Слике страница
PDF
ePub

TEXTUAL NOTES. PAGE 186, 15. elsewhere — in the Supreme Court, where Mr. Webster had a very important suit pending.

PAGE 188, 9. The friend was the famous Thomas H. Benton, who had twice taken an important part in the debate. His first speech — referred to in the next paragraph — Mr. Webster did not hear.

19 ff. The notes used by Mr. Webster on these two occasions have been preserved. They are of the briefest possible nature, covering in the one case only three, and in the other case only five loosely written letter-sheets. But the great questions involved had been thought out by him many months before, as he himself has told us.

PAGE 192, 8. the Missouri question, referring to the bitter strife which arose over the admission of Missouri as a slave-state. Cf. any good History of the United States s.v. The Missouri Compromise. The same question in its later aspects is discussed by Mr. Calhoun in his speech printed in this volume.

PAGE 194, 9. In determining the number of Representatives in Congress to which any State was entitled, the number of free persons in it was increased by three-fifths of the whole number of slaves it contained. Thus, in proportion to the number of voters, the slave-states had a much larger representation than the freestates. Cf. the Constitution, Article I., section 2.

PAGE 202, 15, 16. Because the terms “neutral” and “belligerent” are applicable only to a state of war, and lose all their significance in peace.

PAGE 204, 12. Teucro duce — “ with Teucer as my leader” – from a famous line in Horace. The « Teucer” thus referred to was none other than Calhoun himself, the “ Mr. President” whom he here addresses, now the leader of the extreme Southern wing, presumably even in its opposition to the national policy of internal improvements which Mr. Webster learned from him in 1816. Few things in the speech are more adroit than the manner in which Mr. Webster here parries and returns with a home-thrust the double charge of personal inconsistency and of sectional greed

and selfishness. By the pleasantry of this sally upon Mr. Calhoun he withdraws the attention of the audience from his immediate antagonist, and fixes it upon the real leader and champion of these extreme views. With unfailing good humor he piles up opinions and votes of “ leading and distinguished gentlemen from South Carolina” in maintenance of the very policy his opponent has condemned. He recalls how gladly he followed the star of South Carolina — until it changed its position. The Vice-President at last winces. He interrupts the speech with a question (p. 209) which may be taken either as an indignant denial of any change in his views, or as a “ bluff.” Nothing could have better served Mr. Webster's purpose. Having “ drawn ” Mr. Calhoun, he graciously accepts his remark in the former sense, and then recalls that there are other gentlemen, too, from South Carolina who are not implacably opposed to internal improvements at the general cost — if only they are to be carried out in South Carolina.

PAGE 205, 21. causa causans — the causing cause, — the schoolmen's phrase to distinguish the essential or efficient cause from various co-operating or conditioning causes.

PAGE 207, 4. et noscitur a sociis — “ and he is (was] recognized by his companions.” But Mr. Webster seems to give it a punning turn not borne out by the Latin — 6 and he was known by the company he kept.”

PAGE 207, 13. For the party designations of those days, see note to page 298.

PAGE 212, 21. had proved a legal settlement in South Carolina — was found to be regularly domiciled there.

PAGE 218, 11. The Hartford Convention of 1814, a convention of New England delegates opposed to the policy of the government, and especially to the war with England. It sat with closed doors, and was at the time strongly suspected of treasonable designs. No proof, however, of this charge has ever been produced, and it is now generally discredited. Cf. U. S. History.

PAGE 220, 12–15. The peculiar turn of expression here is a reminiscence of the closing lines of Dryden's Alexander's Feast.

The student who has his English classics in mind cannot fail to notice the frequent occurrence of such echoes in this speech, and the striking originality of their application.

PAGE 221, 29. With this eloquent passage Mr. Webster leaves the personal and sectional matters that had been forced upon him, for what was much more congenial to his nature the discussion of principles. All through this defence, in fact, has been apparent his strong feeling that personalities have no claim whatever upon public attention, save as they stand for ideas and principles. Mr. Webster's manly dignity and his unruffled temper in repelling a caustic attack have made this section a classic of its kind. It may be profitably compared with Burke's defence of himself in his Speech at Bristol.

PAGE 223, 29. The citation is from the famous resolutions of the Virginia Legislature, passed December, 1798, to express its opposition to the Alien and Sedition Laws recently enacted by Congress. The language was understood to be Mr. Madison's.

PAGE 227, 5, 6. One finds here, and farther on (p. 239), the first drafts of Lincoln's immortal phrase “ government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” See p. 312. PAGE 234, 21. The not does not appear

in
any

edition sulted, but seems imperatively demanded by the sense. Its omission was doubtless due to a slip of the printer and the proofreader.

PAGE 246, 7. John Fries was a turbulent fellow who, in 1799, headed some Pennsylvanians in riotous resistance to the laws of the United States and in the rescue of prisoners. He was twice tried for treason, twice convicted and sentenced to be hanged, but was finally pardoned by the President.

con

“ At the conclusion of Mr. Webster's argument, General Hayne rose to reply. Although one of his friends proposed an adjournment, he declined to avail himself of it, and addressed the Senate for a short time on the constitutional question. Mr. Webster then rose again, restated both sides of the controversy with great force, giving General Hayne the benefit of that clear setting forth

p. 359.

of the position of an adversary, which none could do better than Mr. Webster, and which none could doubt was the strongest method of stating it; and then following it, step by step, with the appropriate answer. This was the reduction of the whole controversy to the severest forms of logic.” Life of Daniel Webster, by GEORGE T. Curtis, vol. i.

Two years passed, and again Mr. Webster faced this same question in the Senate, but this time with an antagonist more formidable than Mr. Hayne. Mr. Calhoun's speech on that occasion has been considered as perhaps the ablest effort of his life. It became the scripture from which almost a whole generation of the young men of the South learned those lessons which afterward carried them into the War of Secession. Mr. Webster's reply was this time more closely reasoned, more compact and powerful as an intellectual effort than the earlier speech, though less interesting, it may be, to the general reader. But the great debate of 1830 seems to have exhausted the arguments upon this subject. Whatever was said later upon either side seemed to be but restatement or re-arrangement of what was there laid down. One thing only remained, and that was to bring the opposing views to the arbitrament of actual conflict. That crisis seemed actually to have come, even while this second debate was going on. South Carolina, with Mr. Hayne as Governor, undertook to put her views in practice, and armed herself to stop the collection of United States duties in her ports. President Jackson sternly prepared to enforce the laws with all the powers the goverment could wield. But the storm that threatened did not break then after all. The matter was compromised, and South Carolina took back her Act of Nullification. The final issue came a generation later, and on those battle-fields where brave men freely gave their lives “ that government of the people, by the people, and for the people should not perish from the earth.”

LORD MACAULAY.

THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY was born Oct. 25, 1800, the eldest son of Zachary Macaulay, a prominent reformer and abolitionist, a follower and friend of Wilberforce. His boyhood was passed at his father's home in London, and afterwards at a private school, until at eighteen years of age he entered Cambridge. Here he took his degree in 1822, and was elected Fellow two years later. While yet a mere child he had become interested in the great public questions discussed at his father's table. At the university he won academic honors for composition, oratory, and political debate. Thus were already outlined the two fields of his future achievement. His literary career opened first with the publication in 1825 of his famous essay on Milton, the first of a long and brilliant series of papers which ended only with his death. In 1842 appeared his Lays of Ancient Rome, inspired in part by a visit to Italy. Of his History of England two volumes were published in 1848, two in 1855, and one after his death.

His political career began with his entrance into Parliament in 1830. It continued unbroken for seventeen years, and was even resumed for a time at a later period. His voice was heard with no uncertain sound on all the great questions of that stirring time, but he is specially remembered for the ardor with which he threw himself into the great Reform Movement of 1832. Twice he held cabinet offices in Whig Ministries, and once he was sent to India as legal adviser to the Supreme Council and president of an important Commission. In 1857 he was made Baron Macaulay of Rothley — “ the first literary man to receive such a distinction.”

Into each of these careers he put energy and talent enough to have made him famous without aid from the other. Between

« ПретходнаНастави »