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sanguinary tyrant, had been successively over- | servation compelled them to break up a nest of thrown and restored, renewed and altered accord- revellers, * who boasted of protection from the ing to the varying humors and principles of four mother country, and who had recurred to the successive monarchs. To ascertain the precise easy, but pernicious resource of feeding their point of division between the genuine institutions wanton idleness, by furnishing the savages with of Christianity, and the corruptions accumulated the means, the skill
, and the instruments of upon them in the progress of fifteen centuries, European destruction. Toleration, in that inwas found a task of extreme difficulty through- stance, would have been self-murder, and many out the Christian world. Men of the profound other examples might be alleged, in which their est learning, of the sublimest genius, and of the necessary measures of self-defence have been purest integrity, after devoting their lives to exaggerated into cruelty, and their most indisthe research, finally differed in their ideas upon pensable precautions distorted into persecution. many great points, both of doctrine and disci- Yet shall we not pretend that they were exempt pline. The main question, it was admitted on from the common laws of mortality, or entirely all hands, most intimately concerned the high- free from all the errors of their age. Their zeal est interests of man, both temporal and eternal. might sometimes be too ardent, but it was alCan we wonder, that men who felt their happi- ways sincere. At this day, religious indulgence ness here and their hopes of hereafter, their is one of our clearest duties, because it is one worldly welfare and the kingdom of heaven at of our undisputed rights. While we rejoice stake, should sometimes attach an importance that the principles of genuine Christianity have beyond their intrinsic weight to collateral points so far triumphed over the prejudices of a forof controversy, connected with the all-involving mer generation, let us fervently hope for the object of the Reformation? The changes in the day when it will prove equally victorious over forms and principles of religious worship, were the malignant passions of our own. introduced and regulated in England by the In thus calling your attention to some of the hand of public authority. But that hand had not peculiar features in the principles, the character, been uniform or steady in its operations. During and the history of your forefathers, it is as wide the persecutions inflicted in the interval of Popish from my design, as I know it would be from restoration under the reign of Mary, upon all who your approbation, to adorn their memory with favored the reformation, many of the most a chaplet plucked from the domain of others. zealous reformers had been compelled to fly The occasion and the day are more peculiarly their country. While residing on the continent devoted to them, but let it never be dishonored of Europe, they had adopted the principles of with a contracted and exclusive spirit. Our the most complete and rigorous reformation, as affections as citizens embrace the whole extent taught and established by Calvin. On return of the Union, and the names of Raleigh, Smith, ing afterwards to their native country, they Winthrop, Calvert, Penn and Oglethorpe, exwere dissatisfied with the partial reformation, cite in our minds recollections equally pleasing, at which, as they conceived, the English estab- and gratitude equally fervent with those of lishment had rested, and claiming the privi-Carver and Bradford. Two centuries have not leges of private conscience, upon which alone yet elapsed since the first European foot touched any departure from the church of Rome could the soil which now constitutes the American be justified, they insisted upon the right of ad-Union. Two centuries more and our numbers hering to the system of their own preference, must exceed those of Europe herself. The desand of course, upon that of non-conformity to tinies of this empire, as they appear in prospect the establishment prescribed by the royal au- before us, disdain the powers of human calculathority. The only means used to convince them tion. Yet, as the original founder of the Roman of error, and reclaim them from dissent, was State is said once to have lifted upon his shoulforce, and force served but to confirm the op- ders the fame and fortunes of all his posterity, position it was meant to suppress. By driving so let us never forget that the glory and greatthe founders of the Plymouth Colony into exile, ness of all our descendants is in our hands. it constrained them to absolute separation Preserve, in all their purity, refine, if possible, from the church of England, and by the refusal from all their alloy, those virtues which we this afterwards to allow thein a positive toleration, day commemorate as the ornament of our foreeven in this American wilderness, the council fathers. Adhere to them with inflexible resoof James the First rendered that separation lation, as to the horns of the altar; instil them irreconcilable. Viewing their religious liber- with unwearied perseverance into the minds of ties here, as held only upon sufferance, yet your children; bind your souls and theirs to bound to them by all the ties of conviction, and the national Union as the chords of life are cenby all their sufferings for them, could they for tred in the heart, and you shall soar with rapid bear to look upon every dissenter among them- and steady wing to the summit of human glory. selves with a jealous eye? Within two years Nearly a century ago, one of those rare mindst after their landing, they beheld a rival settle- to whom it is given to discern future greatness ment* attempted in their immediate neighbor- in its seminal principles, upon contemplating hood; and not long after, the laws of self-pre
* Morton and his party at Mount Wollaston. * Weston's plantation at Wessagussett.
+ Bishop Berkeley.
the situation of this continent, pronounced in a der of nations, and the Builder of worlds, that
vein of poetic inspiration,
“Westward the Star of empire takes its way.”
what then was prophecy, may continue unfolding into history—that the dearest hopes of the human race may not be extinguished in disappointment, and that the last may prove the
Let us unite in ardent supplications to the Foun-l noblest empire of time.
CHARACTER OF LAFAYETTE.”
Pronounce him one of the first men of his age, and you have yet not done him justice. Try him by that test to which he sought in vain to stimulate the vulgar and selfish spirit of Napoleon; class him among the men who, to compare and seat themselves, must take in the compass of all ages; turn back your eyes upon the records of time; summon from the creation of the world to this day the mighty dead of every age and every clime—and where, among the race of merely mortal men, shall one be found, who, as the benefactor of his kind, shall claim to take precedence of Lafayette : There have doubtless been, in all ages, men, whose discoveries or inventions, in the world of matter or of mind, have opened new avenues to the dominion of man over the material creation; have increased his means or his faculties of enjoyment; have raised him in nearer approximation to that higher and happier condition, the object of his hopes and aspirations in his present state of existence. Lafayette discovered no new principle of politics or of morals. He invented nothing in science. He disclosed no new phenomenon in the laws of nature. Born and educated in the highest order of feudal Nobility, under the most absolute Monarchy of Europe, in possession of an affluent fortune, and master of himself and of all his capabilities at the moment of attaining Inanhood, the principle of republican justice and of social equality took possession of his heart and mind, as if by inspiration from above. He devoted himself, his life, his fortune, his hereditary honors, his towering ambition, his splendid hopes, all to the cause of liberty. He came to another hemisphere to defend her. He became one of the most effective champions of our Independence; but, that once achieved, he returned to his own country, and thenceforward took no o in the controversies which have divided us. n the events of our Revolution, and in the forms of policy which we have adopted for the establishment and perpetuation of our freedom, Lafayette found the most perfect form of government. He wished to add nothing to it. He would gladly have abstracted nothing from it. Instead of the imaginary Republic of Plato, or the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, he took a
* From Mr. Adams's oration on the life and character of Lafayette, delivered before the Congress of the United States, December 31st, 1834. vol. II.-17
practical existing model, in actual operation here, and never attempted or wished more than to apply it faithfully to his own country. It was not given to Moses to enter the promised land; but he saw it from the summit of Pisgah. It was not given to Lafayette to witness the consummation of his wishes in the establishment of a Republic, and the extinction of all hereditary rule in France. His principles were in advance of the age and hemisphere in which he lived. A Bourbon still reigns on the throne of France, and it is not for us to scrutinize the title
by which he reigns. The principles of elective
and hereditary power, blended in reluctant union in his person, like the red and white roses of York and Lancaster, may postpone to aftertime the last conflict to which they must ultimately come. The life of the Patriarch was not long enough for the development of his whole political system. Its final accomplishment is in the womb of time. The anticipation of this event is the more certain, from the consideration that all the principles for which Lafayette contended were practical. He never indulged himself in wild and fanciful speculations. The principle of hereditary power was, in his opinion, the bane of all republican liberty in Europe. Unable to extinguish it in the revolution of 1830, so far as concerned the chief magistracy of the nation, Lafayette had the satisfaction of seeing it abolished with reference to the peerage. An hereditary Crown, stript of the support which it may derive from an hereditary peerage, however compatible with Asiatic despotism, is an anomaly in the history of the Christian world, and in the theory of free government. There is no argument producible against the existence of an hereditary peerage, but applies with aggravated weight against the transmission, from sire to son, of an hereditary Crown. The prejudices and passions of the people of France rejected the principle of inherited power, in every station of public trust, excepting the first and highest of them all; but there they clung to it, as did the Israelites of old to the savory deities of Egypt. This is not the time or the place for a disquisition upon the comparative merits, as a system of government, of a republic, and a monarchy surrounded by republican institutions. Upon this subject there is among us no diversity of opinion; and if it should take the people of France another half century of internal and external war, of dazzling and delusive glories; of unparalleled triumphs, humiliating reverses, and bitter disappointments, to settle it to their satisfaction, the ultimate result can only bring them to the point where we have stood from the day of the Declaration of Independence—to the point where Lafayette would have brought them, and to which he looked as a consummation devoutly to be wished. Then, too, and then only, will be the time when the character of Lafayette will be appreciated at its true value throughout the civilized world. When the principle of hereditary dominion shall be extinguished in all the institutions of France; when government shall no longer be considered as property transmissible from sire to son, but as a trust committed for a limited time, and then to return to the people
whence it came; as a burdensome duty to be discharged, and not as a reward to be abused; when a claim, any claim, to political power by inheritance shall, in the estimation of the whole French people, be held as it now is by the whole people of the North American Union—then will be the time for contemplating the character of Lafayette, not merely in the events of his lif
but in the full development of his intellectu
conceptions, of his fervent aspirations, of the labors and perils and sacrifices of his long and eventful career upon earth; and thenceforward, till the hour when the trump of the Archangel shall sound to announce that Time shall be no more, the name of Lafayette shall stand enrolled upon the annals of our race, high on the list of opure and disinterested benefactors of man