Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

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Web Property of the U.S. Department of State


Object Details

John Pope (American, 1820-1880)
North American
oil on canvas
Overall: 57 in x 46 in; 144.78 cm x 116.84 cm
This portrait of Daniel Webster, although listed in the Department's Catalogue of 1900 as a copy, may have been painted from life in Boston, Massachusetts, about 1850. This portrait was ordered by Secretary of State Jeremiah S. Black and was purchased by the Department of State from Mr. Pope on April 12, 1861.
Signed "J Pope."
Credit Line
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Accession Number


Daniel Webster (1782–1852) was born into a family of frontier farmers in Salisbury, New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College and studied law. His gift for oratory made him an influential attorney, and he became involved in a number of landmark Supreme Court cases. Moving to Boston, he represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate, where his speeches defending the Union made him one of the greatest statesmen of his time. He served as secretary of state to three presidents, from 1841 to 1843 and again from 1850 to 1852.  

First appointed by President William Henry Harrison, Webster stayed on in the cabinet after Harrison died a month after his inauguration, but he was not always in agreement with President John Tyler. Webster’s major accomplishment was the landmark Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which settled the long-standing Maine boundary dispute with Great Britain and renewed peaceful relations between the two nations. The treaty defined the boundary with Canada all the way to the Lake of the Woods in Minnesota, agreed that both nations would share use of the Great Lakes, and promised cooperation in the suppression of the international slave trade. The next year, Webster resigned from his position, likely due to financial difficulties, but he also disapproved of Tyler’s policy toward Texas.

In 1845 Webster returned to the U.S. Senate and in 1850 he was again appointed secretary of state, this time by President Millard Fillmore.