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derived from the personal character of it is for all time-for all similar cases. the man, and justifying the most enthusi- It contains words of wisdom, and maxims astic admiration that could be felt for of statesmanship, that may be quoted, him. The views at present offered, how and, we believe, will be quoted, centuries ever, are mainly grounded on his letter hence. The temporary questions conwritten last spring, in which he expresses
nected with Texas may, in a few years, his opinion on the annexation of Texas. cease to have any interest ; even a war, It does really seem wonderful that lower with Mexico, or with England, after considerations, arising from collateral having produced the usual amount of aspects of the question, should have kept blood and death, would pass away, and in the back-ground the truly elevated might even leave some lessons of saluposition Mr. Clay there assumes, es tary wisdom to compensate, in some depecially when contrasted with that of gree, for the evils it had occasioned. others who have addressed the public on Much as such events are to be deprethe same matter. Mr. Polk is for “ im cated, their evils are temporary and remediate annexation,” reason or no rea mediable. So, also, may we say in son, come war come peace, irrespective regard to the bearings of the question on of national honor, national treaties, the the subject of slavery, fraught, as they common law of mankind, and even the evidently are, with the most tremendous law of God himself. Gov. Cass and issues. Slavery is but an incident to Gen. Jackson rise a little higher. They our original condition and present frame have a show of reasons, in its pretended of government, and, be the period longer importance as a military frontier; rea or shorter, will, in the course of events, sons, to be sure, which no man's common have an end. Those who oppose the sense can appreciate, yet still they may annexation on this account, do so from be called reasons, if their authors will noble and elevated motives, and the mahave it so.
Mr. Van Buren, in a man- jority of such, we are persuaded, will ner more honorable to himself, views the cordially support the man who agrees question in its relation to foreign nations, with them in the result, although he arto peace and war, the present national rives at it from considerations more puretreaties, and present obligations. Mr. ly national, and more deeply connected Calhoun and the southern democrats ad with the vital interests of our confedevocate it on account of its tendency to racy. We say that there is a higher perpetuate their favorite domestic insti- reason than those which are connected tutions. The northern abolitionists take with the subject of slavery, and this is ground above all these, and oppose it the reason which naturally and spontabecause the measure is at war with the neously presents itself to the mind of interests of freedom, and would extend Henry Clay. Let us, in imagination, the area of slavery. Mr. Clay, we hesi- follow him to the retirement of his chamtate not on saying, assumes a position ber, as he sits down to answer a request even higher than this; a position which, for an expression of his views on this for its abstract grandeur, ought to call subject. We may suppose him fully forth the warm admiration of friend and aware of the use to which such an anfoe, whether at the south or at the north, swer will be applied; we may imagine. whether pro-slavery or ultra-abolitionist. the deep personal interest he has in so It is a position characteristic of himself, constructing it as to please the majority, because it exhibits that trait which has from whose suffrages he is ardently deever been most prominent during his sirous of obtaining the end of a noble whole public life. This letter shows ambition. All these influences would him to be what he is, and ever has been, strongly concur in inducing him to view a national man. Contrast with it the the question as other men do, in its contemptible epistle of Polk to Kane, on merest temporary aspects ; and to those the subject of protection; contrast with temporary aspects he does give an atit the letters of the various democratic tention commensurate with their imporcandidates, before the Baltimore conven tance. But this is not enough for Henry vention; contrast with it those miserable Clay; as he writes on, and his soul beproductions which, on the eve of an comes warmed, all these considerations election, are sometimes drawn from men vanish. The fixed and long-cherished whom third parties, in their usual way, habits and thoughts of the statesman, succeed in making hypocrites. The which we may suppose, for a moment, letter of Henry Clay is for the nation ; to have been superseded by personal
anxieties in respect to the bearing of the most certainly such in respect to this. question on his own political prospects, Viewed in any light, and on either of the come back to their usual course, and he contested theories of our constitution, it is himself again. The candidate for of swells into a quesi on of equal magnitude fice is forgotten, and he is once more, in and importance. If we should ever act imagination, on the floor of the senate- in reference to the will of the whole nahouse-the legislator, the statesman, the tion, instead of the will of any part, be man of enlarged and national feelings. it larger or smaller, majority or not; or, in Every consideration is now too narrow other words, if there are any acts which for his mind, unless it embrace the whole should be pre-eminently, and in the very extent of his country's confederated ter- highest sense, national, this, of all others, ritory, and the whole period of her na- is such an act. It should be viewed tional existence. Its collateral bearings with no reference to Southern institutions, are laid aside as he discovers that here, or Northern opposition to them. It inin this very measure, got up and con- volves a national proceeding back of all cocted, as it evidently was, for the vilest ordinary enactments, back even of the of mere party purposes, there is, never- constitution, which contains no provision theless, involved a profound constitu- for such a step, and which must be so tional question. Here is to be considered essentially modified by it—a national a grave rale of national action--a rule to proceeding requiring something of a rebe settled now, and the issues of which, newed exercise of that original vitality if settled wrong, are fraught with evils' which gave birth to the constitution itwhich no man can calculate ; for they self. Adopt whatever theory we please ; reach beyond peace and war, beyond whether we argue as the advocates of even slavery and anti-slavery, into the the confederated or more national aspect most vital principles, into the very heart of our government, it is, in the one case, of our confederacy. Shall such a ques- nothing less than the admission of a new tion, he asks himself, become the game and foreign member into a partnership of a political canvass ? Shall it be set- originally formed with no reference to it, tled in the heat of an excited general and, in the other, a violation of the naelection? Shall it be a matter of ma- tional identity. It is a measure in direct jorities ? No, says Henry Clay; here opposition to those state-right principles, are other issues involved, of far more insisted on by none more than by those consequence. It is not a question of ad. Southern men who are now so clamorous mitting a young sister territory within for immediate annexation by a bare majoriour acknowledged limits, and which had ty, and who contradict their own doctrines been, from infancy, fostered and nursed in that very point, when even the most with the expectation of being received strenuous opponents of their favorite into the family of states; the constitution theory of the constitution would admit had clearly provided for that. It is the that they had some application. For, far more momentous question of the in- certainly, if a single state can justly recorporation of a foreign state, as much fuse obedience to a law of internal legisforeign as France or England. There lation, which a majority of the other is, then, a point to be first settled, in parties to the compact have deemed comparison with which the present elec- sanctioned by the constitution, and by a tion, considered merely in itself, the regard to those very objects which were military advantages of Texas, the plans specially in view in the formation of of England, or even the far higher con- the government, why may not a single siderations of its present bearings upon state dissent to the admission of an erslavery, are all to be postponed. This, ternal power, never contemplated in the surely, is not a matter to be decided national articles, and whose incorporasimply by majorities. It is no question tion would most seriously affect every of ordinary internal legislation. Here, interest of the previous national organiall should be strict constructionists, zation? Considerations of equal if not whatever measure of liberality we might greater force present themselves in that be inclined to indulge in other and more aspect of our government which is redomestic matters ; here, if ever, the garded as opposed to the doctrine of a doctrine of state-rights has some mean- confederacy. If, in the one case, the ing-in fact, a most important signifi- effect of the measure, unless vnanimously cance. If in any sense we are a part- adopted, would be virtually to dissolve nership, a confederacy of states, we are the compact, and leave each part at lib
erty to refuse association with the for- the national being might (in this day of eign intruder, with which it had never strict construction in regard to all matformed alliance, it would be, in the other, ters of healthy legitimate internal legisa complete change of the national iden- lation) proportionably restrict the free tity. It would be, in fact, the creation exercise of those national prerogatives of a new nation, with new relations, new she had conceded for the common benefit responsibilities, unknown to the previous of the confederacy of her sister states, organization of the body politic. Our but never for the benefit of Texas. Her present constitution was for these United interests might clash, or seem to clash, States. If extended to Texas, it would with those of some other members of the require a new title and a new ratifica- original Union, and here she would comtion; it would be, in fact, a new firm, and, promise, if no other method was found according to all laws of partnership, effectual, because mutual concession was there would be need of a new promulga- in the national bond. She might have a tion to the world, and a new acknowl- strong dislike to certain institutions of edgment of its corporate existence, by other sister states; these, however, she all parties with whom it might maintain must tolerate for the same reason; but she intercourse; there would even be need could not, at the will of a mere majority, of a new national flag, and a new iu- consent that this bond should be opened for scription on the national coin.
the admission of other parties, who might Considerations such as these presented hereafter claim from her other comprothemselves to the mind of Henry Clay, mises, and other concessions, for which and every lower aspect faded in the com- she had never stipulated, -who, after havparison. Whatever might be his own ing been themselves admitted through personal opinions, as to the mere tempo- the door of the widest latitudinarianism, rary effects of the step, supposing it to be might hereafter be loudest in the demand taken constitutionally, honorably, peace- of strict construction. Conceding, that ably, and without the fearful responsibility there was something in the spirit of her of extending the area of slavery,—what- assent to the constitution which required ever might be his sentiments as a South- her to make compromises of her just ern man, not viewing, as he most frankly claims with South Carolina, no principle admits, Southern institutions in the same of justice, equity, or the constitution, no light with the people of the North-all national feeling, no law of majorities, these were comparatively of but little mo- rightly demanded of her to place herself ment, to the adjustment of the other great in a position, when Texas hereafter might national principle, which, when left un- successfully require the abandonment of settled, or settled in a wrong way, dis. protection to her domestic industry, or arranges all below it, and leaves the most that she should be employed in the desacred elements of our national life to be grading work of arresting fugitive slaves, the sport of every presidential election, who had escaped from this extended area and the game of such men as John Tyler of freedom. Hard as was its fulfilment, and his treaty-making cabinet.
