Infinite One who bath now removed him from the toils and ambitions, the duties and trusts, the hopes and responsibilities, the joys and sorrows of this present evil world to the unknown and unimagined realities of the world that is unseen and eternal!

And most kindly is it ordered that these sad rites should be performed in this town, where our friend first saw the light, where was his cherished home, where so many of the companions of his earlier and of his maturer life still dwell, where but one sentiment pervades all bosoms in view of his departure, and where his name and fame will be sure to be kept as a rich legacy from generation to generation! Members of this congregation ! Inhabitants of this town! - is it not some alleviation to your sorrow, that he died at the post of duty and in the midst of his highest usefulness? Is it not a peculiar felicity gilding the darkness of this dispensation that he was not called away till by his most recent public acts he had made the cause of freedom and humanity eternally his debtor ?

My brethren, you needed not this occasion to remind you that death is always a solemn event, that we cannot tell what a day may bring forth, and that no man is surer of to-morrow than the weakest of his brethren. For how often, alas ! has this lesson been read to us! Sudden death is by no means God's strange work. How does it behoore us, then, to be watchful, since we know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh! Yet, let Him come when He may, we cannot doubt that death is, in all cases, wisely ordained. We live in the religion not only of the Redeemer, but of the Comforter. We live in the light of a Gospel which has stripped from death many of his terrors, which assures us of a hereafter, which teaches that man is of kindred nature with God, being his offspring, which bridges over the dark golf that separates the seen from the unseen, and unites us by faith with that great multitude which no man can number who stand before the throne and before the Lamb clothed in white robes and palms in their hands, and whose joyful song forever is, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb!” With the consolations of this religion may you all be comforted! And may the affecting admonitions of this occasion be wisely improved by us all! May they reach the hearts of the people of this land with a sanctifying influence! May they touch the high places of authority with a tender sensibility! And may they lead all who hear them with awakened consciences and religious fear to consecrate themselves to duty and to God?

This address was followed by the reading, by the eloquent divine, of several passages of Scripture, peculiarly appropriate to the occasion.

The services were continued by an earnest and deeply touching, as well as peculiarly appropriate prayer from Rev. Mr. Thayer, who most tenderly sought to assuage the grief of the mourning relatives and friends, through the interposition of Providence, by reason of the loss that had befallen them. His supplications were alike truly devotional, chaste, and heart-soothing, yet permeated throughout with a heavenly faith in the wisdom of God, strengthened by Divine assurances, in this mysterious dispensation.

The 6020 hymn of the Unitarian Collection, commencing —

“Unveil thy bosom, faithful tomb,

Take this new tribute to thy trust,
And give these sacred relics room

To seck a slumber in thy dust,".

was then sung most appropriately by the choir, followed by a Benediction from the pastor, when the church services closed.


[From the Boston Times.]

** Mr. Rantoul was one of the first orators of the day. His rapidity of thought found in his utterance a worthy organ. No man among our public speakers could say so much in so short a time; and but for the singular clearness of his ideas, and the purity of his language, he would have defied the art of the reporter. His logic was convincing as it was acute; without being subtle, he accomplished with it far more than is often gained by the subtlest of logicians. He was one of the most original of orators and writers, and at the same time his acquirements were prodigious, and always at command; and when used, were not coupled with that pedantry which comes from the weakness of mental assimilation in too many great readers. His mind was like a vast and well arranged library, which could be drawn upon at any moment for the facts desired, apparently without labor. He was familiar not only with the literature of classical antiquity, and that of England, but also with the writings of the great masters of the French, Italian, German, and Spanish languages. In the departments of history and political science he was unrivalled for knowledge, and we do not believe that he bas in these respects left behind him any equal.

Mr. Rantoul was a strong friend to all the liberal ideas and movements of the day. His arguments in support of the abolition of the

barbarism of hanging are among the most valuable contributions to the political literature of the country. He urged this question upon the public mind with great force, and the practical uprooting of the gallows in Massachusetts, at the last session of the legislature, was in no small degree the result of his powerful and benevolent exercises. He was a strong friend of education, in behalf of which he both wrote and spoke much. Of temperance he was a consistent and bold advocate. He was an ardent advocate of freedom of trade, long before that doctrine had become so popular as it now is, either in this country or England. Whatever difference of opinion may exist on the policy of some of his latest speeches on a subject that has excited much attention, no one not steeled against the voice of reason can doubt either of the ability therein displayed, or the purity of the motives by which the orator was actuated in delivering them.

Both as a public man and as a private citizen, Mr. Rantoul's character was beyond reproach. He was eminently pure in all the relations of life, and the breath of calumny was never directed against him. Depressed as his relatives and friends are by his untimely death, they are consoled by the reflection that his virtues must have made the approach of the awful hour one of comparative calm to him. At the same time, it is one of the perplexities that are so constantly besetting us in this life, that one so endowed for good, and whose career had been spotless, should be removed from a world which by his labors and example he was so well calculated to benefit, far before he had accomplished the end of his being, and when he was apparently about to be placed at the head of that new class of statesmen to whom the guidance and direction of the country's affairs are soon to be consigned.

[From the Newburyport Union.]

Robert Rantoul, Jr., is dead ! How terribly does this annunciation strike upon our minds! That he, learned, liberal, eloquent, great as but few men in the nation are or have been great, — beloved by his friends and respected by all, - is no more. Yet such is the declaration of the telegraphic despatch which was not altogether unexpected, from the report of his condition given on Saturday. The District that he so ably represented, — the State that he honored by his great powers of mind, and the Nation in whose service he labored, and for whose good his patriotic heart was ever ready to yield its all, — will mourn his fall, ere he had reached his prime, - being but forty-seven years of age, - as a loss not easily to be retrieved.

Mr. Rantoul was not alone a statesman, great in his abilities; but he

was a man, sympathizing in the tenderness of his soul with every fellow man, and nobly acting with that energy and spirit which were his peculiar characteristics, for the well-being of the race;. - for the elevation of the down-trodden masses, - for the extension of liberty to the enslaved and wronged, — for the education of the ignorant, that they might rise to life and hope ; and for the general promotion of these virtues that were conducive to man's highest happiness. Hence, in his life, we found him the advocate of common school education, — the temperance movement, the prison discipline reform, and the enemy of the gallows, - of unequal and tyrannical legislation in the North, and those hideous features that despotism has assumed in the South.

Yet his was not heated passion, rioting against law and order and society; but the deductions of sound reason, the calculations of cool philosophy, — the thoughts of a noble mind, and the action of a true patriot. When all else of the man shall be blotted from memory, - when his duties as a State legislator, to the performance of which he brought such rare abilities, shall be forgotten, — when his wisdom as a public officer shall be faded and gone, - his eminence as a speaker be no longer remembered, and his brief, but excellent career in congress be lost in the accumulated annals of that body, then will live the results of the actions of his great and philanthropic heart, blessing mankind in the social and benevolent morements with which he sympathized and acted. Peace to him! Let him rest in peace, and the flowers bloom over his grave, for life's battle, though short, bas been well fought, and he has gone to his reward.

[From the Taunton Democrat.] Mr. Rantoul stood in the front rank of the legal profession. As a forensic speaker, he had few equals, and scarcely a superior. Both in professional and political debate, he acquired a high reputation as a bold and original thinker, an acute reasoner, and accomplished orator. His style of oratory was singularly attractive, — rapid, flowing, nervous, keen, and graceful, formed atier no model, and governed by no law but its own inspiration. He was equally in his element, whether at the bar or in the forum, — before the people or in the halls of legislation. His theme, whether it was a dry question of law, to be solved by researches among the cobwebs of legal commentaries and dusty records ; a walk in the flowery path of literature; the pursuit of history; the investigation of a commercial problem, or the theory of trade, was ever more the plaything than the task of his peculiar powers.

Ilis was one of the progressive minds of the age. To the cause of free education, he gave his earliest influence and support; to temperance, his voice and his example. Of the abolition of the death penalty, it may be

said, that he was its ablest adrocate, and that he died, like John Quincy Adams, clotlied in the armor of uncompromising hostility to what he deemed the encroachments of the institution of southern slavery. Upon the latter subject alone, he refused to obey the behests of his party, preferring the sacrifice of his political position to the surrender of his own judgment upon a single question of constitutional law.

Mr. Rantoul's career and services require no eulogy. His varied acquisitions from every field of learning, combined to blend in his character the highest attributes of the statesman, scholar, and philanthropist. Whatever

may b2 said of his influence, we ask, where was his equal in the body of which he was a member? His works are his best eulogium. He leaves behind him the record of a laborious and blameless life ; and the death of such a man is at any time a calamity to his country. At this crisis in his own career, it is a misfortune to his fame. He has fallen in the midst of conflict, not before an earthly antagonist, but by an unseen hand.

“The silken chord is loosed, — the golden bowl is broken."

A star in its brightness has suddenly grown dim, and the grave closes over the ashes of one stricken down in the vigor of his years, and before the fulness of his fame. His death is no common loss-; to his family, a loss we cannot realize; to his constituents, which none can supply; and to his party and his country, a deprivation like the deaths of Silas Wright and Levi Woodbury, tentold more afflicting for the suddenness of its occurrence.

He is gone! The struggles, the rivalries, and the triumphs of party with him are over. The praise or censure of men are nothing to him

lle bas bid farewell to the scenes of his early toils, and the last goal of his ambition, forever! Alas! for the lesson of human greatness ! Honor is tleeting; fame is a shadow; the brightest laurels wither upon the brows of men; and the prizes of life crumble to ashes within our grasp!


« VorigeDoorgaan »