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every one redound to the benefit of the nation and the advance. ment of his own fame and renown. And when you shall retire to the bosom of your Constituents, may you receive that most cheering and gratifying of all human rewards—their cordial greeting of · Well done, good and faithful servant.'
“ And now, Mr. President, and Senators, I bid you all a long, a lasting, and a friendly farewell.”
This Address was heard by the crowded Senate Chamber with profound feeling. When Mr. Clay ceased to speak, many rose to take him by the hand. His noble rival, Mr. Calhoun, walked across the floor, and offered his hand; it was cordially taken ; but it is said that their mutual feelings overcame them; and they separated without the power of uttering a word.
And Henry Clay, in the full tide of popularity, returned to seek repose and happiness at Ashland. I trust that he will not refuse to an English woman the privilege of mingling her vows with those of his countrymen, that length of days, and health, and peace, may wait upon
EXTRACT FROM MR. CLAY'S SPEECH ON THE SEMINOLE
Mr. Clay first takes up the treaty of Fort Jackson, of August, 1814, which he regarded as the cause of the war. After reading enough of it to ow its character, he said :
“ I have never perused this instrument until within a few days past, and I have read it with the deepest mortification and regret. A more dictatorial spirit I have never seen displayed in any instrument. I would challenge an examination of all the records of diplomacy, not excepting even those in the most haughty period of imperial Rome, when she was carrying her arms into the barbarian nations that surrounded her, and I do not believe that a solitary instance can be found of such an inexorable spirit of domination pervading a compact purporting to be a treaty of peace. It consists of the most severe and humiliating demands-of the surrender of a large territory-of the privilege of making roads through the remnant which was retained of the right of establishing trading houses of the obligation of deliver. ing into our hands their prophets! And all this of a wretched people reduced to the last extremity of distress, whose miserable existence we have to preserve by a voluntary stipulation to furnish them with bread? When did all-conquering and desolating
Rome ever fail to respect the Altars and the Gods of those whom she subjugated ? Let me not be told that these prophets were impostors, who deceived the Indians. They were their prophets ; the Indians believed and venerated them, and it is not for us to dictate a religious belief to them. It does not belong to the holy character of the religion which we profess, to carry its precepts, by the force of the bayonet, into the bosoms of other people, Mild and gentle persuasion was the great instrument employed by the meek Founder of our religion. We leave to the humane and benevolent efforts of the reverend professors of Christianity to convert from barbarism those unhappy nations yet immersed in its gloom.
But, spare them their prophets! spare their delu. sions ! spare their prejudices and superstitions ! spare them even their religion, such as it is, from open and cruel violence. When, sir, was that treaty concluded ? On the very day after the protocol was signed, of the first conserence between the American and British Commissioners, treating of peace, at Ghent. In the course of that negotiation, pretensions so enormous were set up by the other party, that, when they were promulgated in this country, there was one general burst of indignation throughout the Continent. Faction itself was silenced, and the firm and un. animous determination of all parties was, to fight until the last man fell in the ditch, rather than submit to such ignominious terms. What a contrast is exhibited between the contempora. neous scenes of Ghent and of Fort Jackson! What a powerful voucher would the British Commissioners have been furnished with if they could have got hold of that treaty !"
“ The first circumstance which, in the course of his performing that duty, fixed our attention, has filled me with regret. It was the execution of the Indian chiefs. How, I ask, did they come into our possession? Was it in the course of fair, and open, and honourable war ? No; but by means of deception ; by hoisting foreign colours on the staff from which the stars and stripes should alone have floated. Thus ensnared, the Indians were taken on shore; and without ceremony, and without delay, were hung. Hang an Indian!
