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[51] had passed through a variety of scenes in life—scenes of romance and adventure—and had known much of pleasure and much of sorrow. He was at times bitterly sarcastic, and hence it was sometimes said that he wanted heart and generosity and kindness of feeling. But his was that sarcastic levity of tongue, ‘the stinging of a heart the world hath stung.’ And while it cannot be denied that he had somewhat of the soeva indignatio of Swift, yet those who knew him best aver that he was kind and gentle and generous to a fault.

During the course of his public career he fought four duels, one of them with James Watson Webb, then editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer. He deeply regretted the necessity that forced him into duelling, but it was the universal custom of the country, and Mr. Marshall could never brook an aspersion on his courage.

He was attended all his life after reaching manhood by an evil spirit, and it certainly speaks volumes for the strength of his intellect to say that, notwithstanding the almost omnipotent sway exercised over him by this evil spirit, and, at times, his abject bondage to its malign influence, he nevertheless became a brilliant and magnificient orator, an able and profound lawyer, and a far-seeing and sagacious statesman.

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James Watson Webb (1)
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