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whatever apparent good has strongly attached their heart. This becomes the center of attraction, which draws them towards it,-which quickens and regulates all their motions. While the men of the world are thus influenced by the objects which they severally worship, shall he only, who directs all his devotion toward the Supreme Being, be excluded from a place in the system of rational conduct?" Blair.
Character of Washington.
1. It is natural that the gratitude of mankind should be drawn to their benefactors. A number of these have successively arisen, who were no less distinguished for the elevation of their virtues, than the luster of their talents. Of those, however, who were born, and who acted through life as if they were born, not for themselves, but for their country, and the whole human race, how few, alas! are recorded on the long annals of ages, and how wide the intervals of time and space that divide them.
2. In all this dreary length of way, they appear like five or six light-houses on as many thousand miles of coast: they gleam upon the surrounding darkness with an inextinguishable splendor-like stars seen through a mist; but they are seen like stars, to cheer, to guide, and to save. WASHINGTON is now added to that small number. Already he attracts curiosity like a newly discovered star, whose benign light will travel on to the world's and time's farthest bounds. Already his name is hung up by history, as conspicuously as if it sparkled in one of the constellations of the sky.
3. The best evidence of reputation is a man's whole life. We have now, alas! all WASHINGTONS before us. There has scarcely appeared a really great man, whose character has been more admired in his life time, or less correctly understood by his admirers. When it is comprehended, it is no easy task to delineated its excellencies in such a manner, as to give to the portrait both interest and resemblance: for it requires thought and study to understand the true ground of
a An'-nals, histories digested under years. b Be-nign', kind, genero
c Con-stel-la'tions, clusters of stars
the superiority of his character, over many others whom he resembled in the principles of action, and even in the manner of acting.
4. But perhaps he excels all the great men that ever lived, in the steadiness of his adherence to his maxims of life, and in the uniformity of all his conduct to the same maxims. These maxims, though wise, were yet not so remarkable for their wisdom, as for their authority over his life: for if there were any errors in his judgment, we know of no blemishes in his virtue. He was the patriot without reproach: he loved his country well enough to hold his success in serving it an ample recompense.
5. Thus far, self-love and love of country coincided:" but when his country needed sacrifices that no other man could, or perhaps would be willing to make, he did not even hesitate. This was virtue in its most exalted character. More than once he put his fame at hazard, when he had reason to think it would be sacrificed, at least in this age.
6. It is indeed almost as difficult to draw his character, as the portrait of virtue. The reasons are similar: our ideas of moral excellence are obscure, because they are complex, and we are obliged to resort to illustrations. WASHINGTON's ex'ample is the happiest to show what virtue is; and to delineate his character, we naturally expatiate on the beauty of virtue:-much must be felt, and much imagined. His preeminence is not so much to be seen in the display of any one virtue as in the possession of them all, and in the practice of the most difficult. Hereafter, therefore, his character must be studied before it will be striking; and then it will be admitted as a model-a precious one to a free republic!
7. It is no less difficult to speak of his talents. They were adapted to lead, without dazzling mankind; and to draw forth and employ the talents of others, without being misled by them. In this he was certainly superior, that he neither mistook nor misapplied his own. His great modesty and reserve would have concealed them; if great occasions had not called them forth; and then, as he never spoke from the affectation to shine, nor acted from any sinister motives, it is from their effects only that we are to judge of their greatness and extent.
8. In public trusts, where men acting conspicuously are cautious, and in those private concerns where few conceal or resist their weaknesses, WASHINGTON was uniformly great, pursuing right conduct from right maxims. His talents were such as assist sound judgment, and ripen with it.
c Ex-pa'tiate, to wander, enlarge.
Co-in-ci'-ded, agreed, concurred.
9. His prudence was consummate," and seemed to take the direction of his powers and passions; for, as a soldier, he was more solicitous to avoid mistakes that would be fatal, than to perform exploits that were brilliant; and, as a statesman, to adhere to just principles, however old, than to pursue novelties; and therefore in both characters his qualities were singularly adapted to the interest, and were tried in the greatest perils of the country. His habits of inquiry were so far remarkable, that he was never satisfied with investigating, nor desisted from it, so long as he had less than all the light that he could obtain upon a subject; and then he made his decision without bias.
10. This command over the partialities that so generally stop men short, or turn them aside in their pursuit of truth, is one of the chief causes of his unvaried course of right conduct in so many difficult scenes, where every human actor must be presumed to err. If he had strong passions, he had learned to subdue them, and to be moderate and mild. If he had weaknesses, he concealed them,-which is rare,—and excluded them from the government of his temper and conduct, which is still more rare.
11. If he loved fame, he never made improper compliances for what is called popularity. The fame he enjoyed is of the kind that will last for ever; yet it was rather the effect, than the motive of his conduct.-Some future Plutarch will search for a parallel to his character. Epaminondas is perhaps the brightest name of all antiquity. Our WASHINGTON resembled him in the purity and ardor of his patriotism; and, like him, he first exalted the glory of his country.
