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nad entire mastery. The sex which is said to love it best, and abuse it most, seemed as much or more carried away than the sterner one. Many who had entered the hall with light, gay thoughts, anticipating at most a pleasurable excitement, soon became deeply interested in the speaker and his subject; surrendered him their entire heart; and when the speech was over, and they left the hall, it was with sadder, perhaps, but surely with far more elevated and ennobling emotions.
"The exulting rush of feeling with which he went through the peroration threw a glow over his countenance, like inspiration. Eye, brow, each feature, every line of the face, seemed touched, as with a celestial fire.
"The swell and roll of his voice struck upon the ears of the spellbound audience, in deep and melodious cadence, as waves upon the shore of the 'far-resounding' sea. The Miltonic grandeur of his words was the fit expression of his thought, and raised his hearers up to his theme. His voice, exerted to its utmost power, penetrated every recess or corner of the Senate, — penetrated even the ante-rooms and stairways, as he pronounced in deepest tones of pathos these words of solemn significance: 'When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as, "What is all this worth ?" nor those other words of delusion and folly, "Liberty first and Union afterwards "; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every American heart, — Liberty Amd Union, Now And For Ever, One And InsepArable!'
"The speech was over, but the tones of the orator still lingered upon the ear, and the audience, unconscious of the close, retained their positions. The agitated countenance, the heaving breast, the suffused eye, attested the continued influence of the spell upon them. Hands that, in the excitement of the moment, had sought each other, still remained closed in an unconscious grasp. Eye still turned to eye, to receive and repay mutual sympathy; and everywhere around seemed forgetfulnesa of all but the orator's presence and words." — pp. 132- 148.
VOL. I. I
After having spoken about three hours on the 26th of January, Mr. Webster gave way for an adjournment. He resumed and concluded the speech on the following day. During most of the time that he was speaking, Mr. Hayne occupied himself in taking notes, and rose to reply at the conclusion of Mr. Webster's argument. An adjournment was proposed by one of Mr. Hayne's friends, but he wisely determined to terminate all that he intended to say on the subject upon the spot. He accordingly addressed the Senate for about half an hour upon the constitutional question which formed the most important portion of Mr. Webster's speech. These remarks of Mr. Hayne were, in the newspaper report, expanded into an elaborate argument, which occupies nineteen pages in the register of Congressional debates. When Mr. Hayne sat down, Mr. Webster, in turn, rose to make a brief rejoinder. "The gentleman," said he, "has in vain attempted to reconstruct his shattered argument"; and this formidable exordium was followed up by a brief restatement of his own argument, which, for condensation, precision, and force, may be referred to as a specimen of parliamentary logic never surpassed. The art of reasoning on moral questions can go no further.
Thus terminated the day's great work. In the evening the Senatorial champions met at a friend's house, and exchanged those courteous salutations which mitigate the asperity of political collision, and prevent the conflicts of party from embittering social life.
The sensation produced by the great debate on those who heard it was but the earnest of its effect on the country at large. The length of Mr. Webster's speech did not prevent its being copied into the leading newspapers throughout the country. It was the universal theme of conversation. Letters of acknowledgment and congratulation from the most distinguished individuals, from politicians retired from active life, from entire strangers, from persons not sympathizing with all Mr. Webster's views, from distant parts of the Union, were addressed to him by every mail. Immense editions of the speech in a pamphlet form were called for. A proposal was made to the friends of Mr. Hayne to unite in the publication of a joint edition of the two speeches for general circulation throughout the country, but this offer was declined. Mr. Webster's friends in Boston published a pamphlet edition of the speeches of Mr. Haync and Mr. Webster. It is no exaggeration to say, that throughout the country Mr. Webster's speech was regarded, not only as a brilliant and successful personal defence and a triumphant vindication of New England, but as a complete overthrow of the dangerous constitutional heresies which had menaced the stability of the Union.
