Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Oakey Hall remembers George Duyckinck

A. Oakey Hall wrote this heartfelt message to Evert Duyckinck on March 31, 1863, one day after the death of Evert's brother George at the age of forty.
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....
Hall's moving letter of condolence is in the Duyckinck family papers at NYPL. Quoted above from Hershel Parker's Herman Melville: A Biography, V2.534. Also transcribed at Parker's blog, Fragments from a Writing Desk.

George Long Duyckinck (1823-1863)
Image Credit: NYPL Digital Collections
Obituary Notice by W. F. M. (William Ferdinand Morgan)

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