Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

nent in woe! Ye angels and ministers of grace, complete her consolations! Tell her, in gentlest accents, what wreaths of glory you have entwined, to adorn the brows of those who die for their country; and hovering for a while, on the wing of pity, listen to the mournful strain, flowing to a deceased husband.

* Sweet ivy twin’d with myrtle, form a shade
Around the tomb where brave Montgomery's laid!
Beneath your boughs, shut from the beams of day,
My ceasless tears shall bathe the warrior's clay;
And injur'd “Freedom shall a while repair,
To dwell, with me, a weeping hermit there."

Having now paid the honours due to the memories of our departed friends, what need I add more? Illustrious, although short, was their race! “But old age

is not that which standeth in length of time, nor is measured by number of years—wisdom is the grey hair to man, and an unspotted life is old age.

To such men, Rome in all her glory would have decreed honours; and the resolve of Congress to transmit the memory of their virtues, is worthy of that magnanimity which ought to characterize public bodies. Jealous and arbitrary rulers are sparing of honours to those who serve them, lest their own should be thus eclipsed. But your lustre, gentlemen, can suffer no diminution this way; and the glory you justly bestow upon others, will only be reflected to encrease your own!

• The original lines, for which these were substituted and performed to music, are well known, viz.

“ Wind gentle ever-green to form a shade,

“ Around the tomb where Sophocles is laid, &c. Part of the two last lines is from an ode of Collins.

F 4

OF THE

AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.

ON motion, resolved unanimously, that the thanks of this Society be given to the Rev. Dr. William Smith, for preparing, and delivering at their desire, the ORATION or EULOGIUM, as a tribute to the memory of their illustrious president Dr. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN; and that he be requested to furnish the society with a copy of the same, for publication.

ORDERED, that a transcript of this resolution be forthwith made, and delivered to Dr. Smith, by one of the secretaries.

Extract from the Minutes,

SAMUEL MAGAW, SECRETARY. March 4, 1791.

TO THE PUBLIC. THE assistance derived by the author in the composition of the following Eulogium, from the friendly communications of some of his learned colleagues, among the officers of the American Philosophical Society, requires his public acknowledgments to be made to them, viz.

To David RITTENHOUSE, Esq. L. L. D. president of the society, for sundry papers, which have been digested into the account of Dr. Franklin's electrical and philosophical discoveries, from page 64 to 71.

To THOMAS JEFFERSON, Esq. L. L. D. one of the vice presidents of the society, and secretary of the United States, for his letter, concerning Dr. Franklin's ministry at the court of France, page 75 to 77.

To JONATHAN WILLIAMS, Esq. one of the secretaries of the society, for the original letter, page 80, 81; and some papers in the appendix.

To BENJAMIN Rush, M. D. one of the council of the society, for some sketches of Dr. Franklin's character, of which the author has availed himself, p. 50.

The length of time, which (from some necessary avocations both of the author and publisher) has intervened between the delivery of this Eulogium, and its issuing from the press, requires an apology; and miglit induce an expectation of its appearing at last in a more improved state. But if either the author's leisure or abilities had permitted the attempt of improvements, by a deviation from the original work, he would have considered them as unjustifiable on such an occasion; and therefore, it is submitted to the public candor, without the least addition, excepting the appendix, and the alteration only of a few words.

ORATION II.

BEING AN EULOGIUM

ON

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, L. L. D.

President of the American Philosophical Society, Fellow of the

Royal Society of London, Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, of the Royal Society at Gottingen, the Batavian Society in Holland, and of many other Literary Societies in Europe and America; late Minister Plenipotentiary for the United States of America at the Court of Paris, sometime President, and for more than half a century a revered citizen, of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

DELIVERED MARCH 1, 1791,

IN THE

GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH

OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA,

BEFORE

THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY,

AND

AGREEABLY TO THEIR APPOINTMENT.

THIS SOLEMNITY WAS ALSO HONOURED WITH THE PRESENCE OF

THE PRESIDENT, SENATE, AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, THE CORPORATION, AND MOST OF THE PUBLIC BODIES, AS WELL AS RESPECTABLE PRIVATE CITIZENS, OF PHILADELPHIA.

ORATION, &c.

CITIZENS OF PENNSYLVANIA! LUMINARIES OF SCIENCE!

ASSEMBLED FATHERS OF AMERICA!

HEARD

you not that solemn interrogatory?

Who is He that now recedes from his labours among you?

What citizen, super-eminent in council, do you now deplore?

What luminary, what splendid sun of science, from the hallowed walks of philosophy, now withdraws his beams?

What father of his country, what hero, what statesman, what law-giver, is now extinguished from your political hemisphere; and invites the mournful obsequies?

Is it He-your FRANKLIN?-It cannot be!Long since, full of years, and full of honours, hath he submitted to the inexorable call, and proceeded on his fated journey*. From west to east, by land and on the wide ocean, to the utmost extent of the civilized globe, the tale hath been told—That the vene.

• He died April 17, 1790.

rable sage of Pennsylvania, the patriot and patriarch of America, is no more. With the plaudits of the wise and good; with the eulogies of whole* nations and communities, he hath received his dismission, and obtained the award of glory—“ As a citizen, “ whose genius was not more an ornament to human

nature, than his various exertions of it have been precious to science, to freedom, and to his countryt."

What new occasion, then, (methinks I hear it inquired) invites the present solemnity, and convenes this illustrious assembly of citizens, philosophers, patriots, and law-givers? Must it be said in answer, " That, after the name of FRANKLIN hath been consecrated to deathless fame in the most distant countries, the American Philosophical Society are now, for the first time, assembled, to pay the tribute of public homage, so long due to the memory and the manes of their beloved founder and head?

On me! on me, I fear, must the blame of this delay, in some degree, fall! On me, perhaps, a much greater blame will fall, than of a delay, rendered unavoidable, on my part, by some mournful familycircumstances- I mean the blame of having attempted a duty, which might have been better discharged by other members of this society, and at the time first proposed.

* See the Eulogiums of the Abbe Fuucbet and M. de la Rochefoucault, before the deputies of the national assembly of France and the municipality of Paris.

+ See Mr. Madison's motion, and the act of the representatives of the United States America in congress, for wearing the customary badge of mourning, for one month, on occasion of his death.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »