's whole development of political thought.
What were the secrets of that power that held Webster
's hearers literally spellbound, and made the North
think of him, after that alienation of 1850, as a fallen angel?
No one can say fully, for we touch here the mysteries of personality and of the spoken word.
But enough survives from the Webster
legend, from his correspondence and political and legal oratory, to bring us into the presence of a superman.
The dark Titan
face, painted by such masters as Carlyle
, and Emerson
; the magical voice, remembered now but by a few old men; the bodily presence, with its leonine suggestion of sleepy power only half put forth-these aided Webster
to awe men or allure them into personal idolatry.
Yet outside of New England
he was admired rather than loved.
There is still universal recognition of the mental capacity of this foremost lawyer and foremost statesman of his time.
He was unsurpassed in his skill for direct, simple, limpid statement; but he could rise at will to a high Roman stateliness of diction, a splendid sonorousness of cadence.
His greatest public appearances were in the Dartmouth College Case before the Supreme Court, the Plymouth