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on hard benches, it seems rather tough on the little fellow to force him to go and sit on the church seats all day on Sunday. The preaching, although well enough, is certainly not very attractive either for matter or manner, and I cannot forget that in all the years of war there was not one prayer, one heart-felt emotion by Mr. D. for the Success of the Union Cause. I believe he was favorable to the continuance of Slavery. I feel kindly to the old man, but I am not extremely anxious that my child should be indoctrinated by him. I should go and hear him a half-day every Sabbath for example's sake. You can do more if you like. When they get a more useful as well as attractive minister I may do more too. But you know that the congregation cannot be increased under the lead of Mr. D., however good a man he may be. But I will not occupy quite so large a share of my letter as you have done with theological subjects.
He was no theologian and carried into the field of religion the same calm and equable disposition that he bore in affairs and in politics, as if he had taken for his motto that great admonition of the Greeks, uměév dyav, “nothing too much.”
IN September, 1898, as we have seen, Morrill had written to his friend Senator Hoar denying any intention of resigning from the Senate. He had made public a similar denial, and there were those who spoke and wrote of his completing his term and even living to round out a full half-century in Washington. But the time was drawing near when a summons for his retirement would be presented by one who will not take no for an answer. It was not merely that the weight of years rested heavily on him. A grief still heavier had sapped his strength, and, though he bore up bravely, putting forth great efforts to play the man, he was aware at every turn of a haunting and irreparable loss. The birthday party at No. 1 Thomas Circle had been a brilliant success that spring. Everywhere it had been described as the social event of the season. Statesmen, jurists, diplomats, travelers, men of letters, and famous folk of all types had crowded the Senator's home to pay homage to him and Mrs. Morrill on his eighty-eighth birthday. And his wife, though she had never been strong and had lately been far from well, had mustered up her spirits to meet the occasion and bravely played her part as hostess. But it had exhausted her vitality. On the 13th of May, scarcely a month after the splendid party, she died. For forty and seven years they had lived in a companionship serene and happy as a fairy tale, so that her presence had become a part of life to him and her death a visitation almost unrealizable. It was like blindness; he could not adjust himself to it. Though he might busy himself more than ever with the Senate, Hawaii, the Philippine question, the Party, the house at Strafford, and any or all of a thousand matters large or small, the zest had gone out of life for him. He might have said with Wordsworth:
“And yet I know, where'er I go
When winter approached, he returned to Washington and resumed his place in the Senate. There he took up his usual duties and gave his invariable, assiduous care to the routine of committees and bills and motions. On the 13th of December, he delivered a speech in support of a measure which he had urged several times before — authorizing the purchase of a site for a building for the Supreme Court — and he had the satisfaction of seeing it pass the Senate. A few days later, he fell ill of a cold such as he had many a time thrown off. But this time he could not overcome it. His friends and the general public alike felt a prescient apprehension. As soon as it was known that he was ill, every one caught the alarm. The papers recorded the progress of his illness, from edition to edition, from hour to hour. Soon it was pronounced pneumonia and hope died. He lingered a day or two, but the inevitable end came on the 28th of December.
Of the general mourning; of the impressive memorial service in the Senate Chamber attended by President and Vice-President, justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Cabinet, diplomats, fellow Senators, Congressmen, and a great throng of famous and notable persons, what avails it to prolong the record? The solemn pomp of the obsequies of those whom a nation honors stirs the senses like the ceremonial of the stage, but the heart remains sad. Senator Morril had been and was not. His memory was honored as a faithful servant of his State and his Country; his body was carried in a stately cortège to the Capital of Vermont so that his fellow citizens and neighbors might pay their tribute of honor and of tears; in due course there were eulogies in the Senate, the House, in the State Capitol at Montpelier, in many churches and colleges and universities, until the tide of honor for his labors and grief for his loss had swept by successive waves across the continent. It was well and seemly, and to the credit of his Country may be said that his memory still lives in many a college founded under his Land-Grant Act. Until this day not a few of them recall him by annual commemorations of his birthday.
With that carefulness of such matters which was one of the special marks of an earlier day, he had planned and provided for a burial-place in the little cemetery at Strafford where lies the dust of many of his race. Long before, he had chosen the place — the top of a knoll from which there is a noble view along the valley and across many hills. It is a beautiful spot. There his tomb stands, solid and durable, of the granite of Vermont, dominating the place.
Below in full view lies the village. There is the spot where he went to school and the pond where he slid in winter. There is the store where he began his course in business. There stretches the road that was familiar to his feet for eighty years, the road he followed when he went out to see the world and took contentedly on his return. There are the descendants of his friends and of his father's friends who climb the slope on Sundays to his grave and bring visitors who know of his life and honor his record. And there it is not difficult to imagine him repeating the words of Stevenson's epitaph,
“Here I lie where I longed to be.”
For, after a life well lived, he is gathered to his fathers in the
place that he loved, in sight of the spot where he was born, and of the home where he spent his later life, and is at rest.