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the basis of most of our commercial arrangements with foreign powers. Now, if I had discovered at Ghent, as has been asserted, that either of them was false and faithless to his country, would I have voluntarily commenced with them another negotiation ? Further : there never has been a period, during our whole acquaintance, that Mr. Adams and I have not exchanged, when we have met, friendly salutations, and the courtesies and hospitalities of social intercourse.
The address proceeds to characterize the support which I gave to Mr. Adams as unnatural. The authors of the address have not stated why it is unnatural, and we are therefore left to conjecture their meaning. Is it because Mr. Adams is from New England, and I am a citizen of the west? If it be unnatural in the western states to support a citizen of New England, it must be equally unnatural in the New England states to support a citizen of the west. And, on the same principle, the New England states ought to be restrained from concurring in the election of a citizen of the southern states, or the southern states from coöperating in the election of a citizen of New England. And, consequently, the support which the last three presidents have derived from New England, and that which the vice-president recently received, has been mos
unnaturally given. The tendency of such reasoning would be to denationalize us, and to contract every part of the union within the narrow, selfish limits of its own section. It would be still worse ; it would lead to the destruction of the union itself. For if it be unnatural in one section to support a citizen in another, the union itself must be unnatural; all our ties, all our glories, all that is animating in the past, all that is bright and cheering in the future, must be unnatural. Happily, such is the admirable texture of our union, that the interests of all its parts are closely inter
If there are strong points of affinity between the south and the west, there are interests of not less, if not greater, strength and vigor, binding the west, and the north, and the east.
Before I close this address, it is iny duty, which I proceed to perform with great regret, on account of the occasion which calls for it, to invite your attention to a letter, addressed by general Jackson to Mr. Swartwout, on the twenty-third day of February last. The names of both the general and myself had been before the American public for its highest office. We had both been unsuccessful. The unfortunate have usually some sympathy for each other. For myself, I claim no merit for the cheerful acquiescence which I have given in a result by which I was excluded from the house. I have believed that the decision by the constituted authorities, in favor of others, has been founded upon a conviction of the superiority of their pretensions. It has been my habit, when an election is once decided, to forget, as soon possible, all the irritating circumstances which attended the pre
ceding canvass. If one be successful, he should be content with his success. If he have lost it, railing will do no good. I never gave general Jackson nor his friends any reason to believe that I would, in any contingency, support him. He had, as I thought, no public claim, and, I will now add, no personal claims, if these ought to be ever considered, to my support
. No one, therefore, ought to have been disappointed or chagrined that I did not vote for him, no more than I was neither surprised nor disappointed that he did not, on a more recent occasion, feel it to be his duty to vote for me. After commenting upon a particular phrase used in my letter to judge Brooke, a calm reconsideration of which will, I think, satisfy any person that it was not employed in an offensive sense, if indeed it have an offensive sense, the general, in his letter to Mr. Swartwout, proceeds to remark: 'No one beheld me seeking, through art or management, to entice any representative in congress from a conscientious responsibility of his own, or the wishes of his constituents. No midnight taper burnt by me; no secret conclaves were held, nor cabals entered into to persuade any one to a violation of pledges given, or of instructions received By me no plans were concerted to impair the pure principles of our republican institutions, nor to prostrate that fundamental maxim which maintains the supremacy of the people's will. On the contrary, having never in any manner, before the people or congress, interfered in the slightest degree with the question, my conscience stands void of offence, and will go quietly with me, regardless of the insinuations of those who, through management, may seek an influence not sanctioned by integrity and merit. I am not aware that this defence of himself was rendered necessary by any charges brought forward against the general. Certainly I never made any such charges against him. I will not suppose that, in the passage cited, he intended to impute to me the misconduct which he describes, and yet, taking the whole context of his letter together, and coupling it with Mr. Kremer's address, it cannot be disguised that others may suppose he intended to refer to me. I am quite sure that, if he did, he could not have formed those unfavorable opinions of me upon any personal observation of my conduct made by himself; for a supposition that they were founded upon his own knowledge, would imply that my lodgings and my person had been subjected to a system of 'espionage wholly incompatible with the open, manly, and honorable conduct of a gallant soldier. If he designed any insinuations against me, I must believe that he made them upon the information of others, of whom I can only say that they have deceived his credulity, and are entirely unworthy of all credit
. I entered into no cabals ; I held no secret conclaves; I enticed no man to violate pledges given or instructions received. The members from Ohio, and from the other western states, with whom I voted, were all of them as competent as I was to form an opinion on the pending election. The
McArthurs and the Metcalls, and the other gentlemen from the west, (some of whom have, if I have not, bravely made an effort to repel an invading foe,') are as incapable of dishonor as any men breathing; as disinterested, as unambitious, as exclusively devoted to the best interests of their country. It was quite as likely that I should be influenced by them, as that I could control their votes. Our object was not to impair, but to preserve from all danger, the purity of our republican institutions. And how I prostrated the maxim which maintains the supremacy of the people's will, I am entirely at a loss to comprehend. The illusions of the general's imagination deceive him. The people of the United States had never decided the election in his favor. If the people had willed his election, he would have been elected. It was because they had not willed his election, nor that of any other candidate, that the duty of making a choice devolved on the house of representatives. The general remarks :
* Mr. Clay has never yet risked himself for his country. He has never sacrificed his repose, nor made an effort to repel an invading foe ; of course his conscience assured him it was altogether wrong in any other man to lead his countrymen to battle and victory.'
The logic of this conclusion is not very striking. General Jackson fights better than he reasons.
