Gov. James McDowell

Alexandria Gazette
September 4, 1851

Died at his residence in Lexington, Virginia on Sunday, the 24th of August, the Hon. James McDowell, Representative in congress and late Governor of Virginia.

Governor McDowell was born Oct. 11th, 1795 and would accordingly have been 56 years of age in October next.  The limits of an obituary will only allow an imperfect and feeble tribute to the memory of this good and great man.  The many offices of public trust which he occupied, were filled with pre-eminent ability, dignity, usefulness and integrity.  His brilliant talents were never prostituted to selfish, sectional or party ends.  As Governor of the State and a member of its councils, he was ever the wise, eloquent and unflinching advocate of justice and right, of state improvement and benevolence.  Dearly did he love his native state.  Her prosperity occupied many an anxious thought, developing itself in lessons of wisdom, or in words of eloquence which stirred and united men's hearts into vigorous action, or melted into tears.

In the national councils the memory of his brilliant career is fresh in the minds of all.  The same principles of rectitude and patriotism guided him there, as in the councils of his native state.  Love of country, was not with him a theme of declaration but it was a deep seated feeling of the heart.  In the late National crisis, tho' borne down with afflictions of mind and body he stood up in the Council Chamber of the Nation and spoke to it, and through it to the country, with an eloquence almost superhuman.  Few, if indeed any orator, ever before produced such an impression.  But  alas! the warm heart has ceased to beat, and the eloquent tongue lies hushed in death, though not forever, for when the body shall be raised in incorruption, 'twill again be heard speaking with angel eloquence.  "unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins, in his own blood, and hath made us Kings and Priests, unto God and His Father, be glory and dominion forever".  In his private and domestic relations we cannot do him justice.  He was a just and kind master; the poor, the widow, and fatherless ever found access to his heart.  He could indeed weep with those who wept.  As a parent his affections for his children had all the intensity and gentleness of the tenderest hearted woman.

But it is in his Christian character we love to contemplate him.  His position as a public man placed him often in circumstances of great trial and temptation, but he was unwavering in his "high vocation".  In these places of trial he exhibited in his conduct and principles, the religion of the Savior.  He endured the cross.  Under the guidance of these high influences he often gave offence in his political relations, by refusing to follow the extremes of party.  The end of such a man, as might naturally be expected, was peace.  When informed that his end was near, he declared in answer to an inquiry as to "whether he felt the promises of Christ to be precious," that there was "nothing else precious."  Again he declared, that he relied only upon the mediation and atonement of Christ for his salvation.  When his pastor asked him if there was any special petition he would have him present in prayer - he said " a stronger faith - more reliance."  A short time before his death he was asked, "if he had any other hope than Christ," he answered emphatically - "None whatever."  And these were the last words of this dying Christian Statesman.  A solemn testimony to the world of the infinite merits of his crucified Redeemer.  And this was not the result of the agitation and terror which gather around at the hour of death, but of long previous belief and of a mind though under the power of severe disease, yet calm, collected and clear to the last.  Thus died the gifted orator, the conscientious and pure statesman and the intelligent Christian.  How different from that of the infidel Orator of France who called upon his attendants to bring around him the "perfume of flowers," and the "voice of sweet music" and thus to let his soul pass away!

Mrs. Susan S. McDowell

Richmond Whig
October 19,1847

DIED

On Wednesday the 13th instant at the residence of her husband in the town of Lexington, in the 47th year of he age, Mrs. Susan S. McDowell, consort of James McDowell, Esq. the former Governor of Virginia

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