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After his retirement from congress, Judge Gaston frequently appeared in the assembly of North Carolina, and always as the leader of what may be called the constitutional party. In that body many of his most splendid speeches were made. He framed the law establishing the present supreme court of the state ; and the liberal basis upon which it is established, is to be ascribed to his zealous and efficient support. In 1828, he delivered a speech upon the currency of the state, which has been classed among his highest efforts. His defence of the constitution of North Carolina, in 1831, will long be remembered. The constitution of the state is a venerable instrument. It came down to the present generation, from the sages of the revolution, and is loved and venerated in North Carolina for its very antiquity. It was a fit subject for the exhibition of his learning, eloquence, and patriotism, and those resources of his mind he poured forth with the most brilliant profusion.
Judge Gaston is now the junior member of the supreme court of North Carolina. It was in the practice of his profession, more than in the legislative hall, where he acquired his great reputation as an orator. He has been ever remarkable for his steady adherence to the Union, and has distinguished himself for his zealous opposition to the doctrine of nullification, as lately set forth by the South Carolina politicians.
Although Judge Gaston has been, throughout his life, busily engaged in the discharge of professional and legislative duties, he has yet found time, in the intervals of such labors, to keep pace with the literature of the day. It has been his custom, in riding the circuit of his courts, to take with him the last new publication, and to peruse it as he rode along the road, and he has frequently been aroused from the enchantment of Scott, or Irving, by the upsetting of his sulky. His habits of study have ever been intense, his habits of recreation, refined. His intercourse in the society of his friends is marked with great mildness, affability, and occasional conviviality. In the narration of an anecdote, especially a professional one, he is unrivalled, and his manner of conversation generally playful and easy.
Judge Gaston is eminently a domestic man, and has devoted much of his time to the religious and moral training of his children. He has been thrice married. On the 4th of September, 1803, he married Miss Susan Hay, (daughter of John Hay, Esq., of Fayetteville,) who died on the 20th of April, 1804. On the 6th of October, 1805, he married Hannah McClure, the only daughter of General McClure, and she died on the 12th of July, 1813, leaving one son and two daughters. In August, 1816, he again married Eliza Ann, eldest daughter of Doctor Charles Worthington, of Georgetown, District of Columbia, and she too died, on the 26th of January, 1819, leaving two infant daughters. On him thus devolved the sacred duty of educating and training up five infant children. In the discharge of this parental obligation he has amply repaid the debt of gratitude he owed his own mother, and in the fulfilment of the various duties of a citizen, he has proved himself worthy of a father who sacrificed his life in the cause of his country.
In the state of society and the form of government which exists in this country, the biography of individuals distinguished in our contemporary annals for the industry, ability, and success with which they have discharged the duties of civil life, is of the highest value. Those who read for mere amusement will not probably find in such notices so much attractive and interesting matter, as in animated details of moving accidents by flood and field.” But a sketch of the progress of individual men from the common level of society to the most conspicuous stations in the government, cannot fail to produce a salutary effect upon the rising generation, as well as indicate to the reflection of mature age the proper basis of public confidence. The plan of this work does not permit us to present at length the grounds and arguments, upon which political measures have been assailed and defended by their friends and opponents. All that has been undertaken with regard to politicians, is to give such leading facts as may have come to our knowledge, which will serve to throw light upon their education and introduction into public life, together with a succinct narrative of the most important situations in which they have been placed : leaving those readers who are desirous to obtain more minute particulars of personal history, to recur to other sources of information.
LEVI WOODBURY (the present Secretary of the Navy) is a native of the state of New Hampshire. He was born at Francistown, in the county of Hillsborough, about the beginning of 1790. His ancestors were among the early settlers of Beverly, one of the first planta tions of the colony of Massachusetts, whence his father, Peter Woodbury, emigrated when quite young. With the exception of a few months spent at a permanent seminary, the elementary education of Mr. WOODBURY was acquired in the free schools kept in his native village, in pursuance of those laws which are justly regarded as the pride and glory of New England.
Young men in the course of education are frequently accustomed