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Noah Webster American Men of Letters   By:

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First Page:

American Men of Letters.

EDITED BY

CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER.

[Illustration: N. Webster]

American Men of Letters.

NOAH WEBSTER.

BY

HORACE E. SCUDDER.

[Illustration]

BOSTON: HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY. NEW YORK: 11 EAST SEVENTEENTH STREET. The Riverside Press, Cambridge. 1890.

Copyright, 1881, BY HORACE E. SCUDDER.

All rights reserved.

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A. Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Company.

CONTENTS.

Page CHAPTER I. EARLY LIFE 1

CHAPTER II. THE GRAMMATICAL INSTITUTE 33

CHAPTER III. AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER 52

CHAPTER IV. POLITICAL WRITINGS 111

CHAPTER V. EXCURSIONS 150

CHAPTER VI. PREPARATIONS FOR THE DICTIONARY 182

CHAPTER VII. AN AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE 235

CHAPTER VIII. CONCLUSION 277

Acknowledgment is due to Mr. Gordon L. Ford, of Brooklyn, N. Y., for the valuable assistance which he has rendered by permitting the author to make use of his admirable collection of printed and manuscript material relating to Noah Webster.

NOAH WEBSTER.

CHAPTER I.

EARLY LIFE.

The village of West Hartford lies about three miles from the centre of Hartford and is mainly grouped about two cross roads, one leading from the city west to Farmington, the other, the village street, following the line of the Connecticut River and rambling from Bloomfield, the next village north, to Newington and New Britain on the south. The changes in the place for the last hundred and fifty years have not been great; the Farmington road, to be sure, as it leaves Hartford, keeps a city character and shows trim villas at intervals nearly all the way to the village, but the village has not moved to meet the city, and its houses and one or two churches and post office have admitted new comers so slowly that the general air of the place can scarcely be different from what it was in 1758, when Noah Webster was born there, October 16. The house in which he was born is still standing, about a mile from the corners, on the road leading south; it is upon a broad table land, and the wide fields which lie below it, stretching away to Talcott Mountain, where the western view ends, are the fields which Webster's father planted.

The ancestral stock was substantial. Noah Webster remembered the funeral of his grandfather Daniel, and Daniel was five years old when his grandfather died, who was one of the first settlers in Hartford and Governor of Connecticut. The family had lived thus in this district for five generations, as farmers, long lived and good citizens. The place where Webster was born was sold by his father in 1790 to the family whose representatives now live there; it covered eighty acres then, but has been broken in upon from time to time. The senior Webster sold it because he was poor. He lived his life of ninety one years in a Connecticut village, leaving it only when he led a company for one campaign in the Revolutionary War. His square, upright tombstone stands in the village graveyard, and commemorates the stocky virtues of integrity and piety. He was Deacon Webster and Squire Webster, and reached thus the highest offices in state and church which a little New England village could offer.

Upon the senior Webster's stone is the name of his wife Mercy, who is comprehensively disposed of as "his consort, equally respected for her piety and virtues... Continue reading book >>




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