and occupied a position of commanding influence. His
speeches in the Senate, like those at the bar, were distinguished for
their clear, nervous brevity. And the great men of the day, B. W. Leigh,
John J. Allen, R. E. Scott, William C. Rives, Vincent Witcher, Wm.
Daniel, R. C. Conrad, and others, declared were equal to anything ever
heard in a deliberative assembly. He was consulted and deferred to for
the wisdom, sagacity and moderation of his counsels and was usually
styled the "Nestor of the Senate." His influence was paramount and
always exerted for the public good, and the prosperity of Virginia, for
half a century; indeed, up to the civil war, was to no inconsiderable
degree, due to the wise advice of this patriotic and public spirited

Some years before he entered the Senate, he had grown stout, weighing
220 pounds, his fine silk-like hair was snowy white, his face florid,
his eyes bright, piercing and thoughtful, and in silence his calm and
serene countenance gave him a majestic and graceful appearance.
Alexander McD. Cowan, writing of him in the Vindicator newspaper of
Staunton, February 18th, 1887, says; "Mr. Peyton was a remarkably
handsome man, being of a fine figure and size, and with a face whose
every feature was well-nigh faultless in shape and expression. Indeed,
the word superb which used to be applied to the late Gen. Hancock's
commanding appearance, might with equal appropriateness have been
applied to John Howe Peyton." Gen. William Preston, of Kentucky, told
the writer he was, when he first met him in 1835-6 at the White Sulphur
Springs, the "finest specimen of the Virginia gentleman of the old
school, in his scrupulous, old fashioned courtesy, and open handed
liberality, in his dress and appearance, he had ever seen--was not only
an honor to the State but to human nature." His health was good up to
the age of 66 years, his step firm, his figure erect; in fact, he was as
straight as a dart, and there was something in his look which seemed to
arise from an innate disposition of the mind or the workings of a great

He kept up a large establishment at his elegant home of Montgomery Hall,
having over fifty servants about his premises, entertained a great deal
of company in a delightful manner, gave sumptuous dinners and a great
many of them, and of other entertainments--in fact, he kept open house,
and while he set no bounds to his generous hospitality, there was no
ostentation or vain display, though his house and furniture were
thoroughly well appointed. His guests were among the most distinguished
for talents and acquirements, for rank and station in the State and
country. It was said, therefore, that at Montgomery Hall you were sure
to enjoy the "feast of reason and the flow of soul." While he
entertained so well, he was himself abstemious in his habits and denied
himself animal food one day in every week.

He was wise and prudent in forming his intimacies and friendships, but
when once a man's friend, unless for some good cause, he was ever
constant and unchangeable, and there was no length to which he would not
go to serve a friend. On one occasion, when in the Senate, he sacrificed
the office of Governor of Virginia, to which he was about to be elected,
to serve a friend and to secure the election of his friend, as he did,
to the position of Judge. At another time, for he was a friend who
"abided in the day of trouble" he offered a friend in distress from
pecuniary losses, the occupation, use and proceeds of one of his estates
in Alleghany county, of nearly 5000 acres of land and a large number of
servants. In this munificent spirit of liberality and generosity, he
sought to provide for this unfortunate friend and his dependant family.
So constituted was he, that it was often said that if a man's friend, he
was the friend of his family, indeed of everybody connected with him--in
a word he took the whole tribe to his heart. As a master, he was kind,
humane, just and ever mindful of the wants of his servants, provided
every family with a good house and garden, extended to them the
privilege of raising poultry, pigs, etc., and of enjoying the fruits of
such care and industry as they chose to bestow on them, during time
allowed for this purpose. And he was so loved and respected by his
servants that they considered it a favor, not a task, to do his bidding.
But when there was occasion for it, he could be severe, and required a
strict account from all.

Every community has its leading spirit, who, to a certain extent,
impresses his character upon it and brings it up, in a measure, to what
that choice spirit is, and that is precisely what Mr. Peyton did. He was
identified with every interest of the people, with their trade and
commerce, with the material development of the State, and its moral,
educational and religious prosperity. He was honest and upright in the
highest degree, and never violated a trust, but was ever faithful to
every obligation. His heart was full of that charity which "vaunteth not
itself and is not puffed up." The poor, the afflicted, the distressed,
whether "in mind, body or estate," were recipients of his kind deeds,
and the widow and orphan knew him in their extremity. Principle dictated
all his acts and he never departed a hair's breadth from the line of

He was warm hearted, genial, and kindly, was fond of intellectual
society, in which he was sure to shine, was given to hospitality and
entertained more company probably than any gentleman of his day in
Virginia; in fact, lived with open house.

Among other accomplishments, it should be remembered that he was a
refined and robust writer, and had his professional and business
engagements permitted, he would doubtless have been a famous author. Now
and again he indulged, in an hour of leisure, in preparing an article
for the British Reviews. They showed eminent literary talents. Those
productions were, for the most part, destroyed in the library of his
son, Col. J. Lewis Peyton, which was stored for safe keeping during the
Civil War, on his Jackson River estate in Alleghany county, where they
were burnt by Federal troops. His essays were generally on subjects of
utility to the State and country, but some times his disquisitions were
on moral and metaphysical science, and were remarkable for their
clearness and force--no man, indeed, could have presented his views in a
more perspicuous, more forcible or convincing manner. Judge McCue says,
"his conception of a great subject and mode of expression were as clear,
distinct and demonstrative as were those of Edmund Burke."

In a brief sketch only his salient points can be touched upon. Enough
has been said, however, to present a fair idea of the superior mental
and moral endowments of this extraordinary man. For his wonderful
life-long labors he did not receive, though having a most extensive and
fairly lucrative practice--probably the largest of any lawyer in
Virginia--a tithe of the annual income of a modern millionaire, but he
accomplished great and noble ends, and no language can describe the
inward satisfaction, the mental pleasure he must have enjoyed. He
rejoiced in what riches cannot purchase, the love, admiration and
respect of every one, from the humblest mountaineer to the highest
official in the land.

His name has not perished and will not, but will grow greener with years
and blossom through the coming ages. This little tribute, it is hoped,
will extend and confirm the reputation of a man worthy of universal
admiration. May it, however, do more. The fame of the truly great can
only be of use when stimulating by example. Let every reader of these
pages consider what he can contribute towards the same great cause of
social melioration, what sacrifices he will make to reclaim the vicious,
instruct the ignorant, cheer the disconsolate, what selfishness and
bigotries he will relinquish; what benevolence, justice, charity he will
exercise, and what, in a word, he will do to imitate the example of
heroic worth given us by this truly wise and good man.

He was struck down by apoplexy in 1845, recovered sufficiently to walk
about his house, but was disabled in 1846, by a second attack
accompanied by paralysis. His mind, however, continued clear and
vigorous, though his voice was indistinct. This was illustrated by his
ability displayed on his sick bed, in a conversation with the late Col.
John B. Baldwin, in which he gave him the points and elucidated the
intricacies of an important and difficult law case, then in progress
and cited the authorities. Throughout his illness, he endured his
sufferings with patience and meekness, and died at Montgomery Hall,
April 3d, 1847, leaving the reputation of having been a perfect
gentleman, the soul of honor, and the pink of chivalry.

                           MR. PEYTON'S REPORT IN 1810.

                              VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE.


                              DECEMBER 4TH, 1809.

A proposition from the State of Pennsylvania is herewith submitted, with
Gov. Snyder's letter endorsing the same, in which is suggested the
propriety of amending the constitution of the United States so as to
prevent collisions between the government of the Union and the State

                              HOUSE OF DELEGATES.

                                           Friday, Dec., 15th, 1809.

On motion ordered that so much of the Governor's communication as
relates to the communication of the Governor of Pennsylvania, on the
subject of an amendment proposed by the legislature of the State to the
constitution of the United States he referred to Messrs. Peyton, Otey,
Cabell, Walker, Madison, Holt, Newton, Parker, Stevenson, Randolph,
Cocke, Wayatt and Ritchie.

                                         Thursday, Jan., 11th, 1810.

Mr. Peyton from the committee to whom was referred that part of the
Governor's communications which relates to the amendment proposed by the
State of Pennsylvania, to the constitution of the United States, made
the following


The committee to whom was referred the communication of the Governor of
Pennsylvania, covering certain resolutions of the legislature of that
State proposing an amendment of the Constitution of the United States by
the appointment of an impartial tribunal to decide disputes between the
State and Federal judiciary, have had the same, under their
consideration, and are of opinion that a tribunal is already provided by
the Constitution of the United States to wit; the supreme court, more
eminently qualified from their habits and duties, from the mode of their
selection, and from the tenure of their offices, to decide the disputes
aforesaid in an enlightened and impartial manner than any other tribunal
which could be selected.

The members of the supreme court, are selected from those in the United
States, who are most celebrated for virtue and legal learning, not at
the will of a single individual, but by the concurrent wishes of the
President and Senate of the United States; they will therefore have no
local prejudices or partialities. The duties they have to perform, lead
them necessarily to the most enlarged and accurate acquaintance with the
jurisdiction of the Federal and State courts together, and with the
admirable symmetry of our Government. The tenure of their offices
enables them to pronounce the sound and correct opinions they may have
formed without fear, favour, or partiality.

The amendment of the Constitution proposed by Pennsylvania seems to be
founded upon the idea that the Federal judiciary will, from a lust of
power, enlarge their jurisdiction, to the total annihilation of the
jurisdiction of the State courts; that they will exercise their will
instead of the law and the Constitution.

This argument, if it proves anything, would operate more strongly
against the tribunal proposed to be created, which promises so little,
than against the State courts, which, for the reason given, have every
thing connected with their appointment calculated to insure confidence.
What security have we, were the proposed amendments adopted, that this
tribunal would not substitute their will and their pleasure in place of
the law? The Judiciary are the weakest of the three departments of
government, and least dangerous to the political rights of the
Constitution; they hold neither the purse, nor the sword; and even to
enforce their own judgments and decisions, must ultimately depend upon
the executive arm. Should the Federal judiciary, however unmindful of
their weakness, unmindful of the duty which they owe to themselves, and
their country, become corrupt and transcend the limits of their
jurisdiction, would the proposed amendment oppose even a probable
barrier to such an improbable state of things?

The creation of a tribunal, such as is proposed by Pennsylvania, so far
as we are able to form an idea of it, from the description given in the
resolutions of the Legislature of the State, would, in the opinion of
your Committee, tend rather to invite them to prevent collisions between
the Federal and State courts. It might also become in process of time, a
serious and dangerous embarrassment to the operations of the general

Resolved, therefore: That the Legislature of this State do disapprove of
the amendment to the Constitution of the United States proposed by the
Legislature of Pennsylvania.

Resolved also: That his Excellency the Governor be, and he is hereby
requested to transmit forthwith a copy of the foregoing preamble and
resolutions to each of the Senators and representatives of this State
in Congress, and to the executives of the several states in the union,
with a request that the same be laid before the Legislature thereof.

The said Resolutions being read a second time, were, on motion ordered
to be referred to a committee of the whole House on the state of the

                                           Tuesday, Jan. 23rd, 1810.

The House according to the orders of the day, resolved itself into a
Committee of the whole house on the state of the Commonwealth, and after
some time spent therein, Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Stannard
of Spottsylvania, reported that the Committee had, according to order,
had under consideration the preamble and resolution of the select
committee, to whom was referred that part of the Governor's
communication which relates to the amendment proposed to the
constitution of the United States by the Legislature of Pennsylvania,
had gone through with the same, and directed him to report them to the
House without amendment, which he handed in to the clerk's table.

And the question being put, on agreeing to the said preamble and
resolutions, they were agreed to by the House unanimously.

Ordered that the clerk carry the said preamble and resolutions to the
Senate, and desire their concurrence.

                             IN SENATE.

                                      Wednesday, January 24th, 1810.

The preamble and resolutions on the amendment to the constitution of the
United States, proposed by the Legislature of Pennsylvania by the
appointment of an impartial tribunal to decide disputes between the
State and Federal judiciary, being also delivered in, and twice read, on
motion was ordered to be committed to Messieurs Nelson, Currie,
Campbell, Upshur and Wolfe.

                                          Friday, January 26th, 1810.

Mr. Nelson reported from the committee on the preamble and resolutions
on the amendment, proposed by the legislature of Pennsylvania, etc.,
that the committee had, according to order, taken the said preamble and
resolutions under their consideration, and directed him to report them
without any amendment.

       *       *       *       *       *

"This important state paper," says Judge McCue, "can be seen in the
works of Daniel Webster, vol. III, pp. 352-54, and so able were these
views and resolutions, considered at the time, as to attract the
attention of the leading Statesmen of the country, and they guided the
other States in the adoption of similar resolutions, thus overthrowing
the effort of Pennsylvania to establish a separate and distinct judicial
department as arbiter between the Federal and State Governments."

In the great debate in the United States Senate between Daniel Webster
and Gen. Hayne, of South Carolina, Mr. Webster quoted Mr. Peyton's
preamble and resolutions, as so conclusive of the questions involved, as
to admit of no further discussion. In a subsequent pages of Judge
McCue's sketch, an interesting conversation between Mr. Webster and
Daniel Sheffey is reported.


For several years previous to 1808, Mr. Peyton suffered with a disease
of the stomach and bowels--a chronic disentary, which baffled the skill
of his physicians. He consulted many of the eminent doctors of Virginia
and Maryland in vain. The numerous remedies they prescribed were taken
without good effect or gave only temporary relief. As a last resort he
determined, on the advice of his family physician and his most intimate
friends, to try the efficacy of the mineral waters of the Virginia
Springs, and accordingly spent the summer of 1806-7 at that famous
resort, the old Sweet Springs, in Monroe county. A use of the waters in
a very brief period, gave him relief from his sufferings, and at the end
of the season his health was re-established. He quickly decided, painful
as was the severing of early ties, and the separation from friends, to
leave the malarial regions of lower Virginia, and to make his home in
the healthy and bracing climate, west of the Blue Ridge. Accordingly in
1808 established himself in Staunton.

                        AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.

The deep interest taken by Mr. Peyton in all matters likely to promote
the thrift of the people and the public prosperity, and to which
repeated reference is made in the various sketches of his life, is
illustrated by the following facts:

At a meeting of the people of Augusta, held in Staunton in June, 1811,
to form an agricultural society, the first ever organized in the county,
he was present and appointed on what was styled the Committee of
Correspondence, a committee, no doubt, raised to induce by letters the
leading men of the county to co-operate in the cause.

                          MILITARY SCHOOLS.

In view of the war threatened with England the year following a military
association was formed in Staunton, and a committee was appointed at a
public meeting to deliberate and report on the best means to be adopted
in order to secure the establishment of military schools in the counties
of Augusta, Rockbridge and Rockingham for the instruction of officers
and men. This committee, of which Mr. Peyton was a member, reported to a
meeting of the association held in Staunton June 20th, 1812. It does not
appear by whom the report was written, but it embodies his sentiments on
the subject, and is therefore given as follows, namely:

"The committee to whom was referred a resolution of the Staunton
Military Association, which has for its object the establishment of
military schools, having had the subject under consideration beg leave
to report.

"The committee deem it unnecessary to refer to any other authority than
the good sense and honest feelings of every man, to prove the great
utility, at all times, but more especially at this, of military
instruction to the people of this country. The subject, there at least,
is a new and difficult one; and the committee are very sensible that any
plea which they can suggest will have many palpable obstacles to
encounter and may be exposed to various others, which they cannot
foresee. They rely for every hope of success upon the acknowledged value
of the object in view, upon the patriotism of the people, upon the order
of the present times, and upon the success of the experiment, which this
society has made.

"A military school, in which could be taught the complete discipline of a
refinest, the different exercises of the rifle corps, the artillery and
the infantry, together with the cavalry exercises of the sword, though
it could not promise to teach the whole principles of war as a science
would certainly promise much that would be eminently useful to every
soldier and officer in the institution. And your committee cannot
refrain from suggesting that a school for these purposes, successfully
conducted, might serve as an introduction to some more extensive and
some more perfect system of military education.

"To obtain a person capable of conducting such a school, would not always
be easy; such a person is not very readily to be met with, and what is
yet more difficult, funds to remunerate his services, are to be raised
by voluntary contribution. But at present, judging from their own
experience, in this society, your committee think that a person whose
skill, information and zeal in military affairs, would enable him to
conduct such a school, may be found in your commandant, and they hope
that funds to compensate his services are within the reach of an active
and spirited exertion. They hope that the neighboring counties of
Rockbridge and Rockingham would consider the subject as worthy of their
attention, and might be induced to unite with the people of Augusta in
their endeavors to attain it. A sufficient number of subscribers in the
county of Augusta alone would probably not be obtained, to induce any
one properly qualified, to devote his time to this service. But by the
union of Rockingham and Rockbridge this might be effected.

"Your committee would therefore recommend to the society, the adoption of
the following resolutions:

"Resolved, that subscriptions be opened in the county of Augusta, under
the immediate superintendance of a committee of seven persons, appointed
by this society, for establishing a military school in the town of
Staunton to be denominated the Staunton Military School, to commence on
the 15th day of July next, and continue for one year thereafter, and be
under the directions of Capt. George Turner; the present commandant of
this society--that the times of teaching and price to subscribers be
regulated by said committee and the commandant in conjunction, so that
the days of teaching be not less than one day in each fortnight, and the
price to subscribers be not more than ten dollars per annum, payable
quarterly in advance.

"Resolved, that it be recommended to the commandant to endeavor to
establish similar schools in the neighbouring counties of Rockingham and
Rockbridge, and that the committee aforesaid be instructed to invite,
respectfully, the co-operation of those counties."

                        THE WAR OF 1812.

The year following, President Madison sent a war message to congress and
such was the popular excitement growing out of the British claim
entitled the "Right of Search," and the collision between the United
States frigate, _Chesapeake_, and the British frigate, _Leopold_, in
1807, which had never been allayed, that war was declared by the United
States against Great Britain, on June 18th, 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 a mere administration 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 nulify an act of Congress regarding enlistment.
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
Militia, 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 John H. Peyton, who had
voted for Mr. Madison and warmly supported the war policy, came forward
and exerted every energy of mind and body to stir up popular enthusiasm
in support of the war. He volunteered at once, to serve in the army,
until peace was restored, and was immediately appointed Chief of Staff
to Gen. Porterfield, an old Revolutionary officer, who, while serving as
a lieutenant in 1780, at the siege of Charleston, S. C., had killed by
his side, Captain Valentine Peyton, a young and gallant cousin of J. H.
Peyton. Forgetting everything but his duty to his country, which was
with him, and every true patriot paramount, Mr. P. abandoned his
lucrative practice, which more selfish men sought to appropriate, and
his wife and family and joined the army on the James river in Eastern
Virginia, with the active operation of which he was identified until the
declaration of peace, February 17th, 1815.

The "Republican Farmer" went out of existence, no newspaper took its
place for years and we have seen no account of the army services of
Major Peyton beyond the statement that he was "one of the most
enterprising and daring officers in the service," but more than thirty
years after the end of the war, and his death, his minor children
received from the Government, a pension for his services.


The late Adam Bickle, of Staunton, father of R. G. Bickle and a member
of the Augusta Force, use to enjoy telling an anecdote of Major Peyton.
He said that repeated complaints were made by the soldiers as to the
musty flour and inferior bacon furnished by the commissary, to the
troops, while stationed at Camp Holly. On one occasion, Major Peyton
remonstrated with the commissary, on the character of the stores, when
that officer flew into a passion and grossly insulted the major, whom he
alleged, was not the proper officer to take him to task. Without a
moment's thought Major Peyton knocked him down with the hilt of his
sword, and gave him a thorough drubbing in presence of the men. This
would appear very curious to persons accustomed to European discipline
and standing armies, but with the raw levies, of eighty years ago, was
much enjoyed and thought not to be greatly out of place. It had the
effect of endearing the Major to the men who never in any kind of
subsequent trouble, failed to appeal to him.

Many years after one of Major Peyton's young children hearing of this
affair, enquired if the commissary had challenged him. The Major replied
that he had not. But continued the child "suppose he had, what would you
have done?" "Why," said the Major, "I would have answered him as humorously
as did the gentleman spoken of by Dr. Franklin, A gentleman in a coffee
house," said the Major "desired another to sit further from him. Why so?
Because you stink! That's an insult, and you must fight me. I will
fight you, if you insist upon it, but I do not see how that will mend
the matter, for if you kill me, I shall stink too, and if I kill you,
you will stink, if possible, more than you do at present."

                      A WESTERN TRIP IN 1815.

Shortly after the close of the war, Mr. Peyton made a visit to Kentucky
on business, one object being to look after fifteen hundred acres of
land belonging to his wife lying near Louisville, a property which has
since become of immense value. He was accompanied by Ned Phipps or Fibs,
his body servant during the war, a faithful negro, upon whose attachment
he could rely. In his station few men behaved, as a rule, better than
Ned, who had a certain amount of self respect, "nigger" as he was
styled, and knew how to conduct himself, if he did not always do it.
They made the entire journey from Staunton to Louisville, on horseback,
of course they were armed, as their route was through a wild and savage
country, infested by Indians, many of them dissatisfied with the close
and the result of the war; and a class of desperate whites, more
dangerous than the red men, some of whom had served under Gen. Harrison
in the North West, and were survivors of Fort Meigs, and the battle and
massacre of the river Raisin. The Eastern part of Kentucky, known as the
"Knobs," or the "Knobby country," is still a savage country in
possession of a savage people, though traversed by the Chesapeake and
Ohio Railroad which is supposed to have let in some of the light of
civilization, and has gained an unenviable notoriety within the past ten
years by reason of the bloody feuds between the Hatfields and McCoys.
Through this wilderness they travelled on miserable paths called roads,
which connected the settlements, swimming rivers, and other water
courses and resting of nights in log huts, called country taverns
promising accommodations for man and beast. And what is remarkable to
relate completed their outward journey and returned to Virginia in

When we consider what our ancestors endured, what hardships and
privations they suffered, we are of the opinion that we enjoy to-day,
more physical, spiritual and intellectual benefits and blessings than
have ever before fallen to the lot of man. Notwithstanding the rough
experiences of this trip, Mr. Peyton found something bright in all he
saw and heard, allowed nothing to depress his spirits, still less
deepening sorrows, over the woeful complaints he listened to from back
woodsmen of hard times and worse coming.

He was one of those men who make the best of every thing, there was
nothing splenetic, melancholy, or timid in his nature, and he returned
from his visit strengthened for his manly duties--his lawyer's life.
Such was his devotion to the profession that he would allow nothing to
permanently turn him from it, and he only served two years as Mayor of
Staunton, to which position he was elected in 1817-18 because, the
duties were so light that they did not interfere with his work, and his
friends urged him to accept the place as, at that time, the currency was
deranged, money scarce, and people depressed. From the fertility of his
resources it was thought he would find a remedy for these evils. During
his Mayoralty, the city made an issue of paper money and this
circulating medium brought no small relief to the people. One of these
"shin plasters," as they were termed in popular slang phraseology, was
found a few years since, over eighty years from the time it was put
forth; presumably in the stocking of some provident old woman, and was
sealed up as a curiosity in the corner stone of the Confederate Monument
in Thornrose Cemetery, at Staunton.

During the month he gave himself for relaxation and rest in Kentucky he
enjoyed the society of such people as the Brown's, Green's Preston's
Gov. Shelby, Col. R. M. Johnson, Natl. Hart, Robert Scott and other
noted characters in that rich and lovely region. Some of these
afterwards from time to time visited him, and greatly enjoyed the
blandishments of Virginian society.

                        DECLINES AN APPOINTMENT.

On his return from his Western trip he was appointed deputy United
States District Attorney for Western Virginia, and for a time discharged
the duties of the office for his friend William Wirt. He had served in
the Legislature in 1808-9, with Mr. Wirt and a strong mutual friendship
was the result. On Mr. Wirt's resignation of the position and his
removal to Baltimore, Mr. Peyton declined the office as conflicting with
his other appointments, (which were more lucrative) and his extensive
private practice.

       *       *       *       *       *

     We owe the following letters to the filial piety of Mr. Peyton's
     eldest daughter, Mrs. Susan M. Baldwin, widow of the late Col. J.
     B. Baldwin, who has preserved them since the Montgomery Hall family
     was broken up at Mrs. J. H. Peyton's death in 1850.

                            OLD FAMILY LETTERS.

     Fawcett's Tavern, Green Valley, Bath Co., Va., June 1, 1822.

                   JOHN H. PEYTON TO MRS. PEYTON.

_My Dear Ann_:

I left home in such haste that I forgot to tell you to send to Mr.
Johnson's for a carboy of wine. Though you do not like it yourself,
hospitality requires that you should always have it for those who do.
Baldwin [Afterwards Judge Briscoe G. Baldwin, his life-long friend] and
I were thoroughly drenched in the rain-storm on yesterday, but neither
of us felt the slightest inconvenience from it this morning. No news, so
far, from your mother or Mrs. Massie. Give my love to William [his only
son by his first marriage, the late Col. William M. Peyton, of Roanoke]
and be assured, my dear Ann, that you are, in your present delicate
situation, the source of constant solicitude to me. Take care of
yourself and go to no large parties. You will always have the company of
Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Donagho, Mrs. Baldwin, Miss Telfair, and you can not
fail to enjoy such society. Write to me constantly.

With sincerest affection, though in great haste, your husband.

                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                            Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., June 5th, 1822.

_My Beloved Ann_:

I received your affectionate letter of the 2nd of June this evening
which gave me great pleasure. When separated from you, there is nothing
that gives so much delight as to get one of your cheerful letters. I
regret to learn that you have been indisposed, however slightly, since
we parted. I feel confident, however, that with prudence and care you
will suffer as little as anyone from disease. You have a thoroughly
sound constitution. If you were a little older I would add, a well
preserved one. If I were to tell you how many kind enquiries and good
wishes have been expressed for you by friends here, you would be proud
and happy.

I am much gratified to that you and my dear son William are again
friends. I trust the reconciliation will be sincere and enduring.
[Note.--It proved to be such and this reference is made to their
relations in the memoir of Col. Wm. M. Peyton, "after the loss of his
(Wm. M. Peyton's) mother, and Mr. Peyton's second marriage to her
cousin, Ann Montgomery Lewis, * * William extended to her not only
deference and respect, but a truly filial affection. Mrs. A. M. Peyton,
was therefore soon warmly attached to him and taught her children to
love him before they learned to do so for his own noble qualities, for
his native endowments and the extent of his accomplishments, as they
were developed to the family in after years."] Our good brother, James
Woodville, is now with me and we often talk of you. He is a most kind,
sympathetic and affectionate friend. Dr. Lewis has at last, set out for
Point Coupee. Massie and his wife are recovering. Your mother expected
to leave on a visit to you on yesterday. Whether she has actually gone,
I do not know. I hope she has. If not I shall return by the Sweet
Springs and endeavor to induce her to go back with me. Whether she comes
or not, be of good cheer. I shall be with you and will see that every
comfort is provided that love and foresight can suggest. Woodville says
your mother will certainly go down, and I trust she may, as it would be
a comfort to you and a pleasure to us all. Your father looks quite well,
is hale and hearty, and Mrs. Woodville, who is at the Springs, much
better. James sends his love to you and William.

                I am your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

P. S.--Mrs. Woodville was very anxious to have accompanied your mother
to Staunton, but James[2] bids me tell you he could not spare his wife
so long.

                            LEWIS LITTLEPAGE.

  [2] Note.--The James here mentioned was James Littlepage Woodville, who
  married Mrs. Peyton's eldest sister, Mary Lewis.--Mr. Woodville resided
  at Fincastle and Buchanan, and was a prominent lawyer and president of
  the Bank of Buchanan. His father was Rev. John Woodville, Rector of St.
  Mark's Parish, Culpeper Co., and a native of North Britain. He was a
  nephew of the celebrated, but eccentric Lewis Littlepage, whose career
  was brilliant and unequaled. Littlepage was born in Virginia in 1762,
  and died at Fredericksburg in 1802. At the age of 17 he went to Europe,
  and in 1779-80 accompanied Mr. Jay, American Envoy, to the Court of
  Spain, Madrid. Though only a youth, his figure was fine and manly--his
  dark eyes bright and penetrating. Among his acquaintances he was
  regarded as a prodigy of genius and acquirements.--Shortly after
  reaching Madrid, Littlepage separated from Mr. Jay's family, and joined
  as a volunteer aid, the duke of Cuillon, and was with the army at the
  siege of Minorca. At the siege of Gibralter he was on a floating battery
  and blown up, but being uninjured was rescued from the sea and
  distinguished himself during the further operations against that
  fortress. On the return of the fleet to Cadiz, he was sent with
  despatches to Madrid, where the Court received and treated him with much
  distinction. He then proceeded to Paris, and was on terms of friendship
  with Dr. Franklin, who was then living at Passy.--At Paris and
  Versailles this adventurous, young Virginian moved in the best society
  and attracted marked attention from all. After a brief visit to London,
  he returned to the Continent and made a tour of Europe, establishing
  himself at Warsaw, where he was so popular that he rose to be in effect,
  the King's Prime Minister. He resisted and defeated the plans of
  Zamoyski before the Diet. He afterwards went to St. Petersburg as
  Ambassador from Poland, and acquitted himself with distinguished ability
  and became a favorite of the Empress Catherine. The following letter of
  Lewis Littlepage to Lewis Holiday takes up the history of his life where
  our account ends and completes the story of his eventful career in


                                       Warm Springs, Sept. 2nd, 1822.

_My Dear Ann_:

I dined at the Hot Springs and arrived here last evening without
accident or adventure and without increasing the inflammation of my
wounded leg. [Note--While opening the front gate at Capt. Massie's, in
the Valley of the Falling Spring, Alleghany county, his riding-horse, a
spirited but badly trained animal, sprang forward, dashing him against
the gate-post, and the iron prong of the latch was driven through the
calf of his leg, inflicting a painful and dangerous wound. The wound was
so serious indeed that he was confined to the house for several weeks
and owed his recovery mainly, as was thought, to the kind attendance of
Mrs. Massie and her family.] Old Brinkly, who is here, and something of
a leech, and a kind and excellent fellow, examined and dressed the wound
last evening. He approves of all that was done by Mrs. Massie, and
insisted that I should take the warm bath this morning and let the "_leg
there soak for thirty minutes_." I followed his advice in the absence
of a more scientific authority, and have just returned from the bath
feeling all the better for having taking it. I thought the burnt alum
which sister Susan put on the wound healed it too rapidly, and the
effect of the bath has confirmed me in this impression. Immediately
after leaving the bath, the blood spurted in a lively stream from the
wound, which Brinkly soon stopped. He was not cast down at this
incident, but said it was a good sign, that it was a discharge of
bruised blood, and applied lint and Basilican plaster, and I now feel
quite easy and comfortable. Brinkly is not a quack; on the contrary, he
possesses some skill, and is anxious to be of service, not only to me,
but to all suffering humanity.

There are a number of visitors still here, among them Norborne Nicholas,
Judge Roane, Dr. Adams, Mrs. Harvie and Malinda Bowyer. They meet daily,
Dr. Brockenbrough included in the party, in my apartments, and we enjoy
the reunion no little. All are exceedingly kind, they even oppress me
with their friendly attentions. Having accepted the guidance of old
Brinkly, I shall adhere to him as long as I improve. It may not be the
best course, but it would be difficult to ascertain the wisest policy
among such a multitude of counsellors, each one with an infallible
remedy, and all advising a different course of treatment. But it is
interesting to hear these good people discuss their theories. They are a
remarkably cultured coterie to have remained behind the annual exodus,
and all full of kindness of feeling. This I take to be culture, or the
powers we acquire of sympathizing with others, of feeling the conditions
under which they act and of regarding them and their interest rather
than our own wishes and gratifications. Roane, who will stop with us
three days, on his return from Richmond, and whom you have not met,
though I have known him for 20 years, is a man of superior abilities,
and with considerable literary attainments, is accurate in legal
learning and one of our best lawyers and judges. He is a good, but not
what is styled a "brilliant talker," ready in his wit and pat in
illustration. He amuses the mind by his happy conceits which, like a
good conscience, act as medicine for both mind and body. I regret to say
that his health is bad. [Judge Roane died Sept. 4th, 1822.]

Girard Stuart has just arrived from the Sweet Springs and says 160
visitors are yet there, and about 60 at the White Sulphur. I hope to see
you and little Susan, Captain and Mrs. Massie, on Friday. Present me
affectionately to Capt. M., Susan and the family.

                  Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                 SPEECH OF JOHN H. PEYTON 72 YEARS AGO.

The following interesting extract from the records of the Superior Court
of law and chancery for Bath county, 1822, will no doubt be read with
keen zest at the present time:--

                       EXTRACTS FROM THE RECORDS.

At a Superior Court of law holden for Bath county at the court house on
the 5th day of September, 1822.

John H. Peyton addressed the court to the following effect:--

"The melancholy task devolves upon me [Mr. Peyton was Attorney for the
Commonwealth in the county and circuit] of announcing to the court the
death of Hon. Spencer Roane, one of the Judges of the Supreme court of
Appeals of Va. He departed this life on last evening at this place
where he came a few weeks since for the recovery of his health.

"In him the country has lost one of her most useful and distinguished
citizens, liberty one of her most enlightened, firm and determined
advocates, and the judiciary, one of its brightest ornaments.

"As a small tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased, rendered
peculiarly appropriate as it emanates from a department to which he was
both personally and professionally attached, and from a court over which
presides one who has long been his political associate and personal
friend, I offer for adoption the following:

"Resolved, That the court do forthwith adjourn and that the Judge, the
Bar and the other officials of the court attend the funeral of the

"The court and the Bar assenting to the resolution immediately
adjourned."--_Spectator_, 1894.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                           Isleham, Jackson's River, March 7th, 1823.

_My Dear Ann_:

I arrived here on Thursday about 12 o'clock, after a very disagreeable
and fatiguing journey. The day I left home, I had good roads and fair
weather, and I reached Roadcap's on the great Calf Pasture River, near
the Panther's Gap, where I lodged. The next day I traveled in the rain
from morning till night, and over wretched roads, often a half leg deep
in mire. My horse was so wearied and exhausted I could get no further
than the Hot Springs, twenty miles. The next day I rode through sleet
and rain, mire and mud to Capt. Massie's, where I stopped until the
weather improved. I then took your brother Benjamin with me to this
point, where we have since been enjoying fine weather--the sky is now
serene and the air mild.

The day I left Staunton Mrs. Massie set out for Fincastle on a visit to
her sister, Mary, (Mrs. Woodville), who is, I am sorry to say, in
declining health. She will make an effort to fetch Mary to her home,
thinking the air and water of the Valley cannot fail to be of service to
her. Capt. Massie and the children, your father and mother, and, indeed,
all the family are in their usual good health and spirits.

A thaw has set in, the ice is breaking up, and the water courses rising.
Vegetation is a fortnight later than last year at this time. The maple
sugar season, which usually occurs in February, is just now beginning.
Nelly is very busy over her pots and pans, but has only made
thirty-three pounds. This she sends you to-day by Ben, who also carries,
among other things, the cloth for a suit of clothes sister Massie
presented me--the cloth is of her own manufacture and of fine and
durable texture. Have this suit made up for me immediately and have the
pantaloons cut by my wedding small clothes--they fit better than any of
my others. If you are too busy to give this matter your attention ask
Miss Tapp to attend to it. William will purchase the trimmings from Mr.
Cowan. [Note--Joseph Cowan then the leading dry goods merchant in

I have decided to send your carriage horses by Ben and to run the risque
of making my journey through Pendleton on the mare I bought of Capt.
Massie. She is rough, much marked with harness, but is young, active and
though spirited, gentle. I prefer such a riding horse, unsightly though
she be, to the slow, lifeless movements of Kelly, who is at the best a
shuffling nag.

I am adding to the furniture and comforts of our house here--have
directed Mrs. Walton to make you some handsome counterpanes and some
linen sheets, table cloths and towels from the flax grown on the farm. I
have also bought a supply of feather beds and pillows, and purchased a
mirror and dinner service of Liverpool ware, the latter for use on great
days and holidays when you favor the place with your presence.

The servants have put up 5,900 pounds of pork and large supplies of
lard. There is every prospect that we shall have plenty of fruit and
vegetables, so that you will want none of the creature comforts when on
your visit in August. The ice-house has not been commenced, and I fear
will not be finished this season. Walton's delays are vexations--I
suspect he has an object in them--he fears to make this place too
comfortable lest you may prefer it to Staunton, in which case his
services might, and would be dispensed with. If I should be forced by
his repeated neglect of my orders to decline his services for the
future, he will have fared as he hath wrought.

I hope to get a letter from you at the Warm Springs--do not expect
another from me before my return. Ben unites with me in love to you,
William and Susan.

I remain your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

P.S.--Tell William the river could not be forded, or I should have sent
for his minerals and other curiosities at McClintic's. Ben will take him
his Indian arrows and stone cannon ball, though there is no account of
the _Indians ever having used big guns_. Nelly sends Susan some maple

                             MAJOR JOHN LEWIS.

Mrs. Peyton made a visit to her mother at the Sweet Springs after the
death of her father, Major John Lewis, which occurred at the Springs in
1823. Major Lewis ought to live in the memory of posterity, as he was in
more ways than one a remarkable man, renowned among his comrades for
courage, integrity, his high sense of honor and indomitable
perseverance. Let us premise a word as to this heroic old man. He had
long served in the Indian wars on the border and was present at the
battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, an officer under command of his
distinguished uncle, Gen. Andrew Lewis, commander-in-chief. During the
arduous march from Fort Union through the wilderness and at the battle
he infused his own spirit and energy into all about him, was already
renowned for his precocious military talent at the opening of the
Revolutionary war. About two years later he joined the Continental army
as a Lieutenant, was engaged in nearly all the battles in the Northern
Colonies, Monmouth, Saratoga, Trenton, etc., and spent the winter of
1777, at Valley Forge. Though a very young man he attracted and made the
lasting friendship of Washington. He rose to the rank of Major, in which
rank he served at the battle of Monmouth. At the close of the war, to
which he had devoted his energies, and just as he was in sight of the
glorious summit "where fame's proud temple shines afar," and his
services would doubtless have been rewarded by high command, the strife
ended by the recognition of American Independence. In 1783, Major Lewis
returned to his Virginia home, without having won that extended fame
which was so liberally meted out to those in high commands. From 1783,
to Wayne's victorious campaign against the Western Indians, in 1794,
Major Lewis was much on the frontier, had many encounters with savages
and border ruffians, had many hair-breadth escapes and won great
applause for his personal strength and boldness. In his frays with these
fierce borderers he displayed extraordinary physical strength as well as
indomitable pluck. He was only five feet ten inches high, but was
strongly and compactly built, and his muscular power was enormous. It
was commonly said that he was the strongest man in Virginia. His
shoulders were broad and his chest deep. His countenance was frank,
open, manly and cheerful, but at periods of danger stern and severe. In
nature he was kind and gentle, was a humane and benevolent man, neither
showing ferocity nor indulging in cruelty. He died an Elder in the
Presbyterian church, universally respected by all who knew him. During
his career he made the acquaintance of Gen. Jackson, afterwards seventh
President of the United States, who entertained and expressed the
highest opinion of his military genius and of his pure and upright
character. In 1830, when South Carolina threatened nulification, General
Jackson declared to a Virginian gentleman then in Washington, "That if
he had a man like John Lewis to second him, he could go to South
Carolina, hang Calhoun and end nulification within a month and forever."
In 1830, the United States government made a large grant of lands to his
heirs as a further recompense for his military services. It was during
Mrs. Peyton's visit to her home in the Sweet Springs Valley, after her
father's death, that the following letter was written:--

                     JOHN H. PEYTON TO MRS. PEYTON:

                                           Staunton, June 24th, 1823.

I duly received the letter of my dear wife on the 15th, giving me the
agreeable intelligence that she and Susan had improved in health and
were well. Let me say a word here on the subject of your and her health.
Do not let her habits of life become too delicate. If you will both
continue the practice of taking a cold bath every morning, you will soon
regain your former healthy tone, and Susan become stronger and teethe
easily. Whenever you suffer with heat and need refreshment resort to the
warm bath, not oftener, however, than once a day. Do not allow the nurse
to carry Susan in her arms as much as heretofore; let her place the
child on the floor to there exercise by getting on her own way--"We must
crawl before we can walk." Nothing can supply the want of exercise, it
gives the child confidence and the conversation of the nurse and the
pointing out of objects pleases its fancy and arouses its faculties.
Children that are too much nursed and coddled are apt to be weak and
delicate and are sometimes even deformed by the carelessness of nurses
in keeping them too long in improper positions. We cannot be too
particular with this lovely child in whom we so much delight. The
Masonic procession occurs to-day; it is in honor of John the Baptist.
Dr. Stephens delivers the address [Rev. Dr. Stephens, Rector of Trinity
Church, Staunton,] and the dinner is given at Mrs. Chamber's tavern. I
can only participate in the dinner, as there is a trial of a negro for a
rape committed on a white married woman, which will occupy my attention
throughout the day. Now that he is within the toils of justice, I shall
see that he does not struggle out and make his escape. Such brutal deeds
must meet their just punishment.

Your friend Mrs. Baldwin is much engaged entertaining her brother and
his family, who are on a visit from Winchester. Such spare time as I
have is spent with Johnson and his family, where I am almost domiciled,
[Chapman Johnson the distinguished lawyer.] Johnson's health is much
improved and his spirits are better. He no longer suffers with
depression. He makes many friendly enquiries after you and his
god-daughter, Susan Madison. He goes to the Sweet this summer with his
family and sister-in-law, Agnes Nicholson.

I have directed the servants to make you a supply of currant jelly and
walnut pickles. Sinah has also salted down, for winter use, a quantity
of excellent butter. Is there anything else you would like to have done?
If so, speak--you will not have to speak twice.

On Thursday I commenced my harvest. The wheat is much better than last
year, and than I supposed it would be. The recent rains have improved
the oats and corn, and there is promise of an abundant yield. Our hearts
should be filled with thankfulness for the countless blessings God
showers upon us. Why are we not stimulated to more and greater acts of

My health has improved since I last wrote--my cold is gone, my appetite
good and my spirits buoyant. I do not think I will ever lay aside my
flannel again, certainly not before May is out. Dr. Boys and Gen. Brown
both told me recently that they never removed theirs without taking
cold, and for several years they have worn it all the year round.

I received a letter from Capt. Massie a few days since, from which I am
happy to learn that he is recovering. I hope to meet Woodville soon, on
his way to see his friends in Culpeper. I hear that Aunt McDowell is at
Smithfield with your grandmother Preston, whose health is much impaired.
James M. Preston writes urging me to make them a visit and to fetch you
and Susan along. Ballard is a stirring and promising lad. [afterward Wm.
Ballard Preston, Secretary of the Navy in President Taylor's Cabinet.]

My engagements will not admit of my writing more.--Remember me
affectionately to your mother, to Sister Woodville, to Sarah, Lynn, and
all the children. Kiss Sue for me, and for yourself accept my best
wishes for your health and happiness. Write as often as possible.

                   Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

Note.--Ben was by birth an African chief, and became Mr. Peyton's
favorite man-servant. Captured on the African coast in 1807, he was
brought to Virginia with a cargo of negroes and sold. At the auction Mr.
P., who happened to be on the Lower James river at the time, became his
purchaser. He was then about twelve years old, a strong, athletic boy,
who grew to be 6 feet 2 inches high, and was as black as ink. He was
named Ben Potter, probably after one of his captors. The interpreter
gave an interesting account of Ben, and of the deference and respect
paid him on the voyage by his fellow captives.--The young negro was so
much impressed with the appearance and bearing of Mr. Peyton that he
begged him through the interpreter, to become his purchaser. This he
consented to do and Ben continued his faithful servant through life,
till his (Mr. Peyton's) death in 1847. Ben was soon deeply attached to
his master, was confided in, and trusted by Mr. Peyton and his family.
On leaving home to go the round of the circuit, Mr. Peyton always placed
his wife and children under Ben's protection and never had cause to
regret it. He was sober, industrious and honest--every way worthy of
the trust reposed in him. Thirty odd years later, when Mr. Peyton was
prostrated by paralysis in 1845, his attached servant and friend was
ploughing in a field near the Montgomery Hall Mansion. Hearing cries of
alarm from the family, he abandoned his team and ran to the house, and
elbowing himself into his master's room assisted in ministering to him
till the arrival of the family physician.

From that hour to Mr. Peyton's death in 1847, he slept in his room,
helped to watch over him, administered his medicine, drove him in his
phæton, when his health admitted of it, and looked after his comfort in
every way, and was never over thirty minutes out of his presence till
Mr. P. died, when he seemed broken-hearted. Mr. Peyton's executor
offered Ben his freedom and a life annuity, which he declined--he
preferred to remain with his old Master's children, and did so until his
death, which occurred about 1855, the aged, trusted Servant sinking into
the grave a sincere Christian, loved and respected by all who knew him,
and with the confident hope that he would meet his old Master and friend
among the Saints above. Among those whose admiration for the character
of this faithful servant led them often to speak of him with pleasure,
was the late Col. John B. Baldwin, who never, while he lived, allowed
Ben, and the history of his good and faithful services, which for
several years came under his observation, to go unmentioned--or

                        JOHN H. PEYTON TO MRS. PEYTON.

                                      Warm Springs, Sept. 1st., 1823.

_My Beloved Ann_:

On the day we parted the Judge (Archibald Stuart) and myself arrived
without adventure at General Blackburn's.

On the next day at Colonel Cameron's and on Tuesday at two o'clock
arrived at Huntersville, the seat of Justice of Pocahontas county--a
place as much out of the world as Crim Tartary. Owing to the bad
conditions of the roads we were much fatigued and bore many marks of
travel-stain. The so-called town of Huntersville consists of two
ill-constructed time-worn, (though it is not time which has worn them,)
weather-beaten cabins built of logs and covered with clapboards. My
negro cabins on Jackson's river are palaces in comparison with them.

One of these wretched hovels is the residence of John Bradshaw, the
other is called the Loom-house for these people are self-sustaining.
They spin and weave. The big wheel and the little wheel are birring in
every hut and throwing off the woolen and linen yarn to be worked up for
family purposes. The home-spun cloth, too, is stronger and more durable
than that brought by our merchants from Northern manufacturers.

In Bradshaw's dwelling there is a large fire-place, which occupies one
entire side, the gable end. The chimney is enormous and so short that
the room is filled with light which enters this way. It is an ingenious
contrivance for letting all the warmth escape through the chimney,
whilst most of the smoke is driven back into the chamber. In the
chimney-corner I prepared my legal papers before a roaring fire,
surrounded by rough mountaineers, who were drinking whiskey and as night
advanced, growing riotous. In the back part of the room two beds were
curtained off with horse-blankets--one for the Judge, the other for
myself. To the left of the fire-place stood old Bradshaw's couch. In the
loft, to which they ascended, by means of a ladder, his daughter and
the hired woman slept, and at times of a crowd, a wayfarer. The other
guests were sent to sleep in the Loom-house, in which was suspended in
the loom, a half-woven piece of cloth. Three beds were disposed about
the room, which completed its appointments--one was allotted to Sampson
Matthews, a second to John Baxter, the third to George Mays, and John
Brown. The loom was used as a hat-rack at night and for sitting on, in
the absence of chairs, in the day. As there was not a chair or stool
beyond those used by the weaving women, my clients _roosted_ on the loom
while detailing their troubles and receiving advice.

