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one dwelling besides his escaped destruction. Bucket in hand he clambered over the roof with the agility of an expert fireman, and with heroic determination fough' the flames wherever they appeared. Whilst his neighbors at once gave up all hope of saving their homes, he fought and triumphed over the fire fiend.
Dr. Fisher's early struggles, along with his naturally kind heart, made him the life-lung friend and counsellor of students and young ministers. As treasurer of the board of beneficiary education he was brought into frequent correspondence with students who needed and received the support of the Church. Many of our most at eful men, some of whom now whitening with age, still recal with pleasure his words of counsel and sympathy to them when they were beneficiary students.
Like all mathematicians, he was remarkably methodical. He naturally bad an eye for accuracy of details. He was just as determined to have the harness accurately put on his horse as be was to have the items of his annual report to Synod clear and truthful. Dr. Davis says that during his ministry at Chambersburg Dr. Fisher once told him that one thing always worried him while hearing him preach. Not the sermon, but a small square post at the end of the pulpit, gave him trouble. He said, "I am always annoyed by that post, because one side of it has been worked crooked." Was there ever one among the thousands of people that worshiped in this venerable building during the fifty years since its erection who noticed rhe little defect in this post save Dr. Fisher?
In his earlier ministry a fall from his horse dislocated his shoulder, which thereafter would now and then slip out of joint for him, and sometimes on inconvenient occasions. It usually came from a misstep or fall, when he would suddenly throw up his arm. One Sunday evening, after having preached in the country, we returned after churchtime and slipped into the Presbyterian church, taking our seat near the door, after the services had been commenced. Coming out at the close, he failed to notice a step in the vestibule, and as he reached for my arm he suddenly stepped
down, threw up his left arm, and fell on the floor as if he had been shot. He became very sick and helpless as a child. The whole congregation had to pass us, many of whom crowded the vestibule and stairway in the greatest excitement, fearing that he was dying. A physician being present, put five of" us to work to pull the joint into its place. Three pulled at one arm and two at the other, in opposite directions. No wonder the poor brother was pale as a sheet and groaned like a dying man. No sooner had his shoulder-joint been set than he arose, took a long breath, dusted off his clothes, reached for my arm, and walked home as if nothing had happened. Often have I thought of our awkward predicament, blocking up the passage of a large congregation in the small vestibule of the old Falling Spring church.
Dr. Fisner had strong convictions, and when he happened to differ from others of contrary convictions equally strong, the two would collide with a crash. In controversy he was sometimes seemingly harsh, not from ill-will, but from an earnest desire to help the right. In the many difficulties connected with the history of our publication affairs, he often had to vindicate his policy against grave at'acks. With the complication of its financial troubles and the want of sympathy and support in certain quarters, is it a wonder that he sometimes became sensitive and 6ore, and defended the interests committed to his baud with great emphasis, and not always without personal severity? Here and there his judgment was doubtless at fault, as whose is not; yet, duties assigned him, great and small, he strove to perform with equal alacrity and fidelity. His somewhat impulsive nature sometimes gave needless offence by outrunning his more calm and deliberate judgment. He had a marvelous capacity for work. No matter how much he had to do, he always accepted of new duties like a man of much leisure. And the work might come whence it would; from a warm friend, or from one who had wronged him, he would perform it with equal cheerfulness.
Of late years his venerable figure formed a striking feature in our ecclesiastical meetings. He was fond of telliDg how of laje years, on a Christmas season, he happened to walk through one of the streets of Allentown, Pa., when a little child with bright and inquisitive eyes came running up to him and exclaimed: " Are you Santa Claus?" I suppose the dear soul thought his long, white beard and kindly face looked like pictures of the great patron saint of the children, and that perhaps he had its rich little package with him. It will take the Reformed Church a long while to become accustomed to the absence of this hard-working man. Many others of us have, by reason of sickness, been absent at times j from our posts of duty. In forty years j Dr. Fisher has never been absent from! his, save for a few weeks at a time. I believe that his death affects personally more hearts than would that of any other man in the denomination. He had some faults which some others have not. He may not have possessed some good qualities which some others possess. He was not as acceptable a preacher as some, and not as profouud a theologian as others. But such as he was, of his kind and type, the Reformed Church in the United States has never had among her many good and faithful servants one in all respects equal to Samuel R. Fisher.
