Everett, Edward (1794—1865)
Everett was a Unitarian minister who became Governor of Massachusetts, President of Harvard, a U.S. Senator, and a Secretary of State. But he is remembered as being the one who orated for two hours preceding Lincoln’s delivery of the 272-word “Gettysburg Address.”
Garry Wills in Lincoln At Gettysburg, The Words That Remade America (1992), relates how Everett had been Ralph Waldo Emerson’s teacher at Harvard and was a transcendentalist. Trained in Germany in the classics and a professor of Greek at Harvard, Everett was a practitioner of elaborate classical oratory.
But it was Abraham Lincoln (whom Wills calls “a Transcendentalist without the fuzziness”) who had the classical epitaphios, with its two essential sections: epainesis, or praise for the fallen; and parainesis, or advice for the living. Like Pericles, he and Everett in their “Dedicatory Remarks” and “Oration,” respectively, gave a tribute to fallen warriors which is remembered and which established a model for future American funeral orations. Lincoln was never a student of Everett, but as described by Wills “the two speakers drew on a shared philosophical tradition both men honored.”
In Boston, Everett had been pastor of the Brattle Street Church.
(See the biography found in the Harvard Square Library.)