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temporary glare, will not blend or mellow into a ground-work of vice.
Whatever events, disastrous or happy, may lie before us; yet some degree of applause, even from an enemy, is certainly due to those illustrious men; who, led by conscience and a clear persuasion of duty, sacrifice their ease, their lives and fortunes to the public; and, from their friends and country, they are entitled to a deathless renown.
Perish that narrow pride, which will suffer men to acknowledge no virtue, but among their own party. In this direful contest, the chief concern of a liberal mind, will be, that so much personal virtue as may be found on both sides, instead of being united in some great national object for the common good, should be dreadfully employed to the purpose of mutual destruction. And a man can as soon divest himself of his humanity, as refuse the tribute of veneration due to actions truly magnanimous,
When once it becomes criminal to plead the cause of a suffering people; when their virtues can no longer be safely recorded—then tyranny has put the last hand to its barbarous work. All the valuable purposes of society are frustrated; and whatever other human fate remains will be wholly indifferent to the wise and good.
There are also many whose minds are so little, that they can conceive nothing great, which does not court the eye in all the trappings of dress, titles, and external splendor. An American-Patriot! a Blanket. Hero! a General from the plough! all these are terms of ridicule and reproach among many. Yet such
was Cincinnatus, in the best days of Roman virtue; and a British poet, already quoted, hath boldly taught his countrymen this noble lesson
“ Some, with whom compar'd, your insect-tribes “ Are but the beings of a summer's day, “ Have held the scale of empire, rul'd the storm “ Of mighty war; then, with unweary'd hand, “ Disdaining little delicacies, seiz'd « The plough, and greatly independent liv'd."
The same noble lesson is also taught, by the well known story of the two Spanish grandees, who were sent ambassadors to the Hague. Notwithstanding all the pride of their nation, they did not despise the Dutch deputies when they met them in a plain habit, and saw them on a journey sit down upon the
grass, to a frugal repast of bread and cheese, out of their knapsacks. On the contrary, they cried out,
We “ shall never be able to conquer these people; we must even make peace with them.”
Should ambassadors honour us with a visit, upon a like occasion; let us be prepared to meet them in the same majestic simplicity of garb and manners. Let us convince them that public virtue is confined to no class of men; and that although it sometimes basks in the sunshine of courts, it frequently lies hid in the shades of obscurity, like the latent fire in flint, till called forth by the collisive hand of oppression.
Adversity is the season which shews the spirit of a man in its full vigor; and times of civil calamity never fail to strike forth lights, sometimes single, and sometimes whole constellations, mingling their kindred rays to warm and to illuminate the genius of their country.
The sacred flame, thus enkindled, is not fed by the fuel of faction or party; but by pure benevolence and love of the public. It, therefore, soon rises above the selfish principles, refines and brightens as it rises, and expands itself into heavenly dimensions. Being inextinguishable in its own nature, the blood of thousands, on the scaffold or in the field, is but as oil poured into a conflagration, increasing its vehemence, till it consumes all before it ; burning still clearer and stronger, unto the full day of peace and civil happiness.
Those who enjoy a true portion of this divine fame, duly called forth into exercise, stand in no need of further titles or distinctions, either by birth or grant. “For what can the world present greater to the sight of mortals, or even immortals, than a man who knows and courts the blessings of peace, who wishes to breathe out his last in its arms; and, keeping it still as his object, is nevertheless roused by the first pang of his suffering country; gives his whole illustrious spirit to her relief; rises above all human allurements; never remits his zeal; fears nothing*; regards nothing—but the sentiments which virtue and magnanimity inspire? What higher qualities can be required to entitle a man to the veneration and eulogies of his country? And these too will be his most durable monument.
• Nihil extimescere ; omnia humana despicere; nihil quod homini accidere possit intolerandum putare. Cic.
The magnificent structures raised by the gratitude of mankind to their benefactors of old, had but a local and temporary use. They were beheld only by one people, and for a few ages-
“ The Heav'n aspiring pyramid, the proud
In vain does the way-faring man investigate the tottering ruins for the divinity once enshrined there! A scanty receptacle, about six feet in length and half the breadth, informs him that it once contained some human dust, long since mingled with the common mass. In vain does the prying antiquary dwell upon the sculpture, or strive to collect and spell the scattered fragments of letters. The inscription is gone -long since gone, effaced, obliterated! And fruitless were the search, through the whole world, for, the hero's name, if it were not recorded in the orator's page, or proclaimed by the faithful voice of history,
There it shall live, while the smallest vestiges of literature remain upon earth-yea, till the final dissolution of things human; nor shall it perish then; but, being the immediate care of Heaven, the great arch- . angel, when he sweeps suns and systems from their place, and kindles up their last fires, stretching forth his mighty arm, shall pluck the precious scroll from the devouring conflagration, and give it a place among the archives of eternity.
But whither am I borne? to what heights have I ascended? I look down with astonishment and trem
ble at my situation! Oh! Let your friendly arms be extended to save me as I fall. For in the idea I have of my subject, I have undertaken to guide the chariot of the sun; and how shall I steer through the exalted tract that lies before me? Considering myself as honoured with this day's office by the delegated voice of some millions of people through a vast continent, upon an occasion, wherein their gratitude, their dignity, their love of liberty, nay even their reputation in literature—are all in some degree concerned; what language shall Iuse, or how shall I accommodate myself to every circumstance, in the arduous work?
Truth alone must guide the hand that delineates a character. Should I affect to soar aloft and dip my pencil in the colours of the sky, I should but scorch my own wings, melt their wax, and be precipitated headlong. Nor is the danger less in the other extreme; viz. timidity, or a rein too strait and stiff.
Oh! then, for some better Phæbus, some presiding genius, to guide me through my remaining way; to point out the middle path, and teach me to unite dignity with ease, strength with perspicuity, and truth with the unaffected graces of elocution. Or rather, you shall be my Phæbus, my inspiring as well as presiding genius, ye delegated fathers of your country! So far will I strive to imitate* him, who always animated himself with his subject, by thus accosting himself before he went forth to speak
“ Remember, thou art this day going to address men born in the arms of liberty, Grecians, Athen