An Ex-President among his Neighbors.
Princes and lords may flourish or may fade; A breath can make them as a breath has made.
On the Marietta turnpike, a short distance west of Lancaster, Pa., is a plain two-story brick building, standing on a slight elevation, some distance back from the road. A porch extends along the front, and the style of the building is quite plain, void of any of the socalled classical adornments peculiar to modern architecture. Although not high, this elevation overlooks a large part of the finest portions of Lancaster county. Towards the four points of the compass, you have an out-look such as our country rarely affords. But for certain features belonging to the surroundings of the mansion, a stranger
might take this to be the home of a plain, retired Lancaster County farmer. A passing traveller would not suspect that this had ever been the hospitable home of a President of the United States; that along the drives up the gentle slope of this lawn rode the then great men of the nation; that in this unadorned mansion plans were formed and projects started and matured which were felt throughout the civilized world. This was the home of James Buchanan, the bachelor President of the United States. Hither came a former ocupant of "'the white house," when tired with the affairs of State, to seek quiet and rest around his own hearth. Here he spent his sad old age. And after having reached the highest office in the gift of the nation, and tasted all the sweets of political success, and more than the keen anguish usual to such a career, he died in this dwelling; and here around his remains his old friend, Dr. J. W. Nevin, with tender sadness, spoke words of Gospel comfort and kindly personal appreciation at his bier.
Wheatland is just as it was left at its owner's death. The small grove of old trees in the rear of the house remains untouched. A few of the ornamental trees in the grounds may have been disfigured or blown down by the storm. Although owned and reverently cared for by the President's niece, an air of neglect usual to uninhabited premises is perceptible all around. Unp:urel trees and vines, onmown lawns, neglected gardens, and unweeded walks all show that the indwelling of a family group, affording the many-sided touches of a human presence are needed to give a home the air of a living habitation.
The Guakdian is no place to speak of Mr. Buchanau's po'itical career. I shall simply give a few reminiscences concerning him as a citizen and a neighbor. For from my boyhood his home was at Wheatland, about a mile from our house, which could be seen from our play-grounils. He was a man of fine presence, tall, well-built and of a very graceful exterior. He was always attired in a dress-coat and a rather broad, white necktie, giving him a dignified, clerical appearance. Indeed his faultless clothing indicated a man of cultivated taste. Of course nature did much for him, but education added its graces to nature's gifts. Among a crowd of thousands of people his appearance would at once have attracted the notice of a stranger as that of a distinguished man, "a gentleman of the old school." His head would always incline to one side, a habit he is said to have unconsciously contracted by reason of a deftct in his eye-sight.
He was an admirable public speaker; with a clear, musical voice, a graceful manner, a pleasing presence, and a very agreeable and distinct articulation, it was a pleasure even for his political opponents to hear him speak. In the city of Lancaster he always had a large following, as this was then prevailingly democratic. But no county in the State gave him less political sympathy than that of Lancaster. Yet the announcement of Buchanan's name among the speakers of the democratic county conventions, always secured large assemblages. For a man in his station he was easy of access by rich and poor. Although his coachman was always ready to do his bidding, until bowed under the weight of years, he seemed to prefer going a distance of a mile to the city afoot. He was a warm friend to those who politically befriended him and umslly found pleasure in doing them favors. I know of instances where this was done at great pecuniary risks.
