“When I was first chose to Congress, I was opposed to the protecting system. They told me it would help the rich, and hurt the poor; and that we in the West was to be taxed by it for the benefit of New England. I supposed it was so; but when I come to hear it argued in the Congress of the nation, I begun to have a different opinion of it. I saw I was opposing the best interest of the country: especially for the industrious poor man. I told my people who sent me to Congress, that I should oppose it no longer: that without it, we should be obliged to pay a tax to the British Government, and support them, instead of our own labor. And I am satisfied of it the more since I have visited New England. Only let the Southern gentlemen come here and examine the manufactories, and see how it is, and it would make more peace than all the legislation in Congress can do. It would give different ideas to them who have been deluded, and spoke in strong terms of dissolving the Union.”
Crockett returned to Washington just in time to be present at the closing scenes, and then set out for home. So much had been said of him in the public journals, of his speeches and his peculiarities, that his renown now filled the land.
The Disappointed Politician.—Off for Texas.
Triumphal Return.—Home Charms Vanish.—Loses His Election.—Bitter Disappointment.—Crockett’s Poetry.—Sets out for Texas.—Incidents of the Journey.—Reception at Little Rock.—The Shooting Match.—Meeting a Clergyman.—The Juggler.—Crockett a Reformer.—The Bee Hunter.—The Rough Strangers.—Scene on the Prairie.
Crockett’s return to his home was a signal triumph all the way. At Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, crowds gathered to greet him. He was feasted, received presents, was complimented, and was incessantly called upon for a speech. He was an earnest student as he journeyed along. A new world of wonders were opening before him. Thoughts which he never before had dreamed of were rushing into his mind. His eyes were ever watchful to see all that was worthy of note. His ear was ever listening for every new idea. He scarcely ever looked at the printed page, but perused with the utmost diligence the book of nature. His comments upon what he saw indicate much sagacity.
At Cincinnatti and Louisville, immense crowds assembled to hear him. In both places he spoke quite at length. And all who heard him were surprised at the power he displayed. Though his speech was rude and unpolished, the clearness of his views, and the intelligence he manifested, caused the journals generally to speak of him in quite a different strain from that which they had been accustomed to use. Probably never did a man make so much intellectual progress, in the course of a few months, as David Crockett had made in that time. His wonderful memory of names, dates, facts, all the intricacies of statistics, was such, that almost any statesman might be instructed by his addresses, and not many men could safely encounter him in argument. The views he presented upon the subject of the Constitution, finance, internal improvements, etc., were very surprising, when one considers the limited education he had enjoyed. At the close of these agitating scenes he touchingly writes: