MR. WEBSTER AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES.
MR. WEBSTER was at once cautious in speaking of those with whom he came in contact in public life, and liberal in his estimate of the talents of his political and oratorical rivals. Indeed, he was usually reticent on political subjects, seldom referring to them in hours of leisure, and only now and then opening his mind upon them and the men connected with them.
In a letter written in 1827 to a Philadelphia friend, he speaks thus:--
"It would give me serious pain if any reference were made to any supposed opinion of mine on such a subject as is referred to in your letter. I en- deavor in all instances, and I thought I had carefully done so in this, to observe an entire abstinence from putting forth my own sentiments, when it is proper that the feelings and wishes of others should prevail."
In speaking of his contemporaries, Mr. Webster seemed to avoid with conscientious care all bitterness of expression and all undue severity of judgment as affected by his own personal feelings or prejudices. In his reply to Hayne, he declared: