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As an orator, Mr. Clay stood unrivalled among the statesmen of our times; and if the power of a statesman is to be measured by the control which he exerts over an audience, he will take rank among the most illustrious men who, in ancient or modern, times, have decided great questions by resistless eloquence

Mr. Calhoun was the finest type of the pure Greek intellect which this country has ever produced. His speeches resemble Grecian sculpture, with all the purity and hardness of marble, while they show that the chisel was guided by the hand of a master. Demosthenes transcribed the history of Thucydides eight times, that he might acquire the strength and majesty of his style, and Mr. Calhoun had evidently studied the orations of the great Athenian with equal fidelity. He had much of his force and ardor, and his bearing was so full of dignity that it was easy to fancy, when you heard him, that you were listening to an oration from the lips of a Roman senator who had formed his style in the severe schools of Greece.

Mr. Webster's oratory reaches the highest pitch of grandeur. He combines the pure philosophical faculty of investigation, which characterized the Greek mind, with the athletic power and majesty which belonged to the Roman style. There is in his orations a blended strength and beauty surpassing anything to be found in ancient or modern productions. He stands like a statue of Hercules wrought out of gold. He has been sometimes called the Demosthenes of this country; but the attributes which he displayed are not those which belonged to the Athenian orator. His speeches display the same power and beauty, and equal, if they do not surpass, in consummate ability, the noblest orations of Demosthenes; but he wants the vehemence, the bold.

the impetuosity of the orator who wielded the fierce demo. cracy of Athens at his will, and who, in his impassioned harangues, "shook the Arsenal, and fulmined over Greece.”

Mr. Clay's oratory differed from that of Mr. Webster and of Mr. Calhoun, and it was more effective than that of either of his contemporaries. Less philosophical than the one, and less


majestic than the other, he surpassed them both in the sway which he exerted over the assemblies which he addressed. Clear, convincing, impassioned, and powerful, he spoke the language of truth in its most commanding tones, and the deductions of reason uttered from his lips seemed to have caught the glow of inspiration.

He realized Mr. Webster's description of oratory: “The clear conception outrunning the deductions of logic; the high purpose; the firm resolve; the dauntless spirit, speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye, informing every feature, and urging the whole man onward, right onward, to his object : this, this is eloquence; or, rather, it is something greater and higher than all eloquence; it is action--noble, sublime, godlike action."


God has decided that the people of this country should be a commercial people. You read that decree in the sea-coast of seventeen hundred miles which he has given you; in the numerous navigable waters which penetrate the interior of the country; in the various ports and harbors scattered along your shores ; in your fisheries; in the redundant productions of your soil; and more than all, in the enterprising and adventurous spirit of your people. It is no more a question whether the people of this country shall be allowed to plough the ocean, than it is whether they shall be permitted to plough the land. It is not in the power of this government, nor would it be if it were as strong as the most despotic upon the earth, to subdue the commercial spirit, or to destroy the commercial habits of the country.

Young as we are, our tonnage and commerce surpass those of every nation upon the globe but one, and if not wasted by the deprivations to which they were exposed by their defenceless situation, and the more ruinous restrictions to which this government subjected them, it would require not many more years to have made them the greatest in the world. Is this immense wealth always to be exposed as a prey to the rapacity of free

booters? Why will you protect your citizens and their property upon land, and leave them defenceless upon the ocean? As your mercantile property increases, the prize becomes more tempting to the cupidity of foreign nations. In the course of things, the ruins and aggressions which you have experienced will multiply, nor will they be restrained while we have no appearance of a paval force.

You must and will have a navy; but it is not to be created in a day, nor is it to be expected, that in its infancy, it will be able to cope foot to foot with the full-grown vigor of the navy of England. But we are even now capable of maintaining a naval force formidable enough to threaten the British commerce, and to render this nation an object of more respect and consideration


At the time of my entry into this body, which took place in December, 1806, I regarded it, and still regard it, as a body which may be compared, without disadvantage, to any of a similar character which has existed in ancient or modern times; whether we look at it in reference to its dignity, its powers, or the mode of its constitution; and I will also add, whether it be regarded in reference to the amount of ability which I shall leave behind me when I retire from this chamber. In insti. tuting a comparison between the Senate of the United States and similar political institutions of other countries, of France and England for example, I am sure the comparison might be made without disadvantage to the American Senate. In respect to the constitution of these bodies : in England, with only the exception of the peers from Ireland and Scotland, and in France with no exception, the component parts, the members of these bodies, hold their places by virtue of no delegated authority, but derive their powers from the crown, either by ancient creation of nobility transmitted by force of hereditary descent, or by new patents as occasion required an increase of their numbers. But here, Mr. President, we have the proud title of being the representatives of sovereign states or commonwealths. If we look at the powers of these bodies in France and England, and the powers of this Senate, we shall find that the latter are far greater than the former. In both those countries they have the legislative power, in both the judicial with some modifications, and in both perhaps a more extensive judicial power than is possessed by this Senate; but then the vast and undefined and undefinable power, the treaty-making power, or at least a participation in the conclusion of treaties with foreign powers, is possessed by this Senate, and is possessed by neither of the others. Another power, too, and one of infinite magnitude, that of distributing the patronage of a great nation, which is shared by this Senate with the executive magistrate. In both these respects we stand upon ground different from that occupied by the Houses of Peers of England and of France. And, I repeat, that with respect to the dignity which ordinarily prerails in this body, and with respect to the ability of its members during the long period of my acquaintance with it, without arrogance or presumption, we may say, in proportion to its numbers, the comparison would not be disadvantageous to us compared with any Senate either of ancient or modern times.


My lords, I have better hopes of the constitution, and a firmer confidence in the wisdom and constitutional authority of this House. It is to your ancestors, my lords, it is to the English barons, that we are indebted for the laws and constitution we possess.

Their virtues were rude and uncultivated, but they were great and sincere. Their understandings were as little polished as their manners, but they had hearts to distinguish right from wrong; they had heads to distinguish truth from falsehood ; they understood the rights of humanity, and they had spirit to maintain them.

My lords, I think that history has not done justice to their conduct, when they obtained from their sovereign that great acknowledgment of national rights contained in Magna Charta : they did not confine it to themselves alone, but delivered it as a common blessing to the whole people. They did not say, these are the rights of the great barons, or these are the rights of the great prelates :—No, my lords; they said, in the simple Latin of the times, nullus liber homo, and provided as carefully for the meanest subject as for the greatest. These are uncouth words, and sound but poorly in the ears of scholars; neither are they addressed to the criticism of scholars, but to the hearts of free men. These three words, nullus liber homo, have a meaning which interests us all: they deserve to be remembered—they deserve to be inculcated in our minds—they are worth all the classics. Let us not, then, degenerate from the glorious example of our ancestors. Those iron barons (for so I may call them when compared with the silken barons of modern days) were the guardians of the people; yet their virtues, my lords, were never engaged in a question of such importance as the present. A breach has been made in the constitution—the battlements are dismantled—the citadel is open to the first invader—the walls totter--the constitution is not tenable. What remains, then, but for us to stand foremost in the breach to repair it, or perish in it?


HAD Æschines confined his charge to the subject of the prosecution, I too would have proceeded at once to my justification of the decree. But since he has wasted no fewer words in the discussion of other matters, in most of them calumniating me, I deem it both necessary and just, men of Athens, to begin by shortly adverting to these points, that none of you may be induced by extraneous arguments to shut your ears against my defence to the indictment.

To all his scandalous abuse of my private life, observe my plain and honest answer. If


know me to be such as he alleged—for I have lived nowhere else but among you—let not

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