Friday, August 2, 2013

Oakey Hall--Great Man and Perhaps Unfairly Tarnished Politician

Was there in the 19th century any American politician comparable to Oakey Hall in intelligence and basic decency?

See Parker 2:534 for Oakey Hall's masterpiece of a condolence letter.

HOOSICK, NEAR TROY March 31, 1863  Oakey Hall writes to Evert Duyckinck:
          In a little town to which business called me: in the midst of a driving snowstorm: just toward dusk: and with everything cheerless about me I learn of the death of George.  It is a great shock: for I did not even know he was ill: & I shall not, I fear, reach town to attend the funeral, but shall try.
          You know Evert I have knocked around the edges of society of all sorts & have for a man of my years seen a great deal of the bad side of life without being in it or of it.  I can therefore well admire & esteem such a meek and unaffectedly just man as was George.  To me he stands out in very bold relief as such a man.  He was guileless, charitable to the failings of others, detesting wrong & deceit.  You see I dwell on the things which to me seem great virtues.  Others will speak of his talents, & literary labors & of his mind & its acumen.  But to me a good man & that my friend is praise above all praise . . .  NYPL-D

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