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Mr. Clay's Speech: For The Signal Of Liberty

Mr. Clay's Speech: For The Signal Of Liberty image
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I last weck took some noticc of Henry Clay s Speech; [if it deserve so dignified an epithet,] but as I then told you, 1 but partially reviewcd it. I shall for the present, be content with a lew rcinarUs upon Mr. Clay's concluding advice to Mr. Mendcnhall, as follnws: "Go home, and mind your own business, and Icavc othcr people to take care of theirs. Limit your bcnevolent exeriions to your own neighborhood." The iirst thing whïch sirike3 tho mind of a freeman of the North, on reading the abovc is the peculiar style of the nddress, precisely n the character ofa slaveholding tyrant- a supercilious, dogmatical, overbearing style of cominand. Indeed, ono would almosl imagine Mr. Clay had forgotton he was speaking to a freeman - and snpposed hiinself in the midst of his domestic circle, administering liis customary rebuke to his 8lavea. Bui there is one feature of this laconic, dictatorial order, not only suprcmely absurd, but which to a reflecting mind, places the speaker in a most ludicrously awkward position. Mr. Clay venj kindly adviees Mr. Mendenhall "to confine h:s benevolent cxertions to lux mm neighborhood:' It is very natural to inquire where was Mr. Mendenhall's "ncighborhood?" Precisely where he then was. But tntght not Mr. M. with much force retort upon Mr. Clay, inquire where his neighborhood was? And whether the advice he voluntecied to others inight nat apply with equal or greater ibrce to hiuiseiï. Mr. Mendcnhall was at homo, in his own State of Indiana- Mr. Clay %vas not at home but was on a pilgrimage to Ohio, very kindly, (0 help others - to mind the business of others - to help tfie Whigs of Ohio on the eve of an annual election.But there is nnother view of this insolent. Csesar-likc command, which induces me to believe Mr. Clay has very imperfectly studied the science ot government, and is very superhcially acquain-.ed with human responsibility- especially republi:an responsibility. What? as social beinga, is it none ofour business how ourneighbor conductsl As dependant Leings, is it none ofour business how private individuals use their nfluence. their money, their e.xample. their prccept? Yes - we are directly interested, as social, dependant beings. in all the conduct, character, habit and principies of every member of our common country- no matter how hun ble, retirad, or sccluded may be his standing among us. Then how vutch more are we interested in, and thcrefore how much more business have wc legitiniately, and of right with, the man who stüiuis before us, asking our support for the highest ofiice in the world? Indeed! none of Mr. MendenhaU's, none of onr business, whether he who nsks our sufïragcs for the highest ofiice in a rcpublican government, shows himself a tyrant. by a willingness, to trample upon the rights o! others? Or whether, he who pretenda to "deplore the existence of slavery," InjiocrilicaUtj defends his tj ranny and despotism over ihe rights of olhevs, by mainly sheltering himself ïmder thi iniquitous staiutes of oppression, he has helpec to malee, and now hclps to continue? Is it noiu ofour business whether such a man' t prof essions of Democracy and Repubhcanism are consistent wiih his practico? whether bc avows one doctrine at one time,, and another at anothcr time?- Whether in 1827 he says. "lf I could be instrumental n eradicating this dei-pest Main (slavery) upon hé character ofour country, and removing all causes for reproach on account of it by foreign nations- if I could be instrumental in ridding oí this foul blot that revered state [Virginia] tlmt gave me birth- or that not less favorcd state (KeniucUy) which kindly adopted me as her son. I would not exchangc the proud satisfaction which I should enjoy, for all tho honor ot all the triumphs ever decrecd to the most successful tonqueror." A noble sentiment, worthy a repubhenn patriot!! Or whether in the Sennte of tho United Stntes in 1835, he says: "As a of a Southern State, I would continue to oppose any schede whalerer of emancipation.. vhetlier gradual or mmediaie." Ycs- maugre all the sophistry- all the miserable shifts- and all the overbeaiing 'pettifogging of even Henry Clay, Mr. Mendenhall and every Americnn citïzen has the rigkf-hay it !a ihoir duty, notonly to request Mr. Clay to be a consistent, upright man, but to be also a coneistont rcpnbücem. They have e riL-ht to vequest even Hcnry Clny- tlic greut Plany of the West. to cease 'o apprtss his neighbor, before he asks heir sufTrages toplncc him a ruler over them. - Thns savs oíd St. Jo.


Signal of Liberty
Old News