July 6, 1852

500px-Illinoisoldcapitol

Old State Capitol Building, Springfield, Illinois, built 1839

1852

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.

 

* henryclay.org

July 1, 1852

 

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Thursday July 1st  Transplanted some in the garden

this morning but there came up a shower

and put a stop to it  I then went to

mending on some of Susans clothes  Susan

was quite sick last night and not well

enough to go to school to day.  This afternoon 

Mrs Witherell S Ames A Ames rode to make calls

found all the ladies that we were to call on at Mr E Howards

 

In Washington, D. C., Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky became the first person ever to lie in state in the Capitol rotunda.  A giant in his day, he had served in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and as Secretary of State. He was the man who had created the Whig Party and aspired to the presidency, who always spoke passionately for the Union and was willing to compromise to preserve it. As he himself noted in a speech in 1844, “It has been my invariable role to do all for the Union. If any man wants the key of my heart, let him take the key of the Union, and that is the key to my heart…”* He had dedicated his life to public service and the country thanked him.

The next such person to lie in state in the rotunda would be Abraham Lincoln.

Less august (but no less meaningful to Evelina) events transpired in North Easton today. Evelina, Almira Ames, Sarah Ames and Sarah Witherell “rode to make calls.” This activity marks the first time that Sarah Witherell had ventured out socially since the death of her son, George, six weeks earlier.

Old Oliver made note of the rain that had interrupted Evelina’s early morning work in the garden: “It raind a little last night + there was a little rain this forenoon it was a warm day + cloudy most of the time.”**

*Henry Clay, from 1844 speech, as quoted in “Henry Clay,” by Robert V. Rimini, New York, 1991

** Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection