« FöregåendeFortsätt »
. Hitherto, fellow citizens, the Fourth of July had been
celebrated among us only as the anniversary of our Independence, and its votaries had been merely human beings. But at its last recurrence-the great jubilee of the nation—the anniversary, it may well be termed, of the liberty of man-Heaven itself mingled visibly in the celebration, and hallowed the day anew by a double apotheosis. Is there one among us to whom this language seems too strong ? Let him recall his own feelings, and the objection will vanish. When the report first reached us, of the death of the great man whose residence was nearest, who among us was not struck with the circumstance that he should have been removed on the day of his own highest glory? And who, after the first shock of the intelligence had passed, did not feel a thrill of mournful delight at the characteristic beauty of the close of such a life. But while our bosoms were yet swelling with admiration at this singularly beautiful coincidence, when the second report immediately followed, of the death of the great sage of Quincy, on the same day-I appeal to yourselves-Is there a voice that was not hushed, is there a heart that did not quail, at this close manifestation of the hand of Heaven in our affairs ! Philosophy, recovered of her surprise, may affect to treat the coincidence as fortuitous. But Philosophy herself was mute, at the moment, under the pressure of the feeling that these illustrious men had rather been translated, than had died. It is in vain to tell us that men die by thousands every day in the year, all over the world. The wonder is, not that two men have died on the same day, but that two such men, after having performed so many and such splendid services in the cause of liberty-after the multitude of other coincidences which seem to have linked their destinies together-after having lived so long together, the objects of their country's joint veneration after having been spared to witness the great triumph of their toils at home—and looked together from Pisgah's top on the sublime effect of that grand impulse which they had given to the same glorious cause throughout the world, should on this fiftieth anniversary of the day on which they had ushered that cause into light, be both caught up to Heaven, together, in the midst of their raptures! Is there a being, of heart so obdurate and sceptical, as not to feel the hand and hear the voice of Heaven in this wonderful dispensation? And may we not, with reverence, interpret its language? Is it not this? “ These are my beloved servants, in whom I am well pleased. They have finished the work for which I sent them into the world : and are now called to their reward. Go ye, and do likewise !"
One circumstance, alone, remains to be noticed. In a private memorandum found among some other obituary papers and relics of Mr. Jefferson, is a suggestion, in case a memorial over him should ever be thought of, that a granite obelisk, of small dimensions, should be erected, with the following inscription :
HERE WAS BURIED
And Father of the University of Virginia.
All the long catalogue of his great, and splendid, and glorious services, reduced to this brief and modest summary!
Thus lived, and thus died, our sainted Patriots! May their spirits still continue to hover over their countrymen, inspire all their councils, and guide them in the same virtuous and noble path! And may that God, in whose hands are the issues of all things, confirm and perpetuate, to us, the inestimable boon, which, through their agency, he has bestowed; and make our Columbia the bright exemplar for all the struggling sons of liberty around the globe!
Description of General Conway's Situation on the
Repeal of the American Stamp Act.
! I will likewise do justice, I ought to do it, to the
honorable gentleman who led us in this house.* Far from the duplicity wickedly charged on him, he acted his part with alacrity and resolution. We all felt inspired by the example he gave us, down even to myself, the weakest in that phalanx. I declare for one, I knew well enough, it could not be concealed from any body, the true state of things; but, in my life, I never came with so much spirits into this house. It was a time for a man to act in. We had powerful enemies; but we had faithful and determined friends, and a glorious cause. We had a great battle to fight; but we had the means of fighting ; not as now, when our arms are tied behind us. We did fight that day and conquer.
I remember, Sir, with a melancholy pleasure, the situation of the honorable gentleman* who made the motion for the repeal; in that crisis, when the whole trading interest of this empire, crammed into your lobbies, with a trembling and anxious expectation, waited, almost to a winter's return of light, their fate from your resolutions. When, at length, you had determined in their favor, and your doors, thrown open, showed them the figure of their deliverer in the well-earned triumph of his important victory, from the whole of that grave multitude there arose an involuntary burst of gratitude and transport. They jumped upon him like children on a long absent father. They clung about him as captives about their redeemer. All England, all Ameri. ca, joined in his applause. Nor did he seem insensible to the best of all earthly rewards, the love and admiration of his fellow citizens. Hope elevated and joy brightened his crest. I stood near him; and his face, to use the expression of the scripture of the first martyr, “his face was as if it had been the face of an angel.”
* General Conway.
I do not know how others feel; but if I had stood in that situation, I never would have exchanged it for all that kings in their profusion could bestow.
DESCRIPTION OF JUNIUS. Where, then, Sir, shall we look for the origin of this relaxation of the laws and of all government? How comes this Junius to have broken through the cobwebs of the law, and to range uncontrolled, unpunished, through the land? The myrmidons of the court have been long, and are still, pursuing him in vain. They will not spend their time upon me, or you, or you: no; they disdain such vermin, when the mighty boar of the forest, that has broken through all their toils, is before them. But, what will all their efforts avail ? No sooner has he wounded one, than he lays down another dead at his feet. For my part, when I saw his attack upon the King, I own my blood ran cold. I thought he had ventured too far, and that there was an end of his triumphs; not that he had not asserted many truths. Yes, Sir, there are in that composition many bold truths by which a wise prince might profit. It was the rancour and venom with which I was struck. In these respects the North Briton is as much inferior to him, as in strength, wit, and judgment. But while I expected from this daring flight his final ruin and fall, behold him rising still higher, and coming down sousc upon both houses of parliament. Yes, he did make you his quarry, and you still bleed from the wounds of his talons. You crouched, and still crouch beneath his rage. Nor has he dreaded the terror of your brow, Sir; he has attacked even you-he has—and I believe you have no reason to triumph in the encounter. In short, after carrying away our royal eagle in his pounces, and dashing him against a rock, he has laid you prostrate. King, Lords, and Commons, are but the sport of his fury. Were he a member of this house, what might not be expected from his knowledge, his firmnes, and
integrity! He would be easily known by his contempt of all danger, by his penetration, by his vigor. Nothing would escape his vigilance and activity ; bad ministers could conceal nothing from his sagacity; nor could promises nor threats induce him to conceal any thing from the public.
LAMENTATION FOR THE LOSS OF HIS SON. Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes of succession, I should have been according to my mediocrity, and the mediocrity of the age I live in, a sort of founder of a family; I should have left a son, who, in all the points in which personal merit can be viewed, in science, in erudition, in genius, in taste, in honor, in generosity, in humanity, in every liberal sentiment, and every liberal accomplishment, would not have shown himself inferior to the duke of Bedford, or to any of those whom he traces in his line.
But a disposer whose power we are little able to resist, and whose wisdom it behoves us not at all to dispute, has ordained it in another manner, and, whatever my querulous weakness might suggest, a far better. The storm has gone over me; and I lie like one of those old oaks which the late hurricane has scattered about me. I am stripped of all my honors; I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate on the earth! There, and prostrate there, I most unfeignedly recognize the divine justice, and in some degree submit to it. But whilst I humble myself before God, I do not know that it is forbidden to repel the attacks of unjust and inconsiderate men. The patience of Job is proverbial.' After some of the convulsive struggles of our irritable nature, he submitted himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But even so, I do not find him blamed for reprehending, and with a considerable degree of verbal asperity, those ill-natured neighbors of his, who visited