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Such was Andrew Jackson, in private life; and it is there that true greatness waits to be exhibited. In the world, men rise superior to each other; but it is here that man rises superior to himself. The region of politics, at best, is baneful; and too often “the soil, the vices like. In his private attachments, he was governed by the same steadiness that sustained his public conduct. His friendships were, therefore, sincere and fixed. If he loved you to-day, he would love you still more to-morrow, the next day, and for ever, provided you did nothing to forfeit his regard and good opinion. Although, in a character marked by such strength of features, the lineaments of the softer virtues could scarcely be expected to mix; yet those who knew him best in private life, and in the unbendings of retirement, knew the genuine indications of their existence, and the childlike simplicity and tenderness of his nature.
His manners, though naturally dignified, were never haughty. There was the same gentleness without timidity, and decision without presumption. He blended dignity with condescension, and the greatest as well as the humblest objects received his attention. Born with strong passions, often the concomitants of genius, he had acquired great command and ascendancy over them; and, among all his personal qualities, courage, both physical and moral, were allowed to him, in an eminent degree. It was these only, which, amidst those formidable agitations of party which, for so many years of his administration, convulsed the American people, could have enabled him, as they did, to remain firm and immovable. In all matters of pecuniary concern, his dealings were dictated by a punctual regard to his engagements, and, at the same time, distinguished by great liberality; without indulging in excesses which bring on embarrassment.
His honesty can scarcely be said to have claimed the rank of a virtue. It required no effort, and could therefore boast no triumph; and it may not be deemed unimportant to remark, that among all the various calumnies which malice has endeavoured to cast upon the fame of this distinguished man, the tongue of slander never whispered the imputation of a single act of mercenary meanness.
An inflexible consistency of principle, equally proof against casual failure, and the most insurmountable difficulties—an erectness of principle and a pride originating in and supported by conscious talents and integrity-were among his chief characteristics.
His hospitality was proverbial. The friend and the stranger were received with cordial welcome at his hospitable mansion, and his benevolence and kindness to his neighbours were acknowledged with affectionate gratitude. Friend to the poor-for surely that godlike virtue was his—he comforted and blessed them by his private liberality and his public largesses. Bear witness, ye mourners around the Hermitage and you, good people of Tennessee !
He was married but once, and had no children or blood relatives; but the fraternal love which he bore towards the relations of his beloved wife was as exemplary as it was sincere; and the munificent presents for all her relatives attest the affection and devotion which he bore to her (and she was worthy of it all!) and her kindred. Nor was his munificence bounded by these limits. The institutions of freedom and science were annually consulted and most generously rewarded.
And who is there that must not have been struck with the preservation of his intellect, and the fortitude and resignation which he exhibited to the last hour? In the scenes which closed his earthly career, his death was in every respect conformable to his life. Never was he more true to his great character! Even in the moments of great bodily pain and approaching dissolution, when it might have been expected that a man's every feeling would be concentrated in personal suffering, his thoughts were occupied by the awful event impending; and even in these moments, all selfish considerations were put aside, and the sentiments still uppermost in his mind were, God and his country. And his death was marked by the coolness and serenity which are thought to belong exclusively to health of body and a mind at ease.
“ To live with fame
And with a sparing hand on few bestows.”
It was therefore around his deathbed, that an additional lustre, as well as sacredness, was thrown, by the manner in which he met death, and the resignation which marked his last moments. He felt that his time was come, and that “the paths of glory lead but to the grave.” He died, as he had lived—a Christian ; and his last words were, “God and my country.”
Of the military exploits of this truly great man, the hero shall tell. Our young warriors shall be ambitious of emulating them. The
sage shall speak of his counsels—the statesman shall follow them. All shall reverence his great virtues, to teach the rising generation to imitate them. Millions yet unborn shall speak his praise, and over his ashes hang the free tribute of gratitude and tears; and, when marble and monuments shall moulder in the dust, the name of Jackson shall still live. With you, my beloved
countrymen, he will never die! He will live in your liberty and glorious institutions! He will live in that national prosperity which he laboured to secure, for generations yet to come! He will live in his own great example, which has shown you how to preserve what your fathers had so gloriously won! By all his inestimable services and splendid actions—by the respect and veneration in which you hold his character—by the wisdom of his counsels and the dignity of his example, appreciate, I beseech you, your conceptions of his memory, by serving your country as he served it, and honouring God as he honoured him.
