Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to extinguish the causes of external differences, on terms compatible with national rights and national honor: to mingle in the operations of government every degree of moderation and tenderness, which national justice, dignity and safety might permit, and to exemplify the pre-eminence of a free government, by all the attributes, which might win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world.* _These were the momentous pursuits, which occupied his elevated mind, and engaged his warmest affections : for these purposes, he invited the aid and co-operation of the enlightened counsels of the Union ; and, in spite of the petulance of opposition, or the effusions of faction, his prosperous country and its grateful inhabitants, will testify that they have been accomplished.

Extract from a discourse, occasioned by the death of general

GEORGE WASÁINGTON, delivered in Trinity-cburch, Newark, New-Jersey. By tbe Rev. Uzal Ogden, D. D.

TEXT_“ know ye not, that there is a prince, and a great man

fallen this day in Israel ?- II. Samuel, iii. 38.

TT is declared by the Psalmist, that “ the Lord is good unto I all, and that his tender mercies are over all his works.” The goodness of God to us, hath been exhibited in numerous and striking instances ; particularly, not only in the great honor, dignity, and happiness of our original state ; in our redemption from sin and misery, through the son of his love ; in “ giving us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness ;” but in raising up illustrious characters, in divers ages and countries, for the benefit of men;

* See Wasbington's speeches to congress, from wbich the above summary of his presidential pursuits is selected, with little oariation from bis own impressive language.

for their civilization ; for their knowledge of useful arts and sciences ; for their advancement in morals and religion ; and for their enjoyment of civil and religious liberty.

I Might for hours, and even days, detail the names and merits of such benefactors of the world ; and it is with pleasure I observe, that this infant country can boast of many such worthies, in various professions of life ; but I mean only, at present, as a testimony of únfeigned respect to his memory, to mention but one of these distinguished men, and to dwell a lit. tle on his character.

· Wuen so "great a man” as WASHINGTON “falls,” in our Israel, unaffected must we be by loss; devoid also of sensibility and gratitude ; regardless, likewise, of merit, decency and general custom, if we do not mourn his death and attempt to proclaim his worth !

For what hath been more common, than, by panegyric, or by mourning, publicly to notice the death of eminent men ? The ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as the Jews, were particularly attentive to such melancholy events. It was not : uncommon for the Israelites to lament the death of an illustri

ous character among them ; to reflect upon and recount his virtues ; thus, particularly, we are informed, that “the children of Israel wept for Moses, in the plains of Moab, thirty days." And what was more common, than for the primitive christians to deliver eulogiums on those distinguished for virtue and piety?

THOUGH Abner was not so eminent a character as Moses, yet, as he was “ a prince," and a famed captain in Israel, his death was not suffered to pass unnoticed ; but was most sincerely lamented by king David, and attended with funeral honors. « And the king said unto his servants, know ye not, that there is a prince, and a great man fallen this day in Israel ?"

What rendered the death of this prince more amicting, was, he fell by the hand of the assassin Joab; who “ took Abner aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib; and he died.”

David declared his obhorrence of the murderous act; and said unto the people that were with hin, “rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier, and they buried Abner in Hebron ; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.”

“Tue news of Abner's death (saith a Jewish historian) went to the heart of David, insomuch, that the instant he heard it, he stretched forth his right hand towards heaven, uttering execrations against the assassin, whoever he was, and all his accomplices ; and this, not only in detestation of so base and unmanly an action, but also to declare, that upon the strictest niceties of faith and honor, he had been true to Abner (who had joined the house of Saul against David)—for whom the king, by proclamation, appointed a public mourning, with all the solemnities of tearing of garments and putting on sackcloth. He himself, with his great ministers and officers, assisting at the funeral, and giving sufficient demonstrations, by wringing of hands, beating their breasts, and other expressions of sorrow, hoth for the veneration they had for Abner's memory, and the sense they had of so inistimable a loss. He caused the body to be interred at Hebron, with great state and magnificence, composing an epitaph himself to honor the deceased. He was ' the chief mourner, and a precedent to all the rest, who acted in conformity to his example."

An! dread event !-How shall it be expressed ?-Washington, the “great man in our Israel ;” the glory of our country; the brightest ornament of human nature ; the admiration of the world " falls”...dies !... Not by the hand of treachery, as did Abner, but by the power of disease!

O DEATH ! how great thy triumph? Ah! how cruel thy stroke? Who feels it not ?

Ceast to weep, thou partner of his heart ; ye relatives and friends of virtue ! Cease to weep, ye fathers in council; ye citizens of America ! For Washington weep not! He died in honor, in peace with his God ; in full resignation to the will of heaven!

· He lives ; he moves in a more exalted sphere! He lives too. in your affections and remembrance ! And his fame shall live ; shall be transmitted from age to age, with growing lustre, till time shall be no more !

· ASTONISHING has been the effect of general Washington's death, in these states. See our venerable president, with the members of both houses of congress, clothed in the garb of sorrow, and reciprocating their language of condolence ! See the halls of congress and our temples of worship, drest in mourning ! See in our ships of war, and on our military staffs, the signals of grief ! See the officers of our army and navy, and our citizens throughout the Union, displaying the badge of sorrow ! Hear the bells proclaiming the mournful event, Washington is dead! See our public prints, clad in black, declaring the same awful truth ! Behold numerous processions of mourning ! Hear the pulpits wailing his death and announcing his worth! Behold him the mournful theme of lay orators of the first distinction! Listen to the muse, which also mourns him dead, and sings his praise ! See every countenance dejected with grief, and every heart torn with anguish !

What an eulogy? What mortal before, received such praise ; such honors in life, and after death! And what man, before, so justly merited them ?

GENERAL Washington, it may be remarked, in several res. pects, hath been singularly fortunate. How many, with exalted virtues and splendid talents, have commenced their career of fame and usefulness to men, as heroes and statesmen ? But how few have reached the goal, and obtained the rewards of merit?

How many have been suddenly cut down by the scythe of death? And, among ourselves, did there not thus fall a WarREN, a MONTGOMERY and a MERCER? How many through error in judgment, have wandered from the path ? How many have been checked, stopped in their course, by the power of envy, pride, hatred, calumny or ambition ? And how many have been turned aside by the force of gold ?

To our reproach, had we not one of this character among us? In the person of a general, of an hero, of a professed patriot, had we not a traitor ? I grate not your ears with the sound of his namie of infamy.*

But, to our honor, besides a Washington, have we not been blessed with numerous heroes of patriotism? With numerous patriotic legislators of wisdom, who, to their country have rendered very important services? If all these services have not been rewarded according to their deserts,t shall we be charged with ingratitude ? Or shall poverty be our apology?

It is painful to reflect that often, but too often, uniform, persevering and successful merit; distinguished deeds of bravery and pariotism, have not only been treated with neglect, but even with insult and barbarity! Among the several worthies thus treated, whose names now occur to me, there is one whose case is so affecting, that I beg to be indulged the liberty of reminding you of it.

BELISARIUS was general of the armies of the emperor Justinian, and, most deservedly, bigh in the confidence and esteem of his prince. This general possessed superior talents ; una daunted valor ; the strictest probity ; great modesty, and the most ardent loyalty. He was justly regarded as the most illustrious captain of the age, and rendered his country the most eminent services, by his victories in Italy, Africa and Persia.

* Benedict Arnoldo

See Gordon's History, Vols. II and III,

Рp

« AnteriorContinuar »