10
PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS The Godlike Image Begins to Tarnish

The two years from 1830 to 1832 launched by his second marriage and the great Senate debate marked one of the most expansive periods in Webster's life. He began to live opulently, maintaining expensive establishments in Washington and Boston while supporting the family farm in New Hampshire and building up a great estate in Marshfield, Massachusetts. At the same time he showed the first overt signs of succumbing to what Van Buren would later call "an object which no man in the country ever pursued with more eagerness or with less prospect of success" -- the quest for the presidency of the United States.

As a young lawyer and fledgling politician, Webster had envied the wealth of a man like Christopher Gore, who had been able to maintain a town house in Boston, a grand country estate in Watertown, and still take a staff of servants and a coach and four with him when he went to Washington. Sparked by his new marriage (and the dowry which came with it) he now embarked on a lavish life style of his own. After his brother died, Daniel purchased the Elms farm in New Hampshire and began to expand its holdings and operate it with a tenant farmer. At the same time, he invested almost forty- five thousand dollars for choice land in Boston next to his Summer Street mansion and rented an expensive three-floor apartment in Washington staffed by two servants plus a coachman and a two-horse coach.

Webster's acquisition of his Marshfield property during this period is particularly significant. He and Grace first saw the Thomas farm while driving back to Boston from a Cape Cod vacation in September, 1824. Webster was

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