By all accounts, including his own, the speech MT gave at the dinner for John Greenleaf Whittier was the most dramatic episode in his career on the dais. The date was 17 December 1877. The scene, Boston's Hotel Brunswick. The specific occasion, a celebration of Whittier's 70th birthday sponsored by The Atlantic Monthly. The larger occasion, as Henry Nash Smith points out, was a ceremonial tribute to the New England man of letters, as epitomized by Whittier and Emerson, Longfellow and Holmes (who were also at the banquet), as the guardian of American cultural values. In its account the next morning, the Boston Daily Advertiser called the assemblage "without doubt the most notable that has ever been seen in this country within four walls," and used names like "Shakespeare" and words like "holy" to express the event's significance (see excerpt). The long account in the Boston Daily Globe ran as the lead article, and printed many of the toasts and speeches, including MT's.