Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Story Good, but Dates Wrong


Daniel Webster's son Edward must have been a precocious youth, if we are to credit an incident which Dr. Hale related in The Old South Meeting house as connected with the delivery of Webster's address at Plymouth Dec. 22, 1820, "Webster had just asked, in his solemn and impressive manner, 'Will any man dare to say?' when Edward, unused to hearing his father opposed, piped up, 'No, pa.' "

Such anecdotes are enjoyable if they are unquestioningly accepted. It does not really matter greatly that the youthful Edward was then of the infantile age of only 6 months and 2 days and the further fact that the Plymouth address contains no such interrogatory as "Will any man dare to say?" The point of the anecdote is just as good, although the dates are out. Possibly it was due to one of those errors of memory whose origin, as Professor Power Cobbe tells us in "Fallacies of the Memory," is "but a simple result of permanent mental laws." — Boston Transcript.

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