The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster: With An Essay on Daniel Webster as a Master of English Style

By Edwin P. Whipple; Daniel Webster | Go to book overview
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SIR, there is one other subject on which I wish to raise my voice. There is a topic which I perceive is to become the general war-cry of party, on which I take the liberty to warn the country against delusion. Sir, the cry is to be raised that this is a question between the poor and the rich. I know, Sir, it has been proclaimed, that one thing was certain, that there was always a hatred on the part of the poor toward the rich; and that this hatred would support the late measures, and the putting down of the bank. Sir, I will not be silent at the threat of such a detestable fraud on public opinion. If but ten men, or one man, in the nation will hear my voice, I will still warn them against this attempted imposition.

Mr. President, this is an eventful moment. On the great questions which occupy us, we all look for some decisive movement of public opinion. As I wish that movement to be free, intelligent, and unbiassed, the true manifestation of the public will, I desire to prepare the country for another appeal, which I perceive is about to be made to popular prejudice, another attempt to obscure all distinct views of the public good, to overwhehn all patriotism and all enlightened self-interest, by loud cries against false danger, and by exciting the passions of one class against another. I am not mistaken in the omen; I see the magazine whence the weapons of this warfare are to be drawn. I hear already the din of the hammering of arms pre- paratory to the combat. They may be such arms, perhaps, as reason, and justice, and honest patriotism cannot resist. Every effort at resistance, it is possible, may be feeble and powerless; but, for one, I shall make an effort,--an effort to be begun now, and to be carried on and continued, with untiring zeal, till the end of the contest.

Sir, I see, in those vehicles which carry to the people sentiments from high places, plain declarations that the present controversy is but a strife between one part of the community and another. I hear it boasted as the unfailing security, the solid ground, never to be shaken, on which recent measures rest, that the poor naturally hate the rich. I know that, under the cover of the roofs of the Capitol, within the last twenty-four hours, among men sent here to devise means for the public safety and the public good, it has been vaunted forth, as matter of boast and triumph, that one cause existed powerful enough to support every thing and to defend every thing; and that was, the natural hatred of the poor to the rich.

Sir, I pronounce the author of such sentiments to be guilty of attempting a detestable fraud on the community; a double fraud; a fraud which is to cheat men out of their property, and out of the earnings of their labor, by first cheating them out of their understandings. "The natural hatred of the poor to the rich!" Sir, it shall not be till the last moment of my existence.--it shall


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The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster: With An Essay on Daniel Webster as a Master of English Style
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