Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

establishment of Ameriean independence terminated the brilliant · career of this great man, even then would his glory have been compleat; and the transcendant fame of Washington, foiling the scythe of time itself, been sounded to latest posterity ;-but happily for you, my fellow-soldiers,--for your country and for the world, he was preserved to still the tempest, and put in a train of constitutional execution, what heaven had so wisely planned : to moderate the licentious spirit of revolution, to bring order out of confusion, and to teach man true and rational liberty-was the task assigned to him-a task worthy the noble instrument.

When the great purposes of the revolution were accomplished,- peace and tranquillity restored to our land, and every man could enjoy secure under his own vine and his own fig-tree the fruits of his labor ; then, and not till then, did Washington retire from the active scenes that had so long employed him, to seek, in the calm retreats of Mount-Vernon, and bosom of his family, rest from his toils.

Then fellow-soldiers, was presented to the world an instance of unprecedented patriotism ; a victorious general, the idol of his army-resigning unlimited power, and returning again into the mass of his fellow-citizens rewarded only for his in. valuable services, by the plaudits of his own mind, and the bles. sings of his countrymen. But his day of retirement had not yet arrived ; his country again soon needed the auspicious care of a Washington. The constitution of these states, formed by the collected wisdom of America, required his fostering hand to support, and guard its tottering infancy. To fill the presie dential chair, and set in motion the vast machinery of a new and untried government, all hearts and voices were united in Washington. Called by the unanimous suffrages of his country. men, to this perilous and difficult station ; his private interest, and all the blessings that fortune and domestic happiness could yield, when weighed against the wishes of his fellow-citizens, and welfare of his country, sunk, and were forgotten. Relin. quishing all other pursuits, he again embarked in the public sera vice ; noble jeopardizing, for the public good, on the tempeso

tuous sea of politics, his unbounded popularity acquired in the field of arms.

ACCOMPANY me for a moment, my fellow-soldiers, to the days of his administration ; they are now passing into the abyss of time ; but will forever be remembered. Had it not been for the wise policy, the foresight, and firmness of Washington, these states would now, no doubt, have been sharing in the miseries of Europe ; sunk in all the horrors of a revolution, and groaning under the calamities, that laid waste the fairest portion of the world. None but Washington, whose wisdom and virtue in the cabinet was equal to his bravery and conduct in the field, could have averted the gathering storm. Ever constant and faithful in the service of his country ; unmoved by the tumults of faction, or clamours of party, he sought, with undeviating steps, the public good—supported the honor of the governmentdefended the constitution sacred from the jacobin's unhallowed touch, and preserved for you the freedom you now enjoy. When the sparks of liberty were kindling in France, and all Europe stood gazing in anxious expectation to behold the event; Washington was among the first to discover froin the fury of the blaze, that, unless watched and guarded against, it would envelope the universe in flames. Hence his proclamation of neutrality, and the defensive measures of his administration that followed measures planned with more than human wisdom-measures that defied the proud ambitious views of England, and all the vile insidious arts of France. Equal to every emergency at once, whilst engaged in the great and national concerns of Europe, he enforced submission to the laws at home ; the hideous spectre of insurrection at his approach concealed its execrable head ;the name of Washington a host-his very appearance reduced to order and obedience the deluded multitude, and compelled the wretches who had seduced them from their duty, to sue for mercy at the feet of justice.

At length, grown gray in the public service, he once more determined to seek, in the peaceful retreats of private life, the repose and comfort his declining years required. This was an occasion, fellow-soldiers, you all remember, an occasion that

interested the heart of every patriot, that touched the sensibility of every honest American—the manner of his retiring-his affectionate farewell address to his fellow.citizens, endeared him still the more, and rendered the parting less supportable. But the day was fast approaching when he should again stretch forth the hand of assistance--his country had yet further claims upon his patriotism.

When the wanton and continued aggressions of the French nation threatened to involve these states in a war, all exulted that we had yet a Washington; and accustomed to view hiin as an invincible chief, and sure defence, against every danger, he was again resorted to, and once more determined to unsheath his sword, and lead the armies of his country: you, my fellowsoldiers, are a part of those armies-yes, you, though young, have had the honor of being commanded by the founder of your liberties, and father of your country.„Such was the greatest and the best of men-such the illustrious Washington-such the man whose fame outstrips the fleeting winds : but he is now no more ;-heaven has been pleased to terminate a life glorious beyond example, and useful as it was glorious. Here let me pause for a moment:' view, my companions, the picture thus faintly colored, and imitate the grand original.

ARE ye eager then, fellow-soldiers, to live in the voice and memory of men ? Be patriotş.--Are ye ambitioụs to shine forever bright in the annals of fame ?. Be patriots. Patriotism is the focal point where all the dazzling virtues center, and blaze with unextinguishable lustre.

Is there a man so dead to the emotions of benevolence as not to feel a congratulating glow of soul when his country is crowned with success ? Is there a man, even in these degenerate days, who does not in fancy hurl the Syllas, the Cæsars of the world, from their baneful pre-eminence ; to chastise minion time-serving politicians ; designing, ambitious demagogues, or overgrown haughty despots? When slavery clanks her chains—when danger threatens when we are called together associated in arms

LI

for our country's good what bosom beats not in that country's cause ?" Methinks resentment and indignation would make the coward brave, and every man a patriot,,but not so, fellow-soldiers.

POSTERITY will hardly credit the tale-posterity will incline to think it an historical fiction, or a legendary fable ;—but there are men at the present day ;-I speak it with grief,—-with indignation I speak it ;—who, whilst the friends of this country are endeavoring, by negociation, and measures of defence, to ward off the threatened attacks of a foreign nation, and to preserve the independence of your country ;-use every means in their power to weaken the government-invite the insulting enemy to acts of hostility, and seek to reduce this free people under a foreign yoke. Persons of such base and sordid spirits deserve not to be freemen— they disgrace their PRIVILEGESthey live despised ; happy could they die unknown. That we are and ought to be free, the voice of nature rings in our ears that we can and shall live free depends solely upon ourselves : live patriots, my fellow-soldiers, and you will die freemen. For,

“ The man resolv'd and steady to his trust,
“ Inflexible to ill, and obstinately just,
“ May the rude rabble's insolence despise,
“ Their senseless clamors, their tumultuous cries ;
“ The tyrant's fierceness he beguiles,

And with superior greatness smiles. ..
« Not the rough whirlwind that deforms
" Adria's black gulph, and vexes it with storms ;
6. The stubborn virtues of his soul can move ;
« Not the red arm of angry Jove,
66 That hurls the thunder from the sky,
66 And gives it rage to roar, and strength to Ay.
6 Should the whole frame of nature round him bress

« In ruin and confusion hurl'd,
66 He unconcern'd would hear the mighty crack,

And stand secure amidst a falling world.".

Address delivered at Greensburgb, in Westmoreland county, in

the state of Pennsylvania, on tbe anniversary of the birth of the late illustrious bero, statesman and citizen, GEORGE WASHINGTON. By David M Keenan, Esq.

Fellow-citizens, THE twenty-second day of February, in the year 1732, on

1 the anniversary of which we are now convened, has been distinguished in the annals of America, by giving birth to the first of men—the hero--the sage—the founder and savior of our nation,—the illustrious WASHINGTON. Who from his cradle appeared elevated above the common imperfections and weakness of humanity : with a mind clothed with solemnity and wisdom, and splendidly serene. Whose youth foretold a momentous crisis, and whose early manhood pointed to some great event, then veiled in future time and the will of heaven. The sublime grandeur and majesty of whose form, illumined by his mighty soul, prognosticated the days of war and fields of fame. Whose first martial deeds against a savage foe proclaim his valor, and whose prudence and firmness correct the errors, and retrieve the disas. ters of the experienced and renowned in armis.-Whose name early graces the historic page, and shines resplendent in the rolls of fame.

FITTED equally for the cabinet and the field, when the awful crisis approaches, and the important work which providence had fore-ordained and sent him to atchieve ; when the liberty and safety of his native land is endangered ; when the powerful arm of oppression is stretched forth, he appears august in its councils, and animates resistance. But the sword is unsheathed, and who shall leađ its sons ? - None but Washington: to him all eyes are turned and confessed he stands his country's choice.

With dignified diffidence and modest greatness he accepts the important trust ; and while he nobly rejects all pecuniary compensation, stakes his life-his all in his country's cause. How shall we trace his mighty course ? What actions shall we

« AnteriorContinuar »