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thing was in agitation, and might possibly take place. I surveyed the ground, therefore, as rapidly and strongly as I could, with as firm a determination to do my duty as I could command, considering the constitutional repugnance I have always felt to such a mèlë. I am afraid you may think I have acted imprudently; but I know you will not think that I have acted consciously wrong. I have kept aloof all my life, from such affairs, and would have blessed my stars if I could have been let alone now. But the members of the Convention, who were gentlemen of the first respectability, urged upon me their right to put me in nomination, and to command the services of any citizen, and told me that, as a patriot, I could not refuse; that they could not support Mr. Clay; and that with the Anti-Masonic strength, now five hundred thousand votes and increasing, they believed they would be able to carry the election of their candidate-if not now, certainly at the next election; that, if my reluctance arose from any hope of the possibility of Mr. Clay's election-that was impossible; his friends must know he could not unite the opposition to General Jackson.

"I have counted the cost. I desire only that my friends should understand this matter, and should not condemn me. I wished the election of Mr. Clay. My preference was declared both publicly and privately.

"With regard to the chance of my striking the people of the United States, at large, as a proper person for the office, it is a question of which I have great doubts. They do not know me, and will not be apt to feel much interest for so entire a stranger. Nor, if they did know me, do I know it would make the matter better.

"The nomination is so unexpected to the whole community, that I am sure it will produce a strong sensation at first, both adverse and propitious, as it encounters different elements. I shall make enemies of many who have been friendly or neutral, shall be ridiculed as presumptuous, charged with having deserted my party, or having attempted to place myself at its head by a stolen march. I shall be laughed at, abused, slandered. For all VOL. 2-31

these things I have a remedy in the peace of my own conscience and, I believe, in the approval of my God. It is a perfectly new move on the chess-board to intriguing politicians of all parties, and must perplex them at first. In such a matter people cannot be perplexed without exasperation. It is no move of mine, however, so that if it be deep and puzzling, the credit is not with me. I believe it to be perfectly simple and honest. If I did not believe it so, I certainly would have nothing to do with it. I have been and still am friendly to Mr. Clay, but amicus Plato, magis amica Patria.' I have done what I think right, and, so thinking, it is right to me. Nor shall I be drawn in, Deo adjuvante, to any thing, in the farther progress of the contest, for which you, my virtuous and beloved friend, shall blush. The character which I have gained is too dear to me to be sold for earthly honors; and I trust I have a higher view, the approval of a God of infinite purity and holiness, to whom, I know, I am to account-perhaps before this contest be settled.

"The disappointment of those who have nominated me would be my gain, so far as peace and quiet are concerned. I shall be as calm as I can, and take the lashes as patiently as Hudibras' horse."

The following from a letter addressed to a warm personal and political friend, affords some additional facts connected with the nomination. The extract which is here given, it is proper to premise, forms part of a narrative of the particulars of a private interview between Mr. Wirt and one of the leading members of the Convention. In this interview he endeavored to turn the attention of the Convention to Mr. Clay, hoping that they might be induced to nominate him. From this point the narrative proceeds:

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"Considering the strength of their party (the Anti-Masons) and the rapidity with which it was increasing, I saw at once that unless we could secure their nomination for Mr. Clay, we could not elect him.

"Mr. Clay was the choice of my district, and I had been deputed by it as a delegate to the National Republican Convention, whose object I understood to be to confer on the selection of a suitable candidate, giving the preference to Mr. Clay, if found that he would be strong enough to displace General Jackson; and if not, to prefer any one else who could secure to us that result. I, therefore, lost no time in sounding this gentleman with regard to Mr. Clay. He said that he believed the Convention would have nominated Mr. Clay, if he had responded to a call which had been made upon him on the subject of Masonry, and had come out, on that subject, as Mr. Rush had come out. I asked him, how it would be possible for Mr. Clay, situated as he was before the public, to come out in such a way, without subjecting himself to the most invidious constructions? I added, that he would be charged with having renounced his Masonic fraternity, for the sordid purpose of buying up their nomination; that he would disgust, by such a course, every virtuous man in the community; and that his enemies would not fail to revive against him the old cry of bargain and corruption, under which he had already suffered so much and so unjustly.

"Having broken the subject, I pressed Mr. Clay upon him, by every topic of persuasion and argument that my ingenuity could suggest, and with all the ardor and even enthusiasm any of the most devoted friends of Mr. Clay could have employed. I continued to press him, until he told me, with a smile, that it was perfectly in vain to talk of Mr. Clay.


"He said I knew nothing of the principles of Anti-Masonry; and, as soon as I did, I would see, at once, the utter impossibility of bringing the Anti-Masons to think even of Mr. Clay. That in Pennsylvania, many of them, and, perhaps, the major part, were originally and still Jackson men, and, Anti-Masonry out of the way, would return to Jackson. That it was absurd to think these men would leave Jackson because he was a Royal Arch, and unite on Mr. Clay who was a High Priest.


"Mr. Clay, then, out of the way, I was most anxious that the Anti-Masonic nomination should have lighted on Mr. McLean, and

labored the point not only with P-- but also with other members of that body who came to visit me. Mr. McLean's refusal of the nomination had not then been received. It came, however, in time to operate, I have no doubt, materially upon their ultimate decision.

"When S first hinted to me that they were thinking of me, I begged him, with a sincerity of which God is the best judge, not to think of it: assured him that I had no desire for the office; that my ambition did not lie in this direction; that I was happy in my family, prosperous in my profession, contented with my situation; that I did not know how to electioneer, had no taste for the business, on the contrary, despised it. That if they wished to succeed they should look to some one who could bring them an accession of strength. That Judge McLean could do this, I could not. When, in spite of all my efforts for others and all my remonstrances against my own nomination, they insisted on their right to nominate whom they pleased, and appealed to me, as a patriot, to accept the nomination-what was I to do?


"The Convention was one of the most respectable assemblies I have ever seen, either in a legislative or any other character. The Chief Justice of the United States (Marshall) and several other gentlemen, myself among them, were invited to attend a reading of some of their reports; and never have I witnessed the display of more talent and dignity on any occasion.

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"You have now the whole case before you, and I thought it due to the friendship you have always professed for me, to state it at large. I will not embarrass you with the question, whether you approve my course or not. It is enough for me, that my own conscience approves it, and that I do not believe it is condemned in Heaven.

"I am perfectly aware, with you, that I have none of the captivating arts and manners of professional seekers of popularity. I do not desire them. I shall not change my manners; they are a part of my nature. If the people choose to take me as I amwell. If not, they will only leave me where I have always pre

ferred to be, enjoying the independence of private life. They may make some rents in my garments in the meantime, but they will make none, I hope, in my peace of mind."

This is, certainly, not the letter of a politician. All who knew Mr. Wirt will readily believe that every sentiment, uttered in this extract, came from the bottom of his heart and breathed nothing but truth. It will be regarded as a singular passage in the life of a public man; and although it shows one all unpractised in the tactics of political ambition, it cannot but inspire a deep regret that a man of such a mould should not have been advanced to that eminent station from which his virtues would have became illustrious examples, and his deportment a study for the imitation of his fellow-citizens.

There were many persons in the country, and particularly in that section where Mr. Wirt was best known, who, having no connection with the party or the question which brought him before the public, were yet eagerly anxious for his success in the election. Regarding him as a pure and safe guide, a truthful man, a sincere lover of his country, and as gifted with the highest endowments both of mind and soul, they would have rejoiced to see him invested with the honors and command of the Chief Magistracy. By all this class of persons it was hoped, that when the Convention of December should meet, they would find it expedient to adopt Mr. Wirt as their candidate, and thus secure a union with that Anti-Masonic party, whose secession from their former political friends had almost fatally impaired the strength of the main body of those who were now to confront the popularity of General Jackson. It was sufficiently apparent to every observer, whose mind was not heated by the topical enthusiasm of Anti-Masonry, that that party, in its insulated position, had only strength enough to defeat the opposition to the administration, without being able to succeed itself. It could mar, but it could not make. It seemed to be almost equally clear, that the party to be represented in the December Convention, thus shorn of a portion of its force, could hope for success only upon the basis of a coincidence in the nomination with the Anti-Masons. Mr. Wirt was a centre upon which this combination might have been made. His principles had already satisfied the Anti-Masons, and the Convention of December could have found nothing to object to his political relaVOL. 2-31*

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