Wheatland is only a short distance from Franklin and Marshall College, of whose Board of Trustees he was for * many years the honored President. After his election as President of the nation the faculty and students of the institution paid him a visit of congratulation. At three o'clock, P. M. of a certain Friday in December, 1856, over one hundred members of the college repaired to Wheatland in procession. Mr. Buchanan cordially received them in the general receptionroom of his mansion. Dr. E. V. Gerhart, then President of the college, formally introduced the students, and briefly stated thejobject of their visit. Mr. William A. Duncan, now a prominent lawyer of Gettysburg, Pa., delivered an address of congratulation. Mr. Duncan said, in behalf of his fellow students, that '' they came not as Democrats, flushed with success, to shout in loud
huzzas the triumph of party; nor did they come as the vanquished opposition to express any dissent from the result of the late campaign; but they came happily as members of college—most of them as Pennsylvania^—all of them as children of this mighty and glorious Republic—with warm young hearts, to extend to him their heartfelt congratulation. They felt honored in knowing that their principal officer had been selected as the pilot to guide our noble ship of State through all the vicissitudes that may compass her. Their hearts bad beat with honest pride when from the lofty tower of their college, they could view the residence of the President of the Board of Trustees, a"d the most distinguished statesman of Pennsylvania, but what must now be their gratification- when from that eminence they can not only view the residence of the distinguished statesman, but even of the President of the United States. In conclusion the speaker wished the President a prolonged life of usefulness —a successful, peaceful, honorable and blessed administration—that our great nation might rejoice in his wise and paternal direction of affairs — that he might live to retire from office with the benediction of God and man to his declining years, and that the shades of time might fall lightly on his honored bead."
President Buchanan replied: "That he felt greatly indebted to his young friends for their visit. He had the assurance that their congratulations were sincere, as they sprang from the hearts of youth, which had not yet had time to become corrupted or hardtned in tl>e ways of the world. The bosom of youth was the abode of sincerity and truth, and it was indeed a pleasure and an honor to receive the warm outpourings of their hearts. He said he had always felt a great solicitude for the interests of Franklin and Marshall College; it was a noble institution, aud he was proud to be the President of its Board of Directors He was extremely gratified to learn that it had fair prospects, not only of a large number of students, but of great usefulness It was gratifying to see so large a number of worthy young men already enrolled on iislietof students. He referred to their responsibility, reminding them that when the present generation had passed away, and been gathered to their fathers, on them, the young of to-day, would rest the responsibility of forming and administering the future government of the ceuntry; and of preserving iotact our glorious Union and Constitution. There was not, he said, a young man among them, however humble his position, who might not aspire with an honorable ambition to fill the highest office in the gift of the people; but in order to gain positions of honor, usefulness and distinction, they must remember that everything depends upon themselves. They must carve out their future from the opportunities of the present. Kind parents and friends have afforded them rare opportunities of acquiring that knowledge which constitutes power. If they neglect or abuse the opportunities—if they idle away the golden hours allotted for the improvement of mind—if they are not obedient to their professors in all that relates to the good interests and success of the institution—then they might be assured they would have cause to repent of their folly through long hours of bitter sorrow in after life—for they could never retrieve the past. He said he had been a college boy himself, and none of the best of boys either, being fond of fun like themselves. There were many little eccentricities in the life of a college student that might be pardoned or overlooked; but there was one habit which, if formed at college or in early youth, would cling to them in after life and blight their finest prospects. He referred to the use of intoxicating liquors, and declared that it would be better for that youth who contracted an appetite for strong drink that he were dead or had never been born: for when he saw a young man entering upon such a career, a fondness for liquor becoming with him a governing passion, he could see nothing before him but a life of sorrow and a dishonored grave in his old age. Many lads, he was aware, considered this habit a mark of smartness, but be regarded it as an offence that can not be pardoned, especially in a student at college; and he concluded his earnest appeal by expressing the hope and belief
that none of the young men of Franklin and Marshall college were addicted to this dangerous practice."
He then alluded to the course and habits of study necessary to insure success in a student's life. "Many young men prided themselves in running over a great many books and gaining a superficial knowledge of many branches of science. This was of no practical use. He would urge them to learn thoroughly all they undertook to learn—to acquire knowledge distinctly—and then they would be able to use it to some practical advantage in after life. They should apply themselves with diligence to their allotted studies by day, reflect by night upon what they had thus acquired and appropriated as the best capital with which to engage in the struggles of life. He had met with many men of prominence who had looked at the indexes of a great many books, and had a general smattering of knowledge, but it was all surface work, and of no practical use. He hoped his young friends here present would avoid falling into this error." At the close of his remarks the President in parting cordially shook hands with the students. After the procession had again formed on the grounds in froat of the house, they gave three rousing cheers for the President of the Board of Franklin and Marshall College, and the President of the United States. This was quite an event for the boys, and a cause of j ust pride that the President of the nation was at the same time the presiding officer of their institution.
