Biography of Daniel Webster
Celebrated Americans





DANIEL WEBSTER - Of world wide reputation for statesmanship, diplomacy, and oratory, there is perhaps no more prominent figure in the history of our country in the interval between 1815 and 1861, than Daniel Webster. He was born at Salisbury (now Franklin), New Hampshire, January 18, 1782, and was the second son of Ebenezer and Abigail (Eastman) Webster. He enjoyed but limited educational advantages in childhood, but spent a few months in 1797, at Phillip Exeter Academy. He completed his preparation for college in the family of Rev. Samuel Wood, at Boscawen, and entered Dartmouth College in the fall of 1797. He supported himself most of the time during these years by teaching school and graduated in 1801, having the credit of being the foremost scholar of his class. He entered the law office of Hon. Thomas W. Thompson, at Salisbury. In 1802 he continued his legal studies at Fryeburg, Maine, where he was principal of the academy and copyist in the office of the register Of deeds, In the office of Christopher Gore, at Boston, he completed his studies in 1804-5, and was admitted to the bar in the latter year, and at Boscawen and at Portsmouth soon rose to eminence in his profession. He became known as a federalist but did not court political honors; but, attracting attention by his eloquence in opposing the war with England, he was elected to congress in 1812. During the special session of May, 1813, he was appointed on the committee on foreign affairs and made his maiden speech June io, 1813. Throughout this session (as afterwards) he showed his mastery of the great economic questions of the day. He was re-elected in 1814. In 1816 he removed to Boston and for seven years devoted himself to his profession, earning by his arguments in the celebrated ''Dartmouth College Case" rank among the most distinguished jurists of the country! In 1820 Mr. Webster was chosen a member of the state convention of Massachusetts, to revise the constitution, The same year he delivered the famous discourse on the Pilgrim fathers," which laid the foundation for his fame as an orator. Declining a nomination for United States senator, in 1822 he was elected to the lower house of congress and was re-elected in 1824 and 1826, but in 1827 was transferred to the senate. lie retained his seat in the latter chamber until 1841. During this time his voice was ever lifted in defence of the national life and honor and although politically opposed to him he gave his support to the adrninistraLion of President Jackson in the latter's contest with nullification. Through all these years he was ever found upon the side of right and justice and his speeches upon all the great questions of the day have become household words in almost every family. In 1841 Mr. Webster was appointed secretary of state by President Harrison and was continued in the same office by President Tyler. While an incumbent of this office he showed consummate ability as a diplomat in the negotiation of the "Ashburton treaty" of August 9, 1849, which settled many points of dispute between the United States and England. In May, 1843 he resigned his post and resumed his profession, and in December, 1845, took his place again in the senate. He contributed in an unofficial way to the solution of the Oregon question with Great Britain in 1847. He was disappointed in 1848 in not receiving the nomination for the presidency. He became secretary of state under President Fillmore in 1850 and in dealing with all the complicated questions of the day ahowed a wonderful mastery of the arts of diplomacy. Being hurt in an accident he retired to his home at Marshfield, where he died October 24, 1852.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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