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New England, and Mr. Webster as her most distinguished representative, to public odium. In his second speech, Mr. Hayne reaffirmed and urged those constitutional opinions which are usually known as the doctrines of Nullification; that is to say, the assumed right of a State, when she deems herself oppressed by an unconstitutional act of Congress, to declare by State ordinance the act of Congress null and void, and discharge the citizens of the State from the duty of obedience.

Such being the character of Mr. Hayne's speech, Mr. Webster had three objects to accomplish in his answer. The first was to repel the personalities toward himself, which formed one of the most prominent features of Mr. Hayne's speech. This object was accomplished by a few retaliatory strokes, in which the severest sarcasm was so mingled with unaffected good humor and manly expostulation, as to carry captive the sympathy of the audience. The vindication of the Eastern States generally, and of Massachusetts in particular, was the second object, and was pursued in a still higher strain. When it was finished, no one probably regretted more keenly than the accomplished antagonist the easy credence which he had lent to the purveyors of forgotten scandal, some of whom were present, and felt grateful for their obscurity.

The third and far the more important object with Mr. Webster was the constitutional argument, in which he asserted the character of our political system as a government established by the people of the United States, in contradistinction to a compact between the separate States; and exposed the fallacy of attempting to turn the natural right of revolution against the government into a right reserved under the Constitution to overturn the government itself.

Several chapters of the interesting work of Mr. March, already referred to,* are devoted to the subject of this debate; and we have thought that we could in no way convey to the reader so just and distinct an impression of the effect of Mr. Webster's speech at the time of its delivery, as by borrowing largely from his animated pages.

"It was on Tuesday, January the 26th, 1830,— a day to be hereafter for ever memorable in Senatorial annals, — that the Senate resumed the

* Reminiscences of Congress.

consideration of Foot's resolution. There never was before, in the city, an occasion of so much excitement. To witness this great intellectual contest, multitudes of strangers had for two or three days previous been rushing into the city, and the hotels overflowed. As early as 9 o'clock of this morning, crowds poured into the Capitol, in hot haste; at 12 o'clock, the hour of meeting, the Senate-chamber — its galleries, floor, and even lobbies — was filled to its utmost capacity. The very stairways were dark with men, who clung to one another, like bees in a swarm.

"The House of Representatives was early deserted. An adjournment would have hardly made it emptier. The Speaker, it is true, retained his chair, but no business of moment was, or could be, attended to. Members all rushed in to hear Mr. Webster, and no call of the House or other parliamentary proceedings could compel them back. The floor of the Senate was so densely crowded, that persons once in could not get out, nor change their position ; in the rear of the Vice-Presidential chair, the crowd was particularly intense. Dixon H. Lewis, then a Representative from Alabama, became wedged in here. From his enormous size, it was impossible for him to move without displacing a vast portion of the multitude. Unfortunately, too, for him, he was jammed in directly behind the chair of the Vice-President, where he could not see, and hardly hear, the speaker. By slow and laborious effort, pausing occasionally to breathe, he gained one of the windows, which, constructed of painted glass, flank the chair of the Vice-President on either side. Here he paused, unable to make more headway. But determined to see Mr. Webster as he spoke, with his knife he made a large hole in one of the panes of the glass; which is still visible as he made it. Many were so placed as not to be able to see the speaker at all.

"The courtesy of Senators accorded to the fairer sex room on the floor, — the most gallant of them, their own seats. The gay bonnets and brilliant dresses threw a varied and picturesque beauty over the scene, softening and embellishing it.

"Seldom, if ever, has speaker in this or any other country had more powerful incentives to exertion; a subject, the determination of which involved the most important interests, and even duration, of the republic; competitors, unequalled in reputation, ability, or position; a name to make still more glorious, or lose for ever; and an audience, comprising not only persons of this country most eminent in intellectual greatness, but representatives of other nations, where the art of eloquence had flourished for ages. All the soldier seeks in opportunity was here.

"Mr. Webster perceived, and felt equal to, the destinies of the moment. The very greatness of the hazard exhilarated him. His spirits rose with the occasion. He awaited the time of onset with a stern and impatient


joy. He felt like the war-horse of the Scriptures, who 'paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength : who goeth on to meet the armed men, — who saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha! and who smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains and the shouting.'

"A confidence in his own resources, springing from no vain estimate of his power, but the legitimate offspring of previous severe mental discipline, sustained and excited him. He had gauged his opponents, his subject, and himself.

"He was, too, at this period, in the very prime of manhood. He had reached middle age, — an era in the life of man when the faculties, physical or intellectual, may be supposed to attain their fullest organization and most perfect development. Whatever there was in him of intellectual energy and vitality, the occasion, his full life, and high ambition might well bring forth.

"He never rose on an ordinary occasion to address an ordinary audience more self-possessed. There was no tremulousness in his voice nor manner; nothing hurried, nothing simulated. The calmness of superior strength was visible everywhere; in countenance, voice, and bearing. A' deep-seated conviction of the extraordinary character of the emergency, and of his ability to control it, seemed to possess him wholly. If an observer, more than ordinarily keen-sighted, detected at times something like exultation in his eye, he presumed it sprang from the excitement of the moment, and the anticipation of victory.

"The anxiety to hear the speech was so intense, irrepressible, and universal, that no sooner had the Vice-President assumed the chair, than a motion was made, and unanimously carried, to postpone the ordinary preliminaries of Senatorial action, and to take up immediately the consideration of the resolution.

"Mr. Webster rose and addressed the Senate. His exordium is known by heart everywhere: "Mr. President, when the mariner has been tossed, for many days, in thick weather, and on an unknown sea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun, to take his latitude, and ascertain how far the elements have driven him from his true course. Let us imitate this prudence, and, before, we float farther on the waves of this debate, refer to the point from which we departed, that we may at least be able to conjecture where we now are. I ask for the reading of the resolution before the Senate.'

"There wanted no more to enchain the attention. There was a spontaneous, though silent, expression of eager approbation, as the orator concluded these opening remarks. And while the clerk read the resolution, many attempted the impossibility of getting nearer the speaker. Every head was inclined closer towards him, every ear turned in the direction of his voice, and that deep, sudden, mysterious silence followed, which always attends fulness of emotion. From the sea of upturned faces before him, the orator beheld his thoughts reflected as from a mirror. The varying countenance, the suffused eye, the earnest srnile, the everattentive look, assured him of his audience's entire sympathy. If among his hearers there were those who affected at first an indifference to his glowing thoughts and fervent periods, the difficult mask was soon laid aside, and profound, undisguised, devoted attention followed. In the earlier part of his speech, one of his principal opponents seemed deeply engrossed in the careful perusal of a newspaper he held before his face; but this, on nearer approach, proved to be upside down. In truth, all, sooner or later, voluntarily, or in spite of themselves, were wholly carried away by the eloquence of the orator.

"Those who had doubted Mr. Webster's ability to cope with and overcome his opponents were fully satisfied of their error before he had proceeded far in his speech. Their fears soon took another direction. When they heard his sentences of powerful thought, towering in accumulative grandeur, one above the other, as if the orator strove, Titanlike, to reach the very heavens themselves, they were giddy with an apprehension that he would break down in his flight. They dared not believe that genius, learning, and intellectual endowment however uncommon, that was simply mortal, could sustain itself long in a career seemingly so perilous. They fearejl an Icarian fall.

"What New England heart was there but throbbed with vehement, tumultuous, irrepressible emotion, as he dwelt upon New England sufferings, New England struggles, and New England triumphs during the war of the Revolution? There was scarcely a dry eye in the Senate; all hearts were overcome; grave judges and men grown old in dignified life turned aside their heads, to conceal the evidences of their emotion.

"In one corner of the gallery was clustered a group of Massachusetts men. They had hung from the first moment upon the words of the speaker, with feelings variously but always warmly excited, deepening in intensity as he proceeded. At first, while the orator was going through his exordium, they held their breath and hid their faces, mindful of the savage attack upon him and New England, and the fearful odds against him, her champion; — as he went deeper into his speech, they felt easier; when he turned Hayne's flank on Banquo's ghost, they breathed freer and deeper. But now, as he alluded to Massachusetts, their feelings were strained to the highest tension; and when the orator, concluding his encomium of the land of their birth, turned, intentionally or otherwise, his burning eye full upon them, they shed tears like girls!

"No one who was not present can understand the excitement of the scene. No one who was, can give an adequate description of it. No word-painting can convey the deep, intense enthusiasm, the reverential attention, of that vast assembly, nor limner transfer to canvas their earnest, eager, awe-struck countenances. Though language were as subtile and flexible as thought, it still would be impossible to represent the full idea of the scene. There is something intangible in an emotion, which cannot be transferred. The nicer shades of feeling elude pursuit. Every description, therefore, of the occasion, seems to the narrator himself most tame, spiritless, unjust.

"Much of the instantaneous effect of the speech arose, of course, from the orator's delivery, — the tones of his voice, his countenance, and manner. These die mostly with the occasion that calls them forth; the impression is lost in the attempt at transmission from one mind to another. They can only be described in general terms. 'Of the effectiveness of Mr. Webster's manner in many parts,' says Mr. Everett,' it would be in vain to attempt to give any one not present the faintest idea. It has been my fortune to hear some of the ablest speeches of the greatest living orators on both sides of the water, but I must confess I never heard any thing which so completely realized my conception of what Demosthenes was when he delivered the Oration for the Crown.'

"The variety of incident during the speech, and the rapid fluctuation of passions, kept the audience in continual expectation and ceaseless agitation. There was no chord of the heart the orator did not strike, as with a master-hand. The speech was a complete drama of comic and pathetic scenes; one varied excitement; laughter and tears gaining alternate victory.

"A great portion of the speech is strictly argumentative; an exposition of constitutional law. But grave as such portion necessarily is, severely logical, abounding in no fancy or episode, it engrossed throughout the undivided attention of every intelligent hearer. Abstractions, under the glowing genius of the orator, acquired a beauty, a vitality, a power to thrill the blood and enkindle the affections, awakening into earnest activity many a dormant faculty. His ponderous syllables had an energy, a vehemence of meaning in them, that fascinated, while they startled. His thoughts in their statuesque beauty merely would have gained_ all critical judgment; but he realized the antique fable, and warmed the marble into life. There was a sense of power in his language, — of power withheld and suggestive of still greater power, — that subdued, as by a spell of mystery, the hearts of all. For power, whether intellectual or physical, produces in its earnest development a feeling closely allied to awe. It was never more felt than on this occasion. It

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