In his varied positions of honor and political trust Mr. Buchanan never forgot the courtesies and dudes of a good neighbor and a private citizen. Oa election days he would come to the polls of our little Lancaster Township, and exchange greetings with his neighbors of both parties, and perform his duty in a way common to the humblest citizen. He would greet and sympathize with the plain country folk as an equal. In not a few families he knew the children and younger folk by name, and would here and there show marks of kindly interest in the form of a suitable present. I remember, when a timid youth, of standing aside of him at a wedding. The daughter of an old time personal and political friend was married. It happened on a cold winter day, shortly before he was sent as minister to Great Britain. He came in a twohorse sleigh. The embarrassment of the young people, natural in such a presence, was soon removed by the affable easy, frank conduct of Mr. Buchanan. He showed himself perfectly at home on such subjects of conversation as would interest them. I still remember how beautifully the bride blushed as, calling her by her first name the venerable and distinguished bachelor, with cheeks as blushing as hers expressed his congratulations with graceful ease.
My father was a staunch old line Whig, as were all his sons at that time. So far as I know none of the voting members of the family ever cast a vote for our distinguished neighbor. Yet this made him personally none the less cordial. And when my dear father was borne to his tomb the white-haired ex-President sat i ear lis coffin during the funeral services. It was on a very unpleasant Decernberday, duringagreat storm, when torn nts of rain swept over the earth with fearful violence; on a day when one would expect few but young and vigorous people to venture out of doors. Trrmgh this tempest came the sage of Wheatland, his once straight and tall form now somewhat bowed beneath the burden of age and recent crushing cares. Less than three months later he was again present at the funeral of my brother's wife. He had known tnd befriended her from her youth. For several minutes he stood with uncovered head aside of the coffin, breathing heavily with trembling emotion as his eyes rested on her pale face. His presence on both occasions to me presented a touching scene. After having eDjoyed the highest political honors within the reach of a citizen of the Republic, he here meditates solemnly in the presence of death on the emptiness and evanescence of all earthly distinction and glory.
At the close of his Presidential term he returned to Wheatland. The country was then intensely excited. The dark clouds of war were sweeping across the country. The evils which he so much dreade f, and in his own way strove to avert, had at length come. Some of his
acts were bitterly denounced. The excited state of the country greatly aggravated this condemnation. No President had ever left the White house upon whom the press poured such a torrent of disapproval. How would his old neighbors receive him after such a term of office? He had become cordially attached to the community in which he had bis home for well nigh fifty years. There he laid the foundation of his political success. As a lawyer and statesman he gained hi- first foothold as a citizen of Lancaster county. His plain, peace-loving country neighbors, with their antiquated forms of dress, and their industrious, frugal habits, were a peaceful folk whose tenets forbade their hearing arms. But their sympathies and prayers were for the Union of the United States. And the hearts of their youDg sons burned with patriotic fire, and by the score led them into the army. On his last return to Lancaster he was received by a crowd of people in the square of the city I can not just now put my ham! on the precise words of his speech as rfported, but substantially he spoke as f Hows: He addressed them as his old neighbors, among whom he had for maDy years had bis home. After having passed through a long and varied experience in the service of his country, he came back to them, aged, worn out and weary, set king among them quiet, rest, and a grave. With touching tenderness he spoke of their uniform personal kindne s to himself, and said he expected to spend his few remaining days among them as a private citizen. Many eyes were moistened as these words of a retiring President of the nation were spoken to the assemblage. His remaining life was sad. From whatever cause, the results of his administration must have keenly disappointed him. The office which was the aspiration of h!s active life brought him a crown of thorns. He seemed to grow old rapidly. His form was bowed, his face pale, and he speedi'y declined into the inevitable decrepitude and infirmity of old age. On pleasant days one could see him riding to town, sometimes musingly sitting in front of Michael's hotel, greeting his passing friends with bis oldtime'cordiality. For awhile these visits were not without their annoyances. Now