The Influence of Opinion
August 25, 1801

The Influence of Opinion (August 25, 1801)
Although Webster did not have the opportunity to deliver the English Oratory at Commencement, he delivered this speech before the United Fraternity four days before his August 29 graduation.
From the Records of the United Fraternity
Source: Dartmouth College Archives

The above are the first and last pages of the transcription of Webster's Oration on the Influence of Opinion from the record books of the United Fraternity. The first page is a typical title page, and contains the quotation: "Meantime opinion gilds with varied rays/The varied clouds that chequer out our days." The last page is of interest only because of some cryptic notes. After the end of the transcription by Henry Hutchinson, someone wrote, in a hand other than Hutchinson's, "Is this D. Webster's? - why not!" After which was written in another handwriting style, "because;" followed by "of course" in a third handwriting style. What this means is unknown, although it was likely written in jest.

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