« PreviousContinue »
gather up those shafts, he must look for them elsewhere: they will not be found fixed and quivering in the object at which they were aimed.
3. The honorable member complained that I had slept on his speech. I must have slept on it, or not slept at all. The mo- 50 ment the honorable member sat down, his friend from Missouri rose, and, with much honeyed commendation of the speech, suggested that the impressions which it had produced were too charming and delightful to be disturbed by other sentiments or other sounds, and proposed that the Senate should adjourn. 55 Would it have been quite amiable in me, sir, to interrupt this excellent good feeling? Must I not have been absolutely malicious, if I could have thrust myself forward to destroy sensations thus pleasing? Was it not much better and kinder, both to sleep upon them myself, and to allow others also the pleasure of sleeping 60 upon them? But if it be meant, by sleeping upon his speech, that I took time to prepare a reply, it is quite a mistake. Owing to other engagements, I could not employ even the interval between the adjournment of the Senate and its meeting the next morning in attention to the subject of this debate. Nevertheless, sir, the mere matter of fact is undoubtedly true. I did sleep on the gentleman's speech, and slept soundly. And I slept equally well on his speech of yesterday, to which I am now replying. It is quite possible that in this respect, also, I possess some advantage over the honorable member, attributable, doubt- 70 less, to a cooler temperament on my part; for, in truth, I slept upon his speeches remarkably well.
4. But the gentleman inquires why he was made the object of
LITERARY ANALYSIS.—49–72. In paragraph 3, Webster pursues the same tactics as in the two previous paragraphs; that is, he seizes upon an observation of his opponent and presses it back upon him.—Divide this paragraph into its three principal parts.
51. his friend. Senator Benton.
56–61. Would ... them? What is the effect of the use of the interrogative form in these three sentences ?
62. it is quite a mistake. Note the temperance of the statement. A frothy orator would have “hurled back the imputation," etc. .
71. I slept, etc. What inference does Webster wish to be drawn from this statement?
such a reply? Why was he singled out? If an attack has been made on the East, he, he assures us, did not begin it; it was made 75 by the gentleman from Missouri. Sir, I answered the gentleman's speech because I happened to hear it; and because, also, I chose to give an answer to that speech which, if unanswered, I thought most likely to produce injurious impressions. I did not stop to inquire who was the original drawer of the bill. I found so a responsible endorser* before me, and it was my purpose to hold him liable, and to bring him to his just responsibility, without delay. But, sir, this interrogatory of the honorable member was only introductory to another. He proceeded to ask me whether I had turned upon him, in this debate, from the con- 85 sciousness that I should find an overmatch if I ventured on a contest with his friend from Missouri. If, sir, the honorable member, modestiæ gratia, had chosen thus to defer to his friend, and to pay him a compliment, without intentional disparagement to others, it would have been quite according to the friendly cour- 90 tesies of debate, and not at all ungrateful to my own feelings. I am not one of those, sir, who esteem any tribute of regard, whether light and occasional, or more serious and deliberate, which may be bestowed on others, as so much unjustly withholden from themselves. But the tone and manner of the gentleman's ques- 95 tion forbid me thus to interpret it. I am not at liberty to consider it as nothing more than a civility to his friend. It had an air of taunt and disparagement, something of the loftiness of asserted superiority, which does not allow me to pass it over without notice. It was put as a question for me to answer, and so 100 put as if it were difficult for me to answer, whether I deemed the member from Missouri an overmatch for myself in debate here. It seems to me, sir, that this is extraordinary language, and an extraordinary tone, for the discussions of this body.
LITERARY ANALYSIS.-80. drawer of the bill. What is the figure of speech ? (See Def. 20.)-Show how this figure is carried out in the subsequent part of the sentence.
87-91. If ... feelings. What kind of sentence rhetorically? 88. modestiæ gratia, for modesty's sake. 94. witholden. Why does Webster use this form?
