me, two or three years ago, that on deliberately reviewing his correspondence with Lord Ashburton, among all those documents he was best satisfied with the Creole letter.1 I wanted to tell him, “That letter, dying, you will wish to blot.”
To John Bigelow
, of the New York Evening Post, May 22:
Only a week ago, in overhauling old pamphlets,—a part of my patrimony,—I found the actual memorial to Congress2 reported by the committee of which Mr. Webster was chairman, and I determined to send it to you, on reading your article this morning.
I have also examined the files of Boston papers at the Athenaeum, and enclose a memorandum from them which may be interesting.
The memorial is reputed to be the work of Mr. Webster.
The close is marked by his clear and cogent statement.
Why it was not preserved in the collection of his “Opera,” which was first published ten or fifteen years later, I know not. Perhaps he had already seen that he might be obliged, in the pursuit of his ambition, to tread some steps backward, and did not wish to have a document like this, accessible to all, in perpetual memory of his early professions.
If you follow him up on this point, read in this connection the latter part of his Plymouth address, the earliest of his orations in the published volume.
At this time he seemed to have high purposes.
I wonder that the noble passage about the Ordinance, in his first speech in the Hayne controversy, has not been used against his present tergiversation.
There is another document which might be used effectively against him,—the address of the Massachusetts Anti-Texas State convention in January, 1845, the first half of which was actually composed by Mr. Webster, partly written and partly dictated.
In this he takes the strongest ground against the constitutionality of the resolutions of annexation.
Then followed his speech, Dec. 22, 1845, in the Senate, against the admission of Texas with a slaveholding constitution.
If the faith of the country was pledged, as he now says it was, by these resolutions when they were accepted by Texas, he was obliged, according to his present argument about the four States, to vote for her admission with or without slavery; but his vote stands nay. But it would be a long work to expose his shiftless course,— “everything by starts, and nothing long.”
Mr. Leavitt, of the “Independent,” talks of taking him in hand, and exposing the double dealings of his life.
I wish he might do it through the “Post.”
When you have done with the pamphlet, please return it. Of the committee who reported it were George Blake, now dead, who was a leading Republican; Josiah Quincy, Federalist, late President of Harvard College; James T. Austin, Republican, late Attorney-General of Massachusetts; and John Gallison, a lawyer, who died soon after, but of whom there are most grateful traditions in the profession.
1 admired particularly the article on Webster, written shortly after the speech.
It must have been done by Mr. Dix.3 Aut Erasmus aut Diabolus. I cannot forbear expressing the sincere delight with which I read your