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[213] of the loss,—for he was certainly the most important man in the Administration after Webster left it,—filled our city with sorrow and consternation, shocking all so much the more, for the jubilant excitement of the days immediately preceding it. To me the personal loss is very great. He was a man of genius, full of refinement and poetry, and one of the best scholars in the country; but, more than all this, he was of a most warm and affectionate spirit. I had known him familiarly from 1819, when we studied together in Edinburgh. When we passed that winter in Dresden, in 1835-36, of which you know so well, he, being then our minister at Brussels, came to us and spent a week with us; and every year but one, since we came home, he has made a pilgrimage to the North, to see us. But the two last years he came to us in our retreat on the sea-shore, and made it brilliant to us by his wit and dear by his affections; and now, when the President should have left Boston, he intended to have given us four or five days of quiet enjoyment. But God has ordered otherwise, and if we can all submit with as much docility as he did, it is enough.

He possessed his powers in perfect composure to the last moment; made his will, sent all his public papers to the President, who was lodged quite near to us, and did everything suited to the occasion, without once altering the level tone of his voice, except when he spoke of the only remaining member of his immediate family, a muchloved unmarried sister. And yet this man was only forty-seven years old; just as the country, divided about everything else, was beginning to look with great unanimity to him, from a perfect confidence alike in his talents, his principles, and his honor,—it was, indeed, just when he felt sure he was at once ‘to burst out into sudden blaze,’ that ‘the blind Fury came, and slit the thin-spun life.’

It is one of the most solemn and striking events that has ever come within my knowledge. The old physicians who attended him, and who have attended their thousands before, were as much astonished at his composure as I was. But he saw nobody, except for a moment one member of the Cabinet, who insisted upon looking at him once more; so that the quietness of everything gave it a power that makes me shudder when I think of it.1 . . . .


1 The death of Mr. Legare, with its attendant duties and sorrows, caused an entire change in the plans of Mr. Ticknor and his family; and this summer, of 1843, was passed in various excursions in Massachusetts and New York. They avoided Woods' Hole, where Mr. Legareas annual visit had added so much to their enjoyment, and where, in fact, they never went again.

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