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BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR

OF

D A N I E L

WEB S T E R.

CHAPTER I.

Former Editions of the Works of Mr. Webster, and Plan of this Edition. - Parentage

and Birth. — First Settlements in the Interior of New Hampshire. — Establishment of his Father at Salisbury. — Scanty Opportunities of Early Education. - First Teachers, and recent Letter to Master Tappan. - Placed at Exeter Academy. - Anecdotes while there. — Dartmouth College. — Study of the Law at Salisbury. – Residence at Fryeburg in Maine, and Occupations there. - Continuance of the Study of the Law at Boston, in the Office of Hon. Christopher Gore. – Admission to the Bar of Suffolk, Massachusetts. - Commencement of Practice at Boscawen, New Hampshire. — Removal to Portsmouth. - Contemporaries in the Profession.- Increasing Practice.

The first collection of Mr. Webster's speeches in the Congress of the United States and on various public occasions was published in Boston, in one volume octavo, in 1830. This volume was more than once reprinted, and in 1835 a second volume was published, containing the speeches made up to that time, and not included in the first collection. Several impressions of these two volumes were called for by the public. In 1813 a third volume was prepared, containing a selection from the speeches of Mr. Webster from the year 1835 till his entrance into the cabinet of General Harrison. In the year 1848 appeared a fourth volume of diplomatic papers, containing a portion of Mr. Webster's official correspondence as Secretary of State.

The great favor with which these volumes have been received throughout the country, and the importance of the subjects discussed in the Senate of the United States after Mr. Webster's return to that body in 1845, have led his friends to think that a valuable service would be rendered to the commu

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VOL. I.

nity by bringing together his speeches of a later date than those contained in the third volume of the former collection, and on political subjects arising since that time.

Few periods of our history will be entitled to be remembered by events of greater moment, such as the admission of Texas to the Union, the settlement of the Oregon controversy, the Mexican war, the

, acquisition of California and other Mexican provinces, and the exciting questions which have grown out of the sudden extension of the territory of the United States. Rarely have public discussions been carried on with greater earnestness, with more important consequences visibly at stake, or with greater ability. The speeches made by Mr. Webster in the Senate, and on public occasions of various kinds, during the progress of these controversies, are more than sufficient to fill two new volumes. The opportunity of their collection has been taken by the enterprising publishers, in compliance with opinions often expressed by the most respectable individuals, and with a manifest public demand, to bring out a new edition of Mr. Webster's speeches in uniform style. Such is the object of the present publication. The first two volumes contain the speeches delivered by him on a great variety of public occasions, commencing with his discourse at Plymouth in December, 1820. Three succeeding volumes embrace the greater part of the speeches delivered in the Massachusetts Convention and in the two houses of Congress, beginning with the speech on the Bank of the United States in 1816. The sixth and last volume contains the legal arguments and addresses to the jury, the diplomatic papers, and letters addressed to various persons on important political questions.

The collection does not embrace the entire series of Mr. Webster's writings. Such a series would have required a larger number of volumes than was deemed advisable with reference to the general circulation of the work. A few juvenile performances have accordingly been omitted, as not of sufficient importance or maturity to be included in the collection. Of the earlier speeches in Congress, some were either not reported a all, or in a manner too imperfect to be preserved without doing injustice to the author. No attempt has been made to collect from the contemporaneous newspapers or Congressional registers the short conversational speeches and remarks made by

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