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to his whole subsequent conduct, was sanctioned by the approbation of both Houses of Congress, and by the approving voice of the people.
To this sublime policy he inviolably adhered, unmoved by foreign intrusion, unshaken by domestic turbulence.
“ Justum et tenacem propositi virum,
Maintaining his pacific system at the expense of no duty, America, faithful to herself, and unstained in her honor, continued to enjoy the delights of peace, while afflicted Europe mourns in every quarter, under the accumulated miseries of an unexampled war; miseries in which our happy country must have shared, had not our pre-eminent WASHINGTON been as firm in council as he was brave in the field.
Pursuing steadfastly his course, he held safe the public happiness, preventing foreign war, and quelling internal discord, till the revolving period of a third election approached, when he executed his interrupted but inextinguishable desire of returning to the humble walks of private life.
The promulgation of his fixed resolution, stopped the anxious wishes of an affectionate people from adding a third unanimous testimonial of their unabated confidence in the man so long enthroned in their hearts. When before was affection like this exhibited on earth? Turn over the records of ancient Greece; review the annals of mighty Rome; examine the volumes of modern Europe; you search in vain. America and her Washington only afford the dignified exemplification.
The illustrious personage, called by the national voice in succession to the arduous office of guiding a free people, had new difficulties to encounter. The amicable effort of settling our difficulties with France,
begun by WASHINGTON, and pursued by his successor in virtue as in station, proving abortive, America took measures of self-defence. No sooner was the public mind roused by a prospect of danger, than every eye was turned to the friend of all
, though secluded from public view, and gray in public service. The virtuous veteran, following his plough, received the unexpected summons with mingled emotions of indignation at the unmerited ill-treatment of his country, and of a determination once more to risk his all in her defence.
The annunciation of these feelings, in his affecting letter to the President, accepting the command of the army, concludes his official conduct.
First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere; uniform, dignified and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting.
To his equals he was condescending; to his inferiors kind; and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender. Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.
His last scene comported with the whole tenor of his life : although in extreme pain, not a sigh, not a groan escaped him; and with undisturbed serenity he closed his wellspent life. Such was the man America has lost! Such was the man for whom our nation mourns!
Methinks I see his august image, and hear, falling from his venerable lips, these deep sinking words:
“ Cease, sons of America, lamenting our separation: go on, and confirm by your wisdom the fruits of our joint counsels, joint efforts and common dangers. Reverence religion; diffuse knowledge throughout your land; patronize the arts and sciences; let liberty and order be inseparable companions; control party spirit,
the bane of free government; observe good faith to, and cultivate peace with all nations; shut up every avenue to foreign influence; contract rather than extend national connexion; rely on yourselves only: be American in thought and deed. Thus will you give immortality to that union, which was the constant object of my terrestrial labors. Thus will you preserve, undisturbed to the latest posterity, the felicity of a people to me most dear: and thus will you supply, (if my happiness is now aught to you,) the only vacancy in the round of pure bliss high heaven bestows."
EULOGY ON WASHINGTON,
DELIVERED AT THE REQUEST OF THE LEGISLATURE OF
MASSACHUSETTS, FEBRUARY 8, 1800.
BY FISHER AMES.
It is natural that the gratitude of mankind should be drawn to their benefactors. A number of these have successively arisen, who were no less distinguished for the elevation of their virtues, than the lustre of their talents. Of those, however, who were born, and who acted, through life, as if they were born, not for themselves, but for their country and the whole human race, how few, alas! are recorded in the long annals of ages, and how wide the intervals of time and space that divide them. In all this dreary length of way, they appear like five or six lighthouses on as many thousand miles of coast; they gleam upon the surrounding darkness, with an inextinguishable splendor, like stars seen through a mist; but they are seen like stars, to cheer, to guide, and to save. WASHINGTON is now added to that small number. Already he attracts curiosity, like a newly discovered star, whose benignant light will travel on to the world's and time's farthest bounds. Already his name is hung up by history as conspicuously, as if it sparkled in one of the constellations of the sky.
By commemorating his death, we are called this day to yield the homage that is due to virtue; to confess the common debt of mankind as well as our own; and to pronounce for posterity, now dumb, that eulogium, which they will delight to echo ten ages hence, when we are dumb.
I consider myself not merely in the midst of the citizens of this town, or even of the state. In idea, I gather
round me the nation. In the vast and venerable congregation of the patriots of all countries and of all enlightened men, I would, if I could, raise my voice, and speak to mankind in a strain worthy of my audience, and as elevated as my subject. But how shall I express emotions that are condemned to be mute, because they are unutterable? I felt, and I was witness, on the day when the news of his death reached us, to the throes of that grief that saddened every countenance, and wrung drops of agony from the heart. Sorrow labored for utterance, but found none. Every man looked round for the consolation of other men's tears. Gracious Heaven! what consolation ! Each face was convulsed with sorrow for the past; every heart shivered with despair for the future. The man who, and who alone, united all hearts, was dead -dead, at the moment when his power to do good was the greatest, and when the aspect of the imminent public dangers seemed more than ever to render his aid indispensable, and his loss irreparable: irreparable; for two WASHINGTONS come not in one age.
A grief so thoughtful, so profound, so mingled with tenderness and admiration, so interwoven with our national self-love, so often revived by being diffused, is not to be expressed. You have assigned me a task that is impossible.
O if I could perform it, if I could illustrate his principles in my discourse as he displayed them in his life, if I could paint his virtues as he practised them, if I could convert the fervid enthusiasm of my heart into the talent to transmit his fame, as it ought to pass, to posterity, I should be the successful organ of your will, the minister of his virtues, and may I dare to say, the humble partaker of his immortal glory. These are ambitious, deceiving hopes, and I reject them; for it is, perhaps, almost as difficult, at once with judgment and feeling, to praise great actions, as to perform them. A lavish and undistinguishing eulogium is not praise; and to discriminate such excellent qualities