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ask Congress to make any further provision. As for any Texan
claim on New Mexico, it had long ago been not only refuted
but discarded as untenable and absolutely preposterous. Sena-
tor Benton's exposition of its utter and ridiculous baselessness
(in the great debate on Tyler's Texan treaty, in 1844) was com-
plete and unanswerable, and remains without an attempt made
to answer it, even to this day. The Territory of Utah was said
to require a proper organization of a government by Act of
Congress, on account of its anomalous condition under the
spiritual and secular despotism of Brigham Young. If so,
that should have been done immediately ; and so it would
have been immediately, but for Mr. Clay's insisting that his
propositions about slavery should be settled first. The Act for
its Territorial organization was finally passed. And in xohat
'particular has the government or condition of that miserable
country been changed thereby ? Yet Mr. Clay would not con-
sent that the State of California should be admitted until the
Mormon territory had been regulated by Congress.

The territorial governments of both Utah and New Mexico
were matters of no immediate importance, easy enough to be
provided in good time without reference to any other legisla-
tive measure, and had no need to be entangled with the affairs
of California, Texas, and the District of Columbia. The arrest
of fugitive slaves, and the abolition of slavery and the slave-
trade at the seat of the Federal Government, were also perfectly
independent subjects, having no more connection with Cali-
fornia and its application for recognition as one of the
states of the Union, than it could have have had with the
question of the admission of Michigan in 1836-7. All these were
matters that might have remained as they were until this time
without any notable excitement of the public mind, and could
have been settled singly in their proper turn, but for Mr.
Clay's unjustifiable determination to complicate these hetero-
geneous questions into an inextricable confusion, and to raise
sectional clamors in all quarters so as to create the greatest
possible uproar, that he might obtain the glory of subduing
and calming the hurly-burly by a compromise. Favorite and
fatal word, with the ever ambitious and never successful Ken-
tuckian ! A compromise between expediency and inexpe-
diency — between right and wrong — between light and dark-
ness, a sort of twilight unsuited to the vision of eagle and owl
alike — was the idea apparently always uppermost in his mind.
He delighted " by his art to put the waters in a roar," that he
might vainly try by some spell to " allay them." Of those

1850.] The last Seven Years of the Life of Henry Clay. 553

measures so entitled, with which his name was associated,
there was not one that did not require an unwarrantable and
needless surrender to insolent aggression and desperate rapa-
city. In every instance, there was a sacrifice of liberty to ty-
ranny, of natural justice or of constitutional right and duty
to avowed treason.

In this case, when Senators Pearce of Maryland and Bell
of Tennessee, with other patriotic men of the South, earnestly
aided the President's efforts to put an end to the whole trouble
by the prompt admission of California, he allied himself with
such men as the infamous Henry S. Foote, of Mississippi, the
traitor Arnold Douglas, the dough- faced Cass, and Mason of
Virginia, author of the abominable fugitive-slave act, — to en-
courage the ultra pro-slavery men in their resistance and ag-

His six months of agitation were unsuccessful and fruitless,
as far as concerned any personal triumph on his part. The
death of the upright and patriotic, though simple-minded Pres-
ident, and the succession of a cold-blooded, short-sighted and
thick-headed renegade from Anti-Slavery, resulted in such an
exercise of Executive influence and patronage as secured the
final enactment of the worst measures proposed by Mr. Clay —
the fugitive-slave-law and the unexpected, unsolicited donation
of $10,000,000 to Texas.

It is now known and undisputed, that to these closing move-
ments of Mr. Clay's political life, are wholly due all the calam-
ities that have since befallen the Union, all the subsequent
encroachments of the merciless and sleepless slaveholding
power upon the sacred domain of Freedom, — upon soil solemn-
ly guaranteed to Freedom by that same power, in 1787 and in
1820. If the South (which but for that causeless and needless
action of Henry Clay, would not have dared to hope for another
concession) had lacked the encouragement thus given by the
North, through Mr. Clay's much-abused influence over the un-
reasoning portion of his long-devoted friends here, — the slavery-
clause would not have been inserted in the Kansas-Nebraska
bill. The Act itself contains the testimony that the Missouri
compromise, as far as it forbade slavery north of 36° 30', was
rendered iuoperative, and was virtually repealed by the new
compromise (i. e. concession to slavery) of which Mr. Clay is
in this book claimed to be the originator. But the author also
claims, and reasonably, that Mr. Clay did not expect this result
of the labors which hurried his unfortunate life to its untimely
close. That, however, does not diminish the accountability of
such a man for such results of his conduct. The conceded fact

