This was on the fifteenth day of August, 1853. On the fifth day of October, 1854, he was present at a dèjeuner on board the ship James Barnes, on occasion of her coming under the English flag, having been built by Donald McKay of Boston. Here another speech was made, and we can see from his report that the terror was beginning to pass away, and something like satisfaction to steal in:
"I sat between two ladies, one of them Mrs.—, a pleasant young woman, who, I believe, is of American provincial nativity, and whom I therefore regarded as half a countrywoman. We talked a good deal together, and I confided to her my annoyance at the prospect of being called up to answer a toast; but she did not pity me at all, though she felt much alarm about her husband, Captain,—who was in the same predicament. Seriously, it is the most awful part of my official duty,—this necessity of making dinner-speeches at the Mayor's, and other public or semi-public tables. However, my neighborhood to Mrs.—was good for me, inasmuch as by laughing over the matter with her I came to regard it in a light and ludicrous way; and so, when the time actually came, I stood up with a careless dare-devil feeling. The chairman toasted the President immediately after the Queen, and did me the honor to speak of myself in a most flattering manner, something like this: 'Great by his position under the Republic,—greater still, I am bold to say, in the Republic of letters!' I made no reply at all to this; in truth, I forgot all about it when I began to speak, and merely thanked the company in behalf of the President and my countrymen, and made a few remarks with no very decided point to them. However, they cheered and applauded, and I took advantage of the applause to sit down, and Mrs. informed me that I had succeeded admirably. It was no success at all, to be sure ; neither was it a failure, for I had aimed at nothing, and I had exactly hit it. But after sitting down, I was conscious of an enjoyment in speaking to a public assembly, and felt as if I should like to rise again. It is something like being under fire,—a sort of excitement, not exactly pleasure, but more piquant than most pleasures. I have felt this before, in the same circumstances; but while on my legs my impulse is to get through with my remarks and sit down again as quickly as possible."—Vol. I. pp. 130, 131.
In April, 1857, another call was made upon his faculty of speech, on the opening of a free library given to Liverpool by Mr. Browne; and such is the effect of his previous training, that he is beginning almost to enjoy the novel sensation of" thinking upon his legs."
"I was really tired to death before my own turn came, sitting all that time, as it were, on the scaffold, with the rope round my neck. At last Monckton Milnes was called up and made a speech, of which, to my dismay, I could hardly hear a single word, owing to his being at a considerable distance, on the other side of the chairman, and flinging his voice, which is a bass one, across the hall, instead of adown it, in my direction. I could not distinguish one word of any allusions to my works, nor even when he came to the toast did I hear the terms in which he put it, nor whether I was toasted on my own basis or as representing American literature, or as Consul of the United States. At all events, there was a vast deal of clamor; and uprose peers and bishops, general, mayor, knights, and gentlemen, everybody in the hall greeting me with all the honors. I had uprisen, too, to commence my speech; but had to sit down again till matters grew more quiet, and then I got up, and proceeded to deliver myself with as much composure as I ever felt at my own fireside. It is very strange, this self-possession and clear-sightedness, which I have experienced when standing before an audience, showing me my way through all the difficulties resulting from my not having heard Monckton Milnes's speech; and on since reading the latter, I do not see how I could have answered it better. My speech certainly was better cheered than any other; especially one passage, where I made a colossus of Mr. Browne, at which the audience grew so tumultuous in their applause that they drowned my figure of speech before it was half out of my mouth."—Vol. II. pp. 201, 202.