Графични страници
PDF файл

general solicitude for the success of our arms in the works of defence which have risen into existence by gratuitous labour of thousands of our citizens in the alacri. ty with which our militia embody, arm, and advance to the post of danger. We have seen the “ peaceful sons of toil," exchange the implements of their daily occupations for the weapons of death. Glowing with generous ardour, with the fire of hereditary valour, and clad in the armour of their country, they have encountered the yaunted conquerors of France and Spain. These mighty invincibles have proved but men, and mortal men too. They could vanquish the legions of Marmont, Soult, and Suchet, but in the hardy, though undisciplied Americans, they find a different enemy:

The banks of the Saranac and the shores of Erie and Champlain have witnessed their intrepidity and firmness in battle, and resounded with the shouts of their victories.

While the tars of our country have dextrously snatched the palm of victory from the mistress of the ocean; again and again asserted their superiority and their right to the high road of nations, the troops composing our armies, inspired by a patriotic and laudable emulation,

have fought with a valor worthy of the fame of their an| cestors and the just cause which they are called on to de

fend. At Plattsburgh they have met the governor-general of the Canadas, bringing with him an overwhelming force, with "all the materials of fury, havoc, and desolation, all the apparel and furniture of Mars in his train. In vain did he attempt to pass the Saranac-in vain erect batteries and open the potent thunders of his cannonthe opposing shore presented a host of freemen in arms. They have quitted their fire-sides--they have come to defend their homes, their wives, and children; their souls are ardent for the combat ; their arms deal a leaden tempest more fatal than the pestilence ; while the brave and accomplished Macomb, with his intrepid band of artillerists, rocks this firmament of earth with his deafening

thunders. While the battle rages, while the dæmon of | carnage walks amidst the embattled ranks, behold on the

undulated bosom of Champlain a spectacle which attracts all eyes and engages all hearts. M'Donough awaits the chaplet of immortal fame. He demands a seat with the


Hulls, Decaturs, and Perrys of the ocean. Pensive he treads the decks of the Saratoga--Silence reigns along the deadly range of his divisions-Each midshipman at his post, and every tar braced to his position. The smo. king port-fire announces the preparation complete, and the foe bears down, impelled by the favoring breeze. Awful, indeed, is the suspense, but its duration is short. The stately Confiance utters a broadside from her threatening ports, and quick the Saratoga gives it in return. Downie, who was perhaps generous and brave, like Barclay; whose excellence may be celebrated by other and abler pens-Downie was not doomed to see the flag of the Confiance lowered. At that hour he lay cold in his cabin ; the night of eternal oblivion had set upon his sen. ses-Around him lay his companions in arms, weltering in death. His cock pit glutted and his decks strewed with carnage and ruin. Peace to the spirits of our fallen foes. The cannon of the victor has tolled their knell to the surrounding mountains, and they sleep with the brave of other times. Thus the God of battles has crowned our arms with another victory ; let us not be insensible to his goodness, but prove ourselves worthy of his favor and the high destinies which await the republic.

Eulogy on Washington, by DR. ELISHA C. Dick.

IF there be an animating thought, while yet the tear of sorrow hangs upon the cheek, may it not be drawn from an imaginary view of that most interesting picture which America would at this moment exhibit, were it possible to be comprised within the scope of vision ?

Four millions of the human race, free in their thoughts and affections- unrestrained in their actions, widely dispersed over an extensive portion of the habitable globe, are seen devoted to a single purpose ;-A people detached by local causes-actuated in common life by opposite views, or rivals in the pursuit of similar objects ;-jea. lous in all other matters of general concern--are offering the tribute of affection to the memory of their common friend. In vain shall we examine the records of anti


quity for its parallel. Worth so transcendent as to merit universal homage, with a correspondent desire to bestow it, mark an event in the history of our country, that may be considered as a phenomenon in the annals of man.

The institution of games, the denomination of cities and empires, the erection of monuments of marble and bronse, have severally served to perpetuate the memory of illustrious characters; but how often


paren• tage of their celebrity be traced to either a single accident, or to a fortuitous combination of circumstances. To which of the Sages, Patriots, or Heroes of past ages, shall we recur for an example of that uncommon assemblage of virtuts and talents, that were blended in the character of our beloved Washington ? Be it the privilege of posterity, when it shall desire to honour unusual merit, by comparative commendation, to employ his name as a term of superlative applause ; but let us no longer mutilate his well earned fame, by looking back to antiquity for his model. His early manifestation of extraordinary capacity—his uniform preference of the public good to private enjoyment-his unwearied labours in the service of his country, for upwards of forty years, deservedly place him on the highest point of human exaltation.

Pre-eminence in social life, is more frequently the effect of exertion than of unusual talents; and most men might have been wiser and better than they are, had improvement at all times been their fixed purpose : but the individual whom a beneficent Providence selected, as his favourite instrument to dispense the blessings of political life and liberty to his country, seemed peculiarly fitted for that resplendent commission, by the munificent hand of nature. Presages of his future eminence were to be drawn from his earliest life. While yet at school, his deportment was such as to procure him the confidence and respect of his young companions : He was the common arbiter of their juvenile disputations, and his decisions were conclusive and satisfactory.

Possessing a mind peculiarly collected in its structure, elevated in its views, and firm in its purposes, he saw at once the importance of intellectual ascendency, and soon cquired the absolute dominion of himself. Endownents so rare and inestimable, drew him early into geeral view, and attracted the notice of the constituted uthorities. At the age of twenty one years, bearing a najor's commission in the provincial forces, he is selectd by the colonial executive of Virginia, for the performnce of a critical and momentous embassy to the French ommander on the Ohio. He engages in the perilous nd responsible enterprize. Undaunted by the chill lasts of winter-undismayed by a view of the pathless vild that lay before him, he takes his departure from Williamsburg, and moves on with unshaken purpose, to is point of destination. Having produced his credenials and remonstrated ineffectually agains, the incursions f the French, we see him on his return, environed by mminent and complicated dangers, from which the proidential hand of Heaven alone can extricate him. He mas already escaped the murderously meditated volley of he savage in ambush-he is now contending with the lements. Embarked with his few attendants on a hasily constructed raft, the impetuosity of the torrent, with ssailing bodies of ice, bear him along their turbulent ourse, and threaten inevitable destruction. The youthul hero, opposing his utmost strength to the wayward current, is plunged into its icy bosom. For a moment ne is invisible, and his disconsolate companions deplore the oss of their leader ;-but he rises again, and buffeting he angry surface of the flood, recovers the raft, which s arrested in its progress by an insulated cluster of rocks. The night approaches, and patiently to wait the return of day is a point of necessity. Disconsolate and drear he abode, but more terrible the surrounding prospect. The intense severity of the weather, in recompense for his sufferings, presented in the morning an animating spectacle. The ice locked and firm, enables him to proceed in safety to the destined shore, and he pursues without further impediment his homeward way.

The extraordinary capacity, first exemplified in the prosecution of this inaugural mission, was afterwards more amply displayed on the banks of Monongahela. On that occasion, the several important properties essential to military command, were manifested in the pre

[ocr errors]

servation of the remnant of a vanquished army. А youth untutored in the schools of war-by the peculiar strength and ingenuity of his own mind, effected an

atchievement, that would have given additional lustre to 3 the fame of a distinguished veteran.

An eventful page in the book of fate, was yet undisclosed. An era approached when the hero of Monongahela, was to be introduced to an admiring world ;--a memorable epoch, that was at once to give existence to one of the most extensive empires on earth, and to stamp a brilliant immortality on the individual, who was chosen by Heaven to execute its mighty mandate. The American colonies, the legitimate offspring of Britain, feel the hand that should foster, become oppressive and severe. They venture but affectionately to complain. The parent rebukes, urges submission, imposes with augmented rigour and threatens coersions. Petitions and respectful expostulations are tried ineffectually. In pacific, but in more dignified terms, they now remonstrate. They appeal to reason, to justice, and truth. Parental displeasure is kindling into wrath and revenge. They view at a distance the gathering storm, and prepare to encounter it. Dreadful the impending conflict, and incalculable the issue ; but the price of victory is inestimable. A sense of common injury, common danger, and common interest, inspire union and energy. They re-collect their little army, untried, undisciplined. In the hands of their beloved Washington, they at the same moment deposit the chief command and their hopes of success. Pledged to himself, his fellow citizens, and to his God, he accepts the sacred trust, and determines to give liberty to his country, or perish in the enterprize. Thus prepared and thus headed, making a solemn appeal to the inhabitants of the earth, they implore the Almighty aid, and enter upon the unequal and terrible combat.

It is unnecessary to our present purpose to trace minutely the chain of succeeding incidents. The issue at once gave birth to our wide spreading empire, and crowned the hero with wreaths of immortal glory. Gazing nations, passing in wonder from the magnificent work to its author, are unsettled as to their chief point of ad. miration; while Columbia, glowing with celestial rap

[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »