James Clement Sharp.

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good-by. He left America that afternoon,
cheerful and happy, feeling that the trip
would restore his health. His physician
had told him that he might live for
twenty years if he would take a com-
plete rest and travel leisurely. After
arriving in England he spent a number
of weeks in some of the smaller towns
and visited a few of the English cathe-
drals. From the little town of Ross he
sent two picture postals home to Spring-
field. Twenty years before he had visited
the same town, and after his return he
called one afternoon on a parishioner, the
wife of a gardener, who had originally



THE LAST VOYAGE 183

come from there. After all those twenty
years no reference was made to the place,
but he remembered his call that after-
noon, and sent the postals. On one he
wrote: "I have thought of you here in
this dear old town; spent afternoon at
Gloucester Cathedral," and on the other,
"For Auld Lang Syne, enjoying England
very much." The family to whom these
were sent was amazed at his remarkable
memory, but it was only an illustration
of his knowledge of his people and of his
interest in their lives.

Arriving at Paris the last of November,
he became rapidly worse from the illness
which for several years had been gradu-
ally sapping his strength. He was taken
to the private hospital of one of the most
skilled surgeons in Paris, and operated
upon. After the operation it was thought
that he would recover, and soon be able



184 JOHN COTTON BROOKS

to return to America. On hearing of
his illness some of his old friends in
Boston and Philadelphia desired to show
their appreciation of his work and de-
votion to the Church. Thirteen thou-
sand dollars were to be presented to him
as an expression of friendship for him-
self and his brother Phillips. As such,
it was a rather remarkable token. But
Mr. Brooks never lived to know of this
tribute from his old friends. A few
weeks later a cable message from Paris
from his nephew, Mr. Charles Dana
Gibson, said: "End came this morning
most peacefully." This was on January
3d, 1907.

When the news of his death reached
Springfield, many were the homes that
mourned his loss. "The story of these
years will be told so far as their bare
facts are concerned," one of the Spring-



THE LAST VOYAGE 185

field papers stated that day, "but the in-
spiration of John Brooks to young men
and women, and the strength his very
presence gave to those who really sought
to know him, that is a greater matter
of which scarce enough can be said." It
was true, the outward facts could be told,
but not the influence and inspiration
that he had made upon his people dur-
ing all those years. And beyond the re-
markable personal influence upon the
lives of his own, the people realized
that one of their leaders had gone. No
man had more closely in his heart the
interests of his city. He had helped to
establish and build up the philanthropic
and charitable institutions of Springfield ;
he had the power of awakening the pub-
lic conscience, and he had built up the
people's faith; he had succored and
comforted the needy and dying; he had



186 JOHN COTTON BROOKS

been Christ's faithful soldier and servant
unto his life's end ; he had fulfilled the
words of his brother, made over a quarter
of a century before, he was now Brooks
of Springfield in the highest and noblest
sense.

It was nearly a month later that his
body was brought to New York, where
it rested over night in the chancel of the
Church of the Incarnation, of which his
brother Arthur was once rector. The
funeral services were held in Christ
Church, Springfield, on January 23d.
The Rt. Rev. Alexander H. Vinton, D.D.,
his own Bishop, officiated, while the Rev.
Donald N. Alexander, the Rev. Henry
B. Washburn, the Rev. Edmund J. Cleve-
land, and the Rev. Thomas W. Nicker-
son, Jr., assisted in the service.

That night his body rested in the chan-
cel of Trinity Church, Boston, the church



THE LAST VOYAGE 187

of which his brother, Phillips Brooks,
had been for so many years the rector.
The following morning a little company
of his friends and members of his family
went to Mount Auburn, where, in the
family lot, beside his mother and father,
and four brothers, they laid him to rest.
Bishop McVickar of Rhode Island read
the service, and then they went away.

" Now the laborer's task is o'er ;

Now the battle day is past;
Now upon the farther shore

Lands the voyager at last.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping

Leave we now Thy servant sleeping."



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Online LibraryJames Clement SharpJohn Cotton Brooks → online text (page 7 of 7)