Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

Webster's Speeches

Once a blacksmith came to Daniel Webster with a very difficult case. Webster had to study hard to get it right, and was even forced to spend fifty dollars for the books he had to consult. He won the case, and, knowing the man was poor, charged him only fifteen dollars. This good deed was not to remain unrewarded, however. A few years later Aaron Burr, Vice President of the United States, consulted Webster about a case like the blacksmith's. Thanks to the careful preparation he had made for that case, and to his wonderful memory, Webster this time earned a large fee in a few minutes.

A teamster who had known him as a dark-eyed, brown-skinned farmer's boy was disgusted to find he had been engaged to defend him. But after Daniel had made one of his grand speeches, and thus won the case, the man's friends slyly asked what he thought of Webster now. "Think!" cried the teamster, warmly; "why, I think he is an angel sent down from heaven to save me from ruin, and my wife and children from misery."

As time went on, Webster rose ever higher in his profession, until he was elected to Congress, where his careful study of the Constitution was a great help to him. Besides being a lawyer, he was also a good statesman, and one of the most eloquent men the world has ever seen. His first public speech was a Fourth of July oration, delivered when he was only eighteen; but after that he made many famous speeches besides those already mentioned. One of his finest historical speeches was made at Plymouth, to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, and his greatest political speech was his answer to Hayne, while in the Senate.

When this last-named speech was over, knowing Webster could never do any better, one of his admirers said: "Mr. Webster, I think you had better die now, and rest your fame on that speech." But Governor Hayne quickly said: "You ought not to die; a man who can make such speeches as that ought never to die."

This was very generous on Hayne's part, for Webster's speech had surpassed his own. The next time they met, when Webster asked him how he felt, Hayne again showed that he owed his rival no grudge by answering, with a merry smile, "None the better for you, sir."

Webster not only helped to make the Ashburton treaty, but wrote such a clever letter to England that, although the British had still claimed the right to search American ships, they no longer dared do so except in the way the law allowed.

Webster, like his father, was an ardent patriot, and when the quarrels on the slavery question grew so bitter that it seemed as if the words of John Quincy Adams must soon come true, he made a great effort to preserve the Union. He fancied this could best be done if the Northern people yielded to the Southerners on some points, and he therefore made a speech in Congress on the 7th of March, 1850, which greatly disappointed his antislavery friends.

Because they did not like the views expressed in that speech, they began to abuse him, and when he wanted to be nominated for President most of them would not even consider him. This was a great disappointment to Webster, who sadly withdrew to private life. Soon after this he became ill, and being thrown from his carriage, he grew rapidly worse until he died. As the church bells tolled out his age, the people around his country house at Marshfield looked at one another, and solemnly said: "It must be that Daniel Webster is dead. The pride of our nation is fallen."

Webster's country house


Webster's famous speeches have been printed, and if you want to read some of the most soul-stirring and patriotic words an American orator ever spoke; you must turn to the speech which he made in Congress to answer Hayne. Because Webster is one of our greatest orators you will often see his portrait. A fine statue of him has been erected in Central Park, New York, and on its pedestal you can read what are probably the finest words he ever spoke: "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable."