xt7gb56d2m7r https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7gb56d2m7r/data/mets.xml  1858  books b92-112-28170525 English W.A. Clarke, : Cincinnati : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Clay, Henry, 1777-1852. Kentucky History. United States Politics and government 1815-1861. Monument to the memory of Henry Clay text Monument to the memory of Henry Clay 1858 2002 true xt7gb56d2m7r section xt7gb56d2m7r 













M 0 N U M E N T

           TO


    Th9 MEMORY

           CR



B E N R Y



C L A Y .



BY A. H. CARRIER.


    " He was a MAN, take him for all in all,
    WE shall not look upon his like again."
 " I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT, THAN BE PRECSIDUT."



         CINCINNATI:
W. A. CLARKE, PUBLISHER.
             1858.

 


































    Entered according to Act of Cougress, in the year 1856, by
                   WM. A. CLARKE,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the
                   Southern District of Ohio



   STERPEOTYFD BY
D. HILLS  CO.,
1l41 Jfen ., Civnei ag.

 













                    PREFACE.




  THE object of the present work is two-fold. First,
to present in a condensed form a complete Life, and
the most important Speeches of Henry Clay; and
secondly, to collect, in a form adapted to their preser-
vation, the Eulogies called forth by the death of the great
statesman, together with an account of the Obsequies at-
tending his burial.
  In respect to the first object, it may be said, that the
field has already been occupied. In reply, we say that,
although the works which have appeared from time to
time, and especially the large volumes of Colton, have
given us nearly all the information which we can hope to
obtain, whether in regard to the public or private life of
HIENRY CLAY, yet that they all, and especially those which
we have designated, labor under the disadvantage of
being too large and too costly for popular circulation.
  Now, such was the affectionate admiration with which
HENRY CLAY was regarded, while living, that we believe
thousands will hail with satisfaction the appearance of a
volume like this, in which it has been the aim to unite
                                            (iii)

 







accuracy in the statement of facts, with a clear delineation
of the marked features of CLAY's public and private char-
acter. The Biographic part claims, moreover, to be some-
thing more than a mere abridgment or compilation. It
aspires to the dignity of an original portraiture.
  In the Selections from CLAY's speeches, the rule observed
was this; to present the political opinions of the great
leader in his own words, rendering him, thus, as far as
possible, the author of his own political biography. To
this end, extracts have been made to convey, not always
so much an impression of the beauty and force of his
diction, as of the peculiar sentiments which he enter-
tained, the form in which he held them, and the argu-
ments with which he defended them. They have been
arranged with express reference to their biographic value.
  In regard to the contents of the latter part of the
volume, we need only say, that they can not but have a
value while the memory of HENRY CLAY shall live, as in-
dicating the mode in which a mighty nation gave expres-
sion to its grief, at the loss of its favorite son.
  The volume then as a whole, we trust, will vindicate
its pretensions, notwithstanding defects which, doubtless,
exist in it, to be considered truly a monument to the
memory of HENRY CLAY.                     A. H. C.



PARIs, KENTUCKY March 1, 1857.



iv



PREFACE.



 














                      CONTENTS.




         THE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.

                        CHAPTER I.
What constitutes a true monument-The best position for estimating a
  public man-Men have often a distinct private and public char-
  acter-Which their true character-Essentials of a perfect bio-
  graphy ....................................................  9

                        CHAPTER II.
Birth and parentage-Death of his father-Its probable influence upon
  his after history-Significance of the incident of "the mill-boy of
  the Slashes "-His schooling-A foolish opinion, that genius does
  not need education-What education means-Whether HENRY CLAY,
  in this sense, was educated-He enters Mr. Denny's store-Obtains
  a situation in the clerk's office, at Richmond-Attracts the attention
  of Chancellor Wythe-Studies law with Attorney-General Brooke-
  Is admitted to the bar-Result of the influence upon him of such
  men as Wythe and Brooke-He engages in a rhetorical society-
  Inquiry, whether greatness is the offspring of circumstances-CLAY
  moves to Kentucky.................            ,             13

                       CHAPTER III.
Mr. CLAY's modest opinion of himself-His competitors in Ken-
  tucky-The debating club-Kentucky people--Alien and Sedition
  Laws-Mr. CLAY's success in law-His marriage-His election to
  the Legislature-To the Senate of the United States-Aaron Burr-
  Legislature of Kentucky again-Duel with Humphrey Marshall-
  His abilities in the State Legislature .21

                       CHAPTER IV.
Senate of the United States again-Policy of our country-Mr CLAY
advocates protection of domestic manufactures-Opposes a United
States Bank-His activity in bringing about a war with England-
Declaration of war                ... 35
                                                      (,)

 








Vi



CONTENTS.



                        CHAPTER V. Y
Eury' disasters of the war-Subsequent successes-Negotiations for
  peace-Ghent--Mr. CLAY a Commissioner-Terms of the treaty-Mr.
  CLAY visits England-United States Bank-Mr. CLAY's change of
  views-What constitutes true Political Economy-Compensation
  bill-CLAY is obliged to canvass his State-South American inde-
  pendence ...................................................  44

                       CHAPTER VI.
Mr. CLAY is offered the post of Minister to Russia-Also, a place in
  the Cabinet-Advocates internal improvements-Mr. CLAY the
  father of a policy and a party-The character and services of the
  Whig party-Seminole war-The conduct of Jackson ............ 54

                       CHAPTER VII.
Mr. CLAY as a "pacificator "-Missouri desires admission-Violent
  agitation of slavery-The Compromise-The efforts of Mr. CLAY... 60

                      CHAPTER VIII.
Candidates for the Presidency in 1824-No election by the people-
  Mr. CLAYS! influence given to Mr. Adams-C harge of corruption-
  Mr. Kremer of Pennsylvania-Revival of the charge by Jackson-
  More trouble-A Duel with Randolph .......................... 66

                       CHAPTER IX.
The Tariff of 1824-Question as to the expediency of a Protective
  tariff-Difference between theory and practice-Unpopularity of the
  protective system at the South-Nullification-Mr. CLAY introduces
  his Compromise Tariff, and harmony is restored ................. 71

                        CHAPTER X.
Mr. CLAY is again defeated as a candidate for the Presidency-CLAY
and Jackson as rival leaders-Removal of the Deposits by the Presi-
dent-Mr. CLAY's indignant opposition-Resolution of censure-
  The Cherokees-Lavish expenditure-The expunging resolution-
  The Sub-treasury bill-Dawning of better times .................   85

                       CHAPTER XI.
Enthusiasm of 1840-Extra session of Congress-Death of Harrison-
  Defection of Tyler-Grief of Mr. CLAY, at the subversion of his
  cherished hopes-He advocates a tariff, designed for Protection-
  Resigns his seat-His farewell to the Senate ..................... 97

 








                            CONTENTS.                          Vii

                        CHAPTER XII.
Mr. CLAY is again candidate for the Presidency, and suffers renewed.1
  defeat-Sorrow of his friends-War with Mexico-Acquisition of
  Territory-Embarrassing questions-Danger to the Union-Mr.
  CLAY accepts a seat in the Senate-His heroic efforts to quiet the dis-
  traction of his country-It is the Chieftain's last battle-Disease
  advances-His death-His abilities as a statesman and orator-His
  characteristics as a man ....................................... 116



                SPEECHES, ETC.

ON DOMESTIC MANUFACTURES. In the Senate of the United States,
  April 6, 1810 ................................................ 131

ON RENEWING THE CHARTER OF THE FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.
  In the Senate of the United States, 1811 ........................ 137

ON THE UNITED STATES BANK QUESTION. Address to his Constituents
  at Lexington, June 3, 1816.                                   153

ON INTERNAL IMPRovEMENT. In the House of Representatives, March
  13, 1818.                                                   161

ON THE GREEK REVOLUTION. In the House of Representatives, lanuary
  20, 1824 .. 172

ON AMERICAN INDUSTRY. In the House of Representatives, March 30
  and 31, 1824.                                                181

ADDRESS TO LAFAYETTE. House of Representatives, December 10, 1824. 205
TEE AMERICAN SYSTEM, ETo. Delivered at Cincinnati, August 3, 1830. 207

ON THE PUBLIC LANDS BaL. In the Senate of the United States Decem-
  ber 29, 1835.                                               239

PETITIONS FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY. In the Senate of the United
  States, February 7, 1839.                                     248

ON THE BANK VETO. In reply to the Speech of Mr. Rives, of Virginia,
  on the Executive Message containing the President's Objection to
  the Bank Bill. In the Senate of the United States, August 19, 1841. 263

ON Ims RETIREMENT TO PRIVATE LIFE. At Lexington, Kentucky, June
  9, 1842.                                                    271
ON THE COMPROM8sE MEASURES, REPORTED BY THE COMMITTEE OF THIR-
TEEN. In the Senate of the United States, May 13, 1850. .     286
ADDRESS TO KOSSUTH. December, 1851....................   ... 317

 








CONTENTS.



                 EULOGIES, ETC.

EUOGY OF JOSEPH R. UNDERWOOD, of Kentucky .................... 321
EULOGY OF LEwxs CUsE, of Michigan .........  ..................... 330
EULOGY OF ROBERT M. T. Huirm, of Virginia...................... 334
EULOGY OF JOHN P. HALz, of New Hampshire ...................... 338
EULOGY OF JEREMAH CLEMENS, of Alabama ........................ 341
EULOGY OF JAms Coopm, of Pennsylvania ........................ 344
EULOGY OF WILLIAM H. SEWARD, of New York ..................... 349
EULOGY or GzoRGE W. JoNEs, of Iowa ........   .................... 356
EULOGY OF WALT= BRooxK, of Mississippi ........................ 359
                   Delivered in the United States Senate.
EULOGY OF JOnH C. BRECEINRIDGE, of Kentucky ...... .............. 363
EULOGY OF PaZSLEY EWING, of Kentucky .......................... 371
EULOGY OF JOH[N S. CASKI, of Virginia ............................ 375
EULOGY OF JosEPH R. CHANDLER, of Pennsylvania ....... ........... 377
EULOGY OF THOMAS H. BAYLY, of Virginia ......................... 382
EULOGY OF AxRHAM W. VIABLE, of North Carolina ................ 385
EULOGY OF SOLOMON G. HAVEN, of New York state .................. 391
EULOGY or Joim BRooKS, of New York city ........................ 393
EULOGY OF CHARLES J. FAuLKNER, of Virginia ...................... 396
EULOGY OF SAXUZL W. PARm, Of Indiana ......................... 403
EULOGY OF MxnxoiTH P. GENTRY, of Tennessee ......  ............... 406
EULOGY OF RIcHAai J. Bowra, of Maryland ........................ 407
EULOGY OF THOMAS Y. WATT, of Maryland ........................ 409
                 Delivered in the House of Representatives.
EULOGY OF JOeN J. Cn=NDxE, of Kentucky ......    ................ 413
             Delivered at Louisville, Kentucky, September 29, 12.
EULOGY OF Hmmy W. HILLIARD, of Alabama .......   ................ 437
      Delivered before the Citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, September, I5
EULOGY OF ATEANDER K. M'CLUNG, of Mississippi .................. 470
   Delivered in the Hall of the House of Rep. of the State of Mlssislppi, Oct. 11, 1852.
OBuSEQuiE ...................................................   489
SERMoN By REV. C. M. BuLmE, D.D ............................... 491
LIxNs BY GEoRGE D. P   c .........................            515



VWi


 












T H E



LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.






                    CHAPTER I.

                       INTRODUCTORY.
What constitutes a true monument-The best position for estimating a
  public man-Men have often a distinct private and public character-
  Which their true character-Essentials of a perfect biography.
  IN any high sense, there is but one thing which men may call
a monument. The skillfully-chiseled marble of the churchyard
can be purchased, as well by money, as by merit. The can-
vas, glowing with the semblance of life, is, how often, a monu-
ment rather of the genius of the artist, than of the forgotten
dead, whose features it perpetuates.  Triumphal arches and
pyramids even, however deeply and strongly they may be
founded, change at last to ruinous heaps, or are intrusted, in
vain, with the names of their builders and the records of the
deeds which they commemorate.
  Nevertheless, greatness has its enduring monument.  But
that monument is erected by itself. Laid sometimes, indeed, in
the blood and tears of suffering humanity, built up amid the
sighs of lacerated bosoms, and crowned with the execrations of
a long posterity; but sometimes based upon the noblest impulses
of a noble heart, erected every part of it to bless and adorn
                                               (9)

 







TIHE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.



humanity and completed amid shouts of gratitude, or those
more extpress;ive tokens of affection-a nation's tears.
   When we speak then of a monument, commemorative of
 HENRY CLAY we mean not the marble which may cover his
 moldering remains, nor ahy imposing columns, which men may
 hereafter erect in their places of public resort. We mean, his
 own great character; his matchless will; the thoughts which he
 entertained; the words which he spoke; his large sagacity; and
 that larger patriotism, which achieved for his country continued
 peace and prosperity-for himself, a place, like that of a house-
 hold idol, in every American heart.
   To the life of HENRY CLAY we must look for his monument.
 It is obvious, then, that his life should be so presented, as to
 make what we may call, its historic impression.
   The particular phase of mind, or social temper, which is best
known to a great man's familiar friends, bears, often, no higher
relation to his character in its completeness, than the peculiar
forms of rock or foliage, which come, more immediately, under
the observation of the dwellers at the foot of the mountain, bear
to the dimensions and outline of the whole mass. When great
objects are to be estimated, nearness of position can not always be
accounted a favorable circumstance. The work of the biographer,
resembles, somewhat, that of the engraver, who must, with a few
bold and discriminating lines, present what is individual and
peculiar in the features to be delineated; or perhaps, better yet,
we may compare it with those works of the sculptor which are
to stand at a distance, or upon an elevation.  The finer details
are left comparatively untouched, while the peculiar outlines are
executed strongly.
  The biographer must present, as nearly as possible, the im-
pression which the greatness that he describes made upon its
own age, but it must be ever with this discrimination, he must
present each striking action or characteristic, not in the light of
its temporary importance, but of its historic permanence and
value. This, to a cotemporary biographer, is a task of no small
difficulty. Hence, it often happens, that greatness receives its
best estimate years after men are familiar with it, except in its



10

 






TIHE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.



results. The partiality of affection, the contempt, which is said
to spring up in little minds from familiarity, and the prejudices
of enmity, are alike fatal to the truth of biography.
   The household friends of CLAY; the farmers and shopkeepers,
with whom he had frequent dealings; and the enemies, who
persecuted him with their slanders, would, severally, be unqual-
ified to draw with correctness his portrait. Yet, it can not be
denied, that the biographer, who lives near the time of the
character which he describes, possesses important advantages
over those who come after him.     The many little incidents,
illustrative of character, which live their short life in the mem-
ory of friends, serve often, as a sufficient clue to mysteries of
public conduct, which the subsequent historian might seek in
vain to decipher. Things which might otherwise be accounted
trifles, are, in this way, not unfrequently invested with no small
significance. Private details may be regarded as scattered rays,
valuable in proportion to the quantity of light which they can
throw upon the main object; this, in historical characters,
being not the private but the public and official conduct. It
would, indeed, do great injustice to many, perhaps to most of
those who have figured largely in the world's estimation, to
depict them, mainly as they hae appeared in social life. Men
often bear what would seem two distinct characters-so distinct
as even to amount to an apparent contradiction. The question
with the biographer, in such a case, must be, which will give
the most correct impression  which represents, most truly, the
effective character  Charles II sought, in disguise, the ac-
quaintance of the author of Hudibras, thinking that he should
find him a most facetious fellow; but so great was the king's dis-
appointment, that he was led to pronounce him a stupid block-
head, and to declare it to be impossible, that he could ever have
written so witty a book. Tradition affirms, of Shakspeare, that
after obtaining a competency from his dramatic works, he settled
down quietly upon a farm, varying the monotony of his life by
an occasional visit to the nearest market town, to execute small
commissions for himself and his neighbors. What idea of the
immortal dramatist should we now possess, had it been left to



11

 






THlE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.



one of those neighbors to transmit his personal impressions of
the " chiel amang " them!
    The elegant Addison, and the genial Lamb, are said to have
 been reserved in general society. In such cases, it is evident
 which phase of character must be presented, unless injustice
 would be done.
   Yet, even more, in the case of statesmen, must historic faith-
 fulness be regarded, because they leave no such oft-perused
 records of themselves, from which to correct mistaken impressions.
   The highest form of character which a man has ever devel-
 oped, even if that display of power has been but short and
 occasional, is a more just index of what he is, and of what he
 can do, than his intermediate periods, though disproportionately
 long, of mediocrity and indolence. For in this only does he
 vindicate his title to greatness, and render himself an object of
 possible interest to posterity. Keeping this fact in view, it will
 be evident, that the more clearly the character described is made
 to stand out in its individuality, the more perfectly the reader is
 made to feel a direct approach to it, the better will the ends of
 biography be answered.
   The day has forever passed by, in which history may be a
dry catalogue of facts.  Men put away contemptuously the
skeleton, and demand the action and glow of life. This has
evidently widened the province of biography, for to convey an
adequate impression of a man's effective force, the history of
his time must be displayed, the circumstances which made him
what he was, and, those more hidden things, the probable
motives of his conduct.
  Where so much is implied, the reader will be considerate,
it is hoped, if he encounter occasional mistakes and misap-
prehensions.



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                     CHAPTER II.

Birth and parentage-Death of his father-Its.probable influence upon
  his after history-Significance of the incident of "the mill-boy of the
  Slashes"-His schooling-A foolish opinion, that genius does not need
  education-What education means-Whether HENRY CLAY, in this sense,
  was educated-He enters Mr. Denny's store-Obtains a situation in the
  clerk's office, at Richmond-Attracts the attentidio.of Chancellor Wythe-
  Studies law with Attorney-General Brooke-Is admitted to the bar-
  Result of the influence upon him of such men as Wythe and Brooke-He
  engages in a rhetorical society-Inquiry, whether greatness is the off-
  spring of circumstances-CLAY moves to Kentucky.

  VIRGINIA, if asked, like the Roman matron, to display her
jewels, could point, with an equal maternal pride, to her many
illustrious sons. It is not her least occasion for boasting that
she gave birth to HENRY CLAY.
  The future statesman was born April 12th, 1777, in Hanover
County, in a neighborhood called the Slashes. His parentage
may be denominated humble. His father was a Baptist clergy-
man, deriving from his salary, doubtless, but a bare subsistence
for a somewhat numerous family.     Of the incidents of his
earliest years, we have no record of any kind. It would not be
difficult to draw an imaginary picture, which we might safely
pronounce true in some of its features. We have no reason,
and no occasion to suppose that his infancy was distinguished
by any thing unusual. It is a fertile fancy, which goes back to
the cradle, to find indications of the coming greatness.
  Yet, we are not to disregard the providences, which direct
our course of life, even from its outset. Events which seem
the merest accidents, often hold in their keeping our whole
subsequent history.
  The death of HENRY CLAY'S father, while the son was yet but
four years of age, may have been to him such an event, The
                                                (13)

 






THE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.



burden of so young a family, thrown upon the mother, would
cause her to rear her children with a view to their self-depend-
ence, and prompt her to seek for them, as early as possible,
situations in which they might make their own subsistence.
  In fact, one of the earliest known incidents of HENRY CLAY'S
life, the source of no small enthusiasm, and of a name whicl
became the rallying cry of more than one political contest-the
story of the mill-boy of the Slashes-indicates that we ate to
look thus far back, if we would penetrate to the hidden springs
of his mighty self-reliance.
  The frequent pilgrimages to " Mrs. Darricott's mill, upon Pa-
munkey River," by the awkward lad astride of the meal-bag,
upon the pony, guided by its rope bridle, probably indicated to
the neighbors nothing more than filial faithfulness; yet, all that
time, though unconsciously even to himself, the seeds were sow-
ing, the ripened harvest of which was gathering in when he
took his seat, as presiding officer, in the legislative halls of his
country; when further on, his tones commanded respect on that
floor, where to be accorded, it is necessary, in a measure, to be
commanded; and when, most of all, his words, now of entreaty,
now of warning, and anon, as if of command, were heard plead-
ing, first with the South, and again with the North, until both
laid by their anger, appeased by the magic of his earnestness
and his eloquence.
  It may seem fanciful to some, to go thus far back for "the
hidings of his power." But let it be considered, that we take
the incident, not so much for what it is in itself as for the evi-
dence which it gives, of an early, manly grapple with real labor,
and real difficulties. We discern in it the beginning of a habit-
and what significance does not that word convey-a habit of
self-dependence, ready to ripen into every fruit of excellence.
To magnify too highly the effect of such early influences is
hardly possible.
  Viewed in this light, we venture the assertion, that there was
a deeper reason for selecting the incident of the mill-boy of the
Slashes, to construct from it a name for the nation's idol, than



14

 






THE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.



was comprehended by the thousands who made it their rallying
shout.
  Of school instruction, HENRY CLAY, apparently, received
searcely any thing. Mention is made of three years' tuition in a
log school-house, under the care of Peter Deacon, a convivial
Englishman. His whole curriculum, as they say in universities,
amounted only to reading, writing, and "arithmetic, as far as
Praetice."  Our fathers had not then bestirred themselves in
the matter of common schools.   But, had the advantages of
the period been ten-fold what they were, there is occasion to
doubt whether, in the destitute condition of his mother, HENRY
CLAY would have been able greatly to avail himself of them.
Hie at least, we may believe, would not have been in the way of
becoming what is termed, "an elegant classic."  We never can
be brought to depreciate the advantages of a thorough education,
but all honor, we say, to the man who, despite of the want of it,
can make his way to "Lthe high places of the earth."
  A foolish opinion is extensively prevalent, that greatness does
not need, or that it disdains, the usual toilsome course to excel-
lence. Indolent school-boys and dissipated college lads are
prone to quote the example of HENRY CLAY, Of Patrick Henry,
and of Daniel Webster even, to justify their idleness, and to
prove, by a curious process of logic, that they are thus giving
indications of genius.  The great men, whose names they are
guilty of thus taking in vain, would be the last to give their
voices in confirmation of such a conclusion. The silly error has
grown out of a misapprehension of what is implied in the term
education. It is generally thought to mean an infusing into the
mind of a certain amount of information, classical, mathemati-
cal, technical, or historical. But, to think thus, is to confound
the end with the means. Every kind of information existent
may have a tendency to educate, but of itself, can not constitute
the work.. That man is educated who, by whatever means, has
made his powers available, apd he is best educated, who can
make his talents effective to their highest extent.
  Now it is usually thought, and doubtless wisely, that a severe



15

 





TIlE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.



course of classical and mathematical training will best effect this
result-will, in other words, render a man most perfectly the
master of his powers. In saying this, we include the expansion
of mind, which naturally comes from a wide range of informa-
tion, and the habitual, manly exercise of thought. If now, any
other course than that of the university, will be productive of
equal results, then that process, whatever its nature, may be
called education. While, on the other hand, if the curriculum
of the university has failed in this, its legitimate end, the failure
is total so far as the term education can be applied to it.
   Viewing the matter in this light, it is more than doubtful,
whether HENRY CLAY can be said to have been destitute of early
education. Although he was not, in the ordinary sense, a stu-
dent, during the fourteen years of his life preceding his en-
trance as a clerk into Mr. Richard Denny's store, in Richmond,
nor, we may add, at any time subsequent, yet in that effective-
ness, which we have shown to be implied in education, he might
all the time have been making rapid proficiency. He, we may
at least believe, judging from his experiences as a mill-boy, was
learning those practical lessons which would prove invaluable
to him, when afterward called upon to undertake larger work,
and encounter real difficulties. He was training his faculties for
that prompt decision, in which the most admirable and learned
theorizers are often deficient, but which is always indispensable
to the man of business, and most of all, to the politician and
statesman. We do not know but that Providence, in its dispo-
sition of the early life of HENRY CLAY, and of so many others
who have come up from the humble ranks of society, arranged
every thing with an obvious reference to the highest effective-
ness of their after career. Their history is, at all events, no
proclamation hung out to indolence and stupidity.
  HENRY CLAY did not long remain behind Mr. Denny's counter,
tying packages, and compounding simples for sick children.
His new stepfather, Captain Watkins, had somewhat higher
aspirations for him. Through the influence of a friend, he ob-
tained for him a situation in the office of Peter Tinsley, Esq.,
clerk of the High Court of Chancery.  His awkward manners



16

 





THE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.



and his tall form, set off, not to the best advantage, by a suit of
homespun, excited at first, the ridicule of his fellow-clerks, but
upon better acquaintance their laughter was made to yield to
sincere respect for his abilities and worth.
   His fortunes can not be thought to have advanced, as yet,
very high, though certainly, at this point they begin to mend.
He is, for the first time, definitely upon the road which is to
conduct him to renown. Between the mill-boy of the Slashes
or the compounder of drugs, and the leader upon either floor
of Congress, we can discover no particular relation, but the path
from an office of law to the same high position, it is more easy to
determine. The entrance into Mr. Tinsley's office we may con-
sider the turning-point of his early history.
  His advantages here were doubtless not very great, but he
attracted the attention of Chancellor Wythe, and in that fact
found new and wider prospects open before him.  The chancel-
lor engaged his services as an amanuensis, and, finding in him
evidences of an inquiring mind, gave him access to his library.
Daily familiarity with a dignified and cultivated man, like Chan-
cellor Wythe, even if it never took the intimate form of com-
panionship, could not fail to exert a powerful influence upon the
young and plastic mind of CLAY; while the turn that his reading
would receive, from the judicious counsel of one so capable of
advising, could not fail to be to him of infinite service; the
more so, because, not having enjoyed the advantages of early
systematic training, his curiosity might have led him into many
fruitless literary explorations.  HENRY CLAY remained with the
chancellor four years-years more pregnant with future results,
we may believe, than any equal period of his previous life.
  From this scene of his labors, he passed, at the instance of
the chancellor, to the office of Robert Brooke, Esq., attorney-
general of Virginia.  With this gentleman he pursued the study
of law, during one year, at the end of which time he was ad-
mitted to practice in the Virginia Court of Appeals. He was
now twenty years of age, and there can be no doubt. that his in-
timate association during several preceding years with the most
courtly gentlemen of Virginia, had gone far toward producing
         2



17

 





THE LIFE OF HENRY CLAY.



in the awkward youth, the dignity and gracefulness for which
he was pre-eminent as a man; toward disciplining his powers for
effective action, and infusing into his mind those elevated habits
of thought, which constituted him the far-seeing and commanding
statesman.
   It is a fact worth relating in this connection, that he was active
in the formation of a rhetorical society, which embraced some
of the most refined and promising of the young men of Rich-
mond, and that he was, if tradition may be relied upon, one of
the most marked and brilliant of its members.
   The early history of eloquent men is a curious commentary
upon the oft-repeated assertion, that greatness is the offspring of
circumstances. We can not leave the history of HENRY CLAY,
where poverty and the struggle against disadvantages are about
to give place, by rapid gradations, to competence and a nation's
applause, without applying the test to what, we believe to be, in
some measure a fallacy.
   Men as great may, possibly, have lived in this country, as
Webster, CLAY, Calhoun, Hamilton, and Jefferson, entirely un-
known to fame, but we are not prepared to believe it. These
men might, under some circumstances, have themselves re-
mained unknown, but we are not quite prepared to believe that.
   Circumstances, we doubt not, have prodigious weight, but at
the best they furnish only the training and the field fo