Famous Americans of Recent Times eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 624 pages of information about Famous Americans of Recent Times.
having glanced at its contents; thus defrauding them of the only recompense in his power to grant, and the only one they wished.  It shocked him if his secretary came to the dinner-table in a frock-coat, and he would himself appear drunk before three thousand people.  And yet, such was the power of his genius, such was the charm of his manner, such the affectionateness of his nature, such the robust heartiness of his enjoyment of life, that honorable men who knew his faults best loved him to the last,—­not in spite of them, but partly in consequence of them.  What in another man they would have pronounced atrocious, appeared in him a kind of graceful rollicking helplessness to resist.

Such, as it seems to our very imperfect judgment, was Daniel Webster, one of the largest and one of the weakest of men, of admirable genius and deplorable character; who began life well and served his-country well and often, but held not out faithful to the end.  American statesmen are called to a higher vocation than those of other countries, and there is nothing in the politics of America which can reward a man of eminent ability for public service.  If such a person feels that his country’s happiness and greatness will not be a satisfying recompense for anything he can do for her, let him, as he values his peace and soul’s health, cling to the safe obscurity of private life.


There were two ways of getting to South Carolina in Colonial times.  The first immigrants, many of whom were men of capital, landed at Charleston, and, settling in the fertile low country along the coast, became prosperous planters of rice, indigo, and corn, before a single white inhabitant had found his way to the more salubrious upper country in the western part of the Province.  The settlers of the upper country were plain, poorer people, who landed at Philadelphia or Baltimore, and travelled southward along the base of the Alleghanies to the inviting table-lands of the Carolinas.  In the lower country, the estates were large, the slaves numerous, the white inhabitants few, idle, and profuse.  The upper country was peopled by a sturdier race, who possessed farms of moderate extent, hewn out of the wilderness by their own strong arms, and tilled by themselves with the aid of few slaves.  Between the upper and the lower country there was a waste region of sandy hills and rocky acclivities, uninhabited, almost uninhabitable, which rendered the two sections of one Province separate communities scarcely known to one another.  Down almost to the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the farmers of the upper country were not represented in the Legislature of South Carolina, though they were then as numerous as the planters of the lower country.  Between the people of the two sections there was little unity of feeling.  The lordly planters of the lower country regarded their Western fellow-citizens as provincial or plebeian; the farmers of the upper country had some contempt for the planters as effeminate, aristocratic, and Tory.  The Revolution abased the pride, lessened the wealth, and improved the politics of the planters; a revised Constitution, in 1790, gave preponderance to the up-country farmers in the popular branch of the Legislature; and thenceforth South Carolina was a sufficiently homogeneous commonwealth.

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Famous Americans of Recent Times from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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