Daniel Webster was an ardent patriot and when the quarrels on the slavery question grew so bitter that it seemed as if the words of John Quincy Adams must soon come true, he made a great effort to preserve the Union. He fancied this could best be done if the Northern people yielded to the Southerners on some points, and he therefore made a speech in Congress on the 7th of March, 1850, which greatly disappointed his antislavery friends.
Because they did not like the views expressed in that speech, they began to abuse him, and when he wanted to be nominated for President most of them would not even consider him. This was a great disappointment to Webster, who sadly withdrew to private life. Soon after this he became ill, and being thrown from his carriage, he grew rapidly worse until he died. As the church bells tolled out his age, the people around his country house at Marshfield looked at one another, and solemnly said: “It must be that Daniel Webster is dead. The pride of our nation is fallen.”
Webster’s famous speeches have been printed, and if you want to read some of the most soul–stirring, and patriotic words an American orator ever spoke, you must turn to the speech which he made in Congress to answer Hayne. Because Webster is one of our greatest orators you will often see his portrait. A fine statue of him has been erected in Central Park, New York, and on its pedestal you can read what are probably the finest words he ever spoke “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.”
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