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Let us return, for a moment, to his immortal companion.
Among the illustrious men, who achieved the Independence of our country, Mr. Adams was perhaps, the first, that looking down the long vista of years, contemplated the future consequence of America, and predicted her political separation from the old world. Twenty-one years before our glorious era-and a year before he attained the age of manhood, he foretold that the seat of empire would soon be transferred to his native land. 66 If we can remove the turbulent Gallicks" --he said, “our people will in another century, become more numerous than England itself—And since we have all the naval stores of the nation in our hands, it will be easy to get the mastery of the seas—and then the united force of all Europe will not be able to subdue us." How prophetic were the words of that BOY! Three fourths of the century have not yet elapsed, and the turbulent Gallicks have been subdueda collossal empire, extending from ocean to ocean, and as free as its eagles, has burst upon the astonished vision of Kings, and carried dismay to their hearts; twelve millions of freemen enjoy the fruits of their own labor—Cities bave risen in the midst of the forest- the late haunt of the savage, is the seat of the sciences, and the Star Spangled Banner floats in triumph and glory where a foe rears his Ægis, or a sea rolls its
And can you forget, my fellow-citizens, that John Adams foresaw these blessings, and devoted his life to secure them? Never---Never-Teach your children to cherish and revere his memory. Tell them, that in those fearful days, when the affairs of America were desperate, and Adams was solicited by an influential friend to abandon her cause—that the patriot indignantly declared, “ he would first see the people, grovelling in the dust, and his own hands bound, and his body tied to the stake, before he would swerve from his duty, or abandon the principles which he had avowed, and which he had pledged his sacred honor to maintain.” Tell them that he was true to his principles, and redeemed his pledge
to the admiration of the world, and to the eternal honor of his country. Tell them that he was the bosom friend of Washington--and received from that best of men the most unequiv. ocal manifestations of his confidence and esteem.
Though Mr. Adams' course, as a President, was disapproved by a majority of his fellow-citizens ;-and, though mortification attended him to his retirement--still he continued the friend of his country ;--and when clouds and difficulties again overshadowed her-he was the warmest advocate of her endangered rights, and of every measure that was calculated to sustain them. Resentment was soon expelled from his bosom--His country required the aid of his pen-and he wielded it with such irresistible energy, that even those who had arrayed themselves against his administration, acknowledged his services, and the disinterestedness of his motives.
But whatever becomes of his fame, as a ruler~there can be no dispute on the subject of his general character--nor of his penetrating mind—his glowing patriotism--and his devotion to what he believed to be the interests of his country. His merits, after every deduction which party spirit, in its most inflamed moments could ask-leave him in possession of one of the highest niches in the temple of Fame--and entitle him to be ranked, next to Washington and Jefferson-as the most important benefactor of the liberties of man, and one of the most efficient instruments in the attainment of our enviable rank in the family of nations. He was always an untiring laborer in the cause of philanthropy and virtue--was distinguished for the fervent piety and moral excellence of his own life; and while his numerous political opponents, were unable to attach the slightest stain to his reputation, his acquaintances and friends have highly extolled his private worth. He was truly a good man; he lived for his country--and when the measure of his days was full—he heard the trumpet sound the Jubilee of Freedom-and died with “Independence forever," quivering on his lips.
To such men as these, my fellow-citizens, we owe not the mere passing emotion of gratitude, which, like the swell of the mountain stream, is gone when the rain has abated-but, rather like the mighty current, that sweeps from the father of rivers to the Canadian shores, our admiration of their deeds, and our veneration of their virtues, should be the constant theme of applause, and the pervading principle of our National Character. They should be handed down to posterity as models of human perfection. They may have had their faults--and who has not ?-But if they had them—thank God -I am ignorant-nor would I name them, did I know them. Their services and their foibles--for they must have been few and venial-perhaps unavoidable—and should be remembered far less, than the hills and the valleys when we speak of the globe-or the spots on the sun when we think of his splendor.
PRONOUNCED AT PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA,
August 24, 1826.
BY WILLIAM WILKINS.
WE are assembled to perform a solemn and affecting office. Death has entered into the midst of the great family of the nation, and has struck down its venerable heads. We come together now, in this sacred chamber, to commune over our deprivation, and to draw from the irreparable loss the sad, but salutary reflection, to which it should give rise.
Yes, my fellow-citizens, you have reason to mourn ; and surely, it is demanded neither by Religion, nor by Philosophy,
should suppress the feelings which now swell our hearts and tremble on our lips.
It has indeed been said, with truth, that the performance of a virtuous action carries with it its own reward. But does it become those who have been most disinterestedly benefitted to recite this frigid aphorism in answer to the claims of their benefactors ? Doubtless, the patriots of our revolution, in their arduous and dangerous labours in the slow and gradual achievement of the glorious work, anticipating the blessings which would fall upon this country, enjoyed, in their feelings, reflections, all the reward of self-approbation. Still there is much—there is every thing, due, from us. The good offices of these men made us what we are, and raised our country to a height of unrivalled political eminence. All that we can now give them is our gratitude and veneration. And by the evidence we afford of these will our attachment to the great objects for which they contended be discerned. If enfran
chisement be dear to us, so should the men who obtained it, be dear to us—If the principles of '74,'5, and '6, be prized by us, so ought we to cherish the names of those who brought them into light, and so admirably manifested them to the world.
Can you, the descendants of such ancestors, remember the years ’75, '6, and '7, and yet not weep over the recently broken graves of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson? They were the foremost in that small and insulated congress, who finding an effort made to prostrate their countrymen in the dust of vassalage, did, in the midst of gloom and discouragement, risk, imminently, yet boldly risk, their lives, their fortunes and their honour, until they raised and elevated them to the manly posture of American Freemen.
And now you succeed to the rich inheritance; to the incalculable patrimony of rights of free institutions and of civil and religious liberty; an estate rich beyond any power of numbers to count, and, in value not to be computed in gold or in silver.
In commemoration of the merits, the public and private virtues and the services of these men, no panegyric can be deemed too lofty. To present indeed in a just light their ac" knowledged claims upon the public gratitude; to eulogise their constant patriotism, their heroic proceedings, magnanimous actions, brilliant traits of moral courage, and elevated powers of mind, would require an orator gifted like one of themselves. How rash, then, would such an effort be on the part of him who now addresses you. He knows too well the measure of his own powers to attempt it. He would shrink, indeed, altogether from the honorable task imposed on him, were it not for the consolatory reflection that the subject is one on which all your hearts go along with him, and on which it would seem difficult for the humblest capacity to be wearisome.
Yes, my friends, to pronounce the best funeral oration upon Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, you have but to point to that intense feeling of veneration which pervades the Union, fills your cities, and penetrates the humblest and most remote