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begun by WASHINGTON, and pursued by his successor in virtue as in station, proving abortive, America took measures of self-defence. No sooner was the public mind roused by a prospect of danger, than every eye was turned to the friend of all, though secluded from public view, and gray in public service. The virtuous veteran, following his plough, received the unexpected summons with mingled emotions of indignation at the unmerited ill-treatment of his country, and of a determination once more to risk his all in her defence.
The annunciation of these feelings, in his affecting letter to the President, accepting the command of the army, concludes his official conduct.
First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere; uniform, dignified and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting.
To his equals he was condescending; to his inferiors kind; and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender. Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.
His last scene comported with the whole tenor of his life: although in extreme pain, not a sigh, not a groan escaped him; and with undisturbed serenity he closed his wellspent life. Such was the man America has lost! Such was the man for whom our nation mourns!
Methinks I see his august image, and hear, falling from his venerable lips, these deep sinking words:
6 Cease, sons of America, lamenting our separation: go on, and confirm by your wisdom the fruits of our joint counsels, joint efforts and common dangers. Reverence religion; diffuse knowledge throughout your land; patronize the arts and sciences; let liberty and order be inseparable companions ; control party spirit,
the bane of free government; observe good faith to, and cultivate peace with all nations; shut up every avenue to foreign influence; contract rather than extend national connexion; rely on yourselves only: be American in thought and deed. Thus will you give immortality to that union, which was the constant object of my terrestrial labors. Thus will you preserve, undisturbed to the latest posterity, the felicity of a people to me most dear: and thus will you supply, (if my happiness is now aught to you, the only vacancy in the round of pure bliss high heaven bestows."
EULOGY ON WASHINGTON,
DELIVERED AT THE REQUEST OF THE LEGISLATURE OF
MASSACHUSETTS, FEBRUARY 8, 1800.
BY FISHER AMES.
It is natural that the gratitude of mankind should be drawn to their benefactors. A number of these have successively arisen, who were no less distinguished for the elevation of their virtues, than the lustre of their talents. Of those, however, who were born, and who acted, through life, as if they were born, not for themselves, but for their country and the whole human race, how few, alas! are recorded in the long annals of ages, and how wide the intervals of time and space that divide them. In all this dreary length of way, they appear like five or six lighthouses on as many thousand miles of coast; they gleam upon the surrounding darkness, with an inextinguishable splendor, like stars seen through a mist; but they are seen like stars, to cheer, to guide, and to save. WASHINGTON is now added to that small number. Already he attracts curiosity, like a newly discovered star, whose benignant light will travel on to the world's and time's farthest bounds. Already his name is hung up by history as conspicuously, as if it sparkled in one of the constellations of the sky.
By commemorating his death, we are called this day to yield the homage that is due to virtue; to confess the common debt of mankind as well as our own; and to pronounce for posterity, now dumb, that eulogium, which they will delight to echo ten ages hence, when we are dumb.
I consider myself not merely in the midst of the citizens of this town, or even of the state. In idea, I gather
round me the nation. In the vast and venerable congregation of the patriots of all countries and of all enlightened men, I would, if I could, raise my voice, and speak to mankind in a strain worthy of my audience, and as elevated as my subject. But how shall I express emotions that are condemned to be mute, because they are unutterable? I felt, and I was witness, on the day when the news of his death reached us, to the throes of that grief that saddened every countenance, and wrung drops of agony from the heart. Sorrow labored for utterance, but found none. Every man looked round for the consolation of other men's tears. Gracious Heaven! what consolation ! Each face was convulsed with sorrow for the past; every heart shivered with despair for the future. The man who, and who alone, united all hearts, was dead
-dead, at the moment when his power to do good was the greatest, and when the aspect of the imminent public dangers seemed more than ever to render his aid indispensable, and his loss irreparable: irreparable; for two WASHINGTONs come not in one age.
A grief so thoughtful, so profound, so mingled with tenderness and admiration, so interwoven with our national self-love, so often revived by being diffused, is not to be expressed. You have assigned me a task that is impossible.
O if I could perform it, if I could illustrate his principles in my discourse as he displayed them in his life, if I could paint his virtues as he practised them, if I could convert the fervid enthusiasm of my heart into the talent to transmit his fame, as it ought to pass, to posterity, I should be the successful organ of your will, the minister of his virtues, and may I dare to say, the humble partaker of his immortal glory. These are ambitious, deceiving hopes, and I reject them; for it is, perhaps, almost as difficult, at once with judgment and feeling, to praise great actions, as to perform them. A lavish and undistinguishing eulogium is not praise; and to discriminate such excellent qualities as were characteristic and peculiar to him, would be to raise a name, as he raised it, above envy, above parallel, perhaps, for that very reason, above emulation.
Such a portraying of character, however, must be addressed to the understanding, and, therefore, even if it were well executed, would seem to be rather an analysis of moral principles, than the recital of a hero's exploits.
With whatever fidelity I might execute this task, I know that some would prefer a picture drawn to the imagination. They would have our WASHINGTON represented of a giant's size, and in the character of a hero of romance. They, who love to wonder better than to reason, would not be satisfied with the contemplation of a great example, unless, in the exhibition, it should be so distorted into prodigy, as to be both incredible and useless. Others, I hope but few, who think meanly of human nature, will deem it incredible, that even WASHINGTON should think with as much dignity and elevation as he acted; and they will grovel in vain in the search for mean and selfish motives, that could incite and sustain him to devote his life to his country, • Do not these suggestions sound in your ears like a profanation of virtue-and, while I pronounce them, do you not feel a thrill of indignation at your hearts? Forbear. Time never fails to bring every exalted reputation to a strict scrutiny; the world, in passing the judgment that is never to be reversed, will deny all partiality even to the name of WASHINGTON. Let it be denied, for its justice will confer glory. .
Such a life as WASHINGTON's cannot derive honor from the circumstances of birth and education, though it throws back a lustre upon both. With an inquisitive mind, that always profited by the lights of others, and was unclouded by passions of its own, he acquired a maturity of judgment, rare in age, unparalleled in youth. Perhaps no young man had so early laid up a life's stock of materials for solid reflection, or settled