« AnteriorContinuar »
pletion of the national felicity. Obedient to her call, he assumed the high office with that self-distrust peculiar to his innate modesty, the constant attendant of pre-eminent virtue. What was the burst of joy, through our anxious land, on this exhilirating event, is known to us all. The aged, the young,
the brave, the fair, rivalled each other in demonstrations of gratitude; and this high-wrought, delightful scene, was heightened in its effect, by the singular contest between the zeal of the bestowers and the avoidance of the receiver of the honours bestowed.
8. Commencing his administration, what heart is not charm. ed with the recollection of the pure and wise principles announced by himself, as the basis of his political life. He best understood the indissoluble union between virtue and happipiness, between daty and adrantage, between the genuine maxåms of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and individual felicity; watching with equal and comprehensive eye over this great assemblage of communities and interests, he laid the foundations of our national policy in the unerring, immutable principles of morality, based on religion, exemplifying the pre-eminence of a free government, by all the attributes which win the affections of its citizens, or command the respect of the world.
*AH/ Part of Judge Minot's Oration on the Death of Gen. Washington
Delivered before the Inhabitants of Boston.
1. OUR duty, my fellow-citizens, on this distressing occasion, 23 dictated by the dignity and resplendent virtue of the beloved man whose death we deplore. We assemble to pay a debt to departed merit, a debt which we can only pay by the sincerity of our grief, and the respectful effusions of gratitude ; for the highes.bration left us to bestow upon our lamented WASHINGton, is the strict narration of the truth, and the loftiest character which we can assign to him, is the very display of himself. When ambition allies itself to guilt, when power tramples upon right, when victory triumphs in blood, when piety sits clouded in superstition, when humility is affected by cunning, when patriotism is founded on selfishness; then let adulation spread her prostituted mantle, to screen the disgrace of her patrons, and amuse with the falsehoods of her imagination.
2. But to our political father, the faithful page of history is panegyric, and the happiness of his country is the monument of his fame. Come, then, warriors ! statesmen! philosophers ! citizens ! assemble round the tomb of this favourite son of virtue! with all the luxury of sorrow, recollect the important
events of life ; and partake of the greatest legacy which a mortal could bequeath you, in the contemplation of his example. Your anniversaries have long celebrated the birth-day of your illustrious chief, and the parish of his own name in Westmoreland county, in Virginia, boasts itself the place of his nativity. But to souls like his, local restrictions are not attached. Where Liberty was, there would be his country; happy for us, the Genius of Liberty, responsive to his affections, resolved that, where WASHINGTON was, there also shall be her abode. Educated by private instruction, his virtue grew with his knowledge, and the useful branches of literature occupied the whole powers of his mind. Exemplary for solidity of thought, and chastity of morals, he was honoured by the government of Virginia with an important mission, at an age when the levities of the human character seldom yield to the earliest operation of reason.
3. To trace this Protector of our Liberties through his un rivalled career, from his gloomy retreat through the Jerseys, to his several victories, and his splendid triumph at Yorktown, would be to narrate the varying history of our revolution. To him public labour was amusement, suffering in the cause of free dom was a luxury, and every hour as it flew carried an offering to his country. As obedience to the voice of his oppressed fellow-citizens drew his sword, on the approach of war, so at the declaration of peace, by the same respected voice, he restored it to its scabbard. He left them his blessing, and their liberties. O human nature, how hast thou been traduced ! With thee, has it been said, is essentially connected that lust of
power which is insatiable ; which restores not voluntarily what has been committed to its charge ; which devours all rights, and resolves all laws into its own authority ; which labours not for others, but seizes the fruits of their labours for itself; which breaks down all barriers of religion, society, and nature, that obstruct its course ; now art thou vindicated ! Here we behold thee allied to virtue, worn in the service of mankind, superiour to the meanness of compensation, humbly hoping for the thanks of thy country alone, faithfully surrendering the sword, with which thou wast entrusted, and yielding up power with a promptness and facility equalled only by the diffidence and reluctance with which thou receivedst it. Now, will the future inquirer say, this hero has finished the task assigned him ; the measure of his glory is full.
4. A world is admitted to freedom-a nation is born. Fa voured beyond the leader of Israel, not only with the prospect, but with the fruition of the promised blessing, he has retired, like that of meekness, to the Mount, whence he is to ascend, unseen by a weeping people, to the reward of all his labours No, he is to live another life upon this globe; he is to reap a duuble harvest in the field of perennial honour. The people whom he has saved from external tyranny,
suffer from the agitations of their own unsettled powers. The tree of Liberty which he has planted, and so carefully guarded from the storms, now flourishes beyond its strength ; its lofty excrescences chreaten to tear its less extended roots from the earth, and to prostrate it fruitless on the plain. But, he comes ! In convention he presides over counsels, as in war he had led the battle. The Constitution, like the rainbow after the flood, appears to us now just emerging from an overwhelming commotion ; and we know the truth of the pledge from the sanction of his name. The production was worthy of its authors, and of the magnanimous people whom it was intended to establish. You adopt it, you cherish it, and you resolve to transmit it, with the name of Washington, to the latest generation, who shall prove their just claim to such an illustrious descent.
5. Who was so worthy as our great Legislator, to direct the operations of government, which his counsels and his sword had laboured to erect? By an unanimous suffrage, he was invited to the exalted station of President of the United States. The Call was too sacred to admit of doubt; it superseded the hap1. iness of retirement, the demands of private interest, the sweet attractions of domestic society, and the hazard-(forgive it, Washington, for thou wast mortal)—the hazard of public reputition. Behold the man, on this occasion, so mighty in the eyes of all the world, so humble in his own. Did the occasion a imit of it, how pleasing would be the review of his administration, as our Supreme Executive Magistrate! His talents and his virtues increased with his cares. His soul seemed not to bear the limits of office a moment after the obligations of duty and patriotism withdrew their restraints from his universal love.
6. When the misguided savages of the wilderness, after feeling his chastisement, had sued for peace, he seemed to labour for their happiness, as the common representative of mankind. Insurrection was so struck at his countenance, that it fied from tlie-shock of his arm. Intrigue attempted to entangle him in her poisonous web, but he burst it with gigantic strength, and crushed her labours. Anarchy looked out from her cavern, and was dashed into oblivion, as we trust, for ever. The nations of Europe saw the wisdom of our laws, the vigour of our measures, the justice of our policy, the firmness of our government, and acquiesced in the neutrality of our station.
7. The dangers of the commonwealth having subsided at this close of his second administration, he felt himself justified, after dedicating forty-five years of his valuable life to her service, in withdrawing, to receive, with resignation, the great change of nature, which his age and his toils demonstrated to be near When he declined your future suffrages, he left you a legacy. What! like Cæsar's to the Romans, money for
your sports ? Like Attalus’s, a kingdom for your tyranny ? No; he left you not such bubbles, nor for such purposes. He left you the records of wisdom for your government; a mirror for the faithful representation to your own view, of yourselves, your weaknesses, your advantages, your dangers; a magnet which points at the secret mines and windings of party spirit, faction, and foreign influence; a pillar to the unity of your republic; a band to enclose, conciliate and strengthen the whole of your wonderful and almost boundless communities. Read,
preserve the sacred deposit; and lest posterity should forget the truth of its maxims, engrave thein on his tomb, that they may read them when they weep before it.
Deaih of General Hamilton.
Disclose the deep afflictions of the heart!' 1. To swell the sable triumphs of the tomb, the great destroyer, in pointing his shaft at Hamilton, has selected a victim of no ordinary value. He has not only taken from the bosom of a beloved family its solace and support; from the circle of his immediate friends its pride and ornament; from the forum its most distinguished advocate ; from society an eminent and useful citizen ; but, from his country, he has taken its ablest statesman, its warmest patriot, its great benefactor. With talents of a superiour order, the choicest in nature's gift, improved by an elegant and refined education, strengthened by intense and labourious application, directed to usefulness by a steady love of justice, and an undeviating adherence to the cause of truth, as a soldier, a statesman, a public advocate, a warm friend and zealous guardian of the liberties of his country ; the invaluable life of this distinguished citizen has been spent with increasing glory to himself, and incalculable usefulness to his country. As a member of the family of the illustrious Washington; as his companion in arms; as his counsellor and friend, he shared with him the dangers of the revolution, and reaped with him the glory of its accomplishment.
2. As a soldier, he united bravery with humanity, skill with activity. So eminently distinguished were his rulitary talents, that he was designated, on a momentous occasion, by the great Washington himself, as the man of his choice, to take the active command of our armies. As a statesman, the astonishing posv ers of his mind had full scope for exertion ; and he has left the most splendid testimony of their extent and usefulness. With talents profound and active, with genius acute and penetrating, with learning deep and extensive, he made unwearied researches in political science, and has left a rich legacy to his country. men, a luminous view of the most correct principles in civil policy and goverment. He was the good man's friend and advocate, a terrour to the oppressor, and a foe to iniquity. In the private walks of life, through all its relative duties, Hamilton was highly valued.
3. Yes, reader, this brilliant luminary in the literary world, this splendid orb of our political hemisphere, is set for ever! a star of the first magnitude in the political temple is extinguished! a pillar of superiour strength is fallen! Cut off in the full vigour of life, in the full possession of his faculties, and in the midst of all his usefulness, the great Hamilton now sleeps with his fathers ! That intellectual fountain, from which flowed the richest streams of eloquence, is dried up; the fire of that genius, whose acuteness pierced the inmost recess of science, is quenched for ever; that eye, whose penetrating glance was the sure index of an acute and penetrating mind, is now closed for ever : that tongue, on whose eloquence listening senates isung with admiration, is now silent for ever; and dumb for ever is that voice which was the harbinger of wisdom, and the herald of instruction. The trophies of the grave are enriched with a gem of superiour worth ; the world is rifled of an intellectual treasure of inestimable value,
4. Though the grave now shrouds the mortal part of the immortal Hamilton, his memory and his fame are enşbrined in the bosoms of his grateful countrymen, and will be ever cherished and protected, with the warmest emotions of love and admiration. This sacred deposit will be transmitted to posterity in the fulness of its glory and the purity of its excellence A distinguished page in the annals of our country, will be adorned with the record of his character, with a faithful delineation of his talents, virtues, achievements, and greatness, and the admiration of posterity shall perpetuate his fame.
There will the record of the sad catastrophe of his death draw forth the tear of pity from the eye of tenderness, and the sigh of rea