網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Assembly a member of the Council of State, which position he held till 1779, when he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress, of which he continued a member till 1784. In 1787, he was elected a member of Congress, and in the same year a delegate to the Convention at Philadelphia which formed the present Constitution of the United States. Of the debates of this remarkable body, he is the only one who preserved the records, which were published after his death, and are among the most valuable materials of our country's history." In the interval between the close of the Convention and the meeting of the State Conventions to sanction the Federal Constitution, Mr. Madison, in conjunction with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, wrote a series of articles in the public prints in favor of the Constitution, which were afterwards collected in a volume, entitled The Federalist,” and which, for half a century, was a text-book in our best colleges. On the adoption of the Constitution, he was elected a representative to Congress, and continued a member till 1797, the end of Washington's administration.

On the accession of Mr. Jefferson to the Presidency, in 1801, Mr. Madison was appointed Secretary of State, which office he held during the eight years of Mr. Jefferson's administration; and in 1809 he succeeded his friend and coadjutor as President of the United States. After having filled the office for two terms, he retired to his seat, Montpelier, where he passed his remaining years, chiefly as a private citizen, declining political office, except that he acted as visitor and rector of the University of Virginia, and as a member of the State Convention to amend the Constitution of Virginia. He died on the 28th of June, 1836, distinguished for his talents and acquirements, for the important offices which he had filled, and for his virtues in private life.

our country's RESPONSIBILITIEs to the world.

Let it be remembered, that it has ever been the pride and boast of America that the rights for which she contended were the rights of human nature. By the blessing of the Author of these rights on the means exerted for their defence, they have prevailed over all opposition. * * * No instance has heretofore occurred, nor can any instance be expected hereafter to occur, in which the unadulterated forms of republican government can pretend to so fair an opportunity of justifying themselves by their fruits. In this view, the citizens of the United States are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. If justice, good faith, honor, gratitude, and all the other qualities which ennoble the character of a nation and fulfil the ends of govern

| Many of the views advocated by Mr. Madison in the Convention for framing the Constitution will ever be an honor to his character. He thought the clause allowing the “importation of such persons as any State might think proper,” till 1808, “dishonorable to the American character.” And again, “Mr. Madison thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men.”

* Of the eighty-five numbers of the “Federalist,” five were written by Jay, fourteen by Madison, three by Hamilton and Madison, and sixty-three by Hamilton. See the Life of Hamilton for a more particular account.

ment, be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will acquire a dignity and lustre which it has never yet enjoyed; and an example will be set which cannot but have the most favorable influence on the rights of mankind. If, on the other side, our governments should be unfortunately blotted with the reverse of these cardinal and essential virtues, the great cause which we have engaged to vindicate will be dishonored and betrayed; the last and fairest experiment in favor of the rights of human nature will be turned against them; and their patrons and friends exposed to be insulted and silenced by the votaries of tyranny and usurpation.

AN APPEAL FOR THE UNIoN.

I submit to you, my fellow-citizens, these considerations, in full confidence that the good sense which has so often marked your decisions will allow them their due weight and effect; and that you will never suffer difficulties, however formidable in appearance, or however fashionable the error on which they may be founded, to drive you into the gloomy and perilous scenes into which the advocates for disunion would conduct you. Hearken not to the unnatural voice which tells you that the people of America, knit together as they are by so many cords of affection, can no longer live together as members of the same family; can no longer continue the mutual guardians of their mutual happiness; can no longer be fellow-citizens of one great, respectable, and flourishing empire. IIearken not to the voice which petulantly tells you that the form of government recommended for your adoption is a novelty in the political world; that it has never yet had a place in the theories of the wildest projectors; that it rashly attempts what it is impossible to accomplish. No, my countrymen, shut your ears against this unhallowed language. Shut your hearts against the poison which it conveys; the kindred blood which flows in the veins of American citizens, the mingled blood which they have shed in defence of their sacred rights, consecrate their union, and excite horror at the idea of their becoming aliens, rivals, enemies. And if novelties are to be shunned, believe me, , the most alarming of all novelties, the most wild of all projects, the most rash of all attempts, is that of rending us in pieces in order to preserve our liberties and promote our happiness. But why is the experiment of an extended republic to be rejected, merely because it may comprise what is new * Is it not the glory of the people of America that, whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this manly spirit posterity will be indebted for the possession, and the world for the example, of the numerous innovations displayed on the American theatre in favor of private rights and public happiness. Had no important step been taken by the leaders of the Revolution, for which a precedent could not be discovered; had no government been established, of which an exact model did not present itself, the people of the United States might, at this moment, have been numbered among the melancholy victims of misguided counsels; must at best have been laboring under the weight of some of those forms which have crushed the liberties of the rest of mankind. Happily for Ame

