“When mine eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union: on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent: on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood. Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, or a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as ’What is all this worth?’ nor those other words of delusion and folly, ’Liberty first and Union afterwards’; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart, ’Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.’”
If there be any description of rights, which, more than any other, should unite all parties in all quarters of the Union, it is unquestionably the rights of the person. No matter what his vocation, whether he seeks subsistence amid the dangers of the sea, or draws it from the bowels of the earth, or from the humblest occupations of mechanical life—wherever the sacred rights of an American freeman are assailed, all hearts ought to unite and every arm be braced to vindicate his cause. —Henry Clay
[Illustration: Henry clay]
There is a story told of an Irishman and an Englishman who were immigrants aboard a ship that was coming up New York Harbor. It chanced to be the fourth day of July, and as a consequence there was a needless waste of gunpowder going on, and many of the ships were decorated with bunting that in color was red, white and blue.
“What can all this fuss be about?” asked the Englishman.
“What’s it about?” answered Pat. “Why, this is the day we run you out!”
And the moral of the story is that as soon as an Irishman reaches the Narrows he says “we Americans,” while an Englishman will sometimes continue to say “you Americans” for five years and a day. More than this, an Irish-American citizen regards an English-American citizen with suspicion and refers to him as a foreigner, even unto the third and fourth generation.
No man ever hated England more cordially than did Henry Clay.
The genealogists have put forth heroic efforts to secure for Clay a noble English ancestry, but with a degree of success that only makes the unthinking laugh and the judicious grieve.
Had these zealous pedigree-hunters studied the parish registers of County Derry, Ireland, as lovingly as they have Burke’s Peerage, they might have traced the Clays of America back to the Cleighs, honest farmers (indifferent honest), of Londonderry.