In this light it was looked upon by a large number of the most distinguished citizens of New York, who took occasion to offer Mr. Webster the compliment of a public dinner the following winter. Circumstances delayed the execution of their purpose till some time had elapsed from the delivery of the speech, but the recollection of it was vivid, and it was referred to by Chancellor Kent, the president of the day, as the service especially demanding the grateful recognition of the country. After alluding to the debate on Foot's resolution and to the character of Mr. Webster's speech, the venerable Chancellor added: —
"The consequences of that discussion have been extremely beneficial. It turned the attention of the public to the great doctrines of national rights and national union. Constitutional law ceased to remain wrapped up in the breasts, and taught only by the responses, of the living oracles of the law. Socrates was said to have drawn down philosophy from the skies, and scattered it among the schools. It may with equal truth be said that constitutional law, by means of those senatorial discussions and the master genius that guided them, was rescued from the archives of our tribunals and the libraries of our lawyers, and placed under the eye and submitted to the judgment of the American people. Their verdict is with us, and from it there lies no appeal." *
With respect to Mr. Foot's resolution it may be observed, that it continued before the Senate a long time, a standing subject of discussion. One half at least of the members of the Senate took part in the debate, which daily assumed a wider range and wandered farther from the starting-point. Many speeches were made which, under other circumstances, would have attracted notice, but the interest of the controversy expired with the great effort of the 26th and 27th of January. At length, on the 21st of May, a motion for indefinite postpone
* Chancellor Kent's remarks are given entire in the introduction to Mr. Webster's Speech at the New York Dinner, Vol. I. p. 194.
ment, submitted by Mr. Webster at the close of his first speech, prevailed, and thus the whole discussion ended.
It may be worthy of remark, that Mr. Webster's speech was taken in short-hand by Mr. Gales, the veteran editor of the National Intelligencer, a stenographer of great experience and skill. It was written out in common hand by a member of his family, and sent to Mr. Webster for correction. It remained in his hands for that purpose a part of one day, and then went to the press.
A young and gifted American artist,* whose talents had been largely put in requisition by King Louis Philippe to adorn the walls of Versailles, conceived a few years ago the happy idea of a grand historical picture of this debate. On a canvas of the largest size he has nobly delineated the person of the principal individual in the act of replying to Mr. Hayne, with those of his colleagues in the Senate. The passages and galleries of the Senate-Chamber are filled with attentive listeners of both sexes. Above a hundred accurate studies from life give authenticity to a work in which posterity will find the sensible presentment of this great intellectual effort.
* Mr. Geo. P. A. Healey.
General Character of President Jackson's Administrations. — Speedy Discord among the Parties which had united for his Elevation. — Mr. Webster's Relations to the Administration. —, Veto of the Bank. — Rise and Progress of Nullification in South Carolina. — The Force Bill, and the Reliance of General Jackson's Administration on Mr. Webster's Aid. — His Speech in Defence of the Bill, and in Opposition to Mr. Calhoun's Resolutions. — Mr. Madison's Letter on Secession. — The Removal of the Deposits. — Motives for that Measure. — The Resolution of the Senate disapproving it. — The President's Protest. — Mr. Webster's Speech on the Subject of the Protest. — Opinions of Chancellor Kent and Mr. Tazewell. — The Expanding Resolution. — Mr. Webster's Protest against it. — Mr. Van Buren's Election. — The Financial Crisis and the Extra Session of Congress.— The Government Plan of Finance supported by Mr. Calhotm and opposed by Mr. Webster. — Personalities.— Mr. Webster's Visit to Europe and distinguished Reception. — The Presidential Canvass of 1840. — Election of General Harrison.
It would require a volume of ample dimensions to relate the history of Mr. Webster's Senatorial career from this time till the accession of General Harrison to the Presidency, in 1841. In this interval the government was administered for two successive terms by General Jackson, and for a single term by Mr. Van Buren. It was a period filled with incidents of great importance in various departments of the government, often of a startling character at the time, and not less frequently exerting a permanent influence on the condition of the country. It may be stated as the general characteristic of the political tendencies of this period, that there was a decided weakening of respect for constitutional restraint. Vague ideas of executive discretion prevailed on the one hand in the interpretation of the Constitution, and of popular sovereignty on the other, as represented by a President elevated to office by overwhelming majorities of the people. The expulsion of the Indian tribes from the Southern States, in violation of the faith of treaties and in open disregard of the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States as to their obligation; the claim of a right on the part of a State to nullify an act of the general government; the violation of the charter of the bank, and the Presidential veto of the act of Congress rechartering it; the deposit of the public money in the selected State banks with a view to its safe keeping and for the greater encouragement of trade by the