she had, in consideration of great national These, then, were the grounds of that interests, promised this to South Caromost noble declaration, that whatever lina, but she never had given the other might be his personal views, (which he states, be it larger or smaller majorities frankly admits were on the side of the of them, power to bind her to the same South,) he should oppose the annexation conditions to Texas, or Canada, or Cuba, of Texas, irrespective of the particular should the latter also ever seek to enlarge advantages or disadvantages of the meas the area of freedom, by transferring her ure, as long as any respectable minority, domestic institutions and her nationality of any part of the Union, and for any rea to the United States. sons, refused its assent. In the admis Such are the views most prominent in sion of a new partner into the confede- Mr. Clay's letter. They are noble views racy, or in introducing a new modification — far-reaching, statesman-like views. of the national existence, he would have How immeasurably superior does he apeven the smallest portion exercise, not pear in this respect to the Polks, the only an influence, but a controlling influ- Jacksons, the Casses, and the Tylers, by ence. Even Vermont, if she stood alone, whom he is assailed! I wonder his should be heard. The reception of this own friends have not given them more foreign territory might deeply affect her prominence, instead of being so much dearest interests. Such an expansion of occupied with those mere temporary bear
ings of the question, which Mr. Clay does office! To have Henry Clay beaten by indeed discuss in a masterly manner, James K. Polk, and on such an issue ! while yet he makes them all inferior to Would that every Whig would revolve that higher principle, which is identified the mortifying consideration in his mind with the national life, which must live as till his whole soul was fired, and he had long as the national existence, and on resolved to give himself no rest, and his which, as on a rock of eternal adamant, neighbors no rest—to omit no exertion, he takes his immoveable position. I until the contest is closed and Henry wonder that even the reflecting abolition- Clay placed in the presidential chair! ist, strong as may be his dislike to Mr. We have long wanted just such a man Clay as a Southern man and a slave. there. The station is fast becoming deholder, is not struck with admiration at graded. The succession of James K. this noble stand, and does not feel that Polk to John Tyler would fill up the the destinies of the nation may be safely measure of our country's humiliation. left in the hands of that man, who is so No doubt many of our opponents themstrongly identified with the national in- selves, after the excitement of the electegrity. The obvious determination of a tion had subsided, would feel most keenly portion of the politicians of this class, to the humbling result, and most earnestly do all in their power to elect Mr. Polk wish, if it were possible, the disgraceful instead of Mr. Clay, and with the full deed undone. We want men of a far knowledge that the annexation of Texas different stamp from those who, on so will be the almost certain result, presents important a question as this, will answer one of the strangest phenomena of the at once, immediate annexation," with present canvass.
all the greediness of a dog snapping at Much as I respect the Whig party, as the offered bone-without taking time to combining the great mass of the intelli- assign even the most miserable reasons gence, patriotism, and national feeling of for it, lest some other candidate might the country, I cannot but feel that on put in for the job before him. The counthis and similar great questions Henry try has been cursed enough already with Clay is in advance of them. Look at such narrow, canine politicians. As the noble stand he has taken, and the Coleridge says, “ We want public souls ; glowing speeches he has repeatedly made yes, we want public souls, we want in respect to those violations of law and them.” We want national souls. We order, which have so long been rife in want a man who can look beyond a the Loco-Foco party, and which in the presidential canvass, whose opinions and late mob-meeting at Providence received whose measures are for the whole nation, the distinct approbation of all their prin- and look to its whole existence. Yes, cipal leaders. How little have his earnest we had better have the faults and errors exhortations on this point been heeded of such a man, than the mean virtues, if by a great portion of the Whig press, who they possess any, of his adversaries. ought to have made these things the Irrespective of measures, or even if he theme of their loudest and most constant should have some measures of mere temalarm, instead of having been so exclu- porary policy which we might not apsively occupied with the inferior, al- prove, there is something so healing, so though important topics of tariff and dis- truly conservative, so inspiring to the tribution! How mortifying the result, feeling of national honor, in the elevation if, notwithstanding all this, his party to office of such a candidate, as to outshould fail him at the time when he ought weigh all other consideration. Give us to receive the reward of his long career an honorable high-minded man, (and such of elevated statesmanship! Above all, is Henry Clay, with all his alleged faults, how great the disgrace, not to the Whig his very enemies being judges,) and we party, but to the whole nation, that may trust him for his measures, because such an affair as this Texas issue, so got we know the soundness and elevation of up and by such men-so evidently de- his principles. The distinction conveyed signed (some of our most strenuous oppo- by these two words is but little undernents openly admitting the fact) to effect stood by the corrupt and superficial polithe lowest, basest, and most selfish ends— tician. Principles we would never sacrishould carry into the presidential chair a fice, but we hesitate not to say, that there man who, but for some circumstances are times when we would prefer men to arising out of this measure, would never measures—although a mistake in the lathave been named in connection with the ter might perhaps work temporary injury.
