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giants in the law as Jeremiah Mason, Jeremiah Smith, William King Atkinson, and George Sullivan, and by the cogency of his reasoning and the force of his eloquence, quickly came to stand at the head of his profession in his native State. Mr. Mason, he once observed, “ compelled me to study law; he was my master ;” but the pupil soon eclipsed the teacher. In 1812, Mr. Webster was elected Representative to Congress, and took his seat in the special session of that body in May following, when he was placed on the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Although that 13th Congress consisted of such men as Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, William Lowndes, John Forsyth and others of that class, Mr. Webster at once took prominent rank amongst them, both in matters of business and of debate. On hearing his maiden speech in June, 1813, Chief Justice Marshall said that “ Mr. Webster was a very able man, and would become one of the very first statesmen in America, if not the very first."
Reëlected to Congress in 1814, Mr. Webster took an active part in the debates upon the protective policy, to which he was then, as other federalists, opposed, and on the charter of the bank of the United States ; and by his resolution requiring all payments to the treasury to be made in specie, became instrumental in restoring the depreciated currency of the country.
At the solicitation of many friends, he removed in August, 1816, from Portsmouth to Boston, and devoted himself now for the ensuing seven years, almost exclusively to the duties of his profession. In March, 1818, he argued with remarkable vigor, in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Dartmouth College case, thereby relieving that institution from the trammels of legislative authority, and establishing his own reputation as a constitutional lawyer at the highest judicial tribunal in the country.
While a member of the State Convention for the revision of the Constitution in 1820, he pronounced his celebrated oration, than which nothing of the kind more grand or eloquent had been heard in America, at the anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth; and early in the 2d session of the 18th Congress to which he had been elected Representative by the town of Boston, he made an effective speech on the Greek Revolution, which his old legal competitor, Jeremiah Mason, pronounced “the best sample of parliamentary eloquence and statesmanlike reasoning our country had ever seen.”
On the 17th of June, 1825, Mr. Webster delivered, to the delight of thousands present, his great oration at the laying of the corner stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, and on the 2d day of August in the following year, in Faneuil Hall, his grand patriotic discourse in commemoration of Jefferson and Adams, who had by a most singular coincidence both deceased on the preceding anniversary of our national independence. In 1827, he was elected to the U. S. Senate, in which illustrious body he continued for twelve years, primus inter pares, bringing forward, or discussing with dignity, courtesy and unrivalled ability, the important legislative measures which engrossed the attention of the country during the administrations of Jackson and Van Buren.
The most remarkable of his famous senatorial speeches was his Demosthenic reply to Col. Robert Y. Ilayne, of South Carolina, on the 20th of January, 1830. It was in opposition to the doctrines of nullification, and in defence of the course and policy of Massachusetts and of the Union. With the grasp of a giant, the Northern orator clenches his great argument, forges, hammers and welds his double compact sentences, hurls, as Jupiter tonans, his keenly pointed shafts, bolt after bolt, against his adversary, confounds him and triumphantly vindicates the Constitution of his country. In the peroration of this speech he rises to a pitch of grandeur seldom or never equalled by the most renowned disputants of antiquity.* In August of the same year, Mr. Webster again startled the world by his compact and solid argument at the trial of John F. Knapp for the murder of Mr. Joseph White, of Salem. His passage on the power of conscience has the terrific energy of some of the profoundest strokes of Dante's Inferno. In 1832, Mr. Webster married, for his 2d wife, Miss Caroline Bayard Le Roy, of New York, and now spent much of his time in agricultural pursuits, at his beautiful place on the shore of the old ocean which he loved so well, in Marshfield, Mass.
In the various questions which arose in Congress, such as the rechartering of the United States Bank; its veto by the President; the ordinance of nullification; the tariff, the removal of the deposits, &c., Mr. Webster spoke with his usual force and dignity, ever aiming to sustain the integrity of the Union, and ever commanding the attention and respect of his opponents. In 1839, he visited England and France, and was everywhere received with that high consideration to which his distinguished talents entitled him. On returning home, he was called to the Department of State, and rendered essential service to his country in the amicable settlement, with Lord Ashburton, of the Northeastern Boundary, and in the adjustment of other serious difficulties between us and Great Britain. In December, 1845, he was returned to the Senate, vice Rufus Choate, where he continued, opposing the admission of Texas, and advocating compromise measures for the preservation of the Union, &c., until called by President Filmore, in 1850, to the Department of State. Although opposed on constitutional grounds to the admission of Texas, and the war with Mexico consequent thereupon, he nevertheless voted for supplies and troops for the army, and his son Maj. Edward Webster went into the contest and rendered up his life in the service of his country.
Near the close of his senatorial career, March 7, 1850, he delivered
* The first time it was my privilege to hear Mr. Webster, he was engaged in a case in the Supreme Judicial Court of the United States, Judge Story being on the bench. The courtroom was thronged, and when the opposing counsel, a nervous, fidgety sort of a man, who had been making unusual rhetorical display, closed his argument, Mr. Webster, then dressed in a blue coat and light colored waistcoat, rose, cool, calm, sober, majestic, and never shall I forget the awful brow, and the imperial dignity of his bearing. He rose, and said in a voice rich, deep and musical above all other voices :
“May it please your Honor, there is an old French proverb"Rien n'est beau que le vrai.” Nothing is beautiful but the true. And he then proceeded to show that his opponent's argument had every mark of excellence except the truth, in a strain of eloquence entirely new to me; and as he rose to the height of his great argument, I felt that he was granite mountains, leaping cataracts, sunlight, muttering thunder ; I felt that he was logic lapped and welded as iron plates; I felt that he was strength and beauty, and I loved him from that moment.
+ Sitting underneath an old apple tree, late one summer evening, Mr. Webster entertained a group of eager listeners with his broad views of coming national events, when suddenly a robin, perching on a bough above the statesman's head, broke into song. He stopped and listened for a moment to its silvery note, and then, as if it were an angel sent from God, he arose and said-—"Gentlemen, that robin always comes to me at night and sings to me of my poor Edward. Let us retire to rest."
a celebrated speech, in which he advocated the admission of California into the Union without slavery ; the adoption of the fugitive slave law with trial by jury, and the organization of the new territories without the Wilmot proviso. He was willing to make great sacrifices for the perpetuation of the Union; to bend to the uttermost rather than light the fires of civil war; but with his vast reach of intellect he failed to grasp the question at issue ; with his profound sagacity, he did not clearly see that the conflict between freedom and slavery was irrepressible. The day of compromise and conciliation had passed. To the rising men, it was even then most clearly evident that the crisis must come, and that every inch we yielded would but render it the more terrible.
On the fourth of July, 1851, Mr. Webster delivered a most eloquent oration at the laying of the corner stone of the extension of the Capitol at Washington ; and February, 1852, he made a classical address upon his favorite books and studies, before the New York Historical Society; and a few days afterwards presided over the large meeting at the Metropolitan Hall, when the poet Bryant read his admirable eulogy on James Fenimore Cooper. In May following he made his last great speech in Faneuil Hall, and, soon afterwards, sensible of his declining health, repaired to his bome in Marshfield, where, surrounded by his family and friends, and discoursing sublimely on life and immortality, he rendered up his soul to God on Sabbath morning, the 24th of October, 1852. A few hours before his decease, Mr. Webster repeated the words : “ poetry-poetry--Gray, Gray." The first line of the Elegy was recited :
“The curfew tolls—the knell of parting day.” " That's it, that's it,” said he, and he then listened with evident pleasure to several stanzas from his favorite bard. His last articulate words were-I STILL LIVE!
The deatlr of this distinguished statesman moved the heart of the American people as when George Washington departed; the public and many private buildings were draped in mourning; and eulogies, sermons and discourses were pronounced, not only in Boston, but throughout the country. Among the most eloquent of these tributes to his memory, were those of George S. Hillard in Faneuil Hall ; Edward Everett before the citizens of Boston ; Rufus Choate at Dartmouth College; the Rev. Thomas Starr King in Boston; and Mr. Lewis Cass in the United States Senate.
In person, Mr. Webster was above medium height; well formed, dignified and self-possessed. His forehead was broad and high ; his complexion a fine olive, his hair black, and his dark and lustrous eye was set in cavernous sockets beneath a massive brow. His whole bearing was that of a man of thought, born to hold majestic sway over the minds of other men. In public, he usually wore a blue coat and buff waistcoat, fitting well, but easily, his manly form. His voice was deep, flexible, sonorous and commanding; his smile was peculiarly sweet and winning.
He wrote and spoke without the least affectation, always clothing his thoughts in pure, simple, forcible language, so as to render even the most subtle distinctions of the law intelligible to the common mind. In delivery, he was slow, distinct, impressive; in gesture, natural
and easy. Though excelled by Everett, Wirt, and Berrien, in some of the minor graces of oratory, he certainly stands prëeminent and unrivalled as the great argumentative speaker of his day : affording in the range and dignity of his subjects; the plan and arrangement of his speeches; the affluence of his illustrations ; the irresistible force of his logic; the purity and lucidity of his diction, and the fervor of his patriotism, the best model for the bar, the forum and the platform which America, I had almost said, the world, has yet produced.
NOTES AND MEMORANDA RELATING TO PERSONS OF
THE NAME OF TOWNE.
Continued from Vol. xx. p. 371. The earliest positive information we have relative to him is at Yarmouth, Norfolk Co., a city of considerable maritime importance, situated on the East coast of England, one hundred and eight miles in a direct line, and 120 miles by railroad northeast of London.
The origin and early history of this place, like many others in the British Kingdom, is quite obscure. The Romans, in the first century of the Christian Era, had a frontier military post* near here, and later it was called Cerdick's sand, or Cerdick's shore, deriving its name from Cerdick, a warlike Saxon, who, A.D. 496, with his son Cenrick, and a fleet of five ships, invaded the country at this point, entered the mouth of the river Yare, fought a battle, put the Britons to flight, and founded a colony. It being a low marshy neighborhood, the location proved unhealthy, the settlement was finally abandoned, and the colony took up their residence with the West Saxons.† Henry Manship, Sen., a merchant in 1560, the reputed author of a very reliable and carefully prepared manuscripts history of the place, who tells us he was here“ bredd and borne," thus speaks of its origin. “First of the Antiquitye of the Towne and Burroughe of Greate Yermouthe. The verye seate of that Towne,' that ys to saye, the place and grounde whereuppon the Towne is buylded, and nowe dothe stand, was percell of a greate sande lyinge within the mayne sea, at the mouthe of the fludd or ryver called Hierus, beinge contynuallye under water and overflown withe the sea, of which ryver the name of the same Towne was derived when it was firste named, vidz. Hiermouth, or otherwise without aspiration it was called Yermouth. And the tyme that yt was a sand in the sea was when Kynge Canutus reigned in Englande and longe before, whiche was aboute the yere of our Savior Jesus Christe, his Incarnacion, One Thousand, as by auncyente recordes thereof yt doeth appeare.”
The fortification is about three miles west of the city, and was erected by Publius Ostorius about the middle of the first century. This noble monument of Roman Art, the most considerable, and perhaps the most perfect to be found in Britain, is built upon the brow of the hills which skirt the eastern bank of the river Waveney at its confluence with the Yare. Quadrilateral in its form, it makes an almost regular parallelogram, its length being 640 feet and its breadth 370 feet, the space within the walls of the camp comprising nearly six acres. The walls are about 10 feet in height, about 9 feet in thickness, and are constructed of rubble masonry, faced with flint, interlaced in regular courses of about 21 inches by three layers of tiles or bricks about 2 inches apart. The bricks are red, of a fine close texture, and as they lay in the wall a surface is exposed if by 9 inches, and so solid and enduring is the masonry that the writer found it difficult to procure on the premises a piece of the flint and brick an inch square, as a sample of the material of which the wall was built, and a memento of a visit to this interesting locality.
+ Blomefield and Parkin's History of Norfolk, and Swinden's History of Yarmouth.
* Very ably edited by Charles John Palmer, Esq., F.S.A., and published in two volumes, with plates; the first volume in 1854, and the second in 1856, but now entirely out of print. The original manuscript is now in his possession.
He also says, that “In the tyme of the Reigne of Kinge Edwarde the Confessour the saide sand beganne to growe into sighte at the lowe water, and to become more showlder at the mouthe of the said Flodde called Hierus, and then there were channelles for Shippes and Fyshermen to pass and enter into the arme of the Sea for utterance of there Fishe and Merchandizes, which were conveyed to diverse partes and places as well in the Countye of Norfolke as in the Countye of Suffolke by reason that all the wholle levell of the marshes and fennes which now are betwixte the Towne of Yermouthe and the Citie of Norwiche, were then all an arme of the Sea,* entering within the Lande by the mouthe of the Hierus. And this was about the yeare of oure Savior M. and XLte and long before.”.
He further says, that “ In the tyme of the Reigne of Kinge Edwarde the Confessor, the saide sand beganne to growe into sight at the lowe water, and in the tymes of the Reygnes of Kinge Harrolde and Kinge William ye Conquerror, the saide sande did growe to be drye, and was not overflowen by the Sea, but waxed in heighte, and also in greatness, in so muche as greate store of people of the Counties of Norff. and Suffolke did resorte thither, and did pitche Tabernacles and Boothes for the entertaynenge of such Seafaringe men and Fishermen and Merchants as wold resorte unto that place, either to sell their Herringes, t fish and other comodoties, and for providenge suche things as those Seamen did neede and wante. The which things caused greate store of Seafaringe men to resorte thither ; but especiallie the Fishermen of this Land ; as also greate nombers of the Fishermen of Fraunce, Flaunders, and of Ilolland, Zealande, and all the lowe Countryes. And in the tyme of the Reigne of Kinge William Rufus, Kinge of this Realme, one Ilerbertus, Bishopp of the see of Norwich, I perceyvenge greate resorte and concourse of people to be daylie and yerelie uppon the said Sande, and intendinge to provide for there sowles healthe, did founde and buylde uppon the said Sande a certen Chappell for the devotion of the people resorting thither, and therein did place a Chappelayne of his owne to say and read divine service.”
• Norwich is situated on the Yare, nineteen miles from Yarmouth; the river now passing for this distance throngh a productive intervale or meadow, which, eight hundred years since, according to the testimony of this writer, was an arm of the sea.
Celebrated at the present time for its Herring Fisheries, there having been exported to Foreign Ports from Yarmouth, in 1860, 54,684 bbls.; in 1861, 35,849 bbls.; 1862, 44,786 bbls., 1863, 44,317 bbls.; and in 1864, 38,522; in addition to which, large quantities are forwarded to London by rail for exportation from that port.
Herbert de Lossing, Bishop of Norwich, came from Normandy with William Rufus, and
n adulation, says William of Malmesbury, was surnamed the flatterer. He was cited before Pope Pascal II. at Rome in 1093, for simoniacal practices, and according to the Saxon Chronicle, was deprived of his pastoral staff in 1091; but this was restored on his undertaking to employ his wealth in the building of churches; in fulfilment of which, the one under consideration was founded. He was a man of great learning and eloquence, was at one period Lord Chancellor of England, died in 1119, and was buried in the Cathedral at Norwich.