Anecdotes of Public Men

Anecdotes of Public Men

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Anecdotes of Public Men

Anecdotes of Public Men

Read FREE!

Excerpt

ANECDOTES OF PUBLIC MEN.

I.

In 1850, after the triumph of the Compromise Measures, Henry Clay visited Philadelphia, and stayed at the American House, on Chestnut Street, opposite Independence Hall. As I had supported these Measures in opposition to the extreme followers of the Southern Democrats, in the columns of The Pennsylvanian , I felt anxious to call on Mr. Clay, the leader of that his last great work. Ex-Mayor John Swift, who is still living in Philadelphia, in the 84th year of his age, dropped in at my editorial rooms the morning after Mr. Clay's arrival, in company with my esteemed friend, Edwin Forrest, the tragedian. Mr. Swift, who had been one of Mr. Clay's active and unselfish champions, gladly acceded to my request to be presented to Mr. Clay, whom I had never met, and had firmly opposed when he was the Whig candidate for the Presidency in 1844. Forrest expressed the wish to accompany us; so we three walked over to the hotel and sent up our cards, and were quickly admitted to the great man's parlor. He looked feeble and worn --he was then over seventy-three years old--but he soon brightened. Anxious to rouse him, I quietly ventured to suggest that I had heard the speech of Pierre Soulé, Senator in Congress from Louisiana--an extremist especially distasteful to Mr. Clay--and that I thought it a very thorough and able presentation of the side adverse to the Compromise Measures. I saw the old man's eye flash as I spoke, and was not surprised . . .

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