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conspicuous among their coevals. All the stars of first magnitude, in the equatorial and tropical regions, had long since gone down, and still they remained. Still, they stood full in view, like those two resplendent constellations near the opposite poles, which never set to the inhabitants of the neighboring zones.

But, they too were doomed at length to set: and such was their setting as no American bosom can ever forget!

In the midst of their fast decaying strength, and when it was seen that the approach of death was certain, their country and its glory still occupied their thoughts, and circulated with the last blood that was ebbing to their hearts. Those who surrounded the death-bed of Mr. Jefferson report, that in the few short intervals of delirium that occurred, bis mind manifestly relapsed to the age of the Revolution. He talked, in broken sentences, of the Committees of Safety, and the rest of that great machinery, which he imagined to be still in action. One of his exclamations was 6 Warn the Committee to be on their guard ;" and he instantly rose in his bed, with the help of his attendants, and went through the act of writing a hurried note. But, these intervals were few and short. His reason was almost constantly upon her throne, and the only aspiration he was heard to breathe, was the prayer, that he might live to see the fourth of July. When that day came, all that he was heard to whisper, was the repeated ejaculation—“ Nunc Domine dimittas”—Now, Lord, let thy servant depart in peace! And the prayer of the patriot was heard and answered.

The Patriarch of Quincy, too, with the same certainty of death before him, prayed only for the protraction of his life to the same day. His prayer was also heard: and when a messenger from the neighboring festivities, unapprized of his danger, was de. puted to ask him for the honor of a toast, he showed the object on which his dying eyes were fixed, and exclaimed with energy, - Independence forever!” His country first, his country last, his country always!

64

VOL. V.

“ O save my country-Heaven ! he said—and died !"

Hitherto, fellow-citizens, the Fourth of July had been celebrated among us, only as the anniversary of our independence, and its votaries had been merely human beings. But at its last recurrence—the great Jubilee of the nation—the anniversary, it may well be termed, of the liberty of man—Heaven, itself, mingled visibly in the celebration, and hallowed the day anew by a double apotheosis. Is there one among us to whom this language seems too strong ? Let him recall his own feelings, and the objection will vanish. When the report first reached us, of the death of the great man whose residence was nearest, who among us was not struck with the circumstance that he should have been removed on the day of his own highest glory? And who, after the first shock of the intelligence had passed, did not feel a thrill of mournful delight at the characteristic beauty of the close of such a life. But while our bosoms were yet swelling with admiration at this singularly beautiful coincidence, when the second report immediately followed, of the death of the great sage of Quincy, on the same day—I appeal to yourselves is there a voice that was not hushed, is there a heart that did not quail, at this close manifestation of the hand of Heaven in our affairs ! Philosophy, recovered of her surprise, may affect to treat the coincidence as fortuitous. But Philosophy herself was mute, at the moment, under the pressure of the feeling that these illustrious men had rather been translated, than had died. It is in vain to tell us that men die by thousands every day in the year, all over the world. The wonder is not that two men have died on the same day, but that two such men, after having performed so many and such splendid services in the cause of liberty-after the multitude of other coincidences which seem to have linked their destinies together-after having lived so long together, the objects of their country's joint veneration—after having been spared to witness the great triumph of their toils at home—and looked together from Pisgah's top, on the sublime effect of that grand impulse which they had given to the same glorious cause throughout the world, should, on this fiftieth anniversary of the day on which they had ushered that cause into light, be both caught up to Heaven, together, in the midst of their raptures! Is there a being, of heart so obdurate and sceptical, as not to feel the hand and hear the voice of Heaven in this wonderful dispensation! And may we not, with reverence, interpret its language? Is it not this? 6 These are my beloved servants, in whom I am well pleased. They have finished the work for which I sent them into the world : and are now called to their reward. Go ye, and do likewise!"

