Skip to main content

Full text of "Daniel and Ezekiel Webster. An address before the Bar Association of Grafton and Coos counties"

See other formats







FEBRUARY 2, 1886. 


Republican Press Association, Railroad Square. 







,nd cor 



FEBRUARY 2, 1886. 


Republican Press Association, Railroad Square. 




At the age of fifteen, Daniel Webster's health was not good, 
and he was far from strong. He conld do only the light work 
about the house, the stable, and the farm. On the other hand, 
Ezekiel, two years older, was a sturdy, strong, well made young 
man, who did his full share of hard farm-work with the " hired 
hands." He lisped considerably when talking, but Daniel spoke 
in a full, clear, deliberate manner. Both boys were studious : 
a lady who attended school with both of them has said that she 
never saw either of them idle in school. 

Their father did not have an abundance of this world's goods. 
He had been one of the first settlers in Salisbury, establishing 
himself on the extreme frontier ; and he had spent a large share 
of his life in the service of his country, with poor pay, or no 
pay at all. When he began to think about the education of his 
sons, his farm was under a mortgage, but he had determined 
to l ' raise his children to a condition better than his own." 
Conse'queutly he sent Daniel to Phillips academy in Exeter, 
then the capital of the state. Both boys had attended every 
day their own district school while it lasted, and the schools in 
adjoining districts frequently were arranged so as to afford one 
or two months mote instruction to pupils living near by. So, 
when at the age of fifteen his father sent him to Kxeter, Daniel 
was proficient in all English branches. His school-masters had 
been Master Chase, and, specially, the renowned James Tappan, 
whom he afterward mentions in the most endearing terms. His 
health improved with study, and his intellect brightened and 


strengthened as his body developed and grew strong. Exeter 
my was an expensive school fur the father's Btraitened 
means, and the Bon's intellectual growth seemed t<> outstrip the 
conditions and opportunities around him. So, after two terms, 
or Bis months, :it Exeter, the father determined t<» Bend lii- bou 
Bpeedily to college, and with this object made arrangements to 
place him at Boscawen under the instruction of the Rev. Samuel 
I, a most benevolent man and excellent teacher. He kept 
bis determinatioo from the boy for Bome time, and at length 
told him In- would carry bira over to Boscawen and place him in 

tuecare and nnder the tuiti f Mr. W 1. where he could ■• <1<> 

chores" and thereby pay :i good Bhare of bis expenses. 

Daniel bad beard :i great deal of Dartmouth college, and had 
onged for the advantages and delights that an education there 
would confer upon him, but bad never dared to expect, or even 
hope, that be could I"- the happy recipient of them. 

When be came near the end of the journey to Boscawen, and 
while ascending the long, Bteep bill that led to Mr. Wood's 
house, the father, for the first time, opened to hi> boh his deci- 
sion to Bend him to college. <> happy day for Daniel Webstei ! 
o happier day for Dartmouth collegi With :i heart full <>t" 
filial love and overflowing with filial gratitude, the boy laid liis 
dizzy bead upon the paternal Bboulder and wept, bnt Baid noth- 
ing. Late in after life he wrote, — "The thing appeared bo high, 
and the expense and sacrifice it would cost my father ><> great, 
[ conld only press bis hand and shed tears. Excellent, excel- 
lent parent! I cannot think of yon now without being a child 
again!" The lips that never afterwards failed to express the 
emotions of that great, noble, loving heart were dumb with 
overpowering thankfulness, and the tongue that afterwards 
thrilled tin- civilized world with its eloquence "cleaved to the 
roof of liis mout h." 

Later, his father sent for bim, and lie went home for the hay- 
making, — but the hay-field was lonely compared with Mr. W I's 

studv; turning the mown grass was dull work compared with 
turning tin' leaves of Don Quixote, or the translation of Vergil 
and Cicero. He thought his scythe bung more gracefully, and 
more to suit him, on the limb of an apple-tree than in his hands ! 

Daniel went to Hanover on horseback to enter college, and 


carried his bed, bedding, clothing, and books with him. His 
way led through New Chester, Hill, Danbury, Grafton, Orange, 
Canaan, Enfield, and Lebanon. He was poorly prepared for 
college, his preparatory course having lasted only eleven 
months. He himself said, " I was not litted for college." 
There, as everywhere else, he was never idle. In addition to 
his prescribed studies and duties he read much, and paid his 
board for an entire year by superintending the publication of a 
little weekly paper : during the winter vacations he taught 
school. When he went away one winter he wore away Benja- 
min Clark's new ten dollar beaver hat: hats at that time were 
made of real beaver fur. He was quite a swell as school-master, 
with this elegant new head-covering. His class-mate, Clark, 
supposed it was surely lost. Clark had searched high and low 
for his new hat, and was obliged to put up with an old one that 
he had. When Daniel came back to college with the hat, Clark 
shook hands with him over the joke, and they were good friends ; 
and so glad was the latter to find that his nice new hat, the 
envy of the college, had not been stolen, that they remained 
good friends ever after this so called " college prank." 

While Daniel for two years and a half was exulting in the 
enjoyment of educational advantages, Ezekiel, whom he loved 
with all the tenderness of youthful brotherly ardor, was at 
home, at work early and late on the farm helping his father and 
contributing to the support of Daniel in college, without mur- 
muring or objecting. The latter began to feel uneasy at his 
brother's situation. It troubled him to think that Ezekiel, with 
many gifts as great as his own, should be plodding at home on 
the farm, while he himself was obtaining a liberal education. 
Though Daniel was unhappy at his brother's prospects, what 
could be done? To educate one son at Dartmouth seemed 
almost more than his father, with limited means and a mortgaged 
farm, could do. When Daniel had been at college one year and 
two terms, and was paying many of his own expenses by the 
labors above described, he took courage for his ki brother Zeke " 
and went home to spend his May vacation. The two boys went 
to bed, and through the live-long night held serious consultation 
about the elder brother's chances to fit for college and complete 
his education. Daniel was two years his junior, and already 


nearly balf through his collegiate coarse: the elder brother was 
at least five years behind bim. They rose after Banrise without 
having Bhut their eyes, bul they had aettled their plans. All the 
pros and cone bad been weighed and considered, and, although 
it might Beem late in life for Ezekiel to commence In* prepara- 
tion for college, it was Bettled thai Daniel Bbould propose to bis 
father that Ezekiel ?-h«»uI«l be Benl to Bchool and to college. 
This was the first cause of importance that the great advocate 
undertook, and it was before a most appreciative tribunal, and 
be had a .Unit whom In- adored. The father was old, hie health 

I. hie circumstances not easy, the farm mast be carried 

on. tin- mother ami two Bisters tenderly cared for : when Ezekiel 
Bbould go away the mainstay <>f the family would be gone. 

• I athei "' -anl Daniel. " I am extremely unhappy at Ezekiel's 
prospects in life. Nature has been bountiful in gifts to bim. 
In personal appearance, in manly beauty, be la inferior to no 

>n thai 1 ever saw. It ia true he lisps a little, but, with 
me, thia only adds a charm to bia Bpeech. Bui be baa rare 

qualities both Of head and heart, and when his natural endow- 
ments shall be improved and polished by a liberal education, be 
will be a man that hi> father, hi- mother, bia brother, and his 
sisters will be proud of. I cannot bear to be enjoying advan- 
- denied to him. For myself, I can Bee my way through. 
Mv pathway to respectability, to knowledge and self-protection, 
ia clear before me. I am nearly half-way through college, and. 
by editing a paper al Hanover and teaching Bchool for the past 
two winters, I have been able thus far to pay more than balf 
mv bills. 1 am do longer despondent about myself. I am full 

•urage. I can keep BChool and stay more than four years 

in college, if necessary, if only my brother can have the advan- 
tages thai 1 am enjoying. I hope never to fail in affectionate 

veneration for you and mother, nor m tender regard for my >is- 
ters ; but 1 want Ezekiel to have the advantages which I have, 
and then they will afford me more than double enjoyment. It 
will sadden all my future life to have him denied the privileges 
which lie deserves as much as — yes, more than I." 

The reply of that father, who ** shrunk from DO sacrifice to 
serve his country through the fire and blood of :i seven years' 
revolutionarv war," entitles him to the appellation of "excel- 


lent, excellent parent." "My son," said be, " I have lived and 
am living but for my wife and my children. I have but little of 
this world's goods, and on that little I put no value, except as 
it may be useful to them. To carry you both through college, 
my son, will take all that I am worth, and I am willing to run 
the risk myself ; but when it comes to your mother and sisters, 
it is a more serious matter. You are all equally dear to me, and 
had it pleased heaven to endow me with riches, there is no priv- 
ilege of education that should be denied any one of you. Eze- 
kiel and you must settle this matter with your mother aud sis- 
ters ; if their free consent is obtained, you shall both have a 
collegiate education, and I will put my trust in Providence and 
get along to the end of life as well as I can." 

There was a grave family council of father, mother, sons, and 
daughters. For a time the father sat in silence. At length he 
said to the mother,— " I have had a long talk with Daniel about 
Ezekiel's going to college, and the hearts of both the boys seem 
to be set upon it ; but I have told them that I could promise 
nothing without the free consent of their mother and sisters. 
The farm is already mortgaged, and if we send Ezekiel to col- 
lege it will take all we have ; but the boys think they can take 
care of us." 

Parents and children mingled their tears together. Daniel 
had gone, and now Ezekiel, the strong staff upon which the 
aged father and mother and the unmarried dependent sisters 
were leaning, must be separated from them and their home no 
longer be cheered daily by his presence. 

It was a moment of intense interest to all the family. The 
mother was a high-minded, stout-hearted, sagacious woman, 
and it did not take her, the mother of two such boys, long to 
decide the matter. She at once saw the reasonableness of the 
request, and the great advantage to be derived by her sou if his 
request should be granted, and she gave her decision in these 
words : " I have lived long in this world, and have been happy 
in my children. If Daniel and Ezekiel will promise to take care 
of me in my old age, 1 will consent to the sale of all our prop- 
erty at once, that they may enjoy with us the benefits of what 
remains after our debts have been paid." 

O excellent, excellent father ! Noble, noble mother ! Dear 


devot - ! The die was cast, and with tears and benedic- 

tions the family submitted to a temporary separation. But the 
farm was not Bold, and the parents continued in comfortable 
circumstances to the end of life. One of the Bisters was happily 
married and became the mother of the well known and accom- 
plished scholar, diplomat, and orator, ( ibarles B. Haddock, while 
both spent useful and happy lives and left behind them good 
and honored nan • 

Daniel went back to Hanover; Ezekiel took his bundle of 

clothes and bo >r. W I's, and began the Btudy of Latin 

and Greek, for he, like Daniel, was well up in the English 

branches. There was an excellent academy at Salisbury, and 

miel bad been allowed two terms at Exeter, Ezekiel was to 

be allowed two terms at Salisbury, after which be was to return 

to Dr. W I's. !!<■ spent »i\ months at the academy, and thru 

completed bis preparatory course with Dr. Wood, where his i \- 
penses were about one dollar a week. It is fair to presume the 
elder brother was as well fitted as the younger, for he was quite 
as studious, althongh he distrusted bis ability to get on. But 

Daniel liiin frequently from Hanover, cl red him up, 

and allured him al 

In the Bpring of 1801, Ezekiel entered Dartmouth, before his 
brother bad graduated. In Augusl of the Bame year Daniel 
took his diploma, his brother having already accomplished one 
vear of his collegiate education. 

[t has often been said thai Daniel was exasperated with the 
treatment of the faculty in not giving him the valedictory, and 
indignantly tore ap and threw away his diploma, exclaiming, 
'• Dartmouth college will hear from me hereafter." This Btory 
has do foundation in truth whatever, and no graduate of the col- 
lege ever cherished more personal regard for the professors and 
more veneration for his alma-mater than did Daniel Webster. 

