Old State Capitol Building, Springfield, Illinois, built 1839
July 6th Tuesday Was very busy sewing this forenoon
Mary made the sleeves to my purple cambric
calico and sewed the drugget for the sitting
room This afternoon have been into Olivers
to tea with Mrs Witherell & Mrs Ames &c &c
Mr Jones from Foxboro called.
Received a note from Cassander Gilmore that
Henry died this morning requesting us to attend the funeral
In the statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, a practicing lawyer and former U. S. Representative named Abraham Lincoln gave a eulogy today for Henry Clay, the Senator from Kentucky who had just passed away. Clay had been Lincoln’s idol, his “beau ideal of a statesman.”* In 1832, Lincoln cast his first presidential vote for Clay; in 1844, he campaigned for Clay and served as an elector from Illinois. Clay’s influence on Lincoln would be life-long.
On the occasion of Clay’s death, Lincoln spoke for some time, quoting at length a laudatory editorial which lamented “that never again that majestic form shall rise again in the council-chambers in his country to beat back the storms of anarchy which may threaten, or pour the oil of peace upon the troubled billows as they rage and menace around…” Lincoln then moved on to his own simpler words. He praised Clay for his wisdom, eloquence, and perseverance, noting that “Mr. Clay’s predominant sentiment, from first to last, was a deep devotion to the cause of liberty – a strong sympathy with the oppressed everywhere, and an ardent wish for their elevation.”*
In the town of Easton, Massachusetts, on this same day, Evelina received a letter asking for her presence at a different funeral. Her cousin Henry Gilmore of Raynham had died this very morning, as his brother Cassander Gilmore wrote to say, and she and her family were pressed to attend the funeral the next day.