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CHAPTER II.

GOVERNOR JOSEPH E. BROWN'S EARLY LIFE.

His rapid rise from the walks of humble private life, obstructed by the disabilities of poverty, and the want of early scholastic advantages which many of his contemporaries enjoyed, propelled by the self-sustaining energy of a naturally great mind to the highest honor in the gift of the State at the age of thirty-six years, invests his personal history with an interest to the people of this and future generations, and with a priceless value to mankind. Many men in this State have risen rapidly, and come to high official honors in early middle life. But they were propelled by early advantages and propitious surroundings, and were obstructed by far less competition in other able and popular men.

Cobb rose as rapidly, and began earlier in life to receive public honors than Brown. But he grew up in the heart of the State, enjoyed the training of her masters of learning in Franklin College at Athens, came up in the very centre of political power and influence, and was heralded by powerful family prestige, and sustained by worldly fortune. Brown comes from the mountain district, the remote interior of the State, far from railroads and telegraphs, and schools of learning, and the boasted intellectual centres, and as far from political cabals and juntos. His fortunes have not been speeded or his morals diluted by the improvements of metropolitan life and society, nor does he share too largely the sympathy of the older men supplanted or postponed by his promotion and elevation. He enters on his high office with but few political props to uphold, and fewer dead weights to pull him down.

He is a comparatively frail man in body; may die young. Hence this note of his physique. He is five feet ten inches in height, and weighs about one hundred and thirty-five pounds; he will not compare with Toombs and Johnson in splendor of personal outline, or with Mark A. Cooper, and John C. Breckenridge, in stately and imposing height and form, and strength of body; and still he is further removed from the pattern of Alexander H. Stephens

His complexion is fair, though slightly swarthy, or wanting in the ruddy, fresh glow of the young men of active life, physical strength, and health. The hair and beard are black, the latter of reasonable luxuriance, and the former indicating a slight 'want of richness and depth of soil. The head is unusually large, and seems to balance well on the vertebral column; the brow expansive and indicating in its conformation a native powerful mental organization with uncommon perceptive and reasoning faculties; the brain within seems never to tire, but is capable of powerful and prolonged exertion; the features are full and reg

; ular, with a cheek, chin, and nose in proportion with the high and well-rounded forehead; large square mouth and thick lips; eyes of deep, dark blue when in repose, and radiant under mental effort and excitement; his chest is too thin for great strength of lungs; he is not fitted for loud and boisterous declamation; his throat is weak, and subject to irritation and disorder; his voice is loud and smooth in tone, distinct and clear in pronunciation, which can be well understood to the extent of the voice itself. But it cannot be extended like that of Hill, Johnson, and Stephens. Hence he is never very loud or vehement, even in the most important speeches, but is always self-possessed, self-reliant, confident, and deliberate. He is earnest and emphatic in conversation, but never boisterous or noisy, and never emphasizes his ideas with oaths or expletive adjectives. Never deals in fiction or fancy in conveying his thoughts to his hearers, but uses facts and reason, and the most exhaustive argumentation, in the plainest, and most approved English words. With the air of slow and stately dignity, he has no military dash in his walk and physical motions. Nothing of the swell of the nabob, or dainty toilet of the fop; and nothing of the coarse, careless, and ruffian manner of the hoosier. Genteel, but not showy; neat, but not gaudy, is his style of dress and address.

But few, perhaps, will be able, by following his example in pursuit of public honors, to approximate his brilliant success. But there are points to be noted in his personal habits, that all the world may profit by following. He abstains habitually and totally from all intoxicating drinks, and loathes and rejects tobacco in all its forms and uses. And in my intimate and cordial friendly relations with him in private life, I have never heard him use a profane oath, or relate an obscene or vulgar anecdote.

In religion he is also a decided character, and is as firm and pronounced a Baptist in church relations, as he is a Democrat in politics. It is, however, a noteworthy feature of the religion of the churches, and the politics of this State, that they never mix much with each other.

The politicians on their canvasses are not over-zealous in religion; and the men of the church in turn forget or disregard its fellowship when they come to vote in party elections. The Christians of the period love the cause of religion and adhere strongly to their respective churches when in the prosperous or revival state, and for all the legitimate and scriptural purposes of their professions ; but when the tide of politics arises they naturally drift, every man with his own party.

Brown is a steady and consistent Baptist—the line of distinction is as clear between Baptists and Methodists for all religious purposes, as between Democrats and Whigs for political purposes. The members of opposing churches respect each other as Christian professors, and those of opposing parties respect each other as citizens of a common government, while they stand aloof and act in their separate organizations. Hill is a decided Methodist, but was enthusiastically supported by all good Baptist whigs, as Brown was by all good Methodist democrats. It is, moreover, a very marked characteristic with both parties, and exemplified by the public officers of both, whether political, judicial, or ministerial, that in the discharge of official duty they are sternly impartial between all the religious denominations.

1879.

After the eventful period of twenty-two years—when the then youthful statesman has grown gray, and his career has been crowned with the most eminent success—in public administration, so far as it was in the power of the largest measure of abilities and the most sleepless energy and perseverance to save the State from disaster, and in the management of his own private fortune, as well as the public enterprises in which his business capabilities have been employed, his life becomes invested with an interest and value to mankind whenever and

wherever genius and talent struggle with privations and difficulties, and when masterly abilities and moral courage attempt to confront and repress wrong and correct abuses; and where sagacity and forecast, almost prophetic, by bold and daring originality, seek to wield the powers of government in the interest and general improvement and advantage of the people, instead of burdening them for selfish and ambitious purposes.

Even the childhood and youth of a man whose grand thoughts resulted in original plans for the general good, but many of which were thwarted or retarded by destructive war, to be utilized and adopted by his successors, have an example so moral and sublime as to claim the minute attention of aspiring young men in all countries.

His paternal ancestors were Scotch-Irish, his immediate ancestor the descendant of emigrants, of honorable descent, to Virginia upwards of a century ago. Like Crawford, Forsyth, and many others who have adorned the State in high positions, the ancestry was Virginian. The grandfather, Joseph Brown, was a whig rebel, and took active part in the war for independence. The father, Mackey Brown, was a native of South Carolina, to which State the ancestors had removed. In early life he removed and became a citizen of Tennessee where he joined the army in the brigade of General Carroll and served under General Jackson in the campaign of New Orleans. There was a consequent family admiration of Jackson as a hero and statesman.

His mother's maiden name was Sally Rice, who was also of Virginian ancestry. The Rice family having before emigrated to Tennessee, Mackey Brown and Sally Rice were married and resided in that State until a short time before the birth of Joseph Emerson, which took

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