last time his immortal energies at the bar. Like the Hebrew
giant his last effort was the greatest. Oh, would to God that he
had been or could have been induced to spare himself! But the
occasion had come, and the ruling passion strong in death, broke
out with irresistible force to throw its radiance over his funeral
pile. Ambition has been called the last infirmity of noble minds.
To me it seems to constitute their essence and their strength.
I mean not the love of power, but that higher ambition, the love,
the yearning after that imperishable fame, which shines through
far generations and with an increasing light over the memory of
great and glorious talents, greatly and gloriously exerted in the
cause of justice and mankind. This appeared to me to be the
master passion of Mr. Menefee's soul. He must have been
conscious of an extraordinary fate and an extraordinary genius.
He must have appeared to himself as he certainly did to all oth-
ers, a man marked out from birth for great actions and the most
splendid distinction. What had he not achieved His friends
may challenge the history of this country for a parallel. I have
said that I had observed him closely in 1836. I have had inti-
mate opportunities since his retirement from Congress. I have
conversed with him since his disease was distinctly developed
and the qualities which struck me with so much force upon our
first acquaintance appeared to gather strength with time. There
was an unsparing intensity in his mind, a concentration of the
whole soul upon his pursuits, a haste, a rapidity, as though he
feared the sun of life should go down ere the goal assigned to
his genius had been attained. Was he conscious, (such a sus-
picion has sometimes flashed across me and from remembered
conversations gathered strength,) could he have been conscious
that the seeds of early death were implanted in his original con-
stitution, and was it this which spurred his fiery soul to such
gigantic and unpausing strides upon his road to greatness!
Himself at all events he did not and he would not spare.
This was his only crime; the generous marty; for this and this
alone can his country reproach him. Perchance the opportuni-
ty of measuring himself with that great genius, whom he had pro-
posed originally as his standard, struck upon his heroic tempera-
ment, and roused the poetry of his nature, as being a meet finale
to a life like his. Be that as it may, he dashed at the opportunity