Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

trymen in distress and terror, and looking with unutterable emotions for the issue of the combat, have presented you to day with the sight of its whole happy population, come out to welcome and greet you with an universal jubilee. Yonder proud ships, by a felicity of position appropriately lying at the foot of this mount, and seeming fondly to cling around it, are not means of annoyance to you, but your country's own means of distinction and defense. All is peace; and God has granted you this sight of your country's happiness, ere you slumber in the grave forever. He has allowed you to behold and to partake the reward of your patriotic toils; and he has allowed us, your sons and countrymen, to meet you here, and in the name of the present generation, in the name of your country, in the name of liberty, to thank you!

But, alas! you are not all here! Time and the sword have thinned your ranks. Prescott, Putnam, Stark, Brooks, Read, Pomeroy, Bridge! our eyes seek for you in vain amidst this broken band. You are gathered to your fathers, and live only to your country in her grateful remembrance, and your own bright example. But let us not too much grieve, that you have met the common fate of men. You lived, at least, long enough to know that your work had been nobly and successfully accomplished. You lived to see your country's independence established, and to sheathe your swords from war. On the light of liberty you saw arise the light of peace, like

"another morn,

Risan on mid-noon;" and the sky, on which you closed your eyes, was cloudless.

But-ah !--him ! the first great martyr in this great cause! Him! the premature victim of his own selfdevoting heart! Him! the head of our civil councils, and the destined leader of our military bands; whom nothing brought hither but the unquenchable fire of his

red to youain amidst thisleroy, Bridge! Sce

own spirit ; Him! cut off by Providence in the hour of overwhelming anxiety and thick gloom; falling, ere he saw the star of his country rise; pouring out his generous blood, like water, before he knew whether it would fertilize a land of freedom or of bondage! how shall I. struggle with the emotions that stifle the utterance of thy name!- Our poor work may perish; but thine shall endure! This monument may moulder away; the solid ground it rests upon may sink down to a level with the sea ; but thy memory shall not fail ! Wheresoever among men a heart shall be found, that beats to the transports of patriotism and liberty, its aspirations shall be to claim kindred with thy spirit !

[ocr errors]

MR. HAMILTON'S SPEECH ON THE FEDERAL CONSTITU

TION.

A proposition to amend the constitution was brought before the convention, the object of which was, materially to abridge the power proposed to be conferred upon Congress, relative to imposing excise and laying direct taxes, in opposition to which, Mr. Hamilton delivered a speech, from which the following extract is taken:

Mr. Speaker-When we have formed a constitution upon free principles; when we have given a proper balance to the different branches of administration, and fixed representation upon pure and equal principles, we may, with safety, furnish it with all the powers necessary to answer, in the most ample manner, the purposes of government. The great desiderata are a free representation, and mutual checks. When these are obtained, all our apprehensions of the extent of powers are unjust and imaginary.

What then is the structure of this constitution ? one branch of the legislature is to be elected by the people by the same people who choose your state representatives. Its mernbers are to hold their office two years, and then to return to their constituents. Here, sir, the people govern : here they act by their immediate representatives. You have also a senate, constituted by your state legislatures—by men, in whom you place the highest confidence, and forming another representative branch. Then, again, you have an executive magistrate, created by a form of election, which merits universal admiration. In the form of this government, and in the mode of legislation, you find all the checks which the greatest politicians and the best writers, have ever conceived. What more can reasonable men desire ? Is there any one branch in which the whole legislative and executive powers are lodged ? No. The legislative authority is lodged in three distinct branches, properly balanced : the executive authority is divided between two branches; and the judicial is still reserved for an independent body, who hold their offices during good behavior. This organization is so complex, so skillfully contrived, that it is next to impossible that an impolitic or wicked measure should pass the great scrutiny with success. Now, what do gentlemen mean, by coming forward and declaiming against this government? Why do they say we ought to limit its powers, to disable it, and to destroy its capacity of blessing the people? Has philosophy suggested-has experience taught, that such a government ought not to be trusted with every thing necessary for the good of society? Sir, when you have divided and nicely balanced the departments of government; when you have strongly connected the virtue of your rulers with their interest; when, in short, you have rendered your system as perfect as human forms can be -you must place confidence; you must give power.

[ocr errors]

MORALITY ESSENTIAL TO TRUE GREATNESS.–Story's

Discourse on the Character of Marshall. Of the great men who have appeared in the world, many have been distinguished by the splendor of their birth or station ; many by the boldness or variety of their achievements; and many by peculiarities of genius or conduct, which, from the extraordinary contrasts presented by them, have awakened the curiosity, or gratified the love of novelty, of the giddy multitude. I know not how it has happened, but so, I fear, the fact will be found to be, that high inoral qualities are rarely the passport to extensive popular favor or renown. Nay, a calm and steady virtue, which acts temperately and wisely, and never plunges into indiscretion or extravagance, is but too often confounded with dullness or frigidity of temperament. It seems as if it were deemed the prerogative, if not the attribute, of genius, to indulge itself in eccentricities, and to pass from one extreme to another, leaving behind it the dark impressions of its vices or its follies. The deeper movements of the soul, in the inmost workings of its thoughts, are supposed to display themselves, like volcanoes in the natural world, by occasional explosions, which awe, but at the same time excite, the crowd of eager spectators. They are struck with admiration of what they do not comprehend; and mistake their own emotions for the presence of superior power. They are bewildered by the shifting exhibition, alternately of brilliant deeds, and debasing passions, of intellectual efforts of transcendent energy, and paradoxes of overwrought ingenuity; and being unable to fathom the motives or sources of such anomalies, they consound extravagance with enterprise, and the dreams of wild ambition with lofty and well considered designs.

And yet, if there is any thing taught us, either by the precepts of christianity, or the history of our race,

it is, that true greatness is inseparable from sound morals; that the highest wisdom is but another name for the highest talents; that the genius, which burns with a pure and regulated flame, throws far and wide its beneficent light to guide and cheer us; while occasional corruscations serve only to perplex and betray us, or (to borrow the language of poetry) serve but to make the surrounding darkness more visible. The calm and patient researches of Newton and Locke have conferred far more lasting benefits on mankind, than all the achievements of all the mere heroes and conquerors of ancient or modern times. One patriot, like Epaminondas, Scipio, or Washington, outweighs a host of Alexanders, Cæsars, and Napoleons. The fame of Justinian, as a fortunate possessor of the imperial purple, would have long since faded into an almost evanescent point in history, if his memorable codes of jurisprudence had not secured him an enviable immortality, by the instruction which they have imparted to the legislation of all succeeding times. He, who has been enabled by the force of his talents, and the example of his virtues, to identify his own character with the solid interests and happiness of his country; he, who has lived long enough to stamp the impressions of his own mind upon the age, and has left on record lessons of wisdom for the study and improvement of all posterity ; he, I say, has attained all that a truly great man aims at, and all that a truly great man should aspire to. He has erected a monument to his memory in the hearts of men. Their gratitude will perpetually, though it may be silently, breathe forth his praises; and the voluntary homage paid to his name will speak a language more intelligible and more universal," than any epitaph inscribed on Parian marble, or any image wrought out by the cunning hands of sculpture.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »