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was given up, and a large and fashion in the maddening excitement of the able house in Cleveland Row engaged gaming table. Such a fevered life could in its stead. In 1829 he produced the be sustained only by artificial aid. Powthird series of his “Sayings and Doings;" erful stimulants were resorted to. The and in the following year “ Maxwell,” remembrance of the previous night's a novel. For each of these works he losses had to be effaced by ardent received £1,000. Now was the time, spirits in the morning. Preparations it might have been thought, for Hook for the evening demanded a renewal of to prove that early experience had not the same assistance. His constitution, been lost upon him; that past reckless- naturally strong, now began to give way. ness had taught him lessons of prudence; His mental energies felt the shock. but his mind seemed to scorn the teach- Years of excitement and dissipation ings it had received. He had plunged were leaving their marks upon the mind; into a whirl of excitement and gaiety. writing their tale of triumph upon the He had again become a lion of fashion- tablets of the brain, and crushing the able society. He was again welcomed moral and material man in one common to great men's houses. He was again ruin. The pen trembled within the that “ dear Theodore," who years before shaking hand. The ideas that might had sung himself into the hearts of the have given it strength and firmness beauties of May Fair. Notwithstanding trembled also. Hook wrote but little the large income he was now making, more. In 1840 he published a series his reckless mode of life and his profuse of papers, under the title of “Precepts expenditure soon began to make serious and Practice." A portion of “ Peregrine inroads upon his finances. Salary was Bunce" followed. He projected a Hisanticipated; money borrowed at any tory of the House of Hanover, and a rate of interest; but debts accumulated life of his friend, the comedian Matwith fearful rapidity, and after strug-thews, but owing to some misundergling on until 1831, the fashionable standing, did not commence the former house was at last given up, and surbur- work, and finished only the first chapter ban seclusion once more sought of the latter. He was rapidly going
The necessity now for working hard down the hill of life, and becoming unwith the pen, in order to battle against fit for any mental exertion. “Ah, I see the debts which attacked him on every I look as I am,” said he, at a fashionside, stimulated Hook to great exertion. I able party at Brompton, while surveying He was not an indolent man, and he himself in a mirror, “ done up in purse, now first began to show it. In 1832 in mind, and in body too, at last." He he produced “The life of Sir David was right. In a few days he was comBaird,” in two large 8vo. volumes. In pelled to take to his bed, and on the the following year he wrote six volumes: 24th August, 1841, after a short but “ The Parson's Daughter," three vols., I painful illness, Theodore Hook, in the and “Love and Pride," three vols. In fifty-third year of his age, was numbered 1836 appeared “Jack Brag," in three with the dead. He was buried in the vols. In the same year he commenced church-yard of Fulham. editing “The New Monthly Magazine,” The long dormant claim of the Crown with a salary of £400 a year, exclusive was now enforced, and all the personal of sums to be paid for original compo- property which Hook had left was sitions. In the pages of this periodical seized and sold. His children and “ Gilbert Gurney" appeared, and after their mother were not suffered to rewards “Gurney Married.” In 1839 he main in want. A subscription was imwrote “ Births, Deaths, and Marriages," mediately raised, and although but few for which he received £600; although of the wit's titled friends contributed to the book scarcely paid expenses. But it, a considerable sum was obtained his labours were but of little use. He without their assistance. To the ho. worked hard, and received large sums, nour of a very high dignitary of the but they were almost immediately Church of England, a bishop, not unsquandered away. He was still to be known, and not without this detractor, seen, night after night, in the houses of it may be mentioned, that he was the his aristocratic admirers, amusing the last at the bedside of the dying wit, and heartless circle by the variety and ex- the only one of the titled (friends who cellence of his amusing powers, and did not desert him. Through the inearly dawn too often found him engaged fluence of this bishop, the children and their mother received the proceeds of a to amuse them, never for a moment subscription, made larger by the bene- regarding him as an equal. Yet he volent prelate himself.
strove hard for his position, and renMuch of the fame which Hook gained dered the most essential services to his in his lifetime perished with him. As party. His early success in obtaining a brilliant wit and wonderful improvi- a sinecure place, which he probably satore he was probably never surpassed; once looked upon as the most fortunate but a large amount of the talent he dis- circumstance in the world, turned out played was of that nature which finds a to be the very rock upon which he ready recognition from contemporaries, split,—the very fact of his living with but which another generation scarcely a government debt hanging, like the acknowledges. His dramatic produc. sword of Damocles, continually over tions, those precocious evidences of his head, served but to make him the ability, were written for the hour, and more careless and the more inconsiderwith the hour have passed away. It is ate. He had also a moral wrong at his in his novels, therefore, that we must back, and no man prospers with that. look for the evidences of his genius. Each child that was born to him he And here we think contemporary criti- injured, for he marked it with the cism has judged him too favourably. stigma of illegitimacy. The lady whom His works, thrown off hurriedly without he lived with as his wife, seduced by allowing sufficient time to restrain that himself, had with him as her portion exuberance of spirit which tempted a continual shame, and must have sat him into all kinds of extravagance, are, at the head of his table with a heart at the best, but sketches; overlaid in oppressed with the most painful feel. many instances with a profusion of co- ings. Yet through this Hook lived on, louring, intended to conceal the poverty the professed diner-out, the man who of the original design. “Cousin Wil. pleased all, without whom a dinner liam,” and “ Martha, the Gipsy,” con- party was not complete, for invitations tain many forcible passages_but a were expressly given “ to meet Mr. melo-dramatic vein runs throughout, Hook." It is this part of his life which which mars, by its unreality, much that is the most painful; these are the facts, is otherwise genuine. He had a low which make not only the moralist but idea of the place and position of an au- the man, judge him as a coward, and thor, and seems never to have dreamt condemn him as a knave. His life is of teaching anything high or moral, or, indeed a sad one, but he had nursed the indeed, of anything else, than mere fila- scorpions which stung him, and he, gree sketches of fashionable and, we re-alas! was not the only one to suffer. gret to say, vicious life. Probably the ' In his humour broad farce preponnovel of “ Maxwell” is his best and derates. We are rarely taken out of most even production, although by sight of the foot-lights. His best scenes no means the brightest or most start- savour of the stage : and we almost unling. What he did, with one excep-consciously invest his characters with tion, “ The Life of Kelly," was done the peculiarities of a Liston or Mathews, for money, and money was his re- as being essential to the complete realiward. After serving great men, without ization of the author's conception, and any conscientious scruples about the thus one of his best characters, Hulls, dirty work he did, when that work was in “ Gilbert Gurney,” becomes far more done, he got deservedly neglected. He amusing when we know all about old was admired and invited to amuse, and Mr. Hill, who sat for the portrait. with the amusement the connection There is a dash, a hastiness about ceased.
Hook's novelsman evident want of In reviewing the life of Hook, the concentrated thought and systematic reader cannot but be struck with the arrangement, which, redeemed as it is lesson and the moral which it teaches, by much spirited wit, and by many that the most brilliant talents and suc- highly wrought scenes of passion, leaves cess are often but meteors which allure an imperfect impression upon the mind. those who too eagerly follow them, to The constant excitement in which he destruction. The flattering notice of a lived breathed its spirit into his pages, prince rendered his home but dull in but the flush which it gave them was comparison to the society of the aris- not, we fear, the sign of life, but rather tocracy, and these received him merely of quick decay.
At a time when the relations between shire. In a speech delivered by him in England and America are looked at 1840, at Saratoga, Mr. Webster himself with interest, and when that vast and alluded, with evident pride, to his birthincreasing country is regarded as our place, a very humble farm-house, and to natural ally, in the event of a combina- the lowly condition of his family at the tion of the despotic powers against us, time: it was not unnatural that the death of “It did not happen to me to be born one of her greatest statesmen, and of in a log cabin; but my elder brothers one who was brought immediately into and sisters were born in a log cabin contact with our government in the raised amid the snow-drifts of New important settlement of the Oregon Hampshire, at a period so early as that, question, should be looked at with in- when the smoke first rose from its rude terest, and the events of his life should chimney, and curled over the frozen be inquired after with some curiosity. hills, there was no similar evidence of
On the other side of the Atlantic a white man's habitation between it ocean his loss was felt as national. and the settlements on the rivers of The whole of the press teemed with Canada. Its remains still exist. I memorials and reviews of his life; and make to it an annual visit. I carry my what was more honourable to him, even children to it, to teach them the hardthose most opposed to him politically, ships endured by the generations which
-and America it must be remembered have gone before them. I love to dwell is a country wherein party spirit runs on the tender recollections, the kindred high, were the first to offer their tes- ties, the early affections, and the touchtimony to his talent, his integrity, and ing narratives and incidents which his thorough political honesty.