When have I failed to concur in awarding appropriate honors to those who, on the sea or on the land, have sustained the glory of our arms, if I could not always approve of the acts of some of them ? It is true, that it has been my misfortune never to have repelled an invading foe, nor to have led my countrymen to victory. If I had, I should have left to others to proclaim and appreciate the deed. The general's destiny and mine have led us in different directions. In the civil employments of my country, to which I have been confined, I regret that the little service which I have been able to render it falls far short of my wishes. But why this denunciation of those who have not repelled an invading foe, or led our armies to victory ? At the very moment when he is inveighing against an objection to his election to the presidency, founded upon the exclusive military nature of his merits, does he not perceive that he is establishing its validity by proscribing every man who has not successfully fought the public enemy; and that, by such a general proscription, and the requirement of successful military service as the only condition of civil preferment, the inevitable effect would be the ultimate establishment of a military government?
If the contents of the letter to Mr. Swartwout, were such as justly to excite surprise, there were other circumstances not caleulated to diminish it. Of all the citizens of the United States, that gentleman is one of the last to whom it was necessary to address any vindication of general Jackson. He had given abundant
evidence of his entire devotion to the cause of the general. He was here after the election, and was one of a committee who invited the general to a public dinner, proposed to be given to him in this place. My letter to judge Brooke was published in the papers of this city on the twelfth of February. The general's note, declining the invitation of Messrs. Swartwout and others, was published on the fourteenth, in the National Journal. The probability, therefore, is, that he did not leave this city until after he had a full opportunity to receive, in a personal interview with the general, any verbal observations upon it which he might have thought proper to make. The letter to Mr. Swartwout, bears date the twenty-third of February. If received by him in New York, it must have reached him, in the ordinary course of mail, on the twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth. Whether intended or not as a 'private communication, and not for the public eye,' as alleged by him, there is much probability in believing that its publication in New York, on the fourth of March, was then made, like Mr. Kremer's address, with the view to its arrival in this city in time to affect my nomination to the senate. In point of fact, it reached here the day before the senate acted on that nomination.
Fellow-citizens, I am sensible that, generally, a public officer had better abstain from any vindication of his conduct, and leave it to the candor and justice of his countrymen, under all its attending circumstances. Such has been the course which I have heretofore prescribed to myself. This is the first, as I hope it may be the last, occasion of my thus appearing before you. The separation which has just taken place between us, and the venom, if not the vigor of the late onsets upon my public conduct, will, I hope, be allowed in this instance to form an adequate apology. It has been upwards of twenty years since I first entered the public service. Nearly three fourths of that time, with some intermissions, I have represented the same district in congress, with but little variation in its form. During that long period, you have beheld our country passing through scenes of peace and war, of prosperity and adversity, and of party divisions, local and general, often greatly exasperated against cach other. I have been an actor in most of those scenes. Throughout the whole of them, you have clung to me with an affectionate confidence which has never been surpassed. I have found in your attachment, in every embarrassment in my public career, the greatest consolation, and the most encouraging support. I should regard the loss of it as one of the most afflicting public misfortunes which could befall me. That I have often misconceived your true interests, is highly probable. That I have ever sacrificed them to the object of personal aggrandizement, I utterly deny. And, for the purity of my motives, however in other respects I may be unworthy io approach the throne of grace and mercy, I appeal to the justice of my God, with all the confidence which can flow from a consciousness of perfect rectitude.
ON THE ELECTION OF PRESIDENT BY
CONGRESS, IN 1825.
SPEECH AT LEWISBURG, VIRGINIA, AUGUST 30, 1826.
[In the following remarks at a public dinner given him by citizens of Lewisburg, and its vicinity, while he was secretary of state, under president Adams, Mr. Clay explains the motives which influenced him in voting for that gentleman for the office of president, and afterwards accepting a seat in his cabinet. He also alludes to some of the measures of the administration, of which he was then a member, in a manner which will be found to possess great interest.]
Lewisburg, August 23d, 1826. THE HONORABLE HENRY CLAY:
Sir, at a meeting of a respectable number of the inhabitants of Lewisburg and its vicinity, convened in the court house on the twenty-second instant, it was unanimously determined to greet your arrival amongst them by some public demonstration of the respect which they in common with a great portion of the community, feel towards one of their most distinguished fellow-citizens. It was therefore unanimously resolved, as the most eligible means of manifesting their feelings, to request the honor of your presence at a public dinner to be given at the tavern of Mr. Frazer, in the town of Lewisburg, on Wednesday the thirtieth instant.
In pursuance of the above measures, we, as a committee, have been appointed to communicate their resolutions and solicit a compliance with their invitation. In performing this agreeable duty, we cannot but express our admiration of the uniform course which, during a long political career, you have pursued with so much honor to yourself and country. Although the detractions of envy, and the violence of party feeling have endeavored to blast your fair reputation, and destroy the confidence reposed in you by the citizens of the United States, we rejoice to inform you, that the people of the western part of that state which claims you as one of her most gifted sons, still retain the same high feeling of respect, which they have always manifested in spite of the maledictions and bickerings of disappointed editors and interested politicians. We cannot close our communication without hailing you as one of the most distinguished advocates of that system of internal improvement which has already proved so beneficial to our country, and which at no distant period will make even these desert mountains to blossom as the rose. We have the honor to subscribe ourselves, yours with esteem, J. G. M'CLENACHEN,
J. A. North,
White Sulphur Springs, 24th August, 1826. GENTLEMEN, I have received the note which you did me the honor on yesterday to address to me, inviting me in behalf of a respectable number of the citizens of Lewisburg and its vicinity, to a public dinner at Mr. Frazer's tavern, on Wednesday next, which they have the goodness to propose, in consequence of my arrival amongst