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Funeral of their own liberties, by the lurid light of the revolutionary torch. The tumult of the passions Iubsided, the wisdom of the’administration was perceived, and America now remains a solitary mong. ment in the desolated plains of liberty.
HAVING remained at the head of the treasury lev. eral years, and filled its coffers ; having developed the fources of an ample revenue, and telted the ad. vantages of his own system by his own experience; and having expended his private fortune ; he found it neceffary to retire from public employ. ment, and to devote his attention to the claims of a large and dear family. What brighter instance of disinterested honor has ever been exhibited to an admiring world! That a man, upon whom devolv. ed the task of originating a system of revenue for a nation; of devising the checks in his own depart. ment; of providing for the collection of sums, the amount of which was conjectural ; that a man, who anticipated the effects of a funding system, yet a se. cret in his own bosom, and who was thus enabled to have fécured a princely fortune, consistently with principles esteemed fair by the world ; that such a man, by no means addicted to an expensive or ex. travagant style of living, should have retired from of. fice destitute of means adequate to the wants of mediocrity, and have resorted to professional labor for the means of decent support, are facts which must instruct and astonish those, who in countries habituated to corruption and venality are more attentive to the gains than to the duties of official station.Yet HAMILTON was that man.
It was a fact al. ways known to his friends, and it is now evident from his testament, made under a deep presenti
ment of his approaching fate. Blush then, minis. ters and warriors of imperial France, who have deluded your nation by pretensions to a disinter- . ested regard for its liberties and rights ! Difgorge the riches extorted from your fellow citizens, and the spoils amassed from confiscation and blood! Restore to impoverished nations the price paid by them for the privilege of slavery, and now appropriated to the refinements of luxury and corruption! Approach the tomb of Hamilton, and compare the insignificance of your gorgeous palaces with the awful majesty of this tenement of clay!
We again accompany our friend in the walks of private life, and in the assiduous pursuit of his profession, until the aggressions of France compelled the nation to assume the attitude of defence. He was now invited by the great and enlightened statesman who had succeeded to the Presidency, and at the express request of the Commander in Chief, to accept of the second rank in the army. Though no man had manifested a greater desire to avoid war, yet it is freely confessed that when war appeared to be inevitable, his heart exulted in “the tented field,” and he loved the life and occupation of a soldier. His early habits were formed amid the fascinations of the camp. And though the pacific policy of Adams once more rescued us from war, and shortened the existence of the army establishment, yet its duration was sufficient to secure to him the love and confia dence of officers and men, to enable him to display the talents and qualities of a great general, and to justify the most favorable prognostics of his prowels in the field.
ONCE more this excellent man unloofed the hel. inet from his brow, and returned to the duties of the forum. From this time he persisted in a firm resolution to decline all civil honors and promotion, and to live a private citizen unless again summoned to the defence of his country. He became more than ever affiduous in his practice at the bar, and intent upon his plans of domestic happiness, until a nice and mistaken estimate of the claims of honor, impelled him to the fatal act which terminated his life.
While it is far from my intention to draw a veil over this last great error, or in the least measure to justify a practice, which threatens in its progress to destroy the liberty of speech and of opinion; it is but justice to the deceased, to state the circumstances which should palliate the resentment that may be excited in some good minds towards his memory. From the last fad memorial which we poffefs from his hand; and in which, if our tears permit, we may trace the sad presage of the impend. ing catastrophe, it appears that his religious principles were at variance with the practice of duelling, and that he could not reconcile his benevolent heart to shed the blood of an adversary in private combat, even in his own defence. It was then from public motives that he committed this great mistake. It was for the benefit of his country that he erroneously conceived himself obliged to make the painful sacrifice of his principles, and to expose his life. The fober judgment of the man, was confounded and misdirected by the jealous honor of the soldier ; and he evidently adverted to the possibility of events that might render indispensable, the esteem and con. fidence of soldiers as well as of citizens.
But while religion mourns for this aberration of the judgment of a great man, the derives fome con. folation from his testimony in her favor. If she re. jects the apology, she admits the repentance ; and if the good example be not an atonement, it may
be an antidote for the bad. Let us then, in an age of infidelity, join, in imagination, the desolate group of wife and children and friends, who surround the dying bed of the inquisitive, the luminous, the frientific Hamilton, and witness his attestation to the truth and comforts of our holy religion. Let us behold the lofty warrior bow his head before the Cross of the meek and lowly Jesus; and he who had so lately graced the sumptuous tables and fociety of the luxurious and rich, now, regardless of these meaner pleasures, and aspiring to be admitted to a sublime enjoyment with which no worldly joys can comparemto a devout and humble participation of the bread of life. The religious fervor of his last moments was not an impulse of decaying nature yielding to its fears, but the result of a firm conviction of the truths of the Gospel. I am well informed, that in early life, the evidences of the Christian religion had attracted his serious examination, and obtained his deliberate assent to their truth, and that he daily upon his knees devoted a portion of time to a compliance with one of its most important injunctions: And that however these edifying propenfities might have yielded occasionally to the business and temptations of life, they always resumed their influence, and would probably have prompted
him to a public profession of his faith in his Re deemer.
Such was the untimely fate of ALEXANDER HAMILTON ; whose character warrants the apprehension, that, “take him for all in all, we ne'er shall look upon his like again.”
Nature, even in the partial distribution of her favors, generally limits the attainments of great men within distinct and particular spheres of eminence. But he was the darling of nature, and privileged be. yond the rest of her favorites. His mind caught at a glance that perfect comprehension of a subject, for whichothers areindebted to patient labor and investiga. tion. In whatever department he was called to ad, he discovered an intuitive knowledge of its duties, which gave him an immediate ascendency over those who had made them the study of their lives ; so that after running through the circle of office, as a soldier, ftatesman and financier, no, question remained for which he had been qualified, but only in which he had evinced the most superlative merit. He did not diffemble his attachment to a military life, nor his consciousness of possessing talents for command yet no man more strenuously advocated the rights of the civil over the military power, nor more cheer. fully abdicated command and returned to the rank of the citizen, when his country could dispense with the necessity of an army. .
In his private profession, at a bar abounding with men of learning and experience, he was without a rival.
He arranged with happiest facility, the materials collected in the vast store-house of his memory,