Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis - Vol. 1

By Ben: Perley Poore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
PROMINENT SENATORS OF 1827.

THE NINETEENTH CONGRESS--VICE-PRESIDENT JOHN C. CALHOUN--MAR- TIN VAN BUREN--NATHANIEL MACON, OF NORTH CAROLINA--THOMAS HART BENTON--RANDOLPH, OF ROANOKE--DUEL BETWEEN CLAY AND RANDOLPH--AN OFFENDED VIRGINIAN--A FUTURE PRESIDENT--PROM- INENT SENATORS--SENATORIAL CONTROL OF SOCIETY--THE DANCING ASSEMBLIES--FASHIONABLE ATTIRE--BELLES OF THE PERIOD--THE CODE OF HONOR.

THE old Senate Chamber, now used by the Supreme Court, was admirably adapted for the deliberations of the forty-eight gentlemen who composed the upper house of the Nineteenth Congress. Modeled after the theatres of ancient Greece, it possessed excellent acoustic properties, and there was ample accommodation in the galleries for the few strangers who then visited Washington. The Senate used to meet at noon and generally conclude its day's work by three o'clock, while adjournments over from Thursday until the following Monday were frequent.

John C. Calhoun was Vice-President of the United States, and consequently President of the Senate--a position which to him was very irksome, as he was forced to sit and dumbly listen to debates in which he was eager to participate. He had been talked of by some of the best men in the country as a candidate during the then recent Presidential election, but the North had not given him any substantial support. Re-

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