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any which may follow them. If you only accept a challenge, when you believe, in your conscience, that duelling is wrong, you act the coward. The dastardly fear of the world governs you. Awed by its menaces, you conceal your sentiments, appear in disguise, and act in guilty conformity to principles not your own, and that too in the most solemn moment, and when engaged in an act which exposes you to death.
But if it be rashness to accept, how passing rashness is it, in a sinner, to give a challenge? Does it become him, whose life is measured out by crimes, to be extreme to mark, and punctilious to resent, whatever is amiss in others ? Must the duellist, who now disdaining to forgive, so imperiously demands satisfaction to the uttermost-must this man himself, trembling at the recollection of his offences, presently appear a suppliant before the mercy-seat of God? Imagine this, and the case is not imaginary, and you cannot conceive an instance of greater inconsistency, or of more presumptuous arrogance. Therefore, 6 avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath ; for vengeance is mine, I will repay it, saith the Lord.” Do you ask, then, how you shall conduct towards your enemy, who hath lightly done you wrong? If he be hungry, feed him; if naked, clothe him; if thirsty, give him drink. Such, had you preferred your question to Jesus Christ, is the answer he had given you. By observing which, you will usually subdue, and always act more honorably than your enemy.
I feel, my brethren, as a minister of Jesus and a teacher of his gospel, a noble elevation on this article. Compare the conduct of the Christian, acting in conformity to the principles of religion, and of the duellist, acting in conformity to the principles of honor, and let reason say, which bears the marks of the most exalted greatness. Compare them, and let reason say, which enjoys the most calm serenity of mind in time, and which is likely to receive the plaudit of his Judge in immortality. God, from his throne, beholds not a nobler object on his footstool, than the man who loves his enemies, pities their errors, and forgives the injuries they do him. This is, indeed, the very spirit of the heavens. It is the image of His benignity, whose glory fills them.
To return to the subject before us-guilty, absurd and rash, as duelling is, it has its advocates. And had it not had its advocates—had not a strange preponderance of opinion been in favor of it, never, O lamentable Hamilton! hadst thou thus fallen, in the midst of thy days, and before thou hadst reached the zenith of thy glory!
O that I possessed the talent of eulogy, and that I might be permitted to indulge the tenderness of friendship, in paying the last tribute to his memory! O that I were capable of placing this great man before you! Could I do this, I should furnish you with an argument, the most practical, the most plain, the most convincing, except that drawn from the mandate of God, that was ever furnished against duelling that horrid practice, which has, in an awful moment, robbed the world of such exalted worth. But I cannot do this; I can only hint at the variety and exuberance of his excellence, · The Man, on whom nature seems originally to have impressed the stamp of greatness, whose genius beamed, from the retirement of collegiate life, with a radiance which dazzled, and a loveliness which charmed the eye of sages.
The Hero, called from his sequestered retreat, whose first appearance in the field, though a stripling, conciliated the esteem of Washington, our good old father. Moving by whose side, during all the perils of the revolution, our young chieftain was a contributor to the veteran's glory, the guardian of his person, and the copartner of his toils.
The Conqueror, who, sparing of human blood, when
victory favored, stayed the uplifted arm, and nobly said to the vanquished enemy, “ Live!”
The Statesman, the correctness of whose principles, and the strength of whose mind, are inscribed on the records of Congress, and on the annals of the council. chamber; whose genius impressed itself upon the constitution of his country; and whose memory, the government, illustrious fabric, resting on this basis, will perpetuate while it lasts : and shaken by the violence of party, should it fall, which may heaven avert, his prophetic declarations will be found inscribed on its ruins.
The Counsellor, who was at once the pride of the bar and the admiration of the court; whose apprehensions were quick as lightning, and whose development of truth was luminous as its path ; whose argument no change of circumstances could embarrass; whose knowledge appeared intuitive; and who, by a single glance, and with as much facility as the eye of the eagle passes over the landscape, surveyed the whole field of controversy; saw in what way truth might be most successfully defended, and how error must be approached; and who, without ever stopping, ever hesitating, by a rapid and manly march, led the listening judge and the fascinated juror, step by step, through a delightsome region, brightening as he advanced, till his argument rose to demonstration, and eloquence was rendered useless by conviction; whose talents were employed on the side of righteousness; whose voice, whether in the council-chamber, or at the bar of justice, was virtue's consolation: at whose approach oppressed humanity felt a secret rapture, and the heart of injured innocence leapt for joy.
Where Hamilton was-in whatever sphere he moved, the friendless had a friend, the fatherless a father, and the poor man, though unable to reward his kindness, found an advocate. It was when the rich oppressed the poor ; when the powerful menaced the defenceless; when truth was disregarded, or the eternal principles of justice violated; it was on these occasions, that he exerted all his strength; it was on these occasions, that he sometimes soared so high and shone with a radiance so transcendent, I had almost said, so “ heavenly, as filled those around him with awe, and gave to him the force and authority of a prophet."
The Patriot, whose integrity baffled the scrutiny of inquisition; whose manly virtue never shaped itself to circumstances; who, always great, always himself, stood amidst the varying tides of party, firm, like the rock, which, far from land, lifts its majestic top above the waves, and remains unshaken by the storms which agitate the ocean.
The Friend, who knew no guile-whose bosom was transparent and deep; in the bottom of whose heart was rooted every tender and sympathetic virtue; whose various worth opposing parties acknowledged while alive, and on whose tomb they unite, with equal sympathy and grief, to heap their honors.
I know he had his failings. I see, on the picture of his life-a picture rendered awful by greatness, and luminous by virtue, some dark shades. On these, let the tear, that pities human weakness, fall: on these, let the veil, which covers human frailty, rest. As a hero, as a statesman, as a patriot, he lived nobly: and would to God I could add, he nobly fell. Unwilling to admit his error in this respect, I go back to the period of discussion. I see him resisting the threatened interview. I imagine myself present in his chamber. Various reasons, for a time, seem to hold his determination in arrest. Various and moving objects pass before him, and speak a dissuasive language. His country, which may need his counsels to guide, and his arm to defend, utters her veto. The partner of his youth, already covered with weeds, and whose tears flow down into her bosom, intercedes! His babes, stretching out their little hands and pointing to a
weeping mother, with lisping eloquence, but eloquence which reaches a parent's heart, cry out, “ Stay, stay, dear papa, and live for us!” In the mean time, the spectre of a fallen son, pale and ghastly, approaches, opens his bleeding bosom, and as the harbinger of death, points to the yawning tomb, and warns a hesitating father of the issue! He pauses: reviews these sad objects: and reasons on the subject. I admire his magnanimity, I approve his reasoning, and I wait to hear him reject, with indignation, the murderous proposition, and to see him spurn from his presence the presumptuous bearer of it. But I wait in vain. It was a moment in which his great wisdom forsook him—a moment in which Hamilton was not himself. He yielded to the force of an imperious custom: and yielding, he sacrificed a life in which all had an interest—and he is lost-lost to his country, lost to his family, lost to us. For this act, because he disclaimed it, and was penitent, I forgive him. But there are those whom I cannot forgive. I mean not his antagonist; over whose erring steps, if there be tears in heaven, a pious mother looks down and weeps. If he be capable of feeling, he suffers already all that humanity can suffer-suffers, and wherever he may fly, will suffer, with the poignant recollection of having taken the life of one, who was too magnanimous, in return, to attempt his own. Had he known this, it must have paralyzed his arm, while it pointed, at so incorruptible a bosom, the instrument of death. Does he know this now? His heart, if it be not adamant, must soften-if it be not ice, must melt. But on this article I forbear. Stained with blood as he is, if he be penitent, I forgive him and if he be not, before these altars, where all of us appear as suppliants, I wish not to excite your vengeance, but rather, in behalf of an object, rendered wretched and pitiable by crime, to wake your prayers.
But I have said, and I repeat it, there are those whom I cannot forgive. I cannot forgive that minister