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EBENEZER WEBSTER, the father of the subject of the present sketch, was an independent and frugal farmer, who enjoyed the confidence and respect of his fellow-citizens, and for some time served them both in a military and civil capacity. During the Seven Years War, he distinguished himself as a soldier in the ranks of Sir Jeffrey Amherst, and General Wolfe; and was present at the battles of Bennington and White Plains, in the war of the Revolution. At the time of his death, in 1806, he had occupied for several years, the position of judge of the Court of Common Pleas, for the county of Rockingham, in New Hampshire. He was twice married. His second wife, the mother of Ezekiel and Daniel Webster, was Abigail Eastman, a woman of Welsh extraction, and “like the mothers of so many men of eminence, she was a woman of more than ordinary intellect, and possessed a force of character which was felt throughout the humble circle in which she moved. She was proud of her sons and ambitious that they should excel. Her anticipations went beyond the narrow sphere in which their lot seemed to be cast, and the distinction attained by both, and especially by the younger, may well be traced in part to her early promptings and judicious guidance."
Daniel Webster was born in the town of Salisbury, New Hampshire, on the eighteenth day of January, 1782. His early opportunities for education were exceedingly limited. The village school, kept during the few months of winter, by persons illy qualified for the task, was the scene of his youthful instruction, and thither he daily went, on foot, trusting for url occasional ride with the miller or the blacksmith, whose course lay in the same direction with his own. These advantages Mr. Webster enjoyed much more than his older brothers; partly because he evinced a greater desire for learning, and partly because his father thought he was of too frail a constitution for any robust employment. “But Joe, his eldest half brother, who was somewhat of a wag, used to say that ‘Dan was sent to school, in order that he might know as much as the other boys.?” As soon as he was able to read, which must have been when he was very young, for he says, in his letter to Master Tappan, “I have never been able to recollect the time when I could not read the Bible,” he manifested an ardent desire for books, and owing to the scarcity of them in the neighborhood of his father's house, he read the old ones over and over, till he had committed most of their contents to memory. Before he was fourteen years of age, he could repeat the whole Essay on Han, and at a subsequent period he committed to memory Watts' Psalms and Hymns.
In the spring of 1796, Mr. Webster left his father's house and went to Exeter, where he entered Phillips Academy, at that time the only institution in the State, with the exception of Dartmouth College, above the rank of a district school. Here he remained only a few months, but during that brief period, receiving the aid and encouragement of the celebrated Joseph Stevens Buckminster, who was a member of the senior class of the Academy, he made rapid advancement in his studies. A singular fact of his connection with this school has been related by Mr. Webster himself. “I believe,” says he, “I made tolerable progress in most branches which I attended to while in this school; but there was one thing I could not do. I could not make a declamation. I could not speak before the school. The kind and excellent