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There was no grudging envy in that mind;
He liked to help, to utter words of praise; There was no avarice in his generous hand,
Stretched not to injure, but to help, to raisc.
Brave as his sword ! a true Damascus blade,
Blazoned in fire—the brighter for the fray; 'Tis usage tries the temper of the steel:
Life proved tly temper, hero of to-day.
(Vol. I., page 107.)
MR. CALHOUN AND THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1824.
In the year 1824, as the time approached for choosing electors of President to fill the vacancy about to occur by the retirement of Mr. Monroe, an earnest desire was felt by the friends of Mr. Calhoun that he should be elected to the Vice-Presidency. The friends of Mr. Adams, confident of his election, had objected to this disposition of Mr. Calhoun, on the ground that the VicePresidency did not furnish a proper theatre for the exercise of his talents, and that it would be much better to provide for him in the Treasury or State Departments, at his option, where his services would be more beneficial to the country and himself, and where he could better aid, by the force of his character, in sustaining the Administration of Mr. Adams. They had farther urged that the friends of Mr. Adams were already committed to General Jackson with regard to the Vice-Presidency, that his name was on their ticket, and that it was important, from the influence of his popularity, to keep it there. The first of these objections was repelled by the following arguments: that it was rather the man who gave character to the office than the office which gave character to the man; that Mr. Calhoun was certain of sustaining in any situation the reputation which he had acquired; that the State Department, under Mr. Adams, who would be likely, from his long familiarity with its details, to retain the virtual management of them, would not be a desirable station; and that the Treasury Department was, in the view of the public, a subordinate station. On these grounds the friends of Mr. Calhoun would prefer to see him Vice-President. To these reasons is to be added a secret conviction, which I myself felt in common with others, though not to the same degree with all, that Mr. Adams was ill calculated, from the temper of his
mind and his ignorance of men, to manage the affairs of government with discretion and calmness; that he would be liable to fall into error; and that, if his career should be disastrous, he would involve in his downfall those who were immediately connected with his Administration. All these views, excepting the last, I frequently and fully discussed during the spring of 1824 with several of Mr. Adams's friends, particularly the Hon. John W. Taylor, of New York, who was very desirous that Mr. Calhoun should consent to be a member of Mr. Adams's Cabinet. On this point he observed he was not authorized to say anything for Mr. Adams—that he had never held any conversation with him on the subject—but from his knowledge of Mr. Adams's sentiments in relation to Mr. Calhoun, and the general observations which Mr. Adams had often made, he had no hesitation in saying that Mr. Calhoun might have anything under him which he might elect.
Toward the end of the autumn of 1824 the progress of General Jackson had been so rapid as to excite a general feeling of alarm throughout Mr. Adams's ranks; and it was the opinion of many of his friends that the support which the former had received from them for the Vice-Presidency was indirectly operating in his favor as a competitor with Mr. Adams for the Presidency. On this subject I had several conversations with Mr. Calhoun, and frequent conversations with General Brown, of whose private as well as military family I have long been and still am a member. The former conceived the course of Mr. Adams in sustaining General Jackson for the Vice-Presidency to be exceedingly indiscreet, because he was arming General Jackson with power to be turned against himself. He spoke of it only as bearing upon Mr. Adams. He thought with his friends that the course dictated by Mr. Adams's interest was to support him (Mr. Calhoun) instead of General Jackson for that office. He said he could never himself, under any circumstances, become a partisan of General Jackson or Mr. Adams; his own character, and the whole tenor of his public life forbade it: he could be the partisan of no man. He could not, and should not, stir a finger between them. He considered them both men of virtue, not only qualified but disposed, if elected, to administer the government upon the same principles, and to sustain the system of measures adopted under the Administration of Mr.