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larged and liberal minds, the moral sublimity of the occasion, while to the outward senses, the movement of armies, the roar of artillery, the brilliancy of the reflection of a summer's sun from the burnished armor of the British columns, and the flames of a burning town, made up a scene of extraordinary grandeur.
EULOGIUM ON WASHINGTON.
I RISE, gentlemen, to propose to you the name of that great man, in commemoration of whose birth and in honor of whose character and services we are here assembled.
I am sure that I express a sentiment common to every one present when I say, that there is something more than ordinarily solemn and affecting on this occasion.
We are met to testify our regard for him whose name is intimately blended with whatever belongs most essentially to the prosperity, the liberty, the free institutions, and the renown of our country. That name was of power to rally a nation, in the hour of thick-thronging public disasters and calamities ; that name shone, amid the storm of war, a beacon-light, to cheer and guide the country's friends ; it flamed, too, like a meteor, to repel her foes. That name, in the days of peace, was a loadstone, attracting to itself a whole people's confidence, a whole people's love, and the whole world's respect; that name, descending with all time, spreading over the whole earth, and uttered in all the languages belonging to the tribes and races of men, will forever be pronounced with affectionate gratitude by every one in whose breast there shall arise an aspiration for human rights and human liberty.
We perform this grateful cluty, gentlemen, at the expiration of a hundred years from his birth, near the place so cherished and beloved by him, where his dust now reposes, and in the capital which bears his own immortal name.
All experience evinces that human sentiments are strongly affected by associations. The recurrence of anniversaries, or of longer periods of time, naturally freshens the recollection, and deepens the impression, of events with which they are historically connected. Renowned places, also, have a power to awaken feeling, which all acknowledge. No American can pass by the fields of Bunker Hill, Monmouth, and Camden, as if they were ordinary spots on the earth's
surface. Whoever visits them feels the sentiment of love of country kindling anew, as if the spirit that belonged to the transactions which have rendered these places distinguished still hovered round with power to move and excite all who in future time may approach them.
But neither of these sources of emotion equals the power with which great moral examples affect the mind. When sublime virtues cease to be abstractions, when they become embodied in human character, and exemplified in human conduct, we should be false to our own nature, if we did not indulge in the spontaneous effusions of our gratitude and our admiration. A true lover of the virtue of patriotism delights to contemplate its purest models ; and that love of country may be well suspected which affects to soar so high into the regions of sentiment as to be lost and absorbed in the abstract feeling, and becomes too elevated, or too refined, to glow with fervor in the commendation or the love of individual benefactors. All this is unnatural. 'It is as if one should be so enthusiastic a lover of poetry as to care nothing for Homer * or Milton ; so passionately attached to eloquence as to be indifferent to Tully † and Chatham I; or such a devotee to the arts, in such an ecstasy with the elements of beauty, proportion, and expression, as to regard the masterpieces of Raphael S and Michael Angelo with coldness or contempt. We may be assured, gentlemen, that he who really loves the thing itself loves its finest exhibitions. A true friend of his country loves her friends and benefactors, and thinks it no degradation to commend and commemorate them. The voluntary outpouring of public feeling made to-day, from the north to the south, and from the east to the west, proves this sentiment to be both just and natural. In the cities and in the villages, in the public temples and in the family circles, among all ages and sexes, gladdened voices to-day bespeak grateful hearts, and a freshened recollection of the virtues of the father of his country. And it will be so in all time to come, so long as public virtue is itself an object of regard. The ingenuous youth of America will hold up to themselves the bright model of Washington's example, and study to be what they behold; they will contemplate his character till all
* HOMER. The greatest of the Greek poets : lived about 915 B. C. The Iliad stands at the head of all epic poetry.
+ Tully. More commonly known as Cicero, the famous Roman orator. See Plutarch's Lives. # CHATHAM. An illustrious English statesman and orator, born 1708.
RAPHAEL; MICHAEL ANGELO. Celebrated Italians; the former as a painter, and the latter as a sculptor and architect. Both born in the latter part of the fifteenth century.
its virtues spread out and display themselves to their delighted vision, as the earliest astronomers, the shepherds on the plains of Babylon, gazed at the stars till they saw them form into clusters and constellations, overpowering at length the eyes of the beholders with the united blaze of a thousand lights.
Gentlemen, we are at the point of a century from the birth of Washington; and what a century it has been! During its course the human mind has seemed to proceed with a sort of geometric velocity, accomplishing, for human intelligence and human freedom, more than had been done in fives or tens of centuries preceding. Washington stands at the commencement of a new era, as well as at the head of the new world. A century from the birth of Washington has changed the world. The country of Washington has been the theater on which a great part of that change has been wrought; and Washington himself a principal agent by which it has been accomplished. His age and his country are equally full of wonders, and of both he is the chief.
If the prediction of the poet, uttered a few years before his birth, be true; if indeed it be designed by Providence that the proudest exhibition of human character and human affairs shall be made on this theater of the Western world ; if it be true that,
“ The four first acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama of the day;
Time's noblest offspring is the last "; how could this imposing, swelling, final scene be appropriately opened, how could its intense interest be adequately sustained, but by the introduction of just such a character as our Washington ?
Washington had attained his manhood when that spark of liberty was struck out in his own country, which has since kindled into a flame, and shot its beams over the earth. In the flow of a century from his birth, the world has changed in science, in arts, in the extent of commerce, in the improvement of navigation, and in all that relates to the civilization of man. But it is the spirit of human freedom, the new elevation of individual man, in his moral, social, and political character, leading the whole long train of other improvements, which has most remarkably distinguished the era. Society, in this century, has not made its progress, like Chinese skill, by a greater acuteness of ingenuity in trifles ; it has not merely lashed 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 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.
THE AMERICAN UNION.
When my eyes turn to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may they not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds; or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood. Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced ; its arms and trophies streaming in all their original luster ; not a stripe erased or polluted ; not a single star obscured ; bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as What is all this worth ?” nor those other words of delusion and folly, of Liberty first, and Union afterwards, but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, and blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment dear to every American heart, “Liberty AND Union, and forever, — one and inseparable."
Our fathers raised their flag against a power to which, for purposes of foreign conquest and subjugation, Rome, in the hight of her glory, is not to be compared, - a power which has dotted the surface of the whole globe with her possessions and military posts, whose morning drum-beat, following the sun in his course, and keeping pace with the hours, circles the earth with one continuous and unbroken strain of the martial airs of England.
1783 – 1859.
No name in our literary annals is more fondly cherished than that of Washington Irving, one of the earliest and most distinguished of American writers. He was born in New York in 1783, and died at Sunnyside, his home on the Hudson, in 1859. He began his literary career by contributing to the columns of the Morning Chronicle, of which his brother, Dr. Peter Irving, was editor. His health failing, he went to Europe, where he remained two years. On his return he was admitted to the bar, but gave little attention to his profession. In 1807 appeared the first number of Salmagundi, or the Whim-Whams und Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff and Others, a semi-monthly periodical of light and agreeable character, which was very popular during its existence of less than two years. In 1809 the famous History of New York, by Diedrich Knickerbocker, was published, and had a most cordial reception. The next year Washington Irving became a partner in the mercantile business conducted his brothers; but in 1812 the firm failed, and thic young author returned to literary labors. The Sketch-Book appeared in 1819, and established his fame in England and America. Bracebridge Hall, The Conquest of Granada, The Life of Columbus, and other works, were issued at intervals prior to 1832. In 1842 he was appointed United States Minister to Spain, and held that oflice four years. After his return he wrote a Life of Goldsmith, Th: Life of Washington, Mahomet and his Successors, etc. It is safe to say that no American author has been so generally and heartily loved as Washington Irving, and he was as popular in England as at home. But his fame is by no means wholly due to the qualities of his heart ; his intellectual powers were of the first class, but were largely controlled by his native amiability, which shed a sunny radiance over all his writings. His style remains to this day a model of ease, grace, and refinement. Our extracts are from The Sketch-Book and The Life of Columbus.
In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market-days. Be that
may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.