Bradshaw's table is well supplied. There is profusion, if not
prodigality in the rich, lavish bounty of the goodly tavern. We had no
venison, as this is a shy season with the deer, but excellent mutton
with plenty of apple sauce, peach pie, and roasting ears. As a mark of
deference and respect to the Court, I presume, we had a
table-cloth--they are not often seen on Western tables and when they
are, are not innocent of color--and clean sheets upon our beds. This
matter of the sheets is no small affair in out of the way places, as it
not unfrequently happens that wanderers communicate disease through the
bedclothing. Old Bradshaw's family is scrupulously clean, which is
somewhat remarkable in a region where cleanliness is for the most part
on the outside. A false modesty seems to prevent those salutary
ablutions which are so necessary to health, and I did not commend myself
to the good graces of the hired woman by insisting on my foot-bath every

We remained five days at Huntersville closely engaged in the business of
the Court, which I found profitable. Pocahontas is a fine grazing
county, and the support of the people is mainly derived from their
flocks of cattle, horses and sheep, which they drive over the mountains
to market. There is little money among them except after these
excursions, but they have little need of it--even want is supplied by
the happy country they possess, and of which they are as fond as the
Swiss of their mountains. It is a pretty country, a country of
diversified and beautiful scenery in which there is a wealth of verdure
and variety which keeps the attention alive and the outward eye

On Saturday the Judge and I visited Sandy Lockridge, where we were very
hospitably entertained. His house is every way a respectable dwelling,
with plenty of room and much good furniture. On Saturday we returned to
Col. Cameron's and this evening arrived here in sound health and
excellent spirits, notwithstanding our rough experiences. I was much
disappointed not to find a letter awaiting me from my dear wife. Ben
Crawford has, however, relieved my anxiety, by telling me that he saw
you on Saturday sitting at the front window of your dining-room writing,
and thought he heard the prattle of Susan in the room. I imagine you
were writing to me and hope tomorrow's mail will fetch the coveted

Your father's will has been recorded in Alleghany county and your
brother William has qualified as sole executor--the sale is to take
place day after tomorrow, but nothing will be sold but the live stock. I
have seen none of our relations or connections since I left home--have
learned these facts from others.

Accept the best wishes of your husband for yourself and our dear little
girl, and believe me,

                   Yours affectionately,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.


In 1826, John H. Peyton obtained an appointment as cadet at West Point
for his brother-in-law, John B. Lewis, of the Sweet Springs. As young
Lewis was inexperienced, had never traveled beyond the limits of
Virginia, Mr. Peyton determined to accompany him to the United States
Military Academy, though the journey at that day was long and tedious
and his professional engagements made his absence at any time a matter
of great inconvenience to himself and clients.

The following letter to Mrs. Peyton will be read at this day with
interest and something like astonishment, so great has been our progress
and development within the past sixty-five years--such changes would
hardly have occurred in European countries in centuries. At that day the
old-fashioned stage-coach was still in use, there were few macadamized
roads and no railways. The entire journey, therefore, from Staunton in
Virginia, to West Point, was made in what were called "hacks,"--most of
them rickety and unsafe, and in steamboats no better, and not so safe as
the Tug and Ferry boats of the present and as unlike as possible the
floating palaces of our day. It must be remembered that railroads were
not opened in the United States until 1830, and travel was somewhat in
the unsatisfactory state described by Mr. Pickwick.

"Travel," said Mr. Pickwick, "is in a troubled state, and the minds of
coachmen are unsettled. Stage-coaches are upsetting in all directions,
horses are bolting, boats are overturning and boilers are bursting."
Such was true in no Pickwickian sense in our country in 1826, and the
perils of traveling were increased by the use of high pressure engines
on the boats, and unskillful drivers and bad horses in the coaches.
There was not much improvement in things in Virginia since A. D. 1665,
when Colonel Valentine Peyton, of Nominy, in the county of Westmoreland,
Virginia, thus remarks in his last will and testament [See April number,
1881, of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register] before
leaving home, "_being about to take a voyage to Jamestown and knowing
the life of a man to be uncertain. I doe make this my last will and
testament_." If a man were indifferent to such dangers, there was little
pleasure to be derived from traveling. The taverns were miserable, and
the rural districts almost destitute of the comforts of civilized life.
Excitement there might have been in journeying then, but none of the
pleasant exhilaration which attends a jaunt in a Pullman now-a-days. Mr.
Peyton makes no complaints, though it is obvious from his description of
a half-hour's "nap" on the Baltimore boat, that he had not stumbled upon
a bed of roses.

                  JOHN H. PEYTON TO HIS WIFE.

                                           New York, June 18th, 1826.

_My Dear Ann_:

On the 15th at 5 o'clock we left Baltimore on the steamboat for
Philadelphia. The view of the city, Fort McHenry, the light-house on
North Point, and of the Chesapeake Bay, with its numerous vessels
spreading their canvas to the winds just as the sun was sinking below
the horizon, was animating and enlivening, majestic and sublime. From
the prow of the vessel, I contemplated this interesting scene as long as
the light enabled me to enjoy its beauties. Soon after dusk a pealing
bell summoned us to the supper table, where we were surprised to find a
sumptuous repast spread out. We had not anticipated such variety or
delicacy of food. After partaking of the good cheer, we drew lots for
our berths. I was unlucky--my berth was so warm, not to say hot and
stuffy, that before I could get any sleep our arrival at French town was
announced. Turning out at 12 o'clock at night, but with no regrets, we
shortly after continued our journey, and at 3 o'clock in the morning,
found ourselves at New Castle. Here we re-shipped in a steamboat without
berths. This I did not regret after my recent experience of them, and
Benjamin and myself essayed to secure a half-hour's sleep stretched upon
two pine benches. How long we might have courted sleep on these hard and
narrow couches, I know not. We were not left to make the experiment any
length of time, but were shortly roused up by the bustle among the
seamen and passengers preparatory to landing at Philadelphia. The
breakfast table, when we entered the so-called saloon, was smoking with
coffee and steak, and about the time we had paid our respects to both,
the boat was at Chestnut street wharf. Landing here we proceeded
immediately to Campbell's, and it was a glad surprise to find him astir,
thanks to the business habits of the city of brotherly love.

Under his guidance, after another cup of coffee and a hot roll, we
proceeded to attend to the numerous commissions with which we were
charged. This occupied us something over four hours, when we bade our
friends adieu and went aboard the New York steamer. About 6 o'clock p.
m. we reached Princeton, where I spent four of the happiest years of my
youth, and which I had not seen since taking my degree in 1797. The
stages were running with such rapidity, however, that it was impossible
to call, as I wished, upon my old friends, Dr. Alexander and Prof.
Comfort, or deliver the letter for Miss Waddell, but I chanced to meet
a young gentleman of my acquaintance from Washington, who stopped at
Princeton, by whom I sent it to her.

I shall make it a point to stay over a day at Princeton on my return. In
due time we arrived here. Benjamin is perfectly well, does not regard
either the fatigues or loss of sleep, but I am worse for the wear and
tear. And I would not advise those to take the trip whose only business
is pleasure.

On yesterday I dined with Mr. Gallagher, where I met Mr. Reid, who, you
may remember, preached some time since at the Presbytery in Staunton. He
is to preach in New York to-day, and I hope to hear him. He is highly
esteemed here as a preacher and man. In the evening I took tea with Mrs.
Murray, mother of my brother Rowze's wife, where all the family were
collected round me making enquiries after their relatives and friends in
Virginia. For the most part I was unable to gratify their curiosity,
having recently neither seen nor heard of the kith and kin in Richmond
or the Northern Neck.

At 10 o'clock tomorrow I shall set out for West Point with Gen. Huston,
of Tennessee, to whom I was introduced on yesterday by Gen. Scott. [Gen.
Winfield Scott.] I requested Miss Heiskell of Philadelphia, to execute
Jane and Lynn's commissions, which she promised to do against my return.

Give my love to all the family,

                      Yours affectionately, though in much haste,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.


Shortly after his eldest son, William, entered upon the practice of law
in 1823, when attending court at the Warm Springs, Bath Co., he
mortified his father, John Howe Peyton, exceedingly by a piece of
off-hand levity, which the latter regarded as a most undignified
proceeding, unworthy of the profession. Young Wm. Peyton was employed to
defend a man charged with horse stealing, and as there was only
circumstantial evidence to prove his guilt, W. M. Peyton, who was much
exhilarated, for it must be remembered that the case came on after
dinner, set up the defence 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 and Spurzheim, 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 his father, who was the 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. W. M. Peyton went on, and
drawing from his desk a copy of Combe's phrenology, illustrated it with
plates, exhibited it to the jury, and declared that at the point on 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 discard 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.

His father, in reply, commented severely upon the airiness of his son,
as inconsistent with the administration of justice and the dignity of
the profession. He ridiculed Gall and Spurzheim's far-fetched theories,
which he declared were not scientific deductions, but only speculative
opinions, and brought the whole defence into contempt, by referring to
the human skeleton, saying, "If you run your eye down the spine it
alights upon the _oscoccygis_." Neither the court nor the jury
understanding what these words meant, but overcome by the ludicrous
manner of Mr. Peyton, both burst into a hearty laugh. "Now," he
continued, "this oscoccygis is nothing more nor less than a rudimentary
tail, as Lord Monbeddo has well said, and I suppose we shall have some
modern 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 say 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 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 beautiful science," said he, "is the 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 forever. To the murderer, the burglar, the highwayman,
to all in fact, who wish to be rid of the responsibility which attaches
to their actions, it will become a positive blessing. Not to these only,
but to the entire community--it opens a brilliant 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 ruins of our present immature
civilization it will uprear a charming state of society. Under the
vivifying influence of this new system, mankind will be happy, perfectly
happy; and until the auspicious day when the new order commences, this
'consummation so devoutly to be wished,' need not be anticipated.
Throughout the world, at least so much of it as is illuminated by the
light 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 dreadful laws founded in ignorance, superstition and
cruelty, which consigns a helpless and irresponsible man, criminal you
call him, to the merciless hands of the executioner. It will be clear as
the noon-day sun, that law and liberty cannot co-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 the place thereof a new, nobler, and higher
civilization. Poor weak man will no longer be held accountable for his
actions. The infirmities of his nature will become a recognized
principle, that men are but men, will be evident to all men. It will be
understood that from the foundation of the world it was determined,
pre-destined, and fore-ordained that he should act thus 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 prisoner'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

"But to be serious," said Mr. Peyton, who though cheerful in his
disposition, had a manner so tempered with gravity as to check the
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,
oratory is a useless gift, and such fine speeches as we have had to-day
are simply disgusting. When great talents are employed to support a bad
cause, perhaps from selfish motives, I trust and believe that this is
not the case now, they are objects of universal contempt. Oratory, with
all its pleasing charms becomes an instrument of mischief, when used by
an unprincipled man as, when resorted to by a good man, its happy
influences almost exceed belief. An orator, who thus uses his talents,
without reference to his personal interests, if he do not succeed in his
efforts, at least enjoys self approbation and that of his God."

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

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 or amused by any trial as this. The disgust
of my father at such a defence being set up, the elation of his son 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


"Music," said Mr. P., "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 on which no successful _solo_ was
ever played."


In 1840, Mr. P. and his brother-in-law, Colonel Wm. L. Lewis, met at
the home of a mutual friend. In religion Col. L. was a Roman Catholic
and in politics a disciple of John C. Calhoun. Discussion arose between
them and became so warm on the part of Col. Lewis, that their friends
feared they might result in a feud. Not so, however. Mr. P.'s moderation
was equal to his vigor, and he soothed his brother's discomfitures by
his logical reasoning.

"There is no necessity, William," he would say, "for difference of
opinion creating hostility. It must be admitted by all that there is
great variety in the tastes, habits and opinions of mankind, and it is
necessary that it should be so. That partial discord tends to general
harmony is more than poetically true, for, if all men were to set their
minds upon living in the same climate, or under the same government; or,
if all the people of a country had an unconquerable desire to live in
the same town; if all the inhabitants of a town were to have a good
opinion of only one physician, or of only one preacher, or lawyer or
mechanic, or could only relish one article of food, or fancy only the
same dress; or, if all men were to fall in love with the same woman, or
all the women with the same man, what would be the consequence? Why from
a feeling of seeming agreement, universal discord would result.

"Even the value of truth is best appreciated by the opposition it meets
with, and falsehood and error are detected by the discriminating powers
of opposite sensations and feelings. That there should not be uniformity
upon many important subjects, such as the theory of government, etc.,
must be the stamp of heaven. For myself, I claim freedom of opinion as
an inherent right, provided it does not disturb the established order of
society. I fear your nullification views go this length. However, let me
proceed: No man has a right to be offended at my opinion, or hold me in
contempt for entertaining it, for it does him no injury; and what I
claim for myself, common justice requires that I should allow to others;
and did we well consider, that this disparity of an over-ruling
Intelligence, we surely should not suffer it to be the cause of feelings
of animosity to our fellow human beings, though their political or
religious opinions should be the opposite of our own--still less such
old friends as ourselves. For," continued Mr. Peyton, "unless we had been
subjected to the same involuntary impressions and sensations that other
persons have been, which is, perhaps, impossible, we can be no judges of
the merits of their opinions, or how they have outraged truth and
reason, even admitting that they are in error. If it should be contended
that truth and reason are immutable, and when two differ upon a
fundamental truth, there must be deviation from reason and truth in one
of the parties. I would admit it to be so, if the question was
susceptible of mathematical demonstration.

"This is rarely the case--were I to meet a man who should contend that
two and two do not make four, or that the amount of degrees in three
angles of a triangle are not equal to the amount of degrees in two right
angles, I must justly charge him with folly or wilful falsehood; but, in
whatever does not admit of demonstration, our convictions are our
feelings; and our feelings depend more upon involuntary impressions than
we are often willing to allow. Certainly truth and reason are the most
likely to prevail with cultivated minds, for truth and reason are the
most likely to make the right impression, but we are too apt to
over-value our own kind of knowledge, while we underrate that of others.

"In point of real utility, the knowledge of the man who is skilled in the
breeding and feeding of cattle is more valuable to society than is the
knowledge of him who is 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 unless we possessed all kind of knowledge in
an equal degree, we are liable to be imposed upon in some things, either
by thinking too much upon them, or too much, to the exclusion of other
branches of knowledge, the possession of which, though seemingly foreign
to the subject, may be necessary to its clear elucidation; for it is by
possession of general knowledge only that we can claim a superior title
to correctness in every particular. A may be able to solve a difficult
problem in mathematics; B can not do this, but B can make a plow upon
true mechanical principles which A can not; if C can do both, C must be
superior to A or B; but all mankind are in the situation of A or B, as
possessing only partial knowledge. We should all, therefore, be
indulgent to each other's deficiencies. Still, my superior in general
knowledge and learning, may be the dupe of a weak prejudice, without
justifying an impeachment of either. I have a brother-in-law," he would
look askant at Colonel Lewis when getting off this kind of fillip, "of
whose cleverness and general knowledge I have a very high opinion, yet
in politics we are quite opposite. We indeed worship different idols,
and the only superiority I can pretend to claim over him is, that I can
bear for him to adore his idol, even in my presence, and yet keep my
temper--a compliment he can not always repay."

"Fudge!" exclaimed the Colonel, jumping to his feet and walking hastily
to and fro across the room, "I may warm with the subject, but as to
being offended with you it is out of the question. I never have and
never will so far forget myself."

"Come, come, be seated," Mr. Peyton would rejoin, giving him a friendly
tap on the shoulder. "Let me proceed. Of course you will not think I
wish to depreciate the value of truth and reason, I only wish to urge
that the seeming want of them in others may be deceptions, and should
not be the cause of contempt, acrimony or ridicule. All are enamoured
with even the shadow of truth, and should see the substance, if in their
power, but placed in a variety of lights and shades, some can only see
the shadow, and mistake it for the substance." Thus their fraternal
discussions proceeded and terminated in the discomfiture of Col. Lewis,
who though a clever man, an eloquent talker, full of confidence, and
abundance of zeal, was no such logician as Mr. Peyton, and left not the
slightest pain rankling in his bosom.

"Now, William," said Mr. Peyton, "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 fallacious 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 impostors 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, all our
most secret thoughts, all our slightest movements: would be engraven in
the heavens in 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 is just as uncertain. Our fate
depends upon places, persons, times, circumstances, our own will; not
upon the fantastical conjunctions inspired 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 astrologer the
cause of the difference. In all probability he will reply, '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 the 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 minute 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 influence only periodically, when the particles which, it is
intended, are detached from them, are moving to our sphere, the
astrologer must know the precise time of their 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 marvelous too must be the alliance they form with
those vivacious passions which originate the principal actions of our
lives! For if the stars regulate all our feelings and all our
proceedings, their influence must work with the same rapidity as our
wills, since it is by them our will is determined."

                         HIS RELIGIOUS BELIEF.

Mr. Peyton was a firm believer in the doctrines of Christianity, and the
experience of his life was that true happiness is only found in the
observance of her precepts. He held that man must have some religion and
the most perfect was that handed by Christ to his Apostles. He did not
attach great importance to sects, and when asked whether he was a
Catholic, Presbyterian or Episcopalian, answered that he did not find
such words in the Testament--he was merely a Christian; he believed in
what was revealed to us in the Bible and submitted himself with humility
to the Almighty power. He was brought up in the Episcopalian church and
died a member of it.


"I recall a conversation," says one of Mr. P.'s biographers, "just after
a protracted term of the Augusta Circuit Court, in which the late Judge
Lucas P. Thompson and Gen. B. G. Baldwin bore the leading parts. Gen. B.
was paying generous tribute to Mr. Peyton's force and originality. Judge
Thompson remarked in substance, that he had never seen Mr. Peyton go
through a cause deeply interesting and moving him, in which he did not
utter some view or sentiment illuminated by genius, or at the least,
some illustration marked by a bold originality; and he instanced two
causes, tried at the last term--one a civil suit and a very heavy will
case, in which he made a novel and scorching application of a familiar
fable of Æsop. I forbear to give its details, because both the critic
and his subject have passed from earth.

"In the same cause three signatures were to be identified and
proved--that of the testator and also of the attending witnesses--all
three having died since their attestation. Many witnesses were called to
prove the genuineness of the three names. Opposing counsel sought to
badger the witnesses by urging them to specify what peculiar marks there
were in the handwriting and signatures, whereby they could speak so
positively as to their identity and genuineness. This of course for the
most part they could not do, and in the argument of the cause before the
jury the same counsel strove to throw discredit and contempt upon those
witnesses (all men of good character) for their failure and inability so
to describe the quality and peculiar marks in the calligraphy of the
signers as to show they were familiar with their handwriting. In his
reply to those sallies of his opponents, Mr. Peyton swept away the whole
airy fabric by a single happy illustration:

"'_Gentlemen,' he said, 'You have often been assembled in crowds on some
public or festive occasion. Your hats have been thrown pell-mell in a
mass with perhaps a hundred other hats, all having a general
resemblance. Suppose you had attempted to describe your hat to a friend
or servant, so that he might go and pick it out for you. It has as many
points for accurate description as a written signature--its color,
height of crown, width of brim, its band, lining, &c. Do you think that
friend or servant could by any possibility have picked out your hat for
you? And yet when you went yourself, the moment your eye would light
upon it, you instantly recognize it amongst a hundred. Familiarity with
it has stamped its picture on your mind and the moment you see it, the
hat fills and fits the picture on your mind as perfectly as the same hat
fits your head_.'

"The jury were evidently won, and gave full credence to the ridiculed

"The other instance during the same term (cited by Judge Thompson)
occurred in the celebrated prosecution of Naaman Roberts for forgery--in
forging the name of Col. Adam Dickinson to a bond for six hundred

"The body of the bond was confessedly the handwriting of the prisoner at
the bar. That was admitted. The signature was a tolerably successful
attempt at imitating the peculiar handwriting of Adam Dickinson. But no
expert could look at the whole paper and fail to see a general
resemblance between the body of the instrument and the signature,
raising a strong conviction in the mind that both proceeded from the
same hand.

"The defense strongly insisted upon excluding the body of the instrument
from the view of the witness, by covering it with paper, or turning it
down, and so confining the view to the signature only--upon the familiar
doctrine of the law of evidence forbidding a comparison of various
handwritings of the party, as a ground for an opinion upon the identity
of genuineness of the disputed writing. And this point was ably and
elaborately argued by the prisoner's counsel.

"The learned prosecutor met it thus:

"'_Gentlemen this is one entire instrument, not two or more brought into
comparison. Let me ask each one of you, when you meet your friend, or
when you meet a stranger, in seeking to identify him, what do you look
at? Not his nose, though that is the most prominent feature of the human
face; not at his mouth, his chin, his cheek; no, you look him straight
in the eye, so aptly called the "window of the soul." You look him in
the eye, but at the same time you see his whole face. Now put a mask on
that face, leaving only the eyes visible, as the learned counsel would
have you mask the face of this bond, leaving to your view only the fatal

"'_If the human face so masked was the face of your bosom friend, could
you for a moment identify him, even though permitted to look in at those
"windows of the soul?" No; he would be as strange to you as this
accursed bond has ever been strange to that worthy gentleman, Colonel
Adam Dickinson, but a glance at whose face traces the guilty authorship
direct to the prisoner at the bar_.'

"This striking illustration seemed to thrill the whole audience as it
virtually carried the jury."

                    MR. PEYTON DECLINES A JUDGESHIP.

In 1824-5, Mr. Peyton received a highly complimentary letter from the
late Col. S. McD. Moore, of Lexington, then a delegate to the
Legislature from Rockbridge and attending the sessions in Richmond. The
Colonel informed him that a caucus of members had been held on the
subject of a judgeship then vacant, or about to become so, and that Mr.
Peyton's friends were so largely in the ascendancy that his nomination
by the caucus and election by the Assembly was certain, if only he would
declare his willingness to accept the position. The caucus had
adjourned over to await his reply. The Colonel went on to say that he
and two others had been deputed by the caucus with the agreeable duty of
communicating with him, to ascertain his views as to the matter. We do
not recollect what judgeship it was, but remember distinctly that
Colonel Moore mentioned that in case of election, it would lead to, or
require (we know not which) Mr. Peyton's change of residence to
Richmond. In this letter Col. Moore on behalf of himself and his
colleagues urged his friend to accept and presented many cogent reasons
why he should do so. Proof against all importunities, Mr. Peyton
politely but firmly rejected these overtures and declined under any
circumstances to allow his name to be used in connection with the
office. This circumstance is mentioned, not as an evidence of Mr.
Peyton's indifference to preferment, which has sufficiently appeared,
but to show the estimate in which he was held by the profession and to
present, so far as possible, clearly and truthfully, the history of his

There is an old Spanish proverb which says, "Tell me whom you live with,
and I will tell you who you are." We can infer what manner of man he was
from the fact that through life, he was held in the highest esteem by
the enlightened men of the day. From the ranks of the virtuous and wise
came his friends, and what a source of happiness it must have been to
him. It has been well said: "There is no blessing of life that is in any
way comparable to the enjoyment of a discreet and virtuous friend. It
eases and unloads the mind, clears and improves the understanding,
engenders thoughts and knowledge, animates virtue and good resolutions,
soothes and allays the passions and finds enjoyment for most of the
vacant hours of life." If this be true, and who can doubt it? how much
greater the happiness to be blessed, not with one, but with many
friends, and those friends, themselves worthy of every honor and praise.
The steadiness and devotion of his friends is worthy of mention in this
connection, they never deserted or betrayed him--on the contrary,
through life, they gave him innumerable evidences of their appreciation.
Some of his youthful college friends, they were not simply companions,
among them Professor Comfort and the late John Yates, of Jefferson
county, Virginia, visited him at Montgomery Hall, forty years after they
parted at Princeton. And Mr. P's papers disclosed a correspondence with
numerous others, such as John Sergeant, Joseph R. Ingersoll, Richard
Rush, William Gaston, J. M. Berrien, of Georgia, and others of his
earlier friends, all of whom became prominent men.

For clearness of thought, force of reasoning and statesmanlike views on
all questions of moment he had no superior, and such was his sense of
justice and his impartiality, his powers of judicial analysis and
insight, or the judicial character of his mind, that we have often heard
the most gifted of his contemporaries regret that he had never sat upon
the Justice Seat, where in their opinion, he would have equaled, if he
did not surpass, the greatest judges who had adorned the bench of

       *       *       *       *       *

Notwithstanding his refusal to stand as a candidate for a Judgeship, he
was voted for, in the General Assembly of Virginia in 1831-32, and came
within a few votes of election. The result gave him satisfaction, for
had he been chosen, he must have resigned, as unceremoniously as he was
elected. He always explained to his supporters that he could not give up
his extensive and lucrative practice, on account of his large and
expensive family, for a poorly paid judgeship--and besides he preferred
the active and exciting life of a lawyer, to that of a judge, or in a
word, the bar to the bench.


For several years previous to 1829, the question of calling a Convention
to form a new Constitution for Virginia was agitated. There was a kind
of political fermentation on the subject of innovation, with many
persons, a strong desire to up-root the laws under which the State had
so long prospered, and make a new experiment in government. The Ultras
objected to the freehold basis of representation and demanded the white
basis, or manhood suffrage, they opposed a judiciary elected for good
behavior and demanded the election of judges at short intervals, by a
popular vote. They objected to various other conservative provisions of
the Constitution of 1776. Party spirit infused itself in all discussions
and no small excitement was created in the public mind--as a result of
the agitation on the subject. A convention, though opposed by the wisest
men in the State, was finally ordered, and persons nominated for
election were called upon to give their opinions through the newspapers,
on the various questions which would come before it.

Among those asked for their views was Mr. Peyton, who published in the
Staunton papers a long and able letter, in which he opposed the white
basis; the election of judges by a popular vote and for a term of years;
and advocated their election during good behavior, by the Legislature.
He advised the retention, generally, of the conservative features of the
old Constitution, and while he admitted that a few changes might be
made with advantage, warned the people against tampering with the laws,
the currency and the peculiar institutions of the South. He added that
he had voted against calling a Convention, believing that the
Constitution of 1776, was better than any the people were likely to get
from a new Convention; in a word, he bade them bear the "ills they had
rather than fly to others they knew not of."

The letter was so conservative in character and so conclusive of the
points at issue, that it was thought it would have gone a long way
towards preventing the call of a convention, had it been published
earlier. As it was, it only made the friends of organic change, more
determined. They were bent on giving form and substance to their dreams,
their passions were up and they would be satisfied with nothing else.

Some of the most advanced enthusiasts advocated, what are styled
"women's rights," their right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold
office and the like--others were opposed to allowing a man to enjoy the
fruits of his industry, and favored dividing out his income when it had
reached a certain sum; no doubt some would have liked the principal
divided also, others favored free inquiry, if any one knows what this
means in a country where investigation and thought are as free as the
air we breathe; free religion, which was supposed to have been settled
by Mason's act of 1776, legalizing all forms of worship, commonly called
the act of religious freedom, free morals and opinions, and it is not
unlikely there were others who favored free love as a means of
squelching out polygamy. One of the most notorious and eccentric of
these social reformers, was Fanny Wright, not, however, a native or
resident of Virginia; and it was said, with what truth we know not, that
the sum of her teachings amounted to this, that any man who donned a
whole coat and a clean shirt was an aristocrat and ought to be put down.

These misguided people sought to break the force of his views by a loud
outcry, saying he was an old Bourbon, entirely behind the age, a praiser
of times past, like Nestor in the Iliad; who wished the laws of Virginia
to remain unchanged and as unchangeable as were those of the Medes and
Persians, and would have it so if left alone. A looker-on would have
supposed this enlightened man and moderate conservative, from this kind
of ultra nonsense, as extreme in his policy as the notorious Lord John
Manners, a man of phlegmatical repulsiveness of manners, who in
admiration of his class, once exclaimed, with idiotic fatuity:

      "Let wealth and commerce, laws and learning die
      But leave us still our old nobility."

The loss of Mr. Peyton's letter cannot be too much regretted. If
reviewed the whole history of the Judiciary previous to and from the
time of William III., when by act of Parliament the Judges were to hold
office during good behavior, up to a later act of one of the George's,
providing that their commissions were not to cease by demise of the
Crown, and down to his day. He argued earnestly also, in favor of an
independent judiciary, this question arousing his deepest interest, and
showed up the curse of a venial and corrupt one, having in its unsafe
keeping the lives, reputation and property of the people. He entered
also, into an elaborate discussion of the question of popular
representation, the first instance of which, it was stated, occurred in
Aragon in the twelfth century, &c., and discussing the basis of
representation, expressed himself, in case the freehold basis was
discarded, as in favor of the mixed basis, taking into account both
population and prosperity.

The letter breathed a really liberal and enlightened spirit in politics
and religion, and made him the idol of the liberal conservatives. The
extremists were, however, antagonized by it, and in their rage and
disappointment, set to work to mar, if not destroy, his influence. While
distorting and misrepresenting him and his opinions, they had the
"cheek," to say, they did it "more in sorrow, than in anger."

Not at all disturbed by the hurly-burly, he laughed heartily at their
nonsense, and said that these enthusiasts in their efforts to emancipate
man socially, morally, politically and otherwise from all the ills of
life, were innovators running after something they would never reach, as
the hind wheel of the carriage which is in constant pursuit of the fore
one without ever overtaking it. And when he got a chance at one of the
Ring Bosses, and he sometimes cornered one, he handled him after such a
fashion, that the Boss never wished to see him again. To these Bosses
distance ever afterwards, lent enchantment to the view, of this man of
relentless logic, keen irony and withering sarcasm. Many of these
so-called Reformers aimed at nothing worse than their own advancement.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the foregoing synopsis of Mr. Peyton's letter it is evident, if he
did not say so, that, in his opinion, love of variety and change, a
desire to subvert the existing state of things, indicated both weakness
and ignorance; that it is not the strong-minded and right thinking who
desire to cut loose from the past, its traditions and customs and its
endearing associations, but the stupid, whose wild and dangerous
projects carried out, would, however, unconsciously to themselves, give
us poverty in lieu of prosperity, licence instead of liberty.

                      MRS. ANNE PEYTON.


During the year of 1829, Mrs. Anne Peyton, the widow of John R. Peyton,
the hero boy of '76, and mother of John H. Peyton, broke up her
establishment at Stony Hill and removed to Staunton. Some years before,
namely on February 1st 1826, her son, Rowze Peyton, was married to a
second wife, Eliza Murray, daughter of John B. Murray, a citizen of New
York City, but a native of England. His Northern bride did not find
plantation life congenial to her tastes and induced her husband to leave
Virginia. After a brief sojourn in New York City, Mr. and Mrs. Peyton
removed to Geneva, N. Y., where they long lived and both died, leaving a
large and interesting family, now connected by marriage with many of the
leading families of the Empire State--such as the Sewards, the Cuttings,
Spensers, deZengs, Wilmerdings, Rathburns and others.

The venerable and respected mother of John H. Peyton was affectionately
invited by her son and his wife, as soon as they heard of her intention
to leave Stony Hill, to make her home at Montgomery Hall, which she
decided to do. Mr. Peyton had built immediately, for her exclusive use,
a comfortable brick residence in the grounds of and near the mansion.
Here she took up her residence in the summer of 1829, and in that snug
abode, she spent in singular ease and tranquility the rest of her life.
At this time Mrs. J. R. Peyton was of large and striking person,
dignified and graceful in manners. She was over 70 years of age, dressed
in black, with a high-crowned white muslin cap and frill, a cap in the
style of what is now known as the Martha Washington cap, and she looked
at first sight eminently neat, precise and stately. She was in fine
physical preservation and her mind and memory unimpaired. She was very
accessible and companionable, she liked to see her friends and to chat,
and her conversation was always full of thought and poetry. Her
acquaintance with and knowledge of the leading Southerners of the pre
and Revolutionary era was extensive, and she possessed a large fund of
information on social, literary, and political topics. This and her
anecdotes, racy and amusing, caused her society to be courted by such
men as Gen. Baldwin, Daniel Sheffey, and Chapman Johnson. Her parlor was
the center of attraction and the rallying point of the family. Her
grandchildren especially gathered round her chair, and listened with
infantile delight, to her graphic accounts of the war, of the officers
and soldiers, of their hair-breadth escapes, of the battles, &c., and at
that early day became familiar with the names of the Washingtons,
Masons, Conways, Fitzhughs, Lees, Scotts, Marshalls, Moncures, Daniels,
Greenes, and other prominent people of the Northern Neck, and all more
or less connected with the bloody drama of the war.

At the premature death of her husband, when only 45 years of age, she
was left with the heavy responsibility of a large and helpless family,
and an extensive plantation and many slaves. Had she possessed less
character and spirit, less force and ability, she must have been
prostrated. The disaster, however, seemed to call forth her strength,
and gave such firmness and elevation to her character, that her friends
and neighbors were filled with admiration and delight. This excellent
woman, who had been during the prosperous period of her husband's life,
all weakness and dependence, now displayed heroic qualities, showed
herself equal to the trying position in which she was placed, displaying
a mental force and firmness truly astonishing,--every difficulty was
overcome, every obstacle put aside. She entered on her new career
soberly and seriously, devoted herself to the education of her children
and the management of their property. The children were taught to think
justly of themselves and kindly of others. She aimed to store their
minds with useful information and to form their moral and religious
characters--thus giving them correct, practical ideas and good habits.
Religion was the basis of her teachings and her children went into the
world with just notions of human life, prepared if prosperity smiled
upon them, to receive it with humble gratitude, and if calamity
supervened to endure it with dignified patience. A kind Providence
prolonged her life to see them a joy and a comfort to herself, and an
honor to Virginia. She governed and directed the affairs of her estate
with such skill and discretion that Old Stony Hill [3] put on a new
face, showed successful husbandry and yielded abundant crops--so much
so, that the casual observer even could not fail to see that both white
and black there enjoyed prosperity and content. Greatly attached to this
old family seat, where she had lived a half century, nothing but the
marriage of her six children and their departure for new homes of their
own, could have torn her from it. But when her only remaining son,
Rowze, who had married a New York lady, mentioned his purpose of leaving
Virginia and settling in New York, she quickly made up her mind to
accept the invitation of her favorite son, John Howe, and to end her
days at Montgomery Hall.

  [3] STONY HILL. NOTE.--It may not be uninteresting to mention
  that the Stony Hill mansion was an old red brick building erected in the
  17th   century, with a wide hall and Grecian portico, commanding an
  extensive and beautiful view of Aquia creek and the Potomac river. The
  dwelling had grown to be a large and rambling domicile under the
  additions of four generations of the Peyton's, and all of them improving
  men. This fine old colonial house was demolished during the first year of
  the Civil-war, 1861-62, by Federal troops, on the spurious pretext that
  it was a necessity to have at once material for baking ovens. The old red
  bricks of this stately home, brought from England, as ballast in sailing
  vessels sent out to fetch back tobacco to Bristol, were used to erect
  many ovens in which bread was baked for the invading northern army.

  When John Peyton lived at Stony Hill the estate consisted of 1900 acres
  of fine land, and as far as the writer knows, still does. It is owned
  and occupied in 1894, by Mr. Moncure, a son of the late President of the
  Virginia Court of Appeals, Judge R. C. L. Moncure, whose widow still
  lives, and is a descendent of John Peyton.

Mrs. Anne Peyton was a woman of worth, thoroughly honest, sincere and
straightforward, with a fund of practical common sense. Her
conversational powers were of no ordinary kind. A sincere, devout and
humble Christian, a good wife, devoted mother, kind and sympathetic
friend, she was in all respects a remarkable person. While it does not
come within our scope to here enter at length into her life and
character, it is right and due to her memory, that reference should be
made to her exalted piety. So domestic, unobtrusive, and retired was her
plantation life, that her name is little more than an echo in the age in
which she lived, and might scarcely be even that, if it had not been
kept somewhat in mind by the fame of her distinguished son. A
considerable part of her time, after she fixed her residence at
Montgomery Hall, was spent in the seclusion of her apartments, and much
of every day was given to meditation and prayer. She left behind many
voluminous manuscript books, in which she had copied the Psalms, the
Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and many striking passages from other parts
of Holy Writ, and containing many prayers, (original and quoted,) and
ejaculations, suited to various occasions. These were of the following
character, which will give an idea of the whole: "Supply, Oh Lord, the
wants of a heart which knows not even how to lay them open before thee,
which does not so much as think of doing it, and which too often shuts
out the light and consolation of which it stands in need." And--

"These, O Jesus, are the things I ask. Intercede for me, that I may be
truly sensible of the diseases that I labor under, and thankfully
embrace the means which thy goodness has ordained for my recovery. Grant
that the end of all my actions and designs may be the glory of God.
Enable me to resist all the sinful appetites of my carnal nature. Grant
that I may hunger and thirst after righteousness" &c., &c.

These MS. books contained also evidence that she prayed often, fervently
and importunately, and that like Anna, she served God with fastings and
prayers night and day. Luke ch. 2, v 37. She was never, however, "rash
with her mouth," heeding. Eccl., ch. 5, v 2. On the contrary, her words
were few and innocent of those vain repetitions against which our
Saviour warns us in Matthew, ch. 6, v 7.

                        AFRICAN COLONIZATION.

He advocated the colonization of our African population in Liberia and
was one of the managers of the Augusta County Colonization Society,
founded in 1831-32 to promote this end.

The managers submitted to the Society their annual report on the 21st of
April, 1832, the following extract from which will show the object and
purposes of the Society:

     Concerning the colony of Liberia, we have no information to
     communicate but such as the public prints have given from time to
     time, to all who wished to know what was going on at that
     interesting establishment. The sum of this information is, that the
     colony, gradually advancing in numbers, advances also in every
     branch of improvement and prosperity. We believe that in the whole
     history of colonization, there has never been an instance elsewhere
     of so cheering a degree of success from a similar amount of means
     and exertions. Divine Providence has evidently smiled upon the
     enterprise, and encouraged its friends to prosecute it with
     untiring perseverance.

     Shall we close this paper here? A feeling which we assuredly know
     to be no other than a sincere regard for the honor and welfare of
     our country, prompts us to offer to the society some additional

     It was never expected by any man of sense that the voluntary
     association of which we form an humble part, would be able to
     effect, by its own very limited energies, any sensible diminutive
     of the large and pernicious mass of our colored population. But we
     did hope to evince the practicability of acquiring an extensive and
     fertile territory in a suitable climate and of removing our negroes
     to it and setting them in it, with fair prospects of their becoming
     a respectable and happy nation; and thus to pioneer the way for
     delivering this otherwise favored land of ours from a burden, the
     sorest that ever afflicted any people under heaven. And this hope,
     thanks be to God, we are permitted to see realized. The colony
     exists and flourishes. It remains that the legislative authorities
     of these Southern States, invigorated by the attainable and
     powerful aid of the Federal Union, take this business under their
     efficient patronage. And surely the period is now emphatically come
     for putting into action on this momentous subject our utmost
     talents and our utmost resources. After ages already lost in
     supineness, shall we still waste our precious time in
     disquisitions, as needless as they are unreconcilable with our
     boasted republican character, on what we call the right of property
     in our slave; while the deadly evil which we all profess to
     deplore, is gaining ground upon us with gigantic strides every year
     and every hour. We say needless disquisitions; for such they appear
     to us to be. Let liberal means be provided for removing far away
     those unfortunate beings amongst us whom we denominate free blacks,
     together with those slaves who shall be voluntarily manumitted for
     the purpose of removal. On this single condition, we are satisfied
     that there will be no necessity to interfere in a compulsory way
     with any man's right of property in his slaves. Public sentiment,
     incessantly acquiring expansion and strength will much better
     achieve the glorious consummation.

     But suppose this to be a visionary picture. Suppose that yet
     greater sacrifices shall be found indispensable. What then? Shall
     we shrink from the making of those sacrifices for the salvation of
     our native land, the loveliest and the choicest of all lands? Shall
     we tamely sit still, and see Virginia despoiled of much of her
     strength by unexampled emigration to other regions, and by this
     means ripening the more speedily as a harvest for the scythe of the
     assassin. Shall we, after all that we have seen and heard within
     nine months past, persist in the slumber and indolence of
     infatuation? Or shall we soon arise in all our zeal, and all our
     united strength, to devise and to pursue the measures by which
     alone such a tremendous issue may be arrested, and our country
     rendered truly prosperous and happy? How these questions are to be
     answered by facts, time must discover, and God only, who is
     omniscient, can certainly foresee. For our part, though we deeply
     lament that the equally able and eloquent discussion which recently
     took place on this most important topic in the hall of our
     legislature was suffered to float away into the air, yielding no
     practical results; yet we think we ought not to abandon the cause
     of liberating our beloved country from the abominations and the
     curse of slavery, in utter despair. A better day may be about to
     dawn upon us. Perhaps the discussion to which we have referred,
     itself a wondrous phenomenon in Virginia, may not die away as a
     fruitless expenditure of feeling and genius. And in the meanwhile,
     let us continue our labors for the improvement of the Colony, that
     it may become a more capacious, and in every way convenient
     receptacle for drawing off, when the good season for the extended
     operations shall arrive, the pestilential nuisance of our African

The prominent men of that period associated with Mr. Peyton in this good
work were Rev. Conrad Speece, Joseph Cowan, Samuel Clarke, John McCue,
George Eskridge, Charles A. Stuart and others.


Mr. Peyton determined some years before he was 60 years of age, to
retire from the bar when he reached that time of his life, and did so.
After he was sixty he took no new cases, only in one case making an
exception to this rule in favor of an old and valued friend, who
earnestly implored and begged for his services. He gave them to this
friend and lost the case in the circuit superior court of Augusta, but
was so well satisfied that the case was erroneously decided that he took
an appeal, and after Mr. Peyton's death the decision of the lower court
was reversed and thus his client ultimately gained his cause. After he
reached the age of 60 he only attended his office and the courts to wind
up his business.

His friends knowing his purpose to give up the bar determined, if
possible, to secure his services in the Senate. He was solicited on all
sides to go to the Senate, and the following letter appeared in the
Lexington and Staunton papers:

_To the Voters of the Senatorial District of Rockbridge and Augusta_:


The next session of the Legislature will be the most important which has
occurred for many years past. The criminal laws of the Commonwealth are
all to be revised, the subject of education is to be thoroughly
considered, and the great schemes of internal improvement are to be
brought forward and vigorously pressed by their respective friends.
Under these circumstances it is particularly important that this
District should be ably represented in the Senate of Virginia, the body
that must supervise and give the finishing touches to the Legislation on
all three subjects. Rockbridge and Augusta, long famed for their
morality and good order, have a deep interest in having the system of
fixed laws brought to the highest state of perfection. They have their
primary schools, the academies and colleges all requiring an _able
champion_ and _enlightened patron_, and they have their respective
schemes of improvement: the James River canal, the extension of the
Louisa railroad and continuation of the macadamized turnpike from
Staunton to Buchanan, demanding the support of a powerful intellect and
matured experience.

In looking around for a suitable representative of the District, the
eyes of everyone seem attracted to _John H. Peyton, Esq._, of Augusta,
as the man. He is a gentleman of distinguished ability and unblemished
integrity. He has long been known to Virginia as the ablest criminal
lawyer in her borders, and hence he is peculiarly qualified to discharge
the duties incident to the revision of those laws. His general
attainments and enlightened views of, and on all subjects qualify him in
a high degree to aid in constructing a system of public education which
shall diffuse the genial rays of knowledge through all classes of
society, and he has evinced his deep interest in the success of the
James river improvement by the most substantial of all proofs--the
investment of large sums of money in its work.

Mr. Peyton now holds several lucrative offices and he is in the
enjoyment of an extensive and extremely profitable law practice, but it
is understood that he is willing to relinquish them all if his
fellow-citizens should require his services in the Senate. It is a
subject of congratulation to the district that such is the fact, and I
cannot believe that the district will hesitate for a moment to avail
itself of the services of so distinguished an individual. It would be a
subject of just pride to our district to send such a man to the Senate.
He would tower head and shoulders above any other man in that body, and
the impress of his talents and learning would be permanently visible
upon the statute books of Virginia. Let the voters of the district then,
go forward as one man, and record their votes for John H. Peyton. Let
them recollect that it is a duty which they owe their country to select
the man who, from his talents and acquirements, is best suited to
discharge the duties of the station. When in the management of his
private affairs, it becomes necessary to employ an agent or an attorney,
they always seek the man best qualified, and upon the same principle,
when they are about to choose an agent not only for themselves but for
their country and posterity, (for in the administration affairs we are
trustees for posterity) they should elect the man who is able to render
the most efficient services to the public.

The office of Senator is at all times an important one; but under
present circumstances, there is a peculiar propriety in selecting the
strongest man, for it is universally conceded that there is a woeful
deficiency of talent in the Senate. The election of Mr. Peyton would
therefore be hailed with satisfaction by the whole State; and he would
be from our district, the Senator of Rockbridge and Augusta.--Lexington
Gazette and Spectator, May 2, 1839.
                                                             A VOTER.


_To the voters of the Senatorial district composed of the counties of
Rockbridge and Augusta._


Having authorized my name to be placed before you as a candidate to
represent you in the Senate of Virginia, I deem it a duty I owe alike
to you and myself to make a plain and distinct avowal of my political

Though it is true that a member of the Senate of Virginia, has little to
do with Federal politics, and may not during his whole term of service
be called upon to express a single opinion upon them, yet, in a
representative republic it is not only proper that the political
sentiments of a candidate should be distinctly understood, but it is
equally proper that he should possess political sentiments congenial
with those of his constituents.

Under this impression, the following brief statement is made.

I came into public life about the period of the election of James
Madison as President of the United States.[4] I served as a member of
the House of Delegates of Virginia the two sessions of 1808-9, 1809-10.
I was a friend to the election of Mr. Madison and a warm and zealous
advocate of the measures of his administration.

  [4] FOOT NOTE.--Mr. Madison was elected President in 1809 and re-elected
  in 1813.

Among the measures to which I gave my hearty support was the
establishment of the late Bank of the United States. Since that period I
have not mingled in politics. As a citizen, however, I approved
generally of the administration of James Monroe, and was opposed to the
election of his successor, John Quincy Adams.

I advocated the election of Andrew Jackson, and supported most of the
measures of his administration during his first term. I also voted
reluctantly for his re-election, I disapproved of his veto to the bill
to recharter the Bank of the United States, and the _ad captandum_
arguments used by him to justify the measure. I attributed the act then,
however, more to the feelings created by the particular time when
Congress passed the bill--it being just previous to his second election,
than to any settled hostility on his part to a United States Bank.

Shortly after his re-election, he commenced a train of measures to which
I was utterly opposed; measures of a novel and alarming character, and
which in their origin and subsequent developments, brought distress and
embarrassment upon the banks, upon the country at large, and especially
upon all our great commercial interests. I allude to his wild, violent
and undigested schemes of finance--commencing with his pet Bank system
and ending with his order in council, the Specie circular.