rica, happily, we trust, for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society. They reared fabrics of government which have no model on the face of the globe. They formed the design of a great confederacy, which it is incumbent on their successors to improve and perpetuate. If their works betray imperfections, we wonder at the fewness of them. If they erred most in the structure of the Union, this was the work most difficult to be executed; this is the work which has been new-modelled by the act of your Convention, and it is that act on which you are now to deliberate and decide.

St. GEORGE TUCKER, 1752–1827.

St. George Tccken was a native of Bermuda; but, emigrating to Virginia in his youth, he completed his education at William and Mary College. He entered the judiciary of the State as a Judge of the General Court, and was afterwards promoted to the Court of Appeals, of which he became President. Resigning this post in 1811, he was soon after brought into the Federal Judiciary as a judge of the United States District Court in Eastern Virginia, which appointment he held till his death, which occurred in November, 1827, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

He was distinguished for his scholastic acquirements, his taste and wit, and was greatly endeared to the society of his friends by a warm-hearted, impulsive nature, which gave a peculiar strength to his attachments. Of his numerous minor poetical pieces, all distinguished by ease and grace, the most pleasing is that entitled

DAYS OF MY YOUTH.

Days of my youth, ye have glided away:

Hairs of my youth, ye are frosted and gray:

Fyes of my youth, your keen sight is no more:

Cheeks of my youth, ye are furrow'd all o'er:

Strength of my youth, all your vigor is gone:

Thoughts of my youth, your gay visions are flown.

Days of my youth, I wish not your recall:
Hairs of my youth, I'm content ye should fall:
Eyes of my youth, you much evil have seen:
Cheeks of my youth, bathed in tears you have been :
Thoughts of my youth, you have led me astray:
Strength of my youth, why lament your decay ?
Days of my age, ye will shortly be past:
Pains of my age, yet a while you can last:
Joys of my age, in true wisdom delight:
Eyes of my age, be religion your light:
Thoughts of my age, dread ye not the cold sod :
Hopes of my age, be ye fix’d on your God.

TIMOTHY DWIGHT, 1752–1817.

Tiwothy Dwight, the son of Timothy and Mary Dwight, was born at Northampton, Massachusetts, on the 14th of May, 1752. His father was a man of sound and vigorous intellect; and his mother, the daughter of the celebrated Jonathan Edwards, inherited no small share of her father's intellectual powers. At a very early age he showed uncommon powers of mind, being able to read in the Bible fluently at the age of four, and at six commencing the study of Latin. In 1765, he entered Yale College. being familiar not only with the requirements for entering, —though these were low then compared with what they now are, but with most of the classical authors that were read during the first half of his collegiate course. He was not, therefore, very studious for the first two years; but for this comparative indolence he atoned in his junior and senior years, studying with an intensity that left no time unemployed. In consequence of his excessive application, his eyes became seriously affected, and a permanent weakness of sight was induced, so that to the close of life he could read but little, and that only occasionally.

After leaving college, he taught a grammar-school in New Haven, and in 1771 was chosen tutor in Yale College, in which office he continued with high reputation for six years. While here, in 1774, he finished his poem, The Conquest of Canaan, though it was not published till eleven years after. In March, 1777, he married the daughter of Benjamin Woolsey, of Long Island. By her he had eight sons, six of whom survived him. In June he was licensed as a preacher, and in September was appointed chaplain to a brigade in General Putnam's division, in

..which capacity he continued about a year. In 1778, his father dying, he removed

to Northampton, to console his mother and provide for her numerous family, to whose support he contributed for five years, from a scanty income obtained by preaching and teaching, and occasionally laboring on a farm. In 1783, he was ordained over a parish in Greenfield, where he continued for twelve years. In 1785, he published his Conquest of Canaan, and, in 1794, his poem called Greenfield Hill, in seven parts. After the death of Dr. Stiles, he was chosen President of Yale College, and was inaugurated in September, 1795, which office, together with the professorship of theology, he continued to fill for the remainder of his life. While discharging the duties of these offices, he prepared his sermons on systematic theology, on which his fame chiefly rests, entitled Theology Erplained and Defended in a Series of Sermons, in five volumes. This admirable and comprehensive system of divinity has passed through many editions in England, as well as in our own country. In his college vacations, he was in the habit of journeying; and to this we owe his Travels in New England and New York, published after his death, in four volumes." He died January 11th, 1817, aged sixty-four, having been President of the College twenty-one years. Pleasing as Dr. Dwight is as a poet, and learned and eloquent as he was as a divine, it is as President of Yale College that he was most valued, and honored, and loved while living, and as such is embalmed in the hearts of the large number of seholars, divines, and statesmen still living, who were instructed by him in their collegiate course. He had the remarkable faculty of winning the affections and commanding the most profound respect of the young men who came under his influence, while he poured forth his instructions in a most impressive eloquence, from a mind stored with the treasures of ancient and modern learning. And knowing, as we do, that for the last twenty years of his life he could scarcely use his eyes at all, our wonder increases that he accomplished so much. But what cannot singleness of aim, determined purpose, and unremitting industry effect??

DUELLING,

Life, to man, is his all. On it every thing is suspended which man can call his own, his enjoyments, his hopes, his usefulness, and his salvation. Our own life is to us, therefore, invaluable. As we are most reasonably required to love our neighbor as ourselees, his life ought, in our estimation, to possess the same value. In conformity to these views, mankind have universally regarded those who have violently deprived others of life with- supreme

" Another of Dr. Dwight's writings should be noticed,—his Remarks on the Review of Inchiquin's Letters published in the Quarterly Review. The facts that gave rise to this work are these. In 1809 appeared a work called Inchiquin's Letters, purporting to be letters sent from Washington by Inchiquin, a Jesuit, to his friends in Europe, giving an account of the state of things in this country, partly serious, partly ludicrous, and partly satirical. The “Quarterly Review” for January, 1814, reviewed these letters, and was very severe on our manners, habits, and institutions, bringing forward everything that would make us appear in an unfavorable light. To this Dr. Dwight replied the same year, in his “Remarks,” a book of one hundred and seventy-six pages. It was very severe upon England, contrasting every defect urged against America with a corresponding failing in our fatherland, and exonerating us from many of the charges, as utterly unfounded.

of Dr. Dwight's other works, the chief are The Triumph of Infidelity, a Poem : The History, Eloquence, and Poetry of the Bible; America, a Poem in the style of Pope's Windsor '. ; A Discourse on Duelling; another on Some Events of the Last Century; and another on The Character of Washington.

* “In person he was about six feet high, and of a full, round, manly form. He had a noble aspect, a full forehead, and piercing black eyes. His presence was singularly commanding, enforced by a manner somewhat authoritative and emphatic. His voice was one of the finest I ever heard from the pulpit, clear, hearty, sympathetic, and entering into the soul like the middle notes of an organ.” —Goodrich's Recollections.

« 上一頁繼續 »