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(20 August, 1785.)-Subsequent to the date of mine in which I gave my idea of Lafayette, I had other opportunities of penetrating his character. Though his foibles did not disappear, all the favorable traits presented themselves in a stronger light, on closer inspection. He certainly possesses talents which might figure in any line. If he is ambitious, it is rather of the praise which virtue dedicates to merit than of the homage which fear renders to power. His disposition is naturally warm and affectionate, and his attachment to the United States unquestionable. Unless I am grossly deceived, you will find his zeal sincere and useful, whenever it can be employed on behalf of the United States without opposition to the essential interests of France.
PLEA FOR A REPUBLIC, ALTHOUGH A NEW FORM
(From the "Federalist,” 14th No.) But why is the experiment of an extended Republic to be rejected, merely because it may comprise what is new? Is it not the glory of the people of America, that, whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this manly spirit posterity will be indebted for the possession, and the world for the example, of the numerous improvements displayed on the American theatre in favor of private rights and public happiness. Had portant step been taken by the leaders of the Revolution for which a precedent could not be discovered; no government established of which an exact model did not present
itself,—the people of the United States might, at this moment, have been numbered among the melancholy victims of misguided counsels ; must, at best, have been laboring under the weight of some of those forms which have crushed the liberties of the rest of mankind. Happily for America, -happily, we trust, for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society. They reared the fabrics of government, which have no model on the face of the globe. They formed the design of a great Confederacy, which it is incumbent on their successors to improve and perpetuate. If their works betray imperfections, we wonder at the fewness of them. If they erred most in the structure of the Union, this was the work most difficult to be executed; this is the work which has been new-modelled by the act of your convention; and it is that act on which you are now to deliberate and decide.
CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON.
(“drawn by Mr. Madison, amid the tranquil scenes of his own final retirement; and intended
for his family and friends.")
The strength of his character lay in his integrity, his love of justice, his fortitude, the soundness of his judgment, and his remarkable prudence; to which he joined an elevated sense of patriotic duty, and a reliance on the enlightened and impartial world as the tribunal by which a lasting sentence on his career would be pronounced. Nor was he without the advantage of a stature and figure which, however insignificant when separated from greatness of character, do not fail, when combined with it, to aid the attraction. What particularly distinguished him was a modest
dignity, which at once commanded the highest respect and inspired the purest attachment.
Although not idolizing public opinion, no man could be more attentive to the means of ascertaining it. In comparing the candidates for office, he was particularly inquisitive as to their standing with the public, and the opinion entertained of them by inen of public weight. On the important questions to be decided by him, he spared no pains to gain information from all quarters; freely asking from all whom he held in esteem, and who were intimate with him, a free communication of their sentiments; receiving with great attention the arguments and opinions offered to him; and making up his own judgment with all the leisure that was permitted.
ST. GEORGE TUCKER.
1752-1828. ST. GEORGE Tucker was born in the Bermudas, came early in life to Virginia, where he married in 1778 Mrs. Frances Bland Randolph, and thus became stepfather to John Randolph of Roanoke. He was a distinguished jurist, professor of law at William and Mary College, presidentjudge of the Virginia Court of Appeals, and judge of the United States District Court of Virginia.
Poems : · Days of My Youth, and Dissertation on Slavery : Letters others.
Alien and Sedition Laws. Probationary Odes of Jonathan Pindar, Annotated Edition of Blackstone, Esq., [Satires).
Dramas, (unpublished). Commentary on the Constitution.
In addition to his ability as a writer, he possessed fine literary taste; and his personal character was marked by great amiability, courtliness, and patriotism.
RESIGNATION, OR DAYS OF MY YOUTH.
Days of my youth,
Ye have glided away;
Ye are frosted and gray:
Your keen sight is no more ;
Ye are furrowed all o'er,
All your vigor is gone;
Days of my youth,
I wish not your recall ;
I'm content ye should fall;
You much evil have seen;
Bathed in tears have you been;
You have led me astray;
Why lament your decay ?
Days of my age,
Ye will shortly be past;
Yet a while ye can last;
In true wisdom delight;