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Happy Cessation of Excitement after the Adoption of the Missouri Com
promise.—Era of good Feeling during the Remainder of Mr. Monroe's Administration.-Presidential Contest of 1824.—Mr. Adams's Election by the House of Representatives to the Presidency. --Inaugural Speech of Mr. Adams. — Interesting Scene in the White House on the Occasion of President Monroe's taking Leave of his Friends to return to his private Ilome in Virginia.-Intense Excitement growing out of Mr. Adams's Election, but without any Intermixture of sectional Fecling.–Violent and illiberal Opposition to his Administration.—Defeat of Mr. Adams for Re-election in 1828, and Elevation of General Andrew Jackson in his Stcad.-Rise of Nullification in South Carolina in 1832.-General Jackson's Proclamation against South Carolina.-Mr. Clay's successful Scheme of Pacification, known as the Compromise Tariff Bill.–Origin of Abolition Societies in 1835.—Minute historical Account of these Societies given in Mr. Greeley's “American Conflict." -Mr. Webster's striking Remarks upon these Societies in his 7th of March Speech.-Author declines any special Notice of the Presentation of Abolition Petitions, and the excited Discussions growing out of the same.- Notice of the Acquisition of Texas with the general Consent of the American People. - Breaking out of the Mexican War, and Presentation of the Wilmot Proviso in the Midst thereof. - Author's Election to the United States Senate, with Jefferson Davis as his official Colleague. - Serious political Disagreements between them. — Sketch of President Davis's Character, with some Notice of his History.—Session of the United States Senate commencing in December, 1847. — Mr. Dickinson's Non-intervention Resolution, and Mr. Cal. houn's extreme Opposition to it. --Curious colloquial Scene in the Senate.-General Cass's Nicholson Letter.-Complimentary Notice of General Cass.
In taking a retrospect of the past, it is alike surprising and gratifying to observe how soon aster the adoption of
VALUE OF COMPROMISE.
the Missouri Compromise it was that the public mind became every where once more tranquil,
The majestic ship of state, which Longfellow has so beautifully depictured, was seen careering again over the surface of the now untroubled deep, whose waves had no longer power to disturb the regularity of its movements, or impede the celerity of its course. Those of us who remember the three years of happy quietude which our country enjoyed under the upright and truly conservative administration of Mr. Fillmore, are best able to understand how magically efficacious are sometimes found to be the healing balsams furnished by a judicious and lib. eral pharmacopæia, when these shall be applied in season to wounds inflicted by unfriendly hands upon the most vital parts of the body politic. I shall ever hold it to have been a most fortunate circumstance for our country's welfare that a few of those experienced and gifted statesmen who had been prominently instrumental in saving the republic from menaced overthrow in 1819 lingered still upon the public stage after full thirty years had rolled away, and that they were found alike ready and willing to lend their inspiring presence, as well as their priceless monitions, to a rash and froward generation, who at one moment seemed bent upon making sudden shipwreck of those moral treasures which, once lost, are in general found to be completely past recovery. But let us proceed with our rapid historic review.
During the remainder of Mr. Monroe's administration party excitement was almost unknown, and indeed at the close of it there was only one party designation known in all the broad republic. It was during the continuance of this political calm that four presidential candidates were seen to present themselves to popular consideration, all of whom professed to be of the same creed, and claimed the same political associations—Mr. Crawford, Mr. Clay, General Jackson, and Mr. John Quincy Adams, about the shoulders of the last of whom was the presi. dential mantle destined to be ultimately cast.
On the 4th day of March, 1825, the writer of these pages, then a mere novice in the great world of national politics, had the honor of seeing John Quincy Adams for the first time, and of listening to that inaugural speech of his which was fated to call forth so much of sharp and biting criticism, and of ungenerous objurgation. I was, an hour or two afterward, one of the numerous visitants who thronged the presidential mansion in order to take leave of Mr. Monroe and to greet the incoming of his successor, and well do I remember the bland and cheer. ful aspect of the venerable man who, then in a state of green old age, was gracefully casting off the harness of official labor and responsibility, as well as the solemn and care-marked visage of his successor, who, under embarrassing and unprecedented circumstances, and with the prospect opening upon him of a long course of virulent and relentless assailment from a thousand heretofore friendly quarters, was about to take upon himself duties the performance of which I am sure no truly sagacious man has ever yet eagerly coveted, who at the same time expected to perform them with a true and vigorous fidelity. Though Mr. Adams very soon found a fierce and energetic party organized for his overthrow, and though the most strenuous efforts were used by his zealous oppo
nents in order to effect his defeat in the next presidential election, I am not aware that this opposition to him has been heretofore asserted to have been at all of a sectional cast. When General Jackson succeeded him in 1829 there were no indications any where that a political organization merely sectional in its character was at all like. ly to make its sinister appearance either in the North or in the South. After the second election of this remarkable personage had occurred, though, and perhaps a little before the close of his first official term, such an organization did arise in the State of South Carolina, which very soon ramified itself into several other states. The grounds assumed for the formation of this party were plausible enough in the beginning, but it never had a perfectly healthful and vigorous existence, and would, in in all probability, have ultimately perished from its own intrinsic feebleness, even had it not been promptly and energetically dealt with by the heroic and sagacious man then occupying the chair of state. The local movements which at that period occurred in South Carolina; the dangerous political theories disseminated then among her sensitive and mercurial people; the conventional ordinances solemnly adopted, but which were destined never to be enforced; the excited and long-continued discussion which these various movements brought on in the halls of the national Congress; Mr. Webster's several august and triumphant refutations of the absurd theory of nullification; General Jackson's paralyzing and crushing proclamation, are all yet fresh in the memories of millions. I hope it is not yet forgotten either, that in 1832, Mr. Clay, the great pacificator, as he has been so aptly entitled, was, fortunately, then in the national Senate, and that, being earnestly pressed from various quarters, as I have myself more than once heard him declare to be the fact, to undertake the work of conciliation then so much needed, this gentleman, with that clear judgment and lofty moral courage for which he was so celebrated, brought forward and quickly secured the passage of what is known as the Compromise Tariff Bill, which measure provod satisfactory to fair and just-minded men every where, extinguished the local excitement yet lingering in South Carolina, and diffused peace and brotherly kindness once more over the whole republic.
About the year 1835, as has been generally agreed, a new and serious danger to the quiet of the country began to disclose itself: I allude to organized opposition, in some of the free states of the North, to slavery as it then existed in the South. For many reasons, some of which are of a nature which I do not deem it expedient here to unfold, the united force of which, though, will give to them a controlling influence over my action in this particular, I shall decline entering into a minute examination of all the painful particulars connected, in one way or another, with the origin and speedy multiplication of associations set on foot in the free states for the destruction of the slaveholding system of the South. Those who are desirous of obtaining information upon this subject, both ample in volume and minute in detail, embellished with frequent delineations of character, and numerous scenes not unsuited to appear in the pages of a wellwritten romance, or as portions of some stately production inspired by the historic muse, will be able to gratify