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of effort and of peril that impotence disappears, and energy arises. The whirlwind, which sweeps away the glow-worm, uncovers the fire of genius, and kindles it into a blaze, that irradiates, at once, both the zenith and the poles.

But among the heroes who sprung from obscurity, when the college, the counting-house, and the plough teemed with “ thunderbolts of war," none could, in all respects, meet the wants and the wishes of America. She required, in her leader, a man reared under her own eye; who combined with distinguished talent, a character above suspicion; who had added to his physical and moral qualities the experience of difficult service: a man, who should concentrate in himself the public affections and confidences; who should know how to multiply the energies of every other man under his direction, and to make disaster itself the means of success—his arm a fortress and his name a host. Such a man it were almost presumption to expect; but such a man all-ruling heaven had provided, and that man was WASHINGTON.

Pre-eminent already in worth, he is summoned to the pre-eminence of toil and of danger. Unallured by the charms of opulence: unappalled by the hazard of a dubious warfare: unmoved by the prospect of being, in the event of failure, the first and most conspicuous victim, he obeys the summons, because he loves his duty. The resolve is firm, for the probation is terrible. His theatre is a world; his charge, a family of nations; the interest staked, in his hands, the prosperity of millions unborn in ages to come; his means, under aid from on high, the resources of his own breast, with the raw recruits and irregular supplies of distracted colonies. O crisis worthy of such a hero! Followed by her little bands, her prayers and her tears, WASHINGTON espouses the quarrel of his country. As he moves on to the conflict, every heart palpitates, and every knee trembles. The foe, alike valiant and veteran, presents no easy conquest, nor aught inviting but



to those who had consecrated their blood to the public weal. The Omnipotent, who allots great enjoyment as the meed of great exertion, had ordained that America should be free; but that she should learn to value the blessing by the price of its acquisition. She shall go to a “wealthy place,” but her way is “ through fire and through water.” Many a generous chief must

bleed, and many a gallant youth sink, at his side, into the surprised grave; the field must be heaped with slain; the purple torrent must roll, ere the angel of peace descend with his olive. It is here, amid devastation, and horror, and death, that Washington must reap his laurels, and engrave his trophies on the shields of immortality. Shall Delaware and Princeton-shall Monmouth and York-But I may not particularize; far less re

I peat the tale which babes recite, which poets sing, and fame has published to the listening world. Every scene of his action was a scene of his triumph. Now, he saved the republic by more than Fabian caution; now, he avenged her by more than Carthagenian fierceness. While, at every stroke, her forests and her hills reechoed to her shout, “ The sword of the LORD and of Washington!” Nor was this the vain applause of partiality and enthusiasm. The blasted schemes of Britain; her broken and her captive hosts, proclaimed the terror of his arms. Skilled were her chiefs, and brave, her legions; but bravery and skill rendered them a conquest more worthy of WASHINGTON. True, he suffered, in his turn, repulse and even defeat. It was both natural and needful. Unchequered with reverse, his story would have resembled rather the fictions of romance, than the truth of narrative; and had he been neither defeated nor repulsed, we had never seen all the grandeur of his soul. He arrayed himself in fresh honors by that which ruins even the great-vicissitude. He could not only subdue an enemy, but what is infinitely more, he could subdue misfortune. With an equanimity which gave temperance to victory, and cheerfulness to disaster, he balanced the fortunes of






Among the sentiments of most powerful operation upon the human heart, and most highly honorable to the human character, are those of veneration for our forefathers, and of love for our posterity. They form the connecting links between the selfish and the social passions. By the fundamental principle of christianity, the happiness of the individual is interwoven, by innumerable and imperceptible ties, with that of his contemporaries: by the power of filial reverence and parental affection, individual existence is extended beyond the limits of individual life, and the happiness of every age is chained in mutual dependence upon that of every other. Respect for his ancestors excites, in the breast of man, interest in their history, attachment to their characters, concern for their errors, involuntary pride in their virtues. Love for his posterity spurs him to exertion for their support, stimulates him to virtue for their example, and fills him with the tenderest solicitude for their welfare. Man, therefore, was not made for himself alone. No; he was made

. for his country, by the obligations of the social compact: he was made for his species, by the christian duties of universal charity: he was made for all ages past, by the sentiment of reverence for his forefathers; and he was made for all future times, by the impulse of affection for his progeny. Under the influence of these principles, “ Existence sees him spurn her bound


VOL. v.

ed reign.” They redeem his nature from the subjection of time and space: he is no longer a “ puny insect shivering at a breeze;" he is the glory of creation, formed to occupy all time and all extent: bounded, during his residence upon earth, only by the boundaries of the world, and destined to life and immortality in brighter regions, when the fabric of nature itself shall dissolve and perish.

The voice of history has not, in all its compass, a note but answers in unison with these sentiments. The barbarian chieftain, who defended his country against the Roman invasion, driven to the remotest extremity of Britain, and stimulating his followers to battle, by all that has power of persuasion upon the human heart, concludes his exhortation by an appeal to these irresistible feelings* _“ Think of your forefathers and of your posterity.” The Romans themselves, at the pinnacle of civilization, were actuated by the same impressions, and celebrated, in anniversary festivals, every great event which had signalized the annals of their forefathers. To multiply instances, where it were impossible to adduce an exception, would be to waste your time and abuse your patience: but in the sacred volume, which contains the substance of our firmest faith and of our most precious hopes, these passions not only maintain their highest efficacy, but are sanctioned by the express injunctions of the Divine Legislator to his chosen people.

The revolutions of time furnish no previous example of a nation shooting up to maturity and expanding into greatness, with the rapidity which has characterized the growth of the American people. In the luxuriance of youth, and in the vigor of manhood, it is pleasing and instructive to look backwards upon the helpless days of infancy: but, in the continual and essential changes of a growing subject, the transactions of that early period would be soon obliterated from the memory, but for some periodical call of attention to aid the silent records of the historian. Such celebrations arouse and gratify the kindliest emotions of the boa som. They are faithful pledges of the respect we bear to the memory of our ancestors, and of the tenderness with which we cherish the rising generation. They introduce the sages and heroes of ages past to the notice and emulation of succeeding times: they are at once testimonials of our gratitude, and schools of virtue to our children.

* Proinde ituri in aciem, et majores vestros et posteros cogitate.

GALGACUS in Vita Agricolac.

These sentiments are wise; they are honorable ; they are virtuous; their cultivation is not merely innocent pleasure, it is incumbent duty. Obedient to their dictates, you, my fellow-citizens, have instituted and paid frequent observance to this annual solemnity. And what event of weightier intrinsic importance, or of more extensive consequences, was ever selected for this honorary distinction ?

In reverting to the period of their origin, other nations have generally been compelled to plunge into the chaos of impenetrable antiquity, or to trace a lawless ancestry into the caverns of ravishers and robbers. It is your peculiar privilege to commemorate, in this birthday of your nation, an event ascertained in its minutest details: an event of which the principal actors are known to you familiarly, as if belonging to your own age: an event of a magnitude before which imagination shrinks at the imperfection of her powers. It is your further happiness to behold, in those eminent characters who were most conspicuous in accomplishing the settlement of your country, men upon whose virtues you can dwell with honest exultation. The founders of your race are not handed down to you, like the father of the Roman people, as the sucklings of a wolf. You are not descended from a nauseous compound of fanaticism and sensuality, whose only argument was the sword, and whose only paradise was a brothel. No Gothic scourge of God;

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