Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/66

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

Madison possessed, to a wonderful extent, an exquisite sense of humor, which though felt and admired in conversation, was so effectively controlled as never to appear in his written composition or his public discussions. It was reserved for social intercourse exclusively. He thought that truth and. reason were the proper weapons for the forum. His love of humor did not forsake him even in old age. During his last days, when visited by two of his friends he rose and greeted them; as he resumed his recumbent position on his couch he apologized for so doing, observing with a smile, "I always talk more easily when I lie." He had a great many jokes on his friend, Jefferson, which he told with great glee. He died in his eighty-fifth year, in 1836.


Was one of the most striking figures in the Convention. By his admirers he was regarded as at once the Solon and the Cato, the law-giver and the uncompromising patriot in the age in which he lived. In the Bill of Rights drawn by him, occurs the following sentence: "That no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate emoluments, or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public service, which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator or judge to be hereditary." Here is a volume of truth and wisdom. This truth is accentuated when we behold our trust-ridden country under an infamous and unjust tariff, under which one class of citizens are made hewers of wood and drawers of water for another class, and indiscriminate plunder permitted. The protected is allowed to exact separate emoluments and to enjoy privileges from the community at large under class legislation.

George Mason was a Virginian, not only by birth, but in sentiment, in affection and devotion. He was a Virginian first, last and all the time; secondarily, he was an American.

The views of Washington were the antithesis of Mason's. Washington believed in a strong centralized government; he knew the utter futility of the confederation. He regarded the Union not only as paramount, but perpetual. He was a patriot, an American. In his farewell address – so pathetic, so full of tender love and devotion – he writes as would a father to his children. He speaks of "the unity of the government, which