According to the story which Samuel Griswold Goodrich heard, Webster attended a private party in Washington for the Mississippi Whig leader S. S. Prentiss around 1840. Late in the evening, after the wine had been flowing freely, William Preston of South Carolina stood up and proposed a toast to "Daniel Webster -- a Northern man with Southern principles." Webster hesitated, then struggled to his feet and replied saying, "Well sir, I was born in New Hampshire and therefore I am a Northern man. And if what other people say of us be true, it is equally true that I am a man of Southern principles. Sir, do I ever leave a heel-tap in my glass? Do I ever pay my debts? Don't I always prefer challenging a man who won't fight?" After developing the theme at length he sat down to the laughter and applause of the rest of the party.1

It is highly probable that this incident or something quite like it happened as reported. Webster was famous for his ability to make and respond to toasts in off-the-record gatherings among friends, and the negative side of his reputation which he was trying to burlesque at the party was developed in eleborate detail long before the abolitionists put the finishing touches to it after 1850. The prolonged and rancorous controversies of the Tyler years had so inflamed the rhetoric of his enemies and intensified public prejudice against him, that by 1845 Webster could no longer laugh them away in private. Everybody had heard about the accomplishments of the "Godlike man." From now on they would hear more and more about the alleged exploits of "Black Dan."


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Daniel Webster


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 338

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?