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itself to an increased speed round the old circles of thought and action ; but it has assumed a new character; it has raised itself from beneath governments to a participation in governments; it has mixed moral and political objects with the daily pursuits of individual men; and, with a freedom and strength before altogether unknown, it has applied to these objects the whole power of the human understanding. It has been the era, in short, when the social principle has triumphed over the feudal principle; when society has maintained its rights against military power, and established, on foundations never hereafter to be shaken, its competency to govern itself.
Scotland ! There is magic in the sound.—Statesmenscholars-divines—heroes and poets-do you want exemplars worthy of study and imitation ? Where will you find them brighter than in Scotland ? Where can you find them purer than in Scotland ? Here no Solon, indulging imagination, has pictured the perfectibility of man. No Lycurgus, viewing him through the medium of human frailty alone, has left for his government an iron code graven on eternal adamant. No Plato, dreaming in the luxurious gardens of the Academy, has fancied what he should be, and bequeathed a republic of love. But sages, knowing their weakness, have appealed to his understanding, cherished his virtues, and chastised his vices.
Friends of learning! would you do homage at the shrine of literature ? Would you visit her clearest founts ?-Go to Scotland. Are you philosophers, seeking to explore the hidden mysteries of mind ?-Bend to the genius of Stewart! Student, merchant, or mechanic, do you seek usefulness ?-Consult the pages of Black and of Adam Smith. Grave barrister! would you know the law—the true, the sole expression of the people's will ?—There stands the mighty Mansfield !
Servants of Him, whose name is above every other name, and not to be mentioned-recur to days that are past; to days that can never be blotted from the history of the church. Visit the mountains of Scotland; contemplate the stern Cameronian, the rigid covenanter, the enduring puritan. Follow them to their burrows beneath the earth ; to their dark, bleak caverns in the rocks. See them hunted like beasts of prey. See them emaciated, worn with disease, clung with famine—yet laboring with supernatural zeal in feeding the hungry with that bread
which gives life forevermore. Go view them, and when you preach faith, hope, charity, fortitude and long-suffering—forget them not; the meek, the bold, the patient, gallant Puritans of Scotland.
Land of the mountain, the torrent and dale !-Do we look for high examples of noble daring? Where shall we find them brighter than in Scotland ? From the “bonny highland heither" of her lofty summits, to the modest lily of the vale, not a flower but has blushed with patriot blood. From the proud foaming crest of Solway, to the calm polished breast of Loch Katrine, not a river or lake but has swelled with the life-tide of freemen! Would you witness greatness ?—Contemplate a Wallace and a Bruce. They fought not for honors, for party, for conquest.—'Twas for their country and their country's good; religion, liberty and law. Would you ask for chivalry ?--that high and delicate sense of honor, which deems a stain upon one's country as individual disgrace; that moral courage which measures danger, and meets it against known odds; that patriot valor, which would rather repose on a death-bed of laurels than flourish in wealth and power under the night shade of despotism ?—Citizen soldier ! turn to Lochiel ; “proud bird of the mountain !" Though pierced with the usurper's arrow, his plumage still shines through the cloud of oppression, lighting to honor all who nobly dare to “do or die.”
Where then can we better look for all that is worthy of honest ambition, than to Scotland ?
He was born to be great. Whoever was second, Hamilton must be first. To his stupendous and versatile mind no investigation was difficult—no subject presented which he did not illuminate. Superiority in some particular, belongs to thou: sands. Pre-eminence, in whatever he chose to undertake, was the prerogative of Hamilton. No fixed criterion could be ap. plied to his talents. Often has their display been supposed to have reached the limit of human effort; and the judgment stood firm till set aside by himself. When a cause of new magnitude required new exertions, he rose, he towered, he soared ; surpassing himself as he surpassed others. Then was nature tributary to his eloquence! Then was felt his despotism over the heart! Touching, at his pleasure, every string of pity or terror, of indignation or grief, he melted, he soothed, he roused,
he agitated; alternately gentle as the dews, and awful as the thunder. Yet, great as he was in the eyes of the world, he was greater in the eyes of those with whom he was most conversant. The greatness of most men, like objects seen through a mist, diminishes with the distance: but Hamilton, like a tower seen afar off under a clear sky, rose in grandeur and sublimity with every step of approach. Familiarity with him was the parent of veneration. Over these matchless talents, probity threw her brightest lustre. Frankness, suavity, tenderness, benevolence, breathed through their exercise. And to his family but he is gone.—That noble heart beats no more : that eye of fire is dimmed; and sealed are those oracular lips. Americans, the serenest beam of your glory is extinguished in the tomb !
The death of Hamilton is no common affliction. The loss of distinguished men is, at all times, a calamity; but the loss · of such a man, at such a time, and in the very meridian of his usefulness, is singularly portentous. When Washington was taken, Hamilton was left--but Hamilton is taken, and we have no Washington. We have not such another man to die! Washington and Hamilton in five years !—Bereaved America !
The solemn oath of America has ascended to Heaven. She has sworn to preserve her independence, her religion and her laws, or nobly perish in their defense, and be buried in the wrecks of her empire. To the fate of our government is united the fate of our country.
The convulsions that destroy the one, must desolate the other. Their destinies are interwoven, and they must triumph or fall together. Where then is the man, so hardened in political iniquity, as to advocate the victories of French arms, which would render his countrymen slaves, or to promote the diffusion of French principles, which would render them savages ? Can it be doubted, that the pike of a French soldier is less cruel and ferocious than the fraternity of a French philosopher ? Where is the youth in this assembly, who could, without agonized emotions, behold the Gallic invader hurling the brand of devastation into the dwelling of his father; or with sacrilegious cupidity plundering the communion table of his God? Who could witness, without indignant desperation, the mother who bore him, inhumanly murdered, in the defense of her infants ? Who could hear, without frantic
horror, the shrieks of a sister, flying from pollution, and leaping from the blazing roof, to impale herself on the point of a halberd ? “If any, speak, for him have I offended!” No, my fellowcitizens, these scenes are never to be witnessed by American eyes. The souls of your ancestors still live in the bosoms of their descendants; and rather than submit this fair land of their inheritance to ravage and dishonor, from hoary age to helpless infancy, they will form one united bulwark, and oppose their breasts to the assailing foe. Not one shall survive, to be enslaved; for ere the tri-colored flag shall wave over our prostrate republic, the bones of four millions of Americans shall whiten the shores of their country! This depopulated region shall be as desolate as its original wilderness; the
re-vegetating forest shall cover the ruins of our cities; and the savage shall return from the mountains, and again rear his hut in the abode of his forefathers. Then shall commence the millenium of political illumination ; and Frenchmen and wolves,“ one and indivisible,” nightly chant their barbarous orgies, to celebrate the philosophic empire of democracy!
NECESSARY TO PERPETUATE
That education is one of the deepest principles of independence, need not be labored in this assembly. In arbitrary governments, where the people neither make the law nor choose those who legislate, the more ignorance the more peace.
But in a government where the people fill all the branches of the sovereignty, intelligence is the life of liberty. An American would resent his being denied the use of his musket; but he would deprive himself of a stronger safeguard, if he should want that learning which is necessary to a knowledge of the constitution. It is easy to see that our Agrarian law and the law of education were calculated to make republicans, to make men. Servitude could never long consist with the habits of such citizens. Enlightened minds and virtuous manners lead to the gates of glory. The sentiment of independence must have been connatural in the bosoms of Americans; and sooner or later, must have blazed out into public action. Independence fits the soul of her residence for every noble enterprise of humanity and greatness. Her radiant smile lights up celestial ardor in poets and orators, who sound her praises through all ages; in legislators and philosophers, who fabricate wise and happy
governments as dedications to her fame; in patriots and heroes, who shed their lives in sacrifice to her divinity. At this idea, do not our minds swell with the memory of those whose godlike virtues have founded her most magnificent temple in America ? It is easy for us to maintain her doctrines, at this late day, when there is but one party on the subject, an immense people. But what tribute shall we bestow, what sacred pæan shall we raise over the tombs of those who dared, in the face of unrivalled power, and within the reach of majesty, to blow the blast of freedom throughout a subject continent ? Nor did those brave countrymen of ours only express the emotions of glory; the nature of their principles inspired them with the power of practice, and they offered their bosoms to the shafts of battle, Bunker's awful mount is the capacious urn of their ashes ; but the flaming bounds of the universe could not limit the flight of their minds. They fled to the union of kindred souls; and those who fell at the strait of Thermopylæ, and those who bled on the heights of Charlestown, now reap congenial joys in the fields of the blessed.
16. THE LOSS OF NATIONAL CHARACTER.—Maxcy. The loss of a firm national character, or the degradation of a nation's honor, is the inevitable prelude to her destruction. Behold the once proud fabric of a Roman empire—an empire carrying its arts and arms into every part of the eastern continent; the monarchs of mighty kingdoms dragged at the wheels of her triumphal chariots ; her eagle waving over the ruins of desolated countries. Where is her splendor, her wealth, her power, her glory? Extinguished for ever. Her moldering temples, the mournful vestiges of her former grandeur, afford a shelter to her muttering monks. Where are her statesmen, her sages, her philosophers, her orators, her generals? Go to their • solitary tombs and inquire. She lost her national character, and her destruction followed. The ramparts of her national pride were broken down, and Vandalism desolated her classic fields.
Citizens will lose their respect and confidence in our government, if it does not extend over them the shield of an honorable national character. Corruption will creep in and sharpen party animosity. Ambitious leaders will seize upon the favorable moment.
The mad enthusiasm for revolution will call into action the irritated spirit of our nation, and civil war must fol. low. The swords of our countrymen may yet glitter on our mountains, their blood may yet crimson our plains.