he has been too fond of company, not enough alone; and has had few resources within himself.”
Were the limitations of a typical oratorical temperament ever touched more unerringly than in these words?
himself thundered, at the close of his reply to Hayne
in 1830, “Union and
Liberty, now and forever, one and inseparable,” the words sank deeper into the consciousness of the American
people than any similar sentiment uttered by Henry Clay
's was the richer, fuller nature, nurtured by “the great books of the past,” brooding, as Lincoln
was to brood later, over the seemingly insoluble problem of preserving a union of States half slave, half free.
On the fateful seventh of March, 1850, Webster
, like Clay
, cast the immense weight of his personality and prestige upon the side of compromise.
It was the ruin of his political fortune, for the mood of the North
was changing, and the South
preferred other candidates for the Presidency.
Yet the worst that can fairly be said against that speech today is that it lacked moral imagination to visualize, as Mrs. Stowe
was soon to visualize, the human results of slavery.
As a plea for the transcendent necessity of maintaining the old Union it was consistent