- Project Runeberg -  America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer /
187

(1924) [MARC] Author: Fredrika Bremer
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and free, in the quiet grandeur of the song which
he had sung. Ah! that he had but sung one still
more beautiful—a yet nobler song, all then had
been perfect—a victory for the light as for
himself! But while he spoke for the freedom of
California, he spoke also for the recapturing of
the fugitive slave, even upon that formerly free
soil, and no spot of American soil may ever again
be said to be the home of freedom. The unhappy
circumstances of the time, political necessity
compelled him to this step; he could not do otherwise—so
I believe; and I believe also in his confession
of faith, “I believe in a healing vitality in the
people, etc.;” and I believe that it will show itself
prophetically true.

I will, however, now tell you the impression
produced by this speech. I never witnessed
anything which more took hold upon the attention,
or had a more electrifying effect. Amid the
profound silence with which he was listened to, nay,
as if the whole assembly held its breath, burst forth
again and again thunders of applause; again and
again was the speaker, the senator from Alabama,
obliged to remind, and finally very severely to
remind, the audience in the galleries that it was
forbidden thus to give expression to their applause.
With every new lightning-flash of Webster’s eloquence,
burst forth anew the thunder of applause,

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