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formation. The visiter felt himself lifted, by the contact, into a new and nobler region of thought, and became surprised at his own buoyancy and vigor. He could not, indeed, help being astounded, now and then, at those transcendant leaps of the mind, which he saw made without the slightest exertion, and the ease with which this wonderful man played with subjects which he had been in the habit of considering among the argumenta crucis of the intellect. And then there seemed to be no end to his knowledge. He was a thorough master of every subject that was touched. From the details of the humblest mechanic art, up to the highest summit of science, he was perfectly at his ease, and every where at home. There seemed to be no longer any terra incognita of the human understanding: for, what the visiter had thought so, he now found reduced to a familiar garden walk; and all this carried off so lightly, so playfully, so gracefully, so engagingly, that he won every heart that approached him, as certainly as he astonished every mind.
Mr. Jefferson was wont to remark, that he never left the conversation of Dr. Franklin without carrying away with him something new and useful. How of ten, and how truly, has the same remark been made of him. Nor is this wonderful, when we reflect, that, that mind of matchless vigor and versatility had been, all his life, intensely engaged in conversing with the illustrious dead, or following the march of science in every land, or bearing away, on its own steady and powerful wing, into new and unexplored regions of thought.
Shall I follow him to the table of his elegant hospitality, and show him to you in the bosom of his enchanting family? Alas! those attic days are gone; that sparkling eye is quenched; that voice of pure and delicate affection, which ran with such brilliancy and effect through the whole compass of colloquial music, now bright with wit, now melting with tenderness, is hushed forever in the grave! But let me leave a theme on which friendship and gratitude have, I fear, already been tempted to linger too long.
There was one solace of the declining years of both these great men, which must not be passed. It is that correspondence which arose between them, after their retirement from public life. That, correspondence, it is to be hoped, will be given to the world. If it ever shall, I speak from knowledge when I say, it will be found to be one of the most interesting and af fecting that the world has ever seen. That" cold cloud" which had hung for a time over their friendship, passed away with the conflict out of which it had grown, and the attachment of their early life returned in all its force. They had both now bid adieu, a final adieu, to all public employments, and were done with all the agitating passions of life. They were dead to the ambitious world; and this correspondence resembles, more than any thing else, one of those conversations in the Elysium of the ancients, which the shades of the departed great were supposed by them to hold, with regard to the affairs of the world they had left. There are the same playful allusions to the points of difference that had divided their parties; the same mutual, and light, and unimpassioned raillery on their own past misconceptions and mistakes; the same mutual and just admiration and respect for their many virtues and services to mankind. That correspondence was, to them both, one of the most genial employments of their old age; and it reads a lesson of wisdom on the bitterness of party spirit, by which the wise and the good will not fail to profit.
Besides this affectionate intercourse between them, you are aware of the extensive correspondence which they maintained with others, and of which some idea may be formed by those letters which, since their death, have already broken upon us through the press, from quarters so entirely unexpected. They were considered as the living historians of the Revolution, and of the past age, as well as oracles of wisdom to all who consulted them. Their habit in this particular scems to have been the same; never to omit answering any respectful letter they received, no matter how obscure the individual, or how insignificant the
subject. With Mr. Jefferson this was a sacred law, and as he always wrote at a polygraphic desk, copies have been preserved of every letter. His correspondence travelled far beyond his own country, and embraced within its circle many of the most distinguished men of his age in Europe. What a feast for the mind may we not expect from the published letters of these excellent men! They were both masters inthis way, though somewhat contrasted. Mr. Adams, plain, nervous, and emphatic, the thought couched in the fewest and strongest words, and striking with a kind of epigrammatic force. Mr. Jefferson, flowing with easy and careless melody, the language at the same time pruned of every redundant word, and giving the thought with the happiest precision, the aptest words dropping unbidden and unsought into their places, as if they had fallen from the skies; and so beautiful, so felicitous, as to fill the mind with a succession of delightful surprises, while the judgment is, at the same time, made captive by the closely compacted energy of the argument. Mr. Jefferson's style is so easy and harmonious, as to have led superficial readers to remark, that he was deficient in strength; as if ruggedness and abruptness were essential to strength. Mr. Jefferson's strength was inherent in the thoughts and conceptions, though hidden by the light and graceful vestments which he threw over them. The internal divinity existed and was felt, though concealed under the finely harmonized form of a man; and if he did not exhibit himself in his compositions with the insignia of Hercules, the shaggy lion's skin and the knotted club; he bore the full quiver and the silver bow of Apollo; and every polished shaft that he loosened from the string, told with unerring and fatal precision:
Δείνη δε κλαγγή γενετ' αργύρεοιο βιοιο.
These two great men, so eminently distinguished among the patriots of the Revolution, and so illustrious by their subsequent services, became still more so, by having so long survived all that were most highly
conspicuous among their coevals. All the stars of first magnitude, in the equatorial and tropical regions, had long since gone down, and still they remained. Still, they stood full in view, like those two resplendent constellations near the opposite poles, which never set to the inhabitants of the neighboring zones.
But, they too were doomed at length to set: and such was their setting as no American bosom can ever forget!
In the midst of their fast decaying strength, and when it was seen that the approach of death was certain, their country and its glory still occupied their thoughts, and circulated with the last blood that was ebbing to their hearts. Those who surrounded the death-bed of Mr. Jefferson report, that in the few short intervals of delirium that occurred, his mind manifestly relapsed to the age of the Revolution. He talked, in broken sentences, of the Committees of Safety, and the rest of that great machinery, which he imagined to be still in action. One of his exclamations was "Warn the Committee to be on their guard;" and he instantly rose in his bed, with the help of his attendants, and went through the act of writing a hurried note. But, these intervals were few and short. His reason was almost constantly upon her throne, and the only aspiration he was heard to breathe, was the prayer, that he might live to see the fourth of July. When that day came, all that he was heard to whisper, was the repeated ejaculation-"Nunc Domine dimittas"-Now, Lord, let thy servant depart in peace! And the prayer of the patriot was heard and answered.
The Patriarch of Quincy, too, with the same certainty of death before him, prayed only for the protraction of his life to the same day. His prayer was also heard: and when a messenger from the neighboring festivities, unapprized of his danger, was deputed to ask him for the honor of a toast, he showed the object on which his dying eyes were fixed, and exclaimed with energy, "Independence forever!" His country first, his country last, his country always!
"O save my country-Heaven! he said-and died !”
Hitherto, fellow-citizens, the Fourth of July had been celebrated among us, only as the anniversary of. our independence, and its votaries had been merely human beings. But at its last recurrence-the great Jubilee of the nation-the anniversary, it may well be termed, of the liberty of man-Heaven, itself, mingled visibly in the celebration, and hallowed the day anew by a double apotheosis. Is there one among us to whom this language seems too strong? Let him recall his own feelings, and the objection will vanish. When the report first reached us, of the death of the great man whose residence was nearest, who among us was not struck with the circumstance that he should have been removed on the day of his own highest glory? And who, after the first shock of the intelligence had passed, did not feel a thrill of mournful delight at the characteristic beauty of the close of such a life. But while our bosoms were yet swelling with admiration at this singularly beautiful coincidence, when the second report immediately followed, of the death of the great sage of Quincy, on the same day—I appeal to yourselves-is there a voice that was not hushed, is there a heart that did not quail, at this close manifestation of the hand of Heaven in our affairs! Philosophy, recovered of her surprise, may affect to treat the coincidence as fortuitous. But Philosophy herself was mute, at the moment, under the pressure of the feeling that these illustrious men had rather been translated, than had died. It is in vain to tell us that men die by thousands every day in the year, all over the world. The wonder is not that two men have died on the same day, but that two such men, after having performed so many and such splendid services in the cause of liberty-after the multitude of other coincidences which seem to have linked their destinies together-after having lived so long together, the objects of their country's joint veneration-after having been spared to witness the great triumph