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ence in Congress-Resolutions of 1798-99—
Secretary of State-President-Montpelier-
His wife "Dolly.”.
Autobiography of the Author.
mo WAS born on the 19th day of April, 1797, in
the County of Culpepper, in the State of Virginia, the son of Samuel and Francis Slaughter, both of English descent, and both well educated. My father was an excellent Greek and Latin scholar, and his taste in English literature was formed by reading such authors as Johnson, Addison, Goldsmith, Swift, Steele and Parnell. His children, of whom he had thirteen, (three sons, of whom I was the eldest, and ten daughters), were educated at home in private classical schools under his own obseryation. I completed my education at William and Mary College; although I was there but a short time and not a class student, I learned rapidly and rarely forgot what I learned. I was always fond of adventure; romance, whether in real life or in the realm of imagina
tion fascinated me; I was a student at the time of the publication of Sir Walter Scott's novels, and devoured them as they came from the press. I thought " Jennie Deans" the most perfect character ever conceived in the world of thought. I said my parents were of English descent. Addison in his Spectator speaks of “Slaughter's Coffee House" as a place where the wits of London sembled to discuss literary subjects, and I have sometimes imagined I have seen old Sam. Johnson in that club, presiding with assumed dignity and conscious superiority, while poor Goldsmith was shrinking from observation. How or whence my ancestors derived their name, I am at a loss to conjecture. We know that at one period in English history many families took their names from their occupation; as the Carters, Waggoners, Weavers, etc.; and so may the Slaughters have done, whether of high or low degree. If they slew whole regiments of men, they were warriors or heroes; if only a few individuals, they were murderers; if they slew innocent brutes they were butchers. We infer from the motto on the family coat of arms, said to have been given to them by William the Conqueror, that they were warriors and his followers, and that the motto “invicta fideletatis præmium,” The Reward of Invincible Fidelity, was a tribute due to their merit. If their propensities were ever warlike, they have been thoroughly eradicated by the arts of peace and the meliorating influences of civilization. I said I was fond of adventure and loved romance. I had an opportunity of gratifying my romantic tastes on my way to William and Mary College I spent one night at Jamestown, the cradle of a great and flourishing State, but now a wilderness without an inhabitant. Sixty years ago, when I was there, a solitary Irishman was the only inhabitant, and his sole occupation was that of transporting students to and from the steamboat landing on the James river and Williamsburg, the seat of William and Mary College. I landed at Jamestown about eight o'clock in the evening, and after taking a very frugal repast with my solitary host, I wandered forth under the mellowing influence of a moonlight night in early October to see the ancient city. I was not disappointer. I saw king Powhattan sitting in the door of his wigwam, decked with the regalia of royal authority, surrounded by his savage warriors reclining upon their mother earth, while the chiefs, or head men, were deliberating upon the fate of Captain John Smith, their prisoner, bound hand and foot. Suddenly I heard a female shriek, and looking around, I saw Pocahontas prostrating herself between the gallant Smith and the uplifted club of the unfeeling savage, and by this heroic act preserving the life of this daring adventurer. Although her mind had never been illuminated by the beams of science, or polished by the refinements of civilization ; although she had been accustomed from her infancy to the contemplation of scenes of the most savage barbarity, yet the spark of compassion which nature had kindled in her bosom had not been extinguished; and when she beheld the object of her affections about to be sacrificed to the fury of the blood-thirsty savage, it broke forth with a lustre which will shed an enduring halo around her memory. Pocahontas has commanded the