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ture, greets with boundless gratitude and affection, her favourite son.
The saviour of his country, disbanding his martial ranks, tenders his sage advice to his fellow citizens, bestows a benediction on his companions in arms, and retires to the calm retreat of private life.
Smiling peace resumes her gentle reign. Agriculture and commerce, reviving from their bed of anguish, lead on in triumph to the altar of liberty, their long train of national blessings. A plan for the preservation of the altar, and the equitable distribution of its blessings, requires the aid of the aggregate wisdom of the United States. Amidst this brilliant assemblage, this constellation of enlightened minds, the father of his people again appears and shines supremely refulgent. Restraining by his harmonizing presence, the discordant operation of social interests, tempering the ardour of discussion, and holding up to view the balance of relative rights, he saw their united labours terminate in the production of a system of general goverment, which, receiving the sanction of his approbation, became the palladium of the national independence.
Extract from an Eulogy on the death of Washington, by
Hon. FISHER AMES, L. L. D. I AM oppressed, and know not how to proceed with my subject. Washington, blessed be God! who endued him with wisdom and clothed him with power; Washington issued his proclamation of neutrality, and, at an early period, arrested the intrigues of France and the passions of his countrymen, on the very edge of the precipice of war and revolution.
This act of firmness, at the hazard of his reputation and peace, entitles him to the name of the first of patriots. Time was gained for the citizens to recover their virtue and good sense, and they soon recovered them. The crisis was passed, and America was saved.
You and I, most respected fellow citizens, should be sooner tired than satisfied, in recounting the particulars of this illustrious man's life.
How great he appeared while he administered the government, how much greater when he retired from it, how he accepted the chief military command under his wise and upright successor, how his life was unspotted like his fame, and how his death was worthy of his life, are so many distinct subjects of instruction, and each of them singly more than enough for an eulogium. I leave the task, however, to history and to posterity; they will be faithful to it.
It is not impossible, that some will affect to consider the honours paid to this great patriot by the nation, as excessive, idolatrous, and degrading to freemen, who are all equal. I answer, that refusing to virtue its legitimate honours, would not prevent their being lavished, in future, on any worthless and ambitious favourite. If this day's example should have its natural effect, it will be salutary. Let such honours be so conferred only when, in future, they shall be so merited: then the public sentiment will not be misled, nor the principles of a just equality corrupted. The best evidence of reputation is a man's whole life. We have now, alas ! all Washington's 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 delineate 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 the superiority of his character over many others, whom he resembled in the principles of action, and even in the manner of acting. 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, (and he discovered as few as any man) 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. 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. Two instances cannot be de. nied : when the army was disbanded; and again, when he stood like Leonidas at the pass of Thermopylæ, to defend our independence against France.
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 example is the happiest, to show what vir. tue is ; and to delineate his character, we naturally expa. tiate on the beauty of virtue : much must be felt, and much imagined. His pre-eminence 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!
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 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. In public trusts, where men, acting conspicuously, are cau. tious, and in those private concerns, where few conceal or resist their weaknesses, Washington was uniformly great, pursuing right conduct from right maxims. His talents ware such as assist a sound judgment, and ripen with it. 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 might be fatal, than to perform exploits that are brilliant ; and as a statesman, to adhere to just principles, however old, than to pursue novelties; and therefore, in both cha
racters, 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 made his deci. sion without bias.
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. 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 efEfect, 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 ardoar of his patriotism ; and, like him, he first exalted the glory of his country. 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 fulness of their streams : we cannot bring them together to measure the difference of their waters. The unambi. tious 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 towards the end of his course. citizen would do honour to any country. The constant
veneration and affection of his country will show, that it i was worthy of such a citizen.
However his military fame may excite the wonder of mankind, it is chiefly by his civil magistracy, that his example will instruct them. Grent generals have arisen in all ages of the world, and perhaps most in those of despotism and darkness. In times of violence and convulsion, they rise, by the force of the whirlwind, high enough to ride in it, and direct the storm. Like meteors, they glare on the black clouds with a splendour, that, while it dazz:es and terrifies, makes nothing visible but the dark
The fame of heroes is indeed growing vulgar: they multiply in every long war; they stand in history, and thicken in their ranks, almost as undistinguished as their own soldiers.
But such a chief magistrate as Washington appears like the pole star in a clear sky, to direct the skilful statesman. His presidency will form an epoch, and be distinguished as the age of Washington. Already it as. sumes its high place in the political region. Like the milky way, it whitens along its allotted portion of the he. misphere. The latest generations of men will survey, through the telescope of history, the space where so many virtues blend their rays, and delight to separate them into groups
and distinct virtues. As the best illustration of them, the living monument, to which the first of patri. ots would have chosen to consign his fame, it is my earnest prayer to Heaven, that our country may subsist, even to that late day, in the plenitude of its liberty and happiness, and mingle its mild glory with Washington.
Oration on the death of Washington, by Rev. John M.
THE offices of this day belong less to eloquence than to grief. We celebrate one of those great events, which, by uniting public calamity with private affliction, create in every bosom a response to the throes of an empire. God, who doeth wonders ; whose ways must be adored