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

By Ben: Perley Poore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII. BATTLE OF THE GIANTS.

THE GREAT SENATORIAL DEBATE--ATTACK ON NEW ENGLAND--WEB-
STER'S REPLY TO HAYNE--NULLIFICATION NIPPED IN THE BUD--
SOCIETY IN JACKSON'S DAY--MRS. GENERAL EATON--A CHIVALROUS
PRESIDENT--THEATRICALS--THE GREAT TRAGEDIAN--MINOR AMUSE-
MENTS--EXECUTIVE CHARITY--SWARTWOUTING--THE STAR-SPAN-
GLED BANNER.

AN unimportant resolution concerning the public lands, introduced into the Senate early in 1830 by Senator Foote, of Connecticut (the father of Admiral Foote), led to a general debate, which has been since known as "the battle of the giants." The discussion embraced all the partisan issues of the time, especially those of a sectional nature, including the alleged rights of a State to set the Federal Government at defiance. The State Rights men in South Carolina, instigated by Mr. Calhoun, had been active during the preceding summer in collecting material for this discussion, and they had taken especial pains to request a search for evidence that Mr. Webster had shown a willingness to have New England secede from the Union during the second war with Great Britain. The vicinity of Portsmouth, where he had resided when he entered public life, was, to use his own words, "searched as with a candle. New Hampshire was explored from the mouth of the Merrimack to the White Hills."

Nor had Mr. Webster been idle. He was not an ex-

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