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the 18th, when Mr. Benton of Missouri spoke at length against it. On Tuesday, the 19th, Mr. Holmes of Maine replied at no great length to Mr. Benton. Other members took some part in the debate, and then Mr. Hayne of South Carolina commenced a speech, which occupied the rest of the day. Mr. Hayne was one of the younger members of the Senate. He came forward in his native State in 1814, when hardly of age, with great éclat, filled in rapid succession responsible offices, and came to the Senate of the United States in 1823, with a reputation already brilliant, and rapidly increasing. He was active and diligent in business, fluent, graceful, and persuasive as a debater; of a sanguine and self-relying temper; shrinking from no antagonist, and disposed to take the part of a champion.

Mr. Webster, up to this time, had not participated in the debate, which had in fact been rather a pointless affair, and was dragging its slow length through the Senate, no one knew exactly to what purpose. It had as yet assumed no character in which it invited or required his attention. He was much engaged at the time in the Supreme Court of the United States. The important case of John Jacob Astor and the State of New York, in which he was of counsel, was to come on for argument on the 20th of January; and on that day the argument of the case was in fact commenced. Leaving the court-room when

* the court adjourned on Tuesday, the 19th, Mr. Webster came into the Senate in season to hear the greater part of Mr. Hayne's speech; and it was suggested to him by several friends, and among others by Mr. Bell of New Hampshire, Mr. Chambers of Maryland, and his colleague, Mr. Silsbee, that an immediate answer to Mr. Hayne was due from him. The line of discussion pursued by the Senator from South Carolina was such as to require, if not to provoke, an immediate answer from the North. Mr. Webster accordingly rose when Mr. Hayne took his seat, but gave way to a motion for adjournment from Mr. Benton. These circumstances will sufficiently show how entirely without premeditation, and with what preoccupation by other trains of thought, Mr. Webster was led into this great intellectual conflict.

He appeared in the Senate the next morning, Wednesday, • This case is known as that of Carver's Lessees against John Jacob Astor, and is reported in 4 Peters, 1.


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January 20th, and Mr. Foot's resolution, being called up, was modified, on the suggestion of Messrs. Sprague of Maine and Woodbury of New Hampshire, by adding the following clause:

“Or whether it be expedient to adopt measures to hasten the sales and extend more rapidly the surveys of the public lands.”

Mr. Webster immediately proceeded with the debate. No elaborate preparation, of course, could have been made by him, as the speech of Mr. Hayne, to which his reply was mainly directed, was delivered the day before. He vindicated the gove ernment, under its successive administrations, from the general charge of having managed the public lands in a spirit of hostility to the Western States. He particularly defended New Eng. land against the accusation of hostility to the West. A passage in this part of his speech, contrasting Ohio as she was in 1794 with the Ohio of 1830, will compare advantageously with any thing in these volumes. In speaking of the settlement of the West, Mr. Webster introduced with just commendation the honored name of Nathan Dane, as the author of the Ordinance of 1787, for the organization and government of the territory northwest of the Ohio. He maintained that every measure of legislation beneficial to the West had been carried in Congress by the aid of New England votes, and he closed by an allusion to his own course as uniformly friendly to that part of the Union. Mr. Benton followed Mr. Webster, and commenced a speech in reply.

The next day, Thursday, the 21st, the subject again came up, and it was now evident that the debate had put on a new character. Its real interest and importance were felt to be commencing. Mr. Chambers expressed the hope that the Senate would consent to postpone the further consideration of the resolution till the next Monday, as Mr. Webster, who had engaged in the discussion and wished to be present when it should be resumed, had pressing engagements out of the house, and could not conveniently give his attendance in the Senate before Monday.* Mr. Hayne said " he saw the gentleman from Massachusetts in his seat, and presumed he could make an arrangement which would enable him to be present here, during the

* Mr. Chambers referred to the case in court just mentioned, in which Mr. Webster was engaged, and in which the argument had already begun.

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discussion to-day. He was unwilling that this subject should be postponed before he had an opportunity of replying to some of the observations which had fallen from that gentleman yesterday. He would not deny that some things had fallen from him which rankled * here (touching his breast), from which he would desire at once to relieve himself. The gentleman had discharged his fire in the presence of the Senate. He hoped he would now afford him an opportunity of returning the shot."

The manner in which this was said was not such as to soften the harshness of the sentiment. It will be difficult, in reverting to Mr. Webster's speech, to find either in its substance or spirit any adequate grounds for the feeling manifested by Mr. Hayne. Nor would it probably be easy in the history of Congress to find another case in which a similar act of accommodation in the way of postponing a subject has been refused, at least on such a ground. Mr. Webster, in reply to Mr. Hayne's remark, that he wished without delay to return his shot, said, “Let the discussion proceed; I am ready now to receive the gentleman's fire.”

Mr. Benton then addressed the Senate for about an hour, in conclusion of the speech which he had commenced the day before. At the close of Mr. Benton's argument, Mr. Bell of New Hampshire moved that the further consideration of the subject should be postponed till Monday, but the motion was negatived. Mr. Hayne then took the floor, and spoke for about an hour in reply to Mr. Webster's remarks of the preceding day. Before he had concluded his argument, the Senate adjourned till Monday. On that day, January the 25th, he spoke for two hours and a half, and completed his speech. Mr. Webster immediately rose to reply, but the day was far advanced, and he yielded to a motion for adjournment.

The second speech of Mr. Hayne, to which Mr. Webster was now called upon to reply, was still more strongly characterized than the first with severity, not to say bitterness, towards the Eastern States. The tone toward Mr. Webster personally was not courteous. It bordered on the offensive. It was difficult not to find in both of the speeches of the Senator from South Carolina the indication of a preconceived purpose to hold up

Mr. Hayne subsequently disclaimed having used this word.

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 gener. ally, 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

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• Reminiscences of Congress.

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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 di. rectly 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

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