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they are inconsistent with the doctrines of our republican fathers? Will Americans derive no instruction from the example held out by the latter days of those revolutionary patriots, who had been rival candidates for the highest elective office on earth? Will those who equally love their country, who are equally attached to its independence and its free institutions, will they permit themselves to be broken into factions by party feuds, and thus dispirit the friends and encourage the enemies of free government in other countries? These great men conscious that they designed the same end, however they might have differed or erred in their course, when the perplexities and irritations of the day had gone by, returned to their former intimacy. With this example before us, as the legacy of our departed fathers, shall the cry of faction break in upon our peace, to drive from the nation's confidence the able and the faithful? Forbid it, illustrious shades! Such is not the voice which speaks from the tombs of Jefferson and Adams.
Let it not, however, be understood that we are silently to acquiesce in measures which we disapprove. Public opinion should circulate free as air. The measures of public men should be fearlessly discussed. Rulers should feel their responsibility. The first encroachment of power should be promptly met. So thought the men who led the way to independence, and by acting as they thought, became our political saviours. But the resistance which may be sometimes required of their posterity, needs not the weapons of carnal warfare. Mind is the moving, the controling power of free institutions. For so long as the purity of elections shall be preserved, and the qualifications of candidates impartially weighed, little can be feared from mal-administration. As our rulers are but a deputation of the people, it is not possible, if the people are awake to their own duties, that any policy to their disadvantage can be long pursued. Every thing depends on a free exercise of the elective right. It is the
lever which will never fail to throw incapacity or corruption from its centre.
The discouragement of sectional jealousies, was also a sentiment they cherished. They would not that we should hear of opposing interests in the North and in the South, of interfering claims from the East and the West; but that all men should rally round the standard of their common country. Of all parties, those formed by geographical lines would soonest weaken the national compact. Our constitution was formed in a spirit of conciliation and compromise; and let the same spirit preserve it.
No, venerable Fathers, your American children can never be so ungrateful as to trifle with the rights secured by your prompt resistance, your manly firmness, by your toils and sacrifices. They cannot with sacrilegious hand profane that temple of liberty, which was founded in your wisdom, and cemented by the blood of the brave; that temple in which all nations will one day worship. We will revere your memory: we will cherish the sentiments which guided you to freedom. When we look around on the expanding greatness of our powerful Republic-on its inexhaustible resources, when our hearts glow at the happiness which lights the smile of joy in every corner of our land; your names shall be associated with all its glory.
Happy men! to have been the instruments of Heaven in such a cause. Happy, to have been spared so long as to behold the success of your toils, and the accomplishment of all your hopes. Happy in the gratitude of favored millions, happy in the august scene which closed your earthly course on that memorable day, and bore the testimony of Heaven to your exalted services! Your memory is embalmed in the hearts of your countrymen. The waves of time, in their resistless course, will bear down the names of heroes and of kings; but the glory of your deeds shall rise above the flood, enduring as the everlasting hills, and on it shall rest the light of ages.
Poor is the tribute we can bring. Your monument is the freedom of your country; and your eulogy, the praise of ransomed millions.
The resolution for the Declaration of Independence was passed unanimously, only as it regarded States. Individuals of the convention opposed it. A majority of the Pennsylvania delegation had previously opposed it; but the absence of two of their delegates on the final vote, left a majority in its favor. It was oppo. sed because it was thought to be premature.
The letter of Mr. Adams is quoted as it is usually printed. It was, in reality, dated the 3d of July, and referred to the adoption of the resolution of Independence. The Declaration was not signed and published till the 4th. The quotation on the 158th page is from the same letter.
It is recorded of an orator of antiquity, that when he was about to speak in public, he addressed a prayer to the gods, "that not a word might unawares escape him, unsuitable to the occasion." Be that prayer in my liturgy this day.
Young Gentlemen of Boston: I come at your request, not with a basket of sweet-scented flowers, to deck the bier of virgin loveliness fallen with a broken heart; nor to raise loud lamentations over the youthful warrior, sleeping in his shroud; or to breathe a people's feverish despondency at the sudden death of a great man, taken from us in the midst of usefulness, while the cares of a nation were upon him.But to lead you to meditate at the grave of two departed patriarchs, who, having borne the heat and burthen of the day, and enjoyed in repose the cool of the evening of life, quietly sunk to rest, full of" immortal longings."
To commemorate the illustrious dead, is a dictate of nature, and has been the practice in all ages, especially among an enlightened people; who, fearful that the fleeting breath of praise would not be sufficient to preserve the names of their great men, erected tombs, monuments and pyramids, to perpetuate the fame of those who had benefitted mankind.The Egyptians sat in judgment upon those who died, and decreed the sort of burial and sarcophagus the deceased had merited. From this people came the most rational disposi