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107. DANIEL WEBSTER.'
ORN upon the verge of civilizātion,-his father's house the
furthest by four miles on the Indian trail to Canada,-Mr. Webster retained to the last his love for that pure fresh nature in which he was cradled. The dashing streams, which conduct the waters of the queen of New Hampshire's lakes' to the noble Merrimac; the superb group of mountains (the Switzerland of the United States), among which those waters have their sources; the primeval forest, whose date runs back to the twelfth verse of the first chapter of Genesis,' and never since creätion yielded to the settler's ax; the gray buttresses of granite which prop
the eternal hills ; the sacred alternation of the seasons, with its magic play on field and forest and flood; the gleaming surface of lake and stream in summer; the icy pavement with which they are floored in winter; the verdure of spring, the prismatic tints of the autumnal woods, the leafless branches of December, glittering like arches and cor'ridors of silver and crystal in the enchanted palaces of fairy-land-sparkling in the morning sun with winter's jewelry, diämond and amethyst, and ruby and sapphire; the cathedral aisles of pathless woods,—the mournful hemlock, the “cloud-seeking " pine,--hung with drooping creepers, like funeral banners pendant from the roof of chancel or transept over the graves of the old lords of the soil ;-these all retained for him to the close of his life an undying charm.
2. But though he ever clung with fondness to the wild mountain scenery amidst which he was born and passed his youth, he loved nature in all her other aspects. The simple beauty to which he had brought his farm at Marshfield, its approaches, its grassy lawns, its well-disposed plantations on the hill-sides,
Extract from a speech at the Re- Genesis, chap. i., v. 12, And the vere House, Boston, Jan. 18th, 1856, earth brought forth grass, and herb in commemoration of the 74th anni. yielding seed after his kind, and the versary of Mr. Webster's birth-day. tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in
'Win., (win'ne pis sök'ki). itself, after his kind. •Mountains, the White Moun- • Mărsh' field, a village on Massatains, of which Mount Washington chusetts Bay, 28 miles S. E. by S. of is the principal suinmit.
unpretending but tasteful, and forming a pleasing interchange with his large corn-fields and turnip-patches, showed his sensibility to the milder beauties of civilized culture.
3. He understood, no one better, the secret sympathy of nature and art, and often conversed on the principles which govern their relations with each other. He appreciated the infinite bounty with which nature furnishes materials to the artistic powers of man, at once her servant and master; and he knew not less that the highèst exercise of art is but to imitate, interpret, select, and combine the properties, affinities, and proportions of nature; that in reality they are parts of one great system ; for nature is the Divine Creator's art, and art is rătional man's creation.
4. But not less than mountain and plain he loved the sea. He loved to walk and ride and drive upon that magnificent beach which stretches from Green Harbor all round to the Gurnet. He loved to pass hours, I may say days, in his little 'boat. He loved to breathe the healthful air of the salt-water. He loved the music of the ocean, through all the mighty octaves deep and high of its far-resounding register; from the lazy plash of a midsummer's ripple upon the margin of some oozy creek to the sharp howl of the tempest, which wrenches a light-house from its clamps and bõlts, fathoms deep, in the living rock, as easily as a gardener pulls a weed from his flower-border.
5. There was, in fact, a manifest sympathy between his great mind and this world-surrounding, deep-heaving, measureless, everlasting, infinite deep. His thoughts and conversation often turned upon it, and its great organic relations with other parts of nature and with man. I have heard him allude to the mysterious analogy between the circulation carried on by veins and arteries, heart and lungs, and that wonderful interchange of venous and arterial blood,—that mărăculous complication which lies at the basis of animal life,—and that equally complicated and more stupendous circulation of river, ocean, vapor, and rain, which from the fresh currents of the rivers fills the depths of the salt sea; then by vāporous distillation carries the waters
· Green Harbor is the name of Plymouth light-houses are erected. a small creek on the sea-shore of The distance between Green Harbor Marshfield, and the Gurnet is a and the Gurnet is between four and projection or point on which the five miles.
which are under the firmament up to the cloudy cisterns of the waters above the firmament ; wafts them on the dripping wings of the wind against the mountain sides, precipitates them to the earth in the form of rain, and leads them again through a thousand channels, open and secret, to the beds of the rivers, and so back to the sea.
108. DANIEL WEBSTER.
ERE I to fix upon any one trait as the prominent trait of
Mr. Webster's personal character it would be his social disposition, his loving heart. If there ever was a person who felt all the meaning of the divine utterance, “it is not good that man should be alone,” it was he. Notwithstanding the vast resources of his own mind, and the materials for self-communion laid up
in the storehouse of such an intellect, few men whom I have known have been so little addicted to solitary and meditative introspection ;' to few have social intercourse, sympathy, and communion with kindred or friendly spirits been so grateful and even necessary.
2. He loved to live with his friends, with "good, pleasant men who loved him.” This was his delight, alike when oppressed with his multiplied cares of office at Washington, and when enjoying the repose and quiet of Marshfield. He loved to meet his friends at the social board, because it is there that men most cast off the burden of business and thought; there, as Cicero says, that conversation is sweetest ; there that the kindly affections have the fullest play.
3. By the social sympathies thus cultivated, the genial consciousness of individual existence becomes more intense. And who that ever enjoyed it can forget the charm of his hospitălity, so liberal, so choice, so thoughtful? In the very last days of his life, and when confined to the couch from which he never rose, he continued to give minūte directions for the hospitable entertainment of the anxious and sorrowful friends who came to Marshfield.
4. If he enjoyed society himself, how much he contributed to
• In'tro spěc' tion, a view of the interior or inside.
its enjoyment in others! His colloquial powers were, I think, quite equal to his parliamentary and forensic talent. He had something instructive or ingenious to say on the most familiar occasion. In his playful mood he was not afraid to trifle; but he never prosed, never indulged in common-place, never dogmatized, was never affected. His rānge of information was so vast, his observation so ăcūte and accurate, his tact in separating the important from the unessential so nice, his memory so retentive, his command of language so great, that his common table-talk, if taken down from his lips, would have stood the test of publication.
5. He had a keen sense of the ludicrous, and repeated or listened to a humorous anecdote with infinite glee. He narrated with unsurpassed clearness, brevity, and grace,-no tedious, unnecessary details to spin out the story, the fault of most professed raconteurs,'—but its main points set each in its place, so as often to make a little dinner-table epic, but all naturally, and without effort. He delighted in anecdotes of eminent men, especially of eminent Aměricans, and his memory was stored with them. He would sometimes briefly discuss a question in natural history, relative, for instance, to climate, or the races and habits and breeds of the different domestic animals, or the vārious kinds of our native game, for he knew the secrets of the forest.
6. He delighted to treat a topic drawn from life, manner, and the great industrial pursuits of the community; and he did it with such spirit and originality as to throw a charm around subjects which, in common hands, are trivial and uninviting. Nor were the stūres of our sterling literature less at his command. He had such an acquaintance with the great writers of our language, especially the historians and poets, as enabled him to enrich his conversation with the most apposite allusions and illustrations. When the occasion and character of the company invited it, his conversation turned on higher themes, and sometimes rose to the moral sublime.
7. Ho was not fond of the technical language of metaphysics, but he had grappled, like the giant he was, with its most formidable problems. Dr. Johnson was wont (wŭnt) to say of Burke, that a strānger who should chance to meet him under a shed in a shower of rain, would say, “This was an extraordinary man." A stranger who did not know Mr. Webster, might have passed
* Raconteur, (rå kon't8r), a relater or teller of stories.
& day with him, in his seasons of relaxation, without detecting the jurist or the statesman; but he could not pass a half hour with him without coming to the conclusion that he was one of the best informed of men.
8. His personal appearance contributed to the attraction of his social intercourse. His countenance, frame, expression, and presence, arrested and fixed attention. You could not
him unnoticed in a crowd ; nor fail to observe in him a man of high mark and character. No one could see him and not wish to see more of him, and this alike in public and private.
109. FROM A HISTORICAL ADDRESS.'
CNBORN ages and visions of glory crowd upon my soul, the
realization of all which, however, is in the hands and good pleasure of Almighty God; but, under his dīvīne blessing, it will be dependent on the character and the virtues of ourselves, and of our posterity. If classical history has been found to be, is now, and shall continue to be, the concomitant’ of free institutions, and of popular eloquence, what a field is opening to us for another Herodotus,' another Thucġdides,' and another Livy!
1 Delivered before the N. Y. His- - Thu cyd' i des, the historian, an torical Society, February 23, 1852. Athenian citizen, was born about
Con còm'i tant, an attendant ; B: C. 471. His immortal history of that which accompanies.
the Peloponnesian war is divided 'He rõd' o tŭs, called the “Father into eight books. He is regarded as of History," a native of Halicarnas first in the first rank of philosophical sus, in Asia Minor, was born B. C. 484. historians. His style is concise, vigHis history consists of nine books, orous, and energetic; his moral reflecwhich bear the name of the nine tions are searching and profound; his Muses. In the complexity of its speeches abound in political wisdomi; plan, as compared with the simplic- and the simple minuteness of his ity of its execution—in the multi- pictures is often striking and tragic. plicity and heterogeneous nature of Livy, an illustrious Roman hisits material, and the harmony of torian, was born in Italy, B. C. 59, their combinations in the grandeur and died, A. D. 18. He has erected of its historical masses, and the to himself an enduring monument minuteness of its illustrative details in his History of Rome. This great -it is without rival or parallel. It work contained the history of the may be regarded as the perfection Roman State from the earliest period
till the death of Drusus, B. C. 9, and
of epic prose.