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ests of party, or fan the flames of public dissension. In perfect consistence with this observation permit me to remark, that it appears to me highly presumptuous to attempt to scan the secret purpose of the Deity, in this dispensation, by assigning it to specific moral causes. His ways are in the great deep, and his paths past finding out. That it ought to be considered as a signal rebuke and chastisement, designed to bring our sins to remembrance, there is no doubt; but to attempt to specify the particular crimes and delinquencies which have drawn down this visitation is inconsistent with the modesty which ought to accompany all inquiries into the mysteries of Providence; and especially repugnant to the spirit which this most solemn and affecting event should inspire. At a time when every creature ought to tremble under the judgments of God, it ill becomes us to indulge in reciprocal recrimination, and when the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint, it is not for the members to usurp the seat of judgment by hurling mutual accusations and reproaches against each other. Are there not sufficient provocations to be found in all ranks and classes, from the lowest to the highest, to justify and account for these and still greater severities ?-or is it necessary to look farther for the vindication of the equity of the divine proceeding than to the open impiety and profaneness, the perjury and injustice, the profanation of the Sabbath and contempt of sacred things, the profligacy of the lower and the irreligion and impurity of the higher orders, which, notwithstanding the multitude of splendid exceptions, still form the national character ?
That we are a people severely scourged and corrected, none will deny ; but that we have turned to him that smiteth us, it would be presumption to assert. Yet if any people were ever more forcibly reminded of the interposition of Providence than another, it is certain we are that people; having been conducted through the most intricate and mysterious paths, in such a manner as totally to confound the wisdom of the wise and the understanding of the prudent, both in our adverse and prosperous fortunes. Preserved amid the wreck of nations and the hurricane of revolution, which swept for twenty years over the face of Europe with ruin and desolation in its train, we have not only been permitted to maintain our soil unviolated and our independence unimpaired, but have come forth from a contest of unparalleled difficulty and extent with a more splendid reputation and in a more commanding attitude than we possessed at any former period. Our successes, both by sea and land, have been so brilliant and decisive that it is not easy to determine whether we have acquired most glory as a military or a maritime power; while our achievements on each element have been such as to distance all competition. A profound peace has at length succeeded to a scene of hostilities which, for the fourth part of a century, covered the earth with armies, shook every kingdom to its basis, and ravaged and depopulated the fairest portion of the globe. But what has been the issue? We have retired from the combat, successful indeed beyond our most sanguine expectations, but bleeding, breathless, exhausted; with symptoms of internal weakness and decay, from which, if we ever entirely recover, it must be
when the present generation has disappeared from the earth. When was it ever known before that peace was more destructive than war? --that a people were more impoverished by their victories than their defeats ? and that the epoch of their glory was the epoch of their sufferings ? Peace, instead of being the nurse of industry and the harbinger of plenty, as the experience of ages had taught us to expect, has brought poverty, discontent, and distress in her train ; inflicting all the privations of a state of hostility without its hopes, and all the miseries of war without its splendour. What but an Omnipotent hand could have infused such venom into the greatest of blessings as utterly to transform its nature, and cause it to produce some of the worst effects of a curse?
While we were engaged in the fearful struggle which has at length been so successfully terminated, it pleased the great Ruler of nations to visit our aged, beloved, and revered monarch with one of the most dreadful calamities incident to human nature, the pressure of which still continues, we fear, with unabated severity. While we are deeply moved at the awful spectacle of majesty labouring under a permanent and hopeless eclipse, we are consoled with the reflection that he walked in the light while he possessed the light; that as long as the exercise of reason was continued, he communed with eternal truth ; and that from the shades which now envelop him he will, at no very distant period, emerge into the brightness of celestial vision.
Though it may be difficult to conceive of a series of events more likely to awe the mind to a sense of the power and presence of the Deity than those we have witnessed, he has thought fit to address us once more, if not in louder, yet in more solemn and affecting accents. An unexampled depopulation of the species by the sword had indeed nearly rendered death the most familiar of all spectacles, and left few families unbereaved ; but neither the narrative of battles nor the sight of carnage are best suited to inculcate the lessons of mortality; nor are the moral features of that last enemy ever less distinctly discerned than in the moments when he is most busy, or on those fields of slaughter where he appears the principal agent. The "pomp and circumstance of war," the tumultuous emotions of the combatants, and the eager anxiety of the contending parties, attentive to the important political consequences attached to victory and defeat, absorb every other impression and obstruct the entrance of serious and pensive reflection.
How different the example of mortality presented on the present occasion ? Without the slightest warning, without the opportunity of a moment's immediate preparation, in the midst of the deepest tranquillity, at midnight, a voice was heard in the palace, not of singing men and singing women, not of revelry and mirth, but the cry, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh. The mother, in the bloom of youth, spared just long enough to hear the tidings of her infant's death, almost immediately, as if fimmoned by his spirit, follows him into eternity. “ It is a night much to be remembered.” Who foretold this event, who conjectured it, who detected at a distance the faintest presage of
its approach, which, when it arrived, mocked the efforts of human skill, as much by their incapacity to prevent, as their inability to foresee it? Unmoved by the tears of conjugal affection, unawed by the presence of grandeur and the prerogatives of power, inexorable Death hastened to execute his stern commission, leaving nothing to royalty itself but to retire and weep. Who can fail to discern, on this awful occasion, the hand of Him who bringeth princes to nothing, who maketh the judges of the earth as vanity ; who says, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown; yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth; and he shall blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble ?
It is better, says Solomon, to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to heart. While there are few who are not, at some season or other, conducted to that house, a nation enters it on the present visitation, there to learn, in the sudden extinction of the heiress of her monarchy, the vanity of all but what relates to eternity and the absolute necessity of having our loins girt, our lamps burning, and ourselves as those who are looking for the coming of the Bridegroom.
We presume there are none who can survey this signal interposition of Providence with indifference, or refrain from “laying it to heart.” No, illustrious princess, it will be long ere the name of Charlotte Augusta is mentioned by Britons without tears; remote posterity also, which shall peruse thy melancholy story, will “ lay it to heart," and will be tempted to ask, why no milder expedient could suffice to correct our levity, and make us mindful of our latter end; while they look back with tender pity on the amiable victim, who seems to have been destined by the inscrutable wisdom of Providence to warn and edify that people by her death which she was not permitted, to the extent of her ambition, to benefit by her life.
Should her lamented and untimely end be the means of giving that religious impulse to the public mind which shall turn us to righteousness, the benefits she will have conferred upon her country in both worlds will more than equal the glories of the most prosperous and extended reign.