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|Combs &c. - Narrative of the life of|
General Leslie Combs
GENERAL LESLIE COMBS
present. Casting his eyes upwards, he beheld an American eagle some few hun- dred feet distant, gracefully flying towards the east. His own feelings were highly excited. He folded his arms, and, looking at it for a moment, exclaimed, in a thril- ling tone of voice, “I have told yon, fel- lew-citizens, that there were no accidents on earth or in Heaven, and I hail this as a happy omen. Fly on, and still fly higher, proud bird of 1ny country’s banner; and long may you continue to ornament the flag which waves over the land of the free and the home of the brave!” No one pre- sent will ever forget the scene.
As the Whigs of little Delaware mani- fested their gratitude to him by the pre- sentation of a magnificent piece of plate in 1840, so also did those of the Empire State in 1844, with the following simple, but touching incription :
" From the Whigs of Kings county, New York, to General Leslie Combs, of Kentucky, the friend of llenry Clay.
“Si Pergama dextra,
“Defendi possent, etiam hâc defensa fuissent.”
The defeat of Henry Clay, and the elec- tion of James K. Polk, produced a pro- found sensation throughout America; and when the vile duplicity and falsehood of the Democratic party in Pennsylvania is remembered, where every standard was emblazoned with “Polk, Dallas, and the Tariff of 1842;” while every where in the North it was unblushingly asserted that Polk was a better protective tariff man than Henry Clay, at the same time that he was supported in the South as an ad- vocate of free trade; it cannot be wonder- ed at that both he and Dallas afterwards betrayed the North, and the ruinous Tariff Act of 1846 was passed, which has already prostrated some of our most important manufactures. Indeed, but for the oppor- tune discovery of the rich gold-mines ot California, we should, cre this, have had another commercial crash such as desolated the country in 1837-8 ; for it is indisput- ably true that the balance of trade for the last year has been so much against us that it has required the shipment of over sixty millions of the precious metal, as well as large amounts ot United States and States stocks, to make up the deficit.
General Combs was the last man to leave
this great battle field; for, on the very day of the election in New York, he passed from Albany to New York city, and at every landing of the steamer stimulated the crowd, who were anxiously expecting the election news from Ohio, urging them to poll every vote in their power tor Henry Clay, for that every thing depended on the Empire State.
Such afterwards proved to be the ease; and, but for the gross frauds in the city of New York, Polk would have been defeated, and the great cause of American labor glo- riously triumphant. The Empire Club did the dark deed, which has since produced such wide-spread ruin and distress in some of our manufacturing districts, especially in Pennsylvania.
A man of less sanguine temperament, or one more calculating in his friendship, and less truly devoted to Henry Clay in all his fortunes than General Combs, might have been led away by the loud shouting and deep enthusiasm naturally excited by the brilliant victories of the hero of Buena Vista, when the grateful hearts of millions of true Whigs in America throbbed with joy at the suggestion of his name in connection with the Presidential office. Even in Ken- tucky, multitudes of Mr. Clay’s constant supporters and some of his oldest•friends avowed themselves in favor of General Taylor, as the most available candidate; and some men denounced Mr. Clay as sel- fish and ambitious; but General Combs never hesitated, never faltered.
“Faithful found among the faithless;
Faithful only he amid innumerable false.”
“Unmoved, unshaken, unsedueed, unterrified.”
And so he continued till the last moment in Philadelphia, when the National Whig Convention decided in favor of General Taylor.
Fatigue, loss of rest, anxiety of mind, had by this time protrastrated General Combs on a sick-bed; yet, when Independ- ence Square was in the evening filled by tens of thousands of anxious Whigs, main- ly the devoted friends of Henry Clay, it was deemed most important to have an address made by General Combs, the long- tried and ever-faithful friend of that illus- trious man. It was a severe trial for him to encounter; yet, when lifted to the stand,
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