RETURN TO CONGRESS.
The thorough knowledge of the principles of government and legislation, the practical statesmanship, and the capacity for debate shown in the State convention, combined with the splendid oration at Plymouth to make Mr. Webster the most conspicuous man in New England, with the single exception of John Quincy Adams. There was, therefore, a strong and general desire that he should return to public life. He accepted with some reluctance the nomination to Congress from the Boston district in 1822, and in December, 1823, took his seat.
The six years which had elapsed since Mr. Webster left Washington had been a period of political quiet. The old parties had ceased to represent any distinctive principles, and the Federalists scarcely existed as an organization. Mr. Webster, during this interval, had remained almost wholly quiescent in regard to public affairs. He had urged the visit of Mr. Monroe to the North, which had done so much to hasten the inevitable dissolution of parties. He had received Mr. Calhoun when that gentleman visited Boston, and their friendship and apparent intimacy were such that the South Carolinian was thought to be his host’s candidate for the presidency. Except for this and the part which he took in the Boston opposition to the Missouri compromise and to the tariff, matters to be noticed in connection with later events, Mr. Webster had held aloof from political conflict.