Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

war was averted, and the honour of the country was preserved without a stain or a spot on its shield; and the hope and prediction of eloquence were both realized together. The most chivalrous

. of nations retired from her position. The irresistible policy of justice averted all peril from the Union, and added new titles of renown to the fame of its venerable chief; and the blessings of the generation who witnessed the bravery of his resolution, and of the generation who mourn his death, have flown, and will flow continually in an unbroken stream upon his head.

But the republic may receive deeper wounds than foreign foes can inflict with all their armaments. Fleets and armies encountered at the shore, or met upon its borders, may be beheld without dismay; for the soil that sustains a united people, struggling for the liberties of their country, the endearments of its home, and the consecrated altars of its worship, will not long endure the footsteps of a foreign foe. War with other nations, calamitous as it is even in its most favoured aspects, has yet its redeeming circumstances in attendance upon its progress. The conflict of defence gives new value to national possession, unfolds great virtues, exalts the sentiments of patriotism, and the triumph of arms and the brilliancy of victory become the pledges and security of peace. But the warfare of intestine feuds and domestic convulsion is an unmitigated evil; its corruptions canker the heart and consume the vitals of the community; and it must be suppressed, or its end inevitably is national dissolution, with all the miseries of private calamity and public dishonour.

Undoubtedly by far the most important and alarming political questions which have ever arisen under the constitution since its adoption, were those created by the measures pursued by South Carolina during the administration of President Jackson, in resistance of the laws of the United States for the collection of its revemue.

Not claiming to exercise that great fundamental popular right which precedes and underlies all constitutions and forms of government—that incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or totally change the government when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it-South Carolina insisted that under the constitution, and in strict conformity to the terms upon which she had entered the Union, and to her obligation to the rest of the United States, it was competent for her people to denounce a law of Congress as unconstitutionl, null and void, and to pro hibit all execution of its provisions within the limits of her territory. And in pursuance of this extravagant assumption, a popular convention, assembled in conformity to an act of her legislature, assumed the tremendous responsibility of abolishing the obnoxious law, and of placing the state in an attitude of open, direct, and undisguised hostility to the general government.

Never could there be in the history of an ardent, generous, and free people, a crisis of more thrilling interest or portentous disaster than this; but never could there have been found a magistrate better fitted for so terrible an emergency than Andrew Jackson. In the gravity of his wisdom he paused in the reflection that the prosperity and happiness of the existing and of unborn generations, under a constitution establishing the freest government on earth, bound together in the bonds of a political union cemented with the blood of a noble and self-sacrificing ancestry, depended upon his decision, his prudence, his counsel, and his strength. He examined all the questions involved in the great controversy with the most thorough and searching scrutiny, in every aspect in which they could be considered, in every light in which they could be presented. And throwing himself into the arms of the people, and relying upon their stability in virtue, and loyalty in patriotism, he issued, in the form of a proclamation, one of the most remarkable papers ever addressed by a government to its citizens. Demolishing the sophistry of opposing arguments, and unfolding with the utmost clearness the true principles of constitutional union, he appealed, with all the earnestness that danger could inspire, and all the affection that could warm the heart of a father, to the generous and manly people of his native state to abandon the mad project of disunion, and reunite with their fellow-citizens in lawful and constitutional measures for the redress of all real or apprehended grievances.

But finally, he announced his unalterable determination, upon their refusal to comply with their constitutional obligations, to enforce the execution of the laws they had assumed to annul, at the hazard of every consequence. His simple but authoritative mandate—“ the Union, it must be preserved”—came like sunshine through the cloud, like the benignant light of the guiding star through the mists of ocean to the anxious mariner tossed on its billows. The effect was electrical, grand, and decisive. The ranks of opposition swayed away from their organization, and every defender of the constitution rushed to the rampart to stand by its noble and fearless representative. The voices of congratulation, of defence, of compromise, mingled together, and the thanksgivings for a Union preserved went up once more from the hearts of a united people.

It is of the glory of Washington, that he impressed upon his countrymen, in language worthy to be uttered by the father of his country, the value of our national Union—urging upon them “to think and speak of it as the palladium of their political safety and prosperity, watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety, and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of any attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.” But An

a

drew Jackson lived in the times which the prophetic eye of his illustrious predecessor foresaw were among the possibilities of future disaster; and it is of his glory to have practically exemplified the exhortation of Washington by an actual salvation of the Union in its integrity against the most formidable and dangerous combination concerted for its destruction. The hopes for its perpetual duration were never brighter than when his eye cast its last glance on the prosperity of his country.

The serene tranquillity of the years of his declining age are in touching contrast with the fervid energy of his life of public employment. He turned, when that employment was past, with thankful gladness back to the home of his youth and his affection, to seek in its seclusion, repose from the pressure of constant care and unremitted excitement. With what just satisfaction might the venerable patriot look back from the sequestered shades of the Hermitage, upon a life of such service! so true to his country! so ennobled by illustrious achievement! With animating recollections of the past, and a heart always beating for the welfare of the people he served, his old age was sustained by the consolations of friendship, and the unfailing hope of a religious trust. The plaudits of his hour of glory were softened into benignant benedictions at his tomb.

His character is developed in the history of his life. Andrew Jackson was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable of the great men of his age. In all the relations of life, he presented manifestations which marked his pre-eminence, and assured his ascendency. From a childhood, which in its origin gave no promise of advancement, he rose to the highest stations of military command and civil authority, and the magnificence of the soldier was transcended only by the majestic successes of the statesman. His patriotism knew no bounds but his country; and the hope, the joy, the ambition of his heart, all centred in its prosperity, under the everlasting Union of the states.

If you would honour his memory, remember that great lesson of his love and affection, and devote yourselves to the preservation of the Union; knowing that your efforts in its behalf are the noblest manifestations of your cherished attachment to the counsels of his life. Teach to your children its history; and bid them emulate the bright examples of the heroes, the statesmen, and patriots who have gone before them. The avenues of the citadel of strength and posts of honour, are open to universal competition. The freedomgiving institutions of our country call to her highest honours her children from the workshop, the city, and the farm.

This is the history of the past and the prognostic of the future The youthful Washington was but a surveyor of land ; the philosophy of Franklin started with his apprenticeship in a printing office;

Andrew Jackson was an almost uneducated orphan boy of the wilderness; the hosts of the illustrious dead, and the ranks of living eminence have come, if there be such a thing in our glorious country, from the humblest origin. No man knows to what destiny his son shall succeed; but knowing that he may rise to the highest —that his career may inscribe the deepest lines that shall shade or adorn his country, let the purest patriotism be instilled into his bosom, and inspire the dawning vision of his expanding faculties.

So shall the Union—the glorious and time-honoured Union of the United States—be preserved and sustained, and sent on, a combination of power-a spectacle of heart-cheering magnificence, and an inexhaustible fountain of blessings to succeeding posterity ; that when age after age the fathers shall be sleeping in silence, there shall be, for ever, a generation of sons to rally under the spreading folds of its glorious banner, to defend and enjoy their inheritance of freedom.

EULOGY

DELIVERED AT PETERSBURG, VA., JULY 12, 1845,

BY

HUGH A. GARLAND, Esq.

The solemn toll of funeral bells—the loud peal of the minutegun, now echoing in our ears, announce that this is no ordinary occasion that brings us together. It is in truth no common event we have come to commemorate. One of the great actors of the world's history has ceased to act. The part it was the destiny of Andrew Jackson to perform in the drama of human life, has been fully, perfectly, nobly performed, and he has received his permission to depart.

Those that have seen him will see him no more. Those who have never beheld his manly form and venerable white locks, can never hope to enjoy that pleasure. What of mortal was in him has put on immortality. Henceforth his name will rank among those who have wrought as master-workmen in the field of time, and made the world's history such as it is and not otherwise.

Had he never lived, the recorded deeds of his own times would have been far different from what they are known to be; and the history of the future, which is but the developement and result of the past and the present, would not have been what it will bedeeply stamping the impress of his character and genius on the age in which he lived-his words and deeds, now that he is dead, garnered up in the treasury of history, and pregnant with the germ of vitality, are destined to grow, and multiply, and bring forth fruit for all ages to come.

Who, then, was Andrew Jackson ?

Fathers and sons, give heed to what I say—mothers and daughthers, lend me your attention! It is of no ordinary man I speak, nor is it for the dead I speak,—but the living. Were it permitted those who have once shaken off this mortal coil again to return and take part in the affairs of those they loved, Andrew Jackson

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »