Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans - Edward Eggleston

Daniel Webster and his Brother

Dan-iel Web-ster was a great statesman. As a little boy he was called "Little Black Dan." When he grew larger, he was thin and sickly-looking. But he had large, dark eyes. People called him "All Eyes."

He was very fond of his brother Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a little older than Daniel. Both the boys had fine minds. They wanted to go to college. But their father was poor.

Daniel had not much strength for work on the farm. So little "All Eyes" was sent to school, and then to college. Ezekiel staid at home, and worked on the farm.

While Daniel was at school, he was unhappy to think that Ezekiel could not go to college also. He went home on a visit. He talked to Ezekiel about going to college. The brothers talked about it all night.

The next day Daniel talked to his father about it. The father said he was too poor to send both of his sons to college. He said he would lose all his little property if he tried to send Ezekiel to college. But he said, that, if their mother and sisters were willing to be poor, he would send the other son to college.

So the mother and sisters were asked. It seemed hard to risk the loss of all they had. It seemed hard not to give Ezekiel a chance. They all shed tears over it.

The boys promised to take care of their mother and sisters if the property should be lost. Then they all agreed that Ezekiel should go to college too.

Daniel taught school while he was studying. That helped to pay the expenses. After Daniel was through his studies in college, he taught a school in order to help his brother. When his school closed, he went home. On his way he went round to the college to see his brother. Finding that Ezekiel needed money, he gave him a hundred dollars. He kept but three dollars to get home with.

The father's property was not sold. The two boys helped the family. Daniel soon began to make money as a lawyer. He knew that his father was in debt. He went home to see him.

He said, "Father, I am going to pay your debts."

The father said, "You cannot do it, Daniel. You have not money enough."

"I can do it," said Daniel; "and I will do it before Monday evening."

When Monday evening came round, the father's debts were all paid.

When Daniel became a famous man, it made Ezekiel very happy. But Ezekiel died first. When Daniel Web-ster made his greatest speech, all the people praised him.

But Webster said, "I wish that my poor brother had lived to this time. It would have made him very happy."