It is only shallow-minded pretenders who either make distinguished origin a matter of personal merit, or obscure origin a matter of personal reproach. Taunt and scoffing at the humble condition of early life affect nobody in
but those who are foolish enough to indulge in them, and they are generally
sufficiently punished by public rebuke. A man who is not ashamed of himself
need not be ashamed of his early condition.
It did not happen to me to be born in a log-cabin; but my elder brothers and sisters were born in a log-cabin raised among the snowdrifts of New Hampshire, at a period so early that when the smoke first rose from its rude chimney and curled over the frozen hills, there was no similar evidence of a white man's habitation between it and the settlements on the rivers of Canada.
Its remains still exist; I make it an annual visit. I carry my children to it, to teach them the hardships endured by the generations which have gone before them. I love to dwell on the tender recollections, the kindred ties, the early affections and the touching narratives and incidents which mingle with all I know of this primitive family abode.
I weep to think that none of those who inhabited it are now among the living; and if ever I am ashamed of it, or if ever I fail in affectionate veneration for him who reared it and defended it against savage violence and destruction, cherished all the domestic virtues beneath its root and, through the fire and blood of a seven years' revolutionary war, shrunk from no danger, no toil, no sacrifice, to serve his country and to raise his children to a condition better than his own, may my name and the name of my posterity be blotted forever from the memory of mankind!