Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

EULOGY

PRONOUNCED IN THE CITY OF NEW-YORK,

July, 17th 1826.

BY C. C. CAMBRELENG.

Fellow CITIZENS,-We are about in common with millions of Freemen, to unite our sympathies at the tombs of our Illustrious Countrymen. I should be wanting in respect to their great names were I not to express my unaffected regret that the office of pronouncing their eulogium had not been as signed to one more familiar with their lives and characters. I have also to regret that the time allowed me has been brieftoo brief for preparation, and I fear the kind anticipations which may have been indulged will not be realized; but I rely with some confidence on the inspiring nature of the subject. Humble indeed must be the mind that could not be elevated by the grandeur of the occasion, and feeble that eloquence which should entirely fail to touch the sympathies of an assembly where every heart glows with patriotism, and every bosom swells with the magnitude of a nation's gratitude and sorrow.

The events which have caused our assemblage, appear to belong to some wonderful age, and are calculated to revive the recollections of remote ages. We are reminded of the histories of nations which have long preceded ours in the march of time--whose palaces and monuments are mingled with the dust--of nations which believed themselves to be peculiarly under the protection of Divine Providence. If there ever was a people who might dare to indulge this pious and consoling hope, it is surely the American people. The evidences are scattered through our history. We are not dis

posed to assume for ourselves special favor and protectionstill less to be credulous; but if in the present instance we should yield something to a singular coincidence of events, our credulity must be pardoned : for the chronicle of a single day cannot but shake the most stubborn convictions of adamantine infidelity. It is but a few days since, that we were all assembled, commemorating our Independence and celebrating our 50th National Festival—the voice of our rejoicings reverberated from Maine to Orleans, from the ocean to the wilderness.—the cannon of our Jubilee waked the spirits of the mighty dead-millions of freemen were offering up

their gratitude--were chaunting loud hosannas to the Most High God for his infinite and rich mercies--at this sublime moment, it would seem as if the trumpet of the arch-angel had sounded—as if the splendid mysteries of the heavens had been unfolded to man, and as if the Mighty Ruler of the Universe, from his radiant throne on high, had deigned to smile on their rejoicings and to bless their Jubilee. From among the multitude he summoned two of his faithful servants of those instruments whom he had chosen to execute his great national work-he sent his heavenly messengers to announce to them that their race was run-their earthly labors were complete. Thus manifesting to us his special favor and protection, apparently revealing to all mankind that this is his chosen land, and stamping our glorious festival with heaven's seal of immmortality.

Thus, Fellow Citizens, have our illustrious countrymen been miraculously gathered to their fathers : the inspired author, and eloquent advocate of our Declaration of Independence. They toiled together in the field-they lived to reap the most splendid harvest that man ever gathered upon earth --they died together-let them be forever united in our memories. What though they differed in their views of constitutional power—what though they were both competitors for the favor of the American people—though they ran the noble race of ambition, and one was perhaps swifter than the other

the contest was momentary-it is long since past. We have in the instance of these illustrious men and in the spontaneous union of our sympathies on this occasion, an admirable comment on the happy influence of our free institutions, of that liberalizing toleration which allows full latitude to all our opinions, and teaches us to feel a mutual respect which triumphs over party colisions, and that generous friendship which outlives its storms. Our countrymen were together in patriotism and in death—those whom God hath so wonderfully united it would be impious to put asunder.