Theodore Parker, in his sermon on Mr. Webster's death. 
preached in the Blelodian in October, 1852, remarked that "Dr. 
Wood had small Latin and less Greek." Mr. Parker was misin- 
formed. Dr. Wood graduated at Dartmouth in 1797 with the 
highesl honors of his class, and was awarded and delivered the 
valedictory address at commencement. He studied theology, 
was licensed to preach, and began his ministry in the October 


following. He prepared four score of young men for college, 
and was considered a ripe scholar for his time. The writer of 
this article was born and reared in the same school-district 
where Dr. Wood resided during all his life in Boscawen, and 
knows he was an excellent linguist and an eminent divine. It 
will not be supposed that Daniel Webster was taken from so 
distinguished and competent a teacher and classical scholar as 
Dr. Abbott of Phillips Exeter academy to complete his prepar- 
atory course and put on the finishing touch with Dr. Wood, if the 
latter had " small Latin and less Greek." He was, as I have 
said, an excellent classical scholar and a learned man, and the 
degree of doctor of divinity was conferred upon him at a time 
when that honor signified something'. 


I desire to call attention to another mistake of Mr. Parker's, 
made in the same sermon, and which was current as a tradition 
a long time before Mr. Webster's death. He said,—" He grad- 
uated in his twentieth year, largely distinguished for power as a 
writer and speaker, though not much honored by the college 
authorities. So he scorned his degree, and, when the faculty 
gave him their diploma, he tore it in pieces in the college yard 
in presence of some of his mates, it is said, and trod it under 
his feet." I heard this a great many times when a boy, and 
while fitting for college and in college, and always considered it 
an invention of some idle, careless, disappointed person who 
had neither earned or deserved collegiate honors. I shrank 
from contradicting this story, but at the same time had the 
best evidence that it had no shadow of a foundation, for if 
Daniel Webster had, more than a year after his graduation, 
shown and translated his diploma to one of his loved and cher- 
ished friends, it would be rather convincing proof to me that he 
did not tear it up and trample it under his feet. But within one 
year, Mr. Stephen M. Allen, president of the Webster Histori- 
cal Society, in the Spectator, has reiterated the story as a tradi- 

At an agricultural fair, where George W. Nesmith was present, 
his attention was called to a decision upon the merits of two 
animals, wherein one had an award in money and the other, a 


diploma. A person remarked that the money award was made 
to the wrong animal, and he further Baid, — " It' 1 were that ani- 
mal that has received the diploma, I would d<> with it as Daniel 
Webster <li<l with hi- : I would tear it up in the presence of the 
committee on Lulls, and tread it under my feet." Mr. Nesmith 
Baid be related this to Mr. Webster booh after, and be Baid there 
was no1 a word of truth or semblance of it in the Btory. He 
said,— 4 ' It was true the valedictory lay between me and another 
very worthy member of the class, snd I thought I deserved the 
bonor, and many of my .-la— mat.- thought bo too, and I felt not ■ 
little chagrined ; but you do n't suppose 1 was bo indiscreet as to 
-h<>w it. much more to tear up my diploma, which I then prised 
as the most choice treasure a young man could possess. Be- 
sides, I should have been obliged to decline the honor, for I bad 
already been selected by my class to deliver an address before 
the Fraternity, which 1 preferred al that time to the honor of 
being valedictorian." This has been told me within two years 
by Mr. Nesmith, and be bas assured me thai the late Professor 
Shurtlefl told bim the same in refutation of this Btory. Judge 
. of Rutland, Vermont, had bis attention called to this 

mailer by the publication of Mr. Allen"- article in the Spectator, 
and he replied to it in the Century Magazine, and relate- there 

the -am.- thing told him year- ago by Professoi Shurtlefl, in 
complete refutation of the diploma fabrication. 

Bat to return to the subject : After this episodical defence of 
Dr. Wood's Classical fame. Ezekiel taught BCl 1 one winter in 

Salisbury and two winters in San born ton. In the Bpring of 
L 804, three years after he entered college, he began a private 
school in Boston, which he taught for a year. So Btudious was 

he. that three year- from hi- entrance into college he went to 

Boston, and returned at commencement, passing his examina- 
tions and earning hi- degree, thus accomplishing in three years 
what Daniel did in four. So reduced did his father'.- finances 
become, that he could no longer furnisb the boys with funds. 

Ezekiel was sent money by Daniel during his last year at Han- 
over, and Daniel earned thi- money at Conway, by copying 
deed- in the Register's office. The father continued t<> hold the 
ofBce of .Indue of the Court of ( iommon Pleas, to which he was 
appointed in 1791, till his death in 1806. 


In the discharge of all the duties of citizen, soldier, magis- 
trate, parent, Christian, Judge Webster was a man of whom his 
neighbors, his townsmen, his country, and his illustrious children 
might be justly proud. Of all the brave men who stood watch 
and ward over the frontier of civilization in New Hampshire, 
none displayed more fortitude than he. He had the heart of a 
lion, and the sweet, tender sympathy of a girl. 

When Daniel was admitted to the bar in 1805, he came to 
Boscawen and opened an office in order that he might be near 
his honored father, to administer to his wants and to comfort 
him in his old age. In 1807, having paid the debt of gratitude 
as well as he could to these " excellent parents," and having 
laid them tenderly away to that rest which remaiueth for them, 
he transferred his office and most of his business to Ezekiel, 
and moved to Portsmouth to continue the career that in the end 
made him the most illustrious son of this republic. 

The beautiful and tender tribute which he paid to his father 
at Saratoga on August 19, 1840, is the sweetest and most fra- 
grant expression of filial love and childlike veneration within 
the limits of language. 

Speaking of the log-cabin in which the "elder brother and 
sisters were boru," he said,—" If I ever fail in affectionate ven- 
eration for him who reared it and defended it from savage vio- 
lence and destruction, cherished all the domestic virtues beneath 
its roof, and, through the fire and blood of a seven years' revo- 
lutionary war, shrunk from no danger, no toil, no sacrifice, to 
serve his country and to raise his children to a condition better 
than his own, may my name and the name of my posterity be 
blotted forever from the memory of mankind." 

In the history of Boscawen and Webster by Coffin, there is 
what purports to be a likeness of Ezekiel Webster. It bears 
but little resemblance to him. It has not the princely head of 
the original. It has a stiff "tape and buckram " appearance. 
It lacks the full, thickly covered head of snowy-white hair, and 
the open, manly countenance and clean-cut features, of the 
original. Daniel, looking with eyes of brotherly tenderness, 
saw in him, as he lay in his coffin, "the finest human form he 
ever laid eyes on." 

At the age of forty-nine, when his hopes and prospects were 


ripening, the Bilent Bummons was Berved upon him, and he 
I from earth to lieaven, from the inferior court below 
t.. the supreme court above. Standing erect before a jury in 
Merrimack county, with the judge, the bar, and a large audi- 
ence listening intently to hie words, his arms banging gracefully 
bv his Bide, he ended a branch of bis argument, and instantly 
closed bis eyes in death. In the midst of the Bolemn scene, 
Sullivan, the eloquent attorney-general, who was to fol- 
low him in bis argument, exclaimed " What shadows we are, 
and what shadows we pursue I " 

Ephraim Hutchins, then twenty-three years of age, whom 
Daniel Webster well knew, and at whose father's tavern be was 
accustomed to Btop when in Concord, Btarted immediately in a 
private conveyance for Boston to carry the sad intelligence to 
Daniel. The roads were muddy, and badly cut np by heavier 
traffic. Frequent changes of horses enabled him to reach 
Boston late in the nighl of the Bame day or early in the morning 
of the next. Young Hutchins knew where Mr. Webster lived, 
and, driving directly to his bouse on Summer Btreet, knocked at 
the door. A window in the chamber above was immediately 
raised, and .Mr. Webster was visible. The wagon Btopping in 
front of hi- house in the Btillness of the night bad given notice 

of the arrival of some one before the signal knock at the door. 

■•Who is it?"said Mr. Webster. "Ephraim Hutchins," was 
the reply. •• I- Ezekiel dead?" came the enquiry from the win- 
dow. "Yes," was the response; "while addressing the jury 

in the COUrt-house in Concord, he fell dead in an instant with- 
out a moment's warning." "] thought," replied Mr. Webster, 

••that must be the errand you came on when I heard the wheels 
of your carriage stop in front of my door." There was no tele- 
graph, no railroad then, and no public conveyance except the 
Btage-coach, and the condition of the road- April 10th, in the 
night, made the journey, over seventy-live miles long, a severe 
one. Mr. Hutchins related to the writer forty years after, with 
teai- Btanding in his eyes nearly all the time, the incidents of 
this journey, and the never-to-he forgotten interview wit h Mr. 
Webster jUSt described. Nineteen years after the death of their 
loving and beloved brother, Daniel Webster, in kind remem- 
brance of this service, requested President Taylor to appoint 


Major Hutcbins post-master of Concord, and it was done. 
From 1849 to 1853, the man who through the darkness of the 
lone night had hurried over the long and weary way with early 
tidings of this lamented death, most faithfully and most accept- 
ably discharged the duties of the office. 


In October, 1844, being then a member of Dartmouth college 
in the freshman class, I was obliged to visit Boston on business, 
and on my way took in a Democratic mass meeting at Salis- 
bury. It was a cold, bleak, dreary day, and the meeting was 
in an open field at the South Road, aud Charles H. Peaslee and 
Levi Woodbury were the Held orators. It was so cold that au 
adjournment was had to the hotel, and the last speaker was 
Franklin Pierce. I had never before seen him, and I was capti- 
vated by his manners, his personal appearance, aud the beauty 
and elegance of his diction. In the course of his speech he 
said, — " It was the remark of a distinguished son of New 
Hampshire, who was born and reared on your soil, aud who 
hasn't drawn a free breath for the last fifteen years, that New 
Hampshire is a good state to emigrate from.'''' He put especial 
emphasis upon the word from, and I think I am not saying any- 
thing extravagant, when I affirm that no man could give more 
significance to a word or a seutence by his manner and the 
snap of his head, than Franklin Pierce. He did not call Mr. 
Webster's name, but every person in the crowd knew perfectly 
well that the distinguished son of New Hampshire, who was 
born and reared on the soil of Salisbury, was Daniel Webster, 
and many knew that he referred to his having been paid a lib- 
eral sum to accept a position in the Senate of the United States 
with a salary of eight dollars a day there, when he could obtain 
in the practice of his profession in Boston many times that 
amount. At a kt colored beverage " entertainment in Franklin 
in 1850, after Daniel Webster had made his celebrated 7th of 
March speech, General Pierce said to Mr. Webster, when specu- 
lating a little upon the probability of the Whigs' dropping him 
on account of that speech and other speeches supplementary to 
that, — - k If the Whigs drop you the Democrats will take you up, 


and they will raise yon bo high that your feel will Bcorn to kick 
the stars." 

\- a public dinner given at the Eagle hotel, <>n its completion 
in 1852, when Franklin Pierce had been shown to be the choice 
of the people for the presidency <>f the United States, Col. John 
H. George, who always ech 1 liis friend's declarations, re- 
marked when called upon for some postprandial remarks. 

w ister ased to Bay that New Hampshire was a a 
State t" emigrate from," not emphasizing the word from. Mat- 
thew Harvey, < I »gg, Asa McFarland, General Pierce, 
Charles 11. Peaslee, and many other gentlemen distinguished in 
pnblic affairs, were present, and no one Beemed to doubl that 
Daniel Webster mad.- this remark. I have heard it on other 
public occasions, more ont of the state than in. I have Been it 
in p r i D t : but Daniel Webster never made the remark. No 
such idea ever entered into bis brain. He doubtless did think 
that it was a credil to a man to bail from New Hampshire. He 
might Bay ' We i aise men up in New Hampshire ;" and be might 
have said, " 1 am a New Hampshire man." the Barae as the 
Roman was accustomed to Bay, -I am a Roman citizen," but 
that he ever -aid or intimated that New Hampshire was not a 

g i and noble Btate to be born in, to live in, and to die and be 

buried in, is untrue. No man ever manifested more love, or 
cherished more affectionate regard, for his native Btate than 
Daniel Webster, and it was one of the studies of his lite how he 
might the more appropriately declare his devotion to the land 
of his birth, the home of his childhood, and the Btate where the 

triumphs of his early manh 1 were achieved. But 1 am not 

left without a witness in this matter. My lamented friend, 
General Walter Harriman, said to me many times during the 
four or five years before his death, that he had a conversation 
with Peter Harvey upon this Baying, and .Mr. Webster denied 
with much feeling that he ever publicly or privately mad.- any 
such remark in that form or anything that could lie construed 
into it. and that every word of it was a pure fiction. Peter 
Harvey is gone, General Harriman has just stepped over the 
threshold of immortality, hut George W. Nesmith •• >till lives." 

He has told me many times, and within a few months, that he 
had several interviews with Mr. Webster, and he -aid. "I never 


said it, nor anything of that import. My utterances have been 
rather public, and it seems as though some one could tell the 
time, the place, or the occasion where I made such a remark, or 
any other remark not respectful to the land of my birth. The 
remark was many years ago attributed to Jeremiah Mason, but 
I do not think he ever made it." 

About 1815, Ezekiel Webster and Richard Fletcher were 
arrayed against each other, before a board of referees in Sal- 
isbury, where a young school-master was complained of for 
unmercifully punishing one of his pupils. The referees were 
Andrew Bowers, Benjamin Pettengill, and Jabez Smith. The 
trial excited a great deal of interest, and it is not too much to 
say that these attorneys were the best advocates in that section 
of the state. Webster was for the little lad, and Fletcher for 
the school-master, and the following is the exordium of Web- 
ster's argument: "May it please you, gentlemen referees: It 
has got to be the case now-a-days, that when a young man gets 
to be sixteen or seventeen years of age, goes to an academy 
school six weeks, gets a five-dollar French watch in his pocket, 
a rattan as long as your arm, and a ruffle shirt as wide as a 
hand-saw, he is fit to teach school." Ezekiel Webster has been 
dead fifty-four years, but the school-master still lives, and 
Daniel Webster, in 1841, caused him to be appointed United 
States attorney for the district of New Hampshire. 

In the columns of an old newspaper published in the northern 
part of New Hampshire, is the following story, entitled 
"Daniel Webster and the Teamster." "Near the end of the 
last century a teamster from Grafton county came to a hill near 
the house of Ebenezer Webster, father of Daniel, in what is 
now Franklin, formerly Salisbury. This hill was too hard for 
his team, and he sought aid at the house of Mr. Webster. 
Daniel, then a youth, and not very well clad nor very genteel, 
was sent to his assistance. Years passed, and the teamster's 
property was in peril. An eminent lawyer, Moses P. Payson, 
of Bath, was employed as his counsel. In the trial of the cause 
he needed the aid of aide associate counsel, and secured the ser- 
vices of Daniel Webster, then a rising young lawyer in New 
Hampshire. When told by Mr. Payson who it was that was to 
assist him. the teamster replied that he had little hope of their 


is be recognized in him the swarthy boy whom be had 
in. t years before, and he did not look as though be would make 
it lawyer. At the opening of the case the desponding 
client took a seal in a remote corner of the court room, feeling 
apparently as little interest in the resull of the trial as any of 
the spectators. When Mr. Webster opened his argumenl the 
client found that this lawyer was really something of a man. 
As he proceeded, bis estimate of his ability increased. When 
he closed it was evident to everybody in the court-room that 
Mr. Webster bad won the case, and had convinced all present 
that he was no ordinary man. The jury returned a righteous 
verdict, and the grateful client, who twice in early life had lost 
his all. said to Mr. Webster with deep feeling,—" I regard you 
as an angel Bent for my deliverance. My wife and children 
will bless you to their latest day for what you have done for us." 

itlemen, brothers, and members of tin- bar of Grafton and 
, counties : I have long Bought some public occasion to give 
these utterances in respectful regard t" the memory of him who 
was Bchool-mate, neighbor, and friend of my mother; who was 
genial, gracious, and kind to his townsman, my father; and it is 
fitting and proper that I should utter them here before this glow- 
ing ma-- of intelligence, before these cultured gentlemen, 
among the great mountains, whose gleaming peaks and towering 
heights tell me of majesty, Bublimity, grandeur, and beauty, 
where genius 'hew in the inspiration of a great life beneath 
these extreme northern skie>. from whence this Jupiter Tonans 
of America first drew down the bolts of that matchless thunder 

which eventually went reverberating around the world. 


011 897 952 7 *