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[378] Mr. Ticknor describes it in the following letter:—

To C. S. Daveis, Portland.

Newport, Rhode island, August 17, 1826.
Your letter of Sunday evening, my dear Charles, arrived at Boston on Wednesday morning, just as we were bustling away to hear the great oration. Would it had been yourself instead of your sign manual; for it would have given you a higher and sublimer notion of oratory than you ever had before, if you had beheld and felt Mr. Webster's presence and power, as he stood there transfigured by the genius of eloquence, and fulfilling, in his own person, all he so marvellously described as peculiar to John Adams. It was altogether a different affair from that at Bunker Hill, much more solemn, imposing, and sublime. The hall was better arranged than I ever saw anything among us, being almost entirely and very gracefully covered with black; above four thousand people were quietly seated and perfectly silent; the light was very dim, partly from the mourning drapery, and partly from the obstruction of the windows with the bodies of the audience who thronged inside and outside; and Mr. Webster stood forward on an open stage, alone in the midst of the subdued multitude, and spoke without hesitation and with unmitigated power for an hour and fifty minutes, hardly once recurring to his notes, which lay on a table partly behind him, and then rather to make a pause than to refresh his recollections. Every word he spoke was distinctly heard in every part of that vast throng, so awestruck were they beneath his power.

The tone of the great body of the discourse was solemn and elevated, and though at intervals a murmur of applause and excitement ran through the crowd, it was immediately hushed by the very occasion itself, and by the grave expression of the speaker's countenance and manner, and all became as silent as death. But at the conclusion he forsook this tone, and addressed the people on the responsibility that rests with the present generation, as heirs to those who achieved our independence for us, and on the hopes and encouragements we have to perform boldly and faithfully the duties that have fallen upon us; so that when he ended, the minds of men were wrought up to an uncontrollable excitement, and there followed three tremendous cheers, inappropriate indeed to the occasion, but as inevitable as any other great movement of nature. . . . .

He was at our house the evening before, entirely disencumbered

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