Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

extent.

formity of all his conduct to the it will be striking ; and then it same maxims. These maxims, will be admitted as a model; a though wise, were yet not fo re- precious one to a free Republic. markable for their wisdom, as for It is no less difficult to speak their authority over his life : For of his talents. They were adapif there were any errors in his ted to lead, without dazzling judgment, (and be discovered as mankind; and to draw forth and few as any man) we know of no employ the talents of others, withblemishes in his virtue. He was out being milled by them. In the patriot without reproach: He this he was certainly superior, loved his country well enough to that he neither mistook nor mis. hold his success in serving it an am applied his own. His great mod. ple recompense. Thus far self-love eity and reserve would have conand love of country coincided: But cealed them, if great occasions when his country needed facrifi- had not called them forth ; and ces, that no other man could, or then, as he never spoke from the perhaps would be willing to make, affectation to shine, nor acted he did not even hesitate. This from any finister motives, it is was virtue in its most exalted from their effects only that we character. More than once he are to judge of their greatness and put his fame at hazard, when he

In public trusts, where had reason to think it would be men, acting conspicuously, are sacrificed, at least in this age. cautious, and in those private con

Two instances cannot be deni- cerns, where few conceal or relift ed : When the army was disband- their weaknesses, WASHINGed; and again, when he stood, TON was uniformly great; pur. like LEONIDAS at the pass of suing right canduct from right Thermopylæ, to defend our inde maxims. His talents were fuch, pendence against France.

as assist a sound judgment, and It is indeed almost as difficult ripen with it. His prudence was to draw his character, as the por- consummate, and seemed to take trait of Virtue. The reasons are - the direction of his powers and fimilar. Our ideas of inoral ex- passions; for, as a Soldier, he was cellence are obfcure, because they inore solicitous to avoid mistake's are complex, and we are obliged that might be fatal, than to perto resort to illustrations. WASH. form exploits that are brilliant ; INGTON's example is the hap- and as a Statesman, to adhere to piest to fhew what virtue is; and just principles, however old, than to delineate his character, we nat to pursue novelties; and therefore, urally expiate on the beauty of in both characters, his qualities virtue : Much must be felt, and were fingularly adapted to the inmuch imagined. His pre-emi- terest, and were tried in the greatnence is not so much to be seen in eft perils, of the country. His the display of any one virtue, as 'habits of inquiry were so far in the possession of them all, and markable, that he was never fatisin the practice of the most diffi. fied with investigating, nor detiited cult. Hereafter therefore his from it, so long as he had less character must be studied before than all the light that he could

re.

more rare.

obtain upon a subject; and then ning fame yet courted by it, féen. he made his decilion without bias. ed, like the Ohio, to choose its

This command over the par- long way through solitudes, diffuftialities that fo generally stop men ing fertility; or like his own Poshort, or turn them alide, in their towniac, widening and deepening pursuit of truth, is one of the chief his channel, as he approaches th causes of his unvaried course of sea, and displaying most the useright. conduct in so many difficult fulness and serenity of his greatscenes, where every human actor nefs towards the end of his course. must be presumed to err.

Such a citizen would do honor to If he had strong passions, he any country. The constant venhad learned to subdue them, and

eration and affection of his counto be moderate and mild. If he try will thew, that it was worthy had weaknesses, he concealed them, of such a citizen. which is rare, and excluded them However his military fame from the government of his tem may excite the wonder of man: per and conduct, which is still kind, it is chiefly by his civil

If he loved fame, he magistracy, that his example will never made improper compliances instruct them. Great Generals for what is called popularity. have arisen in all ages of the The fame he enjoyed is of the worid, and perhaps most in thofe kind that will last forever ; yet it of despotism and darkness. In: was rather the effect, than the times of violence and convulsions, motive, of his conduct. Some they rise, by the force of the future PLUTARCH will search for whirlwind, high enough to ride in a parallel to his character. Epam- it, and direct the storm. Like INONDAS is perhaps the brightest meteors, they glare on the black name of all antiquity. Our clouds with a splendor, that, while WASHINGTON resembled it dazzles and terrifies, makes him in the purity and ardor of his nothing visible but the darkness. patriotism ; and like him, he first The fame of heroes is indeed exalted the glory of his country. growing vulgar : They multiply There, it is to be hoped, the par- in every long war: They stand allel ends : For Thebes fell with in history, and thicken in their EPAMINONDAS.

