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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


This foot note contained in document ADMS-13-02-02-0004-0012-0016
1. The libel suit which Daniel Webster brought against Theodore Lyman was related to the controversy between JQA and the New England Federalists (see entries for 19 Oct. and 18 Nov., above). During the 1828 presidential campaign Lyman, a last-ditch Federalist, had thrown his weight behind Andrew Jackson and in the Jackson Republican charged, allegedly upon the basis of JQA’s statement to the National Intelligencer, that Webster and other Federalists had been in 1807–1808 “engaged in a plot to dissolve the Union and reannex New England to Great Britain.” Webster brought suit for criminal libel in the Supreme Judicial Court, Chief Justice Isaac Parker presiding. The evidence showed that JQA had never specifically mentioned Webster in this connection and that Lyman had included him only because of his later important position in Federalist councils. The jury was unable to agree, and the case was dismissed. See Fuess, Webster , 1: 173–174; Josiah H. Benton, A Notable Libel Case, Boston, 1904.