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[213]

Again, March 18:—

In this moment of discomfiture I turn to you. I am sick at heart as I think of the treason of our public men. Freedom is forgotten in the miserable competition of party and in the schemes of an ignorant ambition. Webster has placed himself in the dark list of apostates. He reminds me very much of Strafford, or of the archangel ruined. In other moods, I might call him Judas Iscariot, or Benedict Arnold. John Quincy Adams, as he lay in his bed in Boston after he was struck with that paralysis which closed his days at Washington, expressed to me a longing to make one more speech in Congress in order to give his final opinions on slavery, and particularly (I now give his own words) “to expose the great fallaey of Mr. Daniel Webster, who is perpetually talking about the Constitution, while he is indifferent to freedom and those great interests which the Constitution was established to preserve.” Alas! that speech was never made. But the work ought to be done. Blow seems to follow blow. There was Clay's barbarous effort, then winthrop's malignant attack,1 and now comes Webster's elaborate treason. What shall we do? But I have unbounded faith in God and in the future. I know we shall succeed. But what shall we do?

To George Sumner, March 18:—

You have doubtless read Webster's speech. To me it seems a heartless apostasy; its whole tone is low and bad, while its main points are untenable and unsound. I have been glad to observe the moral indignation which has been aroused against it. The merchants of Boston subscribe to it,—it is their wont to do such things; but Governor Briggs expressed himself against it in conversation with me, as warmly as I do, and said that the people of Massachusetts would not sanction it. David Henshaw says it is the cunningest and best bid for the Presidency that Webster has ever made. I should not be astonished if he were Secretary of State within a short time. No man can tell how this contest is to terminate. It is clear that there is to be a good deal of speaking before any important votes. I anticipate much from my friend Chase in the Senate. He is an able lawyer, and of admirable abilities otherwise.

To William Jay, March 23:—

I thank you very much for writing that letter on Mr. Webster's speech. It will be read extensively, and will do great good. You expose his inconsistency and turpitude in a manner that must sink into the souls of all who read what you have written. It must sink into the soul of the great apostate. Horace Mann writes that all the Northern Whigs out of the three great cities are against the speech, and will speak against it.

Again, April 9:—

Your letter to the “Advertiser” appeared in that paper last Saturday, the 6th.2 The paper is sometimes known as “the respectable,” affecting as it does

1 Speech in the House, Feb. 21, 1850.

2 In reply to the Boston Advertiser's criticisms on Jay's previous paper on Webster.

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