Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Death of Daniel Webster

Were people more civic-minded back in the day? Daniel Webster was an admired orator at a time when oratory meant something. By the time of his death, his reputation had lost some of its luster, but he still rated the closing of schools and businesses, and the wearing of mourning crepe. When was the last time that the natural death of a politician brought out that sort of memorializing?

Boston Daily Atlas October 29, 1852

West Roxbury -- A meeting of the inhabitants of West Roxbury was held at Village Hall, which was presided over by Moses Williams. Appropriate resolutions were passed, and it was resolved that the Selectmen be requested to toll the bells of the town from 12 to 2 o'clock on Friday next, and that a delegation of fifty be appointed to attend the funeral. The School Committee were also requested to close the schools, and the citizens their stores, on the day of the funeral. It was also voted to wear crepe on the left arm for 30 days.

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