National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; bequest of Mrs. John Hay Whitney
If John C. Calhoun was the South's leading advocate of states' rights, New England's Daniel Webster was easily its most celebrated opponent. Endowed with an imposingly broad brow that seemed to underscore his eloquence in the Senate and courtroom, Webster was unmatched in his gift for speaking. In 1830 he held his audience enthralled as he turned an exchange with South Carolina senator Robert Hayne into a debate over states' rights. Ending his oration with "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable," he left his listeners spellbound, and it was many minutes before any dared to speak. From that moment, Webster was for many a living emblem of national unity.
Francis Alexander painted this portrait in 1835 to commemorate Webster's role in an 1818 Supreme Court case that protected Dartmouth College's charter from being negated.
The sitter; his wife, Caroline LeRoy Webster; Mary Tynan, a servant in the Webster's household, by 1888; (a “curiosity and junk shop,” New York); purchased by George S. Hellman by 1902; offered at auction by Hellman at The Anderson Galleries, New York on November 21, 1919; Hackett Galleries, New York, by 1930; sold around 1930 to John Hay Whitney; Betsey Cushing Whitney, his wife; Bequest of Betsey Cushing Whitney 1998