mingle with all I know of this primiA man who could so interest a vast tive family abode. I weep to think that country, so pervade the hearts of his none of those who inhabited it are now fellow men, must needs be remarkable; living; and if ever I am ashamed of it, and such indeed was DANIEL WEBSTER. or if I ever fail in affectionate veneraIn tracing his life, we shall find how tion for him who reared it, and defended unvarying an accompaniment is success it against savage violence and destructo industry and determination, and wetion, cherished all the domestic virtues shall read some useful lessons, in the beneath its roof, and, through the fire history of one who commenced life as a and blood of a seven years' revolutionschoolmaster, and rose to Secretary of ary war, shrunk from no danger, no state, to our own too exclusive and aris-toil, no sacrifice, to serve his country, tocratic government.
and to raise his children to a better One of the very first settlers in New condition than his own, may my name, Hampshire was Thomas Webster, who and the name of my posterity, be blotted had himself come originally from Scot- for ever from the memory of mankind."* land, and whose character, earnest, stern His earlier youth appears to have and unbending, seems to have fallen upon been entirely spent under the guidance his descendants. From this same Tho- of his mother, who, on account of his mas proceeded in the direct male line, weakness, herself superintended his Ebenezer Webster, an old revolutionary education at that period. His father, soldier, serving as a captain under Ma- like many other American gentlemen, jor-General Henk, and who finally died turned, it would appear, every possible whilst performing the duties of the judge source of income to account, being himof the Court of Common Pleas, in New self but a poor man: a fact, which made Hampshire; leaving by his second wife, him also take out his son to help him Abigail Eastman, a lady of a Welsh in his business, when he should have family, five children, three daughters been at school. But by this Webster and two boys, Ezekiel and Daniel lost little, as the following anecdote Webster.
will testify : The younger of these, and the sub- “Near his birthplace and in the bed ject of this paper, was born on the 18th of a little brook are the remains of an of January, 1782, in the town of Salisbury, Merrimac county, New Hamp- Webster's Speeches, 6 yols. Boston.
old mill which once stood in a dark dull stories told of him at this period glen, and was then surrounded by a in the “Personal Memorials,” published majestic forest which covered the neigh- at Philadelphia, we relate nothing, the bouring hills. The mill was a source of book having nothing curious about it income to Ebenezer Webster, and he but its benighting dulness. kept it in operation. To that mill, In 1797 the future statesman entered Daniel, though a small boy, went daily Dartmouth College as a freshman. to assist his father in sawing boards. The students of that day were very He was apt in learning anything use different from the smart and dan dified ful, and soon became so expert in doing youths of our time. Daniel set out in everything required, that his services, a suit entirely of domestic manufacture, as an assistant, were valuable. But mounted upon the least valuable of his his time was not mispent or misapplied. father's horses, the one which could After setting the saw and hoisting the best be spared from the farm, and the gate,' and while the saw was passing whole of his wardrobe and library dethrough the log from end to end, which posited in two saddle-bags. Through occupied from ten to fifteen minutes for rain and storm the student proceeded each board, Daniel was usually seen on his slow-paced nag, unmindful of reading attentively the books in the the weather, being obliged to join at way of history and biography which he the commencement of term, and arwas permitted to take from the bouse. rived at last in a very piteous condition.
“There, in that old saw-mill, sur. He joined his class the next day, and rounded by forests, in the midst of the at once took his position, as a first-rate great noise which such a mill makes, man, a position which he has since and this, too, without materially neg. held in the intellectual world. lecting his task, he made himself fami. He went through college in a manliar with the most remarkable events ner creditable to himself, and gratifying recorded by the pen of history, and with to his friends. He graduated in 1801, the lives and characters of the most ce- and it was thought that he would relebrated persons who had lived in the ceive the additional honour of the olden time. He has never forgotten Valedictory; but this honour was bewhat he read there. So tenacious is stowed upon some other, less distinhis memory, that it is said by those who guished in after life than his less forknow, he could recite long passages from, tunate rival. He received, however, and state with accuracy the contents of, a diploma, which “common-place compages in the old books which he read pliment,” to quote from one who knew there and had scarcely looked at since.”* him well, only displeased him. This
Even at so early an age, there seemed authority indeed adds a story of his with the future statesman, a perfect assembling his class-mates on the consciousness of the value of life, and, college green, and tearing up the honowhat seems stranger possibly to us than rary document with the exclamation, to his own countrymen, where boyish" My industry may make me a great foresight is not uncommon, a complete man, but this miserable parchment knowledge of the ways by which that cannot;" an act which, if true, redounds life was to be made rich, honourable, and by the way, very little to his credit. successful; for he himself has told us, On his retnrn from college, his leadthat when a mere boy, the motto which ing wish seems to have been that his prompted all his conduct was: “ Since brother Ezekiel (a great love appears I know nothing, and have nothing, I ever to have subsisted between the bromust learn and earn."
thers) should have the benefit of a colHis education was, it would seem, legiate education as well as himself. the average education of an American But his father's circumstances were too citizen, the difference consisting, as it poor to admit of this; and to accomin truth does with most of us, in the use plish it, Daniel accepted the situation made of the time occupied in education. of schoolmaster, with the determination After being under various masters, of of devoting part of his earnings towards whom perhaps the most known was the expenses of his brother's education. Joseph S. Buckminster, he went to The place where Mr. Webster spent college. Of the puerile and intensely the most of his time as a schoolmaster
was Freyburg, in the state of Maine. * Personal Memorials of Daniel Webster.
He had been invited thither by a friend
of his father, who was acquainted with formidable to your enemies, and you the circumstances of the family. His will have nothing to fear." school was quite large, and his salary. The student listened attentively to 350 dollars, to which he added a con- these sound arguments, and had the siderable sum by devoting his evenings good sense to appreciate them. His to copying deeds in the office of the determination was immediately made; county recorder, at twenty-five cents and now came the dreaded business of per dood. He also found time during advising his father as to his intended this period to go through with his first course. He at once sought him and reading of Blackstone's Commentaries, finding him alone spoke gaily about the and other substantial works, which have office; expressed his great obligation been so good a foundation to his after to their honours, and his intention to fame. At the drudgery of engrossing write them a most respectful letter : il he laboured a great part of the night, he could have consented to record any and there now exist in his hand body's judgments, he should have been writing two large folios as proofs of his proud to have recorded their honours', labours and industry. By economy at &o., &o. Ho proceeded in this strain. the end of the first year he was enabled till his father exhibited signs of amazoto pay 100 dollars to support his brother ment, it having occurred to him, finally, at college. To add to this, Ezekiel that his son might all the while be taught an evening school for sailors at serious. “Do you intend to decline Boston as well as a private school. this office ?" he said at length. "Most
In the year 1805, and of course in certainly," replied his son. "I cannot the twenty-third year of his age, Mr. think of doing otherwise. I mean to Webster was tendered the vacant clerk- use my tongue in the courts, not my ship of the Court of Common Pleas for pen; to be an actor, not a registrar of the county of Hillsborough, New Hamp- other men's actions." shire. His father was one of the judges "For a moment Judge Webster seemed of court, and the appointment had angry. He rocked his chair slightly, a been bestowed upon his son by his flash went over his eye, softened by colleagues as a token of personal age, but even then black as jet, but it regard. The office was worth some soon disappeared, and his countenance 1500 dollars, which in those days and regained its usual serenity. Well, my that section of country, was equal to son,' said Judge Webster finally, your the salary of secretary of state of the mother always said that you would present day.
come to something or nothing, become That son was then a student in the a somebody or a nobody; it is now settled office of Mr. Gore, in Boston. He re that you are to be a nobody. In a few ceived the news with sensations of glad. days the student returned to Boston, ness that he had never before experi. and the subject was never afterwards enced. With a throbbing heart he mentioned in the family."* announced the tidings to his legal coun. Not long after this, and in a surprissellor and friend, and to his utter aston- ingly short time to a European mind, ishment that far-seeing and sagacious who do not consider how rapidly things man expressed his utter disapprobation are carried forward in a new country of the proposed change in his pursuits. like America, we find Mr. Webster ac“But my father is poor, and I wish to cumulating sufficient money from his make him comfortable in his old age," legal practice to pay the debts of his replied the student.
father; and after another short interval "That may all be," continued Mr. we find him in possession of a largo Gore, “but you should think of the fu- practice at Portsmouth, “doing the ture more than of the present. Become heaviest law business of any man in once a clerk and you will always be a New Hampshire," retained in all the clerk, with no prospect of attaining a important causes, and but seldom aphigher position. Go on and finish your pearing as a junior counsel. His powers legal studies; you are indeed poor, but as an advocate were at once conceded ; there are greater evils than poverty ; but his manners at the bar were by live on no man's favour; what bread some thought to be a little too severo you do eat, let it be the bread of in and sharp, but there was no question dependence; pursue your profession; make yourself useful to the world and
* March's Rominisconces of Congress.