DELIVERED AT LOUISVILLE, KY, JULY 3, 1845,
THOMAS L. SMITH, Esq.
THROUGHOUT all our vast country, we hear the voice of mourning. A nation grieves for the loss of a loved and honoured son. ple who compose this great assemblage, in like manner with others of their fellow-countrymen elsewhere, have spontaneously gathered together to do honour to the memory of a departed hero and patriot. Men of all parties, and of all grades, pursuits and occupations, are united on this occasion. All are sensible that the shaft of death has reached an illustrious mark, and has removed from the connexions of this earth, one, who, for a long series of years, has been intimately associated in the minds of his fellow-citizens, with some of the most brilliant eras in the annals of the country, and one who has long been regarded, by a large proportion of the people, with the highest degree of veneration and esteem.
I know not how I shall give utterance to the sentiments which so obviously pervade the
whole country, in reference to the decease of Andrew Jackson. Though we feel that his loss is a public calamity, yet we cannot complain. Full of years, and of honours, the venerable patriot has been gathered to his fathers. than the full average period of human life, he has been spared to his country, and few, indeed, have reaped such rich harvests of all that human ambition is wont to crave whilst sojourning upon earth. Nor was this event unlooked for, or unexpected, to himself, or to
For several years past, his increasing age and infirmities, gave melancholy warning that he must ere long prepare for that dread change to which all mortal men are subject. Still, we are not the less sensibly affected, now that our natural anticipations have been realized, and that the spirit that so long shone a brilliant light in our sphere has been quenched, to us, for ever, and taken home to its Heavenly Father. A sensation, solemn, profound, universal, pervades all sections of
the Uuion. A united people attend as mourners at his funeral. They consign his mortal remains to the tomb of his own choice, beneath the green soil of the land he loved so well, and by the side of the beloved partner of his domestic joys and sorrows, who had preceded him in death. There they will rest in honoured repose, until the archangel's trump shall sound the summons to an everlasting resurrection. But the memory of his illustrious deeds will live-they will be familiar to the ears of unborn millions, and in future ages, his example, and his counsels, will continue to exert a beneficial influence over the destinies of his beloved country.
No other man, of his time, was so ardently beloved by a majority of his fellow-citizens no other wielded such influence over the masses of the people. How much of that influence was beneficial, and how much evil, in its results, has been the subject of violent party contests, and it is, therefore, perhaps, not for the present generation to determine ; but all admit that his intentions were always pure, and dictated by an ardent desire to promote the true interests of the country. He was, in all respects, a hero and a patriot. At all times, and in all seasons, he was ready to devote his energies, and to sacrifice all personal considerations of safety, interest, and even popularity, for the common good. He never hesitated in the performance of a duty, which he believed was required of him, whatever personal consequences might result to himself or others; and, on the other hand, no motive, either of personal advantage, or compromise, or conciliation, could induce him, for one moment, to entertain the idea of performing an act, which he believed was wrong, or in violation of the obligations imposed upon him.
This well known inflexibility of purpose, was, unquestionably, one of his most remarkable characteristics; and was, to a considerable extent, the cause, both of the great admiration, and violent hostility, with which persons of opposite political sentiments regarded certain leading measures of his civil administration. His political friends had unbounded faith in the honesty and disinterestedness of his intentions, in his comprehensive judgment to foresee threatened dangers, and provide measures for the public security, and in his dauntless courage and abilities to persevere in the accomplishment of those measures, at all hazards, and in despite of all difficulties. Nor was this faith granted blindly, or gratuitously. It was based upon their experience and observation of his whole course of action, and upon the knowledge that each successive development of his views and objects, were, after the severest scrutiny, fully sanctioned by their own reason and judgment.
General Jackson certainly possessed all the elements of greatness -a clear and comprehensive intellect, a quickness of conception that seemed intuitive, and an incomparable energy, and power of action in carrying his conceptions into effect. This rare combina