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gratitude." He often expressed his delight in the scenery of his native state — " its hills and vales," its “beautiful elms and maples,” its "little trickling brooks,” heard “in the still night;" the “most beautiful spectacle of the autumn forests;” “the low and deep murmuring of those forests, the fogs and mists rising and spreading, and clasping the breasts of the mountains whose heads were still high and bright in the skies"; its “skies all-healthful, and its mountains surpassingly grand and sublime." How fondly he appreciated the attractions of Marshfield, while he yet could write from Elms Farm, the home of his childhood : “ After all, this is the sweetest place in the world.” For, after describing all its surroundings, when he looked out of the east windows over the rich plains of the Merrimack, "at the east end of it," said he, “I see plain, marble gravestones designating the places where repose my father, my mother, my brother Joseph, and my sisters. Dear, dear kindred blood, how I love you all !” His attachments were strong and lasting. He affectionately remembered his college classmates and the schoolmasters of his boyhood. Not a few of his humbler early associates were objects of his benefactions. He purchased and freed the slaves Monica and Henry. His old neighbors loved and clung to him, and he clung to them; and there are few more touching letters than his reply to his New Hampshire neighbors in 1850, in which he tells them : "I could pour out my heart in tenderness of feeling for the affectionate letter which comes from you. It comes from home; it comes from those whom I have known, or who have known me from
birth. It is like the love of a family circle ; its influences fall on a heart like the dew of Hermon.” Friends of his maturer years were bound to him by the strongest of ties, and Webster and Choate were like David and Jonathan. How intense were his family affections. The fond memory of father and mother followed him to the last. The premature death of his brother in the courthouse here left a wound in his heart, thirty years later still “ fresh and bleeding.” And how crushing was the grief as wife and children, one by one, were taken from his sight!
I should do Mr. Webster's greatness the greatest injustice, did I close this discourse without an acknowledgment of his noble and unfaltering stand for principle, morality, and Christianity. Where in all his recorded utterances is there a sentence or a word that on this account we could wish erased? What prominent politician or statesman, from Washington to the present day, has uttered himself so openly and so powerfully in the maintenance of true religion ? His argument on the Girard will was circulated by the clergy. He read and reverenced the Bible and knew large portions of it by heart. He honored the sacred day, closing his gates to visitors and being found in the house of worship. He began his family life at Portsmouth with family prayers conducted by himself, and after interruptions resumed the practice at Marshfield. Through life he was wont to ask a blessing at his table.
“Religion," said he to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in his eulogy on Mason — “religion is a necessary and indispensable element in any great human character. There is no living without it. Religion is the tie that connects man with his Maker and holds him to his throne. If that tie be sundered, all broken, he floats away, a worthless atom in the universe, its proper attractions all gone, its destiny thwarted, and its whole future nothing but darkness, desolation, and death.” In answer to the blunt question of John Colby, “Are you a Christian ?” he replied, “I hope that I am a Christian; I profess to be a Christian. But while I say that, I wish to add — and I say it with shame and confusion of face — that I am not such a Christian as I wish to be.” Almost the last words of the last night of his life were words of prayer. His tomb bears the inscription, prepared by himself, beginning : “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
This was the man whom we commemorate to-day. The living recollection of his majestic presence will soon have passed away; but, so long as English literature shall last, the work that he did will stand embalmed in the works that he left. Time is vindicating his contemporary fame. And when the distant historian shall pass in review the illustrious men of the nation between Washington and Lincoln, what figure among them all will loom up so clear and grand upon the vision of posterity? He was one whom the presidency of these United States could hardly have honored, but who could have honored the presidency,
It is as well that he did not. No title is so great as the name DANIEL WEBSTER.
Fellow Citizens : Mr. Webster was preëminently a New Hampshire man. Born upon its soil, and for the first four and thirty years a constant resident of its territory, he was molded by its influences; and even its physical features seemed stamped upon his soul. The dark, unbroken sweep of its primeval forests well symbolized the vast resources of his capacious intellect; its marvelously varied surface of grove and meadow, hill and dale, was a fit emblem of the many-sidedness of his ways; its June verdure is not brighter than the freshness of his whole nature to the last; its bubbling springs and trickling rills are not more playful than the genial humor of his private life, nor its still lakes more profound than the depth of his affections; its granite cliffs reappear in the massive solidity of his character; its mountain heights in the towering ascendency of his powers; while its rushing rivers, swollen by the melting snows of spring, alone can represent the tide of his eloquence.
“ The boundless prairies learned his name,
His words the mountain echoes knew ;
From icy lake to warm bayou.
In toil he lived ; in peace he died ;
When life's full cycle was complete,
And laid them at his Master's feet.
His rest is by the storm-swept waves
Whom life's wild tempests roughly tried,
Of ocean throbbing at his side.”
Here stands his statue. Here let it stand through the generations to come, in this center and heart of the Commonwealth, by the Main Street of her capital and the door of her State House. The quiet flow of daily life, the bustle of business, and the public parade shall pass before him in silent review. The stranger shall pause and gaze on that imperial brow. Children shall here ask and be told his name and fame. The men of New Hampshire shall point with pride to the greatest of their fellow citizens. Legislators and officers of state, as they pass to their work, shall be greeted by the sight of one who wove so strong the bonds of the Union and the Constitution and guarded so well the priceless blessings they enfold. And as long as her fountains shall gush, her lakes shall gleam, her rivers run, and her mountains rise, shall the memory of Webster be fresh in his native state.