5. Matches and overmatches! Those terms are more appli- 105 cable elsewhere than here, and fitter for other assemblies than this. Sir, the gentleman seems to forget where and what we , are. This is a Senate, a Senate of equals, of men of individual honor and perscnal character, and of absolute independence. We know no masters, we acknowledge no dictators. This is a 110 hall for mutual consultation and discussion; not an arena for the exhibition of champions. I offer myself, sir, as a match for no man ; I throw the challenge of debate at no man's feet. But then, sir, since the honorable member has put the question in a manner that calls for an answer, I will give him an answer ; and 115 I tell him that, holding myself to be the humblest of the members here, I yet know nothing in the arm of his friend from Missouri, either alone or when aided by the arm of his friend from South Carolina, that need deter even me from espousing whatever opinions I may choose to espouse, from debating whenever 120 I may choose to debate, or from speaking whatever I may see fit to say, on the floor of the Senate. Sir, when uttered as matter of commendation or compliment, I should dissent from nothing which the honorable member might say of his friend. Still less do I put forth any pretensions of my own. But when put 125 to me as matter of taunt, I throw it back, and say to the gentleman that he could possibly say nothing more likely than such a comparison to wound my pride of personal character. The anger of its tone rescued the remark from intentional irony, which otherwise, probably, would have been its general accepta- 130 tion. But, sir, if it be imagined that by this mutual quotation and commendation; if it be supposed that, by casting the characters of the drama, assigning to each his part, to one the attack, to another the cry of onset ; or if it be thought that, by a loud and empty vaunt of anticipated victory, any laurels are to 135 be won here ; if it be imagined, especially, that any or all these things will shake any purpose of mine, I can tell the honorable member, once for all, that he is greatly mistaken, and that he is
LITERARY ANALYSIS.—105-148. In paragraph 5, notice the fine combination of the different types of sentence-simple, complex, and compound; periodic and loose ; long and short.- Point out examples of words used figuratively; examples of words used in a particularly felicitous manner.
dealing with one of whose temper and character he has yet much to learn. Sir, I shall not allow myself, on this occasion, 143 I hope on no occasion, to be betrayed into any loss of temper: but if provoked, as I trust I never shall be, into crimination and recrimination, the honorable member may perhaps find that, in that contest, there will be blows to take as well as blows to give ; that others can state comparisons as significant, at least, 145 as his own; and that his impunity may possibly demand of him whatever powers of taunt and sarcasm he may possess. I commend him to a prudent husbandry * of his resources.
II. 6. Mr. President, I ave thus stated the reasons of my dissent to the doctrines which have been advanced and maintained. 150 I am conscious of having detained you and the Senate much too long. I was drawn into the debate with no previous deliberation,* such as is suited to the discussion of so grave and important a subject. But it is a subject of which my heart is full, and I have not been willing to suppress the utterance of its spontane- 155 ous sentiments. I cannot, even now, persuade myself to relinquish it, without expressing, once more, my deep conviction that, since it respects nothing less than the Union of the States, it is of most vital and essential importance to the public happiness.
7. I profess, sir, in my career hitherto, to have kept steadily in 160 view the prosperity and honor of the whole country, and the preservation of our Federal Union. It is to that Union we owe our safety at home, and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that Union that we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country. That Union we reached 165 only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of ad
LITERARY ANALYSIS.—150. to. Query as to this preposition.-advanced and maintained. What is the distinction between these words?
152, 153. deliberation. Etymology?
160-162. Substitute equivalent terms for the following italicized words: “I profess, sir, in my career hitherto, to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country, and the preservation of our Federal Union.”
165. That Union. Notice the rhetorical order of the word “Union," and the effect of this position in preserving the unity of the subject under exposition.
versity. It had its origin in the necessities of disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit. Under its benign influences, these great interests immediately awoke, as from the dead, and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its dura- 170 tion has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings ; and, although our territory has stretched out wider and wider, and our population spread further and further, they have not outrun its protection or its benefits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness.
8. I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see 180 whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counsellor in the affairs of this government whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union may be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it shall 185 be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that, in my day at least, that curtain may not rise ! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies be- 190 hind! When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let 195 their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous
LITERARY ANALYSIS. - 167. It had its origin, etc. Explain the historical reference.
175. national, etc. How is the climax made effective here?
176-207. I have ... inseparable! What words are used figuratively in this paragraph ?-Give examples of majestic diction.
189–207. God grant ... inseparable! What is the figure of speech? (See Def. 24, i.)—In this peroration the Anglo-Saxon words are in the proportion of eighty per cent. Select the classical words, and commit the passage to memory.