Page images

soul, freed from the shackles that chained it to the earth, shall wing its flight to regions of eternal bliss. May the tutelary angels who watch over the interests of this great and growing empire, welcome thee with triumph, to the abodes of the blest. There, amidst friends and companions of thine earthly labors; amid the sages and patriots of other ages, and other countries— encircled by a Warren and Montgomery; a Socrates and a Cato; a Sully and a Hampden; may'st thou taste those pure enjoyments, which saints and angels only know; which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive."

To us, who still travel on in this "vale of tears"-to us it belongs to honor his memory, and to imitate his virtues. While his country records his glory, and erects a monument to his fame, American citizens, to remotest ages, will hold his character in remembrance and esteem.

WITH pride and pleasure they will remember their beloved. Washington, whose fame adds lustre to his age and country; in whose character were combined more exalted virtues, unalloyed by the extremes to which such virtues are most exposed, than in the character of any man of whom we have heard or read. Never did any man better understand the human character, or employ more suitable agents for the accomplishment of his views and plans. In a remarkable degree, he united genius, with judgment; the enterprize of youth, with the caution of age. He was brave, but not rash; fearless of death, but not prodigal of life. He possessed zeal without intemperance, liberality without profusion, and economy without avarice. His piety was rational and sincere, tin&ured neither with superstition nor hypocrisy. His dignity never wore the garb of haughtiness, nor his modesty that of affection. Moderate in prosperity, he never lost his equanimity in misfortune-faithful to his friends, he pitied and forgave his enemies. He lived the hero, the statesman, and the sage; and died the humble, and resigned believer. Behold the man, whom while alive, his country esteemed and loved, and whose memory now, she," delights to honor."

AUTHOR of his being, and parent of every good! we bless thee for having raised up so great and good a man, and for having lent his precious life for such a lapse of years to the American people!

I CANNOT close this addreas in a manner more becoming, or in language so elegant and pathetic, as that used by our national senate in their letter of condolence to the president of the United States.

ADOPTING their words, every American may with truth, and from the heart say-" With patriotic pride we review the life of our Washington, and compare him with those of other countries who have been pre-eminent in fame. Ancient and modern names are diminished before him. Greatness and guilt have too often been allied; but his fame is whiter than it is brilliant. The destroyers of nations stood abashed at the majesty of his virtue. It reproved the intemperance of their ambition and darkened the splendor of victory. The scene is closed, and we are no longer anxious lest misfortune should sully his glory; he has travelled on to the end of his journey and carried with him an encreasing weight of honor; he has deposited it safely, where misfortune cannot tarnish it, where malice cannot blast it. Favored of heaven, he departed without exhibiting the weakness of humanity; magnanimous in death, the darkness of the grave could not obscure his brightness.

"SUCH was the man whom we deplore. Thanks to God, his glory is consummated: Washington yet lives on earth in his spotless example; his spirit is in heaven,

"LET his countrymen consecrate the memory of the heroic general, the patriotic statesman, and the virtuous sage: Let them teach their children never to forget that the fruits of his labors, and his example, are their inheritance."

Oration, delivered to the citizens of Burlington, in commemoration of general GEORGE WASHINGTON, By WILLIAM



HE DAY, which for so many years has never returned, but to suffuse every eye with pleasurable recollection, and to gladden every heart with delightful anticipation-this day, which gave to human nature, an ornament; to America, her greatest benefactor; and to the world, a bright exemplar of every virtue, by a mysterious providence, has become an epoch of painful retrospection, and unavailing sorrow.

WHILST its annual returns gave to a grateful people, another, and another, opportunity of honoring the living object of their affections, the rapture of their possession seemed to repress the admonitions of time, or but faintly listened to the voice, which told us that WASAINGTON must die.

THIS event, which all knew would happen, was by all postponed; and each one cherished the fond illusion, that he, who had surpassed all others, in glory and in usefulness, might also add a new prerogative to humanity, and exceed the ordinary limits of mortal existence.

VAIN were our wishes, and unrealized our hopes! The deep, the extensive, the unceasing lamentation, which is heard throughout the American empire, proclaims to the world, that Washington is no more!

YES! that mind which penetrated the destinies of his country that courage which undertook her deliverance-that wisdom and fortitude which led her to independence that love which planted the tree of liberty here, and watered it with the tears of parental solicitude-they no longer animate your Washington!

To you, who have felt the public shock, and added so many tears to the tide of public grief, it were unnecessary to

describe its extent, and unkind to retouch the sensibility, which an event so sudden and so affecting has produced in our country.

INVITED through your preference on this day, dedicated by national respect to the commemoration of the illustrious dead, to exert my efforts-alas how unequal in rendering homage to his exalted character—it is due to my own convictions, and to your expectations, that I renounce the design of personal and historical panegyric.

I HAVE no expressions which can convey an eulogium on Washington!. -I stand not here to delineate his person!. You, who saw him in the vigor of life, when prostrate freedom first dyed his cheek with flushes of resentment-indignant at her wrongs! and the voice of his country summoned him to her succour you can never forget his graceful form, and his commanding aspect.-We, who have seen him bending with years, and furrowed with public cares, can never forget the filial reverence which his presence inspired. And to you, who have never seen him—and to posterity-a West and a Stewart, have given of his figure and countenance, whatever art could borrow from the life.

NOR do I stand here to recount his actions, or to grace with the splendors of language, his intrinsic claims to present and to future admiration.

THE great drama, in which he bore so conspicuous a part, is over. To review its august scenery to rehearse its wonderful events to follow him in all its vicissitudes, were equally superfluous, and impossible.

You require no register of his achievements; for you were all witnesses of their performance, or partakers in their benefits-actors with him, or spectators! they are imprinted on every heart, and live in characters indelible as his own unrivalled pre-eminence.

THE faithful page of history will hand down to succeeding ages, his exploits of war, and arts of peace:To other pens must be committed the delightful office, with glowing rhetoric, and in immortal song, to trace the countless services which he rendered to his country, in unceasing honors, and boundless gratitude, by which they were rewarded.

WHILE orators mount through the annals of time, and examine the lists of fame, for subjects of historic resemblance, and models of eulogistic contrast, while poets and historians are emulous to transmit to other times, the striking incidents of his fortune and the varied brilliant succession of important actions, which distinguished him above other men-I would leave comparison to those who can find parallels; and the relation of battles and triumphs, to those who excel in epic eloquence.

On this occasion you will permit me, my indulgent audience, to pursue a less splendid-but, may I hope, not an unpleasing theme.

I WOULD draw you from the contemplation of those past events, and personal objects, which so dazzle and captivate our senses and fix your minds upon the INHERENT QUALIFICATIONS, which rendered his life so useful; his example so impressive; and his precepts so invaluable.

My countrymen! If you have seen your enemy wasted, dedefeated, and driven from your borders, under his military guidance-if order, peace and happiness, have grown out of his civil administration-if his experience in war and in government claims your highest consideration, and his truth and love give intrinsic weight to his opinions-it is of the utmost importance, and an obvious duty, that we imitate the conduct, and pursue those maxims, which rendered him illustrious, and America powerful and happy.

His life-his virtues-and his principles address themselves to our imitation, in every relation, which connects us with each other, and with our common country.

E e

« PreviousContinue »