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rotten boroughs,” as one of the speakers took pains to remind him.
PAGE 267, 5. The famous agitator and “uncrowned king of Ireland,” Daniel O'Connell. Note the striking reference to him again, p. 269, l. 24–26. The circumstances here concerned are these : The franchise in Ireland had been limited to persons who owned freehold property of forty shillings yearly value or rental. On the basis of this representation, in 1828 O'Connell was elected to Parliament as member for Clare, in spite of the fact that he was a Catholic, and that Catholics were ineligible to sit in Parliament. Ireland was aflame with enthusiasm over this victory. The English Ministry under Wellington, fearing lest civil war should break out, consented in 1829 to measures of relief which allowed Catholics to sit in Parliament, but at the same time raised the property qualification of voters. O'Connell now came forward to claim his seat; but the Commons insisted that, having been elected on the old basis of representation, he must take the oaths formerly required, and renounce Catholicism, which he refused to do. The seat was then declared vacant, and a new election was ordered. O'Connell was triumphantly returned, and took his seat in 1830. The supposed “crime” of the electors of Clare was their defiance of the established order in electing a representative who could not legally sit in Parliament. The supposed “punishment” was the disfranchising of the poorer electors, Protestant as well as Catholic.
PAGE 268, 2. Sir Robert Peel, member of the last Tory cabinet, and a distinguished statesman, in spite of the humiliating position in which he here appears.
The Test and Corporation Acts mentioned below were parts of the machinery for disqualifying Catholics for positions of public trust.
PAGE 269, 24. The Rent was O'Connell's campaign fund, raised by the Catholic Association through voluntary contributions from all classes in Ireland. It amounted at times to $2,500
cruel test of military fidelity — in the case of
soldiers ordered to charge upon mobs of their countrymen, with whose cause they could not but sympathize.
Page 270, 5–9. The reference is to the memorable Revolution of July, and the downfall and exile from France of the last of her Bourbon kings.
22. property divided against itself. The newer wealth of England — her manufactures and trade obstinately opposed in its claims for representation by the older wealth of landed estates in the hands of the old aristocracy.
JOHN C. CALHOUN.
John C. CALHOUN was of Irish Presbyterian descent, born in the Abbeville District, South Carolina, March 18, 1782. His father died while he was yet young. His boyhood and youth were spent with his mother on the plantation, and without any regular schooling until he was eighteen years old. It is a striking proof of the intensity and power of his mind, that after only two years
of study under private instruction he was able to enter the Junior class in Yale College. Two years later he was graduated with honors. Three years more he devoted to the study of law. Not long after this he was elected to the legislature of his State, and in 1811 he was sent to Congress, taking at once a prominent place as a supporter of the measures which brought on the war with England. He was of the same age as Daniel Webster, and but little younger than Henry Clay men with whom he was so incessantly brought in contact in public life, that, in spite of the fact of their almost constant antagonism, the three are often spoken of as “ the great triumvirate" of American statesmen. Mr. Calhoun had the qualities of a born leader of men high intellectual force, albeit somewhat narrow, unflinching determination, fiery earnestness, and splendid oratorical powers. During the early part of his career he was broadly and generously national in the policies he supported, as is seen in Mr. Webster's sketch (pp. 204–207 of this volume). He filled successively many high positions, becoming Vice-President under John Quincy Adams, and again under Jackson in 1829. About this time his attitude seemed to change. His view was more and more concentrated upon the institutions and interests of the South. Henceforward he stood as the champion of State-Rights, and of whatever that doctrine finally involved nullification and the extension of the slave-holding power.
such he was frequently opposed to Mr. Webster and Mr. Clay (see the concluding note to the speech above, p. 365). As time went on, and troubles gathered about the nation, Mr. Calhoun set himself with unflinching determination against all compromise, and used his utmost endeavor to make the whole South a unit for what he believed to be its right and its duty. He did not live to see the direful harvest which sprang up from the dragon's teeth he had sown. He died March 31, 1850.
SPEECH ON THE SLAVERY QUESTION.
At the conclusion of the Mexican War the country was thrown into a ferment over the question whether slavery should be admitted into the newly acquired territory, which under Mexican rule had been free. Southern men felt that their social and economic system would not be secure, even in its own home, unless it could maintain its equality of power in the general government, and particularly in the Senate. To accomplish this, a new slave State must be organized to match every new free State admitted into the Union. Now, the ordinance of 1787 and the Missouri Compromise had left very little territory out of which slave States could in future be formed. The Mexican War, therefore, had been supported by the South, mainly with a view to provide such territory. But before the war was over this design came very near being thwarted by the Wilmot Proviso (for which see below, note to page 293); and though the proviso failed at that time, there was every indication that it would be revived later, and that it might eventually succeed. At this juncture the inhabitants of California, without waiting for an “enabling act,” met in convention, drafted for themselves a State Constitution prohibiting slavery, ratified it by an overwhelming popular vote, and applied to Congress to be received into the Union. It seemed that the territorial acquisition which the slave-holding interest had counted on so confidently as its own was already slipping out of its grasp. The South was greatly roused. Its more fiery spirits denounced in unmeasured terms this violation of what
they thought their rights, and threatened more fiercely than ever to break up the Union. More thoughtful men regarded the crisis with profound distress and alarm. Among these, Henry Clay, then seventy-three years old, and retired from public life, felt called upon to come forward once more to avert, if possible, the impending ruin. His scheme for restoring harmony was presented to the Senate, Jan. 29, 1850, in a series of resolutions, and was supported by him in a great speech on Feb. 5 and 6. The debate which followed brought out, we are told, every man of note in the Senate, not merely its great leaders of the past, Webster, Calhoun, and Clay, whose race was almost run, but those who were to shape the future of the country - Seward, Chase, and Jefferson Davis.
The speech we have chosen from this great debate is specially memorable as being the last great utterance of Mr. Calhoun on the subject to which he had given the strength and force of his life. Of the purity of his purpose and of his profound sincerity there could be no question. His intellect was as bright and keen as ever, though the hand of death was visibly upon him. The speech, which he had carefully prepared, he was unable to deliver; it was read for him by a friend while he sat by. Every senator listened with profound attention and unfeigned emotion; the galleries were hushed into the deepest silence by the extraordinary scene, which had something of the impressive solemnity of a funereal ceremony." But apart from the interest arising out of the occasion, the speech has a profounder interest of its own, as being one of the frankest, clearest, and calmest statements ever made of the fundamental question at issue, as viewed from the Southern side, a statement in which all subsidiary matters are brushed aside, and the central and naked issue is confronted with an unerring aim and an unflinching logic which is Calhoun's own.
TEXTUAL NOTES. PAGE 274, 13. federal numbers that count of population upon which representation in Congress is apportioned.
PAGE 277, 14. Louisiana — not the limited area braced by the State of that name, but the immense territory