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[93] much used by the framers of the Constitution and the founders of our government, had passed away. That of the magazine and the review had not arrived. Men in public life trusted to their speeches in Parliament or Congress or before the people, almost as in the days of Fox and Pitt, to make their arguments and opinions known, and they would have thought any other course hardly consistent with their dignity. Moreover, Webster did not give his leisure, as many statesmen have done, to writing memoirs or history or to the discussion in book form of some question which interested him. The reason was simple. When Webster was not in office or when he had an interval between the sessions of Congress, he gave his time to the practice of his profession, and great cases before the courts absorbed all his energy.1

1 I Daniel Webster was born in Salisbury [now Franklin], New Hampshire, 18 January, 1782, of pioneer stock. A frail child, and therefore spared the hard work of his father's farm, he was sent to Phillips Exeter Academy and to Dartmouth College, from which he graduated in 1800. He taught school as a makeshift, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1805. He practised first at Boscawen and then at Portsmouth, where he rapidly rose to prominence both as lawyer and public speaker. In 1813 he was sent to the House of Representatives as a Federalist member from Massachusetts, and thus came in close contact with Clay, then speaker, and Calhoun. Within a year Webster was a marked man in Congress. After four years, during which he struck many heavy blows at the administration, he resumed the practice of law. The great cases which he argued—the Dartmouth College Case, McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden, Ogden v. Saunders—brought him into the first rank of American lawyers by the time he was forty. Meanwhile his reputation as the greatest American orator was built up by his oration at Plymouth in 1820, the Bunker Hill oration of 1825, and the speech in which he commemorated Adams and Jefferson in 1826. He returned to the House of Representatives in 1823 and in 1827 entered the Senate, in which he served till 1841.

Ever since 1800 Webster had been the exponent of a doctrine of nationalism which now made him the chief defender of the idea of union. His debate with Hayne of South Carolina in 1830, commonly called ‘The Great Debate,’ is a classic statement of the doctrine and the idea. For twenty years Webster was the voice of New England. He failed of election as President, but he had a notable, if brief, career as secretary of state under Harrison and Tyler, 1841-43, during which he concluded with Great Britain the important Webster-Ashburton Treaty. Once more in the Senate after 1845, Webster opposed the annexation of Texas and the Mexican War. As the struggle over slavery grew more violent he turned to the side of Clay and in the famous ‘Seventh of March Speech’ defended Clay's Compromise Bill, with the result that he was bitterly denounced in the North as a renegade. The same year he became secretary of state again. He died under a kind of cloud, 24 October, 1852, but there can be little doubt that he, more than any other one man, contributed to the growth of that sentiment of union which sustained the national idea during the Civil War.—the editors,

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