554 The last Seven Years of the Life of Henry Clay. [Nov.,

that Mr. Clay did not foresee these natural consequences of his
last fatal interference in public affairs, simply and clearly shows
that he was not the far-sighted and sagacious statesman that
his biographer and earnest apologist honestly imagines and
represents him to have been. That such would, and must, be
the consequence of this last of all possible "compromises," was
plainly seen then, by some of Mr. Clay's best and most self-
sacrificing friends. That it was the actual consequence is as
plain now as the fact that the year 1854 followed the year

Henry Clay died at seventeen minutes after eleven o'clock,
A. M., on the 29th of June, 1852. He seems to have made an
effort to live until after he had received and fully enjoyed the
news of the action of the Whig Presidential Convention at
Baltimore, a few days previous. After leisurely rumination
and hearty digestion of the details of Scott's laboriously
obtained nomination and Webster's ignominious rejection,
he quietly said, " I am going soon" — (his very last words,
though they are omitted in this book) — and he icent, soon after
uttering them. He went. His dust has returned to the earth
as it was — and his spirit to God who gave it. But his name,
surviving on the earth, has gone into the domain of history ;
and his words and deeds have become proper subject-matter
of criticism. It is now " in order " to imagine and infer his
motives. The parliamentary rules are on that point suspend-
ed, and are inoperative henceforth forever.

It is true that

The evil which men do, lives after them, —
[while] The good is oft interred with their bones.
So let it

not be with Henry Clay. So it has not been hitherto — as far
as the eulogies of the open enemies who belied him while he
lived, and of the false friends who betrayed him, and the weak
f ends who flattered and encouraged him then to evil — can
effect anything. But the inexorable justice of history cannot
be biased by such formal or natural testimonials ; nor will it
take them into account even in mitigation of sentence.

Mr. Clay saw in the action of that Presidential Convention,
that his envious rival and most malignant enemy, who for
twenty years had pertinaciously operated to prevent his nomina-
tion, and his election when nominated — Daniel Webster — who
emulously plunged headlong after Clay into the black gulf of
compromise, had at last received his final political doom to
hopeless, perpetual exclusion from the same great office which
had been to each of them the ignis fatuus of a long, devious

1856.] The last Seven Tears of the Life of Henry Clay. 555

and fruitless pursuit. lie saw the mortal shaft speed to the breast
of his spiteful and disappointed foe, and could not much miscal-
culate its effect. Ilaeret lethalis arundo. Four months passed ;
and AYebster, unable either to bear or conceal the agony of his
mortification and despair, followed his great and nobler an-
tagonist to the grave. The next week saw Scott undergo a de-
feat whose humiliating completeness was foreseen with absolute
certainty, and announced with perfect exactness of vote, after
his ridiculous nomination and before Mr. Clay's death, — brief
as was that interval.

The personal ambition of these three men, their competition
with each other for the Presidency, the quarrels continually
occurring among their partisans, the impatience of each to attain
the one great object, and the constant efforts of the two latter to
supplant the former — conspired to keep the most intelligent
and respectable portion of the American people for the greater
part of a generation under the feet of the vilest mass of igno-
rance and wickedness that ever ruled under the name of Democ-
racy. How many fruitless days and years of zealous and painful
labor were sacrificed — how many hopes were kindled and disap-
pointed — how many lives were wasted and shortened in the
mighty conflicts which agitated the nation, and which all resulted
so unfortunately to the whole Union, in consequence of the selfish
ambition and foolish management of these three old men, and
about a dozen more, equally selfish and foolish !

In the light of the present, we may defy the partisans of
each and all of them to show that the world or any part of it
was ever any better for either of them having lived in it.

It is quite" clear that neither of them deserved success in that
life-long effort to obtain the Federal Chief Magistracy, — inas-
much as the errors and follies of all three were the effective and
sufficient causes of their defeat and of the disappointment of a
multitude of men, not less patriotic, and far more disinterested
and meritorious.

There is no justice or propriety in blaming the American
people for the ill success of Mr. Clay, his competitors and as-
sociates in those great public efforts. Living, dying, and dead,
he has been the recipient of honors and favors never offered to
any other politician of his own or any other land or time.
The people of this country (especially that portion of them
justly claiming a large majority of the intelligence and re-
spectability) have made themselves positively ridiculous in the
eyes of all the rest of mankind, by their lavish bestowal of
honor and extravagant laudation on their most prominent pub-
lic men during the last thirty or forty years. And, what is the
more remarkable and still more discreditable, — there has never

556 The last Seven Tears of the Life of Henry Clay. [Nov.,

been one of all those who have been the subjects of this enor-
mous ante-humous eulogization that has not, most evidently,
been spoiled by it and puffed up into a preposterous over-esti-
mate of his own merits, powers, and prospects.

That generation of (temporarily) great men has very nearly
passed away. Let it be hoped that those who are, or may be,
succeeding to their places will avoid, if possible, the manifest
errors common to the whole group, — learning therefrom
how little solid or permanent value these exaggerated public
compliments really have. And it is also to be hoped that the
rising and risen generation of the people may be induced to
be more sparing of a commendation which has now become
so cheap and vulgar, and such a matter of mere form, as to
render both giver and receiver objects of suspicion, if not of
contempt. A people so given to exaggerated praise are in
some danger of being thought quite deficient in proper self-
respect, and miserably faulty in judgment. The proper regu-
lation of public affairs in this country, and the right adminis-
tration of the Federal and State Governments, do not require
any very high order of genius, or great brilliancy of talent.
Thoroughly honest men of good quiet common sense, sound
judgment, and steady industry, wholly under the influence of
a conscientious regard for duty — are the great want of this
people and their government. For fluent orators and volum-
inous writers, there can be no great demand now, and for a long
time to come.

But, a single instance of a public man elevated to high sta-
tion, and honored with the applause of the nation, without be-
traying great vanity, this age has not seen in this country. That
place remains open to a future President of the United States.

The author of the book before us — after a very protracted
and laboriously minute account of Mr. Clay's long funeral, and
the various public performances of many insignificant men,
who sought to give themselves importance thereby, — finishes
his work with a " Resume of the life and character of Henry
Clay," — in which, of course, he demonstrates, to his own satisfac-
tion, that Mr. Clay was always in the right, and that if he ever
had been in the wrong, it would have been perfectly proper for
him to be so. He notices nothing wrong in Mr. Clay's enter-
ing the United States Senate, and taking the oath to support
and defend the Constitution of the United States, which he vio-
lated in the very act of taking his seat before he was thirty
years of age. According to Mr. Clay's own account, he was
not thirty years old until thirty-nine days after the expiration of
the period of his first Senatorial service. No apology or pal-

1856.] The last Seven Tears of the Life of Hem^y Clay. 557

liation can be offered for this wholly indefensible act ; and yet
the book has not one word in condemnation or censure of it.
Mr. Clay urged President Madison and Congress into the war
of 1812, and afterwards helped to make a treaty of peace that
did not secure one of the objects of the war. Be made a
speech against the chartering of a United States Bank, in 1811,
and made a speech in favor of the same thing in 1816. He
was opposed to a Navy in Mr. Jefferson's time, and was
actively in favor of building a Navy after he had urged the
country without one into a war with a power that was then
without a rival on the seas. He advocated the recognition of
the Independence of the South American republics and of
Greece, which was done in due time ; and he deserves credit for
the effort, though neither of those countries has ever enjoyed
one day of good government or true liberty since. A baser
kingdom and people than the Greek, the whole world knows
not. Their merciless intolerance and almost universal brigand-
age show now that they need a sterner master than the Turk.

Mr. Clay was one of the founders and nearly the first and
last advocate of the American Colonization Society, whose
scheme of benefiting America and Africa, after forty years of
vast expenditure of money and life, has resulted in no good to
either country, and no improvement in the condition of either
race. And this was Mr. Clay's great scheme for the imme-
diate removal of the evils of slavery.

So in 1816, Mr. Clay effectively advocated a high protective
Tariff; and in 1820 and 1821 urged the passage of one still
more protective. In 1832, after his defeat at the Presidential
election of that year, he introduced the bill which by his ex-
ertions and influence became the Tariff Compromise Act, by
which the protective sj'stem was abolished and the duties
gradually brought down to the free-trade standard of 20 per
centum ad valorem, j'ielding to the Federal Treasury a revenue
of less than §10,000,000 per annum. Those various operations
are all given in evidence of wise statesmanship.

Mr. Clay's acceptance of the appointment of Secretary of
State from President John Quincy Adams, though morally
right, was grossly impolitic, — and was destructive of all the
immediate personal interests of both. Mr. Clay's term of ser-
vice in the Department of State brought him no accession of
distinction and fame. He should have refused the office, even
if the imputations upon Mr. Adams and himself had never been
invented by James Buchanan, whose baseness in that affair now
stands exposed, not only by those whom he slandered, but by
Jackson himself. Had he refused it, the lie would have been
stifled in the slanderer's throat.

558 The last Seven Years of the Life of Henry Clay. [Nov.,

Then^ there was Mr. Clay's studiously prepared anti-abolition
speech in the Senate, (made under the advice of those judicious
Northern friends who were generally his chosen counselors,)
which just exactly lost him the nomination at Harrisburg, in
December, 1839.

And besides these, there were the blunders upon blunders of
all his later life, which we have already made subject of

The character and history thus presented, cannot be justly
styled that of a true statesman or sagacious politician. It is not
pretended that he was a scholar or a philosopher in any sense
or degree. He was neither wise nor prudent, nor learned, nor
witty. He was a bold brave man, of noble impulses and laud-
able ambition, desiring to elevate himself by honorable
means. He was a great orator, an eloquent declaimer, a
powerful reasoner, though not a finished logician. Over the
feelings and affections of others he exercised a wonderful and
potent sway : over his own passions and weaknesses he mani-
fested great want of restraining judgment. But with all his
defects, mental and moral, without craft or demagogical trick
or fawning, or falsehood, he made himself the most beloved and
honored and lamented of all the best men of his age and clime.

He inspired in the hearts of millions such zeal in his cause,
such affection to his person, such devotion to him in life and
death, as were never the joy and glory of any other man in
America. His fame is almost the greatest marvel of our time.
To posterity it will seem the greatest of all. His commanding
preeminence above his coevals (among whom were so many
that were above him in judgment, in taste, in knowledge of books
and men, and his superiors even in eloquence) was the irresisti-
ble and unpurposed effect of qualities of his nature instinctively
perceived and appreciated by multitudes of those who were
the hardest to excite by such influences, and who are now, as
they were then, unable to explain how he so wrought upon
their sympathies, conquered their prejudices, and kindled in
them such fiery enthusiasm in his behalf.

That he was passionately and purely a patriot, no one doubts
or denies. That he ever sought, or would have ever consented
to obtain or enjoy any honor, to the injury of his country, or
by the sacrifice of what he believed to be truth or duty, — no
one suspects or imagines. Unquestionably, he always desired
to be right. Nothing could ever have frightened him from
being or doing right. Undoubtedly, he sincerely had rather
be right than be Fresident. It was a great misfortuiie to be
neither, — after trying so long and so hard to be both.

1856.] The last Seven Tears of the Life of Henry Clay. 559

Then, let none emulate his fame or seek to follow in his
devious though so often upward footsteps, without superior
power over the common weaknesses of human nature, and
without a sure and singular exemption from the faults which
are almost uniformly associated with the qualities that win
such strong admiration and personal attachment, such deep and
lasting devotion. Notwithstanding his uniform ill success in
his personal aims and patriotic enterprises, he has "made
his mark on his time," and has imprinted much of his impas-
sioned, hopefully patriotic spirit on the characters of the best
of his countrymen in the generation now following.

The very name of Henry Clay will long possess that magic
and spirit-kindling influence which (as we know by his own sin-
cere confession) was a wonder even to himself. Its vindictive
energy is working at this moment, unnoticed by heedless and
heartless politicians, to accomplish the defeat and disgrace of
the meanest of his many cowardly slanderers.

Gone though he is to his dread account, he " has left behind
powers that will work for him." For many yet live and labor
who said to him, when they believed that his political course
was finished,

" The monumental marble will be cold in its testimonials of
your greatness and renown ; but our glowing spirits and burn-
ing words shall bear you better, warmer witness. The gran-
ite shall sooner moulder than these living memorials shall fail ;
for the hearts in which our blood will beat, shall swell and thrill
in other ages at the utterance of your name, with emotions of
gratitude and affection derived with life from us, and continued
while any remain — worthy of America and liberty."


Recent Aspects of International Law. [Nov.


Treaty of Paris, signed March 30, 1856.

Mr. Moray' » Letters to Mr. Seibels and Count de Sartiges.
Published in the National Intelligencer, September 16, 1855.

The peace of Paris, concluded in March last, between the
leading powers of Europe, not only put an end to a very serious
and threatening war, but was made also the occasion for set-
tling — as far as the parties to the peace were concerned— some
important principles in international law. To this newest
aspect of the law of nations, and if our limits will permit, to
some other of the more recent evidences of progress in this
science, we invite our readers' attention for a few moments.

In the body of the treaty we find a stipulation in regard to
the use of the Danube for the purposes of navigation, which
calls for a few remarks.

It would seem clear, according to natural justice, that if the
mouth of a navigable river lies in one state, and its upper
waters in another, the latter nation ought to have the right of
free passage to the sea. The importance of human intercourse
to the improvement of the whole world is so great, that it is
pointed out in divine providence as a part of God's economy for
mankind. A nation may indeed decide to live within itself,
and make no exchanges with foreigners ; but to cut off a na-
tion from such intercourse, when it is ready to give all proper
guarantees^ not to disturb the quiet or safety of another state
in its transit, and to pay all fair expenses, seems contrary not
only to the law of benevolence, but to the law of justice. And
these principles are eminently applicable in the case of rivers,
which are made and filled by no mortal hands, which are God's
canals, not merely to drain the more elevated country, but to
bear merchandise between these inland districts and the ocean.
But international law has not hitherto conceded the full right
of using such streams to nations living on their upper waters.
There has been an imperfect right, it is said, in the case ; that
is, benevolence demands that it should be conceded ; but the
right cannot be enforced, nor is its refusal just ground for war.


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