Abbildungen der Seite

people. Their verdict is with us, and from it their lies no appeal.

The speech of Mr. Webster, which we have already ventured to name as one of the very happiest of his efforts, is conceived in the spirit of the occasion. It is the outpouring of a full heart, the breathing of a pure patriotism, kindling with the sentiment of the worth of the Union, as illustrated in the history, the growth, and the prosperity, of the great metropolis in which he spoke, and in the lives and services of the patriot statesmen, who, in all the States, contributed to establish the Independence and frame the Constitution of the United States. What citizen of New York but must have glowed with honest pride, as Mr. Webster unrolled, on this occasion, the long record of her illustrious men! What lover of the Union but must have caught new views of its inestimable value, as its connection with the prosperity, the industry, and the whole social system of the country was pointed out with the eloquence of a master! Not less significant, appropriate, and instructive, is the delineation of the character of Washington, delivered on the 22d of February, 1832, before a company assembled to commemorate the birthday of the father of his country. The character of Washington is there lifted up from common-places; its strong points cleared away from the mere generalities of eulogy; the distinctive features which marked him pointed out; and that beau ideal of the perfect patriot, which exists under his name, in every American imagination, shown to have its original, in the life and conduct of our Washington.

It is not our province to enter into any criticism on the style of Mr. Webster's addresses. He is himself, in several instances, in no degree responsible for their style, in the common acceptation of the term. Not one of the speeches contained in this volume is of a character to admit of being written beforehand. They are taken by the publishers as found in the reports of the day, in the contemporaneous newspaper and pamphlet form. In some cases, the publishers presume, of course, that the speeches, as printed, were written out by Mr. Webster, from his own brief notes and the minutes of the stenographer; in others, it is probable that the speech written out by the reporter may have passed under Mr. Webster's revision; but not seldom, as the publishers have reason to know, they have been obliged to content themselves with

the contemporaneous newspaper report, without the advantage of the slightest revision. There is, however, one feature, not so much of style as of manner, to which the publishers feel warranted in adverting ; it is the dignified absence of personality in the speeches of Mr. Webster. His career has fallen on times of warm party collision; he has himself shared the inevitable fate of eminent talent, in being the object of hostility and attack. When called upon, in self-defence, to wield the weapons of sarcasm, he has shown that he can do it with terrific effect; but the entire series of his speeches does not present an instance of a voluntary personality, We do not commend this, however, as a great merit on the part of Mr. Webster, so much as we would notice the bad taste and the mistaken policy of the opposite course. It requires power to bend the bow, and skill to point the shaft, but the meanest malice can dip it in poison. And, when the passions of the day are passed, personal abuse is forgotten, or remembered only to the discredit of those who deal in it; but argument never loses its force; eloquence never ceases to charm; and truth is eternal.

We close these introductory remarks, by commending the volumes of the Speeches of Mr. Webster to the affections of the American people, and particularly of the Young Men of the country, for their strong practical and patriotic tendency. They deal not in metaphysical abstractions, nor in popular generalities; they speak to the common sense, to the sound judgment, the patriotic feeling, of all good citizens. The future incidents of his public course are in the disposal of Providence, to be decided by second causes, which no one can foresee. But of his station before the American people; of the relation in which he has placed himself to the Constitution; of his connection with the truths and the principles on which the Union rests,—there is no question ; and over these, time, and events, and men, have no control. It may please the people to honor talents such as Heaven has intrusted to his stewardship, to reward services such as he has performed,-as the people only can honor and reward them; or others may attain the high honors of that Constitution which he has so nobly vindicated, and done so much to uphold. The alternative is certainly no mean one, in the common estimation formed of human things; but to no man in the United States can it be personally so indiffer

[blocks in formation]

ent as to a man like Mr. Webster. The service has been rendered; the good has been performed; the tribute of gratitude has flowed from millions of patriotic hearts; and the time will never come when it will be forgotten, either in the United States, or wheresoever, in the whole world and in all time, the English language shall be understood, and the history of this generation shall be read. The party triumphs of the day may be, and sometimes are, decided by influences with which worth and merit are of little account; but thanks to the press, the great suffrage of an approving age cannot be diverted from its rightful object.

Let it not be thought, however, by this reflection, that we are unobservant spectators of the signs of the times. We rejoice in the strong and encouraging indications, that the contemporaries of Mr. Webster are gratefully sensible of his merits, and in the earnest and extensive conviction, which is daily manifesting itself, of the expediency of calling his great powers of usefulness into their appropriate sphere of activity. Proofs are rapidly multiplying, that the people are disposed to do their duty to themselves and the great interests of the country ; that they are inclined to take away from mere politicians the decision of the question,-To whom shall the momentous trust of the chief administration of the Government be confided? Let this become the general feeling of the country, and we regard it as the inevitable result, that “the HIGHEST HONORS OF THE CONSTITUTION WILL BE BESTOWED ON ITS ABLEST DEFENDER.”

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

REMARKS, on different Occasions, on the Removal of the Deposits, and on

the Subject of a National Bank, delivered in the Senate of the United States, January and February, 1834.................

... 286

REPORT on the Removal of the Deposits, made by Mr. Webster, from the

Committee on Finance of the Senate of the United States, on the Fifth of February, 1834........

............ 366

REMARKS in the Senate of the United States, on the Affairs of the General Post-Office, June 27, 1834........

............. 393

REMARKS in the Senate of the United States, in Relation to Steam-Boats, December 19, 1833............................

................ 397 SPEECH delivered at a Public Dinner in Salem, Mass., August 7, 1834.... 401

Speech at Concord, New Hampshire, September 30, 1834............... 412

ARGUMENT in the Goodridge Case.

............. 423

SPEECH in the Senate of the United States, January 12, 1835, on the Bill - granting Indemnity to Citizens of the United States for French Spo

liations on American Commerce prior to 1800........

... 438

SPEECH on the Appointing and Removing Power, delivered in the Senate

of the United States, on the 16th of February, 1835, on the Passage of the Bill entitled “ An Act to repeal the first and second Sections of the Act to limit the Term of Service of certain Officers therein named."....................

........... 461

REMARKS in the Senate of the United States, February 26, 1835, on the

Bill to regulate the Deposits of the Public Money... .......... 479

« ZurückWeiter »