A rare Key to the famous 1860 Lithograph of : "Daniel Webster Addressing the United States Senate in the Great Debate on the Compromise Measures 1850." Measures 22 ¼ x 13 inches. New York: J. M. Edney - A number of the original lithographs have survived, but what so often happens is that the key is lost or damaged beyond usefulness and is discarded. The Key commemorates Daniel Webster's address to the Senate suggesting a compromise designed to lessen the tension between the North and South over the slavery issue. In 1849 there were fifteen free and fifteen slave states, giving an equal balance of representation for both sections in the Senate. The admission of California, in 1850, as a free state, upset this equilibrium and worried the South. In conjunction with California's entry to the Union, most Northerners demanded that any future states be admitted as free states. This was unacceptable to the South. The North had greater wealth, population, and political power, and the South saw its own economic and social status, based on slavery, as threatened. Daniel Webster's speech suggested a compromise and was an attempt to mollify both sides. Webster, an ardent opponent of Slavery, foresaw that if a compromise were not reached, the South might try to succeed from the Union. Unfortunately, his Northern supporters were critical of his stand; the abolitionists were particularly furious. The specific crisis raised by the admission of California was patched over by the Webster inspired Compromise of 1850. California was allowed to enter as a free state, however the Compromise also required the federal government to assist slave holders in returning runaway slaves, and prosecuting those who assisted them. This print, showing Webster addressing the Senate, is a fascinating historical document that wonderfully depicts the interior of the Senate Chamber. The Senators are shown at their seats and the fact that each face is drawn so accurately suggests that the portraits were taken from photographs. Included in this noteworthy group is Stephen A. Douglas with his Napoleon like pose - lower right, as well as Hannibal Hamlin, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Calhoun, Jefferson Davis, Sam Houston - they're all there!