When Elections Were Genteel

His Accidency


Written for the Choir of the National Clay Club.

Air — “Away with Melancholy,

Away with Traitor Tyler ;
Down with the Veto King:
Our party’s base reviler ;
Whilst the people cheerily sing—

Though for years of gloomy sorrow,
We’ve cursed that traitor’s crime;
Yet we wait a glorious morrow,
And sternly “bide our time.”

Now as each hour is falling,
Thorns strew the traitor’s path;
And to his ears appalling,
Sounds the People’s long pent wrath.

But as from the horizon,
Now breaks our triumph’s day,
Behold our Frelinghuysen,
And glorious Harry Clay.

Then away with grief and sorrow.
Ye patriots of our land;
Shout for the coming morrow,
And Chieftains of our band.

When the trumpet breaks your slumbers,
For the battle-day prepare;
Rush on in countless numbers,
Let none be wanting there.

The National Clay Club seemed to like classical music.  This particular air is from The Magic Flute.

The Traitor John Tyler was a Whig, William Henry “Old Tippecanoe” Harrison’s vice president in 1840.  When Harrison died a month after taking office,  Tyler … started vetoing Whig bills, and moved to annex Texas.   That made him a traitor to the Whigs, and they weren’t afraid to let everyone know it.  (Tyler was the first US president to have a veto overridden.) For his part, Tyler considered the Whig platform to be unconstitutional.

The Whigs called Tyler “His Accidency” (because no one thought that he’d actually become president).

Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen were the Whig candidates in 1844.  Tyler had been kicked out of the Whig party, the Democrats didn’t want him, so he returned to civilian life.

Later, he was elected to the Confederate congress and so became a traitor in truth.

Tomorrow: Salt River!

2 thoughts on “When Elections Were Genteel

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