It is indeed but temporary, even should ration for the character of James K. Polk. it occur, and may be borne ; but whose His brilliant career as a statesman, his arithmetic can calculate the evils, per- close identification with all the great haps the never-to-be-remedied evils, of a measures of his country's history, his corrupt principle, engrafted by corrupt elevated views on all other subjects, his men into our institutions-into the very strong national feeling, his noble frankelements of our national life?
ness and magnanimity, his utter scorn at There are some few men, Whigs in the very appearance of deception, as every other respect, who hesitate on the manifested in his letter to Mr. Kane of ground of the tariff. We would not Pennsylvania, the celebrity of his anhere meddle with their free trade notions, cestral name-all these considerations, but we would solemnly ask them if they doubtless, combine with these gentlemen can suffer this single matter to outweigh to outweigh this small affair of Texas. all other considerations connected with Cannot some Whigs learn a lesson from this most important canvass? We would this, and is there nothing in the character appeal to a gentleman of this city who of Henry Clay which would justify them stands high in the literary world, who has in reversing this picture in every single heretofore been a most efficient member point, and drawing from it ten-fold of the Whig party, and who is now said to stronger motives for his support ; albe in the predicament above described. though in the earlier part of his life he We are perfectly sure that that gentle- may have fought a duel, or his notions on man must look with abhorrence upon free trade may differ from their own? Dorrism. We are certain that all his We repeat it then, we want noble men, religious and political views must be with noble principles, and we may trust shocked with that Rhode Island dema- them for their measures. The very elecgoguism, with which all the leaders of tion of such men as Clay and Frelingthe Loco-foco party openly avow them- huysen, after the long reign of corruption selves to be infected. We would not so and intrigue, is worth more to the coununderrate his intelligence as to suppose try than the mere success of any meashim not to be fully aware of the tremen ure of mere internal, temporary legisladous consequences of that doctrine to all tion. In electing them we secure the our institutions, and how vastly, if carried continuance of the present most benefiout, they must exceed all the temporary cial tariff, a settlement much to be de. evils which he may see in a tariff. We sired of the perplexing question of the cannot imagine that he does not look national currency, the distribution of the with utter loathing upon the corrupt man- proceeds of the public lands, and the ner in which this wretched Texas issue adoption of other measures most neceshas been forced into the canvass, and we sary to the national welfare. We also cannot therefore deem it possible, that prevent the infamous annexation of Texas, such a man, and others who think with against which our candidate's word is him, can make this one principle of free pledged, on the highest of all groundstrade the sole turning point of their con a pledge which no man doubts he will duct in the present election. Methinks most honorably maintain. But the sublithat such Whigs might learn a lesson of mest result of the victory will be, that we consistency from some of the worst ex- rebuke that foul spirit of anarchy and disamples of Loco-focoism. We would point organization, which has found so much them to the course of that section of the countenance with the other party. We Polk party represented by the Evening cut off the heads of all that young brood Post. How bravely do they adhere to of radical Hydras, which, though as yet their man, notwithstanding they admit that of comparatively feeble growth, are conhe received his nomination on the strength stantly sprouting up from the venomous of one of the most contemptible meas- Typhon of Loco-focoism and infidelity. ures and corrupt intrigues” that ever We purge that political charnel-house at disgraced the nation-that he was select- Washington, which has so long tainted ed on no other ground, and that the our moral atmosphere ; threatening, unmeasure itself is "fraught with the most less speedily removed, to breed an incualarming evils to the country.' Yet rable pestilence in the body politic; and must we suppose (for we would not last, though not least, we do, by the highcharge such honorable men with a cor est national act, incorporate among the rupt inconsistency) that they are led to permanent interpretations of the Constisupport all this by their unaffected admi- tution Mr. Clay's noble protest against the