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PAGE 155, 24. This great hall was Westminster Hall, built by William Rufus. It still stands, and forms part of the new Houses of Parliament. The Court of the King's Bench, before which Erskine was speaking, sat under the same roof, and in a chamber directly adjoining it. See also p. 178.
PAGE 156, 27. brought home to -intrusted to, undertaken by.
PAGE 159, 22. government, in the parliamentary sense explained in the next sentence.
27. I wish he would. To admit that the Tory party then in power was a faction would be to give up the political battle. 34. my friends
- Burke, Fox, and the Whigs now in opposition.
PAGE 160, 18. A committee which was appointed in 1781 to inquire into East Indian affairs, and which reported in 1782. The charges made by it are not to be confounded with the Articles of Impeachment presented by the House. See below, p. 161, 1. 3.
PAGE 162, 20–27. A striking proof of the dangers at that time attending free speech is found in the extreme pains Erskine thinks it necessary to take in order to guard what he says from the charge of interfering with, or anticipating, the regular process of judicial investigation - the very same charge under which his client was suffering.
PAGE 163, 11. Verres. Consult the Classical Dictionary, s.y.
PAGE 166, 31. Gothic, a term formerly used with utmost looseness of signification, to designate confusedly anything Teutonic, mediæval, or barbaric. Such was its meaning as at first applied to a style of architecture. In no other sense were our ancestors Gothic.
PAGE 170, 6. amenable to no law, with reference to the privileges of members of Parliament, and particularly to their exemption from action or indictment for any freedom of speech they may use.
PAGE 170, 28 ff. The keen edge which lurks under these innocent-looking remarks will be appreciated when we recall the notorious fact that Pitt carried the very same majority with him on both sides of the impeachment question — first against, and then for it. The interval of ten days between the two votes sufficed for the Minister's change of front; but the rank and file were so well trained that, without the least warning of what was intended, they executed their manæuvre in perfect form, at the word of command given on the very evening the vote was taken.
PAGE 171, 12. assumed exercised, brought into requisition.
21. the saving judgment- the judgment which forbears to punish as crimes mere errors of the understanding.
Page 172, 8. extraordinary, since the trial is based upon “ information ” only, and not upon regular indictment by a grand jury, as explained below.
30. the law, i.e., the common law, working through its ordinary instruments.
Page 174, 24. commentaries, where we should say comments. There is not a little adroitness in the suggestion which follows, that the Attorney-General is, after all, only discharging perfunctorily his official duty.
PAGE 180, 1. The position of the word only in a sentence is a matter which used to be determined almost wholly by considerations of euphony and rhythm. The claims of clearness and of precision are now more generally recognized, and we are apt to insist that the word be placed next to that which it qualifies. The difference is sharply brought out in this particular case. Odd as the sentence now sounds, it would be difficult, unless we recast the whole, to find another place for only without destroying either sense or rhythm, or both.
DANIEL WEBSTER, statesman and orator, was born in Salisbury, N. H., Jan. 18, 1782. His father, a sturdy frontiersman, soldier, farmer, member of the legislature, and county judge, was, after the manner of his kind, always struggling with poverty, and handicapped with a sense of the deficiencies of his early education. He purposed that Daniel, his youngest son, a delicate lad and little fitted for the heavy tasks of a farmer's life, should not be so handicapped. Through struggles and self-denial by no means rare in such cases, a way was made to send him to college. After an exceedingly brief and fragmentary preparation, he entered Dartmouth College in 1797, and was graduated in 1801, at the age of nineteen. He turned at once to the study of law, supporting himself meanwhile, and assisting his elder brother in college, by copying, teaching, and other miscellaneous labors. Admitted to the bar in 1805, his remarkable abilities soon gained him recognition, and the field of political life opened before him. In 1813 he took his seat in Congress. From this time on his life is writ so large on the pages of his country's history as to need little further notice here. The greatest service he rendered his country was doubtless as champion of the national idea, and the speech before us is probably his most memorable utterance upon that subject. Honors and fame came thick upon him
- all save the honor he had come to covet most, the Presidency. After thirty-nine years of public life he died Oct. 24, 1852.
SPEECH IN REPLY TO HAYNE.
The circumstances which called forth this speech may be thus summarized : For a long time before 1830 there had been a grave divergence of conviction among American statesmen as to the real nature of the union between the various States, and as to the limitations thereby imposed upon the powers of the separate States, as well as the limitations exercised by them upon the powers of the general government. One side held that the United States was one nation; that the general government was charged with the conduct of all matters which concern the nation as a whole; that laws made by the representatives of all in the general government are binding upon all alike; and that such laws may be peacefully set aside in one of two ways only, either by having them declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, or by having them repealed by the power which made them. The other side held the several States to be sovereign powers, very much as if they were separate nations, united, it is true, for certain common purposes, and delegating certain limited powers to a common organization; but reserving each to itself alone the decision as to whether measures enacted by the general government should be operative within its territory. This was the doctrine of StateRights; and its application in nullifying laws passed by Congress was at this time much talked about, and was soon to be tried by South Carolina with this very Robert Y. Hayne as Governor. These views were not confined to separate sections of country; but the National idea found its strongest support in New England, while the State Rights idea — with its corollary, nullification
was warmly espoused in the South.
At the end of December, 1829, Mr. Foote of Connecticut introduced into the Senate the innocent resolution, printed on page 185 of this volume, calling for an inquiry into the sales and surveys of the public lands. Nothing special was elicited by the fitful discussion which ensued until, on January 19, Mr. Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina made a speech, “accusing the New England States of a selfish design to retard the growth of the Western States — a design originating the tariff;” and appealing to a natural sympathy, which, as he affirmed, existed between the Western and the Southern States, and which should unite them against the policy and the assumption of New England. Engaged as Mr. Webster was at this time in the Supreme Court, he had not followed the discussion, and had no thought of taking part in it at all until by chance he heard this speech of Mr. Hayne. Its tone and spirit were so unusual that he felt it must be answered. He rose to speak as soon as Mr. Hayne sat down, but an adjournment of the Senate postponed his reply. Next day he delivered his first speech in this debate, defending New England against the charges brought against her, and upholding the doctrine of a national union and a national policy, as opposed to the divisive tendencies and sectional jealousies to which appeal had been made. The discussion took on at once a range and an importance far transcending the scope of the simple resolution which started it. The champions of State-Rights and Nullification, together with those who insisted that slavery should be provided for in the settlement of new territories, rallied to the charge. “ There seemed to be,” said an observer, “a preconcerted action on the part of Southern , members to break down the Northern men, and to destroy their influence by a premeditated assault.” John C. Calhoun, the foremost of them all, was presiding officer of the Senate, and could take no part in the debate; but his place in the lists was made good by Thomas H. Benton and Robert Y. Hayne. The speech of the latter, in particular, by its eloquence and acuteness, as well as by the relentlessness of its personal attack, produced a profound impression. By many persons it was felt to be unanswerable.At its close the Senate adjourned.
This second speech of Mr. Hayne was the one to which Mr. Webster was next morning to reply. The previous strokes in this battle-royal had roused public interest to the highest pitch. For two or three days strangers had been pouring into Washington to witness the outcome. When the Senate met, all the usual restrictions had proved of no avail against the mighty throng that gathered there. “ Its chamber —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 ordinary ceremonial of opening the session of the Senate was impatiently set aside. In the presence of this vast and anxious audience, without the least sign of tremor or perturbation, Mr. Webster rose and began his second speech upon the resolution of Mr. Foote.