Politics in Virginia--Rev. Norval Wilson--John Moncure Daniel, Editor of the Examiner--My First Appearance in Print.
ALTHOUGH after reaching home I recovered from illness, it was decided that I should not return to college until after summer vacation. Thus I had early in my seventeenth year five months in which to study things not taught in academy or college. Good opportunities came. My father's partner in the cotton-factory, Warren Slaughter, a very intelligent gentleman, invited me to go with him in his buggy on a tour through several counties-- Fauquier, Culpeper, Loudoun. We visited villages and home- steads in all of which Mr. Slaughter had relatives or friends, and I made many pleasant acquaintances.
Another tour was with my uncle Eustace Conway (afterwards judge) in his buggy, to attend courts in Stafford, Prince William (Brentsville), and Fairfax. The presidential contest between Lewis Cass ( Democrat) and General Zachary Taylor ( Whig) was in full blast, and at Brentsville I heard speeches from several political orators of Virginia. After its morning session the court adjourned till next day; at two a bell was rung, and a crowd assembled in the grove, where arrangements had been made to give a hearing to Congressman Pendleton; but the Democrats would not let their opponents have it all their own way, and had secured the attendance of Hon. John S. Barbour, Sr., the most famous orator in Virginia. The debate was opened by two able Warrenton lawyers--Payne ( Democrat), and Chilton ( Whig). Chilton was the Virginia nobleman who volunteered to act eleven years later as counsel for John Brown after the raid at Harper's Ferry.
My father had been a delegate in the national convention that nominated Lewis Cass; my uncle Eustace was an ardent Democrat; so was I, of course; but a note in my diary shows that bias did not quite blind me: "Mr. Pendleton is certainly