He was genuine in character, and would not consent to receive any undeserved consideration.
In early life he declined invitations, the acceptance of which might imply a claim to a social position higher than he held, and even went out of his way by quaint methods to prevent any impression that his household life was more luxurious than it really was. His conviction that equal justice was due to all, without favor to any, was strong; and when a near relative, for whom he had the tenderest regard, had violated the law, and he was desired to intervene in his behalf, he answered, with Roman firmness, ‘The law must take its course.’
He applied the same high standard to corporate and public affairs as to private life.
In October, 1837, during the suspension of specie payments, he moved, as a stockholder of the State Bank, that no dividends be paid till its bills were redeemable in specie.
The motion was lost, but he recorded his determination to renew it the next year.
's health was feeble in his later years.
He became quite ill early in January, 1839, and after that month was confined to his house.
He resigned his office, March 14. Governor Everett
delayed action, hoping for his recovery; but relieved him, April 11, by the appointment of Joseph Eveleth
as his successor.
The judges of the Supreme Judicial Court
, by a formal letter, drawn by Chief Justice Shaw
, gratefully recognized his uniform kindness and attention during his administration.
He died, April 24, at the age of sixty-three, the period which he had often designated as his probable end. In length of life, he and his son Charles differed less than one month.
His will, signed a few days before his death, after gifts to some of his children, to equalize advances to others, bequeathed a life-estate in his house, on Hancock Street, to his wife, and the fee equally to his children; and the residue of his property to her, for her own disposal, adding these words:— ‘I have made the foregoing devises and bequests to my wife, confiding in her disposition to carry into effect my wishes, and in her affection for our children, and that she will, from time to time, and finally by her last will, make such disposition of the property given her as justice and the condition of the children shall require.’
This trust was faithfully administered, and the estate more than doubled in value during the period which intervened between his death and hers.