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ulations, duties, and prohibitions." "Were the ocean, whichis the common property of all, open to the industry of all, so that every person and every vessel should be free to take employment wherever it could be found, the United States would certainly not set the example of appropriating to themselves exclusively, any portion of the common stock of occupation. But if particular nations grasp at undue shares, and more especially, if they seize on the means of the United States to convert them into aliment for their own strength, and withdraw them from the support of those to whom they belong, defensive and protecting measures become necessary."
Here we have an epitome of his whole commercial system. "Let us give to commerce the charter of the winds ;" but if nations will not meet us in our liberal views; if they will still embarrass us, and in common with us the whole commercial world, with their inveterate follies; we must meet them in legislation; if they violate our security, we must meet them in battle.
And we have met them, my fellow-citizens, both in legislation and in battle; and it has pleased the God of battles and the Dispenser of Justice, to prosper us in both.
After serving the full period to which public opinion and the example of the father of his country have limited the service of a President, it is a circumstance among the most striking of the felicitous progress of Mr. Jefferson, that he retired from office with undiminished popularity. To the lot of very few indeed of his successors, can this good fortune ever be expected to fall; and fortunate indeed must he be deemed, who could retain his popularity amidst the multiplied trials to which the fidelity of Mr. Jefferson's friends were subjected.
I will not say that it was his signal good fortune to have triumphed over opposition; his triumph was of a much more exalted nature; he triumphed over opinion, and lived to see his fellow-citizens amalgamate into a mass, truly national; realizing the benevolent sentiment of his inaugural address, "all
federalists, all republicans." Nay, more; he lived to triumph over calumny and envy. That tongue which seldom ceases to disturb the pillow of the great man's rest, until he slumber no more upon earth; that dart whose point is ever raised against the great man's bosom, until he ceases to cast into the shade the hand that lifts it, had long since sought some other object ere the summons came to him to depart.
Fellow-citizens, it is with no ordinary regret that I feel constrained to hurry over the latter days of Mr. Jefferson. They indeed exhibit him "like the sun in his evening declination, remitting his splendor, but retaining his greatness, and pleasing more, although he dazzled less." It is in retirement that true greatness waits to be exhibited. In the world, man may rise superior to others; here he rises superior to himself. The noble Grecian who had led the armies of his country in many a successful battle, shrunk not from the eye of the minister of the proudest monarch on earth, when detected in the most humble sports.
Did time now permit us to visit the hospitable mansion, I would beg leave first to conduct you to the generous hall of the Philosoper of Monticello, crowded by visiters who paid homage to his virtues; thence to that library, whose shelves once groaned beneath the congregated learning of every age and language, now, alas! stripped by his necessities: thence to the lengthened vista and shaded grotto, sacred to contemplation and to social converse; thence to the laboratory, where wholesome exercise was elegantly combined with practical ingenuity: thence to the scenes of agricultural and scientific experiment, where curiosity and science were made the ministering handmaids to the good of mankind: thence to the last great work of a great and good man ever intent on the services of his fellow men-the rising edifices of the greatest literary institution ever projected in America. It is not a Leuctra, or a Muntinea; for we surround not the grave of one whose trophies were "garments rolled in blood." Yet it was the daughter of his old age; its promotion was the great
care of his life; and its success, among the last lingering wishes that connected him with the world.
But from this and all other objects, I would hasten to lead you to a scene possessing an interest exceeding all these. I would conduct you to the nursery; there to behold the venerable grandsire; him who has filled so conspicuous a place in the history of the age; to whom the most dignified and honorable employments have been familiar; and whom every intellectual enjoyment has courted through life; him, relinquishing all, to become the delighted tutor of a blooming offspring.
Here, my fellow-citizens, I would leave you; this is your legacy, bequeathed to you on his death-bed.
But you had not waited for this solemn bequest of an expiring parent; the decree had already gone forth, which perpetuated to the Athenians the honorable record, "that this city had given so many proofs of her benevolence and humanity, that she was deservedly admired by all the world."
The descendants of the virtuous Aristides were maintained and endowed at the expense of a grateful country.
Fellow-citizens, I have not on this solemn occasion, made one effort to excite your feelings, or once called on you to mourn. This is not one of those incidents on which grief or lamentation is appropriate, or even permitted. Death is a debt incurred by all at our birth; and he has lived to little purpose who, when loaded with years and honors, and carrying with him the blessings of posterity and a grateful country, cannot say with our departed friend, "I have done my duty on earth; I fear not to meet my maker." And we his survivors have lived to little purpose, if when convened around his grave, with pious resignation to the will of Him, " in whose hand our times are," the predominant feeling of the moment is not, a grateful sense of that mercy which has spared to us so long his example, his counsels and his services.
There is indeed one subject of regret which claims no common sympathy. Who but must mourn over the recollection that his declining years were embittered by the most painful sacrifices; tortured by the most distressing anticipations; embarrassed by the most humiliating cares; and clouded by the most afflicting prospects.
We follow a pauper to the tomb. Jefferson a pauper! Gracious Heaven, to what is our country destined! Must eminence, and services, and distinguished station, entail poverty on all who boasted your favor and enjoyed your confidence? Who then will aspire to serve you? Who? but the incompetent or unworthy.
There are incidents to distinguished stations, my fellowcitizens, which if not unavoidable, few can escape; and those few are rather censured than applauded. When the earliest and most distinguished of our foreign benefactors lately visited our shores, and rumor brought it to our ears, that fortune had dealt unkindly by him, who but felt himself ennobled by the ready liberality by which dignity and comfort were restored to his declining years? And who but must regret that we have been prevented from extending an equal liberality to another of our earliest and greatest benefactors? I would envy the prompt benevolence of a sister state, that emotion of gratitude that swelled his aged heart, that tear of thankfulness that filled his closing eye, when her ready hand came to drive away from his death-bed, the vultures that hovered over it.
But why, I hear you ask, why were his necessities concealed from us? Why was it not earlier communicated, that the sources of hospitality were dried up; that embarrassment and penury were pressing hard on his declining years? And why at last resort to means so unprecedented to obtain relief? My friends, let due allowance be made for ten thousand delicate circumstances that crowded around his situation. To beg in the genteelest form, is revolting to a delicate mind. On whom should he cast himself? The public? But how could he, who
all his life, had been the declared enemy of pensions, of sinecures, and gratuities, consent to the inconsistency? Consent to furnish a precedent uncongenial with the spirit of our government? a precedent threatening intrigue, patronage and corruption?
Should he cast himself on individual munificence? A common mendicant? It was impossible. The only medium which presented itself was that which he adopted—a voluntary sacrifice of property and grandeur at the shrine of justice, in the only way in which that sacrifice could be made to answer the ends of justice.
What now are mausoleums and statues to him whose whole life was simplicity personified? whose monument is history, whose name and form are upon the hearts of his countrymen. What had been his reply, had distinctions to his memory been propounded to him, as the alternative for satisfying his creditors, or consoling his family? "Let my bones whiten on the sands of Lybia," he had said; "but let no one suffer for having confided in me. Give my remains to the fowls of the air; but give relief and protection to my desolate offspring."
My friends, the closing incidents of this great man's life, were necessary to give a finish to his character. His time, his talents, his wealth, he had already lavished wherever hospitality, benevolence, public spirit, or duty demanded. Misplaced confidence, unavoidable expenses, and the vicissitudes of the markets and the seasons, had exhausted his resources. The clamours of creditors arose. What then remained to him? His feelings-his home-his tomb! These too were abandoned. What now remains? His fame-his family. These-these, my fellow-citizens, henceforward, are ours.