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at the altar, who has hitherto forborne to remonstrate on this subject. I cannot forgive that public prosecutor, who, intrusted with the duty of avenging his country's wrongs, has seen those wrongs, and taken no measures to avenge them. I cannot forgive that judge upon the bench, or that governor in the chair of state, who has lightly passed over such offences. I cannot forgive the public, in whose opinion the duellist finds a sanctuary. I cannot forgive you, my brethren, who, till this late hour, have been silent, while successive murders were committed. No; I cannot forgive you, that you have not, in common with the freemen of this state, raised your voice to the powers that be, and loudly and explicitly demanded an execution of your laws; demanded this in a manner, which, if it did not reach the ear of government, would at least have reached the heavens, and plead your excuse before the God that filleth them-in whose presence as I stand, I should not feel myself innocent of the blood that crieth against us, had I been silent. But I have not been silent. Many of you who hear me, are my witnesses the walls of yonder temple, where I have heretofore addressed you,' are my witnesses, how freely I have animadverted on this subject, in the presence both of those who have violated the laws, and of those whose indispensable duty it is to see the laws executed on those who violate them.
I enjoy another opportunity; and would to God, I might be permitted to approach for once the late scene of death. Would to God, I could there assemble, on the one side, the disconsolate mother with her seven fatherless children; and on the other, those who administer the justice of my country. Could I do this, I would point them to these sad objects. I would entreat them, by the agonies of bereaved fondness, to listen to the widow's heartfelt groans; to mark the orphan's sighs and tears. And having done this, I would uncover the breathless corps of Hamilton-I would lift from his gaping wound, his bloody mantle
I would hold it up to heaven before them, and I would ask, in the name of God, I would ask, whether, at the sight of it, they felt no compunction?
You will ask, perhaps, what can be done, to arrest the progress of a practice which has yet so many advocates? I answer, nothing-if it be the deliberate intention to do nothing. But, if otherwise, much is within our power. Let, then, the governor see that the laws are executed; let the council displace the man who offends against their majesty ; let courts of justice frown from their bar, as unworthy to appear before them, the murderer and his accomplices; let the people declare him unworthy of their confidence who engages in such sanguinary contests; let this be done, and should life still be taken in single combat, then the governor, the council, the court, the people, looking up to the Avenger of sin, may say, " we are innocent, we are innocent." Do you ask, how proof can be obtained? How can it be avoided? The parties return, hold up, before our eyes, the instruments of death, publish to the world the circumstances of their interview, and even, with an air of insulting triumph, boast how coolly and deliberately they proceeded in violating one of the most sacred laws of earth and heaven!
Ah! ye tragic shores of Hoboken, crimsoned with the richest blood, I tremble at the crimes you record against us—the annual register of murders which you keep and send up to God! Place of inhuman cruelty! beyond the limits of reason, of duty and of religion, where man assumes a more barbarous nature, and ceases to be man. What poignant, lingering sorrows do thy lawless combats occasion to surviving relatives! Ye who have hearts of pity-ye who have experienced the anguish of dissolving friendship—who have wept, and still weep, over the mouldering ruins of departed kindred, ye can enter into this reflection.
O thou disconsolate widow ! robbed, so cruelly robbed, and in so short a time, both of a husband and a
son, what must be the plenitude of thy sufferings! Could we approach thee, gladly would we drop the tear of sympathy, and pour into thy bleeding bosom the balm of consolation! But how could we comfort her whom God hath not comforted ? To His throne, let us lift up our voice and weep. O God ! if thou art still the widow's husband, and the father of the fatherless, if in the fulness of thy goodness there be yet mercies in store for miserable mortals, pity, O pity this afflicted mother, and grant that her hapless orphans may find a friend, a benefactor, a father, in Thee! On this article I have done : and may God add his blessing.
But I have still a claim upon your patience. I cannot here repress my feelings, and thus let pass the present opportunity.
“How are the mighty fallen.” And, regardless as we are of vulgar deaths, shall not the fall of the mighty affect us? A short time since, and he, who is the occasion of our sorrows, was the ornament of his country. He stood on an eminence, and glory covered him. From that eminence he has fallen-suddenly, forever, fallen. His intercourse with the living world is now ended; and those, who would hereafter find him, must seek him in the grave. There, cold and lifeless, is the heart which just now was the seat of friendship. There, dim and sightless is the eye, whose radiant and enlivening orb beamed with intelligence; and there, closed forever, are those lips, on whose persuasive accents we have so often, and so lately, hung with transport! From the darkness which rests upon his tomb, there proceeds, methinks, a light in which it is clearly seen, that those gaudy objects, which men pursue, are only phantoms. In this light, how dimly shines the splendor of victory; how humble appears the majesty of grandeur! The bubble, which seemed to have so much solidity, has burst; and we again see, that all below the sun is vanity.
True, the funeral eulogy has been pronounced; the
sad and solemn procession has moved; the badge of mourning has already been decreed, and presently the sculptured marble will lift up its front, proud to perpetuate the name of Hamilton, and rehearse to the passing traveller his virtues. Just tributes of respect! And to the living useful. But to him, mouldering in his narrow and humble habitation, what are they? How vain ! how unavailing!
Approach, and behold, while I lift from his sepulchre its covering! Ye admirers of his greatness; ye emu. lous of his talents and his fame, approach, and behold him now. How pale! How silent! No martial bands admire the adroitness of his movements: no fascinated throng weep, and melt, and tremble, at his eloquence! Amazing change! A shroud! a coffin! a narrow, subterraneous cabin! This is all that now remains of Hamilton! And is this all that remains of him? During a life so transitory, what lasting monument, then, can our fondest hopes erect!
My brethren! we stand on the borders of an awful gulf, which is swallowing up all things human. And is there, amidst this universal wreck, nothing stable, nothing abiding, nothing immortal, on which poor, frail, dying man can fasten? Ask the hero, ask the statesman, whose wisdom you have been accustomed to revere, and he will tell you. He will tell you, did I say? He has already told you, from his death-bed, and his illumined spirit, still whispers from the heavens, with well known eloquence, the solemn admonition.
6 Mortals! hastening to the tomb, and once the companions of my pilgrimage, take warning and avoid my errors; cultivate the virtues I have recommended; choose the Saviour I have chosen; live disinterestedly; live for immortality; and would you rescue any thing from final dissolution, lay it up in God.”
Thus speaks, methinks, our deceased benefactor, and thus he acted during his last sad hours. To the exclusion of every other concern, religion now claims
renfled to the sure, and
all his thoughts. Jesus! Jesus, is now his only hope. The friends of Jesus are his friends; the ministers of the altar his companions. While these intercede, he listens in awful silence, or in profound submission whispers his assent. Sensible, deeply sensible of his sins, he pleads no merit of his own. He repairs to the mercy-seat, and there pours out his penitential sorrows—there he solicits pardon. Heaven, it should seem, heard and pitied the suppliant's cries. Disburdened of his sorrows, and looking up to God, he exclaims, “ Grace, rich grace.” “I have,” said he, clasping his dying hands, and with a faltering tongue, 6 I have a tender reliance on the mercy of God in Christ.” In token of this reliance, and as an expression of his faith, he receives the holy sacrament; and having done this, his mind becomes tranquil and se. rene. Thus he remains, thoughtful indeed, but unruffled to the last, and meets death with an air of dignified composure, and with an eye directed to the heavens.
This last act, more than any other, sheds glory on his character. Every thing else death effaces. Religion alone abides with him on his death-bed. He dies a Christian. This is all which can be enrolled of him among the archives of eternity. This is all that can make his name great in heaven. Let not the sneering infidel persuade you that this last act of homage to the Saviour, resulted from an enfeebled state of mental faculties, or from perturbation occasioned by the near approach of death. No; his opinions concerning the divine mission of Jesus Christ, and the validity of the holy scriptures, had long been settled, and settled after laborious investigation and extensive and deep research. These opinions were not concealed. I knew them myself. Some of you, who hear me, knew them; and had his life been spared, it was his determination to have published them to the world, together with the facts and reasons on which they were founded.
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