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dinner, as we sat listening to his rich conversation, some one spoke of the Dartmouth College question, when the judge described to us the first appearance of the power of Mr. Webster, as evinced in that celebrated case. He spoke of him as a stranger, but little known at that time. 'The trial came on in 1818. The court room was crowded. Many distinguished spectators were present. The case was of no common kind; it touched the happiness, the preservation, the glory of our common country; for every college and seminary of learning in the Union was interested in the result. Mr. Webster felt the magnitude of his cause, and the great responsibility resting upon his shoulders. He rose up to address the court. Every eye was fixed upon him, every ear was open. He began slowly, and in a low voice. His nerves were slightly tremulous, and the papers shook in his hand. His face looked troubled; the deep anxiety portrayed in his features excited the sympathy of the kindest feelings of the court for one who stood before them as a modest, unassuming man, a stranger, and with an overwhelming brow, and look of no common care. But he went on, step by step, with arguments, with authorities, with appeals to the supreme tribunal before him; each step his voice rose into energy and power; his face brightened up, his eye kindled, and, ere long, the attention became so profound, and the interest of the whole assembly so great, from the magnitude of the question, and the manner in which he presented it, that not merely a breathless silence prevailed, but even tears started in many an eye, and some were seen to fall from members of the bench. He won his cause. It was his debut ;
and from that moment Daniel Webster stood invincible, and took a stand in eloquence which has seldom been. surpassed.'
Such is a feeble and impotent sketch of a most impressive anecdote, to which I listened with interest as it fell from the lips of a man who was himself a model of elegance, and a guide to eloquence in his judicial life."
1. WEBSTER AND DAVID CROCKETT.
It is related of David Crockett, that on his arrival at Washington, he heard Mr. Webster; and afterwards. meeting him somewhere in the capitol, accosted him thus: "Is this Mr. Webster ?" "Yes, Sir." "The great Mr. Webster of Massachusetts ?" "I am Mr. Webster, of Massachusetts." "Well, Sir," continued Mr. Crockett, "I had heard that you were a great man, but I don't think so. I heard your speech, and understood every word you said." There never was any difficulty in understanding Mr. Webster. Neither is there any difficulty in understanding Dr. Wayland. Mr. Webster addressed his auditors almost colloquially thinking clearly, his words came forth the most perfect exponents of his thoughts; and when he rose to the regions of impressive grandeur, that grandeur was but the simple, unpretending expression of the grandeur which was in
2. SHERIDAN'S GREAT SPEECH.-R. B. Sheridan. B. 1751, d. 1816.
Mr. Burke, in speaking of Mr. Sheridan's celebrated speech on the Begum charge, on the trial of Warren Hastings, said:
"He has this day surprised the thousands who hung with rapture on his accents, by such an array of talents, such an exhibition of capacity, such a display of powers, as are unparalleled in the annals of oratory; a display that reflected the highest honor on himself, lustre upon letters, renown upon parliament, glory upon the country. Of all species of rhetoric, of every kind of eloquence that has been witnessed or recorded either in ancient or modern times—whatever the dignity of the senate, the acuteness of the bar, the solidity of the judgment-seat, and the sacred morality of the pulpit have hitherto furnished-nothing has surpassed, nothing has equalled what we have heard this day in Westminster Hall. No holy seer of religion, no orator, no man of any literary description whatever, has come up in the one instance, to the pure sentiments of morality; or in the other, to that variety of knowledge, force of imagination, propriety and vivacity of allusion, beauty and elegance of diction, strength and copiousness of style, pathos and sublimity of conception, to which we have this day listened with ardor and admiration. From poetry up to eloquence, there is not a species of composition of which a complete and perfect specimen might not from that single speech be culled and collated."
3. BURKE, AND THE TRIAL OF HASTINGS.-Edmund Burke. d. 1797.
When the trial of Mr. Hastings commenced, in Westminster Hall, the first two days were taken up in reading the articles of impeachment against him; and four more were occupied by Mr. Burke in opening the case, and stating the grounds of the accusation. Never were the powers of that great man displayed to such advantage as on this occasion. The contrast which he drew between the ancient and the modern state of Hindostan was sketched with the hand of a master, and wrought up in a manner that could not fail to fix the attention, and to command admiration. When, at length, he came to speak of Mr. Hastings, no terms can describe the more than mortal vehemence with which he uttered his manifold accusations against him. He seemed, for the moment, as if armed to destroy with all the lightning of the passions. The whole annals of judicial oratory contain nothing finer than his conclu
"I impeach Warren Hastings in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled, whose parliamentary trust he has abused.
"I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, whose national character he has dishonored.
"I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights, and liberties he has subverted; whose properties he has destroyed; whose country he has laid waste and desolate.
"I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has so cruelly outraged, injured and oppressed. And I impeach him in the name and by the virtue of those eternal laws of justice, which ought equally to prevail in both sexes, in every age, rank, situation, and condition of life."
The agitation produced by this speech was such that the whole audience appeared to have felt one convulsive emotion; and when it was over, it was some time before Mr. Fox could obtain a hearing. Amidst the assemblage of concurring praises which his speech excited, none was more remarkable than the tribute of Mr. Hastings himself, "For half an hour," said that gentleman, "I looked up at the orator, in a reverie of wonder; and during that space, I actually felt myself the most culpable man on earth. But I recurred to my own bosom, and there found a consciousness which consoled me under all I heard, and all I suffered."
4. MARIA ANTOINETTE, 1790.*—E. Burke.
It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the Dauphiness of Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in,-glittering like the morning star, full of life, and splendor, and joy. Oh! what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate, without emotion, that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love,