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AT a meeting of the Committee of Arrangements, appointed by the
Citizens of Washington to carry into effect the measures formerly adopted by them to pay suitable honors to the memories of those distinguished patriots, THOMAS JEFFERSON and JOHN ADAMS, who departed this life on the Fourth of July last, being the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Independence of the United States, to the declaration and support of which they eminently contributed, held at the City Hall, on Saturday, the 21st day of October, 1826, the following resolutions were moved by RICHARD BLAND LEE, Esq. and were unanimously adopted by the Committee, viz :
1st. That, in behalf of the citizens of Washington, the thanks of this Committee be tenclered to the Hon. Wm. WIRT, for the able, lucid, and just exposition, in the elegant oration so impressively delivered by him at the Capitol, on Thursday last, the 19th instant, of the tal ts, virtues, and public services, of our lately deceased fellow citizens Thomas JEFFERSON and John Adams, both eminent statesmen and undaunted asserters, amid appalling difficulties and dangers, of the freedom of their own country, and of the rights of man wherever found ; and therefore conspicuous benefactors not only to these United States, but to the whole human race.
2d. That, inasmuch as Mr. Wirt has politely furnished the Committee with a copy of the Oration for publication, the copy-right of the same be secured by the person who shall be employed to print it; and, after reserving one hundred copies for the Committee, to be distributed to literary institutions and individuals in such manner as they may hereafter order, that the residue be sold to defray the expenses of the printing and the publication, and whatever balance may remain be paid into the hands of the Chairman of this Committee, to be by him transmitted to the Trustees appointed to receive the other donations intended for the late THOMAS JEFFERSON, to be applied solely and exclusively to the use of his daughter.
3d. That the Oration be particularly recommended to the youth of our country, as containing a most chaste and classic model of eloquence, and at the same time furnishing the noblest examples of pure and disinterested patriotism, and of an expanded philanthropy, embracing in its beneficence all mankind.
4th. That the Chairman of this Committee be empowered to contract with some suitable person to carry into effect the object of the second resolution.
5th. That the Chairman of the Committee be requested to enclose to Mr. Wirt a copy of the foregoing resolutions.
R. C. WEIGHTMAN, Chairman. Attest-Cu. W. GOLDSBOROUGH, Secretary.
THE scenes which have been lately passing in our country, and of which this meeting is a continuance, are full of moral instruction. They hold up to the world a lesson of wisdom by which all may profit, if Heaven shall grant them the discretion to turn it to its use. The spectacle, in all its parts, has, indeed, been most solemn and impressive; and, though the first impulso be now past, the time has not yet come, and never will it come, when we can contemplate it, without renewed emotion.
In the structure of their characters ; in the course of their action; in the striking coincidences which marked their high career; in the lives and in the deaths of the illustrious men, whose virtues and services we have met to commemorate—and in that voice of admiration and gratitude wbich has since burst, with one accord, from the twelve millions of freemen who people these States, there is a moral sublimity which overwhelms the mind, and hushes all its powers into silent amazement !
The European, who should have heard the sound without apprehending the cause, would be apt to inquire, “What is the meaning of all this? what had these men "done to elicit this unanimous and splendid acclamation ? “Why has the whole American nation risen up, as one “man, to do them honor, and offer to them this enthusi“astic homage of the heart? Were they mighty warriors, “and was the peal that we have heard, the shout of vicstory? Were they great commanders, returning from “their distant conquests, surrounded with the spoils of 6 war, and was this the sound of their triumphal proces66 sion? Were they covered with martial glory in any “ form, and was this the noisy wave of the multitude “rolling back at their approach ?!” Nothing of all this : No; they were peaceful and aged patriots, who, having served their country together, through their long and useful lives, had now sunk together to the tomb. They had not fought battles; but they had formed and moved the great machinery of which battles were only a small, and, comparatively, trivial consequence. They had not commanded armies; but they had commanded the master springs of the nation, on which all its great political, as well as military movements depended. By the wisdom and energy of their counsels, and by the potent mastery of their spirits, they had contributed pre-eminently to produce a mighty Revolution, which has changed the aspect of the world. A Revolution which, in one-half of that world, has already restored man to his long lost liberty," and government to its only legitimate object, the happiness of the People: and, on the other hemi
sphere, has thrown a light so strong, that even the darkness of despotism is beginning to recede. Compared with the solid glory of an achievement like this, what are battles, and what the pomp of war, but the poor and fleeting pageants of a theatre? What were the selfish and petty strides of Alexander, to conquer a little section of a savage world, compared with this generous, this magnificent advance towards the emancipation of the entire world !
And this, be it remembered, has been the fruit of intel. lectual exertion! the triumph of mind! What a proud testimony does it bear to the character of our nation, that they are able to make a proper estimate of services like these! That while, in other countries, the senseless mob fall down, in stupid admiration, before the bloody wheels of the conqueror-even of the conqueror by accidentin this, our People rise, with one accord, to pay their homage to intellect and virtue! What a cheering pledge does it give of the stability of our institutions, that while abroad, the yet benighted multitude are prostrating themselves before the idols which their own hands have fashioned into Kings, here, in this land of the free, our Peo. ple are every where starting up, with one impulse, to follow with their acclamations the ascending spirits of the great Fathers of the Republic ! This is a spectacle of which we may be permitted to be proud. It honors our country no less than the illustrious dead. And could those great Patriots speak to us from the tomb, they would tell us that they have more pleasure in the testimony which these honors bear to the character of their
country, than in that which they bear to their individual services. They now see as they were seen, while in the body, and know the nature of the feeling from which these honors flow. It is love for love. It is the gratitude of an enlightened nation to the noblest order of benefactors. It is the only glory worth the aspiration of a generous spirit. Who would not prefer this living tomb in the hearts of his countrymen, to the proudest mausoleum that the Genius of Sculpture could erect !
Man has been said to be the creature of accidental position. The cast of his character bas been thought to depend, materially, on the age, the country, and the circunstances, in wbich he has lived. To a considerable extent, the remark is, no doubt, true. Cromwell, had he been born in a Republic, might bave been "gailtless of his country's blood;" and, but for those civil commotions which had wrought his great mind into tempest, even Milton might have rested mute and inglorious.” The occasion is, doubtless, necessary to develop the talent, whatsoever it may be ; but the talent must exist, in embryo at least, or no occasion can quicken it into life. And it must exist, too, under the check of strong virtues; or the same occasion that quickens it into life, will be extremely apt to urge it on to crime. The hero who finished his career at St. Helena, extraordinary as he was, is a far more common character in the history of the world, than he who sleeps in our neighborhood, embalıned in his country's tears-or than those whoni we have now met to mourn and to honor.