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only to him who had no equal. The one was elevated by the choice of the people; the other by the choice of Washington.
Mr. Adams was elected Vice-President of the United States; or rather, let me say, he was the second choice for President. As the constitution then stood, two were voted for as President, and he who had the smallest number of votes was the Vice-President.
Mr. Jefferson was called home by the father of his country, to fill the high and arduous station of Secretary of State. With what ability he performed its duties, at a period of more than ordinary difficulty, I need not state ; for it is still fresh in the recollection of most of those who hear me.
A second time was Mr. Adams elected to the second office in the country, Washington still filling the first. Before a third election came, the great father of his country announced his determination to retire, bequeathing to his countrymen, in a farewell address, his solemn injunctions and advice, which ought for ever to remain engraven upon their hearts. He thus set the example, now ripened into an established limitation, that the highest office in the government is not to continue in the same hands for a longer period than two constitutional terms.
In this great trust, in dignity and importance the greatest in the world—the first magistrate of a nation of freemen, the first citizen of a republic, selected from millions by their spontaneous choice—in this great trust, Mr. Adams succeeded Washington; Mr. Jefferson having the almost equal honour of being his chosen competitor. Mr. Jefferson was elected Vice-President.
At the expiration of four years they were again competitors. After a contest, still remembered for the eagerness and warmth, I will not say the violence of the parties which then divided the United States, Mr. Jefferson was elected President. Mr. Adams retired from public life.
Mr. Jefferson was a second time chosen to the same high office. As the expiration of this term drew nigh, imitating the dignified example of Washingtion, and, if possible, strengthening its influence by his deliberate opinion, Mr. Jefferson announced his intention to retire. He retired in March, 1809.
Thus terminated the public employment of these eminent men. Thus did they take leave, as it were, of that country, whose welfare had so long engrossed their attention and engaged their anxious labours. Is there a man who would desire now to revive the recollection of the angry feelings, and the warm contention, which prevailed among their fellow citizens during a portion of the latter period of their service? Is there a man among us, who, upon
this occasion, consecrated to the indulgence of virtuous emotion, would consent to disturb the harmony that breathes in the common acknowledgment to the illustrious dead? To obscure the glorious light of the revolution, by seeking to render permanent every cloud that is raised in the gusts of momentary excitement ? Let the truth be told. It is replete with salutary counsel, and it exalts the character of the departed sages. Be it, that they appeared to be rivals. Be it, that they were, for a time, separated and placed in opposition, the leaders of the two great parties in the nation. Did they, therefore, love their country less? Where they less influenced by the sacred ardour, that animated their hearts in the darkest hour of the revolutionary contest? Were they not patriots still, the same lofty and incorruptible patriots, who, on the 4th July, 1776, had pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour?” Did either of them admit a thought, or would either of them, for all the honours the world could bestow, have countenanced a design unfriendly to his country's interests ? Let them answer for themselves, or rather let each answer for the other. The healing influence of time soon allayed the little irritation which conflict had produced. They
looked upon their country, and they saw that she was prosperous and happy. They saw, perhaps, that even the contests of party, angry as they seemed at times to be, yet governed by the spirit of patriotism, were over-ruled for her permanent advantage; that eager discussion had elicited truth, and the solid good sense of a reflecting people had seized and secured whatever was valuable and worthy to be preserved. Both had triumphed in the triumph of their country's welfare. The aged patriots felt that they still were brothers. Their ancient friendship revived. Nothing remained but the remembrance of the scenes in which they had acted so mighty a part. Nothing was heard from either but heartfelt acknowledgements of the other's worth and services. If it had been in the order of Providence to permit one of these illustrious citizens to witness the departure of his associate, the survivor would have been the first whose honoured voice would have been heard to pronounce the eulogy of the departed patriot.
To form an estimate of the merits and services of these distinguished men, far more would be necessary than has been now attempted, or the occasion will allow. I have only selected for reflection some of the principal incidents of their public lives. But let me remind you, that they are characteristic incidents. If you follow them into their respective states, if you follow them into their retirement, whatever may be their employments or pursuits, they are all stamped with the same ardent love of country, the same unaffected reverence for the rights of mankind, the same invincible attachment to the cause of civil and religious freedom.
Great are their names ! Honoured and revered be their memory! Associated with Washington and Franklin, their glory is a precious possession, enriching our annals, and exalting the character of our country.
Greater is the bright example they have left us! More precious the lesson furnished by their lives for our instruc
tion! At this affecting moment, then, when we are assembled to pay the last tribute of respect, let us seriously meditate upon our duties, let us consider, earnestly and anxiously consider, how we shall best preserve those signal blessings which have been transmitted to us—how we shall transmit them unimpaired to our posterity. This is the honour which would have been most acceptable to these illustrious men. This is an appropriate mode of commemorating the event we this day mourn. Let the truths of the Declaration of Independence, the principles of the revolution, the principles of free government, sink deep into our hearts, and govern all our conduct. National independence has been achieved, once and for
It can never be endangered. Time has accumulated strength with a rapidity unexampled. The thirteen colonies, almost without an union, few in numbers, feeble in means, are become in a lapse of fifty years, a nation of twenty-four states, bound together by a common government of their own choice, with a territory doubled by peaceful acquisition, with ten millions of free inhabitants, with a commerce extending to every quarter of the world, and resources equal to every emergency of war or peace. Institutions of humanity, of science, and of literature, have been established throughout the land. Temples have risen to Him who created all things, and by whom all things are sustained, not by the commands of princes or rulers, nor by legal coercion, but from the spontaneous offerings of the human heart. Conscience is absolutely free in the broadest and most unqualified sense. Industry is free; and human action knows no greater control, than is indispensable to the preservation of rational liberty.
What is our duty? To understand, and to appreciate the value of these signal blessings, and with all our might and strength, to endeavour to perpetuate them. To take care that the great sources from which they flow, be not obstructed by selfish passion, nor polluted by lawless ambi
tion, nor destroyed by intemperate violence. To rise to the full perception of the great truth, “ that governments are instituted among men to secure human rights, deriving their authority from the consent of the governed,” and that with a knowledge of our own rights, must be united the same just regard for the rights of others, and pure affection for our country, which dwelt in the hearts of the fathers of the revolution,
In conclusion, allow me to remind you, that with all their doings was mingled a spirit of unaffected piety. In adversity they humbled themselves before Him, whose power is almighty, and whose goodness is infinite. prosperity they gave Him the thanks. In His aid, invoked upon their arms and counsels with sincerity of heart, was their reliance and their hope. Let us also be thankful for the mercies, which as a nation, we have so largely experienced, and as often as we gratefully remember those illustrious men to whom we are indebted, let us not forget that their efforts must have been unavailing, and that our hopes are vain, unless approved by Him; and in humble reliance upon His favour, let us implore His continued blessing upon our beloved country.