“But, sir, I have said that you have no right to practise, under colour of retaliation, enormities on the Indians. I will advance in support of this position, as applicable to the origin of all law, the principle, that whatever has been the custom, from the com. mencement of a subject, whatever has been the uniform usage, coeval and coexistent with the subject to which it relates, becomes its fixed law. Such is the foundation of all common
law; and such, I believe, is the principal foundation of all public or international law. If, then, it can be shown that from the first settlement of the colonies, on this part of the American continent, to the present time, we have constantly abstained from retaliating upon the Indians the excesses practised by them toward us, we are morally bound by this invariable usage, and cannot lawsully change it without the most cogent reasons. So far as my knowledge extends, from the first settlement at Plymouth or at Jamestown, it has not been our practice to destroy Indian captives, combatants, or non-combatants. I know of but one deviation from the code which regulates the warfare between civilized communities, and that was the destruction of Indian towns, which was supposed to be authorized upon the ground that we could not bring the war to a termination but by destroying the means which nourished it. With this single exception, the other principles of the laws of civilized nations are extended to them, and are thus made law in regard to them. When did this humane custom, by which, in consideration of their ignorance, and our enlightened condition, the rigours of war were mitigated, begin? At a time when we were weak, and they comparatively strong ; when they were the lords of the soil, and we were seeking, from the vices, from the corruptions, from the religious intolerance, and from the oppressions of Europe, to gain an asylum among them. And when is it proposed to change this custom, to substitute for it the bloody maxims of barbarous ages, and to interpolate the Indian public law with revolting cruelties? At a time when the situation of the two parties is totally changed-when we are powerful and they are weak-at a time when, to use a figure drawn from their own sublime eloquence, the poor children of the forest have been driven by the great wave which has flowed in from the Atlantic Ocean almost to the base of the Rocky Mountains, and overwhelming them in its terrible pro. gress, has left no other remains of hundreds of tribes, now extinct, than those which indicate the remote existence of their former companion, the mammoth of the new world? Yes, sir, it is at this auspicious period of our country, when we hold a proud and lofty station among the first nations of the world, that we are called upon to sanction a departure from the established laws and usages which have regulated our Indian hostilities. And does the honourable gentleman from Massachusetts expect, in this august body, this enlightened assembly of Christians and Americans, by glowing appeals to our passions, to make us forget our principles, our religion, our clemency, and our humanity ? Why is it that we have not practised toward the Indian tribes the right
of retaliation, now for the first time asserted in regard to them? It is because it is a principle proclaimed by reason, and enforced by every respectable writer on the law of nations, that retaliation is only justifiable as calculated to produce effect in the war. Vengeance is a new motive for resorting to it. If retaliation will produce no effect on the enemy, we are bound to abstain from it by every consideration of humanity and of justice. Will it then produce effect on the Indian tribes ? No; they care not about the execution of those of their warriors who are taken captive. They are considered as disgraced by the very circumstance of their captivity, and it is often mercy to the unhappy captive to deprive him of his existence. The poet evinced a profound knowledge of the Indian character, when he put into the mouth of the son of a distinguished chief, about to be led to the stake and tortured by his victorious enemy, the words,
Begin, ye tormentors ! your threats are in vain :
“I will not trespass much longer upon the time of the Com. mittee ; but I trust I shall be indulged with some few reflections upon the danger of permitting the conduct on which it has been my painful duty to animadvert, to pass without a solemn expression of the disapprobation of this House. Recall to your recollection the free nations which have gone before us.
Where are they now?
.Gone glimmering through the dream of things that were,
A schoolboy's tale, the wonder of an hour.' And how have they lost their liberties? If we could transport ourselves back to the ages when Greece and Rome flourished in their greatest prosperity, and, mingling in the throng, should ask a Grecian, if he did not fear that some daring military chieftain, covered with glory, some Philip or Alexander, would one day overthrow the liberties of his country, the confident and indig. nant Grecian woulà exclaim, “No! no! we have nothing to fear from our heroes; our liberties will be eternal.' If a Roman citizen had been asked, if he did not fear that the conqueror of Gaul might establish a throne upon the ruins of public liberty, he would have instantly repelled the unjust insinuation. Yet Greece fell; Cæsar passed the Rubicon, and the patriotic arm even of Brutus could not preserve the liberties of his devoted country! The celebrated Madame de Stael, in her last and perhaps her best work, has said, that in the very year, almost the
very month, when the President of the Directory declared that monarchy would never more show its frightful head in France, Buonaparte, with his grenadiers, entered the palace of St. Cloud, and dispersing, with the bayonet, the Deputies of the People, deliberating on the affairs of the state, laid the foundation of that vast fabric of despotism which overshadowed all Europe. I hope not to be misunderstood. I am far from intimating that General Jackson cherishes any designs inimical to the liberties of the country. I believe his intentions to be pure and patriotic. I thank God that he would not, but I thank him still more that he could not, if he would, overturn the liberties of the republic. But precedents, if bad, are fraught with the most dangerous consequences. Man has been described, by some of those who have treated of his nature, as a hundle of habits. The defini. tion is much truer when applied to Governments. Precedents are their habits. There is one important difference between the formation of habits by an individual and by Governments. He contracts it only after frequent repetition. A single instance fixes the habit and determines the direction of Governments. Against the alarming doctrine of unlimited discretion in our military commanders when applied even to prisoners of war, I must enter my protest. It begins upon them ; it will end on us. I hope our happy form of Government is to be perpetual. But, if it is to be preserved, it must be by the practice of virtue, by justice, by moderation, by magnanimity, by greatness of soul, by keeping a watchful and steady eye on the executive ; and, above all, by holding to a strict accountability the military branch of the public sorce.
“We are fighting a great moral battle, for the benefit, not only of our country, but of all mankind. The eyes of the whole world are in fixed attention upon us. One, and the largest portion of it, is gazing with contempt, with jealousy, and with envy; the other portion, with hope, with confidence, and with affection. Every where the black cloud of legitimacy is suspended over the world, save only one bright spot, which breaks out from the political hemisphere of the west, to en. lighten, and animate, and gladden the human heart. Obscure that, by the downfall of liberty here, and all mankind are en. shrouded in a pall of universal darkness. To you, Mr. Chair. man, belongs the high privilege of transmitting, unimpaired, to posterity, the fair character and liberty of our country. Do you expect to execute this high trust, by trampling, or suffering to be trampled down, law, justice, the Constitution, and the rights of the People ? by exhibiting examples of inhumanity, and cruelty,