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Cassius M. Clay

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The fnnic, reputation, and influence of Cassius M. Clay are as closely connected with the Antislavery cause, as are those of Birney or Garrison. He has devoted limself to the work. Take away his nntislavery speeches and writings, and here would be nothing left to distinguisli lim from the generality of men. But he is a self-devoted antislavery man. Without having any connection with 3irney or Garrison, or their friends, and differing from both in h ia views, he has a province of his own, where he can be the controlling genius of the enterprise. He has undertakenthe Abolitionof Slavery in Kentucky. This is an honorable and noble underlaking, and if successful, will give him a name among the benefactors of their country. The course he hns taken has been, perbaps, until recently, in the main as judicious and wise as could have been exlected. His paper has been calculated to stir up enquiry and discussion, while lis nbilities as a writer have given it interest. But his bitter infectives and biting personalices, in which he indulges as freely as Garrison, have made intense and implacable enemies. But the writer, like the warrior, should not be criticised too closely. Each person has a manner of writing and fighting given him by nature, and peculiar to himself. This he must usejand were he to servilely copy others, he could never attair. to the first rank of men. Mr. Clay has undertaken the Abolition ofSlavery in Kentucky by F ree Discussion. As Inis is the main instrument of doing the work, he should have guarded it against all encroachments. He started right in this particular. He commenced his paper with an offer of the freest and fullest discussion. But he has now entirely given up the right of Discussion, as we shall see by tracing his course for a few days. The immediale cause of the excitement andoutbreak in Lexington seemstohave been an editorial article which the Editor said was from the pen of a Inrge slaveholder "who possesses one of the first intellects of the age." As the last numbers of the True American have not reached us, we have not seen the article; but we are told that it advocated the immediate emancipation of the slaves, and their admission to an equality with the whites in all civil and political privileges. The same paper had an editorial article} of which the following is an extract: "When the great hearted of our land weep, and the man of reflection maddens in the contemplation of our national apostacy, there are men pursuing gain and plensure, who smile with contempt and indiflerence at their appeals. But remember, ye who dweil in marb'e palaces, THÁT THERE ARE STRONG ARMS ANDFIERY HEARTS AND IRON PIKES IN THE STREETS, AND PANES OF GLASS ONLY BETWEEN THEM AND THE SILVER PLATE ON THE BOARD, AND TH E SMOOTH-SKINNED WOMAN ON THE OTTOMAN. When you have mocked at virtue, denied the ogency of God in the affairs of men, and made rapin e your honeyed faith, tremble, for the day of retribution is at hand, AND THE MASSES WlLL BE AVENGED!"This was construed into a threat that the "smooth-skinned" wives and daughters of the Slaveholders should be ravished by the neg roes in the streets. This paper appeared on Tuesday. On Thursday, a few persons, by a sort of private arrangement met at the Court House. C. M. Clay attended, although quite unwel!, with several of his friends. He found about twenty persons present, most] y personal enemies, among whom was Thos. F. Marshall. OnlyoneWhig was present. Some discussion was had, as to the meeting being public or private, and Cassius left, considering it as a private meeting. In a handbill he issued that day, he apologizes for the article above referred to on the ground that "the whole piece alludes to National policy, nnd the loss of a high sense of justice in national aflairs, resulting from the influences of negro slavery upon the national action, even to the habitual violalion of the Constitution; and I further meant to convey the idea, in my elüptical manner, ihtit in a country like ours, where suffrage is universal, and standing armie6 impossible, that those men who are drawing substance and power from the existence and extensión of Slavery, at the expense of the great mass of the legal voters of the Union, who are now and have been sacrificed at the shrine of Slavery - that these men, the white miJlions íhaving no allusion whatever to the blacks of the SouthJ would, in the course of time, when that poverty pressed upon them which Slavery had been most instrumental in causing, follow the example of their plunderers, and in turn plunder them. Such wus the case in France, when theed rose upon the oppressor, and spared neither property, life orsex." Asto the blacks, Mr. C. saidthere was no danger of any insurrection among them, seeing there are six whites to one black in Kentucky; but in case of insurrection, he would feel as miich bound as any other citizen to shoulder hls musket iosuppress it. This explanation, however, was far from being satisfactory to the people of Lexinglon. Shortly after, Mr. Clay received from Mr. Waters the communication which we published last week, purporting to be from a committee of three, and asking Mr. Clay to discontinue his paper, inasmuch as it was dangerous to the homes and families of community. We also published his indignant reply, which concludes thus: "Go teil your secret conclave of cowardly assassins that C. M. Ciay knows his rights, and how to defend ihem." On Friday afternoon t appears that another popular meeting was held, which passed a resolution caliing a Convention of Fayette County on Monday following. On the same day, without havingseen the proceedings of the meeting, Mr. Clay issued another handbill, mild and moderate in itstone, and explaining his plan of emancipation. In this he declares him self ready to take warning from his friends or enemies, and "is ready to rest riet himselfin the latitude of discussion of the question," but "never will voluntarily abandon a right or yield a principie." On Sunday, Mr. Clay issued another handbill, reiterating his previous protestations that the language of his paper had been grosly perverted. Considerable alarm prevailed and patrols were kept up during the night. On Monday, Mr. Clay addressed a handbill to the mass meeting, which was to meet at 11 o'clock. This article is concilialory and peaceable in its character. He says:"I treated the communication from the private caucus with burning contennpt, arising not only from their assuming over me a power which vvould make me a slave, but from a scnse of lhe deep personal indignity with which their unheard of assumptions were attempted lo be carried into execution. But to you - a far difFerently organized body, and a constitutional assemblage of citizens - I feel that it is just and proper that I should answer at your bar; and as I am not ín a state of health to carry on an argument or vindícate properly my own righís, I shall voluntarily, before any aciion is taken on your part, makesuch e.xplanation as I deern just and proper." "Had I been in the vigor of health, I should have avoided the objectionable expressions, for by sharply guarding against the cavils of my opponents, 1 would best guard, at the same time,against anythmg which could be considered of an mcendiary character. I cannot say that the paper, from the beginning, has been conducted in the manner I could have wished. The cause of this, it is not now necessary for me to mention. Satisfied, however, from past experience, that the free discussion of the subject of slaverv is Hable to many objections which I did not anticipate, and which I had allowed in an excess of liberality, arising, no doubt, from the fact that I had been denied the columns of the other presses of the country mysclf, I propose, in future, very materially to restrict the latitude of discussion. I shall admit into my paper no article upon this subject for which I am not willing lo be held responsible. This, you perceive, will very much narrow the ground; for my plan of emancipation, which I put forth a few days ago, is of the most gradual character. My own views, put forth there also, are such as, I learn, are not at all offensive to the great mass of our people." "Having said thus much upon theconduct of my paper, I must say also, that my constitutional rights I shall never abandon. I feel as deeply interested in this community, as any other man in it. No man is, or has a connection, more deeply interested in the prosperity of the State, than myself. You ought not, you cannot, if you are as just to me as you are to yourselves, ask me to do that which you would not do. I know not in reality what may be the state of public feeling. I am told t is very much inflamed; I therefore directed my publisher, afterthe publication of to-morrow's paper, to exclude all matter upon the subject of slavery, until, if my health is restored, 1 shall myself be able totake the helm. My office and dwelling are undefended, except by the laws of my country - to the sacred inviolability of which I confide myself and property; and of these laws you are the sole guardians. You have the power todo as you please. You will so act, however, I trusf, that thisday shnll not be one accursed to your country and State." The remainder of the proceedingsour readers already know. The large meeting at the Court House was addressed by T. F. Marshall, in a long, able, artful, and eloquent discourse, concluding with resolutions declaring that no Abolition Press ought to be tolerated in Kentucky, and none shall be in that vicinity: that if the office of the True American were peaceably surrendered, no damage should be done to it, but it should be sent out of the State: that if resistance were oflered, it should be destroyed: that if on attempt should be made to revive the paper, they would again assemble; and also that C. M. Clay should not publish an Abolition paper there,be it at the risk of their blood, or his, or both, or of all he may get to help him. The Committee of Sixty appointed by the cbair were from both political parties. iVt the door of the printing office tliey veré met by the Marshal of the City vvho rave them the key, and the Mayor, vvho vas present, notified them "that they vere acling in opposition to law, but that he city authorities could offer no forcible 'esislance to them" After the commiltee returned, the meetng was addressed, says the Louisville íournal, "by oíd Governor Metcalfe in a ficry and eloquent speech of an hour and % half, triumphantly vindicaling the Whig oarly against the charge sometimes brought against it, by some of the vilest of üs oppo7iente, of being leagued itxith the Abolitionists." There seems to have been no doubt in ihe minds of the Lexington people that Mr. Clay really intended to fight: and T. F. Marshall accused him to the meeting of fortifying nis office with arms and two pieces of cannon. The Cincinnati Herald, says that the press and types were throvvn on to the wharf in that city, in the dirt, in great disorder. But the Committee of sixty were gentlemen enough to puy the freight to Cincinnati. Henry Clay resides in Lexington, and might have done very much to quell the mob, had he been so disposed; for bis iniluence is represented as almost unbounded. But inslead of doing so, he left for the Sulphur Springs in Virginia on Saturday, when he knew that on Monday following the altempt would be made to suppress or destroy the True American. By thusleaving, with his usual sagacity, he evaded all re-sponsibility for the re- sults, and was relieved from the necessity of taking the side of a Free Press or o the Mobocrats. Had he remained, he must have countenancedone party or the other. His expedient of avoiding such an unpleasant position, by leaving the place is quite characteristic of the grea Compromiser. We have thus given the reader a ful and correct summary of this transaction Several reflections naturally arise in con templating it. The conduct of Mr. Clay was strange ly contradictory,and can only be account ed for from the effects of a long protrac ted illness. On one dny we find hin ready to face the world, answering liib opponents in the most insulling and con tumelious language he could devise; anc two or three days after he yields to the power of a lawless mob - calis them "a constitucional assemblage of citizens" - admits "heought lo plead at their bar" - ngrees to restrict the freedom of discuss ion - then to suspend all abolition articles till he gels well - and finally, he agree to discontinue his paper altogelher, or, Ii other words, abandon the enterprise in which he had embarked. These concessions are unworthy o Mr. Clay, and if he would retam his rep utation, he must retract them when h gets well. Lovejoy, Garrison, Birney and Dr. Bailoy have all been placed in similar situations, and yet each of them insisted to the last on the right of Fre Discussion, and refused to parley with th mob, or plead at all to its jurisdiction. But Mr. Clay has been blamed for sur rendering his proper ty to the mob. ] does not cortainly appear however, tha he has done this: for the Committee o sixty reported that the key of the offic was given up to them by the City Mar shal, and that "the Mayor of the city wa at the door and gave notice that the Com mittee was acting in opposition to law but that the city authorities could off e no forcible resistance lo them." Thi looks as though Mr. Clay had placed hi property under the protection of the city authorities, and that they had deliverec it up for destruction in the most base am cowardly manner. Party spirit had no share in this work The Committee of sixty were from bot parlies. The proportion is said to bav been 44 Whigs to 16 Democrats. Amon the number, the name of J. B. Clay, son of Henry Clay, is found. As to the effect of the outbreak in Ken tucky, it will be highly favorable to th cause of emancipation. The story wil be told in every white man's house, anc in every negro cabin in Kentucky. Th Louisville Journal, a leading Whig pa per says: "The rational and températe discussion of the queslion of ultímate emancipation will not be checked even by tbis popuia outbreak. Many of the best minds o the State are engnged with the question and they will express freely their opin ions, and act freely upon them. We mus make up our minds to meet that question for no human power can stop it. We ex peet to discuss if and to admit to our col umns well written Communications upoi it on both sides." Nor will the discussion in the Free States be less auspicious. Tens of thou sands of laboring men of the Whig party who have never been at all identifiec with Abolitionism, are deeply interestec in theenterpriseof Cassius, and are disposed to aid and countenance him. As for the aristocratie portion of the party at the North, they will have little sympa thy for him. At the latest dates, Mr. Clay was tho' to be recovering, and the question is ask ed, what will he do? Will he give up his undertaking, publish his paper at Cin cinnali, or re-establish it in Kentucky? -hc last alternative is what will be genrally expected Oom his character, and he claims lie puta forth to true manhood and greatness of mind.


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