12. There, it is to be hoped, the parallel ends: for Thebes fell with Epaminondas. But such comparisons cannot be pursued far, without departing from the similitude. For we shall find it as difficult to compare great men as great rivers: some we admire for the length and rapidity of their current, and the grandeur of their cataracts; others for the majestic silence and fullness of their streams: we cannot bring them together to measure the difference of their waters.
13. The unambitious life of WASHINGTON, declining fame, yet courted by it, seemed, like the Ohio, to choose its long way through solitudes, diffusing fertility; or like his own Potomac, widening and deepening his channel as he approaches the sea, and displaying most the usefulness and serenity of his greatness toward the end of his course. Such
a Con-sum'-mate, complete, accomplished Com-pli'-an-ces, yieldings to what is
c Plu'-tarch, a celebrated Greek historian.
d E-pam-i-non'-das, a Grecian general. e Thebes, a city in Greece.
a citizen would do honor to any country, and the constant veneration and affection of his country, will show that it was worthy of such a citizen. Ames.
The Grave of Jefferson.
1. I ascended the winding road which leads from Charlottsville to Monticello, up the miniature mountain to the farm and the grave of Jefferson. On entering the gate which opens into the enclosure, numerous paths diverge in various directions, winding through beautiful groves to the summit of the hill. From the peak on which the house stands, a grand and nearly unlimited view opens to the thickly wooded hills and fertile valleys which stretch out on either side. The University, with its dome, porticos, and colonnade, looks like a fair city in the plain: Charlottsville seems to be directly beneath.
2. No spot can be imagined as combining greater advan tages of grandeur, healthfulness, and seclusion.-The house is noble in its appearance: two large columns support a portico, which extends from the wings, and into it the front door opens. The apartments are neatly furnished, and embellished with statues, busts, portraits, and natural curiosities. The grounds and outhouses have been neglected; Mr. Jefferson's attention having been absorbed from such personal concerns, by the cares attendant on the superintendence of the University.
3. At a short distance behind the mansion, in a quiet, shaded spot, the visitor sees a square enclosure, surrounded by a low, unmortared stone wall, which he enters by a neat wooden gate. This is the family burial ground, containing ten or fifteen graves, none of them marked by epitaphs, and only a few distinguished by any memorial. On one side of this simple cemetery, is the resting place of the patriot and philosopher. When I saw it, the vault had just been arched, and in readiness for the plain stone which was to cover it.
4. May it ever continue, like Washington's, without any adventitious attractions or conspicuousness; for when we or our posterity need any other memento of our debt of honor to those names, than their simple inscription on paper, gorgeous tombs would be a mockery to their memories. When gratitude shall cease to concentrate their remembrance in the hearts of our citizens, no cenotaphs will inspire the reverence we owe to them.
a Min'-i-a-ture, small likeness. bDi-verge', to depart from a point.
c Cem'-e-te-ry, a place for the burial of the dead.
Ad-ven ti"-tious, accidental.
c Me-men'-to, a hint to waken memory. f Gor'-ge-ous, showy, glittering.
g Cen'-o-taph, a monument for one buried elsewhere.
The last days of Herculaneum."
1. A GREAT city, situated amidst all that nature could create of beauty and profusion, or art collect of science and magnificence, the growth of many ages, the residence of enlightened multitudes,-the scene of splendor, and festiv and happiness,-in one moment withered as by a spell, its palaces, its streets, its temples, its gardens, 66 glowing with eternal spring," and its inhabitants in the full enjoyment of all life's blessings, obliterated from their very place in creation,-not by war, or famine, or disease, or any of the natural causes of destruction to which earth had been accustomed, but in a single night, as if by magic, and amid the conflagration, as it were, of nature itself,-presented a subject on which the wildest imagination might grow weary, without even equaling the grand and terrible reality.
2. The eruption of Vesuvius, by which Herculaneum and Pompeii where overwhelmed, has been chiefly described to us in the letters of Pliny the younger to Tacitus, giving an account of his uncle's fate, and the situation of the writer and his mother. The elder Pliny had just returned from the bath, and was retired to his study, when a small speck or cloud, which seemed to ascend from Mount Vesuvius, attracted his attention.
3. This cloud gradually increased, and at length assumed the shape of a pine tree, the trunk of earth and vapor, and the leaves, "red cinders." Pliny ordered his galley, and, urged by his philosophic spirit, went forward to inspect the phenomenon. In a short time, however, philosophy gave way to humanity, and he zealously and adventurously employed his galley, in saving the inhabitants of the various beautiful villas which studded that enchanting coast. Among others he went to the assistance of his friend Pomponianus, who was then at Strabiæ.
4. The storm of fire, and the tempest of earth, increased; and the wretched inhabitants were obliged, by the continual rocking of their houses, to rush out into the fields with pillows tied down by napkins upon their heads, as their sole defense against the shower of stones which fell on them. This, in the course of nature, was in the middle of the day; but a deeper darkness than that of a winter night had closed
a Her-cu-la-ne-um, a city in Italy. Spell, a charm.
c Ob-lit'-e-ra-ted, blotted out, destroyed.
d Mag'-ic, dealing with spirits.