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Athenians, the funeral oration of their countrymen slain at Chæronea. An intense anxiety on the skirts of the crowd to approach nearer so as to hear, produced a slight disorder, which was soon quieted; and Mr Websler spake thus :
“ This uncounted multitude before me, and around me, proves the feeling which the occasion has excited. These thousands of human faces, glowing with sympathy and joy, and, from the impulses of a common gratitude, turned reverently to heaven, in this spacious temple of the firmament, proclaim that the day, the place, and the purpose of our assembling have made a deep impression on our hearts.
“ If, indeed, there be any thing in local association fit to affect the mind of man, we need not strive to repress the emotions which agitate us here. We are among the sepulchres of our fathers. We are on ground, distinguished by their valor, their constancy, and the shedding of their blood. We are here, not to fix an uncertain date in our annals, nor to draw into notice an obscure and unknown spot. If our humble purpose had never been conceived, if we ourselves had never been born, the 17th of June 1775 would have been a day on which all subsequent history would have poured its light, and the eminence where we stand, a point of attraction to the eyes of successive generations."
After slightly glancing at the first settlers of New England, he sets forth the origin and object of the Bunker Hill Monument Association. It is all sensible, some of it powerful; it concludes thus :
“ We wish, finally, that the last object on the sight of him who leaves his native shore, and the first to gladden his who revisits it, may be something which shall remind him of the liberty and the glory of his country. Let it rise, till it meet the sun in his coming ; let the earliest light of the morning gild it, and parting day linger and play on its summit.”
Next follows a rapid enumeration of the great events which have taken place since the battle of Bunker Hill; the accomplishment of our own Revolution; the erection of “twentyfour sovereign states;” the forming of a general government over them all, so safe, so wise, so free, so practical, that we might well wonder its establishment should have been accomplished so soon, were it not far the greater wonder that it should have been established at all;" the rapid augmentation of our population, revenues, and “navies, which take no law from superior force;" the "mighty revolution of Europe, which has dashed against one another thrones that had stood
tranquil for centuries;” those of South America, and the annihilation of European power from the place where he spoke to the south pole.” These events, “ so numerous and important that they might crowd and distinguish centuries,” he said, were in our times“ compressed within the compass
of a single life”—the life of many of those who took part in the battle, from which they all took their date. By this easy and graceful transition Mr Webster comes to address the remnant of the men of ’75; who spontaneously rose up and listened to these words :
« VENERABLE MEN! you have come down to us from a former generation. Heaven has bounteously lengthened out your lives, that you might behold this joyous day. You are now, where you stood, fifty years ago, this very hour, with your brothers, and your neighbours, shoulder to shoulder, in the strife for your country. Behold, how altered! The same heavens are indeed over your heads; the same ocean rolls at your feet; but all else, how changed ! You hear now no roar of hostile canzon, you see no mixed volumes of smoke and flame rising from burning Charlestown. The ground strewed with the dead and the dying ; the impetuous charge ; the steady and successful repulse ; the loud call to repeated assault; the summoning of all that is manly to repeated resistance; a thousand bosoms freely and fearlessly bared in an instant to whatever of terror there may be in war and death ;all these you have witnessed, but you witness them no more. All is peace. The heights of yonder metropolis, its towers and roofs, which you then saw filled with wives and children and countrymen in distress and terror, and looking with unutterable emotions for the issue of the combat, have presented you to-day with the sight of its whole happy population, come out to welcome and greet you with an universal jubilee. Yonder proud ships, by a felicity of position appropriately lying at the foot of this mount, and seeming fondly to cling around it, are not means of annoyance to you, but your country's own means of distinction and defence. All is peace; and God has granted you this sight of your country's happiness, ere you slumber in the grave forever. He has allowed you to behold and to partake the reward of your patriotic toils; and he has allowed us, your sons and countrymen, to meet you here, and in the name of the present generation, in the naine of your country, in the name of liberty, to thank you !"
The succeeding part is addressed to the Revolutionary survivors, and is followed by a brief view of the causes which produced, the spirit which accompanied, and the immediate consequences which followed, this first battle of the Revolution.
The encomium passed upon the Revolutionary state papers gave us particular pleasure. With equal pleasure did we listen to the just tribute feelingly paid to the humanity and disinterestedness shown by the people of Salem, on the occasion of shutting the port of Boston. The plan of the British ministry was to punish Boston and seduce Salem ; to distress some towns, to bribe others, and to terrify all; and certainly in itself the measure was well calculated to succeed.
“The temptation to profit by the punishment of Boston was strongest to our neighbours of Salem. Yet Salem was precisely the place, where this miserable proffer was spurned, in a tone of the most lofty self-respect, and the most indignant patriotism. * We are deeply affected,' said its inhabitants, with the sense of our public calamities; but the miseries that are now rapidly hastening on our brethren in the capital of the Province, greatly excite our commiseration. By shutting up the port of Boston, some imagine that the course of trade might be turned hither and to our benefit; but we must be dead to every idea of justice, lost to all feelings of humanity, could we indulge a thought to seize on wealth, and raise our fortunes on the ruin of our suffering neigh
Among the other immediate consequences of the battle was the making of our cause and our character more generally known, and the producing of a conviction that America was in earnest, and if she fell would not fall without a struggle. This knowledge and this conviction reached the ears and the heart of a youthful and disinterested friend, who, by the signal favor of Heaven, was now again among us, and, rising from his seat, received the following just and noble tribute of respect and gratitude:
“ Sir, we are assembled to commemorate the establishment of great public principles of liberty, and to do honor to the distinguished dead. The occasion is too severe for eulogy to the living. But, sir, your interesting relation to this country, the peculiar circumstances which surround you and surround us, call on me to express the happiness which we derive from your presence and aid in this solemn commemoration.
“Fortunate, fortunate man! with what measure of devotion will you not thank God for the circumstances of your extraordinary life! You are connected with both hemispheres and with two generations. Heaven saw fit to ordain, that the electric spark of Liberty should be conducted, through you, from the new world to the old ; and we, who are now here to perform this du
ty of patriotism, have all of us long ago received it in charge from our fathers to cherish your name and your virtues. You will account it an instance of your good fortune, sir, that you crossed the seas to visit us at a time which enables you to be present at this solemnity. You now behold the field, the renown of which reached you in the heart of France, and caused a thrill in your ardent bosom. You see the lines of the little redoubt thrown
up by the incredible diligence of Prescott; defended, to the last extremity, by his lion-hearted valor ; and within which the corner stone of our monument has now taken its position. where Warren fell, and where Parker, Gardner, McCleary, Moore, and other early patriots fell with him. Those who survived that day, and whose lives have been prolonged to the present hour, are now around you. Some of them you have known in the trying scenes of the war. Behold! they now stretch forth their feeble arms to embrace you. Behold! they raise their trembling voices to invoke the blessing of God on you, and yours, forever.
Sir, you have assisted us in laying the foundation of this edifice. You have heard us rehearse, with our feeble commendation, the pames of departed patriots. Sir, monuments and eulogy belong to the dead. We give them, this day, to Warren and his associates. On other occasions they have been given to your more immediate companions in arms, to Washington, to Greene, to Gates, Sullivan, and Lincoln. Sir, we have become reluctant to grant these, our highest and last honors, further. We would gladly hold them yet back from the little remnant of that immortal band. Serus in cælum redeas. Illustrious as are your merits, yet far, oh, very far distant be the day, when any inscription shall bear your name, or any tongue pronounce its eulogy !"
The remaining part of the address is taken up in describing the more remote consequences of this battle and of our Revolution,—the progress of knowledge and rational government,—the convulsions, the sufferings, and the improvement of society within these fifty years.
The revolutions of France, South America, and Greece, form the leading topics of this part. The whole description of South American emancipation is beautiful and sublime, but too long for our limits. Several particular remarks have suggested themselves touching many portions of this address; but we must waive them for the present, and confine ourselves to one or two that are very general.
The first and most material one is, that this address contains, in some part or other, about all the prominent doctrines which should enter into the political creed of a citizen of this
country. It appears to us, that the feelings expressed in this discourse are those which arise naturally out of the condition and institutions of our country; that the principles put forth in it are those in which all patriotic, enlightened, and highminded Americans must cordially agree. They are not English nor French, federal nor democratic, but American. America, “our Country,” is this great statesman's Shibboleth.
Our next reinark goes to the style and manner. Mr Webster, as an orator, is decidedly of the Demosthenian school ; and we have more than once, in other places, designated him as the Demosthenes of America, and we may add, of Greece also. It is extremely difficult to institute a comparison between illustrious orators of ancient and modern times, on account of the different states of science and general education, the very different manner of conducting the administration at home, and negotiations and wars abroad. What was eloquence then, is not necessarily so now; what was eloquence at Athens, may or may not be eloquence here. We well recollect a sensible and liberal remark, with which one of our cotemporaries at the university closed a successful prize dis. sertation on this subject. After a general view of the characteristics of ancient oratory, and of the manner and style of its two great ornaments, and after comparing them with some distinguished British orators, he concludes, that “ Chalham and Burke, though different from both, were not inferior to either.” If the structure and arrangement of Mr Webster's sentences were equal to the beauty and grandeur of his conceptions, he would be, in our times, facile princeps, clearly the first. We have heard most of the celebrated orators of this generation, and we have no hesitation in saying, that in native vigour and grasp of intellect, in the powers of comprehension and concentration, in that majestic movement of spirit, which bears onward the reason and the feelings of the hearer, be is without a rival on either side of the Atlantic. We however feel it due to our critical character to mention one fault, which occurs more or less in all this gentleman's performances; namely, dryness, jejuneness. The barrenness of his language often presents a strange contrast with the richness of his thoughts. We are aware that we expose ourselves to have a favourite poet cited against us. But we appeal to the decision of all nations, civilized and savage, to settle the point. Their decision is, that the most beautiful person should be dressed with some degree of art and ornament. To a truly