Never since the great Greek
, has she sent forth any one so lavishly gifted for his word as a tribune of the people.
In the first place, he had a magnificent presence, impressive in bearing, massive like that of Jupiter
himself hardly outdid him in the majesty of his proportions.
To be sure, he had not Webster
's craggy face, and precipice of brow, nor his eyes glowing like anthracite coal; nor had he the lion roar of Mirabeau.
But his presence filled the eye. A small O'Connell
would hardly have been an O'Connell at all. These physical advantages are half the battle.
I remember Russell Lowell
telling us that Mr. Webster
came home from Washington
at the time the Whig party thought of dissolution a year or two before his death, and went down to Faneuil Hall to protest; drawing himself up to his loftiest proportion, his brow clothed with thunder, before the listening thousands, he said, “Well, gentlemen, I am a Whig, a Massachusetts Whig, a Faneuil-hall Whig, a revolutionary Whig, a constitutional Whig.
If you break the Whig party, sir, where am I to go?”
And says Lowell
, “We held our breath, thinking where he could
go. If he had been five feet three, we should have said, ‘ Who cares where you go?’
” So it was with O'Connell
There was something majestic in his presence before he spoke; and he added to it what Webster
had not, what Clay
might have lent,--infinite grace, that magnetism that melts all hearts into one.
I saw him at over sixty-six years of age, every attitude was beauty, every gesture grace.
You could only think of a greyhound as you looked at him; it would have been delicious to have watched him, if he had not spoken a word.
Then he had a voice that covered the gamut.
The majesty of his indignation, fitly uttered in tones of superhuman power, made him able to “indict” a nation, in spite of Burke