Albert Sands Southworth (American, 18111894); Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, 18081901)
Daguerreotype; 8 7/16 x 6 9/16 in. (21.5 x 16.6 cm)
Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937 (37.14.2)
Daniel Webster (17821852) was one of nineteenth-century America's most imposing figures, a statesman and orator of staggering power and erudition. He sat for this portrait just one month before his controversial speech in support of the Compromise of 1850, which allowed fugitive slaves to be returned to their owners, a stance which subsequently contributed to Webster's political downfall. Southworth & Hawes' monumental depiction seems to embody Carlyle's opinion that "as a logic fencer, advocate, or parliamentary Hercules, one would incline to back [Webster] at first sight against all the extant world."