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During the whole course of his illness, Mr. Webster never spoke of his disease or of his sufferings, except in the most general terms, or in order to give information to his medical advisers; but it was plain to Dr. Jackson, who was twice called in consultation ; to Dr. Warren, who was with him during the last night of his life ; and to Dr. Jeffries, who was his constant attendant from the first, that he noted and understood everything that related to his condition, and its successive changes. His conversation on this, as on all other subjects, was perfectly easy and simple ;-the deep tones of his voice remained unchanged ;-his gentleness was uniform ;-and the expressions of his affection to those who approached him, and even to those who were absent, but who were carefully remembered him in messages of kindness, were true, tender, and faithful to the by end. No complaint escaped from him ; nor did he show the least impatience under his infirmities, or the least relunctance to die. He felt the value and the power, of life, and was full of love for his home and for all that surrounded him there and made him happy. But his submission to the will of God was entire. He said, on one occasion, “I shall lie here patiently until I die ;”—and he did so. But through those wearisome days, he preserved his natural manner in every thing, and maintained, without effort, those just and true relations between himself and all persons, things, and occurrences about him, which through life had marked him so strongly and had given such dignity and power to his character.
From the morning of Saturday, when he had announced to his attendant physician—what nobody, until that time, had intimated that he “should die that night,” the whole strength of his great faculties seemed to be directed to obtain for him a plain and clear perception of his onward passage to another world, and of his feelings and condition at the precise moment when he should be entering its confines. Once, being faint, he asked if he were not then dying? and on being answered that he was not, but that he was near to death, he replied simply, "Well;" as if the frank and exact reply
were what he had desired to receive. A little later, when his kind physician repeated to him that striking text of Scripture,—" Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me”-he seemed less satisfied, and said, “ Yes ;-but the fact, the fact I want;"-desiring to know if he were to regard these words as an intimation, that he was already within that dark valley. On another occasion, he inquired whether it were likely that he should again eject blood from his stomach before death, and being told that it was improbable, he asked, “ Then what shall you do?” Being answered that he would be supported by stimulants, and rendered as easy as possible by the opiates that had suited him so well, he inquired, at once, if the stimulant should not be given immediately; anxious again to know if the hand of death were not already upon him. And on being told, that it would not be then given, he replied, “ When you give it to me, I shall know that I may drop off at once.”
Being satisfied on this point, and that he should, therefore, have a final warning, he said a moment afterwards, "I will, then, put myself in a position to obtain a little repose.'
In this he was successful. He had intervals of rest to the last ; but on rousing from them, he showed that he was still intensely anxious to preserve his consciousness, and to watch for the moment and act of his departure, so as to comprehend it. Awaking from one of these slumbers, late in the night, he asked distinctly if he were alive, and on vcing assured that he was, and that his family was collected around his bed, he said, in a perfectly natural tone, as if assenting to what had been told him, because he himself perceived that it was true, " I still live.” These were his last coherent and intelligible words. At twenty-three minutes before three o'clock, without a struggle or a groan, all signs of life ceased to be visible ; his vital organs giving away at last so slowly and gradually as to indicate, —what every thing during his illness had already shown,—that his intellectual and moral faculties still maintained an extraordinary
mastery amidst the failing resources of his physical constitution.
And so there passed out of this world one of its great beneficent and controlling spirits. As the sun rose on that quiet Sabbath morning the expected, yet dreaded, event was announced as a public calamity, first, by the solemn discharge of minute guns, and afterwards by the tolling of bells, over a large part of the land-a spontaneous outbreak of the general feeling at the loss all had suffered. How heavily it fell on the hearts of men in this city, where he was best known, and especially what deep grief, mingled with bitter recollections of the past and anxious forebodings for the future, marked each of the three memorable days,-consecrated as no three similar days ever were consecrated among us, to public mourning,--may be partly gathered from the records which this volume is intended to collect and preserve. The rest little of which can be recorded-will dwell, among their saddest and most sacred thoughts, in the memories of all who shared in the moving, services of those solemn occasions, or who gathered around that peaceful, seagirt grave, and will be transmitted by them to their children, as the warning traditions of a great national sorrow.
Friday, October, 29, was the day of Mr. Webster's funeral. Boston never before presented-probably never will again present -so general an aspect of mourning, and never were there witnessed such spontaneous, universal, and deep tokens of feeling. Most of the shops were closed, as well as the public institutions, offices, and markets; and a large proportion of the city was dressed in the habiliments of sorrow. The mourning draperies upon many of the buildings, public and private, were rich, elaborate, and tasteful. Festoons of black and white were almost continuous through Washington, Hanover, and other principal streets; and multiplied mottoes, expressing grief and admiration, were placed upon walls and over door-ways. Flags, prepared with inscriptions and dressed in mourning, were extended across the streets. In general the mottoes and inscriptions were extremely well chosen and appropriate, and were a proof, not only of the estimation in which Mr. Webster was held in Boston, but of the high standard of taste and cultivation among its citizens.
In the multiplicity of these personal and spontaneous expressions of feeling, it is impossible to describe, or specify any; but from amongst the mottoes, of which more than a hundred were exhibited, the following are selected:
His words of wisdom, with resistless power,
Have graced our brightest, cheered our darkest hour. Thou hast instructed many and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. We've scanned the actions of his daily life and nothing meets our eyes but deede
Some when they die, die all. Their mouldering clay is but an emblem of their memories. But he has lived. He leaves a work behind which will pluck the shining age from vulgar time, and give it whole to late
Thou art mighty yet. Thy spirit walks abroad.
The great heart of the nation throbs heavily at the portals of his grave.
Live like patriots ! Live like Americans ! United all, united now, and united forever.
Wherever among men a heart shall be found that beats to the transports of patriotism
and liberty, its aspirations shall be to claim kindred with his spirit.
Then this Daniel was preferred above the Presidents and Princes, because
spirit was in him,
Know thou, O stranger, to the fame
The glory of thy life, like the day of thy death, shall not fail from the remembrance
Between twelve and one—the hour of the funeral at Marshfield -minute guns were fired, and the bells of the churches were tolled; from sunrise to sunset guns were fired every fifteen minutes, and almost continuously. Similar signs of mourning were heard from the hills of the neighboring towns, and along the line of the coast. The streets were crowded with citizens and visitors from the country, reading the inscriptions and walking through the public buildings, all wearing, upon their saddened countenances, tokens of sincere sorrow. Though a day of leisure and entire cessation from labor there, and was no thought of anything but our great loss. There were no smiling faces to be seen, and no cheerful voices to be heard.
The funeral solemnities were at Mr. Webster's own residence in Marshfield. In conformity with the wish expressed in his will, everything was arranged with the utmost simplicity, in the order usual in a New England funeral, but private it could not be. In