em planters and Northern republicansnagainst antislavery agitation and economicnexploitation. Opposing iiullificationnand considering secession thenproper remedy, he also chastised Jacksonnfor his responding proclamation,nwhich he found to be as contrary “tonwhat was the Constitution” as nullification.nIn 1835 Macon was unanimouslynelected presiding officer of thenstate constitutional’convention, althoughnin the end he opposed thenrevisions that were adopted, especiallynthe change from arinual to biennialnelecHons.nMacon’s private life was the sourcenof his public principles. Indeed, hisnclassical republicanism postulated thatnleaders should possess virtue independentnof office and should reflect andndefend their social fabric rather thannattempt to mold it to their own design.nHis father died when he was five,nleaving him land and slaves that increasednunder his rriother’s managementnand his own. Above average innheight, of impressive presence, dignifiednyet simple in manners, treating allnclasses with courtesy and’ attention, anpillar of his neighborhood; colloquial innprivate conversation, devoted to agriculture,nhorses, hunting, and an outdoornlife, laboring in his .own tobacconfields, sipping whiskey before mealsnand keeping fine wine only for guests,nMacon was an exemplary patriarchalnSouthern planter. He never joined an” ‘”•”-“”•-n’ “”ZZnSTATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP. MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATIONn,|.l>M.ii. 1 9/2fl/90n,»…n,1. -.I,.,, ,..,„„.. Jl. ,„,K „,. ,„..,. ..„,.,., ,1 .noi-T»in”~”„r.’;.’t7.r.~r».„.,. ,..„,„.,,»,.,.. „,. „•„… „..,.,..,,«»-,..,n,1,â„¢. ., „.^.,. ,.. …u„a ,…,„,., ,» >.,.h «.,. ……. »,.>,.,.. iL ino.-,o..n-„.,… O.U.., T^. ».»,„. ,..„…. „ -..I, ..•.•B.,..,. „.„.„, ,L .„..-,…n• l:^aHgE§x5~T£E3S«s-r^^^nr.. wvf,.. ,….,n’ ^,’,â„¢r:’:,’:r”:?Zi;” “””‘”””” “*”” “”^ ~ “”””^”””‘””‘”‘ •’ ‘•'” *~'”‘””~” “””•-“‘”””n’:^r;r^^^;r!rn» T…«-câ„¢,«.f,.^n••’•i2rs,:3râ„¢”^’sr*”. „ ,»„n’ s:;!2rc.-.n”• s:^.-s=:i:’:j.=:::^,’Krc’:;=:n••ft:^-=r, „,.â„¢.,„n5..C,T*L<.-*I.”-.—-^-,â„¢~.^ «n’. jâ„¢^.;–â„¢_—.-.—Vn’••’•”‘Z^X^V^^^'”””‘nIS.465n625n11,674n1J.303n760n14,063n700n70!n13.165nxz:z,^z”:°LT:,T:r.nu.»onJ16nll,S66n12.JBIn5J6n13. nan”‘ :^;:v::.’ror.-ri’or^.^ V^y^T/^W^”^n»-.i ^j^AsBOCldLt P.. hern50/CHRONICLESn74 an684nchurch but attended services accompaniednby his slaves and, not surprisingly,nis said to have found the Baptist mostnto his taste. A lifelong resident of thenmost slaveholding county of the state,nhe is said to have owned 2,000 acresnand 70 slaves and to have divided hisnestate equally with his two daughters,nBetsy and Seignora, on their marriages.nHis home. Buck Spring, about twelvenmiles northeast of Warrenton, was builtnin the most isolated portion of hisnholdings and was modest for so wealthynand eminent a statesman. The plantationnhas in recent years been the subjectnof a restoration project. Maconnmarried Hannah Plummer on Octobern9, 1783. She died in 1790, leaving thentwo daughters and a son who died inn1792 at age six.nMacon is said to have destroyed hisnown accumulated papers, probably outnof the same “republican” distaste fornpomp and idolatry that led him tonoppose expenditures for a tomb fornWashington and to forbid the erectionnof a monument over his own grave atnBuck Spring. This fact has discouragednbiographers, although, in fact, a largennumber of Macon letters survive innscattered depositories and publications.nHe has figured in many articles, addresses,nand theses concerning himnspecifically or Jeffersonian and Jacksoniannpolitics. William E. Dodd’s hifenof Nathaniel Macon (Raleigh, 1903)ncould be amplified and corrected innmany details but remains a substantiallynaccurate and usable work. Perhapsnmore valuable and practicable than annew biography would be a reliable andncomplete edition of Macon’s speechesnand letters, a project that probablyncould be encompassed in one volume.nLikenesses of Macon are rare. Neithernthe state nor the University of NorthnCarolina owns a portrait. The massivenAmerican Library Association index ton19th century engravings does not evenncontain an entry for Macon. Perhapsnthe most readily available likeness is thenunidentified portrait published in WilliamnHenry Smith’s Speakers of thenHouse of Representatives (Baltimore,n1928).nMacon was a Plutarchian figure whonhelped to mold the character of his eranand his state. “Mr. Macon was one ofnthose patriots who fill a vast space innthe nation’s eye,” eulogized the RichmondnEnquirer, chief organ of thennnDemocratic Party, on his death. TonJefferson he was “the last of the Romans.”nJohn Randolph, in making hisnwill, alluded to the Virginian he hadnnamed as his executor as “the wisestnman I ever knew — except for Mr.nMacon.” Later generations preferred andifferent style of democracy and tendednto agree with progress-minded JohnnQuincy Adams, who found in Maconn”a narrowness of mind which educa- Antion cannot enlarge, and covered by annencrustation of prejudices which experiencencannot remove.” Hugh T.nLefler’s history of North Carolina wasntypical of later evaluations in observingnthat North Carolina remained “thenRip Van Winkle” of the states until itn”repudiated the spirit of Macon.”nEven a sympathetic writer, J.G. denRoulhac Hamilton, found him “not anconstructive force,” although a detailednreexamination of Macon’s careernmight well reveal that he was more of an”progressive” on the state and localnlevel than has been believed, that it wasnremote federal power in the hands of anhostile northern majority eager to tampernwith the Southern social fabric andnexploit the Southern economy that henwished to negate. At any rate, Macon’snrepublicanism was one of deliberatenchoice, not of inertia. As William E.nDodd commented with a sense ofnmarvel, “He actually believed in democracy,”nin allowing the people tongovern themselves. He was of a generation,nclass, and region that “knew thendifference between the demands ofnpopular institutions and special interests”nand which deliberately chose anlimited government as the accuratenreflection of its social fabric. Certainlynit would seem that the “spirit of Macon”nwas long the spirit of NorthnCarolina, a spirit which, however foreignnto the modern temper, lies at thenheart of the origins of American democracy.nPerhaps no one ever servednthe state more unselfishly or betterndisplayed her traditional modest virtues.nClyde Wilson is a professor of historynat the University of South Carolinanand editor of the Papers of John C.nCalhoun. This article is adapted verynslightly from Dr. Wilson’s entry fornNathaniel Macon in the Dictionarynof North Carolina Biography,nrecently published by UNC Press.n