Daniel Webster eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 332 pages of information about Daniel Webster.

The people who waged this fierce war and managed to make headway in despite of it were engaged at the same time in a conflict with nature which was hardly less desperate.  The soil, even in the most favored places, was none of the best, and the predominant characteristic of New Hampshire was the great rock formation which has given it the name of the Granite State.  Slowly and painfully the settlers made their way back into the country, seizing on every fertile spot, and wringing subsistence and even a certain prosperity from a niggardly soil and a harsh climate.  Their little hamlets crept onward toward the base of those beautiful hills which have now become one of the favorite play-grounds of America, but which then frowned grimly even in summer, dark with trackless forests, and for the larger part of the year were sheeted with the glittering, untrampled snow from which they derive their name.  Stern and strong with the force of an unbroken wilderness, they formed at all times a forbidding background to the sparse settlements in the valleys and on the seashore.

This life of constant battle with nature and with the savages, this work of wresting a subsistence from the unwilling earth while the hand was always armed against a subtle and cruel foe, had, of course, a marked effect upon the people who endured it.  That, under such circumstances, men should have succeeded not only in gaining a livelihood, but should have attained also a certain measure of prosperity, established a free government, founded schools and churches, and built up a small but vigorous and thriving commonwealth, is little short of marvellous.  A race which could do this had an enduring strength of character which was sure to make itself felt through many generations, not only on their ancestral soil, but in every region where they wandered in search of a fortune denied to them at home.  The people of New Hampshire were of the English Puritan stock.  They were the borderers of New England, and were among the hardiest and boldest of their race.  Their fierce battle for existence during nearly a century and a half left a deep impress upon them.  Although it did not add new traits to their character, it strengthened and developed many of the qualities which chiefly distinguished the Puritan Englishman.  These borderers, from lack of opportunity, were ruder than their more favored brethren to the south, but they were also more persistent, more tenacious, and more adventurous.  They Were a vigorous, bold, unforgiving, fighting race, hard and stern even beyond the ordinary standard of Puritanism.

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Daniel Webster from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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