No Curs’d Abstractions

General Jackson slaying the many headed monster
The Bank War


TUNE. — Roy’s wife of Aldivalloch,

Harry Clay of old Kentucky,
Harry Clay of old Kentucky,
There’s ne’er a man in all the land.
Like Harry Clay of Old Kentucky,

When foreign foes our rights denied,
Whose voice aroused our martial thunder?
And when we’d lowered old England’s pride.
Who still’d the storm that swept her under?
‘Twas Harry Clay of Old Kentucky, &c.

When dread disunion reared its head.
And civil broils our land distracted.
At his approach the Hydra fled,
Abstraction was itself abstracted.
By Harry Clay of Old Kentucky, &c.

Who all his fond desires represt,
To save his country from pollution?
When friends were doubting who could best
Restore our bleeding constitution,
‘Twas Harry Clay of Old Kentucky, &c,

The industrious workman’s constant friend.
He would exalt his low condition,
Protect his labour and defend
Him ‘gainst all foreign competition.
Harry Clay of Old Kentucky, &c.

True principles he will defend,
Despite of all who dare oppose them.
No curs’d abstractions fill his head,
No cob-web conscience in his bosom,
Harry Clay of old Kentucky, &c.

Though treason’s blight pervades the land.
And tyrant veto rules the hour
“He’s but a snap, a flash in the pan,
So pick your flints and try your powder,”
For Harry Clay of old Kentucky,
Harry Clay of old Kentucky,
There’s ne’er a man in all the land,
Can match our Clay of old Kentucky.


The thing about foreign foes — they’re talking about the origin of War of 1812 when Speaker of the House Henry Clay (of old Kentucky) was the leader of the “War Hawks” in congress.  He wanted a war, and he got one.  The thing about lowering old England’s pride kind of ignores the capture of Washington D.C. and the burning of the White House.  But hey, details.

The dread disunion and the hydra very likely refer to the Bank War of the 1830s — the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States. Clay favored a central bank. The Jacksonians didn’t.  The Whig party itself rose out of the National Republican party on the issue.

The protection of the labouring man against foreign competition refers to the Whigs’ support for protective tariffs.

“Tyrant veto” is most likely president John Tyler, who vetoed Whig legislation based on his opinion that the Whig platform was unconstitutional (even though Tyler had been elected as a  Whig.

Tomorrow, a bit of filler!

3 thoughts on “No Curs’d Abstractions

  1. It’s easy to recognize Andy Jackson in the cartoons of the day: He wears a frock coat, as opposed to the tailcoats that the other gentlemen wear. He has a tall-crowned light-colored top hat with a wide black hatband. And he carries a walking stick which he is often using as an offensive weapon. He has a shock of white hair, and may be wearing spectacles.

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