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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RECEPTION AT NEW YORK.

A SPEECH DELIVERED AT NIBLO'S SALOON, IN NEW YORK, ON THE 15TH OF MARCH, 1837.

MR. CHAIRMAN AND FELLOW-CITIZENS:--It would be idle in me to affect to be indifferent to the circumstances under which I have now the honor of addressing you.

I find myself in the commercial metropolis of the continent, in the midst of a vast assembly of intelligent men, drawn from all the classes, professions, and pursuits of life.

And you have been pleased, Gentlemen, to meet me, in this imposing manner, and to offer me a warm and cordial welcome to your city. I thank you. I feel the full force and importance of this manifestation of your regard. In the highly-flattering resolutions which invited me here, in the respectability of this vast multitude of my fellow-citizens, and in the approbation and hearty good-will which you have here manifested, I feel cause for profound and grateful acknowledgment.

To every individual of this meeting, therefore, I would now most respectfully make that acknowledgment; and with every one, as with hands joined in mutual greeting, I reciprocate friendly salutation, respect, and good wishes.

But, Gentlemen, although I am well assured of your personal regard, I cannot fail to know, that the times, the political and commercial condition of things which exists among us, and an intelligent spirit, awakened to new activity and a new degree of anxiety, have mainly contributed to fill these avenues and crowd these halls. At a moment of difficulty, and of much alarm, you come here as Whigs of New York, to meet one whom you believe to be bound to you by common principles and common sentiments, and pursuing, with you, a common object. Gentlemen, I am proud to admit this community of our principles, and this identity of our objects. You are for the Constitution of the country; so am I. You are for the Union of the States; so am I. You are for equal laws, for the equal rights of all men, for constitutional and just restraints on power, for the substance and not the shadowy image only of popular institutions, for a government which has liberty for its spirit and soul, as well as in its forms; and so am I. You feel that if, in warm party times, the executive power is in hands distinguished for boldness, for great success, for perseverance, and other qualities which strike men's minds strongly, there is danger of derangement of the powers of government, danger of a new division of those powers, in which the executive is likely to obtain the lion's part; and danger of a state of things in which the more popular branches of the government, instead of being guards and sentinels against any encroachments from the executive, seek, rather, support from its patronage, safety against the complaints of the people in its ample and all-protecting favor, and refuge in its power; and so I feel, and so I have felt for eight long and anxious years.

You believe that a very efficient and powerful cause in the production of the evils which now fall on the industrious

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