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[352] engagements in court, but he knew his subject thoroughly. He was less elaborate in preparation than Sumner or Seward, and used brief notes only, according to Webster's habit. In a speech of two hours and a half, he exposed Douglas's inconsistencies and subterfuges, followed him from point to point, and treating the question also largely in its historical and moral aspects, vindicated the prohibition upon grounds of policy and compact. He spoke with great earnestness, and with the dignity of manner and style which was his wont. He stood at the time the most impressive figure in the Senate. As Wilson has well said: ‘He sounded the keynote of the opposition, and sketched with great force and point the line of argument afterwards presented by the friends of freedom.’1 To this eminent statesman belongs the honor of leadership in this historic debate.

When Mr. Everett entered the Senate in March, 1853, he was buoyant in spirit. He considered it, as he said at the time, the highest honor of his public life that he had been permitted to have a seat in that body.2 He took occasion, about three weeks later, in the discussion of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, to make a ‘Young America’ speech on Central American affairs, in which he went out of his way to pay court to Douglas,—a politician with opinions, manners, and tastes the opposite of his own,— speaking of him as one who was destined, without a superior, to impress his views of public policy on the American people, and to receive in return all the honors and trusts which they could bestow. It was noticeable with what amiable and complimentary phrases during this session, and at the beginning of the next in December, he spoke of all senators to whom he happened to refer. In the recess he was named in important Whig journals as the probable Whig candidate for the Presidency. He came again to the Senate in December, 1853, with hope and activity undiminished. He interposed in the Whig caucus, as already noticed, against his colleague being placed by the Whigs on any committee in the manner Chase had been assigned by the Democrats. On the fourth day of the session he paid a memorial tribute to the deceased Vice-President King. A question,

1 ‘Rise and Fall,’ vol. II. p. 385. Douglas considered Chase rather than Sumner or Seward to be ‘the leader’ in the opposition to his measure. See Douglas's statement in ‘Constitutional and Party Questions,’ by J. M. Cutts, p. 123. Douglas was reported to have said that but for Chase and Sumner he should have encountered no obstruction. ‘Syphax’ in the Boston Commonwealth, March 13, 1854.

2 March 21, 1853, in debate.

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