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CHAPTER IX.

Omnibus Bill under Consideration.-Strenuous Opposition of General

Taylor's Administration to its Adoption.— Last Appearance of President Taylor in Public on the 4th of July, 1850, at Monument Square, in Washington City, and touching Scene which occurred there.—Gencral Taylor's Decease a few Days thereafter.-Mr. Webster's eloquent Funeral Notice of him.-Mr. Fillmore's Inauguration as President, and efficient Support of the Compromise Measures.-Official Order found on General Taylor's Table after his Decease, ordering the forcible Expulsion from New Mexico by the Military of Texan Settlers.-Mr. Clay's heroic Remonstrance against this coercive Policy, which he regarded as needlessly endangering the Union.-Fierce Opposition to the Compromise Measures on the Part both of Extremists of the North and Extremists of the South.—Terrible Struggle over the Omnibus Bill in the Senate, which is finally broken into Fragments mainly by the Indiscretion of its own Friends, but the integral Portions of which finally pass both Houses. — The Country quicted under the Influence of this Measure. -Sage and firm Conduct of President Fillmore in causing the Compromise Enactments to be every where faithfully executed.-Celebrated Rescue Case in Massachusetts, and interesting Proceedings in Congress in Connection therewith.

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The compromise measures, in the form of an Omnibus Bill, as it was called at the time, were under discussion in the national Senate, and various questions connected with the proposed "plan of adjustment,” as Mr. Dallas, in a letter to myself, written about this period and published in the newspapers, inore aptly entitled them, were calling forth much acrimonious discussion in both wings of the Capitol, when General Taylor very suddenly died, early in the month of July, 1850. The last time I saw this fine

GENERAL TAYLOR'S LAST APPEARANCE IN PUBLIC. 149

specimen of the honest, blunt, strong-minded, resolute, but, it must be confessed, somewhat self-willed and obstinate soldier of the backwoods, was on the Fourth of July, at what is known as the Washington Monument, where I had the honor of delivering, by request of the patriotic association formed for the purpose of erecting the same, the customary anniversary oration. President Taylor and his cabinet had all come forth on this occasion, far more, I am sure, to render deserved homage to the memory of the august Father of his Country than to listen to the feeble and unworthy effusion to which they were about to give respectful audience. Never had I seen him look more robust and healthful than while seated under the canopy which sheltered the speaker and the assembled concourse from the burning rays of an almost vertical sun. After the address had been concluded, he kindly beckoned me to approach him, cordially offered me his hand, and tendered me his thanks for what I am painfully sensible very little merited such a complimentary notice; though I am gratified to know that those who may now choose to look over that same speech will at least find it replete with the most fervent Union sentiments, and the most enthusiastic wishes for our country's happiness. I think that the veteran President added, "Why will you not always speak in this way?" a kind and

? patriotic implication of rebuke, which I will not undertake now to say was altogether unreasonable, and from which I hope I did not fail subsequently, in some degree, to profit. In a day or two more the hero of so many battles had gone to his long home, and a grand public funeral was awarded bim. The following appropriate and pathetic speech was delivered by Mr. Webster in the Senate, on the occasion of presenting resolutions in notice of his demise:

"Mr. Secretary, at a time when the great mass of our fellow-citizens are in the enjoyment of an unusual measure of health and prosperity throughout the whole country, it has pleased Divine Providence to visit the two houses of Congress, and especially this House, with repeated occasions for mourning and lamentation. Since the commencement of the session, we have followed two of our own members to their last home; and we are now called upon, in conjunction with the other branch of the Legislature, and in full sympathy with that deep tone of affliction which I am sure is felt throughout the country, to take part in the due solemnities of the funeral of the late President of the United States.

“Truly, sir, was it said, in the communication read to us, that a 'great man has fallen among us.' The late President of the United States, originally a soldier by profession, having gone through a long and splendid career of military service, had, at the close of the late war with Mexico, become so much endeared to the people of the United States, and had inspired them with so high a degree of regard and confidence, that, without solicitation or application, without pursuing any devious paths of policy, or turning a hair's breadth to the right or left from the path of duty, a great, and powerful, and generous people saw fit, by popular vote and voice, to confer upon him the highest civil authority in the nation. We can not forget that, as in other instances so in this, the public feeling was won and carried away, in some de

FUNERAL SPEECH IN HONOR OF GEN. TAYLOR. 151

gree, by the éclat of military renown. So it has been always, and so it always will be, because high respect for noble deeds in arms has been and always will be outpoured from the hearts of the members of a popular gov. ernment.

"But it will be a great mistake to suppose that the late President of the United States owed his advancement to high civil trust, or his great acceptableness with the people, to military talent or ability alone. I believe, sir, that, associated with the highest admiration for those qualities possessed by him, there was spread throughout the community a high degree of confidence and faith in his integrity and honor, and uprightness as a man. I believe he was especially regarded as both a firm and a mild man in the exercise of authority; and I have observed more than once, in this and in other popular gov. ernments, that the prevalent motive with the masses of mankind for conferring high power on individuals is a confidence in their mildness, their paternal, protecting, prudent, and safe character. The people naturally feel safe where they feel themselves to be under the control and protection of sober counsel, of impartial minds, and a general paternal superintendence.

"I suppose, sir, that no case ever happened in the very best days of the Roman republic when a man found himself clothed with the highest authority in the state under circumstances more repelling all suspicion of personal application, of pursuing any crooked path in politics, or of having been actuated by sinister views and purposes, than in the case of the worthy, and eminent, and distinguished, and good man whose death we now deplore.

"He has left to the people of his country a legacy in this. He has left them a bright example, which addresses itself with peculiar force to the young and rising generation; for it tells them that there is a path to the highest degree of renown straight onward, steady, without change or deviation.

"Mr. Secretary, my friend from Louisiana* has detailed shortly the events in the military career of General Taylor. His service through his life was mostly on the frontier, and always a hard service, often in combat with the tribes of Indians along the frontier for so many thousands of miles. It has been justly remarked by one of the most eloquent men whose voice was ever heard in these housest that it is not in Indian wars that heroes are celebrated, but that it is there that they are formed. The hard service, the stern discipline devolving upon all those who have a great extent of frontier to defend, often with irregular troops, being called on suddenly to enter into contests with savages, to study the habits of savage life and savage war, in order to foresee and overcome their stratagems, all these things tend to make hardy military character.

“For a very short time, sir, I had a connection with the executive government of this country, and at that time very perilous and embarrassing circumstances existed between the United States and the Indians on the borders, and war was actually carried on between the United States and the Florida tribes. I very well remember that those who took counsel together on that occasion officially, and who were desirous of placing the * Mr. Downs.

† Fisher Ames.

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