74
EULOGY ON

merchants, and for her barbarous impressment of our mariners while pursuing their peaceful avocations upon the highway of nations.

This important crisis in our affairs occurred in 1811, during the administration of Mr. Madison. Mr. CLAY was then a member of the House of Representatives, and had been elected its presiding officer. The mind of the amiable President was inclined to peace, though be afterwards proved firm, when his resolution was once taken. A pacific policy was also recommended by Mr. Gallatin, then at the head of the Treasury Department. Against every measure tending to a declaration of hostilities, were arrayed the powerful talents of Mr. Randolph, of Virginia, and Mr. Quincy, of Massachusetts. It is not difficult, however, to imagine what would be the conduct of Mr. CLAY in such an emergency. Like the Antaeus of ancient fable, he rose with renewed and redoubled vigor, under the Herculean pressure of opposition that attempted to bear him to the earth. He was then in the prime of life, "with the rose of heaven upon his cheek, and the fire of liberty in his eye." He saw and felt that there was but one course to be pursued for the vindication of the insulted honor of the country, and for a prompt and effectual redress of her accumulated wrongs,--and that course involved a declaration of war. He advocated the embargo laws, because the measure was a direct precursor to war; he advocated the increase of the Army and Navy, and every other measure that would lead to the declaration of hostilities. Side by side with Mr. CALHOUN, be nobly sustained the honor of the country. High above their compeers shone these two young and gallant champions of the Republic--the Tancred and Rinaldo of political chivalry. The conduct of Mr. CLAY on that memorable occasion cannot perhaps be better described than by adopting the language of a member of Congress, who was a personal witness of the effect of his eloquence upon the crowds who daily hung upon his thrilling accents. "On this occasion," said he, " Mr. CLAY was a flame of fire. He had now brought Congress to the verge of what he conceived a war for liberty and honor, and his voice rang through the Capitol like a trumpet-tone sounding for the onset. On the subject of the policy of the embargo, his eloquence like a Macedonian phalanx bore down all opposition, and he put to shame


Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104