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Webster Centennial,

GelebratlnA the cominA of

IDa-nTLiel TX7"eloste32



100 years a^o,

to take the



Tryebur^ Academy.

Fryeburg, January 1st, 1902.



In the old Academy Museum which Amos J. Cook collected
(luring his Principalship of a third of a century, among other curi-
os, mementos and memorials, (which went up in smoke), were sup-
posed to be the autograph letters, written and sent to Mr. Cook
from Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. Until recently it was
supposed that these letters shared the common fate of the rich col-
lection of the Museum. A pleasant surprise was recently given
to the Trustees, when they learned that these valuable letters were
in the possession of the late F. B. Osgood, Esq.. — the same having
been found among the papers of his father, Major James Osgood,
who was a Trustee of the Academy at the time the .building was
destroyed in May, 1850. It is supposed that Major Osgood res-
cued these precious documents from their peril at the time of the

These letters, having been written to a Teacher in our venerable
institution, are interesting links, associating our Academy with the
Fathers of the Republic — as it is already associated with the great
statesman who was its early Teacher. This booklet contains cop-
ies of these interesting letters, and we feel to congratulate the A-
cademy on the good fortune of their preservation; also on the hope
that the originals will soon be returned to the Trustees, to be the
nucleus of another Fryeburg Academy Museum.


If a.iv ote has old documents, letters, books, curios, or relics of any
kind, they are coraially invited to send them as a contribution to the
Fryeburg Academy Museum. It is hoped that we shall soon have a
building, where all g\ic\i Memorials can l)e safely stored, beyond the
peril and danger of taffe.


Containing Webster's Fryeburg Oration, several letters and poems
written by Webster while in college and at Fr\-eburg — poems by
Longfellow (on Lovewell's Fight), Whittier, Henry Bernard Carpen-
ter, and several other poems specially written for The Memorial.
Sent, post paid, 50 cents.

Webster's Fryeburg Oration, post paid, 1-5 cents.

Proceedings of

Pryeburg Web^^iter Centennial.

Jan. 1st, 1902, with addresses, poems, unpublished letters of Wash-
ington, Adams and Jefferson, written to Preceptor Cook, and other
matter of local historic interest. Address,

A. F. LEWIS, Fryeburg, Me.


The friends of Fryeburg Academy, in these d.ays of Cen-
tennials, not only deemed it proper, but the fitness of things
made it incumbent upon them to take note of, and duly ob-
serve, the coming of Daniel Wel)ster to this village, 100
years ago, to act as Principal of their time-honored Institu-
tion of Leai'ning.

Accordingly the following program was arranged and
successfully carried out :

Program in Academy Hall,

at 11 a. m.
Opening Address,


2. Music,

3 Life of Webster,

4. Oration from Webster,

Massachusetts and So. Carolina.

5. Address,

6. Music,

7. Quotations from Webster,

8. a. Webster the Educator, "|
b. History of Webster's Services at ;

Fryeburg Academy from (

Records of Academy. j

9. Poem,
10. Music,

Charles G. Willard. A. B.
Fnjelnirg Academy Orchestra.
Mr. A. F. Lewis.

Floyd W. Burnell.

Dr. S. C. Gordon. "

('horns of Students.

Class 1902.

^fr. IV. .4. Hobinson.

by a Friend of the Academy.
Fryeburg Academy Orchestra.

At the close of the exercises in the hall, j'ou are cordially invited to an in-
formal opening of the new dormitory.

W^e hope to see as many friends and alnnini of the school present, as

Several letters of Webster with an account of the open-
ing of Alumni House on Monday evening, Dec. 30th, together

♦Detained in Portland by professional services.

with the delightful social hour and lunch that followed the
• j)rogram on the day of the Celebration, at the !?arae place,
with a brief history of the dwelling, a list of the Teachers of
Fryeburg Academy, and some facts of Fryeburg Centennials,
and Fryeburg's notable days, historic dates, places, and
events of the town, follow the exercises of the program as
given in this jirinted account of this first Fryeburg Webster
Jubilee — to be followed, the coming summer, with a more
formal and elaborate celebration of the great Stateman's so-
journ in Fryeburg.

Fryeburg, Maine, January 1, 1902.


//// Charlefi Glidden WiUard, A. B.

Friends, Aluinni iiiid Scholars —

Before beginning the prepared program,
1 wish to speak a word or two upon the significance of this

This date, so near the beginning of a new century, is clus-
tered about with many events, inventions and ideas, which,
within the hijise of a few years must modify considerably
the trend of American life. We now not only hear our
friends talk hundreds of miles distant but we see their like-
nesses before us. We even hear of messages being sent,
through the agency of electricity, for thousands of miles
without the use of connecting wires.

We see the race question in the South l)rought before us
in such light as never l)etore, and the peo})le of the >«orth
awakening to the realization of its duties in helping to
emancipate the negro from his })resent degraded state.

We see Mrs. Stanford bequeathing thirty million dolhirs
to the university which bears her name, the largest single
bequest ever made in the cause of education.

We see Carnegie ot!ering ten million dollars to found a
national university at Washington to promote research in
higher fields of study and to give opportunities for the study
of government and law such as can be found nowhere else
in our country.

Yet, amidst all these more far-reaching events which ar<;


f^huping- the destiny of nmnkind, there is taking place a sini-
ihir movement in our smaller world of FrNehurg.

"New occasions teach new duties
Time makes ancient good uncouth."

Mindful of the truth that "time makes ancient good un-
couth"" the friends and alumni of our academy have provi-
ded us with a new dormitory. They have fixed up our li-
brary by painting, papering and varnishing it, and also bj'
adorning its walls with pictures. They have supplied us
with magazines and have placed many new books upon the
shelves of our library. Yet, as their president has said,
their good work is not going to stop here.

What, then, is the significance of our meeting here to-

First, we celebrate in memory of one of the world's great-
est minds which took up its duties among the people of
Fryeluirg just one hundred years tigo.

Secondly, we meet to sliow our appreciation and grati-
tude to our friends and alumni who have done so much for
our academy within the last year.

Lastly, we meet to recall pleasant recollections and the
glory of our })ast, l)ut not this alone. We meet to bring
vividlv l)efore us our duties in providing that nourishment
for our academy whereby its growth and health ma}- con-
tinue in the future as it has in the past.

inEarly Manhood.


of A. F. Lewis, Esq,

Mr. Cliainnan, Alumni, :uk1 Friends of Fryel)nrg Aeadeniv :

\\\ the brief liour allotted me this morning" I cannot
treat, even hardly allude to, many of the masterpieces of
Webster. His life, as a public man, was an Ei)ic, full of
the most brilliant and dramntic scenes, covei'ing a period of
fifty years ; which the art of the engraver, the painter, and
the scul})tor will transmit to future ages. My address will
deal, principally, with his early and college life ; his life as
a Teacher and Citizen at Fryeburg, and tw^o of his master-
pieces, the Dartnu)uth College Case, and his Seventh of
March speech— considering him in the role of Statesman,
Patriot, Diplomatist — as the brilliant Lawyer, the magniti-
cent Orator, and The Great Man.

Daniel Webster was the son of Elienezer and Abigail
(Eastman) Wel)ster, and was l)orn at Salisl)ury, N. H.. flan.
1§, 1782, at the dawn of the final recognition of American
Independence. His father enlisted at the age of 18 in the
French and Indian War, and was in the Revolution with
Stark and Putnam. Private lessons at home, with incident-
al labors upon the farm, furnished the groundwork of Web-
ster's primary studies, and enabled him to enter the acad-
emy at Exeter, at the age of 14, where he remained nine
months. In speaking of his school daj^s at Exeter, We1)-
ster said that "he made tolerable progress in all branches,
but there was one thing he could not do. He could not
make a declamation — he could not s})eak before the school.


The kind and excellent Buckniinster especially sought to
persuade nie to i)erfonn the exercise of declamation, like
othej- hoys, l)ut I could not do it. Many a })iecedid I com-
mit to I'neniory, and lehearse in my own room, over aiid
over again ; hut when the chiy came, and my name was
called, and I saw all eyes turned upon my seat, 1 could not
raise myself from it. Sometimes the masters frowned,
sometimes they smiled. Mr. Buckminster :dways pressed
and entreated with the most winning kindness, that I would
ventui'e onl v once : l)ut I could not connnand sutticient resolu-
tion ; and when the occasion was o^er, I went home and
we})t tears of l)itter mortification" '*llere, then'' says an
anonymous biographer of Wel)ster, "is a striking foct ; the
man, who, during his first nine months at an academy,
though a good reader, and naturally self-i)ossessed, could
not deliver a speech ; and yet, afterwards, he ])ecame the
greatest orator of his time." Bashful hoys, take courage I
After returning home from Exeter, he studied a few weeks
with Rev. Mr. Wood of Boscawen, and heing Htted, he
entered Dartmouth at the age of 15.

Of Ehenezer's five sons, Ehenezer, l)a\id and.]()se[)h had
grown to manhood, were settled in life, and long past the
school age. To educate the two remaining, Ezekiel and
Daniel, was beyond his means. I)Ut if his longing to see,
at least, one son rise above the humble calling of a farmer
was to be gratified, it must be one of these, and to choose
which, cost the father a bitter struggle. He met it with the
unfaltering courage which marked the man, made his de-
cision, and one day in 1795 announced his determination.
"On a hot day in July," said \Vel)ster, describing the scene,
many years later, "it nuist have been in one of the last years
of Washington's administration, 1 was making hay with my
father, just where I now see a remaining elm tree. Al)out
the middle of the forenoon the Hon. Abiel Foster, M. 0.,
who lived in Canterlmrv, six miles ofl', called at the house


and viime into the tield to see my father. When he was
i^one my father called me to him, and we sat down beneath
the elm on a hay-cock. He said : "My son that is a worthy
man ; he is a member of Congress ; he goes to Philadelphia
and gets six dollars a day, while I toil here. It is because
he had an education whicli I never had. If 1 had had his
education I should haAe been in Philadel})hia in his place.
I came near as it was. But I missed it, and now I must
work here.'' When my father fully made known his pur-
pose I could not speak. How could he, I thought, with so
large a family, and in such narrow circumstances, think of
incurring so great an expense forme? A warm glow ran
all over me, and I laid my head upon my father's shoulder
and wei)t, and I weep at its recollection. The next moment
I felt as prcnid as a Roman consul to whom a triumph had
been decreed."' Such was the beginning of his college ca-
reer; a beginning, auspicious indeed, to say the least, and
the sensitive boy already seemed to foreshadow the great
and mighty statesman.'

The name of Daniel Webstei- is to the average person
suggestive of statesmanship, oratory and eloquence. No
history of the United States would be complete which did
not pay due homage to Webster's genius as dis])layed in
j)u))lic life. But in extolling his many achievements of
later life, a most important period of his career has been
sadly neglected by all writers, that of his college life. It
was a period in which first appeared those (|ualities and
capabilities in Webster which foretold for him the great
future which he so well filled, a period in which his desires
and ambitions were sha})ing themselves, a period which
more than any other directly laid the foundation for Web-
ster's future successes. And yet we have heard very little
of "Webster as a college man," this part of his career being
even more lightly touched upon by historical and biograph-
ical writers than even the earlier years of his life or those


immediately following his graduation. Thanks to careful
research during the past few years, however, and the dis-
covery of heir-looms in the nature of diaries kept by Web-
ster, and by his classmates who paid tribute to Wel)ster.
much has been gleaned which shows \A'ebsterashe was at
college. The recent centennial of his graduation at Dart-
mouth has brought out much of his college life, and will re-
sult in the preservation to the college, and to the country
much that was in danger of being lost. ^Ve have the testi-
mony of a classmate that Webster spent but a small part of
his time in the |)rejiaration of his text-book lessons, which,
in ftict, he rarely learned as a matter of detail. He, lather,
read his books very carefully, took a comprehensive view
of the lessons assigned and made them a basis of further
reading and research in line with the text. In fact, he
spent so little time witii his text books that his enemies
charsred him with laziness in coUejze, but in^'ariablv his
class-room efforts showed a knowledge of the subject at
hand more comjirehensive than that possessed by any other
student, and the professors of his i]u\ lltnis-eives are au-
thority that Webster not infrequently understood his work
better than they did. "Webster did not like to be con-
fined to a narrow view," says a classmate. **He would
study the text-books but a short time, would seem to com-
prehend them in a largei- view than the other students, and
would then employ hours inclose thought, either in his
room, or in his strolls afield. And Webster ^^as blessed
with a wonderful memory. I have known him to read 20
pages of poetry through twice, and then repeat the 20 pages
almost verbatim. The very fact of his learning thus easily,
and of his method of strolling the field for contemplation
and absorption of his subject, gave the impression at first
that Webster was slothful, but as he gradually came to low-
er head and shoulders above other students in an under-
standing of his subject, in command of language and in


oratorical diunity, we realized that in him was the niould-
iiiii' of a master mind." It was this same trait in Webster
that displayed a most amusing result just before entering
college. The teacher of a school which Daniel attended,
one Friday afternoon showed the scholars a new jack-knife,
which, she said, would be given to the pupil, who, on the
next Monday niorning could re})eat the largest numl)er of
scriptural verses from the psalms. Webster repeated ])nges
wliere the others repeated verses, and the jack-knife l)ecame
his property. Exj)lanatory of this accomplishment, Web-
ster wrote a friend : "Whatever I read J make my own.
At the close of a iialf-hour's reading I close my book and
think it all over. If anything seems of j)articular interest,
in sentiment or language, I endeavor to recall it and lay it
up in memory : then, when any debate comes u]), touching
that sul)ject. I can talk ejisily so fai' as my knowledge ex-
tends, and, when that point is reached, I am always careful
to sto})."

Webster s})ent the first -two years of his college life in the
house now known as the McMurphy house, and he occu})ied
a smrdl room in the upper story of the small cottage. Here,
in a poorly lighted, and a poorly heated room, he composed
his compositions, or i)ored over his l)ooks. It is said, that
sometimes on cold winter evenings, ;i small lamp placed
l)eneath his chair was the only artiticial means for bodily
warmth, yet he was so absorl)ed in his l)ooks that he did
not notice any discomfort. This house stands in the JVortli
West part of the town, at the corner of what is known as
Webster Avenue, a l)eautiful street recently laid out, yet
even now dotted with elegant private lesidences. It was
given the name of Webster Avenue, because here, so says
tradition, was Webster's favorite strolling place, along the
tields overlooking the Connecticut, and commanding a grand
view of the White Mountains to the North, and a sweep
down the Connecticut valley to the south. Another favor-


ite retreat, hard by, was what is now known as the Vale of
Tempe, in more recent years made famous as the site of
the Almy murder. It was through the Vale of Tempe, and
off into the then deep forests that Webster strolled one day,
the experience of which he afterwards related in a letter to
a friend. Webster's parents had learned that former friends
of theirs were living a few npi to the north, and at their
request, he set out to look uiem up. Trudging" through
the woods, climbing over l)r(>\en trees, and penetrating
tangled bushes, he came, after great weariness, to the much
sought-for house, and, as he relates it, "found the people
poor as Job's cat." "They were reduced to the last ex-
tremes of poverty, and their house contained one small a-
partment, with a rude [)artition tomake two rooms. I saw
how they were situated, but could not retreat. They con-
fessed that they had not even a cow or potatoes. The only
thino; they had to eat beino- a bundle of o'reen ^rass and a
little hog's lard. In my tired condition, I actually partook
of green grass fried in hog's laid for 1>oth breakfiist and
supper, and relished it too."

As early as sophomore year, Webster displayed great
ability as a literary writer, and at once sj)rang into promi-
nence. He com})osed his own declamations : he wrote
poetry with fluency, and delivered an occasional oration.
He was accustomed to stroll along the trout brooks or go
to the woods to hunt game, and with rod or gun in hand,
muse over his theme. Ashe styled it, he "composed at
leisure and wrote in haste," in many instances })utting none
of his important composition on paper until the very day it
was to be delivered. It is a matter of record that in one
instance, he sat down to his table just after dinner, to write
a theme which he was to deliver at 2. 30 that very afternoon.
When the theme was about half written, there came a gust
of wind that blew Webster's manuscript over the meeting-
house, whereupon Webster strolled leisurely off to the class-


room and delivered his theme as though nothing had lia}){)en-
ed ; it was one of the best efforts of the day.

In college, Webster tirst l)ecanie prominent as a writer
through the medium of the Dartmouth Gazette, established
by a Moses Davis in 17*.li), and printed on one of the first
printing presses used in this country. The object of the
paper was, "to give the jieople literature." It was an-
nounced, that "to give the j^-^wir a start, 25 cents is requii'ed
on receipt of the first nuniber,^1nd aO cents, if offered, will
not be refused.'" Soon afte'4\its establishment, there ap-
l)eared in its columns, the following communication : "Mr.
Davis : Having seen your pro])osals for ])rinting a news-
papei , under the respectable title of the Dartmouth Gazette,
I have |)resumed to come forward, and cast in my mite to
increase, if not to enrich your weekly re{)ast. Should you
think the outpourings of my puerile })en worthy a place in
your new vehicle of knowledge, you may depend on a num-
ber weekh'. As I am unable to treat any subject with that
knowledge and accuracy it deserves, you will i)ermit me,
as a compensation for want of abilities, to range the whole
field of nature, in order to collect those productions which
fortune may tlirow in my way. Icarus." In due season,
the writings of "Icarus" became the most read, and most
able in the paper. They were of a varied nature, being
communications, sometimes to the selectmen of the town,
urging im[)roved sanitary conditions, and better administra-
tion of duties, essays on "Hope," "Charity," i)oems on
"Spring,"' and other subjects.

Webster's first public oration at Dartmouth (Jollege was
not his Fourth of July oration, as is generally supposed,
but rather an oration delivered on the death of a classmate,
one Ephraim Simonds, whose last resting place is marked
by a slab in the village cemetery. Simonds, Sumner and
Cook, three students of Webster's time, are sleeping their
last sleep in what, marked by three slabs, is known as stu-


dents' row in the village cemeteiy. Simonds was buried
under the aus})ices of the United Fraternity, a literary so-
ciety of Webster's time, and We])ster was invited to de-
liver a pul)lic eulogy on the deceased, to wiiom he paid a
most glowing tribute. This was delivered when lb years
of age. The same year, and while a junior in college, he
delivered his famous Fourth of July Oration, having been
unanimously invited by the citizens of tlie town. Another
oration was delivered l)efore the society at the time of
Webster's graduation, but the records of the society have
been mutilated, and somebody has ap})ro})riated the man-
uscript copy of the address. It is stated by classmates, as
shown by diaries and letteis that are still pieserved, that
whenever any ditficult task was necessary, it was always
laid on Webster.

As early as his first year in college, Webster showed that
instinctive love for the I'nion and Constitution which after-
ward made him famous, ^^'riting to a friend, who feared
for the safety of the country, because of foreign encroach-
ments, he said : "'Intenudly secure, we have nothing to
fear. Let ?Airoi)e pour her end)attled millions around u> :
let her thronged cohorts cover onr shores from the St.
Lawrence to the St. Mary's, yet united Columbia shall
stand unmoved. The name of her deceased Washington
shall still guard the li))erties of his country, nnd direct the
sword of freedom in the da}' of batthv Henven grant that
the bonds of our federal union may be strengthened, that
Gallic emissaries and Gallic princi})les may be spurned
from our land, that traitors may be abashed, and that the
stars and stripes of a united Colund)ia may wave trium-
phant." Likewise at an early time in his college course he
formed conclusive ideas on the subject of war, as shown by
another letter written to a friend : '*Foi- what was man
created, but to cultivate the arts of })eace and friendsliip, to
improve his own mind by study and retlt'ction. to serve his


(i()(l with Jill the powers of his soul, and finally, when the
(lays of his years are completed, to bid adieu to earthly ob-
jects with a smile, to close his eyes on the pillow of relig-
ious hope, and sink to repose on the bosom of his Maker.
Why. then, is the object of our existence unattained ?
Why does war, relentless war, draw the sword to spill the
blood of mankind ? War under certain circumstances is
proper, is just. When men assume to burst those chains
which have bound them in slavery , to assist and maintain
those princi])l('s which they justly claim as natural rights,
their ol)ject is noble, and we wish them success. But on
the contrary, when individuals, prompted by desire of re-
venge, or from motives of ambition or })ersonal aggrandize-
ment, lead forth their bloody hosts to slaughter, and wan-
tonly sport in the destruction of their species, our bosoms
glow with indignation, and we voluntarily but resolutely
have recourse to those means foi our preservation, which
tyrants employ for our destruction."

The work and eloquence of Webster are supposed to have
done much toward raising the debt, and toward putting
Dartmouth in a position to enjoy a heallliful growth.

Webster's diaries tell many interesting experiences, none
more so than an experience which he met with on his re-
turn to college at the close of a winter's recess. A neigh-
bor who was going to Lebanon from Franklin by team, con-
sented to take Daniel with him, and Daniel's mother packed
his little trunk preparatory for an early start. It was a bit-
ter cold morning, but Daniel was on the road long before
breakfast, seated in an old-fashioned, scpiare-boxed, pung

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