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gested, have for a long time turned the thoughts of many distinguished citizens to the importance of some more appropriate places of sepulture.

There is a growing sense in the community of the inconveniences and painful associations, not to speak of the unhealthiness of interments beneath our churches. The tide which is flowing with such a steady and widening current into the narrow peninsula of our metropolis, not only forbids the enlargement of the common limits, but admonishes us of the increasing dangers to the ashes of the dead from its disturbing movements. Already in other cities, the church-yards are closing against the admission of new incumbents, and begin to exhibit the sad spectacle of promiscuous ruins and intermingled graves.

We are, therefore, but anticipating at the present moment, the desires, nay, the necessities of the next generation. We are but exercising a decent anxiety to secure an inviolable home for ourselves and our posterity. We are but inviting our children, and their descendants, to what the Moravian Brothers have, with such exquisite propriety, designated as “ The Field of Peace!”

A rural cemetery seems to combine in itself all the advantages which can be proposed to gratify human feelings, or tranquillize human fears; to secure the best religious influences, and to cherish all those associations which cast a cheerful light over the darkness of the grave.

And what spot can be more appropriate than this for such a purpose ? Nature seems to point it out with significant energy, as the favorite retirement of the dead. There are around us all the varied features of her beauty and grandeur—the forest-crowned heights; the abrupt acclivity; the sheltered valley; the deep glen; the glassy glade; and the silent grove. Here are the lofty oak, the beech, that “ wreathes its old fantastic roots so high ; the rustling pine, and the drooping willow; the tree that sheds its pale leaves with every autumn, a fit emblem of our own transitory bloom ; and the evergreen, with its perennial shoots, instructing us, that “the wintry blast of death kills not the buds of virtue.” Here is the thick shrubbery to protect and conceal the new-made grave; and there is the wild flower creeping along the narrow path, and planting its seeds in the upturned earth. All around us there breathes a solemn calm, as if we were in the bosom of a wilderness, broken only by the breeze, as it murmurs through the tops of the forest, or by the notes of the warbler pouring forth his matin or his evening song

Ascend but a few steps, and what a change of scenery to surprise and delight us ! We seem, as it were, in an instant to pass from the confines of death, to the bright and balmy regions of life. Below us flows the winding Charles, with its rippling: current, like the stream of time hastening to the ocean of eternity. In the distance, the city, at once the object of our admiration and our love, rears its proud eminences, its glittering spires, its lofty towers, its graceful mansions, its curling smoke, its crowded haunts of business and pleasure, which speak to the eye, and yet leave a noiseless loneliness on the ear, Again we turn, and the walls of our venerable university rise before us, with many a recollection of happy days passed there in the interchange of study and friendship; and many a grateful thought of the affluence of its learning, which has adorned and nourished the literature of our country. Again we turn, and the cultivated farm, the neat cottage, the village church, the sparkling lake, the rich valley, and

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the distant hills, are before us, through opening vistas; and we breathe amidst the fresh and varied labours of man.

There is, therefore, within our reach, every variety of natural and artificial scenery, which is fitted to awaken emotions of the highest and most affecting character.

We stand, as it were, upon the borders of two worlds; and, as the mood of our minds may be, we may gather lessons of profound wisdom by contrasting the one with the other, or indulge in the dreams of hope and ambition, or solace our hearts by melancholy meditations.

Who is there that, in the contemplation of such a scene, is not ready to exclaim with the enthusiasm of

the poet,

“Mine be the breezy hill, that skirts the down,

Where a green grassy turf is all I crave; With here and there a violet bestrown

Fast by a brook, or fountain's murmuring wave, And many an evening sun shine sweetly on my grave”?

And we are met here to consecrate this spot, by these solemn ceremonies, to such a purpose. The legislature of this Commonwealth, with a parental foresight, has clothed the Horticultural Society with authority, (if I may use its own language,) to make a perpetual dedication of it as a rural cemetery, or burying-ground, and to plant and embellish it with shrubbery, and flowers, and trees, and walks, and other rural ornaments. And I stand here by the order, and in behalf of this society, to declare that, by these services, it is to be deemed henceforth and for ever so dedicated. Mount Auburn, in the noblest sense, belongs no longer to the living, but to the dead. It is a sacred, it is an eternal trust. It is consecrated ground. May it remain for ever inviolate !


What a multitude of thoughts crowd upon the mind in the contemplation of such a scene ! How much of the future, even in its far distant reaches, rises before us with all its persuasive realities! Take but one little narrow space of time, and how affecting are its associations ! Within the flight of one half century, how many of the great, the good, and the wise, will be gathered here ! How many in the loveliness of infancy, the beauty of youth, the vigour of manhood, and the maturity of age, will lie down here, and dwell in the bosom of their mother earth! The rich and the

poor, gay

and the wretched, the favourites of thousands, and the forsaken of the world, the stranger in his solitary grave, and the patriarch surrounded by the kindred of a long lineage! How many will here bury their brightest hopes or blasted expectations ! How many bitter tears will here be shed ! How many agonizing sighs will here be heaved ! How many trembling feet will cross the pathways, and, returning, leave behind them the dearest objects of their reverence or their love ! And if this were all, sad, indeed, and fnnereal would be our thoughts; gloomy, indeed, would be these shades, and desolate these prospects !

But, thanks be to God, the evils which He permits have their attendant mercies, and are blessings in disguise! The bruised reed will not be laid utterly prostrate; the wounded heart will not always bleed; the voice of consolation will spring up in the midst of the silence of these regions of death. The mourner will revisit these shades with a secret, though melancholy pleasure. The hand of friendship will delight to cherish the flowers and the shrubs that fringe the lowly grave or the sculptured monument. The earliest beams of the morning will play upon these summits with refreshing cheerfulness; and the lingering tints of evening hover on them with a

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tranquillizing glow. Spring will invite hither the footsteps of the young by its opening foliage, and Autumn detain the contemplative by its latest bloom. The votary of learning and science will here learn to elevate his genius by the holiest studies ; the devout will here offer up the silent tribute of pity, or the prayer of gratitude; the rivalries of the world will here drop from the heart; the spirit of forgiveness will gather new impulses ; the selfishness of avarice will be checked ; the restlessness of ambition will be rebuked; vanity will let fall its plumes, and pride, as it sees " what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue,” will acknowledge the value of virtue, as far, immeasureably far, beyond that of fame.

But that which will be ever present, pervading these shades like the noon-day sun, and shedding cheerfulness around, is the consciousness, the irrepressible consciousness, amidst all these lessons of human mortality, of the higher truth, that we are beings, not of time, but of eternity; that “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality ; that this is but the threshold and starting point of an existence, compared with whose duration the ocean is but as a drop, nay, the whole creation an evanescent quantity!

Let us banish, then, the thought, that this is to be the abode of a gloom which will haunt the imagination by its terrors, or chill the heart by its solitude. Let us cultivate feelings and sentiments more worthy of ourselves, and more worthy of Christianity. Here let us erect the memorials of our love, and our gratitude, and our glory. Here let the brave repose, who have died in the cause of their country. Here let the statesman rest, who has achieved the victories of peace, not less renowned than war.

Here let genius find a home, that has sung immortal strains, or has instructed with still diviner eloquence. Here let

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