Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

pensable supports. In vain would. that man claim the tribute of Pa triotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths. which are the instruments of in

vestigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can. prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

'Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of Free Government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts t› shake the foundation of the fabric? Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force

to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.


Washington was the patriot without reproach; he loved his country well enough to hold his success in serving it as 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 denied; when the army was disbanded; and again, when he stood, like Leonidas at the pass of Thermopyla, to defend our independence against France.


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 forever; yet it was rather the effect, than the motive, of his conduct. Some future Plutarch will search for a parallel to his char

acter. Epaminondas is perhaps the brightest man of all antiquity. Our Washington resembled him in the purity and ardor of his patriotism; and like him, he first exalted the glory of his country. 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 unambitious 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 - Fisher Ames.


[blocks in formation]


Once more, what is it to be an American? Putting aside all the outer shows of dress and manners, social customs and physical peculiarities, is it not to believe in America and in the American people? Is it not to have an abiding and moving faith in the future and in the destiny of America?-something above and beyond the patriotism and love which every man whose soul is not dead within him feels for the land of his birth? Is it not to be national and not sectional, independent and not colonial? Is it not to have a high conception of what this great new country should be, and to follow out that ideal with loyalty and truth?

Has any man in our history fulfilled these conditions more perfectly and more completely than George Washington? Has any

many ever lived who served the American people more faithfully, or with a higher and truer conception of the destiny and possibilities of the country?

-Henry Cabot Lodge.

CLOSING PART OF LINCOLN'S SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS. With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and orphans; to bind up are nation's wounds; to do all which may achieve and cher

[blocks in formation]


Even he who now sleeps has, by this event, been clothed with new influence. Dead, he speaks to men who now willingly hear what before they refused to listen to. Now his simple and weighty words will be gathered like those of Washington, and your children and your children's children shall be taught to ponder the simplicity and deep wisdom of utterances which, in their time, passed, in the party heat, as idle words. Men will receive a new impulse of patriotism for his sake, and will guard with zeal the whole country which he loved so well: I swear you, on the altar of his memory, to be more faithful to the country for which he has perished. Men will, as they follow his hearse, swear a new hatred to that slavery against which he warred, and which in vanquishing him has made him a martyr and a conqueror: I swear you, by the memory of this martyr, to hate slavery with an unappeasable hatred. Men will admire and imitate his unmoved firmness, his inflexible conscience for the right; and yet his gentleness, as tender as a woman's, his moderation of spirit, which not all the heat of party could inflame, nor all the jars and disturbances of this country shake out of its place: I swear you to an em

ulation of his justice, his moderation, and his mercy.

And now the martyr is moving in triumphal march, mightier than when alive. The nation rises up at every stage of his coming. Cities and states are his pall-bearers, and the cannon beats the hours with solemn progression. Dead-dead-dead he yet speaketh! Is Washington dead? Is Hampden dead? Is David dead? Is any man dead that ever was fit to live? Disenthralled of flesh, and risen to the unobstructed sphere where passion never comes, he begins his illimitable work. His life now is grafted upon the Infinite, and will be fruitful as no earthly life can be. Pass on, thou that hast overcome! Your sorrows, O people, are his peace! Your bells, and bands, and muffled drums sound triumph in his ear. Wail and weep here; God makes it echo joy and triumph there. Pass on, thou victor!


Cool should he be, of balanced

[blocks in formation]

Untried, untrained to bear
The more than kingly care.
Ah! And his genius put to scorn
The proudest in the purple born,
Whose wisdom never grew
To what, untaught, he knew.
The People, of whom he was one,
No gentleman, like Washington,
(Whose bones, methinks, make


To have him in their tomb!)
A laboring man, with horny hands,
Who swung the axe, who tilled his

Who shrank from nothing new,
But did as poor men do.

One of the People! Born to be
Their curious epitome;

To share yet rise above
Their shifting hate and love.
Common his mind, (it seemed so

His thoughts the thoughts of other


[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »