Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/41

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" In the midst of his budding prospects, rapidly ripening into fru- ition, insidious disease attacked him. It was long hoped that the dose and fibrous system which had, seemingly, defied all the laws of nature, would prove superior to this malady. His unconquerable will bore him up long against its attacks. Indeed, it seemed that only death itself could subdue that fiery and unextinguishable energy. He made his last great effort, breathing in its feeble accents, but a more touching and affecting pathos and a more persuasive eloquence in behalf of Lopez, charged with the offence of fitting out an expe- dition against Cuba. So weak was he that he was compelled to de- liver in a sitting posture, and was carried, after its delivery, exhausted from the bar.

" Not long after this time, in a state of complete prostration, he was taken in a steamboat from New Orleans to Natchez, under the care of some faithful friends. The opiates given him and the ex- haustion of nature had dethroned his imperial reason, and the great advocate talked wildly of some trial in which he supposed he was engaged. When he reached Natchez he was taken to the residence of a relation, and from that time, only for a moment, did a glance of recognition fall, lighting up for an instant his pallid features, upon his wife and children weeping around his bed. On the morning of July i, 1850, died this remarkable man in the forty-second year of his age. What he was we know. What he might have been, after a mature age and a riper wisdom we cannot tell. But that he was capable of commanding the loftiest heights of fame, and marking his name and character upon the age he lived in we verily believe.

"But he has gone. He died, and lies buried near that noble river which first, when a raw Yankee boy, caught his poetic eye, and stirred by its aspect of grandeur his sublime imagination; upon whose shores first fell his burning and impassioned words as they aroused the rapturous applause of his astonished auditors. And long will that noble river flow out its tide into the gulf ere the roar of its current shall mingle with the tones of such eloquence again eloquence as full and majestic, as resistless and sublime, and as wild in its sweep as its own sea-like flood

" ' The mightiest river

Rolls mingling with his fame forever.'

"The tidings of his death came like wailing over the State, and we all heard them as the toll of the bell for a brother's funeral. The chivalrous felt when they heard that ' young Harry Percy's spur was