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admirably suited to this position. He held the sentiments and opinions of his age without slavishness or fanaticism. The past, its institutions, its interests, its manners, inspired him with neit ier hatred nor regret. His thoughts and his ambition did not impatiently reach forward into the future. The society, in the midst of which he lived, suited his tastes and his judgment. He had confidence in its principles and its destiny, but a confidence enlightened and qualified by an accurate instinctive perception of the eternal principles of social order. He served it with heartiness and independence, with that com. bination of faith and fear which is wisdom in the affairs of the world, as well as before God. On this account, especially, he
colonial dependence shall be exchanged for ties light as air, yet strong as steel. The peaceful and profitable interchange of commerce, the same language, a common literature, similar laws, and kindred institutions shall bind you together with cords which neither cold-blooded policy, nor grasping selfishness, nor fratricidal war shall be able to snap. Discoveries in science and improvements in art shall be constantly contracting the ocean which separates you, and the genius of steam shall link your shores together with a chain of iron and flame. A new heritage of glory shall await your men of genius in those now unpeopled solitudes. The grand and lovely creations of your myriad-minded Shakspeare, the majestic line of Milton, the stately energy of Dryden, and the compact elegance of Pope, shall form and train the minds of uncounted multitudes yet slumbering in the womb of the future. Her gifted and educated sons shall come over to your shores with a feeling akin to that which sends the Mussulman to Mecca. Your St. Paul's shall kindle their devotion ; your Westminster Abbey shall warm their patriotism; your Stratford-on-Avon and Abbotsford shall awaken in their bosoms a depth of emotion in which your own countrymen shall hardly be able to sympathize. Extraordinary physical advantages, and the influence of genial institutions, shall there give to the human race a rate of increase hitherto unparalleled ; but the stream, however much it be widened and prolonged, shall retain the character of the fountain from which it first flowed. Every wave of population that gains upon that vast green wilderness shall bear with it the blood, the speech, and the books of England, and aid in transmitting to the generations that come after it her arts, her literature, and her laws.' If this had been revealed to him, would it not have required all the glow of his imagination, and all the strength of his judgment, to believe it? Let us, who are seeing the fulfilment of the vision, utter the fervent prayer that no sullen clouds of coldness or estrangement may ever obscure these fair relations, and that the madness of man may never mar the benevolent purposes of God."
was qualified to govern it; for democracy requires two things for its tranquillity and its success; it must feel itself to be trusted and yet restrained, and must believe alike in the genu. ine devotedness and the moral superiority of its leaders On these conditions alone can it govern itself while in a process of development, and hope to take a place among the durable and glorious forms of human society. It is the honor of the American people to have, at this period, understood and accepted these conditions. It is the glory of Washington to have been their interpreter and instrument.
He did the two greatest things which, in politics, man can have the privilege of attempting. He maintained, by peace, that independence of his country which he had acquired by
He founded a free government, in the name of the principles of order, and by reëstablishing their sway.
When he retired from public life, both tasks were accomplished, and he could enjoy the result. For, in such high enterprises, the labor which they have cost matters but little. The sweat of any toil is dried at once on the brow where God places such laurels.
He retired voluntarily, and a conqueror. To the very last, his policy had prevailed. If he had wished, he could still have
ept the direction of it. His successor was one of his most attached friends, one whom he had himself designated. Still the epoch was a critical one. He had governed successfully for eight years—a long period in a democratic state, and that in its infancy. For some time, a policy opposed to his own had been gaining ground. American society seemed disposed to make a trial of new paths, more in conformity, perhaps, with its bias. Perhaps the hour had come for Washington to quit the
His successor was there overcome. Mr. Adams was succeeded by Mr. Jefferson, the leader of the opposition. Since that time the democratic party has governed the United States.
This essay was written during the administration of President Van Buren.
Is this a good or an evil ? Could it be otherwise ? Had the government continued in the hands of the federal party, would it have done better? Was this possible? What have been the consequences, to the United States, of the triumph of the democratic party? Have they been carried out to the end, or have they only begun? What changes have the society and constitution of America undergone, what have they yet to undergo, under their influence ?
These are great questions ; difficult, if I mistake not, for natives to solve, and certainly impossible for a foreigner.
However it may be, one thing is certain ; that which Washington did —the founding of a free government, by order and peace, at the close of the revolution — no other policy than his could have accomplished. He has had this true glory-of triumphing so long as he governed ; and of rendering the triumph of his adversaries possible, after him, without disturbance to the state.
More than once, perhaps, this result presented itself to his mind without disturbing his composure.
“ With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions; and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the cominand of its own fortunes.”
The people of the United States are virtually the arbiters of their own fortunes. Washington had aimed at that high object. He reached his mark. Who has succeeded like him? Who has seen his own success so near and so soon? Who has enjoyed to such a degree, and to the last, the confidence and gratitude of his country?
Still at the close of his life, in the delightful and honorable retirement at Mount Vernon, which he had so longed for, this great man, serene as he was, was inwardly conscious of a slight feeling of lassitude and melancholy; a feeling very natural at the close of a long life employed in the affairs of men. Power is an oppressive burden, and men are hard to serve, when one is struggling virtuously and strenuously against their passions and their errors. Even success does not efface the sad impressions which the contest has given birth to, and the exhaustion which succeeds the struggle is still felt in the quiet of repose.
The disposition of the most eminent men, and of the best among the most eminent, to keep aloof from public affairs, in a free democratic society, is a serious fact. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, all ardently sighed for retirement. It would seem as if, in this form of society, the task of government were too severe for men who are capable of comprehending its extent, and desirous of discharging the trust in a proper
Still to such men alone this task is suited, and ought to be intrusted. Government will be, always and every where, the greatest exercise of the faculties of man, and consequently that which requires minds of the highest order. It is for the honor, as well as for the interest, of society that such minds should be drawn into the administration of its affairs, and retained there; for no institutions, no securities, can supply their place.
And on the other hand, in men who are worthy of this destiny, all weariness, all sadness of spirit, however it might be permitted in others, is a weakness. Their vocation is labor. Their reward is, indeed, the success of their efforts, but still only in labor. Very often they die, bent under the burden, before the day of recompense arrives. Washington lived to receive it. He deserved and enjoyed both success and repose. Of all great men, he was the most virtuous, and the most for tunate. In this world God has no higher favors to bestow.
CV.- CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON
[The following sketch of the character of Washington appeared in the London Courier of January 24, 1800. It will be read with interest, not merely as a discrimi. nating and well-written production, but as a tribute to the excellence of that illustrious man, from a contemporary, a foreigner, and one of a people against whom he had conducted a successful revolution - a tribute as honorable to the candor of the writer as it is gratifying to our national pride. It is not often that contemporary opinions so perfectly anticipate the judgment of posterity.]
THE melancholy account of the death of General Washington was brought by a vessel from Baltimore, which arrived off Dover. General Washington was, we believe, in his sixtyeighth year. The height of his person was about five feet eleven; his chest full, and his limbs, though rather slender, well shaped and muscular. His eye was of a light gray color, and in proportion to the length of his face, his nose was long. Mr. Stuart, the eminent portrait painter, used to say that there were features in his face totally different from what he had observed in that of any other person; the sockets for the eyes, for instance, were larger than any he had ever met with before, and the upper part of his nose broader. All his features, he observed, were indicative of the strongest passions; yet, like Socrates, his judgment and great self-command have always made him appear a man of a different cast in the eyes of the world. He always spoke with great diffidence, and sometimes hesitated for a word, but always to find one particularly well adapted to his meaning. His language was manly and expressive. At levees, his discourse with strangers turned principally upon the subject of America; and if they had heen through remarkable places, his conversation was free and peculiarly interesting, for he was intimately acquainted with every part of the country. He was much more open and unreserved in his behavior at levees than in private, and in the
company of ladies still more so, than solely with men. Few persons ever found themselves for the first time in the presence of General Washington without being impressed with