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Webster then laughs, "And with that he drew back his foot for a kick that would have stunned a horse.It was only the tip of his shoe that caught the stranger, but he went flying out of the door with his collecting box under his arm." It is said that the devil never did come back to New Hampshire again. The devil says "I am merely an honest American like yourself — and of the best descent — for, to tell the truth, Mr.
Scratch underlines this definition by saying of the jury "Americans all". Earlier, he states flatly "A man is not a piece of property." Later, there is this description "And when he talked of those enslaved, and the sorrows of slavery, his voice got like a big bell." Benét acknowledges the evil by having the devil say: "When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there.
When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on her deck." As for Webster, "He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done.
However, in reality many of the jury would not have classed themselves as Americans, as Governor Dale, Morton, Hathorne, and Blackbeard were English, and King Phillip was a Wampanoag. Classifying the jurors as "Americans" involves a wider definition, including all who had a part in its history – even those who lived and died as English subjects before 1775, the Loyalists who actively opposed the creation of the U.
Butler and Girty would have called themselves Americans – and indeed were Americans – but they were Loyalists, and Webster might not have intended any but U. S., and those Indians (like King Philip) who interacted with the new civilization.
The narrative includes direct references to factual events in the life of Webster and his family. The author also adapted it in 1938 into a folk opera with music by Douglas Stuart Moore, a fellow Yale University alumnus.
The story appeared in The Saturday Evening Post (October 24, 1936) and was published in book form by Farrar & Rinehart the following year. Farmer Jabez Stone, from the small town of Cross Corners, New Hampshire, is plagued with unending bad luck, causing him to finally swear "it's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devil! Stone bargains for an additional three years; after the additional three years pass, Mr. Wanting out of the deal, Stone convinces famous lawyer and orator Daniel Webster to accept his case. Scratch arrives and is greeted by Webster, presenting himself as Stone's attorney. Scratch tells Webster, "I shall call upon you, as a law-abiding citizen, to assist me in taking possession of my property," and so begins the argument. Stone is an American citizen, and no American citizen may be forced into the service of a foreign prince."The Devil and Daniel Webster" is a short story by Stephen Vincent Benét.Benet's story centers on a New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the devil and is defended by Daniel Webster, a fictional version of the famous 19th century American statesman, lawyer and orator.He calms himself, "for it was him they'd come for, not only Jabez Stone." Webster starts to orate on simple and good things – "the freshness of a fine morning..taste of food when you're hungry..new day that's every day when you're a child" – and how "without freedom, they sickened." He speaks passionately of how wonderful it is to be human and to be an American.He admits the wrongs done in the course of American history but points out that something new and good had grown from them and that "everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors." Mankind "got tricked and trapped and bamboozled, but it was a great journey," something "no demon that was ever foaled" could ever understand.Webster takes the predictions in stride and asks only if the Union will prevail.Scratch reluctantly admits that, although a war will be fought over the issue, the United States will remain united.This desire to end the institution was a mainspring of his support for the Union.The story may be seen as ambivalent on the treatment of the Native Americans.The devil has overreached himself, agreeing to a jury trial out of pride in his unbreakable contract.But by doing so, he has put his contract within the reach of the Common Law used in America, under which a jury can enter whatever verdict it likes, regardless of the law.