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22

GENERAL LESLIE COMBS

he pronounced that brief and most thril- ling address, which was at the time listen- ed to in breathless silence, and given on the lightning’s wings to the utmost corners of the United States. But no report of it could do justice to the impressive manner and evidently deep emotions of the speaker, while he seemed to feel that he was giving for ever the hope of his whole life to see Henry Clay President of the United States.

Considering the success of the Whig cause as above all other considerations, he pursued the same course in 1848 that he had done in 1840. From Maine to In- diana his voice was every where heard in private circles and in public assemblages of the people, urging all to unite in the support of General Taylor; and hundreds of thousands yet live to testify to the pow- er and effect of his speeches.

Neither General Harrison nor General Taylor ever forgot (we will not say forgave) his unalterable attachment and adherence to Mr. Clay; and although he did more for each after his nomination than any other one man in America did, they acted to- wards him as if they only remembered his opposition to their nomination by the Whig party. They never evinced the slightest gratitude for his efficient and dis- interested advocacy of their claim before the people. But that may be allowed to pass. Mr. Combs had his own self-appro- ation, and the high confidence of the great Whig party, and they were infinitely more valuable than court favor and official patronage.

We come now to Mr. Combs’ last politi- cal campaign ; and shall treat it briefly. His competitor was allied by blood and marriage to several numerous wealthy and influential Whig families in the dis- trict; had been himself a Whig in early life; was the present pride and hope of the Democracy; and thus concentrated all their support. General Combs had no such extra aid or sympathy in the canvass. The mass of the Whigs believed he was invincible, and that therefore they need make no effort. In a long professional career he had made some personal enemies among the Whigs, who took this occasion to gratify personal vengeance at the sacri- fice of political principle. Some hundreds of the first class did not go to the polls. A few of the latter were active and violent       

against him, and he was defeated. But he died on the plateau of the battlefield, in the front ran of the Whig army, with the Whig banner around him as his wind- ing-sheet. He sustained the Union, the Compromise, the cause of American labor- and internal improvements, as presented by Millard Fillmore; and he would rather thus have fallen than have achieved victo- ry by any sacrifice of principle or personal independence. Those who fly from the battle-field, and those who hide in the ra- vines and ditches while the balls are fly- ing thickest, are disgraced by defeat, and not the leader who bravely fights and falls in the combat. Among the many high and honorable names recorded in his sup- port are those of Henry Clay and J J. Crittenden. Mr. Combs has no complaints to make against those who failed to do their duty. He feels that his is still ob- vious to hold on to Whig principles only the more firmly because the timid and treacherous abandon them.

He has ever preached and endeavored to practice the philosophy that the world was intended by its Creator to be governed, not by force and violence, but by love and truth—love, embracing all benevolence of thought and act, and truth in deed as well as in word. To his rigid observance of these two great moral landmarks may be attributed the remarkable effect of his public speeches. He never berated or denounced bitterly his opponents. He lectured them, criticised them, and en- deavored to refute their arguments in good temper; and he never uttered a word on the stump which he did not believe to be true, nor expressed a sentiment which he did not most sincerely entertain.

When he commenced life, he set himself to work first to attain pecuniary indepen- dence by his own labor, and, second, to do all the good he could to all around him. His first production, which went to the press more than thirty years ago, was an argument and appeal in favor of a lunatic asylum in Kentucky. There was not one then west of the mountains, and only three or four in America. A few humane men in Lexington took up the subject, and the result was the commencement of the pre- sent magnificent establishment, which has ever since been dispensing its blessings in the State.
 

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