Page images

and sweetness, more acceptable for the remains of the plain republican patriot, than the marble sarcophagus of Septimus Severus, which'in life he had rejected with a freeman's indignation—nay, than the proudest of the Egyptian pyramids.

By a few of his aged friends and compatriots in arms, his body was silently laid in its last consecrated spot-a select choir chanted his favourite psalm as a requiem, and the gallant military corps, which had long borne aloft his portrait on their banner, discharged their musketry over his resting place.

It was an hour of tears. Thousands were there to witness it. As the veteran soldier, with his whitened locks, lowered the remains of his old general into their last long home, the tear which trembled on his eye-lid and then trickled down his furrowed cheek, told the beholder that it was from the fountain of deep, deep grief.

As the throng pressed nearer the spot to witness the last solemnities over the hallowed relics of their country's benefactor, a keener sense of their loss was manifest, and few, indeed, were tearless in that assembly.

To live with fame, the gods allow
To many. But to die with equal lustre,
Is a gift, which Heaven selects
From all the choicest boons of fate,
And with a sparing hand, on few bestows."

Like the Father of his country, he descended to the grave loaded with all the civil and military honours of his countrymen—like him, he welcomed the battle-field, welcomed the olive branch of peace, welcomed the public service, welcomed retirement, welcomed life, welcomed death, and abides in the grateful hearts of millions of freemen. Like him, his memory will bloom upon our altars for ages and ages with perennial freshness. The mother shall teach her infant to lisp their names in unison—the father shall teach him to emulate their sterling virtues. An admiring posterity shall make frequent pilgrimages to Mount Vernon in the East, and the Hermitage in the West, to linger around the mounds which contain the ashes of the illustrious dead, to commune with the spirits of the immortal WASHINGTON and JACKSON.





We are assembled, my countrymen, in vast numbers, to pay the tribute that true greatness demands of justice. And the honourable part that your partiality has assigned to me on this solemn and imposing occasion, is to deliver a eulogy on the life and character of General Andrew Jackson.”

Eulogies are the spontaneous emotions of the human heart, excited by the virtuous and brave deeds of our fellow men. Hence, they are coeval with the history of mankind. The bards of a country were the primitive eulogists of its heroes. They were employed to compose and rehearse verses in honour of the heroic achievements of princes and brave men. They accompanied the armies to battle, and took their stand in some conspicuous place, and when the warrior fell, covered with honourable wounds, he turned his dying eye to the poet, who made him immortal in song. The effect of these panegyrics on the national character was indescribable. They placed glory and renown before the warrior, and on the day of battle excited his courage to perfect enthusiasm.

History informs us that when Edward I. of England, invaded North Wales, he found it impossible to establish his authority, while the Welsh bards were permitted to live. For they, by rehearsing in their songs the glorious achievements of the ancient Britons, kept alive an heroic spirit of freedom and independence. He therefore cruelly ordered the minstrels to be massacred wherever they were found. And in the ancient republics of Greece and Rome, eulogy was one of the strongest influences in exercise, for the preservation of the spirit of patriotism. It is said of the latter in the time of Augustus, they had swelled into two thousand volumes.

Eulogies, indeed, are intimately connected with republican institutions. They are the tributes paid by a brave and free people,

[ocr errors]

to worth, to wisdom, and to virtue. They are, in a word, republican monuments, more durable than

“The Heaven-aspiring pyramid, the proud
Triumphal arch, and all that e'er upheld

The worshipp'd names of hoar antiquity,"Transmitting to deathless fame, the well-earned renown of pure patriotism.

They had their origin in truth, and in the noblest feelings of the human soul, but have been too often debased to the ignoble service of adulation. Even Rome herself, who had cherished, sepulchred, and eulogised, so much true wisdom, virtue, and worth, stooped at last, ingloriously, to flatter power and honour crimes; and servilely said to the infamous Nero, “ Choose, Cæsar, what place you will among the immortal gods. Will you sway the sceptre of Jupiter, or mount the chariot of Apollo ? There is not a deity who will not yield his empire unto you, and count it an honour to resign in your favour.” When eulogy so high-born is thus degraded, it becomes an offence to the truly magnanimous. May the tongue of the American orator cleave to the roof of his mouth, and his right arm fall withered to his side, who shall first attempt to bestow Americans praise so unworthily!

But when eulogies are discriminately bestowed, their influence is most salutary in a republican state. They should be pronounced by the voice of the nation; by the voice of the whole nation. And then they will excite to deeds of noble emulation, to national virtue, and to love of country. A nation's favour should be sold only at the highest and most honourable price. It should be made an object worthy the ambition of her noblest sons, and when won, should never be withheld. This would be an evil only surpassed by the opposite extreme. When a republic shall consent for her great men to go down to the grave unknelled and unheralded, it will be a day ominous of evil to her institutions.

It was the custom of the ancient Egyptians, to bring the characters of rulers and subjects after their death before a tribunal of judges, where they were solemnly acquitted or condemned, according to their merits. The profligate citizen and the wicked tyrant, were delivered up to eternal infamy. But the fathers of the people, and those who had laboured for the public good, received those funeral panegyrics and honours due to their virtuous deeds. At a royal funeral, the ceremony was as follows: Accusations were first received against the deceased. The priest then rose to pronounce the eulogy, and celebrate the good actions of the monarch. If he had reigned well, the innumerable multitude assembled answered the priest with loud acclamations; if he had reigned ill, a general murmur ensued,—and such kings were deprived by their people of burial, even though they had erected proud mausoleums to receive their bones. A custom thus worthy the country in which the arts and sciences were cradled, and in which Homer, Plato, Solon, and Lycurgus, were schooled.

It is thus, fellow-citizens, that we would perform our task to-day. Will you by your murmur warn us to cease-or by your loud acclaim, warrant us to proceed to speak of Andrew Jackson as an American general, statesman, and sage. (Great applause.)

Fellow-citizens :—The man whose memory we have met to honour this day, was worthy this great national demonstration of respect. True, "he was born to fortune and fame unknown.” He boasted not a long line of ancestors; he paraded no pompous titles; he claimed no royal prerogatives.

He needed not these adventitious circumstances to make him great. He was one of “nature's noblemen!”

You will expect of me, as a matter of course, a sketch of his history.

Andrew Jackson was an American by birth. Born in South Carolina, in the Waxhaw settlement, on the 15th of March, 1767. At an early age, he was left fatherless. The spreading ravages of the Revolutionary war drove him from the academy of science, and at the early age of thirteen, he laid aside his books for the implements of war, and became a soldier of the Revolution. At the hallowed altar, the pure flame of patriotism was kindled in young Jackson's bosom, which burned brightly and intensely through a long life. He was a prisoner of war at fourteen, when, for claiming his right as such, and resenting an indignity, he received an honourable wound from a brutal officer. One of his brothers was already slain in battle, and the other was now fatally wounded by his side. He was soon exchanged as a prisoner of war by the exertions of his affectionate mother, and returned home; but it was only to see his only surviving relative, that mother, die.

We see him again, at the peace of 1783, emerging from the storms of the Revolution, an orphan boy. Bereft of all his kindred, without patronage or property, alone in the world. And what was still worse, he had formed profligate habits. How exceedingly unpromising were the prospects of this stripling at the age of eighteen years. But there was a “divinity within him that shaped his ends.” An ethereal spirit that could not be borne down by adversity. At this turning point in his history, he entered as a law student in Salisbury, North Carolina, and in two years after, he was admitted to the bar as practising attorney. He immediately repaired to Nashville, Tennessee, where he established himself, and acquired honour and profit by his profession.

We now arrive at the commencement of his public career. His first public appointment to office was by Washington, as attorneygeneral for the district. He was still a young man.


[ocr errors]

At the age

of twenty-nine, he was honoured with a seat in the convention assembled to form a constitution for the state of Tennessee. The same year he was chosen to represent that state in Congress, in the House of Representatives. At the age of thirty, he was elected to the Senate of the United States. After two years' services as Senator, he resigned. He was immediately appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of his state. This office he also resigned as soon as practicable. In 1811, we find him in the character of negotiator with the Creek Indians, and when the treaty of Spain, ceding the Floridas, was ratified in 1821, he was appointed by the president to receive the provinces, and to establish the government. He was then offered by President Monroe, the post of minister · plenipotentiary to the court of Mexico, but refused upon republican principles. In 1822, such was his reputation at home, that the general assembly of Tennessee recommended Andrew Jackson for president of these United States. And in the following year, he was elected a second time to the United States Senate, which honour he a second time resigned, on being nominated by the people for the presidency. In 1828, he was elected to this high office by a majority in the electoral college of more than two to one. And in 1832, he was re-elected by an unequalled and overwhelming popular vote, amidst the enthusiastic plaudits of the people; our own state giving him a majority of some fifty thousand votes! In 1837, he again retired from public office to the Hermitage, on the banks of the Cumberland river.

Such is a brief sketch of the political career of Andrew Jackson, which of itself shows that his countrymen trusted him, honoured him, and loved him. That they esteemed him worthy, and cheerfully assigned to him a place among the first of those whom they delighted to honour. And the civil duties and offices crowded upon him from the age of twenty-five to the years of threescore and ten, were enough themselves to have filled up, with unceasing activity, the full measure of the days of a common man. Contrast the orphan boy of South Carolina, who, at the

of nineteen years, was penniless, friendless, and professionless, with Andrew Jackson, the politician, rising regularly, through every gradation of office, from that of district attorney to the presidency of the United States, and is there not evidence enough to convince all, that he whose memory we this day honour was no common man?

No! he was an uncommon man. He filled another measure of days. He lived another life. To justify this, we will now glance at his military character. Though he was not, like the great Hannibal, taken, at the early age of twelve years, to the altar to swear eternal hostility to the enemies of his country, yet, at the age

of thirteen, we find him a soldier engaged in battle, a prisoner of war, and mingling his young blood with that of the patriots of 6976.” He was thus early dedicated to the service of his country, and the



« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »