Diary: James P. Stabler, 1827 (Volume 1)

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office as a man can be — Having not only the ability, but the disposition to restrain the impetuous and turbulent, and a happy talent at encouraging the despondent and attaching all classes to himself by kindness — ruling, unlike our monarchs upon terra-firma, rather by love, than by coersion and the "rod of Iron":– withal, a real gentleman as well as Christian as far as correct general views (if I may assume the judgement seat) can go to make up that exalted character — I am however too much of an "infidel" and "unbeliever" to admit the possibility of even the most rational conceptions and pure doctrines, superceding the necessity of a practical obedience to "the mighty matters of the law"

— This however is not intended as a reflection on him by any means – as for aught I know he may with propriety tell me to "stand by" &c &c:– The above remarks deducting for the difference of station & office, may apply to the

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next on the list of my Cronies this centurion man, whom I have found every thing that was prognosticated by my Uncle Ed when we parted in NY. Contrary to my expectations, the artificial distinctions created by weather standing in civil or religious society – and perhaps I may safely add the real distinctions kept up by Society on land arising from actual worth and merit, seem to be lost at Sea — That moment such a community as ours is formed, by embarking upon these billows which roll us from within the jurisdiction of our statute to that of moral laws alone — a kind of isolated republique we have our reputation and character to form by the conduct pursued at the moment. — We may have been princes or beggars at home, our lives spent among the vicious & profane or the wise and virtuous — it matters not – for upon the part we now act depends the reputation we sustain and

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the respect we receive from our fellow — prisoners? – – This I have found true to the letter – for even poor I have found that attention and respect paid me, due only to superous merit Not for any good, bright or shining deeds I humbly acknowlgd but from a kind of negative worth – arising from the commission of no great breach of order in morals - religion or metaphysics. — These remarks, tho' a few minutes since, the ideas upon which they were formed had no existence, seemd to arise out of the subject, and being an old "Sinner" in the way of penning "first thoughts" I could scarcely refrain from giving a place in so interesting a journal as this is intended — not to be?

— But to return to the character of our "Friend" Cornelius whom I have introduced into the prominent station of heading a page in my sketch book - and uncourteously left him alone – I will

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say. He appears to be a son of a genuine clever fellow and his wife (whose health appears much improved) another of the same class == There is nothing peculiar about him - or at least no striking and prominent feature in his character that such a biographer as the underwriter can take hold of and hold up to attract the attention._ He is not remarkably fluent in conversation, tho' he converses with entire ease to himself as well as the hearers – neither "grave nor gay" alone, but alternately both — and possessing that happy temperament of mind, that makes himself agreeable to others, by really — being so to himself — what Addison calls "the consciousness of worth, that induces a feeling of respect from oneself, and demands it from others — Just the reverse of his general character as sketched above, are some traits in that of my friend James D P — who

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is all life and gaiety personified — possessing a most active and energetic mind _ his corporeal powers are under perpetual contribution to its facetious sallies of wit humour and mimickry — at the same time exhibiting an ordinary share of the stamina of sterling sense and moral worth:—

His detestation as expressd upon the subject of a certain course pursued on the 4th inst, in which, to the honour of our Country not an American joined, entitled him to a place not only in my respects but esteem.

—However, his ordinary caste is that of life — or as Burns has it in commemoration of the renowned Matthew H, "of wit and fun & fire" — His speech is fluent to an extreme and it almost seems sometimes as if his Ideas were at loggerheads which shoulde get out first upon the end of his tongue. == upon these ocasions – and in fact upon all

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