Edward Everett, Orator and Statesman

By Paul Revere Frothingham | Go to book overview

V
APOLLO IN POLITICS

DURING the first thirty years and more of our Government the House rather than the Senate held the centre of the congressional stage. The sessions of the Senate, in the early days of the Republic, were generally secret. Debates took place behind closed doors. Senators harangued one another, but did not have the ear of the country. And even after this was changed, and the public came to be admitted to the galleries of the Upper House, the Senate was too small a body to encourage eloquence or stimulate debate. There were only twenty-two Senators when the Government was first organized, and in 1825 there were barely twice that number. Eloquent contests and dramatic appeals, such as we long since became accustomed to, were hardly likely to be indulged in under such conditions. The sessions were sessions of a committee rather than of heated parliamentary debate.1

In the House, however, things were wholly different. The House, when Everett became a member, still challenged public attention and was the chief force in the education of public opinion. The chamber itself in those days was not the enormous extinguisher of telling and persuasive speech that it is in these. Its size was well adapted for discussion and. debate. The good speaker had things in his favor. It was in the House that the Jay Treaty aroused the eloquence of Gallatin and Fisher Ames. It was in the House that Clay and Webster and Calhoun established their reputations for eloquent address and passionate appeal that kindled the country into flame. Indeed, in 1811, when Henry Clay was elected to the House, after serving for a time in the Senate, he looked upon the transfer as a welcome change, and considered that he had obtained a larger field of opportunity.

____________________
1
Rhodes: History of the United States, 1, 33.

-93-

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Edward Everett, Orator and Statesman
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I - Background and Beginning 1
  • II - Pegasus in the Pulpit 19
  • III - Wander Years 36
  • IV - The Greek Professor 61
  • V - Apollo in Politics 93
  • VI - Governor of Massachusetts 127
  • VII - Port After Stormy Seas 157
  • VIII- At the Court of Saint James' 188
  • IX - A Diplomat in London 220
  • X - President of Harvard 265
  • XI - An Interlude 302
  • XII - Secretary of State and Senator 329
  • XIII - The Orator 373
  • XIV - With the God of Battles 414
  • Index 473
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