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[342] to institutions which they repudiate, can be called the champions of liberty. If the South seriously threatened to conquer the North, to put down trial by jury, freedom of the press, and representative government, the contest must be for liberty; but, as this is not so, the introduction of such topics is mere rhetorical amplification. “Can you subdue the revolted States?” “Of course we can,” says Mr. Clay. So on that point there is no more to be said. “Can you reconstruct the Union when one-half of it has conquered the other?” “Nothing easier,” says Mr. Clay. The victim of to-day will become the confederate of to-morrow: the traitor will be cast out, and the Union firmer than ever — witness the happy results of the conquest of Ireland by England, repeated over and over again, and always repeated in vain.

Having answered the questions which he supposes to be addressed to him by England, Mr. Clay becomes the questioner, and asks us where our honor would place us in this contest. Clearly by the side of the Union, because, he says, if slavery be extended in America, it must be restored in the West Indies. If any one doubts the force of this demonstration we are sorry for it, for Mr. Clay has no other to offer. Our examiner next asks us to consider our interest. Clearly, he says, it is to stand by the Union, because they are our best customers, and because, though they have done all they can, since the separation of the South gave them the power, to ruin their trade with us, they will, in spite of their own hostile tariff, remain our best customers.

Lastly comes the momentous question, “Can England afford to offend the United States?” “Certainly not,” says Mr. Clay, “for in half a century they will amount to a hundred millions of people, and will have railways four thousand miles long.” But is Mr. Clay quite sure that, if we should offend them now, the people of America will bear malice for half a century; and, if they do, is he quite certain that his hundred millions must all be members of one Confederacy, and that we may not then, as we might now, secure either half of the Union as our ally in a war against the other? Mr. Clay must really allow us to give our own version of the honor and interest of England. Our honor and interest is to stand aloof from contests which in no way concern us, to be content with our own laws and liberties, without seeking to impose them upon others, “to seek peace and insure it,” and to leave those who take to the sword to fall by the sword. In war we will be strictly neutral; in peace we will be the friends of whatever Power may emerge out of the frightful chaos through which Mr. Clay sees his way so clearly. And that neutrality which is recommended alike by our interest and our honor, we will not violate through fear — no, not of a hundred millions of unborn men. Let Mr. Clay and his countrymen look well to the present, and they will find enough to occupy their attention without troubling themselves with long visions of humiliation and retribution, which no man now alive will ever see accomplished.--London Times, May 20.

Minister Clay's letter.

In order to estimate the character and quality of the letter of the American Ambassador to St. Petersburg, which appeared in The Times of last Monday, and which naturally attracts a good deal of attention, it is necessary to consider who the writer is, what position he holds in public affairs, and why he wrote that letter.

Mr. Cassius M. Clay is a Kentucky man, and a relative of the late Henry Clay; but he has never followed the political track of his eminent relative. Henry Clay used to boast that it was by his doing that Kentucky was a slave State. At the time of its organization as a State, a majority of the inhabitants desired to emancipate their negroes, and encourage the immigration of free labor; but Mr. Clay discountenanced the notion, and used his influence with success, to induce his neighbors to follow the Southern practice in regard to the tenure of labor. To do this in such a country as Kentucky was to incur a very grave responsibility. The inhabitants have never taken heartily to Slavery with one accord; their soil and climate are favorable to the employment of white as well as free negro labor; they have seen, across the river, Ohio rising into high prosperity, while Kentucky made little or no progress; and there have been not a few citizens in Mr. Clay's State who have always felt that he was answerable for its inferiority in numbers, wealth, and intelligence, to the States on the opposite bank of the Ohio. Among those who have asserted the higher principles on which the State ought to have been organized, and on which it must have flourished beyond perhaps any other region in the Union, Mr. Cassius M. Clay. has been the most prominent. For a long course of years he has testified against the false policy of his State, at the risk of his life, and to the great injury of his fortunes. He has been hunted out of the State: he has been imprisoned, prosecuted, threatened, and brought within an inch of his life by Lynch law: and his property has been thrown into the Ohio, burnt, or broken up: but nothing could daunt his spirit, or silence his protests. His Southern habits of self-defence, and his Northern habits of political reasoning, have, on the whole, made him too strong for his enemies. He was an accursed Abolitionist; yet he has lived to come to Europe as an Ambassador. He never belonged to the small body of Abolitionists proper; but, though he carried pistols, and walked about in the style of the Kentucky giants, he was so far an Abolitionist that he early emancipated his own slaves, and has ever since fought a stout battle, by his own printing-press, public speaking, and whole course of life, on behalf of the liberties of whites and blacks, all over the Union.

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