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of success. After his third, and what proved to be his last defeat, as a presidential candidate before the people in 1844, and after having been for some years in retirement, he came to Washington in the early part of the year 1848, to deliver an address before the Colonization Society. The hall of the House of Representatives was granted for the occasion, and the time fixed for eight o'clock in the evening. Wishing to secure a favorable position for hearing, I went up more than an hour before the time when he was to begin. On entering the capitol grounds, I was surprised to see gentlemen and ladies in large numbers standing in groups, or strolling through the grounds. I entered the rotunda, but found it packed with persons, the passages were so crowded that I could not reach the hall, and learned that it had been filled early in the afternoon by those anxious to secure seats. It was on that occasion that Mr. Crittenden, who after years of devotion to Mr. Clay, had decided to support General Taylor, said with some apparent vexation, that Mr. Clay could bring together larger crowds than any man in America, and then get the fewest votes out of them.

If Mr. Clay went to a social party, which he rarely did, the dancing was broken up by the pressure of young ladies to shake hands with him. Sometimes his presence in a church disturbed the exercises, by directing the attention of the congregation to him, instead of the preacher. While he thus, perhaps, had more personal friends than any man who ever lived, Mr. Calhoun drew to himself a smaller number, and held them with hooks of steel. Mr. Webster, notwithstanding his fine conversational powers, and great social qualities, did not fasten to himself so large a number of personal friends.

It was singular that the ascendancy of these three men should have been maintained so long in the public mind. Many possessing great ability and eloquence came up around them. John M. Clayton, Silas Wright, Corwin, Crittenden, Benton and many others there were, who would have been pre-eminently great since that time, but no one, in their day, rated them with either of the triumvers.

They were, too, all remarkable for their presence and bearing. They had, however, one cotemporary, not less eminent, who was in nowise the inferior of any one of them in form and carriage.

In the early part of the year 1835, John Quincy Adams, by the appointment of the two Houses of Congress, delivered in the hall of the House an oration on the character and services of LaFayette. That occasion was well calculated to make a deep impression on the memory of youth, fresh from his studies. The area immediately around the Speaker's desk was reserved for those not members of the House. These great Senators, with such associates as Preston, Mangum, Watkins Leigh, Poindexter and others known to fame, and VicePresident Van Buren, at their head, took the places assigned to them. The Justices of the Supreme Court, led by their dignified, most peculiar, antique-looking Chief, John Marshall, came in. They were followed by President Jackson and his Cabinet. As he appeared at a distance equal to half the breadth of the hall, there was no figure in all that vast assemblage so striking. Always imposing in manner and appearance, then in an admirably fitting suit of black, his tall

form, the wonderful perfection of his outline, his dignified carriage, his entire bearing in movement and mien, rendered him the most interesting and remarkable looking personage of all then present. I can scarcely suppose that Washington, himself, could have been seen to more advantage. During the three hours occupied by the address, delivered with surprising force and high rhetorical power, with many bursts of great eloquence, he was kept in closer proximity to Messrs. Clay and Calhoun than he had been for many years.

There was another scene occurring much later, very different from this, but not less impressive, in which two of these personages filled a most conspicuous place. In the winter of 1850 and 1851 Jenny Lind announced a concert in Washington. Being desirous of hearing her under favorable circumstances, I secured a seat near the front of the stage. The front seat was, however, reserved for certain distinguished persons whose presence was expected. Owing to the fact that several of them had been invited to a dinner party by one of the foreign ministers residing in Georgetown, their attendance was delayed, so that the room was entirely filled by a distinguished and highly cultivated audience.

The quiet was at length disturbed by a rustling and stamping of feet, and on turning towards the rear I saw that Mr. Crittenden, then Attorney General, had entered the main aisle. The applause indicated that some looked to him as the coming man for the Presidency. Blushing a little, and showing some embarrassment in manner at being thus made conspicuous, he advanced to a seat in front. After a pause of a few moments, a much more decided movement occurred, and on looking to the rear I saw the portly figure of President Fillmore advancing along the aisle. His fine form, dressed in good taste, and the easy manner in which he acknowledged the greeting extended to him, increased the applause, which seemed to say that he was not to be superseded by a member of his own Cabinet. Not many moments after he had been seated, a thundering demonstration began, surpassing emphatically either of the preceding ones. Mr. Webster had entered, just from the dinner, in regal garb, with kingly look, but that nature does not now bestow such looks on kings. His recent great efforts for his country had brought much censure on him at home, and the audience feeling this, seemed resolved to make fitting amends. He evidently felt great gratification at such a welcome, and moving forward with Mrs. Webster, a person as a lady not less distinguished in appearance than himself, took his position, not among the auditors, but upon the right of the platform, and surveyed the hall with a grand and lordly look that impressed every beholder.

There was a brief silence, and then began a still more noisy manifestation in the rear. The thumping was louder, and there were subdued shouts and cheers, and as I turned I saw the colossal figure of Winfield Scott. A powerful combination had been formed to run him for the Presidency, and his partisans then present seemed resolved that he should not be overshadowed by demonstrations for others. The noisiest stamps and the loudest cheers came from patriots, anxious to serve their country under so gallant a leader. "Six feet six in his

stockings," in showy plumage, with great elation of countenance, and a jaunty step, as he moved down the aisle, the heights of Queenstown, Lundy's Lane, Cerro Gordo and Chepultepec seemed to wave around him.

Soon after this, Jenny Lind came forward and sung a song, the music of which was almost lost in the surprise at the wonderful power and compass of her voice. She retired, and for a few moments there was a perfect silence. Suddenly a tremendous jarring began. It seemed, for a moment, as if the columns in the rear and the galleries might be tumbling down together. The tall form of Mr. Clay, in beautiful dress, was there. With bright looks, and graceful bows, and waves of his hands he, with imperial air, acknowledged the welcome. The applause was extended over the entire hall, was deep, heartfelt and universal. It seemed as if the audience, ashamed of its demonstrations to lesser favorites, would make amends by turning with renewed loyalty to its great idol.

The feeling was inspired by no idea of reward, no hope of future triumph. It was rather akin to those emotions with which we regard the memory of Sir William Wallace, or of Kosciusko. They knew that he was dying; that his political sun was sinking below the horizon; that for him, there would be no returning day; that never more would he meet the eager grasp of ardent partisans, sanguine of coming triumph; that never again, in his name, would the banners wave over shouting multitudes. A great image was passing, had in fact already passed from the American mind, leaving a sadness "deeper than the wail above the dead." No one then present perceived this more clearly, or perhaps felt it so deeply as did Mr. Clay


An incident which occurred a few weeks later, brought vividly to my mind this truth. The session closed on the fourth of March, and owing to the pressure of Congressional business, I had not seen Mr. Clay for many days. Such was his health that it seemed doubtful if he would again return to Washington. The Senate was detained by some executive business, and was for awhile sitting with open doors, during the consideration of a contested election case. Not being willing to leave without seeing Mr. Clay, I walked in, and after the usual salutation said to him, "I called last evening to see you, but you were out." "I am very sorry," he replied, mentioning where he had been, "Come this evening-but no," said he, seeming to recollect suddenly, "I am to dine with Sir Henry Bulwer, but you must come and see me to-morrow evening." "No," I replied, "I leave in the morning. I only called to bid you farewell. I shall be a candidate for re-election, but you know that politics are uncertain things, and we may not meet again. I wish you to know that though I have of late opposed some of your measures, the greater part of my life has been devoted to the effort to make you President." A wonderful change instantly came over his countenance. It seemed as if that remark called up to his mind, the images of thousands of friends, who had labored so long, so ardently and so vainly for his promotion. The tears fell on his flushed cheeks, he covered his eyes with his hands for a moment,

suddenly recovered himself, and taking me by both hands, said in a subdued voice, "I know it, my dear fellow, and am very grateful for it."

His disappointment was equally shared by Webster and Calhoun. They all, however, had the good fortune to die while their great intellects were still in their meridian splendor, "before decay's eflacing fingers" had robbed them of a single element of strength or grandeur. Mr. Calhoun's last speech ranks among his greatest efforts. When it was impressively read by Mr. Mason, in a fine masculine voice, as Mr. Calhoun sat by his side, thin, and pale as marble, the gesture of his brow, the active and incessant compression of his lips, his rapid glances from Senator to Senator, with an eye as bright as that of the wounded eagle, told unmistakably that there was no cloud on his intellect, and that his high heart was still unbroken.

More than an hour passed alone with Mr. Clay, shortly before his death, as he lay on a sofa, because too feeble to sit up, and with a cough so distressing that it was almost impossible for him to utter a complete sentence, showed that while his mind was oppressed by the forebodings of great evils to the country, his intellect was undimmed. and the deep current of his patriotism rolled on wit': undiminished volume.

The Baltimore Convention of that summer had taken away Mr. Webster's last chance for the residency. Towards the close of August, being with him on the last day that he ever passed in Washington, though a shade of sadness rested on him, bis intellect never appeared more grand, nor did his great heart ever seem to be filled with more generous and noble emotions. They have all passed on, and joined the throng of the mighty dead, whose actions have made the great current of humanity in the past, and the recollections of which in the future are to incite their countrymen to the performance of deeds of courage and glory.

As the memories of honored ancestors sustain us against temptation, and in the hour of peril, so do the accumulated glories of past ages, constitute the moral force of nations. The belief in the Athenian mind, that on the day of Marathon the shade of Theseus had marched in the van of their countrymen, and by the s.rokes of his flashing sword reddened the waves of the Egean Sea with the blood of their enemies, sustained their bann rs at Salamis and Platea A great oath sworn by the manes of their heroic ancestors, who had fallen in these battles, seemed to Demosthenes the strongest appeal to revive the slumbering patriotism of his degenerate countrymen.

The action of the first Brutus overthrew many a tyrant after Tarquin before it culminated on that day, when, in the Roman Senate hall, it "made the dagger's edge surpass the conqueror's sword in bearing fame away." The announcement that the victories of Cæsar were embarked on his frail boat, steadied the trembling hands of the timid pilot amid the waves of a stormy sea. At the foot of the pyramids in Egypt, to inspire his followers, Napoleon reminded them that the deeds of forty centuries looked down on them from the top of those monuments. The fact that the old guard had never recoiled in battle,

had never failed to carry victory in its charge, caused the exclamation at Waterloo, "The guard dies, but does not surrender!"

Great as is the superiority of a veteran army over one composed of only recruits, its condition, if once demoralized, is even more hopeless than that of raw levies. So is it with nations. It is almost impossible that a people once great, who have become degenerate and corrupt, can ever again take a high position. If then, nations, by some fixed law of nature, like individuals, have their rise, their progress and their decadence, how can the United States attain the greatest vigor, the highest excellence, and the most prolonged existence, as a people? Shall we rely on our more general education, and greater diffusion of literary intelligence? The Greeks, who so easily fell a prey to the Roman armies, were much more highly cultivated than were their ancestors, who resisted the Persian invasions. It was in the Augustan age, when art and literature were at their height, and the empire almost boundless in its extent, that the loss of some legions in Germany caused the Emperor to tremble on the throne of the world. His subjects were craven-hearted, because the deeds of Camillus, of Scipio, and of Marius, instead of being great present realities, were but shadowy traditions, seen dimly through the mists of luxury and effeminacy. It was a ruder, a sterner Rome, whose citizens reverenced the images of their ancestors, who had known no divorce. for five hundred years; whose word lacked neither bond nor surety; who believed that at the lake Regillus, Castor and Pollux on white. steeds had ridden, lance in hand, with the ranks of their heroic countrymen. This was the Rome that "arrayed her warriors but to conquer."

The sensual teachings of the voluptuous epicurean schools, and the derisive skepticism of Lucian, had marched in advance of the barbarian armies, and by destroying both public and private virtue and religious faith, as sin opened the gates of the infernal regions, had made a broad and easy road for political and national death.

Already does our young and vigorous republic show such premonitory signs of demoralization as justly to alarm us for the future. We hear, without general condemnation, the startling proposition that dishonest men are to be made upright by giving them abundance of money; that avarice can easily be gorged and satisfied, and that the man who is hired to be honest to day, will be firm against temptation to-morrow. Instead of wolves being killed or driven away, they are to be rendered harmless by letting them work their will on the sheep.

We find, too, a general disposition in the public mind to excuse wrong doers, and extend sympathy to criminals rather than to their victims. As an excuse for relaxing the laws, it is asserted that juries will not convict if punishment is made severe. But if juries fail to do their duty, it is because they have been misled by a mistaken press, and a vicious public opinion, that inculcate the doctrine that it is barbarous to punish men for crimes. The tolerance is even more striking with respect to those acts that are not accompanied with violence. Such crimes, however, being usually deliberate, indicate a

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