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ments, and were distinguished by the highest honours the nation could confer. Arrived at an age when nature seems to demand repose, each had retired to the spot from which the public exigencies had first called him—his public labours ended, his work accomplished, his beloved country prosperous and happy—there to indulge in the blessed retrospect of a well-spent life, and await that period which comes to all. But not to await it in idleness or indifference. The same spirit of active benevolence, which made the meridian of their lives resplendent with glory, continued to shed its lustre upon their evening path. Still intent upon doing good, still devoted to the great cause of human happiness and improvement, neither of these illustrious men relaxed in his exertions. They seemed only to concentrate their energy, as age and increasing infirmity contracted the circle of action, bestowing, without ostentation, their latest efforts upon the state and neighbourhood in which they resided. There, with patriarchal simplicity, they lived, the objects of a nation's grateful remembrance and affection; the living records of a nation's history; the charm of an age which they delighted, adorned and instructed by their vivid sketches of times that are past; and, as it were, the embodied spirit of the revolution itself, in all its purity and force, diffusing its wholesome influence through the generations that have succeeded, rebuking every sinister design, and invigorating every manly and virtuous resolution. The Jubilee came. The great national commemoration of a nation's birth. The fiftieth year of deliverance from foreign rule, wrought out by the exertions and sufferings and sacrifices of the patriots of the revolution. It found these illustrious and venerable men, full of honours and full of years, animated with the proud recollection of the times in which they had borne so distinguished a part, and cheered by the beneficent and expanding influence of their patriotic labours. The eyes of a nation were turned towards them with affection and reverence. They heard the first song of triumph on that memorable day. As the voice of millions of freemen rose in sounds of gratitude and joy, they both sunk gently to rest, and their spirits departed in the midst of the swelling chorus of national enthusiasm.
Death has thus placed his seal upon the lives of these two eminent men with impressive solemnity. A gracious Providence, whose favours have been so often manifested in mercy to our country, has been pleased to allow them an unusual length of life, and an uncommon continuance of their extraordinary faculties. They have been, as it were, united in death, and they have both, in a most signal manner, been associated with the great event which they so largely contributed to produce. Henceforward the names of Jefferson and Adams can never be separated from the Declaration of Independence. Whilst that venerated instrument shall continue to exist, as long as its sacred spirit shall dwell with the people of this nation, or the free institutions that have grown out of it be preserved and respected, so long will our children, and our children's children to the latest generation, bless the pames of these our illustrious benefactors, and cherish their memory with reverential respect. The jubilee, at each return, will bring back, with renovated force, the lives and the deaths of these distinguished men; and history, with the simple pencil of truth, sketching the wonderful coincidence, will, for once at least, set at defiance all the powers of poetry and romance.
The dispensation which has thus connected itself with the first jubilee of our independence, mingling with our festivities the parting benediction, and the final farewell of our two illustrious countrymen, cannot fail to bring with it the most serious reflections. Marked, as it is, by such an extraordinary coincidence, methinks it seems to announce, with solemn emphasis, that henceforward the care of their great work is committed to our hands; that we are to guard,
to protect, and to preserve the principles and the institutions which they, at such an expense, have established for our benefit, and for that of our posterity; and, may I not add, for the common benefit of mankind. Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but one now remains. Health and peace to the evening of his days! The single representative on earth of the Congress of 1776, he seems to stand between two generations, and to be the visible link that still connects the living with the mighty dead. Of all, indeed, who had a part in the achievement of independence, “whose counsels aided, or whose arms defended,” few and feeble are they who survive. Day by day their numbers are reduced; yet a little while, and they will have followed their illustrious compatriots. Not a footstep will be heard throughout this land, of all who rushed to danger in their country's cause,_not an eye will beam, that borrowed prophetic light from afar to illumine the hour of darkness, not a heart will beat, whose pulsation was quickened by the animating hope of a glorious triumph. To this effect we are admonished by the event we are met to commemorate. Here then let us pause ! The point of time at which we have arrived, marked by a concurrence of circumstances so impressive, demands our earnest attention. It stands forth, I repeat, with commanding dignity, and seems to say, Behold! fifty years have gone by. The altar of freedom raised by your fathers—the sacred fire they lighted upon it—are now, at the appointed time, delivered to you. To you belongs the great trust of their preservation, until another generation shall in turn succeed to occupy your places, from you to receive the invaluable deposite, and with it to receive its guardian spirit, the spirit of the revolution. Shall we, my friends and fellow citizens, be able to acquit ourselves of this high trust? Shall the next jubilee find the altar pure and undefiled, the fire still burning with a steady flame 7 And shall every succeeding jubilee, like that which has passed, be at once an evidence and an acknowledgment of the continuing efficacy of the great truths promulgated in the Declaration of Independence? These are indeed affecting questions. To commemorate the event which has here brought us together, and at the same time to invigorate our virtuous resolutions, let us, for a moment, look back upon the lives of our two illustrious fellow citizens, who walked hand in hand through the struggle of the revolution, and hand in hand have descended to the tomb, as if, with one voice, to deliver their parting blessing to their beloved country. Mine is not the task of the biographer or the historian. I am not to enter into a detail of their lives, nor to attempt to spread before you a history of the great events in which they acted. These are for abler hands, for ampler opportunity, and more extended labour. Nor is it at all consistent with the duty I owe to the occasion, or to you, if it were in accordance with my own inclination, or within the scope of my humble capacity, to disturb the harmony of feeling that prevails, by attempting a comparative estimate of their uncommon merits. It is not my office, nor is it your desire, to weigh them against each other—to bring them into conflict, when death has sealed for ever the friendship which, in their latter years, they so delighted to cherish. A rapid, and it necessarily must be a hasty and imperfect sketch of some of the principal points in their public career, will be sufficient to show how strong is the claim of both to our warmest admiration, and to our most affectionate gratitude. Extend to me your indulgence, of which I stand so much in need, while, in obedience to your commands, I endeavour, however feebly, to present such a sketch. The attempt of Great Britain to visit these colonies with an exercise of power inconsistent with their just rights, found our two eminent fellow citizens, each in his native state. Mr. Jefferson, a young man, already a distinguished member of a legislature, which has never been without the distinction of patriotism and talents. Mr. Adams, a few years older, successfully engaged in the practice of the law, with established reputation and extensive influence. They were among the first to discern the character of this arrogant attempt; to rouse their countrymen to a sense of the danger of submission; to animate them to the assertion of their rights; and to embark, fearlessly, in resistance to the first approaches of arbitrary power. They did not hesitate. They never paused to count the cost of personal sacrifice, but, with a resolution as determined as it was virtuous, placed at once their lives, their fortunes, and all their hopes upon the issue of their country's cause. When these colonies, for mutual support and counsel, resolved to convene a general Congress, Mr. Adams was appointed one of the deputies from Massachusetts. He took his seat on the 5th of September, 1774, the memorable day of the first meeting of that august assembly, whose acts then were, and since have been the theme of universal admiration. Indeed it may be truly averred, that as long as wisdom, constancy, unconquerable resolution,--as long as patriotism, and contempt of every danger, but that which threatens one's country—as long, to sum it all up at once, as generous and disinterested devotion, guided by talents of the highest order, shall be esteemed among men, so long will the old Congress continue to retain the first place among human assemblies, and spread its lustre over the age in which it acted. In this same body, Mr. Jefferson took his seat on the 21st June, 1775, elected a deputy from Virginia, in the place of Peyton Randolph. Of the estimation in which Mr. Jefferson was held, in that more than Roman Senate, though still a young man, probably the youngest in Congress, sufficient evidence will presently appear. But in the mean time let me mention to you a fact which preceded, a few days, the coming in of Mr. Jefferson, and deserves to be remembered with gratitude to his illustrious associate. It was John Adams, who, on the 15th June, 1775, nominated George