This warfare upon the Bank of the United States, the currency and the
commerce of the nation, reduced us in 1837 to the degradation of
witnessing a general suspension of specie payments by the banks.

These acts connected with the corrupting system of party discipline
introduced by that administration with the view of compelling private
judgement to succumb to the behests of party, completely separated me
from the administration of Andrew Jackson.

His successor who pledged himself in advance "to follow in the footsteps
of his predecessor," and who has gone a bowshot beyond him in
obstinately pressing upon a free and intelligent people; his thrice
rejected scheme of a sub-treasury--to him and his measures I have always
been strenuously opposed.

Upon those subjects which fall more legitimately within the scope of the
duties of a Virginia State Senator--in advancing and promoting the great
cause of internal improvement, and in the diffusion of light and
knowledge among our people, and in the general objects of legislation,
my interest is identified with yours.

Finally, occupying the relation I now do, fellow citizens, towards you,
by no procurement of my own, but having been pressed into it by the
solicitation of friends, I have thought it right thus briefly, but at
the same time explicitly, to state my political views. I have felt this
duty the more imperative--because having been once a supporter of
General Jackson's administration, and no public occasion having since
occurred, except at the polls, to make my subsequent opinions known were
I silent some might cast their votes in this election under a
misapprehension of my sentiments. Whilst, then, I would regard an
election to the Senate of Virginia as a flattering proof of your
confidence--I could not but regard that confidence misplaced and
valueless, were it bestowed by the people without knowing where and how
I stand.
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.
[_Spectator, May 9, 1859._]

He was duly elected and took his seat at the next session of the Senate.

                             MORE OLD LETTERS.

For want of a better place, the following bundle of old letters, running
in date from October, 1823, to April, 1839, are here given. They possess
a peculiar interest to the children of Mr. Peyton, unimportant as they
are, since they exhibit, the domestic side of his character: are pages
in the history of the family and it has been well said that, "Every
family is a history in itself and even a poem to those who know how to
search its pages."

                       JOHN H. PEYTON TO HIS WIFE.

                                    Charlottesville, Oct., 9th, 1823.

_My Dear Wife_:

It is now Thursday morning, and we are not yet through with the trial of
the first criminal, and there are three others waiting trial. When we
will finish with them I cannot undertake to say.

I have employed as overseer for my farm near Staunton, a relative of my
present overseer, who bears the same name. As you seem so partial to
your countyman, old O'Sullivan, I will send him to my farm on Jackson
river. Don't expect me till you see me, for it is impossible to say when
I can return--the Judge thinks of holding a court next week. If so I
will write you.

Keep everyone busy preparing winter clothing for the negroes--send for
the overseer and tell him that it is my particular wish that he should,
as soon as the seeding is finished, plough the large field around
Sinaugh's house. Tell him to have the wheat threshed out. Adieu. Kiss
little Susan for me, and believe me,

                       Your affectionate husband,
                                                       JOHN H. PEYTON.

P. S.--Miss Nicholson is here and well.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                         Harrisonburg, Feb. 18, 1824.

_My Dear Ann_:

I was exceedingly gratified to get your affectionate letter of the 16th
inst., written in that calm spirit of fortitude and resignation which
convinces me that you take a right view of our late misfortune (supposed
to be the loss of a child). I was fearful until I received your letter
that you would be uneasy at my detention here, and am delighted that you
are acquiring patience and learning to submit with composure to the
inevitable. When you have learnt well these practical lessons you will
be much better prepared to encounter the trials and disappointments of
life, and nothing is truer than that all mankind must and will
experience calamities. When we are prosperous we should always look for
a reverse of fortune, and when we are in adversity we should recollect
that it is the common lot of humanity. No one ever yet enjoyed
uninterrupted happiness, and those who have most nearly approached it,
are the sober, the virtuous, and industrious. The indolent are always
unhappy and nearly always vicious. If you wish to be happy attend to the
duties of your household--these will give you exercise and exercise will
insure you health of body and mind. When the mistress takes an interest
in domestic affairs--sees that the servants do their duty, that the
house is neat and in order; that regular hours are kept by all, in a
word, when good house wifery prevails, it affords more real happiness to
the well regulated mind of the mistress than any, or all of the
so-called fashionable amusements of the gay world. Such a house wife
cannot fail to be loved at home and respected abroad.

No one is exempt from trouble, mental or physical, and the weight of
both may seem at times bearing you to the ground, but take heart and the
sum of your enjoyment will always outweigh your troubles. The Almighty
in his infinite wisdom, mercy and goodness, has so constituted our
minds, that past pleasures and enjoyments can always be vividly recalled
to our recollection, past sufferings with difficulty, and seldom in
detail. I would advise you to attempt by all means to divert your
attention from your own person and surroundings, to other objects. The
providence of God has surrounded us with objects of improving
distraction, by which we may be led to think of Him. The same hand that
strews pleasures in your way, has left no situation, however painful or
disagreeable, where an antidote to your distress has not been placed
within reach. You must, however, rouse yourself and seek for it. We
constantly meet persons who complain that everything goes wrong with
them, while with another "whatsoever he doeth prospers." This striking
difference is generally to be accounted for, not by the doctrine of
chances, but by a reference to the temper and character of the
respective parties. Imprudence, or ill temper, for instance, will either
mar the success of any project, or present it in a distorted and
unfavorable aspect.

It must not be forgotten that this advice comes from your best friend,
from one who has had large experience and who has made the springs of
human action much his study.

What a field of rational enjoyment is opening before you in little
Susan. You can watch the shooting idea, can restrain any exuberance,
instil in her right principles, make her reverence virtue, detest vice.
It is astonishing how soon good principles may be made to take root, and
bad ones be eradicated. Never tell her, or suffer others to tell her she
is beautiful. If she is so she will find it out too soon. Teach her to
place her claims to distinction upon good sense, good principles,
modesty, delicacy, affectionate deportment to her parents--respectful
behavior to all. Let her respect herself and respect others. Then she
will be in the widest and best sense a lady. It is astonishing how early
in life the temper of children begins to be formed, and consequently how
soon that important part of the business of education, which consists in
the training of the mind to habits of discipline and submission, may be
commenced. "I wish very much to consult you about the education of my
little girl," said a lady some years since to a friend, "who is now just
three years old." "Madam," replied the friend, "you are at least two
years late in applying to me on the subject." Lose no time in instilling
the principles of unhesitating obedience and thus, lay the foundation of
paternal authority, while teaching your children self-control,
self-denial, and how to gain a mastery over their passions. Warn her of
the trials and difficulties, which more or less come to us all, but
especially to the careless and indifferent.

The suit in which I am engaged will probably be spun out till Friday
evening. I will endeavor in this case to be with you the next day.

            With sincerity of affection, your husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                           Lewisburg, June 7th, 1824.

_My dear Ann_:

Baldwin and myself arrived here the third day after we left Staunton, in
good health. We passed Captain Massie's on Monday and regretted to find
both Mrs. Massie and the Captain indisposed. Sarah and the rest of the
family were well. Susan has a fine daughter, but has been so unfortunate
as to take the milk fever. She was, however, better of it, and I hope by
the time I return will be entirely well. General Breckenridge and family
and Woodville and family are here and in their usual health. Colonel
Andrew and Capt. John Lewis are also here.

I hope to leave on Thursday next--on Friday shall stop at my farm,
surveying the land I have entered, and on Saturday leave on my return to
Staunton, if nothing happens to prevent it--on Sunday evening I hope to
be with my beloved wife and child--send at once to Maupin (the overseer)
and direct him to detail hands to work the vegetable garden.

We were all invited to dine to-day with Lewis Stuart, but his wife was
taken ill last night and the invitations were recalled. It was a
disappointment, but as the day is exceedingly warm I think we have lost
nothing. The Colonel has not been at Captain Massie's yet, and I think
Sarah looks a little dejected. No news of William Lewis as yet. The sale
I expect will be postponed until August.[5]

  [5] This refers to the sale of the personal property of Colonel John
  Lewis, Mrs. Peyton's father.

Present Woodville affectionately to Lynn and Benjamin. He unites with me
in love to you and little Susan.

I am, with anxious desire to be with my dear Ann,

                Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

The "little stranger" mentioned in the following letter is the present
Col. John Lewis Peyton, the eldest son by the second marriage of Mr.
Peyton. Business engagements making it impossible for Mr. P. to be in
Staunton at the birth, intelligence was sent him of the event by his
favorite man servant, Ben Potter, who rode on horseback to Lexington
during the night.

                                     Lexington, 16th September, 1824.

_My Dear Ann_:

Ben Potter arrived this morning bringing the glad tidings that you had
presented me with a fine son, and that you and the infant were as well
as could be expected. For this I feel grateful, and I regret that I
could not have been with you in the hour of tribulation--everything,
however, happens for the best. I am engaged in a cause of importance,
the evidence in which was closed this evening. The argument takes place
tomorrow, after which I will leave here and try to reach Colonel
McDowell's on my way home. If nothing unusual occurs, I will reach home
on Saturday evening, in the meantime take good care of yourself and the
baby. Be particular not to expose yourself and take cold. Present me
affectionately to my good friends, Mrs. Baldwin and Mrs. Williamson, and
tell them I shall not forget their kind and friendly attentions to you.
Mr. and Mrs. Woodville have not yet arrived--I presume they are detained
by bad weather.

Direct Ben, on his return, to open a cask of wine for the entertainment
of your friends. Ben is careful and may be trusted. Give my love to the
family, and kiss the little stranger for me.

                         Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                         Warm Springs, April 3, 1823.

_My Dear Wife_:

I had Just got off my horse from Pocahontas when the post going to
Staunton arrived. I delayed it long enough to put in this note for
you.[6] The Judge and myself have fared very well among the people of
Pocahontas and arrived here safely and in good health, the snow, rough
weather and bad roads to the contrary notwithstanding. I have barely
time to tell you this and to say that my anxiety to see you, my
children, my sister and brother was never greater.

  [6] The mail was then carried on horseback, and the postoffice was in
  the office of the tavern.

I have made money on the circuit, enough to pay every debt.

In great haste, but as ever your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                    Charlottesville, Oct. 11th, 1826.

_My Dear Ann_:

I stayed at Mr. Diver's (Farmington) on the night of the day we parted,
and on the next morning about 10 o'clock reached here.

Monday evening I spent at Mr. Kelley's in company with Mr. and Mrs.
Cochran, Mr. and Mrs. Hatch, Mr. and Mrs. Gilmer. Lynn is living in a
sedate, pious, gentle family, and is surrounded by every comfort, and
has an affectionate, good husband, who appears to be doing a good paying
business (as a merchant).

Our court business progresses slowly, so that I do not expect to get off
before Saturday or Sunday.

If Mr. Cochran (G. M.) has not obtained the bacon I ordered from Mr.
Hogg, you must keep up the supply on the farm from the market, and by
now and again killing a mutton.

             In great haste, your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                  Callaghan's Tavern, Nov. 4th, 1827.

_My Dear Ann_:

I am informed by Judge Taylor that my sister, Lucy Green, of Kentucky,
arrived a few days since in Montgomery county on a visit to my late
brother's family, (Capt. Garnett Peyton's.) She is on her way to see my
mother at Stony Hill, and will not, of course, pass us without a visit.
Though she is impatient to get on, do not let her go until I return, for
nothing could give more pleasure than to see her.

I missed seeing the wedding party at Capt. Massie's, (marriage of John
Hamden Pleasants to Capt. M.'s daughter Mary.) They had gone to
Fincastle on a visit to the Woodville's. They intend paying us a visit
on their return. Woodville is with me and well.

Present me affectionately to the children and make my kind regards to
Mrs. Talfair.

                  Sincerely your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                        Richmond, January 19th, 1828.

_My Dear Ann_:

I had intended to leave here this morning, but the weather would not
admit of it. It has been raining the whole day. I think the weather will
admit of my continuing my journey tomorrow, for though I have been
treated with great hospitality since my arrival, I had rather be at home
with my dear wife and children than anywhere on earth.

Mary Green, of Kentucky, is here, and is an affectionate, good girl. She
appears to be sincerely attached to you, and says she had a great deal
rather be at Montgomery Hall with Aunt Ann, than in Richmond, with all
its fashion and gaiety. Bernard has given me two dining parties since we
have been here. We were also invited to dine at Johnson's, (Chapman,)
but could not attend, owing to a previous engagement at Leigh's, (B. W.
Leigh's.) I was obliged also to decline dining at Dr. Brockenbrough's
for the same reason, and I have, for the same reason, had to decline the
invitation to dine with Mr. Daniel. One day I dined with Gen. Sam'l H.
Lewis at Duval's; on another, with the Triplett's; on another day was
invited to dine by all the members of the Legislature at the Bell
Tavern, and did so. Many distinguished strangers were present. On
another occasion, I dined, by invitation, with all the members of our
party. We have been well, with the exception of a cold I caught
attending a book auction. I am, however, getting the better of it, and
hope by the time I reach Stafford to be well. My stay in Stafford will
be short. I shall stop with sister Lynn (Cochran) on my return. Cochran
has a very snug, cosy establishment. I have purchased a lot of nice
things for you; had them boxed and sent to Bernard's (Gen. Bernard
Peyton's) commission house to be forwarded home by the first conveyance,
with a number of law and miscellaneous books bought here. I am fearful
these articles will not reach Staunton soon, as the condition of the
roads is at present wretched.

I must conclude with the hope that I will receive a letter from you in

Amanda, (Mrs. General Bernard Peyton) and all send their best respects
and regards to you.

Kiss my little cherubs for me, and believe me, as ever your affectionate
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                 Stony Hill, Stafford, Feb, 24, 1828.

_My Dear Ann_:

I had the happiness to receive your letter of the 19th upon my arrival
here, which gives me great pleasure indeed. My detention in Richmond
will prevent my return home as soon as I expected. On Saturday next I
expect to leave here.

Rowze's wife has a fine daughter, [The present Mrs. T. R. Spenser, of
Geneva, N. Y.] was born the day before our arrival. My mother, Lucy,
Miss Gallagher and Rowze all send their love to you.

                          Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.


                                      Warm Springs, 14th March, 1828.

_My Beloved Wife_:

The day I left you I reached Colonel McDowell's, (near Fairfield,
Rockbridge county,) where I spent the night in the agreeable society of
the family and my dear old aunt. On the next day about 12 o'clock, I
arrived in Lexington and dined with Mr. Taylor.[7] I spent the evening
and night with James McDowell, Jr.[8] Next day I settled my business in
court, spent the afternoon and night with Taylor, and in the morning set
out for Jackson River, and on Friday reached Captain Massie's, having
crossed the mountain by McGraw's gap, and after an hour's delay
proceeded to my farm where I lodged. Captain Massie and his son, Henry,
dined with me next day, and the same evening my son William arrived from
Pocahontas. He remained with me until Sunday when we went to Captain
Massie's to dinner. After dinner William proceeded to the Hot Springs
and I returned to the farm.

  [7] Hon. James Taylor, M. C. for this district and an old and intimate
  friend of Mr. Peyton, who served with Major Peyton in the army during
  the war of 1812-15 and whose friendship was continued up to the time of
  Mr. Peyton's death in 1847.

  [8] Subsequently M. C. for this district and Governor of
  Virginia--Governor McDowell and Mrs. Taylor were both first cousins of
  Mrs. Peyton.

On Monday I rode to Alexander Paris', the old Morris tavern, to dinner,
and thence to William McClintic's, where I remained all night. On
Tuesday, I rode out in the rain to the Warm Springs. When I arrived the
water streaming from my neck, arms, cuffs, and my body was wet to the
skin, a warm bath, change of clothing, a good dish of roast beef by a
blazing fire, washed down with a bottle of rum negus soon warmed me to
life and spirits. Since then I have been busily occupied in court until
this evening. Tomorrow I leave for the Supreme court of Pendleton and
expect to arrive there by Tuesday evening. It distressed me to see my
learned brethren of the bar returning to their families when I was
doomed to another week's absence. But my wife will love me the more for
this privation; when she recollects that both duty and interest demand
the sacrifice. I found all well at the farm, all lazy and happy, all
idle and contented. I did not disturb them, left them to enjoy life in
their own way. I hope sister Sarah and cousin Susan Preston will remain
with you until I get back--nothing affords me more gratification in my
unavoidable absence on the circuit than the thought that you are happily
consoled by the society of your friends.

Tell Ben to lose no time with the work of gardening and to transplant
from the old garden near the stone spring house the currant and
raspberry bushes.

Tell Dempster to keep the wagons busy getting out the manure, and to
see that George and Dick are constantly engaged in rail-splitting--the
fences need repairing. Give my love to Sarah Lewis and Susan Preston, to
my little chicks, Susan, John and Ann.

     As ever, my dear Ann, your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                          Lewisburg, June 17th, 1828.

_My dear wife_:

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday after we parted at the Warm Springs. On
Thursday, Mayse, Terrell, and Grattan dined with me at my plantation on
Jackson's river--the same evening we rode to Callaghan's Tavern and on
Friday reached this place. I have a beautiful crop of corn on Jackson's
river, and indeed, the crops of all kinds look promising and the negroes
are healthy, contented and happy. I am in good health and closely
occupied in court. Woodville has not yet arrived, he is detained in the
courts of Botetourt and Monroe, I expect him in a day or two--Col.
Andrew Lewis and Capt. John Lewis are both here attending the court. How
do my little children come on? I suppose Susan is attending her school
regularly and that John with his innocent and lively prattle, and Ann
keep up their mother's spirits. How does Dempster get on securing the
hay crop? Tell him to have the cradles prepared for the harvest. Have
your wool packed and sent to Ben. Crawford's store with directions to
forward it to Barr's to be carded. By doing so the rolls will be ready
to be spun as soon as the women can be spared from the harvest field.

Isaac Bowyer has arrived here and tells me that the commissioners
appointed to assign Mrs. Mary B. Lewis her dower in Dr. Lewises lands
at the Sweet Springs, have set off to her 204 acres out of the land of
your brother William, including the meadow and brick house. Your old
neighbor, Susan Bowyer, near the Sweet Springs, is dead--the rest of
your old friends and neighbors are well.

Tell Mrs. Baldwin that her husband [Judge Briscoe Baldwin] is in good
health and spirits. He had the ill luck to have his gig broken to pieces
on the road to the Warm Springs--one of the shafts of the sulky broke,
this alarmed the horse--Baldwin perceived it and leaped from the gig,
the horse then ran off with the gig at his heels and broke it in a dozen
pieces. He had a bottle of old wine rolled up in the foot-board and
though the board was kicked to atoms the bottle was not broken. Was
there ever such luck! We went on to Miller's where we recounted our
misfortunes over the wine which prevented undue depression of spirits.
The horse was uninjured and procuring a saddle, Baldwin mounted the
reclaimed steed who was dripping wet, his eyes dull and his whole
countenance dejected, and we jogged on very pleasantly, cheered by the
Madeira and the reflection that things were not so bad as they might
have been.

When I write again I will be able to give you more information of our
friends. In the meantime be of good cheer and believe me,

                   Your affectionate husband.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                      Warm Springs, March 13th, 1829.

_My dear Ann_:

I have business at the Superior Court of Pendleton, which I cannot well
postpone, or I would return directly home. My stay at Pendleton,
however, will be short. As usual on first leaving home in the spring I
have taken cold. There is a great difference between the log cabins of
these mountains and the substantial and comfortable houses of Augusta.
For example, it snowed last night and when I waked this morning my bed
was covered with snow which beat in through the window--the floor was
nearly covered also, the snow coming in under the door. At this
inclement season a journey to Pendleton can't be styled a pleasure trip.

William has been here during the court and leaves to-day for Botetourt.
He appears to be in pretty good health.

Tell Mrs. Telfair I stopped at the Wilderness (General Blackburn's) on
my way out and found all well--many affectionate inquiries were made
about her. Keep up your spirits--when you look at Susan, John and Ann it
ought to satisfy you with my absence.

                           Yours affectionately,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                            Lewisburg, Nov. 18, 1830.

_My Dear Ann_:

After your return home, I remained several days at the Warm Springs, and
after court rose, went with William, Sam'l McD. Moore, (subsequently M.
C.,) and Alexander P. Eskridge, son-in-law of Judge Allen Taylor and
brother-in-law of William Madison Peyton, to the Hot Springs, where we
found Sally and the children, (the wife and children of Wm. M. Peyton,)
and were hospitably and elegantly entertained. They all made many
friendly enquiries after you, sister Sarah and Thomas.[9] On Friday I
went to my plantation and procured of Mann a deed to the Mill and the
land in the Falling Spring Valley. Saturday I reached Callaghan's, and
thence took the stage to this place, after sending my horse back to the
farm to remain till my return, a fortnight hence. Woodville arrived on
yesterday and reports his wife better. As soon as he gets back to
Fincastle, they intend making us a visit as he will be detained some
time in Staunton attending the Chancery Court. From Staunton he will go
to Culpeper on a visit to his father. Tell Thomas to stick closely to
his studies, particularly Arithmetic and Algebra. The overseer should
secure the corn crop and cart out the manure. Tell him to thresh fifty
bushels of rye and send it to Major Summer's distillery, to be made into

  [9] The late Major Thomas Preston Lewis, the youngest son of Major John
  Lewis, of the Sweet Springs, a man of many noble traits of character,
  who died unmarried in Augusta county in 1877, deeply regretted.

I hope Susan and John are diligently employed at school, and that the
rest of our small fry are doing well.

The mildness of the season has presented my feeling any inconvenience
from having no woolen shirts. Woodville joins me in love to yourself and
the children, to Sarah and Thomas.

                      Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                    Lexington, Va., Sept. 19th, 1834.

_My Dear Ann_:

On the day I left home I reached here in good time, but by some
misadventure took a cold which has kept me coughing ever since. The heat
of the weather and my heavy clothing has caused a reaction and I hope
soon to be myself again.

I found Col. Benton and his family[10] at James McDowell's, and spent
some time with them very pleasantly--they will pay us a visit in
October. I am stopping as usual at Taylor's, they are so pressing in
their invitations and will admit of no excuses that I have fallen into
the habit of making their house my home while here.

  [10] Hon. Thomas H. Benton, U. S. Senator for Missouri, and author of
  "_Thirty Years' View; or, a history of the working of the American
  Government for thirty years, from 1820 to 1850_." Colonel Benton married
  Miss McDowell, a sister of Governor James McDowell, a cousin of Mrs. J.
  H. Peyton.

Mr. Poindexter is in Lexington, and will marry to-day the widow Lewis.
The wedding is to be private, and the happy pair will leave immediately
in their barouche for Eastern Virginia.

James McDowell and wife have just gone to a meeting of the Preston
family in Abingdon with a view to the adjustment of your grandfather and
grandmother's estates, and though your mother will not be represented in
this meeting her claim, while the claims of others is adjusted, cannot
be overlooked. I hope therefore, when they return to hear something
satisfactory. Nath'l Hart, of Kentucky, has been chiefly instrumental, I
understand, in bringing about this meeting. Write me on Monday addressed
to the Warm Springs and let me hear how you all are. Give my love to my
mother and the children.

                  I am your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                              Norfolk, Dec. 19, 1835.

_My dear wife_:

Whilst Susan and Miss Robinson, who accompanied her from Richmond, are
drinking tea at Mr. Loyal's,[11] under the care of Mr. Valentine, I take
the pen to scribble you a few lines. On Wednesday we came down the river
from Richmond in the Steamer Patrick Henry, with all Gen. Blackburn's
emancipated slaves and their luggage on board. On the next day I
delivered them to the agent of the Colonization Society and paid their
passage to Liberia. On Friday the girls took tea at Mr. Smith's. The
evening before they spent at Mr. Robertson's. To-day we visited Old
Point, making the trip in the steamer, Old Dominion. After visiting the
fortifications, which I had not seen since 1814, with Col. Bankhead and
Capt. Washington we dined at the Hotel and returned in the evening.
Tomorrow we shall go to hear my old friend, Bishop Meade, preach. On
Monday we expect to visit the navy yard, Gosport and the dry dock, and
on Tuesday return by the Patrick Henry. Both Susan and myself are in
good health.

  [11] Mr. Loyal was the father of Mrs. Admiral Farragut--the gallant
  Admiral so much distinguished during the war.

My stay in Richmond will be brief. I never wished more to be at home. The
people everywhere are very kind and hospitable; my friends are attached
and attentive in different ways, but I do not enjoy my trip, because I
am away from those most dear to my heart. I derive more pleasure from an
evening in the midst of my family than any to be derived from travel. I
love the society of my own family, of John, clinging to my knees, Ann,
Mary, Lucy, the girls singing abed. "No man can tell," says Jeremy
Taylor, "but he that loves his children, how many delicious accents
make a man's heart dance in the pretty conversation of these dear
pledges; their childishness, their stammering, their little angers,
their innocence, their imperfections, their necessities, are so many
emanations of joy and comfort to him that delights in their person and
society." I may misquote, as I quote from memory, but if the words are
wrong, the ideas are right.

I have exchanged with Mr. Valentine, Malvina for a man cook, named
Smith, about 18 years of age. He is a good tempered, quick and efficient
general servant, and though young, already skillful as a cook; and is
anxious to go to the upper country, as he suffers with chills and fever
here. He will be of much service on the return trip, as I have a lot of
packages containing articles of furniture, mantle ornaments, books,
clothing, &c., to be looked after. I would have left this miserable
place sooner, but the steam boats run but twice a week. I console myself
with the hope that Susan is enjoying and profiting by the excursion. I
long to be with you. I am, as ever,

                          Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                          Lewisburg, July 14th, 1857.

_My dear Ann_:

I arrived here on yesterday in time for the court, but the business is
delayed by the failure of Johnson and Baldwin to appear. They are
expected tomorrow. I hope you are spending your time pleasantly, making
Miss Herring's visit agreeable. Tell Susan it is my particular wish that
she should write me frequently and at as great length as her
engagements will admit of. She is young and thoughtless and requires
the counsels and advice of her father, which I will take much pleasure
in giving her in letters, where it will be more permanent than if merely
spoken. She is at an age when her acts and sayings are the subject of
observation and comment, hence she cannot be too circumspect--next to
the consciousness of acting right, the public voice should be regarded,
and we should endeavor, by a prudent behavior, even in trifling matters,
to secure it in our favor.

I hope my dear wife that you will also write me often. Mr. Rodgers, the
stage driver, will take charge and safely deliver to me any letters you
may wish to send.

Have you made the acquaintance yet of Dr. and Mrs. Nelson? You will find
them agreeable and pleasant acquaintances--they are very intimate with
Bernard's family. Have you visited your pretty little farm near the
Springs. If not, go to see it, and let me know what you think of the

  [12] This was a farm of 350 acres lying in the Sweet Spring Valley,
  inherited by Mrs. Peyton from her father, and in 1894 is owned by her
  nephew, Dr. J. Lewis Woodville.

Judge Fry, who married a daughter of Parson McElhaney, will be at the
Sweet next week. They are worthy people and I will be glad if you can
call on them. I think you will like them. The good parson has long been
one of my most particular friends, and I want you to be civil to his

Excuse this hasty scrawl. My engagements do not admit of my saying more
than that I send affectionate regards to Ben, Tom, sister Caroline and
all the kith and kin about you.

I hope those agreeable New Yorkers--the Clarkes, are still at the
Springs. The society of people of so much information and intelligence
who have traveled abroad, is really improving.

                      Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.
Mrs. John H. Peyton, Sweet Springs.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                    Lexington, Va., April 20th, 1839.

_My Dear Ann_:

I have only time to write you a few lines to advise you of my safe
arrival in good health at Lexington, where our friends and connections
are all well. Tell Aunt Towles I have met her grandson, John Dabney, who
recognized her son Thomas as he rode up to Taylor's. Taylor invited Mr.
Dabney's family and John to take tea with us on yesterday evening, and
to-day we are to dine with the Dabneys'. I am much pleased with Mrs.
Dabney and her sister, Mrs. Price, and more so with John Dabney, who
strikes me as a superior young man. Taylor is expecting his son, Dr.
James Taylor, from Philadelphia, every day, where he has successfully
concluded his medical studies. Their daughter Susan, who has been
spending the winter in Alexandria, is also expected home in a few
days.[13] They wish to give them a royal reception, and wish our
daughter Susan to come up for the merry making. Mrs. Taylor says if she
will do so she will send her to the Natural Bridge, &c. I have told her
I knew you would not part with Susan at this time, but I thought it
probable you would allow her to spend a week with them in May, after my
return from the courts. She was glad to hear this and said she would
send her son Robert and John Dabney to Staunton to escort her at that

  [13] Susan Taylor married some years subsequently Hon. John B. Weller,
  M. C. from Ohio, and afterwards Governor of California.

Tell the overseer to take the calves off my grain, and let them run in
the clover field back of the house--the grain is so far advanced now
that the calves will injure it. I hope he has finished corn planting.
Write me at the Warm Springs, either by Tom Michie or Wm. Frazier,
telling me how the farming operations are going on, and how aunt Towles
and our dear little children are.

Aunt McDowell, who is here, sends her best love to you, Mrs. Towles and
sister Green. Mrs. Taylor says if Susan will come to her in May, she
will meet her relations, the McDowells, who will return from Abingdon in
April and be at home, and also Jane Preston, and other relatives who are
coming with the McDowells, from Southwest Virginia for a visit to
Lexington. I have time to say no more, as I am called to court.

                     Yours affectionately,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

The following extract from the Spectator possesses such interest that we
make no apology for introducing it here:

                      JEFFERSON, STUART, PEYTON.

We have been much interested recently in reading the early history of
the University of Virginia as developed in the unpublished letters of
Jefferson and J. C. Cabell. One of the letters particularly struck us.
It is from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Cabell, and dated Monticello, May 13th,
1825, and contains the warmly expressed opinions of two of our former
citizens as to the professional ability, general qualifications and high
character of the late Judge Dade, who was urged by his friends as a
suitable person to be made Professor of Law in the new institution,
Judge Stuart and Hon. John Howe Peyton were on a visit to Monticello at
the period when Jefferson was perplexed by the declension of this
Professorship by Mr. Gilmer, and Mr. Jefferson gives the substance of
what Judge Stuart and Mr. Peyton said to him.

The letter will be read with interest by all, but more particularly by
those who remember Judge Stuart and Mr. Peyton, two of our famous men of
the past, both of whom died full of years and honors, bequeathing
fortunes and leaving families, which have inherited their genius.

                           JEFFERSON'S LETTER.

DEAR SIR:--Every offer of our law chair has been declined, and a late
renewal of pressure on Mr. Gilmer has proved him inflexibly decided
against undertaking it. What are we to do? The clamor is high for some
appointment. We are informed, too, of many students who do not come
because that school is not opened; and some now with us think of leaving
us for the same reason. You may remember that among those who were the
subjects of conversation at our last meeting, Judge Dade was one; but
the minds of the board were so much turned to two particular characters;
that little was said of any others. An idea has got abroad, I know not
from what source, that we have appointed Judge Dade and that he has
accepted. This has spread extensively, perhaps from a general sense of
his fitness, and I learn it has been received with much favor, and
particularly among the students of the University. I know no more myself
of Judge Dade than what I saw of him at our Rockfish meeting, and a
short visit he made me in returning from that place. As far as that
opportunity enabled me to form an opinion, I certainly thought very
highly of the strength of his mind, and the soundness of his judgment. I
happened to receive Mr. Gilmer's ultimate and peremptory refusal while
Judge Stuart and Mr. Howe Peyton, of Staunton, were with me. The former,
you know, is his colleague on the bench of the General Court; the latter
has been more particularly intimate with him, as having been brought up
with him at the same school. I asked from them information respecting
Mr. Dade, and they spoke of him in terms of high commendation. They
state him to be an excellent Latin and Greek scholar, of clear and sound
ideas, lucid in communicating them, equal as a lawyer to any of the
judiciary corps, and superior to all as a writer; and that his character
is perfectly correct, his mind liberal and accommodating, yet firm and
of sound Republican principles.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the substance, and these, I may say, the terms in which they
spoke of him, and when I consider the character of these two gentlemen,
and their opportunities of following what they attested, I could not but
be strongly impressed. It happened very much to my gratification, that
General Cocke was here at the same time, received the same information
and impression, and authorizes me to add his concurrence in proposing
the appointment to our colleagues; and to say, moreover, that if on such
further inquiry as they may make, they should approve the choice, and
express it by letter, in reference to a meeting for a conference on this
subject, I might write to Judge Dade, and on his acceptance, issue his
commission. I should add the gentlemen above named were confident that
he would accept, as well from other circumstances, as from his having
three sons to educate. Of course this would put an end to the anxieties
we have all had on this subject. The public impatience over some
appointment to this school, renders desirable as early an answer as your
convenience admits. Accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect.

                                                       TH. JEFFERSON.

                   MR. PEYTON'S WELCOME TO HENRY CLAY.

In August, 1839, Henry Clay passed through Staunton on his return from
Washington to his Kentucky home. The people determined to give him a
warm greeting. A meeting was held and arrangements were made for his
reception, and John H. Peyton was selected to make a speech of welcome.

A procession of gentlemen on horseback met the coach, in which Mr. Clay
was travelling from Charlottesville, near Glendale, the present
residence of George L. Peyton, Esq., and escorted him to town. On
arriving in front of the Eagle Hotel, now the Spectator office, Mr. Clay
descended from the coach and was met by _Mr. Peyton_, who welcomed him
in a handsome and appropriate address in which he referred to his long
and distinguished public services, his championship of constitutional
freedom and his patriotic labors on behalf of the best interests of the
country and tendering him the warm hospitalities of the town during his

  [14] NOTE.--The late Wm. Frazier, who was present, informed us
  that it was the most felicitous address he ever heard from one great man
  to another, and he greatly regretted that a stenographer had not been
  present to take it down.

Mr. Clay, though laboring under a cold and great fatigue, replied in his
usual happy manner. After entering the Hotel, and a short rest, he held
an informal reception, when the principal people of the town and
neighborhood were presented. There was, of course, no time for
conversation, but Mr. Clay made many facetious remarks to his admirers
as they passed one after another during the hand-shaking.

                            CAMPAIGN OF 1840.

In December, 1839, Mr. Peyton was a delegate to the National Whig
Convention, which met at Harrisburg, Penn., to decide between the claims
of several rival candidates for the Presidency. General Harrison, of
Ohio, was nominated for the Presidency, and John Tyler, of Virginia, for
Vice President. And immediately afterwards the celebrated "log-cabin and
hard cider" campaign commenced. Log cabins and hard cider became the
party emblems, and both were features of all the political
demonstrations of the canvass, which witnessed the introduction of the
enormous mass meetings and processions which have since become common in
all Presidential elections. There was more clap-trap and less appeal to
reason in this than in any Presidential election in our history.
Harrison was chosen by a vote of 234 against an electoral vote for Van
Buren of 60, and was inaugurated at Washington March 4th, 1841.

                  MR. PEYTON'S SPEECH IN THE CANVASS OF 1840.

On his return to Virginia, such was his taste and so pressing the
nature of his private affairs, that he took little active part in the
celebrated canvass.

But upon the occasion of a grand mass meeting at Staunton on the 28th of
October, 1840, he spoke in the Court House to a crowded audience of
ladies and gentlemen, and made a magnificent speech, showing up the
political life and character of Martin Van Buren, his political
tergiversations, intrigue, subserviency, treachery and heartless
selfishness. It was like a prosecution of a prisoner at the bar, and
persons who were present declared that they had never seen or heard
anything like or to equal to it.


Having much business to be settled Mr. Peyton attended the Autumn term,
1840, of the Superior court of Albemarle and was invited by the "Central
Tippecanoe Club" to address the people. The "Charlottesville Advocate,"
edited by the talented Thomas Wood, a man who had few superiors in
Virginia as a writer, thus refers to it:

"_Mr. Peyton_ made one of the most felicitous efforts we have heard
during this whole canvass. We shall not undertake to report his speech;
we would do him injustice by such an effort. We will say, however, that
few speakers are better qualified to entertain and instruct the public
mind in reference to the great questions now agitating the country. He
understands thoroughly the character of Martin Van Buren.

"He has watched him closely ever since he entered public life, in 1812,
the opponent of James Madison, and drew a most faithful picture of him
from that time down to this. Van himself, could he have heard Mr. P.,
would have been forced to admit, that a more exact likeness never was
drawn. He traced him with much minuteness throughout his tortuous and
slimy career, and showed to the satisfaction of every man present, that
he had been alternately the lickspittle and libeller of almost every man
in the country. So in reference to almost every important question which
has agitated the country for the last 30 years, Martin had been found on
both sides--and no man could tell what his principles were. Mr. P.
ridiculed in a most inimitable manner, amid roars of laughter from his
audience, the claim set up by Van's Southern friends, that he 'is a
Northern man with Southern principles.' Even were it true, Mr. P.
contended that it did not elevate Martin in his estimation, for that if
there were any one thing he abominated more than another, it was a
Northern man with Southern principles or a Southern man with Northern
principles. He went for no such half-frog half-tadpole animal.

"Mr. P. laughed at the very idea of Martin Van Buren being held up to the
country as a Republican. He remembered well the part he took in the
memorable contest between Mr. Madison and DeWitt Clinton. He was then
leagued with the blue light Federalists, and his course ever since had
been in utter disregard of the good old Republican doctrines of '98 and

                       VISITOR TO WEST POINT.

Sometime before, June, 1841, he was appointed a visitor to the United
States Military Academy at West Point, and attended the meetings of the
Board of Visitors, where he so impressed the Board, that he was
selected to write their report for that year, which he did.

From West Point he visited his brother, Col. Rouze Peyton, at his home
in Geneva, and in the company of the late Randolph Harrison, of Elk
Island, James river, General Bernard Peyton, of Richmond, Colonel Hill
Carter, of Shirley and others, and made a delightful excursion to
Niagara Falls.

At the next session of the Senate Mr. Peyton was a working member. He
never discharged any duty in a perfunctory manner, but as chairman of
the committee on the Judiciary labored zealously in behalf of reform in
our laws.


In 1841, H. St. George Tucker resigned his position as a Judge of the
Court of Appeals, in order to accept the position of Professor of Law in
the University of Virginia. The following proceeding took place. A
meeting of the bar assembled over which Mr. Peyton presided, and the
meeting appointed him a committee of one to express their sentiments on
the occasion which he did, and the Court adopted them as its sentiments
and ordered them to be placed on record, as follows:

Virginia: At a Court of Appeals held at Lewisburg on Thursday, the 5th
day of August, 1841:

Present: The Honorable Francis T. Brooke, William H. Cabell, Robert
Standard and John I. Allen. The remaining members of the Court of
Appeals cordially concurring with the Bar in their sentiments expressed
in their letter to the late President of the Court on his retiring from
office, it is ordered that their letter and reply to it be put upon the
records of the Court:

_Dear Sir_:

At a late meeting of the Bar of the Court of Appeals at Lewisburg,
assembled for the purpose of giving expression to the feelings
occasioned by your retiring from the office of President of that Court,
I had the honor to act as Chairman, and to be instructed by the meeting,
with perfect unanimity, to communicate to you their sentiments of
sincere regret and most kind and respectful regard. We know from
observation the great responsibility, the arduous labor and high
qualifications required by the eminent station which you have so long
and so ably filled. The talent, the learning and research displayed in
your judicial opinions are known to the country at large. But none can
know and appreciate, so well as the officers of your Court, the spirit
in which your duties have been most promptly and unremittingly
discharged. Your untiring application, unaffected zeal and exemplary
fidelity, have won our humble applause; but our hearts have been touched
by your uniform gentleness, kindness and courtesy of deportment, as well
in the hall of justice as in the private circle; and you take with you
our regrets, not merely for the loss of the public officer, but of the
delightful companion and friend. I have thus endeavored, though
imperfectly, to express the sentiments of our public meeting, to which
let me add the assurances of my

                     Great respect and regard,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.
Lewisburg, August 1, 1841.


There seems never to have been a time that people did not wish Mr.
Peyton on the bench, and immediately after Judge Tucker's resignation,
they began to nominate him, through the papers, for the vacant
judgeship. He quickly put a stop to it, however, by declaring his entire
unwillingness to take the office, not that he did not consider it an
honor, but because at his then age, he was not willing to enter upon its
onerous duties. We regret that among the beautiful tributes paid to him
at this time, in the Richmond papers, we have not been able to get any
other than that which follows.



It will doubtless be incumbent on the next Legislature to elect a Judge
of the Court of Appeals (to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation
of Judge Henry St. George Tucker). This is the Supreme Court of the
State, whose decisions have the weight of law, and, therefore, it is of
the highest importance that a profound lawyer should be elected. I
propose for this place a man who has no superior as a sound reasoner, a
profound lawyer and thinker, a good logician and a persevering worker; a
man who possesses both genius and learning, I allude to that able,
dignified and learned Senator for Rockbridge and Augusta, JOHN HOWE
PEYTON, ESQ. For many years Mr. Peyton has practised in the Courts of
Common Law and Chancery, and in the Court of Appeals and no one has
acquired a higher reputation as a Jurist. If elected, his decisions will
command the respect of every able jurist and honest man in the State.

It is not my wish to lessen the merits of others when I say Virginia has
no better man, no abler lawyer,
August 12, 1841.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following very interesting reminiscenses are taken from the
Spectator of 1891. They were written by one of the most intelligent and
cultivated gentlemen of Augusta, who is still, in 1894, living in the
county. He wrote under the signature of "Senex." The opening sentences
of Mr. Michie's speech constitute in themselves a splendid biography of
Mr. Peyton:


At the November term, 1843, of the Circuit Superior Court, Staunton, a
case which had excited great public interest, in which the late Hon.
John H. Peyton was one of the parties, was tried. It had reference to a
change in the Hebron Church road through Montgomery Hall, on the lands
of Mr. Peyton. Some time before a portion of the public road running
entirely through these lands was closed by order of the County Court
upon Mr. Peyton's motion, and another road established--the same road
now, in 1894, in use. The closing of the road gave great offense to a
neighborhood commonly called the North Mountain neighborhood. Upon
their petition at a subsequent term of the County Court the order
obtained by Mr. Peyton was, during his absence in the Senate at
Richmond, rescinded, thus re-establishing the road which had been closed
at his instance. From this decision Mr. Peyton shortly afterwards
appealed to the Circuit Court, then the appellate tribunal in such
cases. Before the case came on for trial there was an excited
controversy in the newspaper in regard to the whole matter in which it
was freely charged that the order of Court obtained by Mr. Peyton was in
the nature of a purchase and sale of the public rights in the road. When
the case came up for argument before Lucas B. Thompson, the excitement
among the friends of the parties was intense, the Court house was
crowded to overflowing, principally by the people of the North Mountain

For Mr. Peyton two of the most prominent members of the Staunton bar
appeared, Thomas J. Michie and Hugh W. Sheffey; the other side was
represented by A. H. H. Stuart and David Fultz.

The opening argument for Mr. Peyton was delivered by Mr. Sheffey, the
junior counsel. He made a strong legal argument, closely following the
record and confining himself strictly to the merits of the case. He was
followed by Messrs. Stuart and Fultz, who maintained the very remarkable
proposition that the order of the County Court obtained by Mr. Peyton
was an invasion and violation of the public rights, which could be
redressed in no other way than by annulling that order at a subsequent
term of the County Court as had actually been done, and unless this last
proceeding could be sustained, they contended that their clients would
be the victims of a wrong for which they would be absolutely without
remedy. In some of their remarks they were understood by Mr. Michie to
assail Mr. Peyton personally. The Court adjourned until the next
morning, when the excitement was greater and the crowd larger.

In the opening of his remarks the next day, Mr. Michie, who was
evidently much excited, said: _"I regret the course which the counsel on
the other side have pursued in going out of the record to assail my
client--a man who has served his country with distinguished ability in
various civil positions in time of peace, who has honorably and
gallantly served and sacrificed his property for his country in time of
war--a man whose honor and integrity have never been impeached in this
or any other community, before this or any other tribunal. And so help
me God, I will not suffer him, old, respected and honored as he is, to
be hunted down by the blood-hounds now on his track."_ At this point Mr.
Stuart jumped to his feet and disclaimed any intention to assail Mr.
Peyton, to which Mr. Michie retorted, "_I suppose the gentleman will not
have forgotten that he charged that the public rights had been bought
and sold._" Mr. Stuart insisted that he had made no attack on Mr.
Peyton. Mr. Michie then delivered a powerful and earnest speech in which
the position of his adversaries were literally pulverized. He declared
as to the North Mountain people that they had come to Staunton in crowds
and had attempted to brow-beat the halls of justice.

Judge Thompson, in delivering his opinion on the case, decided that the
original order of the County Court obtained by Mr. Peyton was a valid
and legal order, and that the remedy which the other parties had, if,
indeed, the public convenience required that the old road should be kept
open, was to petition the Court under the general road law of Virginia
to open the road _de novo_--thus deciding the whole case in Mr.
Peyton's favor. Thus ended a controversy which had excited a degree of
feeling rarely exhibited in a case where so small a pecuniary, or
property interest was involved.

                       PROTECTS A WEAK MINDED GIRL.

I remember Mr. Peyton's personal appearance and manners well. He made a
great impression on me as a youth and I never knew any man who had more
of what Edmund Burke styled the "chastity of honor, which felt a stain
like a wound." His humanity and sense of right were deeply aroused in a
case which occurred in Bath county in 1842, in which a man for
speculative purposes sought to take the person and property of a girl of
weak mind from the custody of her brothers. He was represented by John
W. Brockenbrough, afterwards United States Judge for Western Virginia.
Mr. Peyton appeared for the girl and her brothers and in opposition to
the proposition made by Brockenbrough's client delivered an impromptu
speech in which the mean, selfish, cruel and avaricious nature of the
proposition was so clearly and mercilessly exposed that Brockenbrough
did not even attempt to reply, and the presiding Judge E. S. Duncan, a
half-brother of Judge John J. Allen, dec'd, instantly decided that the
custody of the girl and her property should remain in the hands of her
brothers. It was evident that Mr. Peyton's high and generous nature was
filled with indignation at what he regarded as a most atrocious
proposition, and he spoke with an animation, warmth and energy, probably
never exceeded in any other effort of his long and distinguished
professional career.
_Spectator, 1891._


                                         Staunton, October 8th, 1843.


Your letter of the 2nd instant inviting me on behalf of the Whigs of
Amherst county, to be present at a festival to be held at Amherst Court
house, on the 19th of the present month, for the promotion of the Whig
cause, has just reached me. I regret, that for reasons unnecessary to
detail, it will not be in my power to accept your polite invitation. You
judge rightly, however, in supposing that I cordially unite with you in
the objects which you have in view. The next Presidential election is a
subject so important and so deeply interesting to the nation, that it
cannot be taken into consideration too soon. The issues involved in it
are the same with those before the people in 1840, and affect so vitally
the public welfare, that too much care cannot be bestowed upon our
proper organization--not only to prevent the evils arising from
misrepresentation and falsehood, by disseminating among the people
correct information, but to secure a full and fair expression of the
public sentiment. If these issues are fully and fairly explained,
together with the mode and manner in which the Whigs have been
disappointed in carrying their measures into effect by the lamentable
death of President Harrison, I do not fear a different result in the
ensuing election from that which occurred in 1840. Our opponents have
not yet designated their candidate. We are as yet uninformed whether we
are to encounter the subtle abstractions of the South Carolina
nullifier, or the wiley artifices of the "Northern man with Southern
principles" or whether we are to face both. Not so with the Whigs.
Henry Clay is so identified with the Whig cause and with Whig
principles, that "all tongues speak of him, and the blear'd sights are
spectacled to see him." He is distinctly pointed at by Whigs, in all
parts of the Union, as the candidate for this distinguished station.

Let Whig clubs then be established in every county in the State; let the
people be correctly informed what Whig principles are, and why the
battle of 1840 is to be fought over again; let the people know that the
Whigs are not only in favor of a sound currency but of a currency of
uniform value throughout the Union--a national currency, consisting
partly of the precious metals and partly of paper, convertible at
pleasure into specie; and that they maintain, that in the present
commercial condition of our country and of the world, this species of
currency can be best attained by a well-regulated national bank. Let
them know that we prefer indirect to direct taxation--that we are the
friends of a tariff, to raise the necessary revenues for the general
government--so arranged as to protect our home industry, and to create a
home market. Let them know that we are the friends to a distribution of
the monies arising from a sale of the public lands, according to some
equitable ratio, and that we are not willing that a fund pledged by the
States for specific objects, shall, after those objects are secured, be
diverted to others not contemplated by the parties at the creation of
the trust. Let them know that we, as our name indicates, are the friends
of rational liberty; that we are for preserving the balances of power as
established by the Constitution, among the three co-ordinate branches of
the Government--that we are the enemies of monarchy and all the
monarchical tendencies of our Government--that we are in favor of
restraining Executive power and patronage; and for an economical
administration of the finances.

If these topics are fully discussed, and the people made clearly to
comprehend their bearing, the election of a Whig President in 1844, can
scarcely be questioned.

You will pardon me for entering upon these subjects so much at large,
when addressing myself to those who are more capable of doing them
justice, and more interested in the issue than myself. I am an old man,
and cannot expect to reap many of the fruits of a Whig victory, but I
have a country and family that will enjoy them; and therefore I feel a
deep interest in their success.

As I cannot be personally present, permit me to offer as a sentiment:

_May a retreating Whig in the contest of 1844, be a character unknown
and unheard of._

Accept the assurances of my respect--Your fellow citizen.

                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.
    _Spectator, Nov. 23, 1843._

                         A DEPLORABLE ACCIDENT.

During the summer of 1843, while Mr. and Mrs. Peyton and the entire
family were outing, on his Jackson river estate, called Isleham, or the
"upper farm," for he owned another estate lower down the Jackson river,
he accompanied, on horseback, a surveying party, engaged in locating or
rectifying certain lines. At many points on their route, the surface was
rough and hilly, and near the high banks of the river overgrown with
brush. While riding up one of these steep banks, through undergrowth and
brambles, his horse, a spirited animal, was beset by a swarm of bees.
The animal began to plunge and soon became unmanageable, and rushing
through the trees and brush, either dragged Mr. Peyton off or he was
thrown, falling heavily to the ground, stunned and helpless. It was
thought at the time that he was fatally injured, but after being removed
to the dwelling, he revived, after one of his tenants, Mr. Meadows, had
drawn from his arm a quantity of blood. Dr. Payne, of Covington, an old
friend and skillful physician, was by his bedside in less than two
hours, and through his care and attention, Mr. Peyton was enabled to
return to Montgomery Hall within a fortnight, and soon resumed his
ordinary life. It is supposed that this accident was the beginning of
the end, the commencement of his decline, that he never fully recovered
from his injuries, which affected the hips and spinal cord. The
following summer he was prostrated by an attack of apoplexy, but such
were the recuperative energies of his vigorous constitution, that he
recovered from it, and attended the next session of the Senate after
having made a visit to Col. Wm. M. Peyton, in Roanoke, where he was
extensively and elegantly entertained and where it is thought he may
have indulged imprudently--in his then state of health, in the luxuries
of the table. The writer was with him on this visit, and remembers well
the numerous and splendid dinner parties given him by General Edward
Watts, George B. Tayloe, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Bowyer, Mr. Preston, of
Greenfield, Mr. Langhorne, Mr. Burrell, Colonel Lewis, Dr. Griffith, Mr.
Johnston and others.

His friends in the Senate, saw with pain and regret his declining
health, and Mr. Peyton himself realizing it determined to abandon all
public employment. Accordingly in the month of December, 1843, he
announced in the following letter his purpose to retire:

                                                 Richmond, Dec. 1843.


_Fellow Citizens_:

The term for which I was elected your senator is drawing to a close, and
as it is not my intention to become again a candidate for your
suffrages, I feel it a duty incumbent on me to apprize you of it thus
early, that you may have full time to select for yourselves a suitable

In taking leave of the district I tender you my grateful
acknowledgements for the distinguished honor which you conferred upon me
four years ago by electing me to the station I now occupy. Whilst acting
in the discharge of the duties devolved upon me by this elevated trust,
it has been my anxious desire to promote your interests and the general
welfare of my native State. That such is the opinion of my constituents
I have not had the slightest reason to doubt. Under such circumstances
it would be both my pride and pleasure to again serve you were it not
for my peculiar situation.

I have now arrived at a period of life when the quiet and repose of the
domestic fireside are much better suited to my tastes and more congenial
to my feelings than the arena of politics and the strife of parties.
Besides this I have duties to discharge to a young and growing family
incompatible with a longer continuance in public life.

I have felt the less difficulty in coming to this conclusion because I
know I can do so without injury to the Whig cause or Whig principles, in
the success of which the people of my district feel so deep an interest.
Their intelligence furnishes ample assurance that my place will be
filled wisely and judiciously; and that they will call into their
service some one fully competent to the discharge of all the high duties
of the station, and who will devote himself to the furtherance of those
great principles and sound measures of public policy, which in the
enlightened judgment of my constituents, lie at the basis of national

                            Your fellow citizen,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON,
Richmond, 1843.

There were universal expressions of regret on this occasion. The
Richmond Whig, edited by the distinguished and unfortunate, John Hamden
Pleasants, who was killed a few years later in a duel with Thomas
Ritchie, Jr., said: "The people of Rockbridge and Augusta and of the
State generally, will see, with regret, the announcement of Mr. Peyton's
purpose to retire from the public councils. Mr. Peyton came into the
Senate of Virginia three years ago, and his accession contributed
greatly to the object at that time much considered and desired by the
State, to elevate the greatly declined and declining standard and
character of that body for ability. The last spring elections have
started another retrogradation in the same way and we are greatly
concerned at any circumstance calculated to accelerate the down-hill
march. The withdrawal of Mr. Peyton's rare talents, large experience,
legal and general knowledge, moderation, firmness and courtesy, from any
legislative body whatever, would be seriously felt."

_John S. Gallaher_, Senator from Frederick, said in the "Winchester

"Mr. Peyton has long been known to the public as a gentleman of great
ability and manly bearing, and his associates in the Senate will
sincerely regret a severance of the agreeable, social and business
relations so long and pleasantly subsisting between them and him. We are
happy to add for the information of Mr. Peyton's friends abroad, that
there is now a reasonable prospect of his restoration to some degree of
comfortable health. Such extracts from the papers of the day might be
indefinitely extended and every mail came loaded with private letters to
him of regret."

After the publication of Mr. Peyton's letter, several announced
themselves as candidates for the Senate, among them John McCue and R. S.
Brooke, of Augusta and R. B. Barton, of Rockbridge. Considerable feeling
originated among the aspirants and the difficulties were adjusted in the
manner disclosed by the subjoined correspondence, which explains also
Mr. Peyton's continuance in public life.


                                         Lexington, April 17th, 1843.


You are fully aware of the difficulties which attend the Senatorial
canvass, from the circumstances that three Whigs are in the field, and
the consequent danger which may attend the Whig cause, and the Whig
representation of the Senatorial District, of Rockbridge and Augusta.

Having the fullest confidence in your political principles, and being
well assured that either of you would ably and faithfully represent the
district, renders still more difficult the task of discriminating among
you. We, therefore, in order to secure a Whig representation, and in
order to enable the people assembled here to-day to solicit a
continuation of the able services of _John H. Peyton, Esq._, propose to
you this plan, that you all retire from the canvass in order that a
_call may be made on Mr. Peyton_, to offer his services. An immediate
answer is respectfully requested.
                                                JOHN ALEXANDER.
                                                JOHN RUFF.
                                                WM. MOFFETT.
                                                WM. C. LEWIS.
                                                J. T. SHELTNER.
                                                CHAS. P. DORMAN.

                           THE CANDIDATE'S REPLY.

                                    Lexington, Va., April 17th, 1843.


We cheerfully acquiesce in the plan proposed in your communication, and
retire from the canvass with the expectation that Mr. Peyton will
consent to become a candidate.

                                   Yours, &c.,
                                                R. S. BROOKE.
                                                JOHN McCUE.
                                                ROB'T R. BARTON.

                                         Lexington, April 17th, 1843.

_John H. Peyton, Esq._,

Dear Sir: At the suggestion of our friends, and with the desire of
concentrating the vote of the Whig party of the District, we have
consented, as the most agreeable course to us all, and one which we
think will meet the approbation of our district, to decline the canvass
for the Senate, _provided you will consent to run_.

We hope you will submit to the proposed sacrifice for the sake of union
in our party, and the promotion of the country's good.

With great respect, your ob't servant,
                                                ROB'T S. BROOKE.
                                                JOHN McCUE.
                                                ROB'T R. BARTON.

                        MR. PEYTON'S REPLY.

                                          Lexington, April 17th 1843.


Your note of the above date was handed me a few minutes ago by Mr.
Michie, stating that, at the suggestion of our friends, and with the
desire of concentrating the vote of the Whig party of this Senatorial
district, you had consented as the most agreeable course to all, and one
which you think will meet the approbation of the district, to decline
the canvass for the Senate, provided I will consent to become a

I feel greatly flattered by this testimonial of your confidence, and
though I had fondly hoped to spend the residue of my life at home upon
my farm; yet the object to be attained is so important, as disclosed in
your note, and as I have learned from other sources, I cannot refuse to
become again a candidate for a seat in the Senate of Virginia.

You are at liberty therefore to announce me as such, in such manner as
you may think best. Business calls me out of the district, and will
detain me from it until the day of election in Augusta.

I am with great respect, your ob't servant.
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.
To R. S. Brooke, John McCue, and R. R. Barton.

Accordingly, at the election in May, he was chosen for a second term, of
four years, to the Senate, and while he was still absent from the
district attending to the private affairs of his estates, mills, &c. in
the counties of Alleghany and Monroe.


The following letters are derived from the same source with those
previously given. They are not a selection from the bundle, but the
bundle itself. So little was the little bundle, we ventured not to make
that little less:


                                  Staunton, Friday, 13th April, 1837.

_My Dear Susan_:

Your mother has shown me your letter, in which you request that I shall
write you. Why is this request made after such a short separation? Do
you already feel the necessity of counsel? If so, it is at hand in your
two Aunts, with whom you should communicate freely and fully, and whose
opinions you should not only respect, but implicitly follow, certainly
as to all matters relating to etiquette, behavior and conduct.

You are very young and inexperienced in the ways and wiles of the world,
and yet your size would indicate maturer years, hence strangers will
expect manners, conduct and conversation suited to your size and not
your years. Do not permit the buoyancy and vivacity of youth to betray
you into levity of manners. Be circumspect, be dignified, and be good
humored. The control of the temper is of the first importance to the
elevated standing of every woman. Learn to be cheerful, sociable and
agreeable. This you cannot be without controlling your temper. Be not
hasty to take offense, or captious, and recollect that though she that
will not resent an insult when offered, is a contemptible beast of
burden, yet she that is captious and ill-natured, and ready to take
offense at trifles, is a beast of prey. Half the difficulties and
disappointments and vexations we meet with in the world, had as well be
the subject of our amusement as our tears, and so far as it regards our
intercourse with the world, had a great deal better be the subject of
our amusement, for in general there is little sympathy felt for the woes
of others. In your conversation be careful that you speak grammatically
and avoid all rude or coarse expressions. The best way to acquire
colloquial power, so important to a well educated woman, is to listen to
those of your sex attentively, who are most remarkable for these gifts.
You thereby acquire correct pronunciation, good gestures, easy delivery,
and a knowledge of those topics of conversation that are most likely to
enable you to beguile an hour agreeably.

Present me affectionately to your Aunts, and believe me to be, with
solicitude for your conduct and appearance and permanent happiness,

                     Your affectionate father,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                    JOHN H. PEYTON TO HIS WIFE.

                                           Richmond, Jan. 15th, 1840.

_My Dear Wife_:

Your affectionate letters, one written on the 5th, the other on the
11th, have been duly rec'd and read with delight.

I presume that ere this reaches you, that Mr. Woodville will have
arrived and delivered to you those beautiful specimens of plate which I
forwarded to him, and which cost so much that it has greatly
straightened my pecuniary means--Mrs. Telfair's loan having been
invested in State stock. He will also have given you all the information
as to what has transpired since we parted. On yesterday I dined with
Judge Tucker, where I met, among others, Mrs. Wm. Moncure, and two
sons, of Stafford--old friends. In the evening, I attended, with Gerard
Stuart and Mr. Worthington, of Jefferson, a party at Anthony Robinson's,
but finding the company too youthful for my enjoyment, I returned and
was in bed before ten o'clock. To-day I dine with Mr. Patton (J. M.), on
tomorrow with Dr. Brockenbrough, so that you see that I have plenty of
good eating and drinking, but I really do not enjoy it. It gives me a
fullness in my blood vessels, and is such an inroad on my habits that I
would greatly prefer being at home. These sensual pleasures are not to
my taste, and in the future I shall avoid night parties. The business of
legislation, so far as the Senate is concerned, has hitherto been
anything but laborious. We meet at twelve o'clock, sit about an hour,
pass a turnpike bill, or some such frivolous bill, and then adjourn.

This, however, will not be the case in the latter part of the session
when bills of more importance are sent to us.

Who will be Senator or Governor is as yet altogether uncertain--numbers
are nominated for each station, of course, many must be disappointed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The wound inflicted on Dr. Stribling and the death of the Rev. James C.
Wilson have filled me with grief. I do not think the Superintendent of
the Hospitals should permit the lunatics to carry arms and wander about
town. You know that I have more than once expressed apprehensions as to
our connection Towles.[15]

  [15] He was an inmate of the Asylum but allowed to go at large.

I have not seen Anne Robertson since my return. I was invited to an
evening party at Judge Robertson's to-day, but declined.

Many enquiries have been made by Susan's friends as to her reasons for
not coming down with me. Rumor assigns as the season that she is to be
married. I have contradicted it and asked Anne Robertson to do so.

If Channing declines going to my Calf Pasture farm, I will rent it to
Crawford. If you see Crawford tell him so, and ask him to call on me
when I return. Tell Brown not to let slip this opportunity or he may not
hereafter be able to fill the ice house. Give my love to all and accept
the same,

                         From your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                       JOHN H. PEYTON TO HIS WIFE.

                                    Charlottesville, Oct. 11th, 1840.

_My Dear Wife_:

I reached here on my return from Richmond, where I received your letter
of the 6th of October. The reports you have heard are true in part and
in part false. It is true I had my pockets picked as soon as I reached
Richmond, which was between 12 and 1 o'clock on Saturday, but it is not
true that I had so large a sum of money with me as rumored. I had only
$500 with me, which was stolen, together with my umbrella, tobacco bag,
pipe, etc.

It occurred thus: My trunk was in the baggage car of the train, with my
overcoat and umbrella strapped on top. The cars were crowded to
overflowing, and on reaching Richmond the younger part commenced
cheering for "Old Tippecanoe and Tyler too." The station was surrounded
by an immense crowd when the train arrived, which cheered lustily by way
of welcome to us. About this time the Fredericksburg train arrived,
which increased the crowd, the noise and confusion. After leaving the
train, I pressed forward to secure my baggage. This I succeeded in doing
as to the trunk, which was, however, _minus_ the overcoat and umbrella,
and, placed it in charge of Tom Preston,[16] who was traveling with me.
I then returned to the cars in search of the lost articles, though it
was very difficult to get through the mass of human beings, and when in
the densest part of the crowd felt a man pushing me forward from behind
and one in front pressing me back. The one in front interfered with my
progress so much that I seized him with both hands and dashed him out of
the way, at the same time demanding what he meant by his conduct. He
apologized humbly, saying it was an accident due to the crowd.
Re-entering the cars I heard the conductor crying out "beware of
pickpockets." Upon which, feeling my pocket, I discovered that my purse
and pocket-book were gone. I have no doubt my pocket was robbed while I
was between the two scoundrels outside. Many others fared no better than
myself. Next morning a man was arrested while his hands were in a
gentleman's pocket. I visited this fellow in jail with Mr. Seymour, and
he was very much the size and appearance of the man I thrust out of my
way, but I could not identify him fully. He said he was an Englishman
and had only been three months in America--was in Baltimore when Mr.
Webster came to Virginia, that Mr. W's fame in England was so great that
he felt a strong desire to hear him speak, and came on to Richmond for
that purpose; that he had no acquaintances in Richmond nor other
business there, and had brought no baggage. His extraordinary account
satisfied me that he was one of a gang of professional pickpockets from
abroad, who had come here to plunder during the excitement of our
Presidential election. I have no hope of recovering my money or any part
of it, which I much regret as I intended purchasing you a new carriage.
We must use the old one a little longer.

  [16] Thomas L. Preston, of Abingdon, and brother of Hon. Wm. C. Preston,
  of South Carolina.

Your sister Sarah arrived here the same day with myself. She looks grave
and depressed. The term of the court will be short, so that you may
expect my return soon. With love to Susan and the rest of the family,

                          Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                         Richmond, January 8th, 1841.

_My dear wife_:

I send as presents to you and my daughter Mary, two of the most superb
cloaks that I have ever seen and such is the opinion of others who have
seen them. Yours is grave, elegant and becoming, Mary's is rich,
magnificent, dashing and unsurpassed for beauty, and is of the kind now
all the rage. She will look beautiful in it.

I carried the old toddy spoon and the broken silver spoons to Mr.
Mitchell, and he agreed to let me have in exchange a half dozen silver
spoons. He has also agreed to let me have a dozen silver table spoons
and a dozen small spoons, and some forks, but I do not know what they
will cost.

The Senate after altering the title of the bill for shortening the
sessions of the legislature, a bill to reduce the wages of the members
of the legislature was introduced and passed unanimously.

Sarah Lewis and Miss Lewis have been visited by all my brother's family
and by the Governor and family, and perhaps others.

I hope to send your cloaks by Mr. Valentine, who proposes to leave here
on Tuesday in the cars. I have them boxed and ready. They cost heavily,
as you will see from the bills in the box, viz: $58.93. Woodville is
here, and is with Judge Allen, Judge Baldwin, and myself every day.

I purchased at auction to-day a Pier glass with a Marble top, to occupy
the place in front of the mirror in the drawing room, as you requested.
It is handsome, and the mirrors below the table I think will fit the
place precisely.

The affectionate leave-taking we had on the morning we parted, sank
deeply into my heart, and I shall long recollect it. Present me
affectionately to my dear children and accept my sincerest regard.

                  Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H, PEYTON.

P. S. Gen'l Baldwin and myself are to visit Miss Deborah this evening.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                    Senate Chamber, March 15th, 1841.

_My Dear Ann_:

I shall leave here, if no accident occurs to prevent, on Thursday next,
on my return. I will stop in Charlottesville on Friday to confer with
Cochran on business matters, and expect to reach home on Saturday. I
regret to leave before the Senate adjourns, as this is a period of
interest as to our general legislation, but I have paired with Carter,
and I have an engagement at home which is imperative. I feel great
anxiety to see you and the dear little stranger who has never seen her
father. Would not Virginia be a good name for the child, as I was denied
the pleasure of seeing her earlier, in the service of the State. I
submit the matter, to you.[17] Farewell till we meet. Love to all.

                In haste, your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

  [17] The child was named Virginia Frances, and is, in 1894, the widow of
  Col. Joseph F. Kent, of Wytheville, Va., and the mother of three fine


                                           Richmond, Dec. 29th, 1841.

_My Dear John_:

Your letter of the 23d of December is before me. It is true that I have
been unwell with a cold, but this has not confined me at any time to my
room, and I am now much better. As to your plans, it was not my wish or
intention that you should resume your studies until after the holidays.

You entirely misunderstood my letter to your mother, if you suppose that
I am opposed to your continuing the study of Greek, Latin or French. In
my letter to your mother, I was contrasting the benefits to be derived
from a study of the languages, ancient and modern, with those to be
derived from the Mathematics, in which I gave a decided preference to
Mathematics. I did not intend that you should infer that I was opposed
to your acquiring the languages. So far from this, I have no idea that a
man can have any pretensions to the character of a scholar without a
knowledge of them as well Mathematics. It is my wish, therefore, that
you should devote yourself to these studies under the care and direction
of Mr. Waddell. If you have time to read at home, I wish you to peruse:
1st, Gillie's Greece; 2d, Rollins' Roman History; 3d, Gibbons' Decline
and Fall of the Roman Empire; 4th, Hume's History of England, and
postpone Philosophy and Chemistry for the present. At a later period, I
will give you a list of authors you should read, in the order in which
they should come, for it is true, as Locke says, to quote him as near as
I can from memory, "educations begins the gentleman, but reading, good
company, and reflection, must finish him." I may remark here, that in a
course of reading, you should pursue method, and in order to make
yourself familiar with the literature of a country and people, say our
mother country, England, you should confine yourself for a time to the
authors of a particular era, such as the Anglo-Saxon period; then the
Anglo-Norman period, which will bring you down to about 1350, when the
character styled Black-letter, or Old English, was used, and so on. You
will find a fund of historic lore in Hall's History of the Houses of
York and Lancaster, Hollingshead's Chronicles, Stowe's Chronicles,
Camden's Britannia, Lord Bacon's Henry VII., nearly all of which is in
my library.

There is one thing, my son, that is indispensable now, and you will find
it equally so in all your undertakings through life--and is something in
which you are wanting, that is industry and a firm resolution to make
yourself master of every study or pursuit in which you engage. Have
unity of aim, perseverance, and you must succeed. Most of the miseries
and vices of mankind proceed from idleness and a wrong direction given
to their energies. I ardently desire your success and the progress you
make now will decide whether or not I shall be gratified or
disappointed. Address yourself anew to your books, and though from your
previous neglect and want of training, you may progress slower than you
would wish, and than some would do in your position, I know enough of
your parts to feel a perfect conviction that you can reach the goal as
certainly as the brightest of your youthful companions. A word more as
to your studies. While I consider a knowledge of the languages essential
to a gentleman, I regard mathematics as essential to a liberal
education, and as, indeed, the most important part of it, mathematics is
the perfection of reason, and its peculiar excellence consists in the
fact that its principles are demonstratable--especially is this the case
in geometry, the most general and important of the mathematical
sciences. Every proposition that it lays down is subjected to the most
accurate and rigid demonstration. Mathematics is, in fact, the only
science whose truths are clearly demonstrated, and whose results are
conceded by all rational beings. If you state a proposition in morals,
philosophy, in law, politics or religion, which you think correct, you
will find few of your listeners willing to acknowledge its truth. You
debate the question, but you have no means of deciding who is right. Not
so in mathematics. There demonstrations are so clear and conclusive that
all rational men yield to them. Hence it has been called the science of
certainty. By acquiring mathematics then you acquire a science that you
know to be founded upon correct reasoning, and when you are disputing a
point of law, politics, theology or morals, you will be enabled to
ascertain more certainly those arguments that lead to a correct
conclusion, and at the same time with the more ease to discover those
that are fallacious and sophistical. He who gives a portion of his time
and talents I have somewhere read, to the investigation of mathematical
truth, will come to see all other questions with a decided advantage
over his opponents. He will be in argument what the ancient Romans were
in the field; to them the day of battle was a day of comparative
recreation, because they were each accustomed to exercise with arms
much heavier than they fought with; and their reviews differed from a
real battle in two respects, they encountered more fatigue, but victory
was bloodless. Therefore determine to make yourself a mathematician, as
well as a linguist--a thorough scholar. The pursuits of knowledge lead
not only to happiness but to honor. "Length of days is in her right hand
and in her left are riches and honor." Even in the most trifling species
of knowledge, in those which can amuse only the passing hour, it is
honorable to excel--how much more so to excel in those different
branches of science, which are connected with the liberal professions of
life, and which tend so much to the dignity and well-being of humanity.
Such excellence raises the most obscure to esteem and attention, it
opens to the just ambition of youth, some of the most distinguished and
respected situations in society; and it places them there with the
consoling recollection, that it is by their own industry and labor,
under Providence, that they are alone indebted for them.

Remember me to the family and such persons as may be visiting you.

             I am your affectionate father,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                     JOHN H. PEYTON TO HIS WIFE.

                                          West Point, June 9th, 1841.

_My Dear Ann_:

I reached here without accident at 10 o'clock, the 7th inst., the day
appointed for the meeting of the Board, having traveled 400 miles
between Wednesday evening and Monday morning, including Sunday, on which
day I rested in New York. Consequently I saw none of our friends in
Richmond, Washington, Baltimore or Philadelphia. Nor did I call on any
in New York. On reaching here on Monday, I was glad to find my old
friend, Commodore Stewart, of the Navy, Miss Taggart, and Mr. and Mrs.
Hugh Campbell, of Philadelphia. They were all delighted to see me, but
greatly disappointed that I had not brought Susan. There is a large
crowd of ladies and gentlemen at the Point attending the examinations.
The Virginia cadets maintain their high character for talents and
character at the Academy, which gives me great pleasure.

I have just received a letter from Rowze, pressing me to visit him in
Geneva. Whether I shall be able to do so is uncertain, as the
examinations will last at least a fortnight. I have not received a line
from any member of the family since I left. Pray write. Give my love to
all. In haste,

                         Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

P. S.--June 10th. I neglected to post the above. Commodore Stewart has
just offered to take John on his ship as his private secretary for a
cruise round the globe. I declined, as it would interfere with his
education and give him roving habits, which would probably alter the
whole course of his life. It was very kind, however, in Stewart, and I
thanked him heartily.

J. H. P.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                             Richmond, Dec. 13, 1841.

_My Dear Ann_:

Your welcome letter of blank date, but post-marked the 9th instant, was
duly received to-day, informing me that you were all well. On Monday
last I entered Ann at Mrs. McKenzee's to learn not only reading,
writing, arithmetic, and geography, but manners, dancing, &c. She stays
with my brother's family, goes to school with Julia A. Peyton, and is
apparently very contented, as I see her every other day. I have carried
her to see your cousin, Mrs. John Robertson, and Miss Deborah, both of
whom received her and treated her affectionately, as if she had been
their own daughter. She is to go out on Saturday to Anthony Robinson's
to spend Saturday and Sunday. She has already written to you.

Tell Susan that on this morning I breakfasted, by invitation, with Miss
Deborah Couch, where I met Miss Ann Robinson--that after breakfast Miss
Robinson went with me to the music store of Wm. Daniel, where I
purchased for Susan music to the amount of $3 or $4, embracing all the
most choice new songs, waltzes, &c., for the piano and some music for
the guitar. Mr. Daniel has promised me to have it bound, with her name
upon it, by Thursday evening. If this is done, I will send it up by
Points or Worthington Smith, who are here upon Lodge business, and who
expect to return on Friday next. We had heard before your letter reached
us, of the deplorable accident which befell Mayo Cabell. I hope and
trust that his life will be saved to his family.

I am to dine to-day with Dr. Brockenbrough, and so must conclude, with
the sincerest good wishes for yourself and family.

                 Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                           Richmond, Jan. 10th, 1842.

_My Dear Ann_:

On yesterday I bought you a Brussels carpet, which cost $220. It is a
handsome and most excellent carpet. Also a rug. It will be carefully
packed and left with Mr. T. R. Blair, to be forwarded to Staunton. The
cadets are here from Lexington, undergoing an examination before the
Legislature. Col. Smith is staying at Bernard's, (Gen. Peyton's.) I saw
Ann (his daughter) yesterday. She is greatly improved and is getting
over, in some degree, her timidity. She begins to dance very well. I
visited Dover[18] a fortnight since, and was greatly delighted with the
appearance of everything.

  [18] An estate of Gen. Bernard Peyton's on the upper James River.

I explained to Mrs. Robertson your wishes as to a mantilla. She has
promised to go out with me the first good day I am at leisure, and
select one for you. Tell my good daughter Susan, that I have received
her letter and will give it prompt answer. Love to all.

                  Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                        SAME TO MRS. PEYTON.

                                            Isleham, March 6th, 1844.

_Dear Ann_:

I arrived here in two days; the first night I staid at Blackburn's, the
second here, I have not been well since my arrival, but am better
to-day. Our nephew, Henry Massie, is with me, and has been good enough
to remain. Eugenia Gatewood is at Henry Massie's, and I feel inclined to
go over to see them all. Everything here is as I expected. So far, no
maple sugar has been made, owing to the mild weather, but they will
begin with it tomorrow, and I hope, to bring back at least, enough to
satisfy the children.

I sent to Callaghan's on yesterday hoping to get a letter from James A.
Lewis in regard to my business in his hands on the Kanawha, but was

Tell Leonora Stack that nothing has been heard of Mr. Edward White and
his family. If she has any intelligence of them let her advise me by
letter, addressed to the Warm Springs. Patrick Meddins is building me a
new stable. Richardson has not yet removed.

In the division of his father's servants Reuben fell to Tom Massie, and
as he is married to one of my servants, I proposed to exchange Julius
for him. Thomas has not yet decided what he will do.

I do not know when I shall return as I am anxious about my mills on the
lower farm and wish to meet Mr. White.

            My love to all. Your affectionate husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                        Richmond, January 16th, 1842.

_My Dear Ann_:

This will be handed you by Gilbert Guy, a servant of good character, who
will fill the departments at Montgomery Hall, formerly filled by George
Martin, and better. He is sober and obliging, a fair carpenter, wood
cutter, cradler, gardener and coachman. I wish you to employ him about
the house as "Jack of all trades." I think he will make himself very
useful, and I hope you will be pleased with him. He carries your fine
carpet in the boat to Scottsville, to be left with Matthew Blair, who
will forward it to Staunton, to the care of Benjamin Crawford. I have
never known times as hard as they now are, so you must bear with me for
the present as to other purchases.

I am, with sincere affection for you and the children, your husband,

                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                              SAME TO SAME.

                                     Senate Chamber, March 23d, 1842.

_My Dear Ann_:

This is the day on which both houses had resolved to adjourn, but the
following bills have got to be passed by both houses: the tax bills,
appropriation bill, bank bill, and the James river and Kanawha bill.
Consequently we shall be forced to remain in session till Saturday.
Immediately after adjournment, Ann and myself will leave here. I have
purchased a velvet scarf for you, and another for Susan, at $23 each.

William is here, but will soon return to Roanoke by way of Lynchburg,
not Staunton. I hope he will bring his family to see us in the summer.
He promises to do so.

Give my love to Susan, John and the rest of the children, and accept for
yourself the assurance of my sincere and devoted attachment.

             Your husband,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.


                                             Staunton, Dec. 29, 1842.

_My Dear Son_:

Mr. Kinney has promised to deliver you this letter. Inform me, after
enquiry of the Proctor, what sum I must deposit for the next half term.
Write so that I may get your letter a few days before leaving home for
Richmond. The young Mr. Peyton, who has just entered the University,[19]
is a son of Mr. Townsend Dade Peyton, formerly of Loudoun county, Va.,
then of Frederick, who emigrated to Ohio, and a son of Col. Francis
Peyton, of Revolutionary fame. His grandmother was a Miss Dade and a
sister of my grandmother on the mother side. He is, therefore, on both
the paternal and maternal sides a blood relative of yours. I hope he is
a worthy, studious young man and that you may become friends. Be kind
and attentive to him and encourage him. I would like to know and to have
him at my house. Invite him to spend the entire vacation with you here,
and at Jackson river and at William's in Roanoke.

             In haste, your affectionate father,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

  [19] Robert Ludwell Yates Peyton, afterwards a distinguished lawyer
  State Senator of Missouri, a Colonel in the Confederate army and Senator
  for the State of Missouri in the Senate of the Confederate States of
  America. He died from disease contracted before Vicksburg, Miss.


This letter was written a year after Mr. Peyton was paralyzed and when
he was obliged to employ an amanuensis.

                                    Montgomery Hall, Nov. 30th, 1846.

_My Dear children_:

I had the pleasure to receive Ann's letter this evening and was so much
pleased with it that I determined to answer it by the post of tomorrow.
Ann's letter is characterized by a good style and evinces much warmth of
heart. It shows that the pains I have taken with the education of my
children has not been bestowed in vain.

I was glad to hear that your aunt Lynn, had treated you with the utmost
affection and kindness, and surprised that you have found any difficulty
in returning your visits. What has become of Cochran's fine carriage and
horses? Had I supposed you would have had any trouble in getting about I
should have ordered my horses and carriage to remain in Charlottesville
during your visit. Tell Cochran he must provide a way for you to return
your visits in the town and at the University. You speak in your letter
regretfully of your short stay, but it can't be helped owing to the late
period of the year. I am apprehensive of a change in the weather and
wish you to return. But an accidental circumstance will prolong your
visit for a few days. It is this. John Baldwin[20] goes to
Charlottesville tomorrow week to attend court. He will remain only two
days and will take charge of you and fetch you back in the stage coach.

  [20] The late distinguished Col. John B. Baldwin, who married Mr.
  Peyton's eldest daughter Susan. Col. Baldwin was Colonel of the 52nd
  Regiment during the Civil war and member of the Confederate Congress,
  and was a man of eminent ability.

My health is very much what it was when you left. I received a present
yesterday of a saddle of venison weighing 40 pounds from Mr. Callaghan.
I intended having it cooked to-day and wish you were here to partake of

A young gentleman by the name of Holcombe, from Lynchburg, who brought
John a letter of introduction from Mr. Charles L. Mosby, will dine with

  [21] NOTE.--Wm. H. Holcombe, physician and Swedenborgian
  writer--a brother of James P. Holcombe--and the author of "Our Children
  in Heaven," "The other life," etc., etc.

Why has Mary not written me?

Remember me to Cochran, Lynn and the children and to Louisa Coleman.

                     I am, your affectionate father,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

To this letter the following P. S. is appended:

_My Dear Sisters_:

As father was too feeble to write you a longer letter, he requested me
to add a few lines in order to give you the Staunton news. I proceed to
do so briefly and hurriedly. Since you left, the town has been more
lively than usual. One of the excitements has been a flock of wild
pigeons--millions of them--which rested 24 hours in the neighborhood,
and afforded the sportsmen rare fun. Thousands have been killed, and as
much powder and shot used as if we had been repelling a Mexican

Another stir has been caused by the Governor's proclamation calling for
troops for the Mexican war. Nearly everybody wants to go, only a few can
be accepted, as Virginia is permitted to furnish only two regiments. The
early bird catches the worm, and V. E. Geiger and Wm. Harman have gone
to work actively to recruit a company. Thirty have already volunteered
to go with them, and the two militia regiments of the county will be
mustered in a few days, at their usual training grounds, that these
gallant young men may speak and thus fill the ranks of their company at
once. Though it is not necessary, speeches will be made at the big
musters to the regiments [we can't do anything in our country without
speaking] by Mr. Michie, Judge Thompson, Geiger, Harman, Harper, and
others. It is believed that hundreds more than are needed will
volunteer. Baldwin's company declined to volunteer as a company. Harper
is to command the new company, at least the command will be tendered to
him, as it is said he is anxious to go to Mexico. His health is very
bad, and he thinks service in Mexico will do him good, besides he is
full of fight.

Another excitement was a fire in Long's grocery, near the Virginia
Hotel. It was soon put out by the crowd, which quickly assembled after
the alarm. As I was returning from the fire, I met the engines, followed
by a hilarious crowd, crying out, at the top of their voices, as if they
were celebrating a political victory.

But to come nearer home. Notwithstanding my father's crippled and
prostrate physical condition, he is, as ever, bent on hospitality, and
we give a dinner party next Wednesday. Invitations have already been
sent out and accepted by Judge Thompson and family, Mr. and Mrs. Michie,
Mr. and Mrs. Castleman, Mrs. Judge Baldwin, Mr. McElroy, Baldwin and
Susan, Emma Terrill, Holcombe, John Dabney, Rosa Boys, and others.

Holcombe is a clever young man from Lynchburg attending law lectures,
said to be worth capturing, so come back and let us see which of you
three can bag the game.

We have been visited by the _Harmonicons_, of Boston, whose performances
have been very successful. One would hardly suppose the peculiarities of
the negro dialect and character could be so accurately reproduced by a
company from the "Hub." All the town ladies attended, among them,
somewhat to my surprise, Rosa Boys and Susan Baldwin.

When Dabney called yesterday and asked when _Mary_ was coming back--I
lashed him into a silent fury and enjoyed the fun, by saying you might
be absent six weeks or two months. He smoked five pipes in gloomy
abstraction, and then left, apparently considerably "cut up," that is
to say, in the dumps.

Sue Tapscott and Mary Eskridge are at Stuarts still. No news of Add.,
but I saw Kate and Martha yesterday for the first time since you left.
Hendren has taken a law office in the old frame building on Augusta
street formerly occupied by the Deaf and Dumb pupils. Charles H.
Lewis[22] has become the owner and editor of a newspaper published in
Martinsburg and will soon leave here to make that town his permanent
home. It is to be hoped that he will now give up poetry and enter on
practical life. Poetry is too unprofitable for a man working for his
daily bread. He will be much missed in Staunton, especially by the nest
of singing birds of which he has always been a warbler of the first

  [22] NOTE.--During the administration of President Grant
  appointed Minister Resident to Portugal.

John Harman has returned from Texas and tells many strange stories of
the rangers and life on the border.

Cousin John R. Green has just written, giving us news of our Kentucky
kin, who are generally _in status quo_. He says Bat is leading an idle
life there, is, indeed, so lazy that he can't make love to his
sweetheart, who, though she prefers Bat to other lovers, is about to
accept the offer of another suitor, despairing of Bat's ever getting
enough energy to propose! I have heard of lazy men before, but never one
who filled this description.

I received a letter from B. Gallagher on yesterday. He will make us a
visit within a few weeks. Lieut. Getty[23] has removed his recruiting
quarters to Lynchburg. I am sorry for it, as I have none of the
ridiculous prejudices of some for West-Pointers, and like Getty very
much. He is a sensible, well mannered, highly educated and
companionable man and officer. It is said he is engaged to be married to
Miss Elizabeth Stevenson. I have just complied, in a way, with father's

  [23] Afterwards Gen. Geo. W. Getty, U. S. A.

I have only room to say good-bye. With love to Uncle and Aunt Lynn and
all, including, if the word is permissible, Miss Lou Coleman,

                  I am your affectionate brother,
                                                     J. LEWIS PEYTON.


                                     Montgomery Hall, Dec. 9th, 1846.

_My Dear Children_:

On consideration I have determined to send Ned and the carriage to
Charlottesville for you. You can return in it more comfortably than in
the stage coach. I leave it to you to decide whether you will make the
journey back in one or take two days for it. If the weather continues
dry and the roads are as good as to-day it will be advisable to make the
journey in one day. It is difficult to count on more than three bright,
dry days at this season. As you return call for a few minutes on my old
friends, the Bowens. I am apprehensive that if you remain longer, though
I well know the hospitality and kindness of your uncle and aunt, that
you will make them _twice glad_--a thing I have never done, and I hope
never will.

Present me kindly to Cochran and Lynn. I am glad they have been so kind
and do not think Lynn ought, in the condition of her health, to give you
the party she speaks of. Remember me to Lou Coleman and tell her to
return with you in the carriage. Baldwin will take charge of her and
your trunks and fetch them back in the stage coach. I have supplied Ned
with money for his journey to and fro, for tolls, feed, &c.

                      Your affectionate father,
                                                      JOHN H. PEYTON.

                      JOHN L. PEYTON TO HIS MOTHER.

                                                     Baltimore, 1848.

_My Dear Mother_:

I reached here to-day on my return from the west, but am so much
fatigued by a continuous journey of 800 miles that I have decided to lay
over Saturday and Sunday for rest and recuperation. It will give me an
opportunity also to see the Hulls, Howards, Williams and other friends.
On Tuesday morning I expect to reach Staunton and will be glad to find
the carriage at the Virginia Hotel to take me home. Tell Sheets to send
my riding horse to Gregory, and have him shod all round. I write in
great haste and will defer any account of my travels until I get back. I
will tell you of the new scenes, the strange people and all the keen
excitement consequent upon my wanderings.

Thank Lizzie for her letter which I received at Niagara, also Gallagher,
for his received at the same place. He says you have had nothing but
rain since he reached Montgomery Hall. I am glad he hasn't had a dry
time and presume from the spirits in which he writes that his suit is
likely to end in success. What says Mary.

I met my cousin, Dr. James McDowell, son of Governor McDowell, of
Lexington, and his western wife, _nee_ Bent, of St. Louis, in Buffalo,
N. Y. He was recently married and from the way he wined and dined (on
Champagne, etc.,) I presume he is on his bridal tour with a pocket full
of money. His wife is an amiable and sensible woman, is not pretty, but
inherited four hundred thousand dollars. This will cover over a
multitude of small deficiencies if she should have any, besides plain
looks. They urged me to go down the St. Lawrence with them, but the
scenery of the 1000 Islands would hardly compensate a third party for
the boring society of a newly married pair. I therefore withstood all
their importunities, and they were so earnest that I began to think they
were tired of each other.

With much love to all the family, believe me my dear mother, your
dutiful and affectionate son,
                                                     J. LEWIS PEYTON.

P. S. If I should not arrive on Tuesday send Gilbert in with the
carriage, from day to day, until I do reach Staunton. I expect, however,
certainly to get back on Tuesday.
                                                             J. L. P.


                                       Philadelphia, June 20th, 1847.

_My Dear Cousin_:

I arrived in this place a few hours since and finding from consultation
with my children, that our respective purses are so nearly exhausted as
to make it necessary that we should husband what remains and take the
straight _chute_ for home. I have determined to confide the articles
purchased for you to the care of Lawyer Davidson, of Lexington. Both the
children and myself regret exceedingly our disappointment in the visit
to Staunton, but their and my unexpected long absence from home, and
the extreme anxiety of my wife for our return, leaves us no alternative.
We must select some more appropriate occasion and pay you a special
visit from Elmwood. I have ransacked the whole country for teachers
without success. The young lady recommended by Dr. Nandain, was engaged
by Wyndham Robertson before I reached here. None others unite the
qualifications specified in your memorandum, without requiring a salary
greatly beyond your limit. I have, however, set a good deal of machinery
to work, which will in a short time put me in possession of a great deal
of information on this subject, and enable me to provide you with a good
teacher, at a reasonable price. My children are improving very much
where they are at present, and I regret exceedingly the necessity of
their removal. Sally, (his daughter,) has employed a Dolce Cantati, a
Dolce Digetati, a Danseuse, a chirographist and a "_parlez vous
Francais_" professor--that is, a singing mistress, a pianist, a dancing
mistress, a teacher of penmanship and a teacher of the French
language,--with her fine _he_ and _she_ professors, she enjoyed the
greatest advantages, fullest opportunities for information in the
branches taught by them, and I think she has shown a most commendable
disposition to profit by them. She goes to work as if she expected to
make her living by teaching.

Susan[24] is so absorbed with religion that I think she heeds little
except a professor of Theology in the form of an antiquated spinster,
who daily mounts the tripod, and delivers her oracles to Susan and other
anxious and enquiring spirits. Susan, however, is "a gem of purest ray
serene," and promises to be to her parents a source of just pride and
heartfelt gratulation. I like her religious temper, but would be pained
to see her run wild with her youthful fervor and disfigure by
fanaticism, what would otherwise be so beautiful.

  [24] Col. Peyton's eldest daughter, afterwards Mrs. Jos. H. White.

I have purchased for my sisters, Ann, Mary and Lucy, three of the finest
and prettiest breastpins to be found in the Northern cities, and such as
are in vogue at present. They are jewels for a lifetime, being of the
finest and best workmanship. I also send them a pencil and gold pen
each. I will add to this my daguerreotype for my sister Susan, who
honored me by requesting it. To you, I send your granddaughters grouped
with their father. Susan is reading her favorite book, the Bible, to her
attentive father and affectionate sister. The likeness of Sue is
perfect. Sally's doesn't do her justice. Mine looks like an Othello.
Give my love to all the family, and accept for yourself the love of

                   Truly and affectionately,
                                                        W. M. PEYTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 3d of April, 1847, John H. Peyton died at Montgomery Hall in his
69th year, and it has been truly said that there was no one in his
public and private relations who was more honored and beloved by those
who knew him best. Among the numerous letters received on this occasion
is the following. It alone has been preserved. It is from his brother,
Col. Rowze Peyton, of Geneva, N. Y., to Col. John B. Baldwin:

                                     Geneva, N. Y., April 15th, 1847.

_My Dear Sir_:

The receipt of your letter conveying the melancholy intelligence of the
death of my much loved brother shocked me indescribably, notwithstanding
his long illness and the helpless condition he was in when I left twelve
months ago. I then hoped he might be spared a few years, as, if not
actively useful to himself, he could be, by his advice, exceedingly so
to his young and promising family. He was a most noble and generous man,
a true man in every sense, and in heart and mind a great and good man,
to whom I was ardently attached, and the thought that I shall never see
him again in this world, causes a sorrow and sadness which may be
imagined, but cannot be described. I sympathize, from the bottom of my
heart with his dear wife and children. It is a terrible loss to them,
and I pray they may have strength to bear it with Christian fortitude,
knowing that it is the fiat of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, who
disposes of us as he will, and to whose will we should bow with humble
submission. That this melancholy event may be sanctified to the
salvation of each individual member of his family, and all connected
with them, is the earnest prayer of, dear Baldwin,

                        Your sincere friend,
                                                           R. PEYTON.


In our last paper, the appointment of Thomas J. Michie, Esq. to the
office of Commonwealth's Attorney for Augusta county, in the place of
John H. Peyton, Esq., resigned, was announced. We now learn from a
friend (having been absent from town at the time,) that upon returning
into the hands of the court the office which he had so long and so ably
and faithfully filled, _Mr. Peyton_ delivered a short but pertinent and
touching valedictory. He said it was just thirty-two years since he had
been honored by the court with the appointment, that in casting his
eyes along the bench, he recognized but a single magistrate[25] who was
present on that occasion. He saw the sons, however, the relatives and
friends of his former friends; and that alike from the fathers and the
sons, he had received tokens of confidence which had greatly gratified
him in the discharge of his duties during this long lapse of years. His
great purpose had always been to protect the rights of the Commonwealth,
and perform faithfully the duties of an officer of the court; and he
thanked the court for their forbearance when he had erred, and for their
uniform courtesy and kindness and the confidence they had ever shown

  [25] L. Waddell, Sr.

When _Mr. Peyton_ concluded his remarks so inadequately reported,
_Lyttleton Waddell, Esq._, a member of the court, presented the
following minute, which was adopted by a unanimous vote, and ordered to
be spread upon the records:

                                "AUGUSTA COUNTY COURT, }
                           1st day of June term, 1844. }

"_John H. Peyton, Esquire_, who has acted as Commonwealth's Attorney in
this county for thirty-two years, having on this day resigned the said
office, the Justices of the county, in full session at their June term,
do, with unanimous consent, express their high sense of Mr. Peyton's
long and valuable services. They add a willing testimony to the
distinguished ability, fidelity and zeal, with which he has guarded the
interests of the Commonwealth within the limits of the county--to his
impartiality, prudence, and firmness as a public prosecutor, and to the
commendable courtesy which has marked his intercourse with the Court, as
becoming a public officer and a representative of the Commonwealth. And
it is the will of the Court that this testimonial, as an additional
tribute of respect, be spread upon the records."

_Spectator, July 4, 1844._

Immediately after his resignation, the County Court, as the only honor
yet in their power to confer, elected him a member of their body, and on
several occasions, before his death, he presided in the Court where he
had so long practiced.

Mr. Peyton was a member of the committee, appointed in 1843, to prepare
an address to the people of Virginia, and aided in the preparation of
that able and interesting document, but as it covers over fifty pages
and may be found in the newspapers of the day, it is not necessary to
insert it here, in order to make clear what were his political opinions.
The committee was composed of B. W. Leigh, Robert W. Carter, James R.
Hubbard, Chas. J. Faulkner, Wyndham Robertson, Chapman Johnson, and John
H. Peyton, and was said to have united more talent than any similar body
ever raised in Virginia.

                      SKETCH OF JOHN HOWE PEYTON,



The late John H. Peyton, Esq., of Staunton, Va., was one of the finest
specimens that we have ever known of the complete lawyer. During the
prime of his life he pursued the profession with a laborious assiduity
rarely equalled, and though as age advanced upon him he remitted his
efforts, he did not discontinue his practice until a short time before
his death, [he took no new cases after his 60th year]. None of his
contemporaries secured a more ample reward in either reputation or
pecuniary emolument.

We have spoken of Mr. Peyton as a complete lawyer. Law as a practical
profession, has several departments, and it is not unusual to see a
lawyer distinguished in some of them, with a compensating deficiency in
others. Some practitioners are successful collectors; some are much
esteemed as judicious advisers in matters not strictly legal; some are
designated good judges of law, or, in other words, safe counselors, and
with some the _forte_ is, Common law practice, while others are
distinguished as Chancery lawyers. The organization of the courts in
Virginia, and the nature of the business, at least in the interior,
requires every lawyer to enter upon the whole of this miscellaneous
practice; and it is not to be wondered at, that some, even good lawyers,
are not equally strong in every part. Mr. Peyton knew every part of his
profession thoroughly. He had studied diligently as a student, and had
known the expectant struggles of the young practitioner; he had
practised under the old system before the reorganization of the
judiciary, and afterwards under the new; he had met in contest the
strongest men in each department of the profession, and he had made
himself a champion in all. We may add that some lawyers who exhibit the
highest skill in securing the rights of their clients, are foolishly
ignorant of their own; in other words they let slip the fair,
well-earned profits of their profession. Not so with Mr. Peyton. He knew
the value of his professional services, he gave them to the fullest
extent to those who applied for them, and then he insisted upon just
remuneration. We notice this point, not at random, but to present a
feature belonging to the character of the complete lawyer.

The characteristic of Mr. Peyton's life was efficiency. This efficiency
had for its elements native vigor of intellect, great resolution of
character and courageous self-confidence, ample and thorough
acquirements and the quickness, precision and dexterity of action that
belong only to those who have been taught by a varied experience to
understand thoroughly human nature. In conversation, Mr. Peyton was
ready, entertaining and instructive. But conversation was not his
_forte_, though he was fond of it. He was not fluent. His manner was
sometimes too direct for the highest style of polished social
intercourse of a general nature, and besides he had a remarkable way of
indulging in a strain of satirical banter, when his words would be so
much at variance with the expression of his countenance, and
particularly with the expression of his mouth, that the hearer was often
in an uncomfortable state of uncertainty how to take him. His person was
large and his bearing dignified, but not graceful. His manner was
unaffected, but not without formality, nor was it perfectly
conciliatory. Some styled him aristocratic, while none could deny that
his self-respect and confident energy gave an imperious cast to his
demeanor. We have oftener than once thought applicable to him, in a
general way, those lines of Terence,

      "Ellum, confidens, catus,
Cum faciem videas, videtur esse quantivis preti,
Tristis severitas inest in voltu, atque in verbis fides."

His voice was true and clear, and capable of sufficient variety, but
without a single musical intonation, and a little sharper than you would
expect to hear from a man of his size and form. If it is asked what is
the style of his speaking, it may be replied, just what might be
expected to belong to such a man as he has been described, that is to
say, never was the speaker a more complete reflection of the man than in
his case. We cannot believe that any one who knew him was ever surprised
when they heard him speak; what he said was just what they could expect
him to say. This is often the case with speakers and writers, but not
always. Energy, reality, and efficiency were his characteristics as a
man, and equally so as a speaker. Distinctness of conception lay at the
foundation of his excellence. Some great speakers, some even
pre-eminently great speakers, not unfrequently hurl unforged
thunderbolts. They feel the maddening impulse of the god, but give forth
their utterance before the true prophetic fury comes on.

Mr. Peyton's mind was no sybils cave whence came forth wind-driven
leaves inscribed with mighty thoughts disposed by chance, but a spacious
castle, from whose wide open portal issued men at arms, orderly arrayed.
He had hardly opened his case when the hearer was aware that he had
thought over the whole of it, had given a course to pursue, and would
close when he came to the end of it. This distinctness of conception
comprehended the subject as a whole, and shed its light upon each detail
belonging to it. This insured the most perfect method in all that he
said. Before he began to speak he had determined in his own mind, not
only the order of the different parts of his discourse, but also their
relative importance in producing the general impression. Hence, he was
never led away by the tempting character of any peculiar topic, to
expatiate upon it unduly; he did not take up matter irrelevant to the
case because it might touch him personally; he never spoke for those
behind the bar, nor did he neglect to secure the fruits of victory in
order to pursue an adversary to utter discomfiture. He spoke as a
lawyer, he spoke for the verdict, and expected to gain it by showing
that he was entitled to it. Some speakers hope to accomplish their
object by single, or at least, successive impulses--now a clinching
argumentative question, now a burst of brilliant declamation, and now a
piece of keen wit, or a rough personality. Such speakers forget, or do
not know, that a jury may admire, may be diverted, and even moved,
without being won. He that gains the verdict must mould, and sway, and
lead, and this is to be effected by continued, persistent pressure,
rather than by _tours de force_. This Mr. Peyton knew well and observed
it with perfect self-command. His hearers came away satisfied with the
whole, rather than treasuring up remarkable points and passages. Let it
not be supposed, however, that he was a cold speaker, who treated men as
mere intellectual machines, to be set in motion by the pulleys, screws
and levers of logic, far from it; he understood human nature well, and
knew the motive power of the feelings; but then he knew, too, that the
way to excite the most effective sympathy is not to make a loud outcry,
but to make a forcible exhibition of real suffering--that the best way
to rouse our indignation against fraud, deceit or oppression, is not to
exhort us to hate it, but to show its hatefulness. One of his most
distinguished contemporaries upon the same circuit was celebrated for
his powers as a criminal advocate; his manner was obviously upon the
pathetic order, perhaps a trifle too declamatory. We have seen them in
the same cause, and have thought that if the eloquence of Gen. Briscoe
G. Baldwin flushed the countenance quicker, the earnestness of Mr.
Peyton stirred the heart deeper. Of the oratory of a class of speakers
by no means rare (not, however, including in his class the distinguished
jurist above alluded to,) it has been well said, "declamation roars
while passion sleeps," of speaking justly characterised by this line,
Mr. Peyton's was the precise reverse. With him thought became passionate
before the expression became glowing, as the wave swells before it
crests itself with foam.

Mr. Peyton's language was forcible, pure and idiomatic. It served well
as the vehicle of his thoughts, but contributed nothing to them. There
is a real and legitimate advantage belonging to the masterly use of
words, of which many great speakers know how to avail themselves. Mr.
Peyton attempted nothing of the sort. His diction was thoroughly
English, with a marked preference for the Anglo Saxon branch of the
language, and his sentences came out in the most natural order with
unusual clearness and vigor, but not unfrequently with a plainness that
bordered upon homeliness. His style, however, was always that of
speaking, as distinguished from mere conversation--a distinction which
some of our modern speakers forgot, when in order to appear at their
ease, they treat, with no little disregard, not only the rules of
rhetoric, but the rules of grammar as well, and use words and phrases
which are (to take a word from the vocabulary which we are condemning)
nothing better than slang. On the contrary, there was in Mr. Peyton's
style the fruit of early studies and high-bred associations, a classical
tinge, extremely pleasant to the scholar, though not perhaps appreciable
by those for whom he generally spoke. It must not be supposed from what
has been said of his excellent method, that he resembled in this respect
some of our able, but greatly tedious lawyers, who take up, in regular
succession, every possible point in the case, however minute, and worry
us by officiously offering help where none is needed. So far from it, he
showed his consummate skill as well in what he omitted as in what he
handled, and, as a general thing, his speeches were shorter in
duration, and yet fuller of matter than those of his opponent. His use
of figurative language was easy and natural, and not stinted; but his
figures were always introduced as illustrations and not as arguments. It
is not unusual to meet with a speaker who is unable to enounce
distinctly the general principles he wishes to use, throw out an
illustration to enable himself to pick out the principle from it, or at
least to give his hearers a chance to do it for themselves; not so with
Mr. Peyton. He held up the torch of illustration, not to throw a light
forward to guide himself in his own investigations, but to enable those
following the more readily to tread the road along with him. He had a
very noticeable fondness for recurring to the primary fundamental
principles of morals, and doubtless he was restrained, by his practical
judiciousness, from indulging this disposition to the full. One of his
favorite books was Lord Bacon's essays, and under other circumstances he
might himself have been a distinguished moral essayist.

As well may be supposed, his general vein was grave. The high idea he
entertained of the dignity of his profession, and the earnestness with
which he gave himself to it, alike precluded either levity or
carelessness. However, he was fully able, quite ready upon occasion, to
avail himself of a keen wit, that was all the more effective, because it
was dry and sarcastic. It occurs to us to mention an instance, well
known to his circuit, not illustrative of his severity, but of his
pleasantry, in a criminal prosecution. He, as prosecuting attorney, was
opposed by two gentlemen of ability, whose pathos had been so great as
to draw abundant tears from their own eyes. One of them, a gentleman who
has since filled a distinguished national position (Hon. A. H. H.
Stuart, Secretary of the Interior of the United States, 1850-53) was
noted for the facility with he could cover over his brilliant eloquence
with the liquid varnish of his tears. On this occasion he had been
singularly lachrymose, and supported by his colleague, General,
afterwards Judge Baldwin, in the same way, the sensation produced was
very considerable. Mr. Peyton commenced his reply by regretting the
disadvantage the Commonwealth labored under in being represented by him
who was a very poor hand at crying, and certainly was not able to cry
against two at a time. The ludicrousness of the expression completely
neutralized the pathos of his opponents. He was not averse either to a
bit of farce, now and then, as is shown by a story told of him. In a
remote part of the circuit a lawyer wished to adorn a moving passage of
a speech he was just rising to make, with an apposite example, and
applied to Mr. Peyton, sitting beside him, to help him to the name of
the man in the Bible who would have his pound of flesh. With
imperturbable gravity, he answered Absalom! The effect of thus
confounding Shakespeare and the Bible may be imagined.

We have said that Mr. Peyton was thoroughly furnished in every part of
his profession; in one department his qualifications were peculiar and
unsurpassed. Without disparagement to others, it may be said, we think,
that he was the best Commonwealth's Attorney in the State of Virginia.
He was the lawyer of the Commonwealth, and he treated the Commonwealth
as a client, and he labored for her with the same industry, zeal and
fidelity that he manifested in behalf of any other client. The
oft-quoted merciful maxim of the common law, "better that ninety and
nine guilty men should escape than one innocent man suffer," he
interpreted as a caution to respect the rights of the innocent, and not
as an injunction to clear the guilty, and he labored to reduce the
percentage of rogues unwhipt of justice, as low as possible. With a
clearness and force rarely equaled would he point out the necessity of
punishing the guilty in order that the innocent might be safe, thus
exhibiting the absolute consistency of strict justice with true mercy.
So simply and earnestly would he do this, that he not only bound the
consciences of the jury, but also made them feel that they were
individually interested in the faithful execution of the laws. Here his
clear perception of the moral principles upon which rests the penal
code, and his fondness for recurring to general principles, stood him in
great stead. It was delightful to hear him expatiate upon this theme,
for upon no other was he more truly eloquent.

Mr. Peyton served at different times in both branches of the
Legislature, but we speak not of him as a politician. Our purpose has
been solely to exhibit some of the qualities which made him an eminent
member and ornament of the legal profession.

                     SKETCH OF JOHN HOWE PEYTON,


                   WILLIAM FRAZIER, A. M., OF YALE.

"My personal acquaintance with Mr. Peyton," says Mr. Frazier in the
History of Augusta County, "commenced in October, 1824, when I entered
upon the practice of my profession at the Staunton bar. He was then, as
I learn from his biography, in his fifty-seventh year, and from that
circumstance only, it might be inferred he had passed his climatric.
Certainly nothing in his physical appearance or his forensic display
betokened a decay of power, bodily or mentally.

"Yet having amassed a handsome fortune, he established himself in a
beautiful home, surrounded by a large and interesting family, and he
felt himself entitled to some relaxation from the arduous demands of his
profession--or at least from its drudgery. He, therefore, relegated to
the younger members of the bar all minor causes, in the matter of taking
depositions and the like vacation duties. But for ten years following
the date of my introduction to him, there was hardly an important or
celebrated cause tried at the Staunton bar, whether in the State Courts
or the United States Courts, without the aid and illumination of his
splendid intellect; whilst also in Albemarle, Rockbridge and Bath
counties, he largely participated in the like weighty causes.

"In the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, his reputation throughout
the State enlarged the theatre of his professional service much beyond
that of his local circuit.

"I wish it were in my power to give a just and discriminating analysis of
his processes in the investigation and conduct of a great cause, or even
a fair description of his style of forensic argument. This much may be
safely said: that he seized, by apparent intuition, upon the strong and
dominating points in a case, not infrequently finding those, or some of
them, buried out of sight from a scrutiny less searching than his,
beneath a mass of irrelevant or conflicting testimony.

"Having thus entrenched himself in one, or a few strong positions, his
array of the facts was so masterly, his presentation of them so
luminous, and his arguments from them so logical, that he rarely failed
to carry the tribunal with him safely and irresistibly to his
conclusions. Discarding thus the minor points and less material phases
of the cause from his examination and discussion, or dismissing them in
a few rapid, searching sentences, his debate was conspicuous for its
compactness and logical order. Accordingly, his speeches did not
ordinarily exceed one hour, and even in the most complex and voluminous
causes they rarely went beyond two hours. I can recall but one occasion
in which he consumed nearly three hours. His style was fluent, but not
of that fluency which comes of redundant words and phrases, for I have
never listened to one so terse and vigorous. I think it can be said
there was hardly a superfluous word, and every sentence bore upon the
conclusion aimed at. It was, therefore, never a weariness to hear this
great advocate, and the promiscuous audience followed his argument, his
sarcasm or his invective, with as much apparent interest as did court
and jury.

"It has been written of him that he was equally versed and at home in
every department of the profession (unless admiralty and maritime law be
excepted) but I think it was as a common law lawyer that he excelled,
and that it was in the common law he found his chief delight. He was
perfectly conversant with the principles of the Feudal law and
immemorial usages of England as expounded by Littleton, Coke, Bacon, and
all the fathers and great interpreters of English jurisprudence.

"Having come to the Bar while special pleading was yet a legal science
and carefully practiced system, and before popular and not too well
informed legislatures sought to 'simplify' the practice of the law by
Statutes of Jeofails, he was, without doubt, one of the most practiced
and expert special pleaders of his time. His naturally astute and
logical mind, finding its expression through the channels of a terse and
luminous style, caused his pleadings in all their stages to be master
pieces of art.

"His fame as a prosecutor of the pleas of the Commonwealth has never been
surpassed, if equaled, in Virginia. On this field he achieved triumphs
of the most brilliant kind. His pride in his profession, and the great
principles of right and justice underlying it, no less his inborn
contempt for chicanery and fraud, not to speak of crime in its grosser
forms, combined to make him a terror to evil doers. Some critics, even
among the profession, sometimes were disposed to censure him as too
harsh and unrelenting towards the prisoner at the bar, but if every
circuit throughout our land possessed at this day so able, fearless and
conscientious a prosecutor as did the Augusta and the surrounding
circuit at that happier day in our history, perhaps we might find less
cause to deplore the depreciation of the public morals, which so
painfully invest the present era.

"It would be a halting and very defective sketch of this eminent jurist
which failed to speak of his striking originality. Negatively speaking,
there were little or no common-place and hum-drum in his forensic
arguments, his debates in the Senate or his addresses from the hustings
to his constituents. In a positive sense, his speeches, at least on
great occasions, and when his powers were thoroughly roused, rarely
failed to be marked by some flash of genius. I recall a conversation
just after the close of a protracted and laborious term of the Augusta
Circuit Court, in which the late Judge Lucas P. Thompson and Gen.
Briscoe G. Baldwin bore the leading parts. The last named was paying
generous tribute to Mr. Peyton's force and originality. Judge Thompson
remarked, that he had never seen Mr. Peyton go through a cause, deeply
interesting and moving him, in which he did not utter some view or
sentiment illuminated by genius, or, at the least, some illustration
marked by a bold originality, and he instanced two causes, tried at the
late term, one a civil suit and a very heavy will case, in which he made
a novel and searching application of a familiar fable of Æsop. I forbear
to give its details, because both the critic and his subject have passed
from earth.

"In the same cause, three signatures were to be identified and proved,
that of the testator and also of the two attesting witnesses, all three
having died since their attestation. Many witnesses were called to prove
the genuineness of the three names. Opposing counsel sought to badger
the witnesses, by urging them to specify what peculiar marks there were
in the handwriting and signatures, whereby they could speak positively
as to their identity and genuineness. This, of course, for the most part
they could not do, and in the argument of the cause before the jury, the
same counsel strove to throw discredit and contempt upon those witnesses
(all men of good character) for their failure and inability so to
describe the quality and the peculiar marks and the calligraphy of the
signers as to show they were familiar with their handwriting. In his
reply to those sallies of his opponents, Mr. Peyton swept away the whole
airy fabric by a single happy illustration:

"'Gentlemen,' he said, 'you have often been assembled in crowds upon some
public or festive occasion. Your hats have been thrown pell-mell in a
mass with perhaps a hundred other hats, all having a general
resemblance. Suppose you had attempted to describe your hat to a friend
or servant, so that he might go and pick it out for you. It has as many
points, for description as a written signature--its color, height of
crown, width of band, lining, &c. Do you think that a friend or servant
could, by any possibility, have picked out your hat for you? And yet
when you went yourself, the moment your eye would light upon it, you
instantly recognize it among a hundred or five hundred hats. Familiarity
with it has stamped its picture on your mind, and the moment you see it,
the hat fills and fits the picture in your mind, as perfectly as the
same hat fits your head.'

"The jury were evidently won, and gave full credence to the ridiculed

"The other instance during the same term (cited by Judge Thompson,)
occurred in the celebrated prosecution of Naaman Roberts for forgery--in
forging the name of Col. Adam Dickinson to a bond for $600.00.

"The body of the bond was confessedly the handwriting of the prisoner at
the bar. That was admitted. The signature was a tolerably successful
attempt at imitating the peculiar handwriting of Adam Dickinson. But no
expert could look at the whole paper and fail to see a general
resemblance between the body of the instrument and the signature,
raising a strong conviction in the mind that both proceeded from the
same hand.

"The defense strongly insisted upon excluding the body of the instrument
from the view of the witness, by covering it with paper or turning it
down, and so confining the view to the signature only--upon the familiar
doctrine of the law of evidence forbidding a comparison of various
handwritings of the party as a ground for an opinion upon the identity,
or genuineness of the disputed writing. And this point was ably and
elaborately argued by the prisoner's counsel.

"The learned prosecutor met it thus:

"'Gentlemen, this is one entire instrument, not two or more brought into
comparison. Let me ask each one of you, when you meet your friend, or
when you meet a stranger, in seeking to identify him; what do you look
at? Not his nose, though that is the most prominent feature of the human
face; not at his mouth, his chin, his cheek; no, you look him straight
in the eye, so aptly called "the window of the soul," you look him in
the eye, but at the same time you see his whole face. Now put a mask on
that face, leaving only the eyes visible, as the learned counsel would
have you mask the face of this bond, leaving to your view only the fatal
signature. If that human face, so masked, was the face of your bosom
friend, could you for a moment identify him, even though permitted to
look in at those windows of his soul? No; he would be as strange to you
as this accursed bond has ever been strange to that worthy gentleman,
Col. Adam Dickinson, but a glance at whose face traces the guilty
authorship direct to the prisoner at the bar.'

"This most striking illustration seemed to thrill the whole audience, as
it virtually carried the jury.

"Mr. Peyton never was a politician. His taste and predilection lay not in
that direction. But no man was better informed of the course of public
affairs, or had a keener insight into the character or motives of public
men. Once, and so far as I knew, once only, did he participate in the
debates of a Presidential canvass. It was the memorable one of 1840, and
the speech was delivered from the Albemarle hustings. His analysis of
the political character of Martin Van Buren, and his delineation of his
public career from his desertion of DeWitt Clinton, down to his
obsequious ingratiation with Andrew Jackson, was incisive and masterly
and all the more powerful and impressive because pronounced in a
judicial rather than a partisan temper. Competent judges, long familiar
with the very able harangues and debates on that rostrum, declared it
one of the ablest that had been listened to by any Albemarle audience.

"Of his services in the Virginia Senate, I need only say, what every one
would naturally expect, they were most valuable from their enlightened
conservatism in the prevention of crude and vicious legislation. In the
last session of his first term in the Senate, a vigorous effort was made
for the passage of a stay-law rather than an increase of taxation.

"It hardly needs to be said that he opposed the former and sustained the
latter measure with all the vigor of his honest and manly nature. Nor
could he ever have looked with any patience upon that brood of
enactments since his day--the stay of executions, homestead exemptions,
limitations upon sales of property, _et id omne genus_, professedly
passed in the interest of the poor and the laboring man, yet in fact
more detrimental to that class than any other, and most damaging to the
State abroad.

"Let me say, in conclusion, that the person and figure of Mr. Peyton were
fine and commanding. His carriage was always erect, his head well poised
on his shoulders, while his ample chest gave token of great vitality. On
rising to address court or jury, there was something more than commonly
impressive in his personal presence and whether clad in 'Virginia
home-spun,' or English blue broadcloth with gold buttons, (and I have
often seen him in both), whenever you saw him button his coat across his
breast and slowly raise his spectacles to rest them on the lofty crown,
you might confidently expect an intellectual treat of no mean order.

"There never was a broader contrast presented in the same person than
that between Howe Peyton, the lawyer, the public prosecutor, or even the
Senatorial candidate amongst the people, and the same individual in his
own home. Here in the midst of his family, or surrounded by friends, the
rigor of his manner relaxed, and he was the model of an affectionate
husband and father, and the most genial of companions. He was 'given to
hospitality,' and there was no mansion in all this favored region where
it was more generously and elegantly dispensed, through many years, than
at 'Montgomery Hall.'"

                       SKETCH OF JOHN HOWE PEYTON,



One of the truest tests of the greatness of a man is very often the
impression, I think, which, without intending, he makes upon the minds
of the young with whom he may come in contact. There are few of us who
do not remember having met, in our earlier days, with men whose presence
filled us with respect and awe, before even, perhaps, we had learned
their names and reputations, and who, in after years, seemed to stand
out from amid our youthful recollections, apart and distinct from the
memories of other men--men who, unconsciously, stamp their individuality
not only upon our minds, but who often serve, though we may not perceive
it, as models upon which our own conduct is, or ought to be, moulded,
and the impress of whose attributes and virtues serve as standards by
which we judge of other men. The impressions I have of John Howe Peyton
are those which I formed when a youth, but they were such as to stamp
him, not only as an able and good man, but as a great man in the truest
acceptation of the term. When a boy at the school at Waynesboro, Augusta
county, of the Rev. James C. Wilson, D. D., a famous criminal trial was
progressing in the Circuit Superior Court at Staunton. Mr. Peyton was
the prosecutor, and was regarded as the ablest prosecuting attorney
then, or who had ever been, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Everybody
was talking of this trial, in which, for various reasons, not necessary
to be here detailed, the community was deeply interested. Shortly after,
as I remember, I saw standing, in the porch of the hotel at Waynesboro,
a gentleman of splendid form, broad shoulders and extended chest, with a
magnificent head which was carried erect, and which might be aptly
compared to that of Daniel Webster. His eyes were large and bright, his
features straight, finely chiseled, forming a face of Grecian lineaments
and expression. I did not then know who he was. The idea formed on my
youthful mind was that he must be a great and famous man. I inquired
respecting him, and was told that he was Mr. Howe Peyton, the famous
lawyer and prosecutor. I had often heard my father speak of Mr. Peyton
as one of the great lawyers of Virginia, then having her Johnson,
Wickham, Tazewell, Baldwin, Sheffey, Wirt, Leigh, Tucker, Stannard, and
other eminent men, who were his contemporaries. I had never seen Mr.
Peyton until now. There was something, however, in the noble and
dignified appearance and bearing of the man now standing before me, that
at once arrested attention and impressed the beholder. The opinion
formed by me of his greatness was afterwards, upon a better
acquaintance, fully justified.

I knew little of Mr. Peyton personally until after I entered the
University of Virginia, with his son, John Lewis Peyton, in 1842, both
of us members of the law class under the late Henry St. George Tucker.
Mr. Peyton, at that time Commonwealth's Attorney for Albemarle, and the
other counties composing the circuit of Judge Thompson, when in
Charlottesville attending the court, sojourned at the residence of his
brother-in-law, John Cochran, Esq., now (1879) surviving in his 86th
year. Upon these occasions, at his request, his son and myself spent
much time with him. Mr. Peyton manifested a deep interest, naturally, in
the progress of his son, and in my own, because of his warm and intimate
friendship for my father. It was during the frequent conversations which
it pleased him to hold with us, that I learned to appreciate the great
powers of his mind, not perhaps as to its capacity, but more especially
as to the wonderful faculty he possessed of simplifying and rendering
clear the most abstruse subjects. And in this perhaps, as much as in
anything else lay the secret of his success as a lawyer. He could take,
for instance, the most difficult point of law, and in a few well chosen,
pithy sentences, place it clearly and forcibly before the minds of his
hearers. As an illustration, I remember, shortly after we had commenced
the study of law in the junior department, he made special inquiry as to
our progress, examined us upon what we had gone over, and inquired the
subject of our next lecture. We replied that it was "Uses and Trusts,"
frankly confessing that although we had read the text, we still felt
ignorant of the subject. He then said, "Listen to me boys;" and went
into a dissertation upon the intricate and difficult subject, and in a
conversation of perhaps two hours, gave us a history, accurate in
chronology, minute in detail, profound and clear, as an exposition of
the whole science, and this without reference to book or note, thus
indicating the profoundest learning, and rendering the subject so clear
to our minds that when we went to the review the whole field seemed to
be laid open before us. In this simple way he demonstrated not only his
power before courts and juries, but likewise the rare ability he
possessed to impart to others, in the clearest and most comprehensive
manner, what he knew and what had heretofore seemed to them insuperably

It was one of the noticeable traits of his character that he was ever
anxious to impart information and knowledge to the young, to encourage
and advance them. He rarely lost an opportunity of instructing, and
this, in such an easy, unaffected, conversational style that it both
captivated and instructed the mind. In the many conversations with his
son and myself, during this, and the next succeeding term at the
University, seemed to be his constant desire to communicate to us a
historic and philosophic knowledge, and to lead us insensibly into the
deep delights of history and literature. In this connection, I must say
that after a longer and more extended acquaintance with Mr. Peyton I
learned to regard him as a man of the profoundest learning, not only in
the great principles and science of the common law, but also in general
history and literature; and he expressed himself with more precision,
condensation, vigor, and beauty of language than any man I have ever
known. I never heard Mr. Peyton speak at the bar or on the hustings.
From what I know, and have heard of him, his conception of a great
subject and mode of expression were as clear, distinct and demonstrative
as that of Edmund Burke. Judge Tucker who had known him intimately for
over forty years, once said to me: "I regard Mr. Peyton as one of the
profoundest and most learned of lawyers." During one of my summer
vacations I visited his son John L. Peyton at Montgomery Hall. I had
formed an intimate friendship with him which yet continues. On this
visit I was a witness and subject of the splendid hospitality of Mr.
Peyton and his amiable and accomplished wife. One morning shortly after
sun rise John Lewis Peyton and myself leaving our chamber, strolled into
the park-like grounds admiring the venerable and wide-spreading oaks and
beautiful scenery. On the porch in front of his office which contained
his law and miscellaneous library was the dignified figure of Mr. Peyton
seated in his accustomed arm chair, book in hand and a long pipe in his
mouth. (He was much addicted to the Virginia weed.) On our approach he
rose, and politely exchanging with us the morning salutations, bade us
be seated. He then said: "I am looking over, for a second time, the
first volume of Allison's History of Europe. Though it has faults of
style, and is marred by political prejudices, it is the most remarkable
historical work of the country."

The book was closed, his finger between the leaves. In this attitude he
proceeded, as was a habit with him, upon a disquisition upon the value
and importance of historical study. "It instructed," said he, "the young
whose destiny it might be, in time to guard the rights or secure the
welfare of the community." He declared in general terms that the object
of history, the great object, was to make men wiser in themselves and
better members of society. By recalling the past it opened up a wider
field for observation and reflection than any personal experience could
do, and thus prepared a man to act and advise in present contingencies.
He continued in this vein for a half hour, illustrating his views by
reference to ancient, medieval, and modern history, displaying a
soundness of view and extent of research, a manliness of principle, an
accuracy of learning, and a vigor of style surpassing anything I have
ever heard.

There have been few truly great men who were not noted for their
courtesy and hospitality. Both of these traits Mr. Peyton possessed in a
high degree. His manner to his son and myself was most courteous and
ever of such a nature as to impress us with the idea, if possible, that
we were men entering upon the great theatre of life, with the prospect
before us of attaining eminence in our profession, of rendering
ourselves useful to the State, and of service to society. There was
something in the appearance and manner of the man, when you first come
into his presence and under his influence, before he had uttered any
thing more than the ordinary salutations, that convinced you at once
that you were in no ordinary presence, and upon closer intimacy, that
you felt that you were under the influence and power of _a great man_;
_a master spirit_. In public, in his intercourse with men generally as I
have seen him, there was a hauteur, a dignity and ever a majesty that
repelled rather than attracted men. At his own fireside, that feeling
was entirely dispelled, and the boy even was drawn to him, listened to
and talked to him, as though he were his equal. Such were the warm
sympathies, tender feelings, the affectionate nature of this, to the
world, reserved and haughty man.

Mr. Peyton, as a legislator and Senator, representing Rockbridge and
Augusta, made his mark as one of the leading Statesmen of Virginia,
stamping his genius and learning upon the statute laws of the State,
establishing for himself such a reputation as would have placed him, had
he been a member of the Senate of the United States by the side of
Webster, Clay, and Calhoun. But his love for home and family, devotion
to his profession, and natural fondness for rural pursuits, suppressed
all desire for public life and extended reputation. He was fond of
horses, dogs, and the occupations of the country gentleman. Had he
desired and entered public life, his reputation would have been
national, and he, a noted character in history. It is well here to say,
that Mr. Peyton had been thoroughly trained, not only in classical and
mathematical schools of the country in early youth, but was also a
graduate, with the degree of Master of Arts, of Princeton College, where
his great abilities were early and fully manifested and recognized by
the erudite and eminent men under whose charge that institution of
learning was then conducted.

Mr. Peyton--then a young man--was a member of the lower house of the
Legislature of Virginia in 1808, 1809 and 1810, from the county of
Stafford, and wrote and offered a series of resolutions, as chairman of
a committee, raised upon certain resolutions adopted by the Legislature
of the State of Pennsylvania, and communicated by the Governor of that
State to Governor Tyler (afterwards President of the United States) with
reference to an amendment to the Constitution, so as to prevent a
collision between the State Governments, and the Government of the
Union, as to their judicial departments, which preamble and resolutions,
drawn by Mr. Peyton, were adopted unanimously by both branches of the
Legislature. This important State paper can be seen in the Works of
Daniel Webster, vol. III., pages 352, 353, and 354. So able and
important were these resolutions at the time, as to attract the
attention of the leading Statesmen of the country, and guide the other
States in the adoption of similar resolutions, thus overthrowing the
effort of Pennsylvania to establish a separate and distinct judicial
department as arbiter between the Federal and State Governments.

In the great discussion between Daniel Webster and General Hayne, of
South Carolina, Mr. Webster, in his second speech in reply to Mr. Hayne,
referred to and quoted the preamble and resolution spoken of, as
conclusive of that question as to admit of no further discussion.

Mr. Webster was so much struck with Mr. Peyton's resolutions, that he
wished to know something of their author. Meeting Daniel Sheffey, long
one of the representatives in the Lower House of Congress from Virginia,
the following conversation, in substance, occurred. Mr. W. asked:

"Do you know a gentleman in Virginia by the name of Peyton, the author
of some resolutions in the House of Delegates in 1810, on the subject of
a conflict between the government of the Union and the State

"Yes," replied Mr. Sheffey, "he lives in Staunton, and is the leader of
the bar in the circuit."

"I am not surprised to learn it," rejoined Mr. Webster.

"Is he a speaker," said Mr. Webster.

"Not in a popular sense," replied Sheffey. "He is not a florid speaker,
indulges in no meretricious display of rhetoric, but thoroughly armed in
the strength of his knowledge, research and cultivated ability, without
any effort to display it, he possesses gigantic power, and by it he has
risen to the head of the profession. And he is not only a great, but a
good man."

"It is a misfortune to your people and the country that such a man
should not have been sent to Washington long ago," said Mr. Webster. "He
would have maintained Virginia's proud intellectual supremacy, and by
the soundness of his views enhanced her influence."[26]

  [26] In 1851-52, Mr. Webster then Secretary of State, dispatched his
  son, John Lewis Peyton, to Europe and expressed a wish to have him
  permanently in the diplomatic service.

At the death of Judge Stuart, in 1830, the vacancy occasioned by the
death of that jurist, Lucas P. Thompson, of Amherst county, then a
young man who had distinguished himself in the Constitutional Convention
of 1829 and 1830, became a candidate for the office of Judge. Mr. Peyton
was brought forward by his friends. Thompson had made himself popular on
the basis question, and was regarded as one of the most rising young men
of his contemporaries. He was the junior of Mr. Peyton. My father, at
that time, was a member of the House of Delegates from Augusta county.
The contest for Judge came off. My father, the ardent advocate of Mr.
Peyton, was sustained in his opinion of him by some of the ablest
jurists of Virginia, amongst them was Benjamin Watkins Leigh, who said
to him that "Mr. Peyton was the greatest lawyer west of the Blue Ridge."
The then Senator from this district, a personal enemy, without cause,
however, of Mr. Peyton, exerted all his popularity and power in favor of
Mr. Thompson, and on his election, said that he had accomplished a long
cherished wish, that of defeating an ambition of Mr. Peyton. But he
signally failed. It is well known that Mr. Peyton did not wish the
office of Judge, much preferred to retain the greatly more lucrative and
equally honorable situation of public prosecutor, as in the interest of
a large and growing family.

Major James Garland, now Judge of the Hustings Court of Lynchburg,
himself a great lawyer and statesman, about the time I went to the bar
of Nelson county, said in a conversation with me: "I was a member of the
Legislature that elected Thompson. But for the course of the Senator
from Augusta and Rockbridge, your father would have succeeded in the
election of John Howe Peyton, than whom there is no greater lawyer in
the Commonwealth."

Mr. Frazier has so well described him as a common law lawyer and the
most eminent prosecutor that Virginia has ever had, that I forbear to
say anything further with reference to that matter. That is a part of
the history of the jurisprudence of this State. I will add, that I have
seen his Coke Littleton, (studied by him as a student of law) with the
marginal pages filled with annotations and references, indicating the
application and devotion he felt for his profession. I am told that he
had a grim way of preventing such as had not the ability from entering
into the profession of the law. In his library there was a rare old
edition of Littleton on Tenures. He considered this book as the basis of
the laws of real property in England, and he thought that it should be
first read without Coke's Commentary. When a young man desired to study
law under him, whom he knew to have no capacity to succeed, he placed
this work in his hands, asking him to read it again and again, and
strive to understand it without recourse to the Commentary, and return
for examination after a fortnight's or three weeks' perusal, of such
part as he had mastered. It rarely happened that the young man did not
hand him back the book, at the end of a short time, announcing his
purpose of seeking a livelihood in some other field. Thus he was
instrumental in keeping some from the profession, who, by entering into
the law, would have derived no profit to themselves, nor reflect credit
upon the profession. And on the other hand, when he discovered merit in
a young man, no one was more prompt, active and generous in encouraging

His conversation with his son and myself above referred to, on Uses and
Trusts, exemplified the fact that he had not forgotten, in his maturer
what he had learned in his younger years. I have been told that Mr.
Peyton had acquired the habit of reading, or at least looking over,
Blackstone once a year, and it was rarely the case that he referred to
precedents and decisions of the courts, which has become the bane of
the profession of this day, but for authority he went down to the deep
foundations of the law, treating and regarding it as a fixed and
accurate science, not depending upon the opinion of this jurist or that,
and thus arriving at just conclusions alike convincing to judge and
jury. There have been many men whom the accident of applause or fortune
have made great, but few who were great in themselves. Amongst the
latter, Mr. Peyton stands in the front rank. As a man, he was true,
noble and generous; despising the low, vulgar and ignoble, and valuing
only the pure and elevated; by genuine courtesy and kindness, he won all
hearts, and by stern integrity he retained the golden opinions he
gained. As a father and husband, he was active and earnest in his
endeavors to fill the part of a true man; as a lawyer he stood second to
none, and by the breadth of his learning and knowledge, his clear and
comprehensive manner, and his earnest and determined performance of duty
as a public prosecutor, he has won a position such as few lawyers have
ever attained. As a statesman, the high praise which his generation gave
him, the deep respect in which he was held by the eminent men of his
time, and the undying record which history bears to his genius and
achievements, mark him as one of the great men of Virginia, who may be
proud of her son, while she can justly regret that he should have sought
privacy and retirement, in preference to national glory. Modest,
sincere, learned and determined, Virginia has had few to equal--none to
surpass him. In the past, he moulded and controlled the opinions and
actions of the times, so in the future may he ever serve as a model for
the true and the good, and prove an incentive to the ambitious. May the
young learn to emulate his life and example, while the old revere and
respect his memory.

                 SKETCH OF JOHN HOWE PEYTON,



From my earliest recollection, I was familiar with the personal
appearance of Mr. Peyton. His figure was too distinguished to pass
unobserved by even the youngest children in the streets of Staunton. He
was tall, erect and portly; his head set gracefully on his shoulders;
his garments always appeared to fit well, and exactly corresponded with
his age and station; so that altogether, in his person, he came nearer
my ideal of gentlemanly elegance than any one I have ever known.

Mr. Peyton discontinued the practice of his profession before I was
capable of forming an independent and intelligent estimate of his
ability as a lawyer. During my boyhood I frequently heard him speak in
the Court-house; but I was then unable to appreciate forensic efforts.
From the attention and the deference to his utterances shown by the
citizens generally, I had no doubt that he was a legal oracle. According
to my recollection of him, he never attempted flights of eloquence.
There was nothing, I believe, flowing or ornate in his style. He used no
"big words," but in the plainest language spoke directly to the question
at issue, making himself understood by the most illiterate juryman; and
whatever the verdict, he never failed to excite admiration for his
ability and the dignity of his deportment. He was often eloquent, in the
highest and best sense of that word. While I was a boy I heard an
intelligent citizen endeavoring to repeat a part of one of Mr. Peyton's
recent speeches, which he seemed to admire very much, commenting at the
same time upon the simplicity of the phraseology and the absence of all
mere rhetorical display.

My impression of Mr. Peyton's talents is derived chiefly from my
father's estimate of him. My father, although a physician, was fond of
discussions at the bar, and during the sessions of the courts spent most
of his leisure time at the court-house. He considered Mr. Peyton a great
lawyer, and a man of great intellect. Although fastidious in his taste
and a severe critic, I never heard him speak otherwise than in terms of
respect and admiration of Mr. Peyton's efforts.

I well remember the scene in the old county court, when Mr. Peyton
formally retired from the bar. That tribunal was one of the most
beneficent institutions which we inherited from our mother country. The
body was self-perpetuating and very careful to maintain its
respectability in the election of new members. To be a member of the
Bench under that system, was generally conclusive of the fact that the
individual was worthy of and enjoyed the confidence and respect of the
community. The Justices were not professional lawyers, and depended
greatly upon the attorney for the commonwealth for advice and assistance
in Court. Mr. Peyton was for many years Commonwealth's Attorney for the
County Court of Augusta, as he was also for the Circuit Superior Court.
When he resigned his office in the former Court, the assembled Justices
were visibly affected. They adopted resolutions expressive of their
appreciation of his ability, uprightness and uniform and marked courtesy
to the Court. He doubtless always exhibited the same respect for the
County Court of Augusta, composed of his familiar friends and neighbors,
professionally unlearned as they were, as he ever did for the Judges of
the Supreme Courts of Virginia or the United States. The Justices were
unwilling to give him up, however, and as the next best thing to having
him as their legal adviser, they elected him a member of their own body.
He accepted the office in the spirit in which it was tendered, and I
remember to have seen him on one or more occasions afterwards sitting on
the County Court bench with the other Justices.

While I have disclaimed any competency to speak of my own judgement, of
Mr. Peyton as a lawyer, I had the pleasure of knowing him personally as
intimately as a boy and youth could know a gentleman of his age and
position. My father was his physician for many years before his death,
and his confidential friend. I have heard it said of Mr. Peyton, and I
believe truly, that if he liked a man he liked everything belonging to
him--his children and even his dogs. Liking and trusting my father, he
seemed to extend the same feeling to me. While I was still a small boy,
he found me out, and wherever he met me would familiarly accost me by
name. I remember to have encountered him on one occasion on the highway
leading from town to Montgomery Hall; he could not let me pass without
special notice. He stopped me on the spot and detained me for a
considerable time in conversation. He was exceedingly fond of a good
joke and his style of conversation was often sportive. On the occasion
referred to, there was something in his manner or expression suggestive
of mirth and I was suspicious that he was amusing himself a little at my
expense; yet I parted from him with a feeling of elation at enjoying the
familiar acquaintance of such a man. He appeared to act habitually in
the spirit of Lord Bacon's saying in his 52nd essay "amongst a man's
inferiors one shall be sure of reverence, and therefore it is good a
little to be familiar." His witticisms and sarcasms were keenly relished
by my father, who rarely returned from a visit to him without having
something of the kind to report. He had no toleration for dishonesty,
impudence or sham. To people whom he considered honest and well behaved,
however, ignorant or lowly, he always felt and acted kindly, but from
others, whom he thought unworthy, he could not conceal his
disapprobation. He was not in the habit of giving utterance to
censorious or unfriendly remarks about persons, and I am sure I never
heard him speak unkindly of any one. He was eminently a just man in all
his dealings with his fellow men. Requiring from others what was his
due, he most scrupulously gave to every man whatever belonged to him, as
far as he could. _Suum quipue tributo_ is one of the few maxiums of
Rudiman which I remember, and it after occurred to me in connection with
Mr. Peyton. I early learned to regard him as the personification of
justice. While Mr. Peyton was living I heard my father eulogize this
trait in his character.

I have no recollection of having been in Mr. Peyton's law office while
he occupied it, but towards the close of his life, I often met him in
his home. His manner then to me and other guests was all that could have
been desired. He was not reserved and distant on the one hand, nor on
the other did he embarrass by excessive attentions. Recognizing the
presence of each visitor and extending a cheerful greeting, he made all
feel welcome. His hospitality was proverbial. Possessed of ample wealth,
he admitted a large number of persons to participate in it around his
family table. Upon principle, he discountenanced wastefulness, but he
used his money with an enlightened liberality, freely expending it for
all useful and proper purposes, and contributing bountifully to all
public enterprises.

I have understood that Mr. Peyton had for many years kept by him a last
will and testament written by his own hand. But about a year before his
death, when he was physically unable to write, except to sign his name,
owing to some changes in his family or estate, he desired to execute a
new instrument. It was necessary for him to obtain the assistance of a
friend, and my father was called upon to aid him. On returning from Mr.
Peyton's, one day in the latter part of April, 1846, my father handed to
me a voluminous manuscript in his handwriting, blotted and interlined,
accompanied by a request from Mr. Peyton that I would make a pair copy
of it by a particular day, when the latter proposed to come to town and
append his signature before witnesses. The copy was duly made and on the
appointed day Mr. Peyton came to my father's house. He selected as
additional witnesses, Messrs. George M. Cochran and Benjamin Crawford,
and I was dispatched to request the attendance of those gentlemen. While
I was unwilling to appear obtrusive by remaining in the room uninvited,
the scene interested me so deeply, that I could not go away entirely.
Withdrawing into an adjoining apartment, I heard all the preliminary
conversation, which I felt sure Mr. Peyton would not object to. He
explained the provisions of the will, as far as he thought necessary,
and appeared anxious to satisfy his friends present of the justice and
propriety of his course. Amongst other matters, he referred to the noble
sorrel horse which he had ridden for seven years, and expressed a desire
that the animal should be well cared for. When about to sign his name,
he discovered my absence, and hearing him call for me I returned to the
room, and in obedience to his wishes subscribed my name as a witness.

This scene greatly impressed me at the time, and has often recurred to
me as one of the most interesting of my life. It was like the
performance of an imposing drama. Mr. Peyton, of course, was the
prominent figure and chief speaker; his bodily powers impaired, but his
intellect as vigorous as ever; his presence dignified and commanding;
his conversation flowing and sparkling like a stream of water in the
sunshine, while there was something more in the tone of his voice, in
his manner and the expression of his countenance, by me indescribable,
which greatly interested and almost charmed me.

Mr. Peyton was always, as far as I know, a firm believer in the Bible
and the great doctrines of the Christian religion. He was decided in his
preference for the Episcopal Church, in whose communion he died, but he
never was accused of bigotry. On the contrary, he respected and
supported all good men of whatever denomination, and required no one to
renounce his shibboleth, or to subscribe to his creed.

The foregoing is a very imperfect sketch of one whom I greatly revered;
whom I found in all my intercourse with him, according to my ability to
judge, a most polished gentleman; and whose kindly treatment of me
during my boyhood and early youth, inspired me with feelings towards him
akin to those of filial affection.


_To Col. John Lewis Peyton_:

_Dear Sir_:--Arising from a laudable motive, that of respect and
veneration for the memory of your late father, John H. Peyton, and the
fact that I was intimately acquainted and associated with him for a
number of years before his death, I take pleasure in complying with
your request and write out my recollections of him. Your request recalls
memories of the past, and I undertake the task--a pleasing one to
me--but with the regret that I feel incompetent to perform it in a
manner satisfactory to those for whom it is intended.

Men have their entrances and exits, each playing his part, and it has
been truly said their works do follow them. This should be so. The works
of a bad man should be held up as a beacon to warn off those who follow
from the rock upon which he split and went down, whilst the work of the
good man should be held up as a bright and shining light to illuminate
the difficult and rugged paths of those who follow after. We all have
faults, at least foibles, and it may be too often the case in the
weakness of human nature that even slight faults and foibles are held in
remembrance, whilst the good qualities are permitted to go down and
slumber in the grave. Mr. Peyton would not have been human if without
fault or foible, yet I recall none--none that could not be covered with
the smallest mantle of charity.

Without falling at least into the modern idea of universal equality, I
undertake to say that Mr. Peyton was possessed of gifts and acquirements
that made him the equal of any man. In physical developments he was
quite a model, considerably over the average height of his fellow-men,
well proportioned, with broad chest, and massive head, his personal
appearance struck the most casual observer, who but eyed him, as one of
nature's noblemen.

Mr. Peyton belonged rather to the generation that has gone before that
of the writer, consequently Mr. Peyton was fully up to, if not beyond
the meridian of life, when I became acquainted with him, which
acquaintance commenced about the year 1827 and became intimate about
1839, and so continued until his death, which occurred in April, 1847.
I therefore, had no personal knowledge of Mr. Peyton's early history, of
his opportunities, education, &c. Judging, however, from his
superstructure the foundation must have been deep and well laid. His
information was not confined to one particular thing, his mind was well
balanced and powerful. Success was his in anything on which he
concentrated his powers. Having made the law his principal study and
profession, and believing that the best road to success in life was in
one pursuit, he stuck to it until far advanced in life. I hazard nothing
when I express the opinion that there was a time in Mr. Peyton's life,
when with less push than other men who rose to distinction, had he given
up the forum for the rostrum, the light that he would have shed would
have gone forth over the land.

Mr. Peyton was by universal consent a lawyer from the commencement down
to the latest statutes. As a counsellor he was always ready to answer
touching any legal questions; as a speaker at the bar, always pointed
and direct, confining himself directly to the points at issue. His
manner was lofty, his gestures graceful; he hardly ever indulged his
fancy, or attempted oratorical displays; never spread too much sail for
his ballast, but just enough to keep him in the direct line of argument.
His speeches were made to and for the court and jury, and not for
outside consumption and comment. As a high compliment to Mr. Peyton,
when a young man he received from the late Judge Archibald Stuart, the
appointment of Attorney for the Commonwealth for all the counties
composing the judge's circuit. The judge knew too much of mankind to
confer such an appointment on one incompetent or unworthy of the
important position. In this the venerable judge was not disappointed.
The earliest recollections of the writer are associated with seeing the
venerable judge and his fine looking Attorney for the Commonwealth,
passing the public roads from court to court, commanding the respect of
all good citizens, but a terror to evil doers.

Mr. Peyton was continued in the office of Attorney for the Commonwealth
after the death of Judge Stuart by appointment from the late Judge Lucas
P. Thompson. He also held the same appointment for the County Court of
Augusta, and continued to hold both until 1839, when he was elected to
represent the counties of Augusta and Rockbridge in the Senate of
Virginia, which position he held until he was overtaken with sickness,
from which there could be expected no recovery, when he gave up his
position and retired to his home, Montgomery Hall, where he died, as
before stated, April, 1847.

As a husband and father, no man better stood up to his obligations.
Having married a second time when somewhat advanced in life, he became
the father of a large family of children. Seeing, as he did, that in the
ordinary course of nature, he must leave a number of his children of
tender years, ample provision for them was a matter of great solicitude.
In this he was successful--he left them in comfortable circumstances.

In his dealing with his fellow-man, Mr. Peyton was scrupulously honest.
The word honest might express everything. Mr. Peyton was exact in
discharging his obligations, and men who practice upon that idea with
reference to their obligations generally expect others to do likewise.
He required nothing that was not clearly right, and he was not the man
to tamely submit to a violation of his rights. His hospitality at his
always well supplied mansion was generous, cordial and elegant. He was
a lover of law and order, and of pure religion. The writer is not
informed whether or not he became an inside member of the church before
his death. He was, however, what we may call an outside pillar of the
Episcopal church (the church, I believe, of his ancestors) and
contributed liberally of his means in not only the support of that
church, but to the building up of other churches and objects calculated
to extend the Christian Religion. He was in favor of a sound progress
(not much of a reformer) and gave a helping hand to all enterprises
calculated to improve.

I will now close this communication with an allusion to Mr. Peyton's
generosity, and illustrate that by giving an incident that occurred many
years ago. Such incidents are so few and far between, and when they do
occur they ought to be recorded on paper, as memory must fail.

At the June term of the Circuit Court of Augusta county, e839, a young
man who had procured his license to practice law, presented himself at
the Staunton bar, then well filled with able and experienced lawyers.
Our young man had broken down at another pursuit, and had upon him the
cares of a growing family. An important criminal trial was coming on.
Mr. Peyton was the leading and principal counsel in the cause for the
Commonwealth, the last of his life. Those two whole-souled and generous
gentlemen, the late Judge Briscoe G. Baldwin and Thomas J. Michie, then
at the bar, and in full practice appearing for the defence. Messrs.
Baldwin and Michie seeing, no doubt, the hard struggle our young man was
making, kindly proposed to him that if he desired to make an appearance
at the bar, to select any of their cases and appear with them. Availing
himself of this invitation, he proposed to them that he would select the
criminal case then coming on. That he would take no part in the
examination of the testimony, but would simply make a short opening
speech for the defence. The arrangement was assented to and the young
man took his position. After thus entering into the cause, he met with a
gentleman of the bar who had attained considerable distinction, and said
to him that he thought that he was venturing too far--a failure would be
most disastrous. This was exceedingly discouraging to the young lawyer.
It was however life or death, sink or swim, and he must go forward. The
testimony gone through with, the argument came on. Mr. Fultz, who was
assisting Mr. Peyton in the prosecution, opened the cause for the
Commonwealth. Then came the trying time on our young lawyer, when he
arose and delivered his speech in about 35 minutes. Whether he had been
of any service in the cause or not he could not tell, he did not feel
however that he had made a failure. When turning round to take his seat
Mr. Peyton in the most pleasing manner extended to the young man his
right hand, took the hand of the young man and shook it most cordially,
and in the presence of a crowded Court-house, remarked in his emphatic
way, "Sir, you've made a good speech, a very good speech, indeed."
Between Mr. Peyton and our young man there was no tie of blood or
kindred, no obligation, whatever, on his part. He was surrounded with
considerable wealth and friends; had made character and reputation; had
just been elected to the State Senate of Virginia by a large majority.
The young man was poor--comparatively friendless; had never been
surrounded by any adventitious circumstances; had by his own efforts and
without material aid, worked his way to the bar. This most generous act
of Mr. Peyton gave him encouragement; he went forward in the profession,
and although he may not have attained distinction, he has had the
respect of the profession, and used it as the means of raising a large
family. And now, although forty winters have rolled over since the
occurrence referred to, leaving the head of that then young man almost
as white as the frost, the manly form, pleasing face and generous
conduct of Mr. Peyton are fresh and green in his memory, and he has here
undertaken this imperfect sketch of his recollections of Mr. Peyton as a
small tribute to his memory.[27]
                                                      DAVID S. YOUNG.
Staunton, Va., January 31st, 1879.

  [27] The young man above mentioned was D. S. Young himself.

                  FROM HON. GEO. W. THOMPSON,



                    Steenrod, near Wheeling, W. Va., June 11th, 1879.

_To Col. John L. Peyton, Staunton, Va._:

_Dear Sir_--Your note of May 31st was forwarded to me at the "Hills" in
Marshall county, and thence to the court at Clarksburg, from which I
have returned this week. I have hastened, and possibly with too much
haste, to reply to your note. Herewith I send you the impressions your
father made upon me. It is perhaps a little severe and stern for the
effeminate men of these times, but the latter would be benefitted by
comparison or contrast with the men of that day in which John Howe
Peyton and Briscoe G. Baldwin were the samples of excellence.

My acquaintance with John Howe Peyton became more intimate in 1828, when
I was Attorney for the United States for the Western District of
Virginia. He was then prominent as a remarkable man, and as an able and
distinguished lawyer. He was a man of that tone and quality of mind,
which soft and vacillating natures, or other minds not well grounded in
high principles of conduct, _might_ term austere. The logical character
of his mind was that of severity of thought, and well trained in
historical criticism. From such a mental constitution and from such
culture all his motives of conduct, public and private, may well be
supposed to have been the convictions of principles. As a statesman such
a man could not do otherwise than shape his public life to the loftiest
patriotism, as a lawyer to the sternest integrity of public right and
justice, and as a man to all that was above what was low, base, or
corrupt, or even common-place. Hence as a party leader or defender of
right he had no mercy, in the public discussions of his times, for the
mere trickster and demagogue, as public prosecutor he had no compromises
with crime or guilt, and as a lawyer was inflexible and professionally
just in the application of the principles of the law, which he looked
upon as a science which tended to secure the rights of men and preserve
the purity of the general life. There were not many men who could make
such quick and decisive analysis of facts, and generalise from them the
principles by which they should be governed, and state the results to
which they lead, and this both in the domain of politics and of
professional life. Young men, who desired to reach eminence and solid
character, would seek his company and find a friend and counsellor, but
not a companion in the familiar sense, while those of feeble texture of
mind would, in a certain sense, be overawed and repelled. I should say
his mind belonged to the Doric order--massive, almost severe in its
simplicity, and strong, and in these qualities, conservative.

                     With great respect and esteem,
                          Yours truly,
                                                    GEO. W. THOMPSON.


In order to preserve, in a permanent form, the interesting proceedings
on the occasion when Mr. Peyton's portrait was presented to the county
of Augusta, the little pamphlet containing them and printed at the time,
is here reproduced.

The pamphlet was entitled: "John Howe Peyton. Ceremonies attending the
presentation of his portrait to the county of Augusta."

_"Great men heighten the consciousness of the human race, and it is our
grateful duty to magnify him whose genius magnifies mankind."_

                (Printed for Private Circulation.)


                                        Staunton, October 29th, 1892.

_To Col. John L. Peyton_:

_My Dear Colonel_--In accordance with the wishes of the bar and people
of the county generally, it is the purpose of the county court to place
in the Court House, if they can be obtained, portraits of our eminent
lawyers of the past. Among the most distinguished of our jurists was
your father, Hon. John Howe Peyton, distinguished alike for his varied
abilities as a scholar, lawyer and statesman, for the extent of his
learning and the purity of his private and public morals. For nearly
forty years he displayed his great qualities on this theatre to the
admiration and advantage of the public, and I trust you may be able to
accede to my request and supply a copy, life size, of his portrait.

               I am, very truly, your friend,
                                                       JOHN W. STOUT,
                                             Judge of Augusta County.

                                        Staunton, October 31st, 1892.

_Hon. John W. Stout, Judge of Augusta County_:

_My Dear Judge_--I have had the honor to receive your kind and courteous
note asking for a copy of my father's portrait, to be placed in the
County Court House, among those of the eminent lawyers of Augusta, and
hasten to say in reply that it will give me great pleasure to comply
with your request.

I have the honor to be, Judge, with great respect and esteem,
                                  Your friend
                                                        J. L. PEYTON.

In accordance with his promise to Judge Stout, Col. Peyton instructed
Mr. Edmund Berkeley, of Staunton, to employ an experienced and competent
artist of New York City to make, in oil, a portrait of his father. Some
delay took place in the matter, as Col. Peyton had promised a portrait
of his father to Washington and Lee University, Lexington, which was
executed by the same artist and sent to Lexington last year.

In the month of July, 1894, the portrait of Mr. Peyton was finished in
New York and expressed to Staunton, where it safely arrived. Col. Peyton
duly advised Judge Chalkley, the successor of Judge Stout in the office
of County Judge, of the fact and received the following letter from him.

                                            Staunton, July 2nd, 1894.

_My Dear Col. Peyton_:

I am very much pleased to know that the portrait of your father, Hon.
John Howe Peyton, which was gotten by you at the request of Judge John
W. Stout, to be hung in the County Court House, has arrived in Staunton.
As far as it is in my province to speak, accept my assurances that it
will be received by the people of Augusta county with the most cordial
feelings toward you, and with the greatest admiration for the memory of
one who has reflected so much credit upon Augusta county.

It will give me great pleasure to go with you to the Court House at any
time that it may be convenient to you, for the purpose of selecting a
place to hang the portrait.

Believe me to be, with the greatest respect and consideration.

                          Very truly yours,
                                                     LYMAN CHALKLEY.

A few days later, on behalf of the County Court, an invitation was
extended to the leading families of the town and county to attend a
public meeting of the county officials and the general public, at the
Court House, on July 20th, at 12 o'clock, M., when the portrait would be
formally presented to the county by Capt. James Bumgardner, Jr., on
behalf of Col. Peyton, and be accepted by Major T. C. Elder on behalf of
the county, these gentlemen, two of the ablest and most eloquent members
of the bar, having been selected by Judge Chalkley for these pleasing

                           THE PUBLIC MEETING.

The meeting announced to take place at 12 o'clock, July 20th, for the
reception of Mr. Peyton's portrait, was duly held in the Court House on
the day and at the hour specified. It was largely attended by the county
officials, among them Hon. Lyman Chalkley, Judge of the County, N. B.
Watts, Sheriff, Wm. A. Burnett, County Clerk, and others, including the
Supervisors, namely, Elijah Coiner, T. M. Smiley, H. B. Wilson, Samuel
Forter, Silas H. Walker, and Wm. A. Crawford, the members of the Bar and
many others, among whom were a number of fashionable and elegant ladies,
including Mrs. and the Misses Atkinson, Mrs. Elder and daughter, Mrs. W.
P. Tams, Mrs. Wm. Frazier, Miss Malcomb, Mrs. W. E. Craig, &c., &c.

On motion of Capt. Thos. D. Ranson, seconded by Wm. P. Tams, Esq., Capt.
George M. Cochran was called to the chair. Capt. Cochran explained
briefly the object of the meeting, when Capt. Bumgardner arose and said:

                     CAPT. JAMES BUMGARDNER'S SPEECH.

_Gentlemen of the Board of Supervisors_:

The late lamented Judge Stout, who did much to entitle him to be
gratefully remembered by the people of Augusta County, requested that a
copy of the portrait of John H. Peyton might be made, to be placed on
the walls of this Court room.

In accordance with that request the portrait has been made, and on
behalf of Col. John Lewis Peyton and the other descendants of John H.
Peyton, I deliver this portrait to you, as the representatives of the
County of Augusta, in order that the purpose of Judge Stout may be
carried into effect; and that this portrait may be placed in that group
of illustrious citizens, with all of whom he was closely associated in
life, and with whom he is entitled to be grouped and remembered in all
time to come, as one of the men who have made the Staunton bar famous
and honored, and who in their day enjoyed and deserved to enjoy, the
esteem and admiration of their countrymen.

John H. Peyton was born in Stafford County, Virginia, in the year 1778.
He inherited the virtues of patriotism, devotion to duty, courage and
honor from his father, who illustrated them in the highest degree as a
soldier of the Revolution. His academic career was distinguished by
faithful application and great ability, and he graduated at Princeton,
taking with high honors the degree of Master of Arts in the year 1797.
After finishing his academical course he went earnestly to work to
prepare himself for his professional career in which he rendered such
faithful and honorable service to the Country and in which he earned so
much honor and distinction. He studied law under the advice and tuition
of Judge Bushrod Washington of the Supreme Court of the United States,
and with his ability, and taught by such a master, it is not surprising
that the accuracy and extent of his legal knowledge placed him in the
front rank of the great men of his profession, who were his
contemporaries. He commenced the practice of the law on the
Fredericksburg Circuit. In the year 1806 he was elected as a Member of
the House of Delegates from the County of Stafford, and was again
elected in 1807. As a debater he had no superior on the floor of the

Mr. Peyton removed to Staunton and commenced the practice of the law in
the Courts held in Staunton and the adjoining Counties in the year 1808,
and he devoted himself to the practice of the law from that time until
near his death in 1847. His great and recognized ability in the practice
of his profession is shown by the fact that he was appointed Attorney of
the Commonwealth for this Circuit immediately after his removal to
Staunton, and three years later in 1812, Attorney for the Commonwealth
for Augusta County. Chapman Johnson, who said he himself was not suited
for the office, resigning it that Mr. Peyton might be elected, whom he
declared was the ablest public prosecutor in Virginia. During the year
1812 he served as Chief of Staff of General Porterfield. In his army
service he established his reputation as an able, enterprising and
gallant officer. With the exception of his service in the House of
Delegates, in the Senate and in the Army, his time and energies were
spent in the arduous duties of his profession.

He was Mayor of Staunton in the years 1816 and in 1817, but his
performance of the duties of that office was not, of course, any serious
interruption to the laborious work of his profession. From 1812 (when he
was appointed Attorney for the Commonwealth for the county of Augusta)
he filled that office continuously until 1844, serving in the mean time
for two terms in the Senate of Virginia from 1836 to 1844, when he
resigned from ill health. And now, because sirs, during that long
period he was one of the great men of this bar, because he was one of
the great citizens of Augusta and of Virginia, because it is of interest
and benefit to the Commonwealth, that the memory of her great and able
men be preserved and cherished, this picture was asked for, that its
presence on these walls might be a perpetual evidence of his ability and
virtues, and evidence of how the people of this county recognize,
reverence and honor those lofty attributes of mind and heart, which give
fame and distinction to the locality in which they are displayed. It is
now forty-seven years since Mr. Peyton passed away. Since his death
nearly two generations have been born and died. Of the men now living in
this county very few personally knew Mr. Peyton, or personally know the
position he occupied in the estimation of the bar, of the men, and of
the community of his day and time. That position is clearly shown by the
written expressions of many great men of his day, and as these
expressions will convey a clearer idea of Mr. Peyton's character than I
am able to give in any other way, I think it most proper on this
occasion to quote them.

Mr. Peyton was the author of the celebrated report opposing the
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, proposed by the
State of Pennsylvania, for the alleged purpose of preventing collisions
between the Federal Government and the State Governments; concerning
which report Mr. Webster said, that "the reasoning and conclusions were
unanswerable" and on another occasion said, "it was a misfortune that he
was not in Congress."

Benjamin Watkins Leig said, "He was the greatest lawyer west of the Blue

Chapman Johnson said, "He was the greatest criminal lawyer and public
prosecutor I have ever seen."

Judge Henry St. George Tucker said, "He was one of the most profound and
learned of lawyers."

Daniel Sheffy said, "He possessed gigantic power without effort, and was
not only a great but a good man."

Major James Garland, of Lynchburg, said, "There was no greater lawyer in
the Commonwealth."

Judge Alexander Rives wrote that "I know no lawyer in Virginia for whom
I have the same admiration, respect and esteem."

John B. Baldwin said, "He was the greatest common-law lawyer he ever

Judge Briscoe G. Baldwin said, "He had more strength, originality and
learning than any lawyer of his acquaintance."

Judge Lucas P. Thompson said, "His sentiments were illuminated by

Sidney S. Baxter, late Attorney General of Virginia said, "No lawyer in
Virginia equalled him in debate."

Thomas J. Michie said of him: "That he was a man who had served his
country with distinguished ability in various civil positions in time of
peace, who has honorably and gallantly served and sacrificed his
property in time of war, a man whose honor and integrity have never been
impeached in this or any other community."

Judge R. C. L. Moncure in speaking of him as a young lawyer said: "He
took a position on being admitted to the bar which brought him immediate
and continued popularity as a lawyer, a pleader and a scholar."

T. M. Green, a distinguished lawyer and author, of Kentucky, said: "John
Howe Peyton was eminent as lawyer, statesman and orator."

Professor J. T. L. Preston, late of Virginia Military Institute, said:
"He was a champion in every branch of his profession."

The late James D. Davidson, of Lexington, said: "I regarded him
altogether as a superior being."

The late William Frazier said: "His pleadings were master pieces of

The late Judge McCue said: "In his discourses he displayed a soundness
of view, an extent of research, a manliness of principle, an accuracy of
learning and a vigor of style surpassing anything I ever heard."

Mr. Peyton was as eminent for stern integrity as for learning and
ability, and in that connection a writer, whose name I will not call, as
he is still living, said: "I never knew a man who had more of what
Edmund Burke styled 'the chastity of honor which felt a stain like a

I have heard many lawyers who personally knew Mr. Peyton as a lawyer,
speak of him, and, without exception, they placed him in the very front
rank of the great lawyers of his day, and the late Judge H. W. Sheffey,
with whom I was associated for so many years as a partner, spoke of him
often and alluded to his appearance in a celebrated cause, which at the
time of the trial, made a most profound impression upon the community
and said that Mr. Peyton's description of the facts connected with the
_corpus delicti_, and the behavior of the accused at the time was the
most dramatic, powerful and stirring burst of eloquence he had ever
heard or read, and that during the utterance of the speech there was not
a dry eye in the crowded Court House.

It will be observed that these statements are made by men qualified in
the highest degree to estimate justly human character and ability, and
who had the very best opportunity of judging the character and ability
of Mr. Peyton, as they were intimately associated with him at the bar
and in public life; and their testimony therefore is conclusive, that
Mr. Peyton was a man of commanding ability, of the highest culture, of
profound legal learning, of the sternest integrity and the strictest
honor, and is worthy to be commemorated in the manner proposed by
placing this portrait in the group which now adorns these walls, and I
now take great pleasure in presenting it to you for that purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the close of his discourse the audience warmly applauded Captain
Bumgardner, as it had repeatedly done during its delivery.

                        MAJOR ELDER'S ADDRESS.

Major Elder then rose and spoke in the following terms:

TO COL. JOHN LEWIS PEYTON whom I see before me, and who by right of
primogenture now stands at the head of the descendants of John Howe
Peyton, and through him to all the descendants of this eminent man, I
would say that the people of the county of Augusta, represented by the
Judge of their County Court and Board of Supervisors, have requested me
to signify the acceptance by the county of the admirable portrait of Mr.
Peyton which has just been tendered it by Capt. Bumgardner in such
appropriate and beautiful terms. Col. Peyton, in presenting to his
native county this portrait of his distinguished father, has done well,
in that he has at once performed an act of filial piety and conferred a
public benefit; for whilst Col. Peyton has by this act given apt
expression to the tender and loving relations which should exist between
a dutiful son and an honored parent, it must also be remembered that
the father whom he loved so well was amongst the most distinguished of
Augusta's adopted sons, and she is now given an opportunity of
manifesting towards him those sentiments of affection and pride which a
mother cherishes for her honored children. Individuals and families
honor themselves in honoring their worthy ancestors, and communities and
states offer the highest incentive to industry, virtue and patriotism by
honoring the memory of those who have filled the public stations with
fidelity and zeal for the public good.

I shall not attempt a biographical sketch of Mr. Peyton. Capt.
Bumgardner has told us of his birthplace and honorable lineage, of his
collegiate education and subsequent preparation for the bar, of the
commencement of his professional career in his native county of
Stafford, and in connection therewith of his early selection for the
office of Commonwealth's Attorney for that county, and of his having
been chosen several times to represent it in the popular branch of the
general assembly of the State before his removal to Staunton in 1808. We
have also been told of the course of his life after his removal to this
place. Some account of his merits must have preceded him, for almost
immediately after settling here he was appointed Commonwealth's Attorney
for this Circuit by its presiding judge, and in two or three years
afterwards the distinguished Chapman Johnson resigned the office of
prosecuting attorney for this county, in order, as it is said, that Mr.
Peyton, because of his peculiar fitness, might be chosen for the place.
It seems that from the time Mr. Peyton came here to live until he was
disabled by the disease that ended his life, his time and talents were
devoted to the study and practice of his chosen profession; for he
belonged to that class of lawyers who do not stop studying when they
begin to practice. During almost the whole of his professional life in
this county he was Commonwealth's Attorney either for the County or the
Circuit, and for the most part for both. The reputation he made as a
prosecuting officer has rarely, if ever, been excelled in this State.

But whilst devoted to the law, which he studied as a science, and
practiced only as a great and noble profession should be practiced, he
was by no means unmindful of the duties he owed the community in which
he lived and the State and country of which he was a citizen. As a
military officer of the war of 1812, and as a member of the Senate of
Virginia for a number of years, he discharged his duties incumbent upon
him in these positions with honor to himself and with benefit to the
State. And over the public assemblage of the people of this town and
county occurring in his day, he was frequently called on to preside,
upon which occasion he always acquitted himself with dignity and grace.
He took a lively interest in everything of a public character that was
going on around him.

He was one of those who think that every man should be more than his
work; wider and higher than the business or calling by which he earns
his daily bread. Some there are indeed who, whilst thinking this should
be so, have barely the capacity to discharge the duties of their
vocations, and are without time or strength for anything else; and hence
must submit to be driven--

      "Round the daily scene
      Of sad subjection, and sick routine,"

until death relieves them of their bondage.

But we have been told by Capt. Bumgardner that Daniel Sheffey, a
competent judge surely, in speaking of Mr. Peyton, said--"He possessed
gigantic power without effort." No greater compliment could be paid to
the intellect of any man. Mr. Peyton had time enough to become great in
his profession, and to spare for other things. With him his daily work
was a pleasure rather than a burden. Fortunate indeed is the man who is
so gifted. The consciousness of the possession of such powers and the
use of them in the right directions must be a delight to the possessor.

This appears to have been the thought of Macauley, when contemplating
Milton in his poetic flights, after the constructive and artificial
parts of his was done, he fancies the great poet might have said to

      "Now my task is smoothly done
      I can fly, or I can run."

Nature was in various ways lavish in the bestowal of her favors upon him
of whom we speak to-day. Not only did she endow him with high
intellectual gifts, but he had _mens sana in sana corpore_. He was a
large, well proportioned man, of dignified bearing and pleasing address,
with a glow and color indicative of a fine physical constitution. Like
jewels in a setting, at once strong and graceful, the mental powers of
Mr. Peyton were displayed to the best advantage through his magnificent
form and presence. How we all do admire intellectual power, and if
associated with physical size and strength and manly beauty, we admire
it all the more. But, it may be repeated, intellectual power, talent and
genius are always admired for their own sake. The fact that they are
associated with bad moral qualities, and indeed with great vices, does
not wholly deprive them of their charm. Lord Bacon, sometimes described
as the "greatest, meanest of mankind," will never cease to be admired by
even the best of men for his towering and resplendent intellect. Satan,
as depicted by Milton, while revolting in the hideousness of his moral
deformity, excites our interest, and, in a sense, extorts our admiration
by the grandeur and independence of his masterly mind. But it was the
crowning excellence of him whose memory we honor to-day, that he was as
pure and noble in heart as he was great in mind. In him there was that
fine and harmonious combination of high moral qualities and great
intellectual powers which make the model man. This combination of moral
and intellectual qualities is what so greatly commended this man to the
regard and esteem of his contemporaries, and it is what still keeps his
memory fresh.

And the moral qualities now referred to are not merely such as truth,
sincerity, honesty and integrity, which, and the like of which, Mr.
Peyton, it is true, possessed in an eminent degree, but also the rarer
virtues of firmness, self reliance, persistence in the right,
fearlessness in the discharge of duty, a strong sense of justice and a
refined sense of honor.

And displaying constantly, as he did, these noble qualities in the
practice of his profession, he left the lawyers of this bar and of the
bar throughout the State an example worthy of the closest imitation. In
the discharge of his duties as a prosecuting attorney, whilst he never
permitted those he believed to be guilty to go wholly unwhipped of
justice if he could prevent it, on the other hand he would have
considered it a crime in himself to have asked for the conviction of one
whose guilt was not sufficiently established. He was an independent and
conscientious practitioner in the civil departments of his profession.
Well it is for the lawyers of the present day, and well it will be for
those who are to follow them, that the portrait of such a lawyer should
be ever looking down upon them from the walls of this hall of justice.

Its presence here will be at once an inspiration and a restraint.

With the form and features of John Marshall, the great expounder of the
Federal Constitution and the founder of our Federal Jurisprudence, and
with the forms and features of such of his disciples as John H. Peyton,
Thomas J. Michie and John B. Baldwin, ever before them, the lawyers who
come here to practice their profession should not go wrong.

Nor is the presence of the portraits of these great men in this public
place without its purifying and elevating influence on the great body of
the people who are wont to congregate here. Every community is deeply
interested in the qualifications and character of its lawyers. Like
people, like bar. If the people want clean and competent lawyers to
transact their business, such will be forthcoming; if, on the other
hand, lawyers of a different kind are wanted and encouraged, they will

But it is not only because the men whose likenesses adorn these walls
were great lawyers that they are entitled to the admiration of the
public; but also because they were upright and honorable in all the
relations of life, both private and public. In political matters they
were candid and straightforward, and, above all things, patriotic. They
were not office-seekers. So far as they were office-holders, the offices
sought them. None of Mr. Peyton's contemporaries ever supposed that he
would of his own motion actively seek a political office. But when the
people amongst whom he lived desired his services in a public capacity,
they were not withheld; and they were rendered with strict regard to the
public interests and without any regard at all to his personal
promotion. With him, and with those like him, public office was indeed a
public trust. John Howe Peyton was never the man to sacrifice a
political conviction for office. He was a leader rather than a follower
of public opinion, and he always guided it in the ways of justice, of
honor, and of patriotism.

What was it that first gave to this county of Augusta her high and
enviable position amongst the counties of Virginia? It was the custom of
putting forward her best men to represent her in the legislature, and in
the various public assemblages of the State. The name of Augusta is
indissolubly linked with the names of her distinguished sons who are
gone. In the eloquent language of a great patriot--"The past is at least

I claim to be a man of progress, and I trust duly appreciate the
wonderful advances of recent years in the development of the resources
and material wealth of our State and Country and in diffusion of
education and other blessings; but at the same time, I would hold fast
to the former things that are good. In this respect at least, if
necessity required, I would rather adopt the motto engraved on the
public seal of our country _Redeant in aurum secula priscum_, "Let the
ages return to the first golden period."

May God bless the county of Augusta and may He raise up men, great and
true, to serve and honor her in the future as John H. Peyton and her two
other sons whose portraits adorn these walls served and honored her in
the past.

When Major Elder resumed his seat he was greeted with loud applause.

                    COL. JOHN L. PEYTON'S REMARKS.

Silence being restored there were calls from all parts of the house for
Colonel Peyton, who came forward in response to them and spoke in
substance as follows:

He said he was taken entirely by surprise, but gladly availed himself of
the occasion to thank Captain Bumgardner and Major Elder for their
polished and eloquent speeches, and the lofty tributes they had paid to
his father; he was pleased that his father's portrait would henceforth
adorn the walls of this hall, which had so often resounded to his
eloquence, and would be evermore displayed in the midst of a people he
loved so well, and for whom he labored so faithfully. He confessed to a
devout veneration for great and good men--the heroic masters in virtue,
and felt a desire to exalt them as ideals, which would exert an
influence to mould to their likeness those who earnestly contemplated
them. Leaving out of view all other aspects of his father's character,
he might be permitted to say that no man had a deeper or more
inextinguishable thirst to promote human liberty and happiness, and such
was his unselfish patriotism that it could be truly said of him that it
ever was "his country first, his country last, his country all the
time." [Loud applause.]

                    JOHN RANDOLPH TUCKER'S LETTER.

Major Elder then read the following letter from Hon. J. Randolph Tucker.

                                     Lexington, Va., July 18th, 1894.

_T. C. Elder, Esq._:


I should be glad to be present at the presentation of the portrait of
the late Hon. John Howe Peyton to the county of Augusta, and to hear the
addresses appropriate to its presentation and reception, delivered by
Capt. Bumgardner and yourself.

The adornment of your Court House by the pictures of the men whose
genius has honored the county, and whose eloquence still lives in the
memory, as its echoes linger in the walls of the old forum of its
mighty people, is a noble method of perpetuating the virtues of her
great men and holding them up as models and examples for the rising

I was too young to know and fully appreciate the eminent abilities of
Mr. Peyton as they deserved to be. But I remember him, when as a boy, in
1839-40, I traveled with him from Charlottesville to Richmond, when the
snow obstructed travel and detained us at Trevilian's for more than a
day. His genial and cordial manners to a lad [Mr. T. was then about 19
years of age] and his charming conversational powers, mingling vivacity
of humor, with grave disquisition on more serious matters--fascinated me
then, and so live in my memory as to make me sympathize in all honors
done to his name, and attract me to the scene where that is to be so
worthily manifested.

But I am not quite well and my duties here forbid my attendance on the

In full sympathy with the occasion, and wishing the ceremonies to be
fully successful, I am, sincerely,

                                    Your friend,
                                                        J. R. TUCKER.

Major Elder then remarked that he had just been furnished by Judge
George M. Harrison with an extract from a speech made by Mr. Peyton when
only twenty-two years of age--a speech made to the grand jury of his
native county--which threw a light upon Mr. Peyton's whole life and
character as a public prosecutor. The Major then read this extract from
Mr. Peyton's speech:

"_The history of man from the primeval simplicity of our first parents
to the present day has satisfactorily proven that neither the dictates
of reason, the light of philosophy, nor the divine precepts of our holy
religion furnish adequate restraints to his vicious propensities._"

The meeting then, on motion of the Hon. Marshall Hanger, adjourned.

                                               GEO. M. COCHRAN,


It will not be uninteresting in this connection to read the following
editorials from the leading Staunton papers.

In the Daily Post of the same evening, this article appeared:

                            JOHN HOWE PEYTON.




As previously announced, the oil portrait of the late Hon. John Howe
Peyton, which, at the suggestion of the late Judge Stout and the Board
of Supervisors was placed in the Court House of Augusta County, was
formally presented and received to-day at noon.

Captain George M. Cochran presided over the meeting. The jury box was
occupied by the Supervisors and within and around the bar inclosure was
gathered many of the leading members of the bar, ladies and relatives of
the late Mr. Peyton. Among them was Captain James Bumgardner, who, on
behalf of the family of Mr. Peyton made the formal presentation address,
Major Thomas C. Elder, who received the portrait on behalf of the
county, Colonel John L. Peyton, son of the gentleman honored, Mrs.
Peyton and others. The portrait was hung in its place upon the north
wall in rear of the bench and to the east of that of the late Chief
Justice Marshall.

Captain Bumgardner's address reviewed the circumstances leading up to
the presentation, and the life and eminent achievements of the
distinguished jurist. His address was chiefly biographical, and quoted
many distinguished gentlemen in eulogy of Mr. Peyton as a complete
lawyer, patriotic citizen, and great and good man. He was born in
Stafford County, April 3d, 1778; was educated in Fredericksburg and at
Princeton, from which he was graduated with the A. M. degree, studied
law under Judge Bushrod Washington, of the United States Supreme Court,
and further equipped himself for his profession by an extensive course
in literature. In 1799 he began the practice of law in Fredericksburg,
and soon achieved distinction. In 1804 he married Susan, daughter of
William S. Madison, a cousin of President James Madison. In 1806 he was
elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, and served with ability for
four years. He was considered the most brilliant debater in that body. A
series of resolutions written by him opposing a constitutional amendment
providing a tribunal to settle disputes between the State and Federal
Judiciary were quoted by Daniel Webster in his memorable debate with
Hayne, and were characterized by him as unanswerable.

In 1808 Mr. Peyton located in Staunton and was made Public Prosecutor of
the Judicial Circuit of Augusta, Albemarle, Rockingham and Rockbridge.
During the war of 1812 he served with distinction on the staff of
General Porterfield, and on his return was made Mayor of Staunton. In
1822 he was married to Miss Ann Montgomery, daughter of Colonel John
Lewis and his wife, Mary Preston.

In 1836 he was elected State Senator from Augusta and Rockbridge, and
served there until 1845, when he resigned. In June, 1844, after a
continuous service of 32 years, he resigned the office of Commonwealth's
Attorney for Augusta. He died at Montgomery Hall, near Staunton, April
29, 1847.

Maj. T. C. Elder, on behalf of the county, received the picture in a
polished and scholarly address, which was generally pronounced one of
the finest addresses of the kind ever heard here. The son, said the
speaker, had done an act of filial piety and at the same time a service
to his county in presenting this portrait of his honored father. The
speaker then reviewed the career of Mr. Peyton, paid a splendid tribute
to his legal abilities, which was acquiesced in by many of Virginia's
most distinguished men. He held up for the emulation of the bar his
untarnished integrity, devotion to duty and loftiness of life and
purpose as exhibited in his practice in this court, and referred to the
portrait along with those of Michie and Baldwin as among the household
gods of the county. In the name of Judge, Supervisors and people he
accepted the portrait and promised that it would be highly prized.

Col. John L. Peyton, being called for, responded briefly, thanking the
gentlemen who had spoken for their lofty tributes to his father.

The meeting then adjourned.

                      [From Staunton Spectator.]



At the request of the late Judge John Stout, Col. John L. Peyton had a
portrait of his distinguished father painted to be presented to the
county to be placed on the wall of the Court-room beside the portraits
of Chief Justice John Marshall, Thos. J. Michie, and Col. John B.
Baldwin. The formal presentation of this portrait took place at a
meeting held in the Court house at 12 o'clock last Friday, July 20th, at
which the Supervisors of the County, the members of the Staunton Bar,
some ladies, and a large number of others were present.

On motion of Capt. Thos. D. Ranson, Hon. Geo. M. Cochran was made
Chairman of the meeting.

On taking the chair, he announced its object and said that the meeting
was ready for business. Then Capt. Jas. Bumgardner, on behalf of Col.
John L. Peyton, delivered the presentation speech, which was done in
fine style. He prefaced his speech, with the following remarks:--

"Gentlemen of the board of Supervisors:

"The late lamented Judge Stout, who did much to entitle him to be
gratefully remembered by the people of Augusta county, requested that a
copy of the portrait of John H. Peyton might be made, to be placed on
the wall of this court room.

"In accordance with that request, the portrait has been made, and on
behalf of Col. John Lewis Peyton, and other descendants of John H.
Peyton, I deliver this portrait to you, Augusta, in order that the
purpose of Judge Stout may be carried into effect; and that this
portrait may be placed in that group of illustrious citizens, with all
of whom he was closely associated in life, and with whom he is entitled
to be grouped and remembered in all time to come, as one of the men who
have made the Staunton bar famous and honored, and who in their day
enjoyed and deserved to enjoy the esteem and admiration of their

Then followed a very interesting succinct biographical sketch of the
able lawyer, orator, and legislator whose portrait he was deputed to
present to the county. It embraced Mr. Peyton's distinguished services
from his early manhood to the time of his death in 1847. Capt.
Bumgardner quoted the remarks of quite a number of able lawyers and
others, the contemporaries of John Howe Peyton, as to his ability as a
lawyer and legislator, and all concurred in the opinion that he was one
of the ablest lawyers of the State of Virginia, and Virginia has had,
and still has, a great many very able and learned lawyers. We regret
that we have not space for these eulogistic quotations. They show that
he was not only an able lawyer, but a great and good man, whose
integrity and patriotism was above reproach.

After the quotations from these distinguished men, Capt. Bumgardner
concluded his address as follows:

"It will be observed that these statements are made by men qualified in
the highest degree to estimate justly human character and ability, and
who had the very best opportunity of judging the character and ability
of Mr. Peyton, as they were intimately associated with him at the bar
and in public life, and their testimony therefore is conclusive, that
Mr. Peyton was a man of commanding ability, of the highest culture, of
profound legal learning, of the sternest integrity and the strictest
honor. And it is worthy to be commemorated in the manner proposed by
placing this portrait in the group which now adorns these walls and I
now take great pleasure in presenting it to you for that purpose."

Then Major Thos. C. Elder on behalf of the Supervisors of the county
made his speech accepting the portrait, which duty he performed in good
taste and in an able and admirable manner. He began his speech by
referring to the donor of the portrait and said:--

"To Col. John Lewis Peyton, whom I see before me, and who by right of
primogeniture, now stands at the head of the descendants of John Howe
Peyton, and through him to all the descendants of this eminent man, I
would say that the people of the county of Augusta represented by the
judge of their county court and board of supervisors have requested me
to signify the acceptance by the county of the admirable portrait of Mr.
Peyton, which has been tendered it by Capt. Bumgardner in such
appropriate and beautiful terms. Col. Peyton, in presenting to his
native county this portrait of his distinguished father has done well,
in that he has at once performed an act of filial piety and conferred a
public benefit; for whilst Col. Peyton has by this act given apt
expression to the tender and loving relations which should exist between
a dutiful son and honored parent, it must also be remembered that the
father whom he loved so well was amongst the most distinguished of
Augusta's adopted sons, and she is now given an opportunity of
manifesting towards him those sentiments of affection and pride which a
mother cherishes for her honored children. Individuals and families
honor themselves in honoring their worthy ancestors, and communities and
States offer the highest incentive to industry, virtue and patriotism by
honoring the memory of those who have filled public stations with
fidelity and with zeal for the public good."

Then Major Elder spoke of the great abilities and noble virtues of John
Howe Peyton. It was the happy combination of both that made him the
great and good man that he was. The good influence of such a character
was ably presented, and the beneficial effect of the presence of the
portrait of such a man in the court-room would have on the bar.

We regret that we have room only for a few brief extracts which we give
as follows:--

"But we have been told by Capt. Bumgardner that Daniel Sheffey, a
competent judge surely, in speaking of Mr. Peyton said: 'He possessed
gigantic power without effort.' No greater compliment could be paid to
the intellect of any man. Mr. Peyton had time enough to become great in
his profession and to spare for other things. With him his daily work
was a pleasure rather than a burden. Fortunate indeed is the man who is
so gifted. The consciousness of the possession of such powers and the
use of them in right directions must be a delight to their possessor."

       *       *       *       *       *

"But it is the crowning excellence of him whose memory we honor to-day,
that he was as pure, as noble in heart as he was great in mind. In him
there was that fine and harmonious combination of high moral qualities
and great intellectual powers which makes the model man. This
combination of moral and intellectual qualities is what so greatly
commended this man to the regard and esteem of his contemporaries, and
in what still keeps his memory fresh."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Well it is for the lawyers of the present day, and well it will be for
those who are to follow them, that the portrait of such a lawyer should
be ever looking down upon them from the walls of this hall of justice.

"Its presence here will be at once an inspiration and a restraint.

"With the form and features of John Marshall, the great expounder of the
Federal Constitution and the founder of our Federal jurisprudence, and
with the forms and features of such of his disciples as John H. Peyton,
Thos. J. Michie and John B. Baldwin, ever before them, the lawyers who
come here to practice their profession should not go wrong."

At the conclusion of Major Elder's speech, calls were made on Col. John
L. Peyton, who arose and responded in a few brief remarks which can be
found on another page of this book.

                           [From Yost's Weekly.]

                         PRESENTATION OF A PORTRAIT.

A goodly company, including a number of ladies, assembled in the
Court-house at noon on Friday last to witness the presentation to
Augusta County of the portrait of Hon. John Howe Peyton, than whom the
old county never had a more distinguished son, for although born outside
of her confines, the major part of his long and useful life was spent in
her service, and the lustre of his fame forms one of her richest
heritages and indissolubly interwoven with her history and progress.

The meeting was called to order by Capt. T. D. Ranson, and, upon his
motion, George M. Cochran, Esq., was designated to preside. Mr. Cochran
briefly stated the object of the meeting was the presentation to the
Board of Supervisors of Augusta County of a portrait of the late Hon.
John Howe Peyton and its acceptance by the authorities.

On behalf of Col. John Lewis Peyton and other descendants of the great
lawyer, Capt. James Bumgardner made the presentation address. It was a
theme worthy of the best effort and the address was worthy of the theme,
and worthy too of the head and heart of the learned and gallant
gentleman chosen for the task. He sketched the distinguished career of
John Howe Peyton from his birth in Stafford county in the year 1778.
Endowed with talents of a high order, Mr. Peyton entered Princeton at an
early age, graduating from that institution as Master of Arts in 1797.
He studied law under Judge Bushrod Washington of the Supreme Court of
the United States, and commenced the practice of his profession on the
Fredericksburg circuit. In 1806 he was elected as a member of the House
of Delegates from Stafford County, and re-elected the following year and
served until 1810 and 1811. In 1808 he removed to Staunton, and was
immediately appointed Attorney for the Commonwealth for the circuit
surrounding Staunton, and subsequently also Commonwealth's Attorney for
Augusta County. This latter position was resigned by Chapman Johnson,
himself a great lawyer, for the reason, as he declared, that Mr.
Peyton's qualifications for the office were so superior that justice to
the county demanded his services. During the war of 1812 Mr. Peyton
acted as chief of staff to General Porterfield, and in the field as well
as the forum rendered distinguished service. From 1816, when he was
appointed Deputy U. S. District Attorney to aid William Wirt, until his
health became impaired in 1844, Mr. Peyton continued to fill the office
of State's Attorney, serving also terms as Mayor of the city and for
eight years as a member of the State Senate.

His busy, useful life closed in 1847, but the fragrance of his memory
lingers to this day, and his fame is one of the memories of the county.
Captain Bumgardner quoted the opinions of a long list of eminent men who
were contemporaries of Mr. Peyton and recognized his great power as a
lawyer. Among them was Daniel Webster, who in speaking of the celebrated
report written by Mr. Peyton in opposition to the amendment of the
Constitution of the United States, said that the "reasoning and
conclusion were unanswerable."

In closing, Captain Bumgardner earnestly and eloquently summed up the
salient points in the career of Mr. Peyton, declaring him to have been a
man of commanding ability, of the highest culture, of profound legal
learning, of the sternest integrity and strictest honor; worthy to be
commemorated by placing his portrait in the group of great lawyers which
now adorns the Court House.

Major Thomas C. Elder was selected by the court to receive the portrait
on behalf of the Board of Supervisors. The selection was a happy one.
Never have we heard in that Court House an address so chaste, so
scholarly, so rich in beautiful worded thought, so thoroughly impressive
and appropriate. It was a literary gem. To sketch it would be to mar it,
and we regret that our limited space does not permit its publication in
full, together with the address to which it was a response.

Col. John L. Peyton, son of Hon. John Howe Peyton, was present in the
house, and calls were made for him to come to the stand. In recognition
of this manifestation, the Colonel said he was taken by surprise in the
call that was made, and could only say that he felt gratified with the
enthusiastic manner the gift to the county had been received, and the
elegant and affecting remarks which had accompanied the presentation of
the portrait and its reception. That he was pleased to see his father's
likeness on the walls of the hall where his eloquent voice had so often
resounded, and suspended in the midst of a people he had loved so much
and served so faithfully, for with him it always was "his country first,
his country last, his country all the time."


                      THE FEW SURVIVORS OF MR. PEYTON'S
                                OLD FRIENDS.

                                  Greensboro, N. C., July 24th, 1894.

_Col. John L. Peyton_:

_My Dear Sir_--I have just received from your hand a copy of the
"Staunton Daily News" of the 21st inst., and I have read with very great
pleasure, the beautiful and eloquent and richly deserved tributes to
your honored father at the public meeting in your town called for the
acceptance of your father's portrait. It well deserves to be placed
among the purest and ablest and noblest of his talented and honored
associates and contemporaries. I congratulate _you_ on so interesting an
occasion, and I sympathise with you in the filial joy and pride and
gratitude to God that your heart, I know, felt, as those tributes were
paid to your noble father's character and influence. Next to the fear of
God, is the feeling we cherish for a father, who has taught us in the
right way of virtue and honor, who has exemplified such a life and led
us onward and upward. I think the _5th Commandment_ stands in the
decalogue where it does, because the love and reverence to parents is
next to the love and fear of God, in the estimation of God himself.

Greek and Latin writers often classified and summed up human duty in the
following three-fold way,--"to fear the gods--to honor one's parents and
to obey the laws of the land." This was I think in the mind of _Cicero_
when he said "_in aris et focis est Republica_." _Plato_ says "let us
believe then that we can have no religious image more precious in the
sight of heaven than a father, or a grandfather or a mother worn out
with age, and that in proportion as we honor or delight in them with a
religious joy, in the same proportion does God himself rejoice." Such
sentiments, I believe, are fragments of the true and primitive religion
carried abroad--but also, soon afterward, in so many respects corrupted,
we recognize such sentiments as a part of the original Divine law not
wholly obliterated, thanks to God, by the fall.

For the sake of dear old Virginia, I thank you that your father's form
and face is where it is--to be an incentive to virtue and patriotism, as
it looks down from year to year upon all who enter your court of

For your considerate kindness in sending me the paper, and awakening
thoughts of the long past, and with apologies for this longer letter
than I had thought to write, I am,

                           Gratefully yours,
                                                      J. HENRY SMITH.

                          FROM GEN. ECHOLS.

                                      Louisville, Ky., July 28, 1894.

_Major Thos. C. Elder, Staunton, Va._:

_My Dear Major_--After an absence of several days, I returned to this
city yesterday, and find your postal of the 23rd inst., and also the
newspaper containing an account of the ceremony of the delivery to, and
acceptance by, the county authorities of Augusta county, of the portrait
of the late distinguished John Howe Peyton. I am very much obliged to
you for thinking of me, and giving me an opportunity of reading the
addresses made by yourself and Captain Bumgardner on the occasion
referred to. I have read the speeches with a great deal of interest, and
I have been very much impressed and pleased with your chaste, striking,
and eloquent address, as the representative of the Supervisors of the
county, in accepting the portrait. You have, with a master's hand,
delineated the character of Mr. Peyton, and I hope that your address
will be preserved as a fitting accompaniment of the skillful personation
of the striking countenance that the artist has presented. I recollect
Mr. Peyton very well. When I was a boy I saw him, and heard him
frequently at the bar, generally in Lexington. I have also a very
pleasant recollection of having enjoyed his elegant and generous
hospitality at his home.

When I can first remember Staunton, the Staunton bar was made up of men
who will long live in the memory of those who had the good fortune to
know them.

Judge Thompson was on the bench, and around him Thos. J. Michie, A. H.
H. Stuart, John B. Baldwin, David Fultz, H. W. Sheffey and a number of
other gentlemen, all of whom together formed a notable group that would
have made any forum illustrious.

It is certainly a most fitting thing that the noble county of Augusta
should have her Pantheon, in which shall be gathered the statues and
likenesses of her great sons, in order that those who come after shall
see the men who have given to her her proud pre-eminence among the
counties of the "Old Dominion."

Again thanking you for your kindness, and hoping to see you in a few
days, I am, very truly yours,
                                                         JOHN ECHOLS.

Many other interesting letters have been received from distinguished
gentlemen in different parts of the State, but neither time nor the
limits of this pamphlet admit of their insertion.


From a number of letters received from persons to whom Col. Preston's
sketch was posted, nearly fifteen years ago, the following extracts are
selected, because written by Mr. Peyton's colleagues at the bar.

                   FROM JUDGE ALEXANDER RIVES.
                        (FEDERAL JUDGE.)

In a letter addressed to Hon. John L. Peyton, and dated Eastbourne,
Charlottesville, Jan. 29th, 1881, Judge R. says:

"There was no one at the bar, with whom I was associated, for whom I
cherished the same admiration, respect and esteem, as for him.

"So much of our State's worth and greatness was in the ranks of the bar
and the bench, that I have felt it to be a shame to the State that it
has never been chronicled, as it should have been, for after ages. Such
men as Wickham, Leigh, and Johnson survive only in brief obituaries. I
am glad your filial piety has, in some measure, rescued your father's
name from that neglect."

                  FROM JOHN B. MINOR, LL. D.,

                     PROFESSOR OF LAW, &C.

                           University of Virginia, February 3d, 1881.

_My Dear Sir_:

I pray you to accept my thanks for the brief memoirs of your
distinguished father, which you were so kind as to send me.

It is very pleasing to have before my eyes the well remembered features,
expression and attitude of a man for whom, through my whole professional
life, I have cherished the most unreserved respect and admiration.

For many years I have been accustomed to regard the county of Augusta as
occupying the first position in the Commonwealth, in respect to the
_morale_ and intelligence of its people, and the soundness of its public
sentiment, and have ascribed the pre-eminence, in a marked degree, to
the lofty character of its bar--a pre-eminence in uprightness, as well
as in abilities and learning, which has now subsisted continuously for
near a hundred years. There is no community in the State, I believe,
which has been blessed, for a blessing indeed it has proved, for so long
a period of time, with such a wonderful and uninterrupted succession of
great and virtuous lawyers.

In that remarkable series, your father is a most conspicuous figure, and
by his example and influence contributed as much as any one to the noble
result, as I apprehend it to exist, in the elevated tone of the people
of Augusta.

Doubtless the highest influences of religion co-operated powerfully to
accomplish what has been achieved, but I do not doubt that one of the
chief auxiliaries was the stainless purity existing for so many years
among the practitioners of the law, rendered more conspicuous and patent
by the extraordinary capacity which accompanied it.

I look with trembling anxiety to the young men who now compose the bulk
of the Augusta bar, many of whom are my pupils, to sustain and transmit
unimpaired the illustrious reputation for lofty integrity and eminent
ability and learning, which has come down to them through so many
successions of their predecessors, so that for the next hundred years,
as for the last, old Augusta may continue to enjoy the distinction she
has won.

Thanking you again for kindly remembering me in the distribution of the
sketch, I am, with great respect and esteem,

                                Yours truly,
                                                       JOHN B. MINOR.

James D. Davidson, in a letter dated Lexington, Va., January 25th, 1879,
and addressed to Col. John L. Peyton, says:

"When I knew Mr. Peyton in practice in Rockbridge county, I was
comparatively a young member of the bar, and I looked up to him, as a
man of imperial, far seeing, commanding intellect, and in every respect
as a superior being, not only as a lawyer, but as a man."

Letters and excerpts from letters to whom the little pamphlet giving an
account of the presentation of Mr. Peyton's likeness to the county were

_Judge S. Bassett French_, of Mynchester, says:

"Mr. Peyton was a wonderful man in his day, and had few peers in any

_Col. Wm. A. Anderson_, in a letter to Col. Peyton, dated Lexington,
August 8th, 1894, says:

"Accept my thanks for the memorial pamphlet of your honored father. Some
knowledge of his splendid gifts, his eloquence, learning and lofty
traits of character had come down to me among the traditions of the
Lexington bar, at which he was for many years a distinguished
practitioner, and I am very glad to have in more enduring form the
sketches of his life, character and services."

                           PROF. JOHN B. MINOR, LL. D.
                              University of Virginia, Law Department,
                                                    August 9th, 1894.

_My Dear Sir:_

I received yesterday, the pamphlet containing the account of the
"Ceremonies attending the presentation of the portrait of John Howe
Peyton," your honored father, to the county of Augusta, and beg you to
accept my cordial thanks therefore.

I apprehend that no county in the State, nor in the United States, can
exhibit such an aggregation of judicial worthies as Augusta, not merely
lawyers of distinguished learning and power, but men no less
distinguished for incompatible integrity. The county authorities do
themselves great credit in thus commemorating the virtues and abilities
which have so illustrated their community.

Among these great and good men your father was conspicuous, and well
deserves to be enshrined in the esteem and admiration, not of Augusta
only, but of Virginia, and the whole country. With renewed thanks for
the pamphlet,

                        I am, yours very truly,
                                                       JOHN B. MINOR.
Col. John L. Peyton, Staunton, Va.

_Hon. John W. Rieley_, judge-elect to the Supreme Court of Appeals, of
Virginia, says:

"I have read with deep and intense interest the addresses and all that
was said of Mr. Peyton by his contemporaries, and as a Virginian I am
proud of such an illustrious citizen, and congratulate old Augusta that
her people have for contemplation, and emulation for all time the life
and character of one of such worth and commanding ability."

_Col. Jos. H. Sherrard_, under date of Lexington, August 12th, 1894,

"I have read the pamphlet with a great deal of pleasure, and am glad to
see this departure from the rule too long prevalent of doing honor only
to statesmen and military men, and the system inaugurated of 'rendering
unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's.' Truly among professional men
there is oft-times as much virtue, genius and patriotism as in the
former classes, and this was the case as to your great and good father,
and is so as to many modest citizens, who are as worthy to be
commemorated. Many a youth will be taught that honor and glory are not
alone to be achieved at the cannon's mouth, or in the halls of Congress,
and to emulate such examples of virtue in private life. Would that this
precedent of your good people could be repeated by those of every county
in the State, until all of our court-houses are ornamented by their
illustrious citizens. Surely we might then say: 'Lives of great men all
remind us we may make our lives sublime and departing leave footprints
in the sands of time.'"

_John F. Lewis, Esq._, writes from Charleston, W. Va., under date of
October 12th, 1894:

"While it was not my good fortune to have known personally the subject
of these eloquent tributes to worth, I know full well how richly
deserved they are. From the days of my youth I have heard from the lips
of those who knew John Howe Peyton well and honored him, the most
beautiful and feeling tributes to his high toned honor, his brilliant
intellect, his fervid patriotism and his spotless life. It is eminently
fitting that this speaking likeness of him should adorn the walls of the
Temple of Justice of old Augusta, those same walls which erstwhile
echoed back his eloquent words in defence of the right."

_Rev. Wm. H. Ruffner, D. D._, writes from Lexington, under date of
August 10th, 1894:

"I have read all [the pamphlet containing ceremonies attending the
presentation of Mr. Peyton's portrait to the county] with interest and
sympathy. Your father was one of the heroes of my early days. I saw and
heard him often, and the impression I received of his character and
abilities was correct."

_Dr. R. A. Brock_ writes from Richmond, October 10th, 1894:

"I am thankful in the inspiration that the contemplation of so benign a
presence, and the consequent retrospect of so admirable a life, will
command in posterity."

_Rev. Geo. Gordon Smeade_, Rector of Magill Memorial Church, Pulaski
City, writes:

"For the sake of the rising generation who may frequent your Court of
Justice, it was most timely in placing upon her walls the portrait of so
distinguished a personage as your father. He who has left so deep an
impress upon the community in which he lived, and I may say also upon
his age, cannot help being an incentive to the very _highest type of
virtue_ and patriotism."

_C. B. Thomas, Esq._, writes from Wytheville, August 11th, 1894:

"I have read the pamphlet with much interest. I will have my boys to
read it, hoping that they may be stimulated to strive to emulate some of
the virtues which characterized your distinguished father in such an
eminent degree."

_Miss M. J. Baldwin_, the gifted and accomplished Principal of the
Augusta Female Seminary, under date of August 15th, 1894, writes:

"No one takes more pleasure in seeing your father's memory honored than
I do. May his descendants ever prove worthy of so distinguished an

                          FROM MRS. LOUISA DUPUY.

The talented and accomplished Mrs. Louisa Dupuy, who was intimately
acquainted with Mr. Peyton and his family, and who spent much time at
Montgomery Hall in early days, thus writes:

                                        Staunton, Thursday Afternoon.

_Dear Col. Peyton_:

I am very much obliged for the pamphlet containing an account of the
presentation and acceptance of your honored father's portrait. "Honor to
whom honor is due," and I am always glad to see any indication that
virtue and integrity and intellectual ability are held in high esteem,
and brought prominently before the public. It is cause of deep regret,
that in these days, so much of the reverse is prominent. If I had known
it in time, and that ladies were to be present on the interesting
occasion, I should have gone down to the Court House, but I do not take
a daily paper and did not know of it.

I remember your father as an elegant and courtly gentleman, genial and
kind to all, both old and young; and that he belonged to a noble set of
such men belonging to Staunton in those days.

I have read the pamphlet through (I had read the account in the papers),
and have mailed it to Sam and the boys.

                              Your old friend,
                                                        LOUISA DUPUY.

Many other interesting letters have been received from distinguished
persons in all parts of the State, from the South and West, but space
does not admit of their introduction. We feel the less difficulty in
omitting them, though coming from such men as Gen. G. W. C. Lee, from
judges of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio,
Hon. R. Taylor Scott, Col. Jesse E. Peyton, of New Jersey, R. L. Parrish
and other eminent men and lawyers, because they knew Mr. Peyton only by
reputation, not personally.

                         MRS. JOHN H. PEYTON.

We have mentioned Mr. Peyton's second marriage, in 1821, to Anne
Montgomery Lewis. The happiness derived from this auspicious union was
such that it may be classed among the matches "made in heaven."

As a becoming conclusion to this compilation the following sketch of
Mrs. Peyton is appended:

Among the noteworthy women of Virginia during the early part of the
present century--our comparatively unknown and entirely unsung Southern
heroines--was the subject of this sketch. Remarkable for her practical
ability and efficiency, her graceful and accomplished taste, the extent
and variety of her literary attainments, the unselfish generosity of her
heart, and her unostentatious charities, no one was more highly esteemed
while living, or was more mourned when, in her bright and useful career,
struck down by the hand of death. Nor is there one of those departed
Matrons--the peerless women of Virginia,--whose memory is more cherished
by those among whom she lived; for, it was her peculiar good fortune to
be at once the life and joy of her family, the "bright particular star"
of the society in which she moved, and the pride and ornament of the

Anne Montgomery Peyton was born at the Sweet Springs Monroe County,
Virginia, in the year 1802. Her father Major John Lewis, was a man of
large fortune, having inherited this extensive and valuable estate from
his father, Col. William Lewis, commonly called the "Civilizer of the
border." Major Lewis was a distinguished officer of that branch of the
military forces of the "Thirteen United Colonies," styled the
"Continental line," and served under Washington until the close of the
revolutionary war. A little more than two years after the surrender of
the British Army at Yorktown, by Lord Cornwallis, October 17th--19th,
1781, namely, in the winter of 1783 when Washington relinquished the
command of the army, Major Lewis returned to the Sweet Springs where he
spent the rest of his life, improving his property and enjoying the
society of his friends. He married, in 1795, Mary Preston, the fourth
daughter of Col. William Preston of Smithfield, County of Montgomery.
Mary Preston Lewis is reported to have been a woman of great personal
charms and of uncommon vivacity of intellect, and of varied
accomplishments. As spirited as beautiful, she was one of the true type
of that Virginia character which has made itself known and felt
throughout the world.[28]

  [28] When little Anne Lewis left the Sweet Springs for Mr. C's school,
  she bore the following letter from her mother to him.

                                      Sweet Springs, July 23rd, 1811.

  _Mr. Crutchfield_:

  _Dear Sir_--With the sincerest pleasure I send my dear little Anne to
  you again. I hope nothing will happen, not even an indulgence of my
  affection for her, to cause her coming home again shortly, for to you, I
  confide with confidence her entire education, and I hope your labors
  will be crowned with success by Him above, who is able to give

  It has been with much persuasion and many difficulties I have succeeded
  in getting Mr. L's consent to Anne and Margaret Lynn being sent to you.
  I need not say anything as to Anne's temper and disposition. I know your
  penetration is sufficient, and in your judgment and tenderness [to
  improve both] I have entire confidence. You can do more to improve her
  than I can and I know you will. I have many happy proofs of the great
  good, both in mind and manners, that have accompanied your exertions
  towards my family.

  Heaven bless and prosper you, is the wish of your friend,
                                                     MARY P. LEWIS.

  P. S. My respects to Mrs. Crutchfield. I have sent a cot and bedding for
  Anne and Lynn.

Mary Preston Lewis died at an early age, leaving a large family of young
children, and it devolved upon the subject of this sketch, as being one
of the oldest, to act the part of mother and sister towards them--a duty
which she nobly performed, ever extending to them Christian care and
true sympathy. The portals of Montgomery Hall were always open to
receive them and her younger brothers. In fact it became the home of her
sisters, three of whom were subsequently, at different periods, married
from it: namely, Margaret Lynn, to John Cochran, of Charlottesville,
Va., Sarah, to her cousin, Col. John Lewis, of Kanawha, and Polydora, to
John Gosse, of Albemarle. Her two younger brothers, John Benjamin and
Thomas Preston, also resided with her several years while attending
school in Staunton.

Anne Lewis, the third child of Major John Lewis and Mary Preston, and
according to contemporaneous accounts, the most favored of them all; was
entered in her ninth year at the school--a school in great repute at
that day--of Mr. Crutchfield, situated in the Falling Spring Valley near
the Peytona Cascades, Alleghany County.[29]

  [29] The following letter from John Preston, Treasurer of the State of
  Virginia, gives a brief account of the death of his sister, Mary Preston

                             Greenfield, Botetourt County, Va.,
                                                February 8th, 1824.

  _Dear Sister_:

  The painful duty of informing you of the death of our beloved Sister
  Lewis devolves on me. She expired on Wednesday the 4th, (Feb. 4th, 1824)
  at her home at the Sweet Springs. She had lingered for some time but no
  dangerous symptoms appeared in her complaint, nor was any alarm excited.
  She, however, became suddenly worse, and sent for Mary Woodville, who
  set out instantly and took with her Doctor Patterson, of Fincastle, but
  before they arrived she was struggling with death. She died with all the
  firmness of a Christian hero, firmly relying on the merits and mediation
  of an all-sufficient Saviour, and declared that her hope and confidence
  were so great that death presented not one solitary terror to her, but
  rather that he appeared to her as a friend who was to conduct her out of
  this into a far better world that she had long looked forward to with
  ardor--and called on her relations and friends around her to witness
  with what composure a real Christian could die, and actually closed her
  eyes with her own hands.

  The family are now dispersed, and the house locked up and the plantation
  forsaken for awhile.

  Sarah, Lynn and Thomas are at Mr. Woodville's, Ben and Polly down at Mr.
  Massie's. What future disposition will be made of them or the property
  is not yet decided on. She did not make a will.

  My wife is very sick and confined to her bed with something like the
  nettle-rash. Sarah is well and I am in my general health.

                            Your affectionate brother,
                                                     JOHN PRESTON.

  To Mrs. Elizabeth Madison, Montgomery Co.

The reader will probably excuse a brief reference to this valley which
is so remarkable for its scenic charms, the cascade being the most
striking point, that one cannot pass through it without feeling the
truth of Cowper's beautiful line--"God made the Country and man made the
Town." The variety, the perfection, and indeed everything about a lively
country scene so eclipse the noise and bustle and turmoil of a large
town that I have sometimes been so uncharitable as to think that those
who did not love the country, could scarcely love their Maker; but to
indulge such a thought would be illiberal, decidedly wrong. And yet the
country has many, many charms, peculiar to itself and of a peculiar
character; and although it is certain that a vicious mind will think of
God nowhere, while a pious one will behold him in everything, it
nevertheless cannot be doubted that there are natural tendencies in the
bustle, parade, and business of large commercial towns, to turn away the
soul from God; while innumerable objects are presented in the country
which lead the mind of the reflective "through Nature up to Nature's

The general truth of these remarks has always been impressed on our mind
when in the country, and more especially when rambling during the summer
through the enchanting regions of western Virginia.

In one of the loveliest spots in this picturesque land, Mr. Crutchfield
had wisely established his school--no doubt influenced in his choice by
its central position in the State, its retired situation and the extreme
healthfulness of the climate. Amidst these rural scenes in the "sweet
sequestered vale," Anne Lewis spent her early youth, making much
progress in learning and acquiring a fund of valuable information.
Studying with unexampled industry, she carried off the highest prizes.
But even in this, the school of highest grade at that period in Western
Virginia, she was in a measure deprived of that thorough and liberal
education which her ambition craved. When she completed the course and
returned home it was with a painful consciousness on her part of how
little she knew and how much she had yet to learn.

She often spoke in after years in a lively and amusing way of her life
at this remote seminary, and of how the scholars had to rough it; of
what would now be styled their hardships, but which did not seriously
effect these light-hearted girls. She alluded to her own life at this
season of her early joys, as smooth and pleasant, and to the valley of
the Falling Spring as a kind of earthly paradise. Her opening years here
and at her home at Sweet Springs, were eminently happy and this sunny
morning betokened the short, but cloudless day that was coming.

Concerning their life at Mr. Crutchfield's generally she said it was not
uncomfortable or unpleasant. His table was liberally supplied with
whatever the country produced, such as beef, mutton, poultry, and now
and again with game and fish furnished by the forests, and the mountain
streams. Of foreign luxuries they saw little or nothing. Their coffee
was generally roasted rye, or a mixture of rye and "Rio," and their
evening drink was milk or Sassafras tea. When they visited distant
friends they rode on horseback, or were crowded into Mr. Crutchfield's
cariole--a kind of covered spring cart.

In their intervals of toilsome labors, and Mr. C. was far from allowing
his pupils to neglect their studies, they passed much of their time
gathering wild flowers in the green fields or on the mountain sides,
visiting from time to time the cottages of the hearty mountaineers,
whose good wives always welcomed them with a glass of sweet milk, some
new laid eggs, or delicious fruit.

It must be remembered that these hours of leisure were not given to
enjoyment only,--hours so favorable to improvement were better employed.
When they returned from the fields, their hands tinted with the rich
purple and crimson of the flowers they had gathered, it was not the
blood stain of murdered time. On the contrary they were only signs of
the eagerness with which they pursued knowledge as well as pleasure, in
some department of natural history, for they were always accompanied in
their outdoor excursions by a teacher. Trees were waving, flowers
blooming, birds singing, and insects revelling around them--the very
pebbles in their pathway contained a history of the past within them;
the stream flowing by them had its finny tribes, most wonderfully
adapted to their element, and these lighter hours were given to an
examination, almost a study, of these objects--animate and inanimate, as
they came from the hands of our Creator. And it may be safely asserted
that few professional botanists were deeper versed at a little later
period in the virtues of various herbs and plants, and how they might be
made subservient to our uses, domestic and medicinal, than was Anne

It was during her sojourn at this school, while spending a holiday with
her sister, Mrs. Massie, at the Valley Farm, that she first met John
Howe Peyton, then in the zenith of his professional success and one of
the handsomest and most accomplished men in Virginia. He had recently
returned from active service with the army of 1812-15, of which he was a
daring and enterprising officer. She was at this time in the flush of
opening womanhood, at the romantic age, and listened with wrapt
attention and delight to his eloquent conversation, his graphic and
animated accounts of the camp and field. She was herself rich in what
has been styled with poetic license the fatal dower of beauty and was as
clever as pretty. The result may be as easily imagined as told--they
were speedily betrothed and shortly after her return to the paternal
roof, though her beauty drew suitors for her hand from far and near,
were married (1821.)

It was a fortunate marriage and brought her all the happiness promised
by a union with the chosen of her heart. Her home was thereafter in
Staunton for a few years and subsequently till her death at Montgomery
Hall. She thus returned to the original location of her great
grandfather the "lord of the hills," to pass her life amidst the scenes
rendered historic by his and his brave companions' long struggle with
their savage enemies and almost within sight of the ruins of that Fort
Lewis, under whose stout walls the colony grew, in time, strong enough
to defy every foe.

Civil life, as we know it, hardly existed in those days in Virginia; all
that was powerful, all that was honored, was connected with war; the
ideas of the time more or less insensibly took a military color; men's
callings and necessity were in one way or the other to fight; and to
fight with effect needed combination, endurance, and practice, and the
rude forts of the frontier were camps or barracks where there was
continual drill and exercise, fixed times, appointed task, hard fare,
incessant watchfulness, an absolute obedience to officers. Armed men,
with sentinels posted to give warning of an enemy's approach, tilled the
fields. Cattle were herded at night around the strong places; patrols
scoured the country day and night, and, in fact, all the precautions
were taken which are necessary to intruders in an enemy's country. Many
a dark tale of massacre has been connected with the settlement of West
Augusta; and the story of the Lewises and other pioneers, forms a
romantic and memorable feature in the history of those turbulent times.
Fort Lewis was the only place of security west of the Blue Ridge and
south of Winchester. It was a fortress of little architectural extent or
pretension, but in its associations one of the most popular and
interesting of our historical places.

In her new home Anne Peyton soon developed more fully the noble
qualities which so much endeared her to a numerous circle of friends and
the intellectual parts by which she was afterwards so widely known.
There was no object of a humane and laudable kind to which she did not
devote her time and attention, but particularly was her active
philanthropy displayed in connexion with the large slave population on
her husband's estates. She made herself intimately acquainted with the
real condition of the negroes on these plantations and set on foot
remedies for the evils necessarily incident to their condition. Her
labors were attended with success, and not only the physical but the
intellectual and moral condition of these unfortunate beings was
improved and advanced.

Happily the prosperity of Virginia was in her day so exuberant, that
there was little poverty of any kind. There are, however, always cases
of want to be found in every community, and these she sought out and
relieved when and where the world was not cognizant. In a word she
offered bread to the famishing and hope to the desperate. Her tender
sympathy extended even to the brute creation. She could not patiently
endure to see dumb creatures suffering from cruelty or want of proper
care, and the very animals instinctively regarded her as their
thoughtful friend.

Anne Montgomery Peyton became the mother of ten children, all of whom
reached years of maturity, and with two exceptions married and have
families of their own, and all now survive but her second daughter, Anne
Montgomery, who died unmarried in 1870, and her son Yelverton. She was,
as we shall see, a most careful mother and affectionate wife, looking up
to her husband as a superior being, and took upon herself the heavy
burden of care in connection with the rearing and education of this
numerous family, to which her husband could give little attention from
the absorbing pursuit of his profession and the overwhelming character
of his engagements.

It was truly in the domestic sphere that she most shone, and her
children owe so much to her teachings and example, to her maternal
tenderness and training, that the recollection of their days at the Hall
is the most precious remembrance they carry with them through life.

Her mind was always active in devising means for the benefit of her
children. Nor would she allow any personal inconvenience of discomfort
to interfere with her plans for carrying them out. She often entered
into their juvenile games and amusements with all the vivacity of her
nature. Nor did it lessen the deference and respect they felt for her.
She knew when to be little and when to be great. When to exercise her
authority, how to enhance her influence, and the value of example in
enforcing both. Thus obedience became so easy that her children soon
combined the pleasure of anticipating her wishes with the duty of
compliance. Of course in every family there are to be found wrong
tempers, feverish ailments, and perverseness of disposition, and willing
obedience cannot be, at all times and on all occasions, obtained however
consistently authority may be maintained. But as far a child however
helpless, ignorant, and inexperienced could be brought into habits of
obedience by a judicious exercise of parental authority, without an
approach to undue severity, it was accomplished by her tact and

Some one has called the boy the "father of the man," but the mother is
more especially the parent of the child, forming, directing and
educating its mind and heart. The very pulses of its life throb
responsively with hers, from heart it springs into being and her heart
should be its natural shelter and resting place while life lasts. A
Christian mother she was who made the well-being for her children,
spiritual and physical next to her duty to God and her husband, the
object of her most watchful attention, and whether in the nursery, the
play grounds or school rooms, or the household bestowed upon them the
utmost care, instructing them at one time and romping with them at

In their sports it was, indeed, her habit frequently to join. She
considered play not merely essential to a child's happiness, but to its
physical, moral and spiritual well being. She therefore interested
herself in the amusements of her children with as much zeal and
enjoyment apparently as they themselves--thus at very little expense and
trouble to herself adding greatly to their pleasures. She would now and
again pull the children's wagons around the nursery, make a flag for a
little boat, or dress a doll in the style of our Revolutionary matrons
from a few scraps of silk and calico. She studied the characters of her
different children as they were developed in play and thus gained an
insight into their inner life which guided her as to their future. Some
children are naturally of a robust constitution and their play is
characterized by noise and action; others not so strong are of a more
gentle and studious disposition, pursue the amusements in comparative
quiet. She observed this and regulated her coarse accordingly for she
considered it a sign of ill health, if one of the brood sat silently and
mopingly apart from the group; and at once sought the cause of such an
unnatural state of things and to remove it. In the merest trifles she
exercised a wise judgment and considered nothing trivial which concerned
the happiness of her children. For example, so minute and particular was
she that she never allowed the children to play with one particular set
of toys until they had lost all their interest and were cast aside.
This, she asserted, taught them two bad habits--to wear out a pleasure
threadbare, and reckless destruction. She did not interfere violently to
deprive the children of them, but joining in their play for a moment
would suggest a change. With flushed cheeks and laughing eyes would draw
them into lively romp or game of "puss in the corner;" in order to get
them away from a spot where they had been too long over kites, puzzles,
or dolls dresses.

Few families of children indeed had more care bestowed upon them, and no
one can fail to admire the good sense and tact of a mother who with such
rare skill contributed to the happiness of her little brood. Often did
she with a box of paints, a pencil and some paper employ the children
during a wet afternoon, or in fine weather having a game of hoop or _les
graces_ in the grounds. Considering play one of the first necessities of
a child's existence, she encouraged hers to play with all their
hearts--but never to the neglect of graver studies. These were attended
to in proper season. But when play time came they were free to enjoy
themselves thoroughly, so that their fun did not run into mischief. Thus
her children associated their mother with their pleasant memories of
enjoyment and she never went amongst them that her presence was not
hailed with joy.

With their education strictly so speaking, she was equally particular,
though her duties prevented her from conducting it herself. She saw
however, that the person, Miss Lucy Stone, a native of Massachusetts and
educated in Boston, to whose care they were for some years confided, and
afterwards Miss Forneret, the daughter of a retired officer of the
British army and educated in Paris, was worthy of the charge.

With their school tasks she was herself familiar and saw that their
minds were not overtasked, and now and again cautioned Miss Stone to
suit the lessons to their ages and capacities, saying "strengthen and
instruct, do not tire the mind."

Sometimes she questioned them herself to ascertain whether they
understood their own lessons rather than learnt them by _rote_ without
taking in the meaning of them. Often during hours of recreation, she
spoke of the means of acquiring information and said there were five
eminent methods whereby the mind is improved in the knowledge of things,
namely by observation, reading, instruction by lectures, conversation
and thought or study. What was meant by these terms she fully explained,
and lest she might fatigue and create a distaste for learning by such
serious discourse, would on occasions with much tact glide into lighter
themes, and tell stories teaching valuable lessons, through this medium,
every story having a moral which the young people were left to draw from
the incidents of the narrative. Information was thus conveyed to their
minds without fatiguing them, so that to learn from her was a positive
pleasure. She taught them also to write little stories by making
pleasant suggestions to them. Never shall the writer forget his
admiration for her talents, readiness and efficiency when she would at
their request sometimes condescend to write one herself. It was sure to
be effective and set us thinking. Nor his gratitude for aid, when he
was confronted with the task of answering his first letter. A few days
after its receipt sitting down in the presence of his mother he
commenced a reply. His ideas would not flow in orthodox channels, he
could think of nothing to say that did not have reference to the farm
and stable, and begged his mother to give him some assistance. "No," she
answered, "do your best, I will then examine and correct it, or write
something for you."

After completing his note which was redolent as may be imagined of the
farm and barn yard with its pigs and fowls, he gave it to her. She
laughed heartily at his first effort, but sweetened what he thought her
irony by a little praise. It was not, however, she said, the kind of
letter his aunt would expect or care to read. She then in a few moments,
without taking her pen from the paper, dashed off a letter of sparkling
diction and fascinating humor. Surprised, amazed indeed, at her
readiness and power of description, delighted at what appeared to him
her wonderful success, proud of her as his mother and withal grateful
for her assistance, he threw his arms round about her neck, covering her
with kisses and exclaiming, "Why Mamma, you are indeed a genius--a giant
of the pen. I never will be able to write like that."

His first guide and his earliest critic, he soon learned from her that
affection for literature which has afforded him so much solace in his
chequered life. Availing herself of this occasion the mother impressed
upon the son the advantages of aiming at perfection in everything he

The tenor of her remarks may be thus summarized: unless aimed at we
certainly would never attain perfection while frequent attempts would
make it easy. She animadverted upon idleness and indifference, remarking
that in the comparatively unimportant matter of writing a letter as it
was considered, we should give it our greatest care, that it might be as
perfect in all its parts as we could make it. The subject should be
expressed plainly and intelligibly, and in as elegant style as we were
capable of. Before writing a sentence we should examine it, that it
might contain nothing vulgar or inelegant in thought or word; that we
should guard ourselves against attempts at wit, which might wound, or
too much levity and familiarity which was foolish and impertinent. And
seek to express ourselves with manly simplicity, free of affectation.
This was the usual style of Cicero's epistles and rendered them deeply
interesting and improving. No one could reach such excellence, without
purity in the choice of words, justness of construction, joined with
perspicuity of style. That in our letters we should not attempt what is
called fine writing, but have them, like our conversation, unstudied and
easy, natural and simple.

In fact, she said Cicero's were the most valuable collection of letters
extant in any language, written to the greatest men of the age, composed
with purity and elegance, and without the least affectation and without
any view to their publication, which adds greatly to their merit.

She particularly disliked extravagant, what she called "random talking,"
and early warned her children against exaggeration, quoting in this
connection from her favorite work:--

"He that hath knowledge spareth his word, and even a fool when he
holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is
esteemed a man of understanding."

Her children were also earnestly admonished against evil speaking, as
indicating a want of regard to the high and loving authority of God who
has positively forbidden it,--"If any man offend _not_ in word, the same
is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body"--such evil
speaking denoted a want of brotherly love and charity, of humility in
our hearts, which would teach us that we are too vile ourselves to
complain of others.

In all her teachings the Bible was the basis of all direct religious
instruction, its facts, doctrines, histories--the law, the Gospel. She
endeavored not only to make it plain to the understanding and to impress
it on the memory, but to bring it to bear on the conscience and the
affections. Her children were taught to reverence the Sabbath-day, to
engage in daily prayer, not only for a blessing on their efforts
generally, but very especially for the "exceeding greatness of that
mighty power," which, whatever means are used, can alone raise us from
the death of sin to the life of righteousness. The Scriptures furnished,
she declared, many examples of the power of prayer. Nothing seemed to be
too great, too hard, or too difficult for prayer to do. Prayer opened
the Red Sea. Prayer brought water from the rock and bread from Heaven.
Prayer made the Sun stand still. Prayer brought fire from the sky on
Elijah's sacrifice. Prayer turned the counsel of Ahithophel into
foolishness. Prayer overthrew the Army of Senhacherib. Prayer has healed
the sick, raised the dead, procured the conversion of souls. Prayer,
pains and faith can do anything. "Let me alone," is the remarkable
saying of God to Moses, when Moses was about to intercede for the
children of Israel.--EXO., CH., XXXII. V. 10.

So long as Abraham asked mercy for Sodom, the Lord went on giving. He
never ceased to give till Abraham ceased to pray.

It was Anne Peyton's belief that there is no condition in life, no
occupation or profession however unfavorable it may appear to the
cultivation of religion, which precludes the possibility, or exempts us
from the obligation, of acquiring those good dispositions and exercising
those Christian virtues which the Gospel requires.

In this manner this model woman sought to teach her children to
persevere in the right direction in spite of all discouragements, but
not to expect harvest in seed time.

She also endeavored betimes to instil in their minds prudence and
practical knowledge, and repeated in this connection the significant
language of a motto which she had been informed, by a traveller, was to
be seen over the doorway of a Chalet in the mountains of
Switzerland:--motto containing a volume of worldly wisdom--

"Speak little, speak truth, spend little, pay cash."

In the household her presence was felt from the kitchen to the attic.
She ordered all the domestic arrangements--neither handing over the
management of her house to the servants, or her children to nurses and
governesses. She superintended in a way to see personally that all was
as it should be. Careful in these matters, she was equally solicitous
that her daughters should understand the proper method of regulating a
household, and how to provide for the want of a family. For this purpose
she instructed them herself how to purchase, or select the different
articles required for home consumption; how to choose the various kinds
of meat, fish and poultry, and then how properly to cook them. They were
also instructed in the art of making tarts, puddings and even
confectionary, many a happy evening has the writer spent with his
sisters and their young school friends at what juveniles called a
"toffee-party." She said this kind of knowledge made them independent of
ignorant servants, and was not detrimental to the dignity of any lady,
mother, or daughter. She always sought to make them adepts in the
science of good house wifery, as being the most useful and honorable
knowledge for those whose destiny it is to become the mothers of

It may not be uninteresting to say a few words at this point as to the
good uses to which she applied the knowledge acquired at Mr.
Crutchfield's school, of the virtues of various herbs and plants. A case
of illness or an accident never occurred in the family, among either
whites or blacks, numbering between 60 and 100 souls, that she was not
early by the bed side of the unfortunate sufferer, and as soon as she
understood the case, prompt to apply some simple, homely remedy; for she
had specifics for all mortal maladies. If accidents occurred she had
balsams, cataplasms, ointments, &c., &c., prepared from flowers and
herbs for external application, and in cases of fevers, or other
diseases, she prescribed her decoctions, draughts, electuaries, &c., and
required these nostrums to be gulped down. From the hoarhound indigenous
to our fields, she prepared a decoction for colds, from the wild cherry
an extract for coughs, from tansey and the bark of the dogwood tree, a
tonic, from camomile, a tea of reputed virtues, from the dandelion, the
buds of the Balm of Gilead cures for dyspepsia, &c. In a word she was
provided against all forms of disease with pills, plasters, powders,
syrups, tinctures, elixirs--a whole catalogue of her own medicinal
preparations. Of course the simple manner in which she extracted the
virtues of these and other plants rendered them less potent and probably
less efficacious than the preparations of the professional chemist, but
they were generally applied or taken with good effect.

The value of her practical knowledge in such matters can hardly be
overestimated, when it is considered how "few and far between" were the
medical men in those days in Virginia; how difficult it was to procure
drugs, or medicines and when they could be obtained, how often they
were impaired in quality by adulterations.

These brief facts illustrative of the efficient and practical character
of this excellent mother, will, the author trusts, tend to direct the
attention of others to the study of nature as a most useful, as well as
inexhaustible source of pure and refined pleasure.

"Not a plant, a leaf, a flower, but contains a folio volume. We may
read, and read and read again and still find something new--something to
please and something to interest, even in the noisome weed."

Order, as may be supposed, reigned in her establishment and it was
delightful to see the children assembled at table together, with clothes
neatly put on, hands and faces clean, hair properly arranged, the table
itself laid as if company was expected. The board at the hospitable Hall
was, however, rarely spread without being enlivened by the presence of
guests. John Howe Peyton's public position no less than his social
tastes made it a necessity as well as a pleasure for him to see a great
deal of company. He entertained the Federal and State judiciary and
their respective bars during term time; the Federal, State and County
officials; Congressional, Senatorial and Legislative representatives of
both parties; the Rectors, Visitors and Professors of our great seats of
learning; the Bishops and Clergy; such officers of the Army and Navy as
were from time to time in the county, and of the Militia; and all
strangers. The Hall was thus the resort of eminent persons, male and
female, and it may be truly asserted that all received there lessons in
accomplishments. The wisest and most gifted men found beneath that
refined roof something beyond woman's prerogative, the power to call
forth, as with a fairy's wand, all that is most intellectual in their
masculine natures; they found assistance and advice, as well as
interest and sympathy. Eloquence, politics, philosophy were alternately
discussed; and when these proved too severe, the lighter arts of
conversation were successfully tried, varying to the humor of the

She was, in a word, the light and ornament of her home, presiding over
it with dignity and grace, looking after her children and providing for
the wants of a large dependent population of negroes; and yet finding
time to seek out and relieve the necessitous in the community.

Though at this time many of Mrs. Peyton's good qualities were not
sufficiently obvious to the writer, such as her practical household
virtues, because he was still too young to understand how much good
management and general good sense is required to conduct domestic
affairs properly; and fancied she took upon herself too much the duties
of a housekeeper, he has had sufficient experience in after life to set
the right value upon them, and to do her full and ample justice.

In those days it was his great delight to see her in company, displaying
her wit and knowledge. She acquitted herself so well, never asking a
silly question, or giving a foolish answer and sustained her part by her
general abilities and knowledge so admirably in intellectual
conversation, and inspired such respectful attention from clever men
that he keenly appreciated her accomplishments and was as proud of her
talents and address, as he has since been of her character, which
comprehending fully in maturer years he recognizes as a combination of
all that is noble and excellent.

With this insight into her character and domestic life it is easy to
understand that she was universally respected and drew all, more
especially her children, to her by the cords of love,--that perfect
confidence existed between her and them. They felt they could trust her
with the full faith of innocent childhood, and never did she turn them
away by coldness, sending back the warm current of their love chilled to
its source: never did she check the outpourings of their confidence by
severity; never did they turn from her grieved and disappointed by want
of sympathy.

To the writer she was peculiarly affectionate, kind and considerate. She
never wearied of imparting good advice to him making opportunities to
expatiate on certain virtues and vices. She particularly dwelt upon the
necessity of industry, if a young man wished to secure anything good,
valuable, or worth having in this world. The substance of her teachings
was that the world and all things around us, remind us of the necessity
of labor, for though the earth, by the blessing of the Almighty,
produces food sufficient for man and the various animals that inhabit
it; yet, without labor, it would become a wilderness, covered with
briars and thorns. But besides food and clothing our nature required
that we should provide shelter against the inclemency of the weather;
these are continual calls upon us for self-exertion which contributed as
much to our happiness as to health. Moderate labor promoted the free
circulation of the blood, and carried off disorders, which indolence
would occasion; the laboring man eats his bread with an appetite to
which the idle and the voluptuous are strangers; his sleep is sweet, and
his rest undisturbed. As for industry it was rewarded in many ways: "The
hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is wise,
but he that sleepeth in harvest causeth shame."--Prov., ch. x, v. 4. "He
that would thrive, should rise by five;" and as Poor Richard observes,
"Himself hold the plough or drive."

"The difference between rising at five or seven in the course of 40
years, supposing a man to go to bed at the same time he otherwise would,
amounts to 29,000 hours, or three years, 121 days and 16 hours, which
will afford 8 hours a day for exactly ten years; so that it is the same as
if ten years were added to our lives, in which we command 8 hours a day
for our improvement in useful things."

But besides lengthening, industry sweetens life; the habitation of the
industrious man is comfortable and clean, and his careful wife is truly
his counterpart, always usefully employed. Difficulties in this life,
however, must be expected--they should not depress or discourage
us,--they were necessary to quicken us to exertion and disappeared
before a determined resolution to accomplish our object. Even in
Paradise man was not allowed to be idle: "The Lord God put him into the
Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."--Gen., ch. ii, v. 15. And
ever since the fall, as part of the curse entailed by sin and mortality,
its consequence, the sentence of God has come forth--"In the sweat of
thy face shalt thou eat bread."--Gen., ch. iii, v. 19. The very angels
of Heaven were ministering Spirits who performed the Divine will
cheerfully, actively, and diligently. A man's affairs run fast to ruin
who allows his powers to lapse into indolence and sloth, and thus
according to the wise man: "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack
hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich;" and "seest thou a man
diligent in business; he shall stand before Kings; he shall not stand
before mean men."

This was the general direction of her thoughts when in graver moments
she sought to prepare her children for the career of life. Having
represented the means and the value of success in worldly matters lest
the imagination might be unduly excited, she would suddenly remind them
that there was a purer, brighter, nobler world than this; a world where
there is no ignorance to darken, no error to mislead, no infirmities to
lament, no enemies to assail, no cares to harass, no sickness to endure,
no changes to experience, but where all will be perfect bliss, unclouded
light, unspotted purity, immortal tranquility and joy.

It is easy to understand that their childhood was happy, and that all
their recollections of it are associated with their mother, who in her
capacity as wife and mistress of the family was responsible, by reason
of their father's repeated absences, for the general arrangement and
combination of the different elements of social and domestic comfort.
She was arbiter in all their trivial disputes, the soother of all
jarring and discord, the explainer of all misunderstandings, and in
short the main-spring of the machinery by which social and domestic
happiness was constantly supplied both in her household and within the
circle she adorned.

In the wider sphere, beyond the family circle, she was known by acts of
benevolence, rather than as one endeavoring to conform to the world. She
did not strive at the same time to be a follower of the fashions and
maxims of the world and a friend to Him who has declared "The friendship
of the world is enmity with God: Whosoever therefore will be a friend to
the world is the enemy of God."

Her piety was sincere and unostentatious. Her religion was that of love
and good works. Her daily life was her most beautiful teaching and all
her children, more particularly the elder ones, carry into their lives
the influence of the time spent in daily intercourse with her.

Yet she did not neglect the cultivation of social happiness--only she
knew where to draw the line between light and darkness--how to enter
into and enjoy the blandishments of society without lapsing into
worldliness of spirit. In conversation she was ready, animated and
interesting, and impressed all with her superiority.

After her marriage Anne Peyton devoted every hour she could appropriate
from other engagements, for several years, to a regular course of
reading, and to the end of her life gave much time to books. She was
familiar with the classic authors of the Grecian and Roman worlds, and
the choicest belonging to our English and American literature. From them
she quoted freely both in conversation and letters. She was particularly
fond, among the poets, of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope,
Cowper, Gray, Burns, Wordsworth, Byron, and of those pleasing essayists,
Addison, Goldsmith, Dr. Johnson and Washington Irving. Under the advice
of her husband she read the histories of Robertson, Hume, Gibbon,
Prescott and Bancroft, and the novels of Defoe, Richardson, Fielding,
Scott, Cooper and Irving.

In public affairs she was well informed and took a lively interest. A
supporter of the Old Whig party, few men, not in public life, were more
thoroughly acquainted than herself with political affairs. Conservative
in her feelings, she strongly disapproved the ultra democratic opinions
of "Old Hickory" and his successor in the Presidency, Martin Van Buren.
Periodical election for offices; the ostracism of political opponents;
the extension of suffrage to non-property holders; the recurrent
election at short intervals of Judges by popular vote, she considered
one and all fatal innovations on our ancient laws. It was her belief
that such measures would lead to degeneracy in our Statesmen, drive from
public life the better class of citizens, and let in demagogues, and
with them introduce speculation, public plunder, and general corruption
and incompetency. And the recent (1874-75) disclosures at Washington of
bribery in connection with the War-office under General Belknap, one of
the principal Secretary's of State, the trial of General Babcock, the
President's private Secretary, for complicity in the Whiskey frauds, the
credit mobilier combinations, or "rings," and other instances of
official rottenness and corruption go a long way to establish her far
seeing sagacity. A true lover of her country, she exercised her power as
a Christian mother to inspire in the hearts of her children a profound
and thrilling sense of patriotism.

In every respect a remarkable and attractive character, her history may
be safely studied as a model and example. There is not a house in
Virginia where the story of her domestic virtues, were it properly told,
would not be welcomed, and in which it would not do good. Had she not
been encumbered with the cares of a large establishment and the rearing
of a numerous progeny, to both of which she devoted herself with
thorough self-abnegation, she would doubtless have turned her attention
to the pursuit of literature and might have rivalled the fame of Hannah
More, Maria Edgeworth, Caroline Burney, Frederica Bremer, Mrs. Stowe, or
any of the distinguished female writers of America, past and present.

A true type she was of the mothers of our Colonial and Revolutionary
era, the mothers of those great and good men, bred amidst the trials of
the border, who founded our Government upon the principles of liberty,
equality and fraternity.

This is the picture, roughly sketched, of the character of that
excellent woman attempted to be brought out by brief forcible touches
from personal impression of her leading features, rather than by
carefully weighed and balanced summaries. She was "one of many," a model
of the mothers of Virginia from whom have sprung that long list of
illustrious sons from Washington and Lewis to Lee and Jackson, men who
have shed imperishable glory upon their race and country, and won for
Virginia the proud title of being the "Mother of Statesmen as well as of

In April 1847 a great sorrow fell upon that happy home of Montgomery
Hall, by the death of the great and good head of it.

Shortly after this event her health failed and she died surrounded by
her children, July, 1850. An event of which the writer has never lost
the impression, and in connection with which more than once have Gray's
words recurred to memory, when, near the close of his life the poet, in
writing to a friend says:--"I had written to inform you that I had
discovered a thing very little known, which is, that in one's whole life
one can never have more than a single mother. You may think this obvious
and what you call a trite observation. You are a green gosling! I was at
the same age very near as wise as you; I never discovered this with full
evidence--I mean till it was too late. It is thirteen years ago and
seems but as yesterday; and every day I live it sinks deeper into my

So it is in the author's case, he never knew the extent of his
misfortune until it was irreparable. And now when looking back upon her
life, after a quarter of a century, it is with a sorrow chastened, and
brought into subjection, but not obliterated by time! Taking a
retrospect of her life the writer can think of nothing with which her
friends could reproach her, unless it be a disregard of her own health
and comfort.

So unselfish was she that it pleased her most to bestow upon others the
best of every thing she could obtain. If her charities and sphere of
usefulness were limited it was no fault of hers--within her sphere she
did her duty and her whole duty. All her actions sprang directly and
solely from a sense of duty and was sustained by a healthy delight in
its performance. Her life was a sincerely happy one. She was happy in
her marriage and in her children, in her literary and domestic pursuits.
She busied herself in philanthropic and educational reforms, and was one
of the warmest advocates of the foundation of the Virginia Female
Institute in Staunton, one of the most flourishing colleges in the Southern
States for the education of women. To this fund John Howe Peyton
liberally subscribed, and he was President of the first Board of

Although of an impulsive nature, her religious feelings, like her
social, were deep and permanent. Socially she was genial and
companionable and a favorite with both old and young. With the young she
was ever ready to talk and encourage them in their plans and studies,
and she always had sympathy, advice and counsel for old and young when
in trouble.

Her temperament was naturally somewhat quick. She was conscious of this
infirmity and happily overcame it. Not giving herself credit, however,
for the patience she had acquired, she has often with a womanly tear in
her eye, regretted to the author that she was so easily excited and in
the excitement so precipitate. She begged her children to be on their
guard against such an enemy to our peace, quoting, "he that is slow to
anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he
that taketh a city."

In our intercourse with society, she urged that it was our duty to curb
any tendency to hastiness of temper, for as a gentleman cannot take an
affront, she said, he should be very cautious how he gives one; we
should persevere in all that is right, and allow no weak desire of
pleasing to tempt us from the paths of virtue. In this way she proved
herself the sincerest of friends and the wisest of counsellors, and
prepared her sons for "The court, the camp, the field, the grove."

Such in general terms was this model matron, this "mother in Israel" who
deserves more than this brief notice, especially from her children whom
she loved so well. This simple outline of her character and career, it
is hoped, may not be considered unworthy of perusal. Gentle,
affectionate and lenient, she was beloved by all who knew her. Happy in
herself, she diffused happiness not only through the immediate circle
which she, like a star illumined, but warming with a brilliance as
effective as beautiful, all within her range.

Her understanding was good as her heart, and few human beings ever lived
blest with a more cheerful disposition, a more generous spirit or a
tenderer soul.

                             TO THE MEMORY OF

                        MRS. ANNE MONTGOMERY PEYTON.


    True daughter of Virginia's soil,
      Scion of a noble race,
    Thy virtues, tho' by bards unsung,
      Hold in fond heart's a place,
    Which time with its dark sullen tide
      Can ne'er dim or efface.

    Reared in a "sweet sequestered vale,"
      Where flowers the fairest grew,
    And blossoms on their native hills,
      In beauty's varying hue;
    Mere crystal streams down Mountain's side
      Bright sprays of silver threw.

    And thou, so like those blushing flowers,
      Whose buds the Sun's soft ray
    Had kissed, until new beauties burst
      With every dawning day,
    And thy young heart free as those streams
      Whose waters idly play.

    Endowed with learning's richest gift,
      A bright peculiar star,
    Thou mov'dst in social widening range,
      With not a shade to mar
    Or dim the lustre soft and bright
      That blazed and shone afar.

    The mystic spell of nature's charms
      Thy being closely bound,
    And in each changing, passing scene,
      Thou some new pleasure found,
    And youthful hopes, and youthful dreams,
      By fortune's smile was crowned.

    And when removed to other spheres,
      The love that warmed thy breast
    Shed 'round its rays with power that soothed
      Sad, aching hearts to rest,
    For of all gifts to fellow-man
      Sweet sympathy's the best.

    Then children gamboled 'round thy knee,
      In childhood's glad delight,
    Thy watching eye marked well the road
      Which led them to the right;
    The straight and narrow way which leads
      Up to the heavenly height.

    True daughter of Virginia's soil,
      Mother of an honored race,
    Thy memory in thy children's hearts,
      Still holds its loyal place,
    And years in their mad sweep and rush,
      Will ne'er dim or efface.

    Wren's "_Echoes from the heart_," p. 214.




 1. Susan Madison Peyton, born 1822, m. Col. John B. Baldwin, no issue.

 2. John Lewis Peyton, born 1824, m. Henrietta E. C., daughter of Col.
      John C. Washington, of North Carolina, and niece of Gov. Wm. A.
      Graham, Hon. James H. Bryan, etc., and have issue, one son, _Lawrence
      Washington Howe Peyton_, born 1872, a distinguished graduate
      V. M. I., having taken the 2d Jackson-Hope medal and the degree of
      C. E. In 1894-'95, Capt.   Lawrence W. H. Peyton, after a law course
      at the University of Virginia, is Assistant Professor of Mathematics
      in the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington.

 3. Anne Montgomery Peyton died unmarried.

 4. Mary Preston, m. R. A. Gray and has issue: 1. Robert; 2. Susan
      Peyton, m. to Rockingham Paul, brother of Hon. John Paul, United
      States District Judge for Western Virginia, and have one son, John
      Gray Paul; 3. Isabella, m. Dr. Salmon Welsh, of Annapolis, Md., one
      daughter; 4. Howe Peyton Gray, m. Bessie Massie and has issue, two
      children: 1. Sally Waterman; 2. a son; 5. Preston L. Gray, who m.
      Mary S. Bingham, of North Carolina, and has issue, one daughter. Mrs.
      Gray and all of her children, except Mrs. Welch, are residents of
      Bristol, Tenn.

 5. Lucy Garnet Peyton, m. Judge John N. Hendren, of Augusta, and they
      had a large family, but only one living; 1. Anne Peyton, m. Wm.
      Patrick, of Staunton, and at her death left an only daughter, Anne
      Hendren Patrick; 2. Samuel R. Hendren, a distinguished graduate of
      Washington and Lee University, and in 1894-'95 a student of Johns
      Hopkins University, Baltimore.

 6. Margaret Lynn Peyton, m. George M. Cochran, of Staunton, and they
      have living issue: 1. Susan Baldwin; 2. Anne Peyton; 3. John; 4.
      Margaret Lynn; 5. Peyton Cochran.

 7. Elizabeth Trent Peyton, m. Hon. Wm. B. Telfair, of Ohio, and at her
      death left three children: 1. Wm. B. Telfair, Jr. Susan Peyton
      Telfair m. James Dougherty, and they have two sons.

 8. Yelverton Howe Peyton, who died unmarried in Texas.

 9. Virginia Frances, who m. Col. Joseph F. Kent, of Wythe, and have
      issue: 1. Joseph F.; 2. Susan Peyton; 3. Mary Preston.

10. Cornelia Bernard, m.: 1. Dr. Thos. Brown, and they had issue: J. B.
      Brown and Peyton Brown. After Dr. B.'s death, she married Wm. H.
      Greene, and they have issue, two sons, Peyton W. and Newport Barnett.


                     MRS. SUSAN M. BALDWIN.

Susan, the eldest daughter of this marriage is so remarkable for the
vigor of her intellect, her literary tastes and acquirements, for her
unselfish generosity of heart, her noble charities and lovely Christian
character, that we insert with much pleasure from the Spectator of
1891, the following tribute.


Mr. Wm. P. Johnson, now (1891) in the his 58th year, recently read to
the Superintendent, teachers and scholars of the Staunton Baptist
church, an interesting account of his connection with Staunton Sunday
Schools. In his narrative he says, "I can remember the old school-room
in the basement of the old (Episcopal) church, which stood where the new
(present) church stands, and the first teacher who taught me, I will
give the name of, and it will be the only teacher whose name I shall
mention. It was then Miss Susan M. Peyton, who was after several years
teaching, married and became the beloved wife of one of Augusta's most
brilliant and gifted lawyers, the Hon. John B. Baldwin. I shall never,
no never forget the kind Christian teachings of that grand and noble
Christian lady. It was in this school, through her teachings, that I
first learned of that dear Saviour, who came into the world to suffer
and die that I might live:"

The publication of the above affords us the pleasing opportunity to say
that Mrs. John B. Baldwin still survives in our midst near seventy years
of age, but so impaired in health by a severe illness some years since,
that she rarely leaves her house, and then only in a carriage. She is an
object of universal love and respect: all venerate her for her piety,
accomplishments and charities. None know her but to "love her, nor name
her but to praise." A woman of gifted intellect, under the eye of her
good amiable mother, she enjoyed every advantage which precept and
example could afford, and no daughter was ever more sensible of the
obligations which she owed to maternal care.

To a liberal and munificent spirit she joins charity, philanthropy and
beneficence and an uncommon share of dignity and firmness of spirit, for
while she converses with the lowly, even with her servants as her humble
friends, no one knows better how, in the highest society, to support
their due consequence and state. She is a great reader and full of
general information and can discourse on easy and equal terms alike with
scholars, statesmen or divines. Few indeed excel her in wit and
judgment. At Montgomery Hall, the charming home of her eminent father,
Hon. John H. Peyton, she met nearly all of the distinguished men and
women of Virginia, of his day, and has since mingled much in the society
of Richmond, Washington and New York, making the acquaintance of the
Websters, Clays, Fillmores, Tylers, Tuckers, Randolphs, Lees, Davises,
and in fact all the leading public men of the country before and after
1861. Such were her personal charms and the vivacity of her conversation
and manners that she was the life and ornament of every circle graced by
her presence. The late Judge H. St. George Tucker, father of Hon. J.
Randolph Tucker, who was, like Blackstone, a poet as well as a jurist,
wrote some beautiful lines addressed to her on her entrance into
Richmond Society in 1839, which we hope some of these days to give in
our columns.--_Staunton Spectator, March 11th, 1891._


                CONTENTS OF A PIGEON HOLE.

We cannot resist the temptation of preserving here the contents of a
pigeon hole in our desk.


 1. Peyton, Dade, cornet 4th Continental Dragoons, 1779. lieutenant June 2,
      1779, served to 1783.

 2. Peyton, Henry, major, and killed at Charleston May 12, 1780.

 3. Peyton, John, 1st Lieutenant 2nd Virginia Regiment, 1776, wounded at
      the battle of Brandywine 1778.

 4. Peyton, Robert, of Virginia; 2nd Lieutenant 3d Va. Regiment, 1777,
      killed at Brandywine Sept. 11, 1777.

 5. Peyton, Valentine, Captain 1777, killed at Charleston, S. C. May 12,

 6. Peyton, William, of Kentucky.

 7. Peyton, John Rowze, 1776 to 1783, the "hero boy of '76."

 8. Peyton, Robert, of Tennessee, killed by the Indians.

 9. Peyton, Yelverton, of Virginia.

10. Peyton, Captain John, 1776, Clothier General 1779. Quartermaster
      General 1782, of Fluvana Co.

11. Peyton, Harrison, Captain 1776, of Albemarle Co.

12. Peyton, Colonel Henry, Co., Lieutenant of Prince William 1755, Member
      Legislature 1761, Sheriff 1779 (see Sharp, life of Washington, vol.
      2nd, p. 73.) From whom descends Col. John B. Baldwin, and Mrs. A.
      H. H. Stuart.

13. Peyton, Major Henry, of Lee's Legion, died in the service.

14. Peyton, Timothy Killed by the Indians in Ky., 1786-7.

15. Peyton, Colonel Francis, of Loudoun, Colonel 1776, Member of Va.,
      Convention of 1776. Member of Legislature 1780, of the Senate
      1789 to 1803.

16. Peyton, Francis, M. D., Surgeon in Lee's Legion. Washington said he
      and his brother were two of the best officers in the army. (see
      Sharp, Washington, vol. II, p. 273.)

17. Peyton, Yelverton, of Stafford, Va., born during the Revolution and
      ensign in U.S.A., 1st Infantry 1794.

18. Peyton, Valentine, M.D., Surgeon in Rev'y. army, brother-in-law of Col.
      Wm. Washington, of S.C.

19. Peyton, Ephraim, of Tenn., served 1774 vs. the Indians, from him Balie
      Peyton springs, also Chief Jus. E. G. Peyton, of Mississippi.

20. Peyton, Capt. Valentine 3rd Comp., 3rd Va., Reg't 1778, from him
      springs Col. Charles L. Peyton, of Greenbrier Co., W. Va.

21. Peyton, John jr., of Frederick Co., from him springs Capt. Wm. L.
      Clark, Peyton Randolph, late of the R. & D. Railroad, John S.
      Peyton U.S.A., and H. J. Peyton, the old Clerk of the Staunton
      Chancery Court.

22. Peyton, George, ensign to Rev. Army 1776, ancestor of Col. George L.
      Peyton, of Glendale, Augusta Co.

23. Peyton, George of Ky., Continental line 1776.

                        LIST OF PEYTON'S IN THE U. S. ARMY.

 1. Peyton, Yelverton, of Virginia, ensign in sub-legion, Aug. 1st, 1794;
      lieutenant 1799; resigned June, 1800.

 2. Peyton, Garnett, of Virginia;   captain in 8th Infantry, 1799.

 3. Peyton, Francis H., of Virginia, surgeon in 7th Infantry, 1799.

 4. Peyton, Robert, of Virginia; captain in 2nd Infantry, 1812; died 1813.

 5. Peyton, James R., of Virginia; captain in 1st Infantry, 1813; died

 6. Peyton, John S., of Virginia; captain in 2nd Infantry, 1813; resigned

 7. Peyton, Bernard, of Virginia; captain 1813; resigned 1816; Adjutant
      General of Virginia and ex-officio President of the Board of
      Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute 1839-'40.

 8. Peyton, Richard H., of Virginia; a distinguished graduate of West
      Point, standing among first in his class; lieutenant of artillery
      1831; captain 1838; served in the Seminole War, Florida, and died
      November 11th, 1839, while on duty at Tampa, in Florida, and P. M.
      of that place. He was one of the 12 persons who bought the land and
      laid out the city of Chattanooga, Tenn., foreseeing its future

 9. Peyton, Balie, of Tennessee; member of Congress in 1833; United States
      District Attorney for Louisiana 1837; in 1841 appointed Secretary of
      War by President Harrison, but declined to accept it under President
      Tyler; colonel of 5th Louisiana Regiment in the Mexican War; aid to
      Gen. W. J. Worth and mentioned for gallantry in the battle of
      Monterey; voted a sword of honor by Louisiana, said sword is now a
      trophy of the Civil War and in the capitol of Minnesota. He was
      envoy ext. and minister plenipotentiary to Chili from 1849 to 1853;
      presidential elector on Bell and Everett ticket in 1860; member of
      the Senate of Tennessee 1865-1869. The town of Peytonville, Tenn.,
      named in his honor. Recommended by Thurlow Weed to President Lincoln
      for Sec. of War in 1860 (see 5th vol. of C. L. Webster's history of
      American Literature.)

                         EARLY LAND GRANTS TO THE PEYTON'S.

Peyton, Henry, Book 4, p. 255, 400 acres in Westmoreland Co., Va., Nov.
    1st, 1657.

Peyton, Valentine, Book 4, p. 42?, 1600 acres in Westmoreland Co., July
    20th, 1662.

Peyton, Major Robt., Book 7, p. 81, 1000 acres in New Kent Co., April 23,

Peyton, Robert, of Gloucester, Book 7, p. 233, 150 acres in Kensington
    parish, Gloucester Co., Va., Feb. 20th, 1682.

Peyton, Thomas, Book 17, p. 524, 100 acres in Gloucester Co., June 16th,
    1738. (See Benning, vol. 3, p. 566, and Land Registry office).


It was customary, thirty years ago, for the ladies to attend political
pic-nics, or "barbacues" as they are called "out west." This was
particularly the case in the exciting contest between General Leslie
Coombs and John C. Breckenridge for a seat in Congress in 1840. Out of
this affair grew the authentic story of the beautiful widow--called the
"gem of the prairies." Not far from the Elkhorn river lived the pretty
little widow; Mrs. Fauntleroy, whose nearest neighbor was Major-General
John Peyton. The gallant general looked upon the widow very much as he
did upon his thorough-bred horse, Powhatan. She was the finest woman
and Powhatan the finest horse in the "Blue grass" district. Mrs. F. had
mourned the loss of her husband more than twelve months; while the
General--who was punctilious as to etiquette--waited patiently for the
time to elapse in order to propose: The widow kept, with a woman's art,
her lover at bay. He with her attended a pic-nic and on their return he
declared his confidence in the success of the Whigs. The widow was
equally confident of the success of the Democrats and offered to wager
her palfrey "Gipsy" against Powhatan--the General accepted the wager and
said, "it should be Powhatan or anything else she preferred on his
estate." They had now reached the river (Elkhorn) and were about to ford
it, when they were overtaken by the General's only son and heir John
Peyton, an athletic and spirited young Kentuckian of 24 years. The party
struck into the water. The east bank was steep and slippery, and as the
horses were clambering up, the girth of Mrs. F.'s saddle broke, and the
lady and saddle fell back into the stream, while the unencumbered horse
mounted the bank with the swiftness of an arrow. In an instant John
Peyton leaped from his horse into the stream and seizing the floating
lady bore his lovely burden to the shore. The frightened lady recovering
her self-possession requested the General to secure her horse, which was
making off rapidly. The General disappeared and soon returned with the
animal, finding his son and the widow in fine spirits and very merry
over the adventure. She was soon mounted again and proceeded home with
the General, while John struck across the meadows for his father's
mansion. On reaching the Fauntleroy seat, General Peyton was easily
persuaded to remain to dinner, after which the widow entertained him
with some of her sweetest music. When he bid her adieu that night, his
ponderous frame thrilling with the electrical touch of her hand, he
inwardly felt that she was the most perfect woman and sweetest
songstress in all Kentucky.

That night in his dreams the little widow was so often repeated that he
resolved to propose on the next meeting. Business called him to
Louisville the next day and detained him until after the election which
resulted in the defeat of the Whigs and in the election of Breckenridge.
General Peyton was both astonished and indignant.

"Mr. Clay's district has disgraced itself," was almost his first remark
to his neighbor, Colonel Beaufort.

To his son John, he communicated his intention of bringing Mrs. F. to
adorn his establishment.

"Sir, she is" said he, "the finest woman in Kentucky--the pride of the
'blue grass' district. I hope you will, notwithstanding her youth, treat
her with deference and respect, and yield her the love she has a right
to expect from my son!"

John, with a quiet but knowing smile, assured the General of his
determination to accord affectionate respect to whomever he might choose
for a wife. The old soldier was delighted and ordered Powhatan to be led
to Mrs. Fauntleroy's. "Sir," said he to his son, "the Whig party has
disgraced itself and Mr. Clay's district, and I must part with my
favorite horse Powhatan, who has no equal in the Commonwealth. I have
just ordered him to be delivered to Mrs. F. and am about to call, will
you accompany me?" The son consented, and when they arrived they found
Mrs. F. and two lady friends admiring the splendid animal.

"Madam," said the General, addressing the pretty widow, "I have come to
pay the wager I have lost--Powhatan is yours."

"But General," interposed the lady, "I believe the wager was
conditional. It was the horse or anything else I might prefer on your
estate, was it not?"

"Right you are madam," said the General, "but I can never allow you to
select an inferior animal, and I have none that approaches Powhatan."

"You have a very superior biped on your estate, General," replied the
blushing widow, "your son, John, whom I have already promised to accept
instead of Powhatan."

The astonished General, defeated for the first time, summoned his
fortitude, and after recovering from the stunning effect of the widow's
speech, rose and in his blandest manner bade the party adieu. To his son
he said--"Sir, you will remain and do your duty."

The General never entirely forgave his daughter-in-law her practical
joke. In after years he used to say, "Lilley is the finest woman in
Kentucky, but she always lacked taste."

                COL. HENRY PEYTON--A HERO OF 1776.


We publish below an interesting letter written by the illustrious
Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, to his connection,
the late Craven Peyton, Esq., of Monteagle, Albemarle county, Va. Craven
Peyton was one of the first gentlemen of his day in Virginia, but his
tastes were social and literary rather than political, and he passed a
long and useful life in the quiet of his plantation, loved and admired
by all who enjoyed the privilege of his friendship and partook of the
elegant hospitalities of his old Virginia home--one of the stately
mansions and most extensive landed estates in Virginia. He married Miss
Lewis, a niece of the President, and left among other issue a son,
Charles L. Peyton, of Greenbrier, now surviving at an advanced age, and
a daughter who married an esteemed townsman, William C. Eskridge, Esq.,
the father of William Peyton Eskridge, of this city. Craven Peyton was a
nephew of the Revolutionary patriot, Colonel Henry Peyton, whose third
and last son, old enough for military duty, was killed by a cannon ball
from the British fleet during the siege of Charleston, S. C. He fell
into the arms of the late Lieut., afterwards Gen. Porterfield, of
Augusta, who immediately communicated the sad intelligence of his death
to his father. Col. Peyton, when he heard of it, was struck dumb with
grief, but in a moment recovering his equilibrium and self-control,
exclaimed, "_Would to God I had another to put in his place._" Such was
the stuff of our Revolutionary heroes. Col. Henry Peyton was the father
of Miss Fanny Peyton, wife of Chancellor Brown, and great-grandfather of
the late distinguished and still lamented Col. John B. Baldwin and Mrs.
Alexander H. H. Stuart:[30]

  [30] From this branch of the Peytons are also descended Mrs. J. M.
  Ranson, of Jefferson county, W. Va., Captain William L. Clark, of
  Winchester, Va., Mrs. R. T. W. Duke, of Albemarle, the late Judge J. E.
  Brown, of Wythe, Mrs. Hunter McGuire, of Richmond, Mrs. Robert Gibson,
  of Cincinnati, and many others of worth and distinction in Virginia, the
  South and West.--R. A. B. in Richmond Standard.

                                         Monticello, August 12, 1821.

_Dear Sir_--Instead of answering your letter yesterday, I desired the
bearer to tell you I should see you at Monteagle to-day, being anxious,
also, to see my sister before I set out for Bedford, whom you mention to
be still unwell. I accordingly mounted my horse just now to visit you,
but found him so lame I was obliged to turn back. With respect to the
fodder I had, on Mr. Bacon's suggestion, searched for and found the
account of it, which he had given me, at the time and I had forgotten;
that, therefore, is right and there can be no difficulty between us. I
have not yet learned from Mr. Estor Randolph when he will be able to
make me payment. The moment he does I will transmit to you. I have not
yet urged him, because I know he is a most anxious man always to pay a
debt and that he will soon inform me. With respect to ----, if he ever
becomes a sober man, there will be no difficulty of reconciliation on
Anne's account, but as long as he is subject to drink, his society is
dangerous and we shall reject it.

I shall be glad to know the exact state of my sister's health; and pray,
if she needs it, that Dr. Watkins may be requested to attend to her, and
to place it on my account. I shall not stay more than a week in Bedford.

                                     Affectionately yours,
Craven Peyton, Esq.                                    TH. JEFFERSON.



                            Shirley, near Staunton, Feb'y 28th, 1858.

_Dear Uncle:_

I was much gratified to get your letter, brief as it was, a few days
since, and was surprised to hear that you had been so long and so
seriously indisposed. I hope by this time you have entirely recovered,
and if not, I must renew my suggestion and invitation to you again. My
suggestion that you ought to leave Washington for a time, and my
invitation that you should pass that time in the fresh air and quiet
comforts of my house at Shirley. By coming and staying a month or two
with me you might be permanently improved in health, and it would not,
as you seem to apprehend, increase your expenses, or cut off your salary
in Washington. Gov. Floyd, under the circumstances of the case would not
hesitate to grant you a furlough. The pleasure I would enjoy from your
society would be very great, and my wife asks me to assure you that
nothing would give her more pleasure than to have you come.

The weather here is charming, and spring-like, which is something
unusual at this season, but is what we expected after the vile "spell"
we have had for the past five weeks.

Staunton has been quite up in the books this winter between lectures,
concerts, auctions, exhibitions and other pastimes and amusements.

Among the eminent strangers we have had lecture here, was George D.
Prentice, of the "Louisville Journal." I did not hear his lecture, but
dined with him one day while here at Judge J. H. McCue's, and confess I
was not much impressed which is still further evidence of the soundness
of the opinion I formed when travelling west in 1848, namely: The
farther I went west the more convinced I was that the wise men came from
the East.

Few persons left here for Richmond on the 22nd, and those who did were
so worried by the great crowd that they saw little, and enjoyed what
they saw, less.

Everett's[31] oration surpassed any anticipations I had formed of it,
while Hunter's fell far below the public expectation. What can
compensate a man for falling below the public estimate on such an
occasion! It almost drives a man to believe every effort a mockery--and
that he is apt to reap by his efforts not fame, but despair.

  [31] Edward Everett's Oration on Washington.

Crawford's statue of Washington is said to be the finest specimen of
the kind extant, by the side of which that hobby-horse concern, Mill's
Statue of President Jackson, in Washington is a miserable failure. The
"horse" of Crawford is agreed to be above praise, while that of "Mills,"
in front of the President's house is said to be a ewe-necked tacky, a
mealy-mouthed, wall-eyed brute, who looks as if old Jackson, in the
language of a Tennessee poet:

    "Had placed on him a bridle and a saddle,
    Then on his back had leapt astraddle."

and had been ever since fastened there by iron rods, which are said to
run up the horse's hind legs, keeping him on an equipoise, and forever
facing the White House.

Among those who were attracted to Richmond was Howe, but what, (if any)
impressions were made on his mind, is not known, as he has since
observed a severe silence.

I was not surprised to learn of the rage for fashion and extravagance in
Washington. It is always so with the _parvenues_, whether in Washington
or on 5th Avenue. The "new-rich" have no other way of bringing
themselves into notice and contempt. They constitute a beastly crew, who
change their principles much oftener than their linen. I cordially
participate in your feelings of disgust for such a gang.

Betty joins me in affectionate salutations. Hoping to hear from you
soon, I am dear Uncle, as ever,

                             Your affectionate nephew,

  Thos. P. Lewis, Esq.,}                           JOHN LEWIS PEYTON.
    War Department,    }
    Washington, D. C.  }

                   LETTER OF COL. JOHN LEWIS PEYTON.

                               GENERAL LEE.

                                     Staunton, Va., December 3, 1877.

_To the Baltimore Gazette:_

In your paper of the 30th of November you introduce the following lines,
with the remark, "_On the fly-leaf of the copy of the Iliad given by the
late Earl of Derby to General Robert E Lee were the following verses_:"

    The grave old bard, who never dies,
      Receive him in our native tongue;
    I send thee, but with weeping eyes,
      The story that he sung.

    _Thy_ Troy has fallen--thy dear land
      Is marred beneath the spoiler's heel;
    I cannot trust my trembling hand
      To write the grief I feel.

    Oh, home of tears! But let her bear
      This blazon to the end of time;
    No nation rose so white and fair,
      None fell so pure of crime.

    The widow's moan, the orphan's wail,
      Are round thee; but in truth be strong;
    Eternal right, though all things fail,
      Can never be made wrong.

    An angel's heart, an angel's mouth,
      (_Not Homer's_) could alone for me
    Hymn forth the great Confederate South;
      Virginia first--then Lee.

Permit me to say that you are in error in attributing these lines to the
late Earl of Derby. Lord Derby was an eminent statesman, as well as
distinguished scholar, and during the whole period of the civil war in
our country was the leader of the opposition, or Tory party in the
British Parliament. Never during this time did he criticise adversely
the policy of Lord Palmerston in refusing recognition to the Confederate
government. So far from it, he distinctly and repeatedly announced his
concurrence in the course of the British cabinet. Had he been at the
head of her majesty's government at that period I am satisfied that he
would have adhered strictly to the policy of Palmerston and Gladstone in
this particular. This was his firm position, though urged to use his
influence to secure Confederate recognition by many influential
gentlemen of the Tory party, among them Sir Seymour Fitzgerald, the
present governor of Bombay; Mr. Beresford Hope, M. P.; Mr. Gregory, M.
P. for Galway, and others not so well known in this country.

Such was Lord Derby's anxiety to relieve the distress arising from the
cotton famine in Lancashire, lest it might lead to popular agitation in
favor of a recognition of the Southern States, that he made a single
subscription to the relief fund of £5,000. Not only in this case, but in
many others throughout the war, he showed himself anything else than
what was styled in those days in England "a friend and sympathizer with
the South."

It is not at all likely, then, that his lordship would, whatever his
admiration of the character and military genius of General Lee, have
addressed him the foregoing lines, nor is it true. The lines were
written by a young and gifted English poet, now no more, _Philip
Stanhope Worsely_. Mr. W. was a scholar of Corpus Christi College,
Oxford, and died about ten years since. He gave the world in 1861 a
translation of the Odyssey in the Gregorian stanza--one of the most
pleasing hitherto produced--and in 1865 published a translation of the
Iliad in the Spenserian stanza. A copy of this latter work he sent to
General Lee, with a little poem of presentation written on the fly-leaf.
It was seen by the General's friends, who requested a transcript of the
verses for publication, but he would never permit them to be printed,
his native modesty shrinking from the warm panegyric they embodied. Now
that both poet and soldier have passed away there is no good reason why
they should be withheld from the public eye, and I must express my
gratification at seeing them in _The Gazette_. At the same time it is
due to the memories of both that the error into which you have
unconsciously fallen should be corrected, and this is the sole motive
with which I have addressed you this brief and hasty note.

                                                     J. LEWIS PEYTON.


  Abandons the Jackson party, 11

  Alexander, Dr., 53

  Alexander, John, 130

  Account of his visit to Kentucky, 51

  African colonization favors, 79

  Ablest criminal lawyer in Virginia, 84

  Academy, the Staunton, 10

  Adams, John Quincy, 11

  Adams, Dr., 37

  Appendices A, 276

  Anecdote of the Fighting Major, 29

  Anecdote of Gen. Peyton of Kentucky, 260

  Anecdote of J. H. P. in a criminal case, 55

  Allen, Judge J. J., 13, 116, 138, 132

  Augusta Agricultural Society, 10

  "Allen" nominates Mr. P. for Court of Appeals, 118

  A bundle of miscellaneous letters, 131

  Amherst Festival, J. H. P's letter, 123-5

  Anderson, Col. Wm., a letter of, 236

  Advice of J. H. P. to S. M. P., 132

  A hero of 1776--Col. Hy Peyton, 280

  Advice to Col. J. L. P., 139

  Appeals, Court of, adopts J. H. P's letter to Tucker, 116

  A deplorable accident to J. H. P., 125

  Accident to Judge B. G. Baldwin, 101

  A captain of light horse, 7

  Attorney for the Commonwealth resigns, 158

  A complete lawyer, 160

  Allison's History of Europe, Mr. P. on, 180

  Always helped the young, 179

  A master spirit, 181

  Barbour, Judge P. P., 9

  Baldwin, J. B., 17, 46, 149, 226

  Baldwin, Susan M., sketch of, 271

  Baldwin, B. G. on J. H. P., 65, 76, 101, 138

  Bumgardner, Capt. James' speech, 204, 210

  Bowyer, m., 37

  Bowyer, Henry, 126

  Baxter, John, 49

  Baxter, Sidney S., 208

  Barton, R. R., 130

  Bickle, Adam, 20

  Berrian, John M. (Senator), 70

  Brockenbrough, Dr. John, 37, 134

  Brickley, 37

  Brock, R. A., letter of, 238

  Bradshaw, 48

  Brown, Chancellor John, 45

  Breckenridge, Gen. Jas, 92

  Benton, Th. H., 104

  Bosses, The Ring, Mr. P. on, 76

  Burrell, Nat, 126

  Boys, Dr. William, 45

  Books a boy should read, 45

  Cabell, J. C., 109

  Cabell, Wm. H., 116

  Cabell, Mayo, accident to, 144

  Cadets, the Va., at West Point, 143

  Campbell, Hugh, 143

  Campaign of 1840, 118

  Clay, Henry visits Staunton, 113

  Charlottesville, J. H. P., speech, 114

  Cameron, Col, 48

  Carter, Hill, 116

  Carter, Robt. W., 160

  Conrad, R. Y., 13

  Comfort, Professor, 53

  Chalkley, Judge L., letter of, 203

  Cowan, Joseph, 40, 82

  Crutchfield, Mr., 240

  Cowan, A. M. D., 14

  Clark, Samuel, 82

  Crawford, B., 50, 191

  Clark, A. B., of N. Y., 107

  Cochran, John, his home, 97

  Cochren, Geo. M, 204, 191

  Couch, Deborah, 144

  Captain of Light-horse, 7

  Chief of Staff, 27

  County Court, on J. H. P's resignation, 159

  Daniel, Judge Wm., 13

  Daniel, Peter V., 97

  Dabney, John, 108

  Dade, Judge A. G., 111

  Declines a 2nd term in Senate, 127

  Dorman, Geo. C. P., 130

  Dined and wined, 97

  Descendants of Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Peyton, 270

  Duncan, Judge E. S., 112

  Divers, Mr., 95

  Difficulties, how to overcome, 90

  Disease leads to his change of home, 23

  Democratic party, 11

  Davidson, Jas. D., 209, 235

  Dupuy, Mrs. L., letter of, 239

  Derby, Earl of, 285-86

  Empress, Catherine, of Russia, 36

  Education, his views on, 10, 11

  Eskridge, George, 82

  Elder, Maj. T. C. speech accepting J. H. P's portrait, 210

  Echols, General letter of, 230

  French, Judge S. B., letter of, 235

  Fighting Major, 29

  Federal Attorney declines, 32

  Fultz, David, 59

  Green, T. M., 208

  Goss, John, 242

  Family, every one a history, 88

  Frazier, Win., sketch of J. H. P., 109, 168

  Farragut, Admiral, 105

  Fry, Judge, 107

  Faulkner, Chas. J., 160

  Garland, Mayor James, 184

  Gallagher, M., 54

  Gaston, Judge Wm., 70

  Gallagher, Miss, 98

  Green, Mary, of Kentucky, 98

  Girl, defenceless, J. H. P. defends, 112

  Gallaher, J. S. on J. H. P's retirement, 128

  Griffith, Dr., 126

  Gatewood, E., 145

  Green, John R., 152

  Green, T. M., 208

  Getty, George W., 152

  Goss, John, 242

  Hay, George, 9

  Hayne, R. C., 23

  Harrison, Wm. H., 30

  Harrison, Randolph, 116

  Hart, Nat, 32

  Holiday, Lewis, 36

  Harvie, Wm., 37

  Huston, Gen., 54

  Halcombe, Wm. H., 149

  Hendren, John N., 152

  Hubbard, J. R., 160

  Harrison, Judge Geo. M., 218

  Hanger, Hon. Marshall, 219

  Invests money in public work, 84

  Ingersoll, I. R., M. C., 1

  Johnston, Frederick, 126

  Johnson, Col. R. M., 32

  Jay, John, 32, 35

  Jackson, Pres., refuses to follow him, 87, 43

  Jackson, party dines him in Richmond, 97

  Judgeship declines, voted for, 68, 70

  Jefferson, T., letters, 109

  Kent, Mrs. Jos. F., why so named, 139

  Knowledge leads to happiness, 142

  Langhorne, M., 126

  Languages, ancient and modern, improvements of, 143

  Lee, Gen. G. W. C., 240

  Lawyer, the fiddling, 59

  Lawyer, the ablest in Va., 84

  Leigh, B. W., 9, 97

  Letters, old, 32, 39, 44, 48, 88, 99

  Letters, of J. H. P. on 2nd term in Senate, 121

  Letters, miscellaneous, 131

  Letters, declines a 2nd Senatorial term, 127

  Letters, from Rockbridge committee, 129

  Letters, of advice to S. M. P. and J. L. P., 132, 139

  Letters, on Earl of Derby, 284

  Letters, Littlepage, Lewis, 35

  Lewis, Charles H., 152

  Lewis, Gen. S. H., 97

  Lewis, Col. Wm. L., 59, 60

  Lewis, James A., 145

  Lewis, Major John, 42

  Lewis, major Thos. Preston, 102

  Lewis, John Benjamin, cadet, 51

  Lewis, J. F., letter of, 237

  Lewis, Mrs. Mary P., letter of, 242

  Lewis, Col. John, 243

  Lewis, Mrs. Mary Preston, letter of, 240

  Lockridge, Alex, 50

  Legislature dines, J. H. P., 97

  Loyal, Mr., of Norfolk, 105

  Log cabins of the West, 102

  Lines to the memory of Mrs. Peyton, 268

  List of Peytons in U. S. A., 275

  Massie, Capt., 14, 36, 39, 45

  Mosby, Charles L., 149

  Minor, Prof. J. B., letter of, 234, 236

  Manners, Ld. John, 73

  McCue, John, 82, 130

  McCue, John H., sketch of J. H. P., 23, 176

  Military Schools, 25

  Mayor of Staunton, J. H. P., 17, 31

  Matthews, Sampson, 48

  Murray, Mrs. Jas. B., 54

  McDowell, Gov. Jas., 98

  McDowell, Dr. James W., 154-5

  Massie, Henry, 99

  Meade, Bishop, 105

  McElhany, Parson, 107

  Mind, J. H. P. unimpaired, 17

  McClintic, Wm., 41

  Michie, Thomas J., on Peyton, 121, 109, 131, 119, 208, 215, 231

  Mathematics, should be studied, 141

  Moncure, Mrs. Wm., 133

  Moncure, Judge R. C. L., 78, 208

  Moore, Samuel McD., 68, 102

  Madison, President James, 11

  Madison, Wm. Strother, 7

  Madison, Bishop, 7

  Monroe, James, 11

  Nicholas, Norborne, 37

  Norfolk, visits, 105

  Nelson, Dr. and Mrs., 107

  Nominated for Senate, 83

  National Whig Convention, 113

  North mountain road case, 119

  Oliver, M., 126

  Originality, Mr. P's, 65

  Old letter of J. L. P., 280

  Patton, J. M., 134

  Payne, Dr., 126

  Porterfield, Gen. R., 9

  Pleasants, John H., 96, 128

  Potter, Ben, 46

  Points, James, 144

  Parrish, R. L., 240

  Peyton, Val., Capt., killed, 28

  Peyton, Valentine, 52

  Peyton, Henry, 1

  Peyton, List of Peytons in the Revolutionary army, 274

  Peyton, Susan, M., 91, 132

  Peyton, Mrs. S. M., her death, 34

  Peyton, John, 1

  Peyton, Jesse E., letter of, 240

  Peyton, John Rowze, 2

  Peyton, Rowze, letter of, 157

  Peyton, John Lewis, 93, 143

  Peyton, John Lewis,  letter of, 150, 154

  Peyton, John Lewis, letter to, 139

  Peyton, John Lewis, speech, 216

  Peyton, John Lewis, U.S. agent in Europe, 183

  Peyton, John Lewis, letter of, 282, 284, 285

  Peyton, Mrs., sketch of, 240

  Peyton, Wm. Madison, 7, 126, 33, 55

  Peyton, Wm. Madison, letter of, 155

  Peyton, Gen., of Kentucky, anecdote, 276

  Peyton, John Howe, 7, 9, 15, 16, 38, 51, 55, 67, 88, 71, 83, 127

  Peyton, John Howe, death of, 157, 160

  Peyton, John Howe, sketches of, 160, 168, 176, 192, 198

  Peyton, John Howe, his portrait presented to Augusta Co., 201

  Peyton, Robert L. Y., 148

  Peyton, Townsend Dade, 148

  Peyton, Col. Francis, 148

  Peyton, Mrs. John H., 241

  Peyton, Craven, letter to, 280

  Preston, Wm., 14

  Preston, Col. Wm. of Kentucky, 8

  Preston, J. M., 45

  Preston, John, letter of, 241

  Preston, Thos. L., 136

  Preston, John T. L., sketch of J. H. P., 160

  Political sentiments of J. H. P., 85

  Providence of God, 91

  Pickpockets rob J. H. P., 135

  Pocahontas visits, 47

  Public meeting to receive J. H. P's portrait, 204

  Pigeon-hole a, contents of, 273

  Poem, on Lee, 285

  Ranson, Capt. T. D., 204

  Rives, Wm. C., 13

  Rives, Alexander, letter of, 233

  Roane, S. Judge, 37, 38

  Retires from bar, J. H. P., 83

  Robertson, Judge John, 144

  Robinson, Anthony, 105

  Religious topics, 59

  Religious belief, J. H. P's, 65

  Rush, Richard, Minister to England, 70

  Radicals oppose him, 74

  Roanoke, visits, 126

  Rockbridge Committee to J. H. P., 128

  Ruff, John, 130

  Ritchie, Thomas, Jr., 128

  Robbed by pickpockets, 135

  Reading, a course of recommended by J. H. P., 149

  Rieley, Judge, G. W., letter of, 237

  Ruffner, Rev. W. H. (D. D.), letter of, 238

  Senate course in, 12

  Smeade, Rev. G. G., letter of, 238

  Scott, R. E., 13, 32

  Scott, R. Taylor, 240

  Scott, Gen. Winfield, 54

  Scott, Stuart, Lewis, 93

  Stuart, A. H. H, 231, 121

  Stuart, Charles A., 82

  Stuart, Judge A., 47, 109, 110, 195

  Staunton Spectator, editorial of, 223

  Staunton Post, (newspaper) editorial, 219

  Sketch of J. H. P., by Prof. J. T. L. Preston, 160

  Stribling, Dr. F. T., 134

  Speech, on the death of Roane J. H. P's, 37, 38

  Staunton issues paper money, 31

  Senex, anecdote by, 132

  Sherrard, Jos. H., letter of, 232

  Spencer, Mrs. T. R., 98

  Sheffey, Dan'l, 9, 23

  Sheffey, H. W. Judge, 120, 209

  Sheffey, J. H. P. eloquence of, 209, 231

  Stout, Judge Jno. W., letter of, 201

  Stannard, Judge Robt., 116

  Smith, J. W., 144

  Smith, Rev. J. H., letter of, 220

  Smith, Gen. F. H., 145

  Sergeant, Judge Jno., 70

  Speece, Dr. Conrad, 83

  Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, 32

  Stony Hill, 77

  Sketch of J. H. P., 160

  Sketch of J. H. P., 168

  Sketch of J. H. P., 176

  Tazewell, L. N., 9

  Tucker, H., St. George Judge, 9, 133, 116, 180

  Tucker, John Randolph, letter of, 217

  Traveling in 1826, 30, 51

  Thompson, L. P., 65

  Thompson, Hon. G. W., sketch of J. H. P., 198

  Taylor, Wm., M. C., 98

  Taylor, George B., 126

  Trials, how to meet them, J. H. P. on, 90

  T . . ., by J. H. P., 125

  Telfair, Mrs., 38, 133

  Tapscott, Susan, 152

  Tams, Wm. Purviance, 204

  Thomas, C. B., letter of, 239

  Van Buren, Martin, J. H. P. on, 115

  Valentine, Ed., 106, 135

  Virginia Female Institute, 10

  Volunteers in the war of 1812, J. H. P., 28

  Wirt, Wm. Hon., 9, 32, 227

  Washington College Trustee of J. H. P., 10

  West Point, letter from, 142, 51

  Wilson, Rev. J. C., 134

  Wined and dined, 97

  Whig address, 160

  Wren, M. B., lines in memory of Mrs. Peyton, 268

  Woodville, J. L., 34, 138, 153

  Waddell, Dr. A., 188

  Waddell, L., 54, 139, 159

  Waddell, Jos. A., Sketch of J. H. P., 187

  Western Hospital, 11

  Western trip in 1815, 32

  Watts, Gen. E., 126

  Webster, Daniel, 23, 183, 228

  War of 1812, 27

  Witcher, V., 13

  Young, D. S., Sketch of J. H. P., 192

  Young people encouraged by J. H. P., 179

  Yost's Weekly, (newspaper,) editorial of, 226

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Page 42 "the kind attenins of Mrs. Massie and her family". "attenins"
has been replaced with "attendance". It could also be "attentions".

Page 55 "the third to George Mays, and John Brown.*" The original has
an asterisk here, but no footnote.

Page 74 original has a blank space "and said that these enthusiasts".

Page 98 footnote: "continued up and the time of Mr. Peyton's death".
Substituted "to" for "and".

Page 118 "able to get any than that which follows".Inserted "get any

Page 156 "good deal a machinery to work ..." The "a" has been replaced
with "of".

Page 261 "which will afford 8 day"... Inserted '8 "hours a" day' as

Page 277 "Valentine, Book 4, p. 42?" The question mark denotes that a
number is obscured.

Page 296 missing word in index denoted as T . . .

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoir of John Howe Peyton - in sketches by his contemporaries, together with some of - his public and private letters, etc., also a sketch of Ann - M. Peyton" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.