As soon as he was seen entering, the debate was suspended, the disorder ceased, and all eyes turned to him. Both parties, just now in fierce discussion, rose and joined in loud cheers for him. The applause was universal and prolonged; and when it subsided the assembly was still.
But the scene was something more than a spectacle.
's presence, without a word from his lips, had sealed the fate of the amendment.
The circumstances under which he had been sent for, the escort of Lawrence
, who was known to be unfriendly to Phillips
's motion, and something in the manner of Webster
himself, showed clearly enough where he stood.
The debate, however, proceeded.
spoke most earnestly, maintaining that ‘the question is not whether slavery shall be endured, but whether liberty shall be endured upon the American
continent;’ and he protested that he ‘would resist to the death any further encroachments on the area of freedom.’
, at the suggestion of Samuel Hoar
, for the sake of brevity, reduced his amendment by dropping three of his resolutions; but Samuel H. Walley
renewed, even as to the remaining three, the objection which Child
had made as to the whole,—that they were superfluous.
The vote was now taken at a late hour, when the delegates from the country in large numbers had left, and the amendment was lost.1
The regular series was then unanimously passed, the supporters of the amendment generally not voting.
, as soon as the resolutions were disposed of, took the platform ‘amidst tremendous and prolonged cheering.’
He spoke very briefly, hardly more than five minutes, but with profound attention and prodigious effect.
What he said was intended to inspire party enthusiasm, and was an implied rebuke of attempts to press the introduction of disturbing questions on which the party as a national organization could not be united.
It was then that he uttered the sentence so impressive at the time, and so often repeated since: ‘Others rely on other foundations and other hopes for the welfare of the country; but for my part, in the dark and troubled night that is upon us, ’