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7. Let us, then, with courage and confidence, pursue our own federal and republican principles; our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions, and their sense of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practised in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which, by all its dispensations, proves that it delights in the happiness of man here, and his greater happiness hereafter; with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people?
8. Still, one thing more, fellow-citizens; a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another; shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement; and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government; and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.
REFLECTIONS ON THE DEATH OF ADAMS AND JEFFERSON.a
1. ADAMS and JEFFERSON are no more! On our fiftieth anniversary, the great day of National Jubilee, in the very hour of public rejoicing, in the midst of echoing and re
a They died July 4th, 1826.
echoing voices of thanksgiving, while their own names were on all tongues, they took their flight together to the world of spirits!
2. If it be true that no one can safely be pronounced happy while he lives; if that event which terminates life can alone crown its honors and its glory, what felicity is here! The great epic of their lives, how happily concluded! Poetry itself has hardly closed illustrious lives, and finished the career of earthly renown, by such a consummation.
3. If we had the power, we could not wish to reverse this dispensation of the Divine Providence. The great objects of life were accomplished; the drama was ready to be closed. It has closed! our patriots have fallen; but so fallen, at such age, with such coincidence, on such a day, that we cannot rationally lament that that end has come, which we knew could not be long deferred.
4. Neither of these great men could have died at any time without leaving an immense void in our American society. They have been so intimately and for so long a time blended with the history of the country, and, especially, so united in our thoughts and recollections with the events of the Revolution, that the death of either would have touched the strings of public sympathy. We should have felt that one great link connecting us with former times was broken; that we had lost something more, as it were, of the presence of the Revolution itself, and of the act of independence, and were driven on, by another great remove, from the days of our country's early distinction, to meet posterity, and to mix with the future.
5. Like the mariner, whom the ocean and the winds carry along, till he sees the stars, which have directed his course, and lighted his pathless way, descend, one by one, beneath the rising horizon, we should have felt that the stream of time had borne us onward, till another great luminary, whose light had cheered us, and whose guidance we had followed, had sunk away from our sight.
6. But the concurrence of their death, on the anniversary
of independence, has naturally awakened strong emotions. Both had been presidents, both had lived to great age, both were early patriots, and both were distinguished and everhonored by their immediate agency in the act of independence. It cannot but seem striking and extraordinary, that these two should live to see the fiftieth year from the date of that act; that they should complete that year; and that then, on the day which had fast linked forever their own fame with their country's glory, the heavens should open to receive them both at once! As their lives themselves were the gifts of Providence, who is not willing to recognize in their happy termination, as well as in their long continuance, proofs that our country and its benefactors are objects of his care?
7. Adams and Jefferson, I have said, are no more! As human beings, indeed, they are no more! They are no more, as in 1776, bold and fearless advocates of independence; no more, as on subsequent periods, the head of the government; no more, as we have recently seen them, aged and venerable objects of admiration and regard. They are no more! They are dead!
8. But how little is there of the great and good which can die! To their country they yet live, and live forever. They live in all that perpetuates the remembrance of men on earth, in the recorded proofs of their own great actions, in the offspring of their intellect, in the deep engraved lines of public gratitude, and in the respect and homage of mankind. They live in their example; and they live, emphatically, and will live, in the influence which their lives and efforts, their principles and opinions, now exercise, and will continue to exercise, on the affairs of men, not only in their own country, but throughout the civilized world.
9. A superior and commanding human intellect, a truly great man, when Heaven vouchsafes so rare a gift, is not a temporary flame, burning bright for a while, and then expiring, giving place to returning darkness. It is rather a spark of fervent heat, as well as radiant light, with power to enkindle the common mass of human mind; so that when it glimmers in
its own decay, and finally goes out in death, no night follows but it leaves the world all light, all on fire, from the potent contact of its own spirit.
10. Bacon died; but the human understanding, roused, by the touch of his miraculous wand, to a perception of the true philosophy, and the just mode of inquiring after truth, has kept on its course, successfully and gloriously. Newton died; yet the courses of the spheres are still known, and they yet move on in the orbits which he saw and described for them, in the infinity of space.
11. No two men now live, perhaps it may be doubted whether any two men have ever lived, in one age, who, more than those we now commemorate, have impressed their own sentiments, in regard to politics and government, on mankind; infused their own opinions more deeply into the opinions of others, or given a more lasting direction to the current of human thought. Their work doth not perish with them. The tree which they assisted to plant will flourish, although they water it and protect it no longer; for it has struck its roots deep; it has sent them to the very center; no storm, not of force to burst the orb, can overturn it; its branches spread wide; they stretch their protecting arms broader and broader; and its top is destined to reach the heavens.
12. We are not deceived. There is no delusion here. No age will come, in which the American Revolution will appear less than it is; one of the greatest events in human history. No age will come, in which it will cease to be seen and felt, on either continent, that a mighty step, a great advance, not only in American affairs, but in human affairs, was made on the fourth of July, 1776. And no age will come, we trust, so ignorant or so unjust, as not to see and acknowledge the efficient agency of these we now honor, in producing that mo
HAMLET'S SOLILOQUY ON LIFE AND DEATH.
TO BE, or not to be? that is the question!
sleep? perchance to dream; ay, there's the rub;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
a So-lilo-quy; talking to one's self.