Reminiscences and Anecdotes of Daniel Webster

By Peter Harvey | Go to book overview

PREFACE.

IT is now a quarter of a century--almost the life of an entire generation--since Daniel Webster died. During this period new issues have come to the front, the fires of by-gone contests have become harmless ashes, and the reunited Nation can look at such a life as this great man presents, with a calmer and wiser gaze than was possible in the nearer view of days that were fraught with warring convictions, now at last hushed to rest. Through a friendship which is one of my happiest and most grateful recollections, it was my privilege to be intimate with this man in life, and to receive his last messages upon the bed of death.1 And now, as I feel myself drawing near to the end of this earthly existence, I desire to give to the world, and especially to the rising generation, a true insight into the structure of his character, which

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1
In a recent letter, addressed to the editor, Mr. C. A. Stetson gives the following interesting incident, showing Mr. Webster's implicit confidence in and strong affection for Mr. Harvey: "During the negotiations in 1842, Mr. Curtis and myself were sitting in Mr. Webster's study, in Washington, when the mail-bag was brought in. With other letters, one from Mr. Peter Harvey was opened. Mr. Curtis read it. Mr. Webster had asked a favor: it was granted. Mr. Curtis said: 'By Jove, he is St. Peter!''No,' quickly replied Mr. Webster, ' Peter Harvey never denied his friend!' It seemed to me that a more loving compliment never had been paid to one who reverenced Mr. Webster."

-v-

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