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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 260 [07-07-1888]

              [Gunn�s handwriting]
Harpers� Weekly.

[newspaper clipping]
  THE death of Mr. GAY removes one of the few survivors
of the central band of old Garrisonian abolitionists, and
from his friends a most charming companion and a most
interesting man.  He was a young man recently graduated
from Harvard College when the great antislavery move-
ment began, and with his friends EDMUND QUINCY and
WENDELL PHILLIPS he brought to the cause all the instincts
of a gentleman, the cultivation of the student, the zeal of
profound conviction, and great abilities as a writer and
speaker.  His conversation in later years was enriched with
the most vivid recollections of the incidents of the agita-
tion, during which in many parts of the country every
active and aggressive antislavery advocate took his life in
his hands.  Mr. GAY�S tribute to the social antislavery cir-
cle of which he was a conspicuous figure is like KINGSLEY�S
delightful picture of the Puritan gentleman and lady:
�They were the most charming circle of cultivated men and
women whom it has ever been my lot to know.�
  From 1844 to 1857 he was the editor of the Antislavery
Standard in New York, to which he gave a fine literary tone,
and which was illuminated by the genial wit of EDMUND
QUINCY�S letters.  From 1857 until 1866 he was editorially
engaged upon the Tribune, and for the last four years of the
time he was managing editor.  He held the same position
upon the Chicago Tribune from 1867 to 1871, when, after the
great fire in that city, he returned to New York, and was
associated with Messrs. BRYANT and GODWIN on the Evening
Post.  In 1875 Mr. GAY began writing the BRYANT and GAY
History of the United States.  This history, with the excep-
tion of the preface to the first volume and of certain chap-
ters, the authorship of which was duly acknowledged, was
entirely the work of Mr. GAY.  He wrote subsequently a life
of JAMES MADISON in the �Series of American Statesmen,�
and he was preparing to write a life of EDMUND QUINCY,
which would have been such an interior view of the original 
Boston antislavery circle as will now probably never be
written.  But he became seriously ill about three years
since, and never resumed his literary activities.
  His life wad busy and retired, and although no man was
more socially welcome or more delightful, he was seldom
seen in general society.  He was essentially a humorist in
the old English phrase, and his sense of comedy, his tena-
cious memory, his quick perception, his strong convictions,
his modesty, refinement, and intrinsic geniality, made him
the pleasantest of friends.  He was of Puritan descent, on
the paternal side from the OTISES, and his grandfather was
for seventy years minister of Hingham, in the quaint old
church which is, we believe, the oldest church building in
the United States.  Mr. GAY was the child of good tradi-
tions, of spotless and upright life, and in full sympathy
with every humane and generous endeavor.  He was great-
ly beloved by a large circle whose love is good fame, and
his memory will be most tenderly cherished.

[Gunn�s handwriting]
July 7, 1888.               
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