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been an earnest and determined Dem In January, 1819, Mr. Wright comocrat. He became such during the pleted his preparatory legal studies, first contest for the Presidency, in 1796, and was licensed to practise as an between Adams and Jefferson. On attorney of the Supreme Court of New that occasion he supported the latter York. His health being impaired hy zealously, and has ever since cherished intense application to his books and at for his name and principles a venera his desk, he spent the ensuing summer tion which time has rather increased in travelling on horseback for its restothan diminished. Even now he is a ration, and with the view of selecting warm and active politician, within the a place where he might settle himself limited sphere in which he moves. permanently. Between 1800 and 1810, he was re In October, he removed to Canton, peatedly elected a member of the in the county of St. Lawrence, and Legislaiure, and has ever been an opened an office. The village was ardent and firm Republican. He and new, and the business in the courts his oldest son were in the battle of both limited and unprofitable, so that Plattsburg, under Macomb, in Sep- the young lawyer made but little by tember, 1814, when the British fleet his practice. was captured on Lake Champlain by His superior talents, added to the McDonough, and Sir George Prevost universal kindliness in his disposition with his forces defeated and driven and manners, soon made him highly back into Canada.
popular. He was, after but a short The husbands of two sisters of Mr. residence in his new home, selected as Wright were also in that battle as the village postmaster, the captain of volunteers from the “Green Moun- the local militia company, justice of tains," although the Federal Governor peace, and not long after was commisof Vermont, following the treacherous sioned as the Surrogate of the county and cowardly example of Governors of St. Lawrence. In all these situaStrong of Massachusetts, Jones of tions, at the same time that he perRhode Island, and Griswold of Con- fectly discharged every duty devolving necticut, had positively refused to call on him, he never failed, by an insenout a single man to defend the invaded sible process which without effort on territory and habitations of an adjoin- his own part was irresistible on the ing State,--on the unworthy position part of others, to make himself the that the militia could not be required object of a universal and affectionate to pass beyond the boundary lines of personal popularity. those States of which they were citi But a more enlarged public than a zens.
village neighborhood soon appreciated During the four years passed by Mr. justly the abilities, studious habits, Wright in college, the number of the attainments and integrity of the young class to which he belonged averaged barrister. In the fall of the year about thirty. Then, as now, every 1823, without the slightest expectation student was a politician, and called of such an event on his part, Mr. himself either a Federalist Demo- Wright was nominated by his Democrat. Of the latter there were in this cratic friends as a candidate for the class only four, of whom it will readily office of Senator in the State Legisbe conceived that young Wright was lature. There was an overwhelming one of the most ardent. His politics Federal majority in the county of St. were never better known than at this Lawrence when Mr. Wright first setperiod of his life. In October, 1815, tled in it; yet he had taken especial he commenced the study of the law care to express, in the most public with Mr. Martindale, who resided at manner, his devotion to the principles Sandy Hill, Washington county, New of the Republican party. Still he was York, where he remained about eight- elected for the term of four years, and een months; when he removed to the took his seat on the first Tuesday of office of Roger Skinner, Esq., which January, 1824. During this winter presented superior opportunities for the contest for the Presidency was acquiring a knowledge of the details waged in New York, as well as in of business, as he was at that time the other States of the Union, with the attorney of the United States for the utmost violence. It resulted in the northern district of that State.
election of Mr. John Q. Adams by the
House of Representatives, in February, enemies to liberty, to the Constitution, 1825. The individuals voted for were and to the rights of the sovereign peoCrawford, Jackson, Adams, and Clay. ple! A caucus, composed of a portion of the It was insisted by the Republicans, members of Congress, had been held that there was much danger that the at Washington, which had nominated election of the President might be reMr. Crawford as the candidate of the ferred to the House of Representatives; old Republican party. At one time that there bargain, intrigue, and manMr. Calhoun's claims had been earn- agement might be practised; that estly pressed in Pennsylvania, by many so great a State as New York should leading politicians who were devoted neither divide her vote in the electoral to his interests, but the great mass of college, and thereby impair her the people there had espoused the strength, nor aid in any way in taking cause of General Jackson.
the election to a body where her politiThe friends of Jackson, Clay and cal weight could not be an atom Adams had refused peremptorily to greater ihan that of Rhode Island or submit their claims to the arbitrament Delaware. of a caucus, which caused the divi. But the timid in the more popular sion, distraction and defeat of the branch of the Legislature became Democracy. Mr. Wright, adhering as alarmed, and gave way, so that the he has ever done to the principles of Federalists gained the ascendency his party, advocated Mr. Crawford's there. A bill was passed in the lower election.
House, giving the choice of PresidenIn order to defeat this wise, honest tial electors to the people, which was and fearless man, in New York and thrown upon the Senate for its action. the contiguous States, a large number This body contains thirty-two memof politicians exhausted all their inge- bers, of which seventeen were a bare nuity and skill, secretly and assid- majority. Every member, except one, uously, in exciting prejudices against was a Democrat on paper, and had the South. Appeals were made in been returned as such ; and yet, when behalf of Mr. Adams to the pride of this bill was called up for discussion, the people, and it was urged that all only seventeen had the courage to op: the other candidates were southern pose it, and denounce the views and men. By these means large numbers schemes of those who had concocted were decoyed from the Democratic and passed il. They stood to their into the Federal ranks.
posts unterrified, and rejected the bill. From the time of the adoption of the Immediately, everywhere throughout Federal Constitution, up to the period the State, ihey were assailed by the of which we are now speaking, the Federal opposition, and branded as electors of President and Vice Presi. usurpers and tyrants”—as the “indent in the State of New York had famous seventeen"-as the “immorbeen chosen by the Legislature. The tally infamous seventeen;" and so Federal party which supported Mr. great was the height to which the Adams, having ascertained that the popular fury was excited by the asRepublicans had elected a large ma- siduous arts of the agitators, that they jority of their friends to the Legisla- were burned and hanged in effigy in ture, in order that they might have many parts of the country. another chance, raised the cry that the At the general election of November, electors ought to be chosen by the 1824, the Democracy was utterly depeople. The followers of Mr. Clay, feated. Upon the causes that comwho were comparatively few, aided in bined to produce this effect, it is unthis movement. As matters then necessary here to pause. The candistood, it was certain that Mr. Craw- date of ihe Opposition for the Execuford would receive the undivided vote tive chair received a majority of of the State. The conductors of the seventeen thousand votes. General Federal presses joined in with this James Tallmadge, who had belonged cry, and everywhere proclaimed that to, and been a leader in, the Republithose members of the Assembly who can ranks, went over to the enemy. should refuse to repeal the law which He was elected Lieutenant-Governor had been so long in force, without by a majority of thirty-four thousand. complaint from any quarter, were A large number of the seventeen
remained in the Senate during the This office is held for three years. Mr. session of 1825. The “ victors” Wright served out his first term to the quarrelled, and fell into distraction. In entire satisfaction of the public, and this condition of affairs, these seven was re-elected in 1832. In this year, teen exercised a controlling power over William L. Marcy, who was a Senathe acts of the Legislature. A vacancy tor in Congress from New York, was was about to occur in the Senate of the chosen Governor, and was sworn into United States. An individual who had office on the first day of January, 1833. belonged to the Democratic party, but Mr. Wright was elected to succeed who had deserted and gone over to the him, and forth with took his seat. His Federalists, was presented to the first term expired on the third of Senate, a majority of whom declared March, 1837, but on the first Tuesday of that they would not vote for this indi- the preceding February, he was revidual, nor would they accept of his elected for the constitutional period of nomination. The House refused to six years. designate any one else, and there was, Opportunity to display his eminent precisely as has been again recently abilities was all that Mr. Wright rewitnessed, no election. At the ensuing quired to secure his rapid advancement. general election in 1826, the Republi- Within twelve years the “village cans again carried the State, and one justice” had become one of the repreof their friends was chosen the Senator. sentatives of the sovereignty of the
It was at this election that Mr. “Empire State,” containing nearly two Wight was nominated to represent millions of people. In October, 1833, the district in which he resided, in the occurred the famous removal of the Congress of the United States. He deposites. The Opposition, who held had acquired a high reputation for the majority in the Senate, determined ability and independence in the dis to attack this bold measure there, and charge of his official duty. This was to pass a direct and disgraceful centhe first occasion on which any one of sure upon the Executive. It is unthe seventeen had come before the necessary here to advert to the extenpeople, since the memorable events sive preparations that were made to already detailed had occurred. The render this premeditated assault fatal contest was bitter beyond all former to the Administration,—the history of example, yet Mr. Wright beat his that stormy and eventful period being competitor by five hundred votes. In doubtless still fresh in the memory of December, 1827, he took his seat. most of our readers. This was the year before the second It was at this period that it became contest between Jackson and Adams. the duty of Mr. Wright, Mr. Forsyth The Republican party in New York and others, to repel the charges which bad rallied, and espoused the cause of were thus preferred with a united elothe former. At the election of 1828, quence and ferocity never surpassed in Mr. Wright was again a candidate for the annals of parliamentary debate, Congress, in what was called a double against the administration which they district; and notwithstanding that supported, and to defend the course there was much foul play and trea- which had been pursued towards the chery practised against him, he was Bank. This was the first occasion on successful. His certificate, however, which Mr. Wright had enjoyed an was refused him, and he was com- opportunity to act a distinguished part pelled to contend for his seat before the in the deliberations of the Senate, since House of Representatives, where a he had become a member of it. It is decision was made in his favor. almost superfluous to say that he
Early in February, 1829, whilst Mr. even exceeded the expectations of his Wright was employed in the discharge friends. of his duties ai Washington, he re There is in all the movements of ceived from the Legislature of New Mr. Wright an air of quietness and York the appointment of Comptroller, resolution, of modesty and mildness, whose services with regard to the which is generally found in a public financial affairs of that State, corre- speaker who feels an unshaken confi. spond precisely with those of the Sec. dence in his intellectual strength and retary of the Treasury with regard to in the justice of his cause. When he the financial concerns of the Union. rose, the Opposition became profoundly VII.NO, LVI.