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Apocalypse Smythe

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There were more strange, eccentric men in public life fifty years ago than we see at the present áay. Virginia always sent her quota of this class of Bepresentatives. Among the more conspicuous of the nondescripts was Alexander Smythe, well known on the Canadian froutier during the war of 1812. He commanded a body of troops on the border, and being an impatient, irascible man, had a difficulty with General Peter B. Porter, who was Secretary of War under John Quincy Adams. A duel was airanged, but the quarrel was finally adjusted without a meeting. They were to have fought on Strawberry Island, a little patch of land covored with reeds and marine grasses a short distance below the Niágara River, hardly visible in a high stage of water, and nevei solid enough to afford a good foothold. It was not known how the affair was settled ; but Porter, who was always cocked and pritued for a fight, went on the ground at the time appointed, and was much disgusted at the non-appearance of bis antagonist. It was not supposed that Smythe was deficiënt in courage, but at the last moment he made up his mind that it was ridiculous to fight a duel. He was a gentleman of studious habits, and was filled with useless learning. He had written an ingenious book on the Apocalypse, in which there was an extraordinary exhibition of Biblical research. He broached a new theory respecting the interpretation of certain myslical portions of the Scriptures, and the wags of the House nicknamed him accordingly. General Smythe called Rolliu C. Mallory of "Vermont to order, for some iiregulatity in debate. Mallory took his seat, grumbling in an audible voice. He said he would not object to being pulled up by any staid, orderly, respectable member, but it was too bad that such a liberty should be taken with him by one of the monsters described in the Bible, having seven heads and ton horns. On one occasion Smythe began a speech in the House on certaiu proposed ainendments to the Constitution, which threatened to be interminable. He had spoken for parts of three days, the discussion taking a very wide range, when Mr. Livermore interrupted him by inquiring of the speaker what was the question before tho House. Tho Speaker said the gentleman from Virginia had the floor, and it was expeeted that he would proceed in order. "Mr. Speaker," said Mr. Smythe, "I atn notspeaking to this house, nor to this geueration; I ain speakingfor posterity." " Mr. Süeaker." said Livermore. " let the gentlemen continue for a while longer, and he inay expect his audieuoe to be


Old News
Michigan Argus