The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster: With an Essay on Daniel Webster as a Master of English Style

By Edwin P. Whipple; Daniel Webster | Go to book overview

RECEPTION AT BUFFALO.

A SPEECH DELIVERED BEFORE A LARGE ASSEMBLY OF THE CITIZENS OF BUFFALO AND THE COUNTY OF ERIE, AT A PUBLIC RECEPTION ON THE 22D OF MAY, 1851.

FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE CITY OF BUFFALO,-- I am very glad to see you; I meet you with pleasure. It is not the first time that I have been in Buffalo, and I have always come to it with gratification. It is at a great distance from my own home. I am thankful that circumstances have enabled me to be here again, and I regret that untoward events deprived me of the pleasure of being with you when your distinguished fellow-citizen, the President of the United States, visited you, and received from you, as he deserved, not only a respectful, but a cordial and enthusiastic welcome. The President of the United States has been a resident among you for more than half his life. He has represented you in the State and national councils. You know him and all his relations, both public and private, and it would be bad taste in me to say any thing of him, except that I wish to say, with emphasis, that, since my connection with him in the administration of the government of the United States, I have fully concurred with him in all his great and leading measures. This might be inferred from the fact that I have been one of his ordinary advisers. But I do not wish to let it rest on that presumption; I wish to declare that the principles of the President, as set forth in his annual message, his letters, and all documents and opinions which have proceeded from him, or been issued by his authority, in regard to the great question of the times,-- all these principles are my principles; and if he is wrong in them, I am, and always shall be.

Gentlemen, it has been suggested to me that it would be agreeable to the citizens of Buffalo, and their neighbors in the county of Erie, that I should state to you my opinions, whatever may be their value, on the present condition of the country, its prospects, its hopes, and its dangers; and, fellow-citizens, I intend to do that, this day, and this hour, as far as my strength will permit.

Gentlemen, believe me. I know where I am. I know to whom I am speaking. I know for whom I am speaking. I know that I am here in this singularly prosperous and powerful section of the United States, Western New York, and I know the character of the men who inhabit Western New York. I know they are sons of liberty, one and all; that they sucked in liberty with their mothers' milk: inherited it with their blood; that it is the subject of their daily contemplation and watchful thought. They are men of unusual equality of condition, for a million and a half of people. There are thousands of men around us, and here before us, who till their own soil with their own hands; and others who earn their own livelihood by their own labor in the workshops and other places of industry; and they are independent, in principle and in condition, having neither slaves nor masters, and not intending to have either. These are the men who constitute, to a great extent, the people of Western New York. But the school-

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