To transmit to posterity an account of the lives and characters of these illustrious men will be the office of the biographer. We can do little more than sketch a brief outline of some of their public services. The late venerable Adams, was early distinguished for his ardent defence of the principles of civil liberty and fearless resistance of oppression in Fanuiel Hall. In the Congress of '76, he was among the most eloquent and patriotic advocates of our Independence : and in enforcing the necessity of our Declaration of Independence, with prophetic vision, he foresaw the high destinies his country would reach. Subsequently, during the most eventful period of the revolution, he was engaged in a diplomatic capacity abroad, and honorably known as the indefatigable and faithful agent of his country in procuring the means for our defence and securing the friendship of European nations. But wherever this distinguished man appeared, whether in Fanuiel Hall, in the Congress of '76, or in Europe,at home or abroad, he was ever the eloquent enthusiastic and incorruptible patriot, with Roman firmness and more than Roman virtue; and so long as the recollections of revolutionary services shall live in our memories, the names of John and Samuel Adams will not be forgotten. This venerable patriot lived to an advanced age-honored and respected. His powers were gradually declining for some time previous to his death. On the fourth, his faculties appeared to sink to eternal rest-nature was about to surrender her office to her God--the can

[ocr errors]

non of our Jubilee waked the dying patriot to momentary life

-he inquired and was told the cause-in the accents of death he articulated “ It is a great and glorious day”-it was the last impulse of patriotism—the last flash of intellect the attend. ing angel guided his spirit to its immortal associate, which still rested mid-way in the air, poised upon the wing—the associate spirits took their flight to the footstool of the Great God, there to render together an account of their stewardship.

In turning to the immortal Jefferson—the patriot-philanthropist-philosopher and statesman, I feel how entirely inadequate are the powers of my poor pencil to sketch even a brief outline of his character, his virtues, and his public services. In his character were admirably blended, simplicity and dig. nity of manners, philanthropy and integrity of heart-with an intellect acute and discriminating, grand and comprehensive. His philosophical mind was alike familiar with the natural, political, and moral worlds. The naturalist was proud to claim him as an associate, and the moralist enrolled his name among the most original and profound thinkers : but in these regions, his excursions were but the involuntary, irrepressible operations of an expansive and vigorous mind. To us and to the world he appears as the political philosopher and statesman whose life was devoted to the rights, the interests and the happiness of mankind. As one of that small but illustrious family of men, who appear at times in the world to enlighten the age in which they live, to ameliorate the condition of their fellow men, to give impulse to public opinion, and to direct, in its onward course, the march of intellect, this great man appeared at a most interesting crisis.--A new world was rising ---the affairs of men, of nations, and of governments, were about to be revolutionized--and re-adjusted upon more just principles and on a plan more accordant with the rights and happiness of mankind. He was designed by nature for our age and our country.-Profound in his knowledge of human nature, and familiar with the history of man through all ages, he had satisfied himself that the happiest and best plan of pro

tecting person and property and of securing order and tranquillity, was, through a government of the people administered by agents chosen periodically, and frequently from the bosom of society. Reversing the ancient fiction that the King can do no wrong-it was a fundamental maxim of his politi. cal philosophy, that the people could do no wrong.

His confidence was in them-his jealous eye was ever fixed on power, in whatever shape or form it might appear. His historical learning had satisfied him that there was no revolutionary propensity among the mass of mankind, and that the convulsions of civil society were owing more to the governing than the governed—that they were more likely to be excited by oppression than to be caused by a restless spirit of resist

ance.

To these sound political opinions we may trace the origin of that splendid catalogue of public measures, which at once immortalize their author and embellish the history of his country.

The morning of his life opened with the production of that imperishable instrument, which vindicated the rights of man, announced to the world the dissolution of the tie which bound us in our colonial vassalage, and proclaimed to all mankind, that we “are, and of right ought to be, free, sovereign and independent.” Had his life closed at this period he had secured for himself immortality-for wherever light and liberty shall drive ignorance and superstition before them, the name of Jefferson will be known as the benefactor of the human race.Yes, Fellow Citizens, we may with confidence anticipate that the time will yet arrive when this great charter of the rights of man shall be translated into every living tongue-when the spirit of independence shall diffuse new life and energy throughout the world.

To his foresight and wisdom and to his principles are we indebted for that happy adjustment of power which we find in our constitutions. There were at that time, enlightened, great, and honest men, who sincerely believed that the only

« ZurückWeiter »