But such com- ranks, almost as undistinguished aš parisons cannot be pursued far, their own soldiers. without departing from the fimili But fuch a Chief Magistrate as tude. For we shall find it as dif- WASHINGTON, appears like ficult to compare great men as. the pole star in a clear sky, to direct

Some we admire the skilful statesman. His prelifor the length and rapidity of their dency will form an cpoch, and current, and the grandeur of their be distinguished as the age of cataracts : others, for the majestic WASHINGTON. Already it silence and fullness of their assumes its high place in the postreams : We cannot bring them litical region. Like the milky together to measure the difference way, it whitens along its allotted of their waters. The unambitious portion of the hemisphere. The life of WASHINGTON, decli- latest generations of men will fur

ver:

great rivers.

vey, through the telescope of hif- Patriots would have chosen to tory, the space where so many consign his fame; it is my earnest virtues blend their rays, and de- prayer to Heaven, that our country light to separate them into groups may fubfift, even to that late day, and distinct virtues. As the best in the plentitude of its liberty and illustration of them, the living happiness, and mingle its mild monument, to which the firit of glory with WASHINGTON's.

THE POLITICAL REVIEW.

No. II:
HERE has always existed the silk-worm in its web, they are

filk in mankind two opposite disposi- content to be obstinately regular, tions, a love of novelty, and an mechanically virtuous, and blindattachment to old usages. The ly happy. Under these different former is ingrafted on curiosity, passions are enlisted the adverse which is found in a greater or partisans, for new fashions, and less degree in every mind; it be- old customs: It is well when comes the ruling passion of the they extend their influence only ardent projector, and is the ignis to the cut of a coat, the shape of fatuus that constantly allures and a head dress, or the minutiæ of bewilders the volatile and un- etiquette.

When either a rage fettled, who spend their time, for novelty; or a blind adherence like the Athenians of old, in- to ancient usages, become the quiring after some new thing." ruling paffion of a man, he resigns The latter is the effect of early the dignity of his nature-reason. attachments, and what some might This should teach him to steer call a contracted, others, perhaps, the middle course between bigotry a prudent education. It is pre- and licentousness : Though it dominant with the ignorant in the have not the charms of novelty, lower grades of society, and the nor the force of instinct or habit, better informed of settled princi- it will dictate him to lean on the ples and systematic habits. safe side, and not to outstrip flow,

One naturally makes the mind progressive improvement for imunstable, by leading it from cer- practicable reformation, tain enjoyment, through the wild One or the other of these prinrout of precarious pleasures; and, ciples have become predominant when it launches into the wide in the public mind of almost all field of speculation, in its rapid countries in all ages. Happily progress of new frivolity, and half moft nations have followed the finished experiments, leaves far safer guide, ånd evinced their atbehind the found maximis of ex. tachment to immemorial usages, periences and the fober dictates which were at first introduced by of truth. The other binds men enlightened ages from their obvito a certain set of customs and ous utility, and have been venerahabits, which they receive by ted by succeeding generations for right of inheritance, or force of their antiquity. Thus in national education; incafcd in these, like institutions, generally speaking,

fuperstition

fuperstition and bigotry are noth- and treasure which this cost; and ing more than ignorance lending we glory in the balance which reits aid to wifdom, and vice yield- mains in our favour. Yet we have ing to virtue. Wisdom thus tar to regret, and have cause to nished, is preferable to fplendid fol- regret seriously, that the purchase ly, and vice thus controlled to daz was not only at the expense of zling licentoufness. The laws blood and treasure, but of those and inftitutions which have existed regular habits of moral rectitude, time out of mind, in most of the firm adherence to wholesome regolder nations of the world, may ulations, which constitute the good be compared to a river rising from citizen, and that national stability, a pure source, but tainted by the which constitutes so important a filth of the soil over which it pas- part of its character. fes in its long progress, till at The European politician, who length, instead of being a benefit furveyed the State of America afto man, it becomes his bane. ter her revolutionary struggle, and Where the human intellect is ma before the adoption of the Federtured by science, and investigation al Constitution, and beheld her takes its free course, the river, to citizens debauched with the luxukeep up the allusion, is fupplied riance of liberty-her several by the continual influx of

pure

States cut off from their former Atreams, and increases in dignity, head, pursuing opposite interests, utility and magnitude, without oppressed with public and private suffering a contamination in its debts, fomented with jealousies, quality.

governed by different and undi. Most of the nations of modern gested laws---each fovereign, and Europe come within this excep all without any common bond to tion, so honourable to the human unite them together while he race, and have neither yielded to surveyed this picture, he prothe iron fceptre of bigotry abso- nounced, and on the authority of lute, nor given the rein to hafty, the experience of ages, that Amerchimerical reformation, that is ica was incapable of self governrich in faith and promises, but ment, and that nothing short of the barren, very barren in good works. voice of Omnipotence could call Among these exceptions England order out of this political chaos. claims an eminent rank.

When thus tottering on the Our forefathers, the Anglo- confines of anarchy, the people of Americans, while under the con America bad discernment to fee trol of Great-Britain, partook of their danger. From their good her habits and adhered to her in- fenfe, to their own honour and the stitutions, as far as circumstances astonishment of Europe, was furpeculiar to their young provinces nished a remedy, anticipated by would admit. Industry, virtue, those who were unacquainted with and steady loyalty, were the lead the genius of our countrymen ia ing traits of the American char- nothing short of foreign interferacter. To complete the charter of ence, or the interposition of a a growing and important nation miracle. one efsential was wanting-Inde In the formation and adoption pendence--we kudw the blood of our present Conftitution, was

found

found a substitute for, if not an ‘ry American of mature years has improvement upon those veaera. a lively recollection of the conble codes. of legislation, which, trast between the state of our counwhile they have received the fanc- try before the adoption of the tion, have also suffered the abuses Constitution, and since to the preof time,

sent time. It is not the intention of the This visible and happy change author, at this time to analyze this in our favour was the obvious effect Constitution, or point out the ex of a wife and energetic system of cellence of its component parts.

national government. From this Without going into particulars, its era may be dated the union of greatest eulogy is to say, that it these States and the existence of. was the offspring of enlightened America as a nation. wisdom, and

calm difpaflionate dif Before the concussions of the cussion. As it was calculated to French revolution reached our secure the best interests of our citi- shores, experience excluded the zens, it was received by them as necessity of reasoning on the Fedbecome independent freemen, from eral Constitution : it said every no other force, but that of convice thing in its favour. All who lovtion, after a deliberate and impar- ed their own interest and security tial examination. It was the fruit approved of the Constitution ; for of no other triumph, but that of it was demonstration to the comwifdom over ignorance and preju- mon sense of all, that it guarded dice. If we might restore to their and promoted both. But those proper signification, words which

were tranquil times. It had not have been shamefully perverted, we yet stood the test of the storm. might emphatically style this Con. A political tempest, which has stitution, the “ Temple of Reason." fhook the firmest fabrics of gov

Our devotion to it is the result ernment in the Old World to their of the understanding, from an ex- base, has since tried its strength periment of its utility. In future and proved its competency to pro. generations, if it stand the test of tect us in times of commotion. time (and Heaven grant it may) Though removed far from this treit will unite the judgment and mendous vortex, we were perhaps the passions of our posterity in its the nearest in real danger. Had support, and receive that venera the poisonous cup of French libtion which is acquired by the fanc- erty been presented to enervated tion of ages. What is our duty Columbia while reeling with the to give it this stability; to unite fume of her own freedom, before passion with understanding in its she was awakened to temperance support ?-In the first place, let and vigilance, and disciplined by us see if it is entitled to our unre the wisdom and energy of the served approbation. If we may general government ; it is not in judge from what we have experi the compass of the mind to imenced, I trust it will be allowed it agine what 'human effort could is; and to something more-our” have saved her from irretrievable gratitude. . To prove this, facts ruin. Instead therefore of conwithout much reflection will sup- sidering the discords which have plý the place of argument-Eve- prevailed among us as owing to

any

« ZurückWeiter »