Free press. (Halifax, N.C.) 1824-1830, June 04, 1824, Image 1
iwfjp " J"wwwMgwvgp.lw,BWWHiyi JVa 11. HALIFAX, JV. ft FRIDAY, JUjYE 4, 1824. POX. J. THE "FREE PRESS," By George Howard, Is published every Friday, at THREE DOLLARS per year, consisting of 52 numbers, and in the same proportion for a shorter pe riod. Subscribers at liberty to dis continue at any time, on paying ar rearages. Advertisements inserted at fifty 'cuts per square, or less, for the first insertion, and twenty-five cents rach continuance. Letters addressed to the Editor 7CM st b e fi o st ji a id. COMMUXICA TIOXS. To the Editor of the FreePress. Sir,: I discover in your last (Sth) paper an attack upon Mr. CRAWFORD, under the signa ture of "Numa."- Will you be so good as to publish the piece, in the enclosed paper, (National Intelligencer, Dec. 23, 1S23,) in reply to the Rhode Island American. I think it goes fully to shew the claims of Mr. Crawford to the .Presi dency. Mr. Crawford may be, and no doubt is, possessed of some quali ties, natural and acquired, which would be capable of beneficial ex ertion, in the exalted station for which he is a competitor. The same admission may be made as to thousand of our citizens, who in the most fantastic dreams of ambition, never yet aspired to the Chief Ma gistracy of the United States. A man truly worthy of the first office in the gift of the American people, should possess some positive re commendation to their favor. What are the pretensions of Mr. Craw ford? He has been long before his countrymen, and has reached that period of life, when, according to prevalent notions, a man is suppo sed to possess the most ripened and energetic powers. In what display of senatorial eloquence or wisdom, in what trial of diplomatic learning and skill, in what official record of financial ability, are the American people to look for the proof of those powerful . and versatile talents, which Mr. C. is alleged by his par tizans to possess? He has dischar ged various offices, and he now oc cupies an elevated post in the go vernment. This, we grant, is a proof that he is not without talents but does it establish his claims to the Presidency? Is elevation al ways the reward of talents and vir tues, unsupported by adventitious and other circumstances, of the in fluence of which in deciding the destinies of political men, Vc are daily presented with the most mor tifying examples? Notwithstand ing Mr. Crawford has been so long "n'thc stage of action, with oppor tunities of exhibiting himself to ad jutage in the various walks of a Statesman, the interrogatory is still current in every section of the Re public, What has he either said or done, to entitle him to the illustri ous honor which is now claimed for him at the hands of his country-; rtiCn? Rhode-Island American. There is so much injustice clone to the character of Mr. Crawford, by articles like the above, the substance of which, in different shapes, has of late frequently met our eyes, that vvc should be wanting, even in common candor, were we long er to remain silent observers of it. We are the less reluctant to break silence upon it, seeing that Mr. Crawford continues to be the mark at which the friends of the other candidates for the Presidency have drawn their sharpest arrows, and that he is the only candidate for the Pre sidency whose various merits have not been portrayed to the world in all the attractive hues of fancy, as well as the more sober and subdued tints of truth. Far be it from us to depreciate the real merits and acknowled ged qualifications of either: of the other candidates lor the highest office in the govern ment, or to question their claims to public favor. One only of them can gam tnc prize; out n is honor enough for any man to be publicly regarded as a fair candidate for the highest mark of confidence that ten millions of freemen can give. Of that honor, we rejoice that so many among us are considered wor thy. It is our opinion, that no man ought to be placed at the head of this nation, to elevate whom it is necessary to depress or de grade other competitors. It is for this reason, and because we consider the reputation of our great men as public property, that we avoid any thing that shall have even the appearance of derogating from it. 'What," says the article be fore us, "are the pretensions of Mr. Crawford?" This inquiry, wherever made, argues an igno rance, on the part of the querist, of the incidents of the most in teresting period of the history of his country. Nor is this sur prising, when we look at the youthful age of some of those who most pertinaciously repeat this note, and at the fact that others of them have arrived in our country too recently to be expected to know much of its political history, or of the merits of our public men. In making this remark, of course we con sider queries of this description not as indirect expressions of falsehood, but as the expres sions of an honest desire for the information which they ask for. With as much directness and accuracy as a rapid pen and an indifferent memory will allow, we will endeavor to impart it to them. From the first entry of Wil liam H. Crawford into pub lic life, we have been near and close observers of his public ca reer; and for some twelve years past we have considered him as a man marked out by Nature for eminence among a free people. Scarcely had he set his foot in the Senate of the United States, in December, 1807, be ing his first appearance in the General Government, when he distinguished himself by the ac tive and manly part which he took in its deliberations by "Senatorial eloquence" and Se natorial "wisdom" too. The display of these gifts, with the qualities of stern integrity and fearless independence which are prevailing ingredients in his character, commanded the re spect and conciliated the confi dence of the august body of which he was a member. It was not a single flowery speech, a popular proposition, or a blind devotion to party, but a succes sion of evidences of the strength of his mind, the solidity of his judgment, and the propriety of his personal deportment, that se cured for him a character, which no man who was then in the councils of his country, or had an opportunity of watching them, will pretend to deny. If Suhfiressio veri est exfiressio falsi, as a venerable member of the last Dongress was wont to say. these traits of him have faded in the memory of some, or are new to others, it is because for the last nine or ten years (a third of the usual term of the life of man) he has been seclu ded from the view of his fellow citizens in the chambers of the Executive offices, where he has labored in the public service with unostentatious zeal and un tiring assiduity. Of the esteem in which he was held by his compeers in the Senate of the United States, a decisive evi dence was afforded by his being selected to preside over the Se nate in the year of the war, a few months before its declara tion, when the Vice-President, as is usual before the close of every session, had retired for the purpose of allowing a tem porary President to be chosen. This is an honor never incon siderately or lightly bestowed. It never has been bestowed, we believe, except in the case of Mr. Crawford, on a man as young as he then was, and the selection was an incontestible tribute to unquestioned merit. As far as the mere honor goes, the chair of President of the Senate, and that of Speaker of the House of Representatives, are almost as enviable stations as that of President of the Uni ted States. To be held in high esteem by those who are thenr- seives most esteemeu among the people, is an object worthy ot the ambition of a Republican. We shall not now burthen our columns with quotations irom the Speeches of Mr. Crawford at this period of his life. His reputation does not rest upon the turn of a period, or a figure of speech, nor can it lall by one. It soars above such tests. But, if those who are curious in these matters will consult the files of the National Intelligencer from 1808 to 1812, inclusive, they may find some of his Speeches reported which did great honor to him at that time, and may be read with pleasure and improvement now, as examples at once of deep re flection, vigorous thought, and spirit-stirring eloquence. Mr. C. was in Congress at the critical and momentous periods of the embargo and the war of 1812. His enemies have ob jected to him that he was oppo sed to the hrst, and was not a mong the most hasty to embark in the latter, firmness, not rashness, is the distinguishing cnaractenstics oi iUr, Urawtord. Although he voted against the Embargo, because he thought me necessary time tor delibera tion upon it was was refused, yet, when the Embargo was laid, he gave it his most efficient aid. Wc wrell remember the indignant strain in which he de nounced its violators, and the energy with which he supported the measures for its enforce ment. Of the war he was one of the firmest supporters. He completely identified himself with the cause of his country, by his zeal and enthusiasm in The greatest share of the con scientious opposition to Mr. Craw ford, at this day, is attributable to a hasty phrase at the close of a Re port, made by him to Congress, on the subject of the condition of the Indians, which has been twisted, by hypercritics, into every meaning but that which was iniended. its behalf; Of this, were such matter tit tor the newspapers, we recollect at this moment several proofs, being incidents not in the Halls of Congress, but in the private walks of life, where en thusiasm has greater play than in grave legislative assemblies. It was about this time that, on the Department of War becom ing vacant by the resignation of Mr. Eustis, the situation of Se cretary of War was offered to Mr. Crawford by the President. This offer Mr. C. declined to accept, on the ground that the business of that office in time of war required an acquaintance with military affairs which he did not possess, and he could not consent to jeopardize the public safety by taking upon himself the discharge of duties for which he felt that he was not qualified. Being, as we heard in the time of these occur rences, further urged, be pe remptorily declined the office, on the same ground, adding, however, that, to shew his at tachment to the public cause, and to the administration of Mr. Madison, there was no other du ty to which he could be called," that he was not called to under take, where his services should be thought useful. Shortly af terwards, the mission to France became vacant, by the death of that revolutionary whig and consistent patriot Joel Barlow. It was necessary, at that crisis, to send to Europe some citizen, eminent in the national councils, who would truly, faithfully, and undauntedly represent the Ame rican character and interests in France, then the theatre of great events. This trust Mr. Madi son, devolved on Mr. Crawford, who, after what had passed, could not, if he would, have de clined the acceptance of this se cond appeal from that virtuous and upright man. A more dis tinguished proof could hardly be afforded of the estimation in which Mr. C. was held by the first men and the purest politi cians of the country, at that day, than these repeated marks of the confidence in him with which his public course had in spired Mr. Madison.5 In the spring of 1813, if we are right, Mr. Crawford, sepa rating himself from his family and domestic concerns, and en countering the risk of capture by the enemy, passed over to Paris, and there remained in the capacity of Minister of the Uni ted States, until after the termi nation of the war and the resto ration of the Bourbons, when he returned to his country, bring ing with him, as we have read, the respect and esteem of all who knew him there, but parti cularly of La Fayette, the al most only remaining republican of France. Never having enjoyed the ad vantage of intimacy with Mr. Crawford- our knowledge ot him being chiefly confined to his public course we cannot say what were his views in re signing his foreisrn mission. If his objeet was, as we believe it to have been, besides re-uniting himself to his family, to return to the profession, the pursuit of which had been interrupted, to the injury of his private fortune, by his public engagements, he was diverted from it by an invi- tation from 3Vlr. Madison to ter his cabinet, as the successor en- ot Mr. Dallas, in the Depart ment of War. Of his condnrt in this station we never hea,rd any thing but what was to his credit. He was the author of many measures for reforming me anuses wnicn in ume oi war had crept into the military ser vice, and for giving efficiency and character to the Army, which had then just been redu ced to a peace establishment. The promptitude and decision of his character here found am ple scope. In the next year, Mr. Madi son, having his confidence in Mr. Crawford increased by a nearer view of him, appointed him to the Treasury Depart ment, when that office became vacant. For presiding over this Department, Mr. Crawford was particularly qualified by his strict notions of right, and his tenacity in adhering to them. If he has a fault as a public man, it is, perhaps, the carrying these principles too far. It was by his agency, principally, with the co-operation of Mr. Monroe and the other cabinet officers, that the Accounting Offices were re-modelled, to give them that efficiency which they now pos sess. The office of Secretary of the Treasury, in a settled go vernment, in time of peace, af fords little opportunity for dis play. Not like the field which is opened by the establishment of a new and untried system of government, in which a Hamil ton gathered renown, or that of national embarrassment and temporary insolvency, where a Dallas earned the admiration of all who knew his situation, and saw his almost incredible exer tion of talent and industry the administration of the Treasury in time of peace is necessarily almost entirely barren of inci dent and attraction: it presents a dry routine of duties, which, however necessary to be per formed, do not, when best exe cuted, afford eclat, or elicit po pular applause. A few reports, however, on general subjects, Mr. C. has had an opportunity of making since he has been in the Treasury Department, and those reports, as well as such of his official letters as we have seen, are characterized by the same strength of mind and ori ginality of thought which are to be found in his reported Speech es in Congress. When we say that Mr. Craw ford was, in 1816, the only per son thought worthy to compete with Mr. Monroe as a candidate for the Presidency; that, tho We have not dwelt upon the magnanimity displayed by Mr. Crawford at that time, in with drawing from competition with the last of the Revolutionary Worthies, but cannot help quoting from our files, to refresh the memo nfnnr readers, the language of Mr. C. on that occasion, as statrd hv th Imp lamented Mr. Bibb, thro' the me dium of the National Intelli fencer: "In consequence of repeated in quiries whether Mr. Crawford was to be considered among the compe titors, accompanied with a desire that his views should be ascertain ed, I communicated to him win; had passed. He replied, without reserve, that he did not consider himself anions- the number of tAnxr from whom the selection ought to oe maae, anu mat uc was unwilling to be held up as a competitor for that office.