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faithful, and sound, and solemn advice, of which the following is a single specimen :
“ Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, the firmest props of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it be simply asked, Where is the security for property-for reputationfor life,-if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference on attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ? Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”
To that retirement to which he had looked forward with eager desire, Washington was now about to withdraw ; but before bidding his adieu to Congress for ever, he concluded his unprecedented address in the following terms:
“ Though, in reviewing the incidents of administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects, not to think it probable that I may have committed many er. rors. Whatever they may be, 1 fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend ! I shall also carry with me the hope, that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest. Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate, with pleasing expectation, that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws, under a free government, the ever-favourite object of my heart, and the happy reward as, I trust, of our mutual cares, and labours, and dangers.”
In witnessing such a resignation after such a life, without doubt we see a man, in this his retirement, far greater than the mightiest conqueror at the very summit of his ambition, since it requires much less magnanimity to win the conquest, than to refuse the spoil.
Now, in tracing this character to its origin and infancy, it is certain that his Parents enjoy the honour of having so far formed it; and, but for maternal tenderness, it is probable that we should scarcely have known of such a man. Under the
of his parents he was reared up from infancy. His father died when he was about ten years old ; and from the language employed, his watchfulness over his son may
be inferred; for we are informed that “ the care of his education then devolved on his mother.” It was, however, but a few years after this, when he discovered a strong predilection for the sea; and an inferior situation on board of ship was in prospect, when the influence of a Mother, who had paid such judicious attention to this her child, was not exerted in vain. The place was actually procured, and, but for her, at the age of fifteen, he had become merely a midshipman in the British navy! She alone prevented a step which would probably have changed the whole course of his future life; and thus, as far as Washington's influence is granted, to the judgment and bosom of a single parent, and that a Mother and a Widow, may the present political enjoyments, and the future usefulness of America be traced !
The course of Divine Providence has often been compared to a chain; but there is one peculiarity in this chain, on which the careful observer, in every age, has gazed with pleasing astonishment,--the almost imperceptible minuteness of some of its links, compared with the vast magnitude of others. So it has been supposed, if a private country gentleman, about the year 1730, had not been overturned in his carriage, that America, instead of being as at this moment, might have continued a dependent colony of England. This country gentleman happened to be Augustine Washington, Esq., who was thus providentially thrown into the company of a lady, who afterwards became his wife, and the envied mother of George Washington!
“ Just so, th' Omnipotent who turns
Events of most important use. In conclusion, however, I cannot help remarking, that one secret of this great man's successful career seems to have been owing to his tracing, throughout his whole life, in such an exemplary manner, so distinctly and so frequently, all the incidents in the American struggle, not to human instrumentality, but to the finger of Providence.
SIR WILLIAM JONES.-In point of talent and variety of acquirements, Sir William Jones is generally allowed to have possessed the attributes of a great mind. In the short space of forty-seven years, he had acquired a knowledge of arts, sciences, and languages, which has seldom been equalled, and scarcely, if ever, surpassed. As a philologist, especially, he had no rival. Among eight languages which he had studied critically, are found the first of Eastern as well as Western tongues. Eight more, though he had studied them less perfectly, were quite intelligible with a dictionary; and twelve more, though studied least perfectly, were to him all attainable. He might be acquainted with others, but the number here distinctly specified, in a private memorandum of his own, is twenty-eight! At so early an age as that of eighteen, we find him, when at home, of which he was very fond, reading the best authors in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, following, in all respects, the plan of education recommended by Milton, which he had by heart; and thus, to use his own words, “ with the fortune of a peasant, giving himself the education of a prince." This wonderful man, however, actually disdained the character of a mere linguist; regarding languages as nothing more than the keys of learning, which qualified him to unlock the literary hoards of ancient and modern times. His profound learning he therefore employed in elucidating the laws, the philosophy, and opinions of most nations. He died at the early age of forty-seven: but fourteen years before this, the following memorandum, in his own handwriting, will explain the purposes to which he intended to apply his learning; “ Anno Ætat. 33. Resolved to learn no more rudiments of any kind, but to perfect myself in first 12 languages, as the means of acquiring accurate knowledge of, I. The HISTORY, 1. of Man ; 2. Nature. II. Arts, 1. Rhetoric; 2. Poetry; 3. Painting ; 4. Music. III.-1. Law; 2. Mathematics ; 3. Dialectick. N. B. Every species of human knowledge may be reduced to one or other of these divisions. Even law belongs partly to the history of man; partly as a science to dialectick. The twelve languages are— Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, German, English.”
Many disquisitions, since published, were the fruit of this resolution; and it is remarkable, that whether they are philological or philosophical, chronological or botanical, they, as well as all his historical researches, not only fix the attention by their novelty, their depth, and their importance, but uniformly delight by their elegance of diction.
Viewed in connexion with these uncommon literary acquirements, there were several moral qualities which have not failed to raise the man as much as the scholar in public esteem. Humility or condescension, modesty, humanity, and unbending integrity, were distinguishing traits in his character. The first of these was displayed, we are informed, in “ the candour and complacency with which he gave his attention to all persons of whatever quality, talents, or education ; for it was a conclusion and a principle with him, that curious and important information might be gained even from the illiterate; and wherever it was to be found, he sought and seized it.” For his modesty, I