Daniel Webster

Photography Studio: Southworth and Hawes (American, active 1843–1863)

Artist: Albert Sands Southworth (American, West Fairlee, Vermont 1811–1894 Charlestown, Massachusetts)

Artist: Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, Wayland, Massachusetts 1808–1901 Crawford Notch, New Hampshire)

Date: ca. 1850

Medium: Daguerreotype

Dimensions: 21.5 x 16.6 cm (8 7/16 x 6 9/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937

Accession Number: 37.14.2

Description

Daniel Webster (1782-1852) 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."

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