|Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:|
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vol. IV: Literature of the Republic, Part I., Constitutional period, 17881820
|To John Randolph, In Rejoinder to a Challenge|
|By Daniel Webster (17821852)|
[From The Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster. Edited by Fletcher Webster. 1856.]
SIR,For having declined to comply with your demand yesterday in the House, for an explanation of words of a general nature, used in debate, you now demand of me that satisfaction which your insulted feelings require, and refer me to your friend, Mr. , I presume, as he is the bearer of your note, for such arrangements as are usual.
| This demand for explanation, you, in my judgment, as a matter of right, were not entitled to make on me; nor were the temper and style of your own reply to my objection to the sugar tax of a character to induce me to accord it as a matter of courtesy.|| 2|
| Neither can I, under the circumstances of the case, recognize in you a right to call me to the field to answer what you may please to consider an insult to your feelings.|| 3|
| It is unnecessary for me to state other and obvious considerations growing out of this case. It is enough that I do not feel myself bound at all times and under any circumstances, to accept from any man, who shall choose to risk his own life, an invitation of this sort; although I shall be always prepared to repel in a suitable manner the aggression of any man who may presume upon such a refusal.|
Your obedient servant,
DANIEL WEBSTER. WASHINGTON, early in 1816.