One circumstance, alone, remains to be noticed. In a private memorandum found among some other obituary papers and relics of Mr. Jefferson, is a suggestion, in case a memorial over him should ever be thought of, that a granite obelisk, of small dimensions, should be erected, with the following inscription :

THOMAS JEFFERSON,
Author of the Declaration of Independence,
Of the Statutes of Virginia, for religious freedom,

And Father of the University of Virginia.

All the long catalogue of his great, and splendid, and glorious services, reduced to this brief and modest summary!

Thus lived and thus died our sainted Patriots! May their spirits still continue to hover over their countrymen, inspire all their counsels, and guide them in the same virtuous and noble path! And may that God, in whose hands are the issues of all things, confirm and perpetuate, to us, the inestimable boon which, through their agency, he has bestowed > and make our Columbia, the bright exemplar for all the struggling sons of liberty around the globe!

DELIVERED

AT SCHENECTADY, JULY 22, A. D. 1823, BEFORE THE

NEW YORK ALPHA OF THE PHI BETA KAPPA,

BY DE WITT CLINTON.

MR. PRESIDENT,

AND GENTLEMEN OF THE SOCIETY : In accepting the honor of your renewed invitations to appear at this place, I have not been insensible of your kind preference; and when you were pleased to intimate that the deep interest of science, in exhibitions of this nature, might be promoted by my co-operation, I considered it my imperative duty to yield a cheerful compliance. When I endeavor to enforce those considerations which ought to operate upon us generally as men, and particularly as Americans, to attend to the cultivation of knowledge, you will not, I am persuaded, expect that I shall act the holiday orator, or attempt an ambitious parade, an ostentatious display, or a gaudy exhibition, which would neither suit the character of the society, the disposition of the speaker, the solemnity of the place, or the importance of the occasion. What I say shall come strictly within the purview of the institution, shall be comprised in the language of unvarnished truth, and shall be directed with an exclusive view to advance the interests of literature. I shall not step aside to embellish or to dazzle, to cull a flower or to collect a gem. Truth, like beauty, needs not the aid of ornament, and the cause of knowledge requires no factitious assistance, for it stands on its own merits, supporting and supported by the primary interests of society, and deriving its effulgent light from the radiations of heaven.

Man without cultivation differs but little from the animals which resemble him in form. His ideas would

be few and glimmering, and his meaning would be conveyed by signs or by confused sounds. His food would be the acorn or locust-bis habitation, the cave_his pillow, the rock-his bed, the leaves of the forest-his clothes, the skins of wild beasts. Destitute of accommodations he would roam at large seeking for food, and evincing in all his actions, that the state of untutored nature is a state of war. If we cast our eyes over the pages of history, or view the existing state of the world, we will find that this description is not exaggerated or overcharged. Many nations are in a condition still more deplorable and debased, sunk to the level of brutes, and neither in the appearance of their bodies or in the character of their minds, bearing a resemblance to civilized humanity. Others are somewhat more advanced, and begin to feel the day-spring from on high-while those that have been acclimated to virtue and naturalized to intelligence, have passed through a severe course of experiments and a long ordeal of sufferings.

Almost all the calamities of man, except the physical evils which are inherent in his nature, are in a great measure to be imputed to erroneous views of religion or bad systems of government; and these cannot be co-existent for any considerable time with an extensive diffusion of knowledge. Either the predominance of intelligence will destroy the government, or the government will destroy it. Either it will extirpate superstition and enthusiasm, or they will contaminate its purity and prostrate its usefulness. Knowledge is the cause as well as the effect of good government. No system

of government can answer the benign purposes of the social combinations of man, which is not predicated on liberty, and no creed of religion can sustain unsullied purity or support its high destination, which is mingled with the corruptions of human government. Christianity is in its essence, its doctrines and its forms, republican. It teaches our descent from a common parent: it inculcates the natural equality of mankind; and it points to our origin and our end; to our nativity and our graves, and to our immortal des

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