ページの画像
PDF
ePub

filial piety place those sacred remains perfectly secured in a national mausoleum, under the eye, and in the safe-keeping of all future generations. We are told that the last will and testament of Washington, points out the place and directs the manner of his interment; and if we remove his bones from their present repository, we shall violate that will, and set at defiance principles dear to all civilized nations. Did indeed, then, this great man by his will prohibit this people from doing honor to his remains, by placing them in a mausoleum more suitable to his illustrious life, and to the gratitude of Americans? He, like all Christian men, directed by his last will, that his body should have Christian burial; and prescribed the manner, and selected the place for that purpose. How shall we expound that will? It has been expounded for us; and that too by one, who was the partner of his perils and triumphs, his labors and councils. One, who shared with him all life could give —and stood by him in the hour of dissolution. Think you, that she would have violated his will: and that too, in the beginning of her bereavement; in the first dark hours of her earthly desolation? “Taught by his great example,” she gave up those remains at the call of her country. For to her, as in life to him, the nation was their family; the whole people were their children. What man can believe, that this distinguished woman, alike beloved and honored by a whole people, would have given her consent to the removal, requested by the whole Congress in 1799, if she had believed what the gentleman from South Carolina now tells us, that such removal would have violated his last will, and been a sacrilege committed against the sanctuary of the tomb { Sir, how often has the attention of the nation been called to this great consummation, so devoutly wished by all the people! How often has the arrangement of 1799 come to the public ear, from that estimable man, the grandson of that illustrious matrons How often have we heard from him, not in the language of rebuke, which was merited; no, nor of complaint which he might justly utter; but in the language of deep and heartfelt regret, that the bones of Washington were mouldering into dust, at a distance from that mausoleum, which the gratitude of his country had already prepared for them It cannot then, sir, it cannot be said, that the consent of the family will be wanted for us to do, what seems to have been so earnestly desired by them. I cannot, sir, join in the pious incantation of some gentlemen, who would, in imagination, call up the mighty dead, and put them to inquisition, concerning these obsequies. Who, if he might, would bring back from the blessedness of heaven, to the cares of earth, one purified spirit; or for a moment interrupt the felicities of those realms of reality, by any thing which agitates human feelings, in this region of dust and shadows 7 Permit me to learn from his life, what his country may, with propriety, do

with his remains, after his death. When that immortal soul, now as we trust in beatitude, inhabited and animated his mortal part, where was the place, what was the service to which the voice of his country called him, and he was not there? In the toils of war, in the councils of peace, he was, soul and body, devoted to that people, whom he labored through life to build up into one great nation. Should that body think you, sir, at this time be less at the service of his country, than when alive with the imperishable soul it was Washington, and walked the world, for human welfare? If his whole life doth tell us, that he placed himself at the call of his country, then truly where should all that remains of him, be finally found, but where the same voice would place them? We would not, in the language of the gentleman from South Carolina, raise over him “a pyramid, a monument, like the eternal mountains.” . No, Eri, the folly of ancient ambition has perished from the earth, while these its monuments still stand unmoved upon its surface. This House, we trust, will endure as long as this nation endures. Let this be the Mausoleum of Washington. We would place his remains in the cemetery built for that purpose, under the centre of that dome which covers the Rotundo. Directly over this on that floor, in accordance with the Resolution two years ago submitted to this House, we would erect a pedestrian statue of that man, sufficiently colossal, and placed on a pedestal so high and massy as might be required to fill and satisfy the eye, in the centre of that broad and lofty room, which, probably, has no equal in the architecture of the world. The ever-during marble will give to coming generations the form and the features of Washington; and the traveller of future ages shall learn where he may find his tomb. This House, this, Mausoleum of one, who, prospered by Divine assistance, performed more for his country and for the human race, than any other mortal, shall be a place of pilgrimage for all nations. Hither will come the brave, the wise, the good, from every part of our country; not to worship, but to stand by the sepulchre and to relume the light of patriotism at the monument of Washington. We must with deep and anxious regret have perceived, that Virginia prefers her separate and exclusive claim to these venerated remains. It will never be forgotten, that Washington was a son of that distinguished State. Is not this honor enough to gratify the ambition of any people of any region of our earth? Why so avaricious of his glory, which like that of the sun falls with no diminished brightness on one region, because it shines on a thousand others? She needs it not. She will still have sons enough, warmed with noble ambition, to perfect and preserve the fabric of her glory. Washington was born, and lived for his country. Let the mighty base of his fame extend to his country, his united country, and to every part of it. Then shall the young and the aspiring, in every region of our land, and through all coming generations, whether of humble or elevated origin, read the history of the great and the good; here they shall see by what monumental honors his country has consecrated his name; and thus, he who lived the most perfect man of one age, shall become the great and enduring model for all future time. Let me, then, in behalf of our common country, implore Virginia, and the distinguished sons of Virginia now in this Hall, to look to a consummation of the arrangement of 1799. I do entreat them now to recollect and regard the unanimity of a no less distinguished delegation then, as worthy of all imitation. Let Virginia, “the fruitful mother of heroes and statesmen,” not disregard the memory of her most illustrious matron, who, at the call of her country, surrendered her own individual and peculiar affection, to the promptings of a glorious patriotism. At first, I confess it did appear to me that there might be something, in the removal of these remains, inappropriate to a birth-day celebration. It is not so. These two days, that of his birth, and that of this celebration, are separated by the whole duration of an hundred years. Between these two points, what a tide of events has rolled over the world! When the eye of recollection looks back to

wards that birth-day morning, what a succession of benefits, blessings, glories, seem to have been lighted up by that auspicious sun' Our Independence, institutions, government, with all their concomitant excellences, we behold; and in all, the mighty agency of Washington | He seems to stand on earth among us, in the midst of his achievements, to receive our gratitude, and to witness his own fame. If we carry in procession these mouldering remains, it will help to bring us back to a perception of our common allotment, and teach us to realize his and our own mortality. In the midst of our gratulations, that such a man was born, we shall have before our eyes the memorial, that such a man has died; and the joys of the Centennial Birth-Day shall be chistened by those teachings of wisdom which remind us that no human life, no sublunary good, can endure for eVer. Let us then be permitted to hope that this nation may now, at last, discharge its high obligation to that venerated family, by doing appropriate honors to the remains of this most illustrious man; so that, hereafter, the filial piety of no son or daughter of America may be agitated with the anxious fear, that some felonious hand may violate the sanctuary of his tomb, and give to a foreign land the glory of being the Mausoleum of WASHINGTON.

WILLIA M H U NTER.

WILLIAM HUNTER was born in Newport, Rhode Island, in the year 1776. His father, of the same name, was a Scotch physician, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. Having joined the Pretender, in his professional capacity, he found it necessary to embark for America, soon after the battle of Culloden. Settling in Newport, he entered successfully upon the practice of his profession, and is said to have been the first lecturer on anatomy in the United States. He married a daughter of Godfrey Malbone, an eminent shipping merchant of Newport, and one of the most opulent and influential citizens in the then Colonies. He died soon after the birth of his son William, who was his youngest child.

About the year 1785, Mrs. Hunter, accompanied by her three daughters, visited England, to consult an oculist about the eyes of the eldest, whose sight had become impaired through excessive study. William was left at Newport, where he attended the famous Latin school of Robert Rogers, at which, among others, Washington Alston was his schoolmate. From this institution, he proceeded to Brown University, at Providence, where the late Jonathan Russell” was his classmate, and whence he graduated, in 1791, with great distinction, receiving the salutatory, and Russell the valedictory oration. At his mother's request, shortly after graduating, he went to England, and entered himself as a student with the celebrated surgeon, John Hunter, who was a first cousin of his father. Anatomy, however, and especially dissections, proved to be so distasteful to him, that he soon abandoned the profession of medicine, and entered himself as a student of law in the Temple at London. For some time he was under Tid, and had Chitty as a fellow-student. Afterwards, he was under the learned Arthur Murphy, who he materially assisted in his admirable translation of Tacitus. When Murphy took to Burke his dedication of that work, Hunter accompanied him. They found Burke playing at jackstraws with his son. Mr. Hunter was a frequent attendant on the debates in Parliament, and at the argument of cases in the courts of law. As this time was at a period when Pitt, Fox, and Erskine were in the maturity of their powers, a young man, ambitious to become an orator, could not fail to derive advantage from listening to them.

In 1793, Mr. Hunter returned to Newport, where he was admitted to the bar, and soon rose to. the head of his profession in Rhode Island. In 1799, he was elected to represent his native town in the General Assembly, and was subsequently re-elected at different periods from that time until the year 1811. He was then chosen a Senator of the United States, in which station he remained ten years. In politics he was a Federalist. At the period of his senatorship, speeches were not so frequently made in Congress as at the present time, and there were no regular reporters, so that those senators, especially of the minority, who wished to have their speeches printed, were obliged to write them out themselves. To these circumstances, the absence of Mr. Hunter's name from the debates reported in the Annals of Congress, may, it is presumed, be ascribed. On the proposition for seizing and occupying the province of East Florida, in 1813, during the war between the United States and Great Britain, Mr. Hunter made a speech in secret session of the Senate, which he afterwards dictated to an amanuensis, and caused to be printed at Newport. This production will be found in the subsequent pages of this volume. It shows comprehensive views of the subject, expressed in a style unusually dignified and elevated, and contains passages of a high order of eloquence. Mr. Hunter questioned the constitutionality of the Missouri restriction; voted accordingly, and failing to obtain a re-election to the Senate, he resumed his practice at the bar, and continued it until 1834, when he was appointed, by President Jackson, Chargé d'Affaires to Brazil. At Rio de Janeiro, he acquired the respect of the diplomatic body, and of the Brazilian government; and at the special request of the young emperor, was elevated to the position of Minister Plenipotentiary. During his residence in Brazil, he accumulated, from the various libraries of that country, and from every quarter to which he could gain access, vast stores of learning and research, which he would probably have published, had his life been spared. In 1845, he returned to the United States, and on the tenth of December, 1849, died at Newport, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. As a lawyer Mr. Hunter was distinguished for the extent and variety of his learning, while his diverse accomplishments gave him power as an advocate. In person he was tall, commanding and comely. In gesture graceful, natural and appropriate. His voice had a rare depth and melody, and his elocution was distinct and dignified. His language was rich and flowing, and his fancy quite poetical. His literary attainments were of a high order. He was quite familiar with the Latin classics, and apt in his quotations from them. In the French and Italian languages he was also well versed, and he spoke the former with as much ease and correctness as could be expected from one who had learned it in his childhood, from the French officers who were quartered in his father's house at Newport, and who had not many opportunities for practising it after their departure. Mr. Hunter excelled in convivial talent, and was sure at a dinner-table to command at least as much attention as any one present whenever he thought proper to speak. His wit was keen and classical. Many of his good sayings are treasured up and repeated by his contemporaries in Congress. A man important as a politician in Pennsylvania, but otherwise quite insignificant, was a candidate for the office of Secretary of the Senate. Aspiring senators were eager in canvassing for him, so much so that the surprise of a newly elected senator was excited, and he asked Mr. Hunter why it was that such eminent men should take so lively an interest in the success of the candidates. Mr. Hunter replied, “Perhaps, my friend, you have not yet been long enough in Washington to be aware that Pennsylvania avenue leads to the President's house.” On another occasion, Mr. Little, of Maryland, was indulging in remarks of a personal character upon Mr. Law, of North Carolina, in the House of Representatives. Mr. Hunter happened to be among the auditors, and a gentleman near him asked if he thought Law would answer Little in the same strain. “No, indeed,” said Mr. Hunter, “de minimis non curat lex.”

* Jonathan Russell was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1771. His early life was devoted to studying the best models of English and the classical writers, and after graduating, he was prepared for the profession of law, but subsequently relinquished it for that of commerce. His tastes, however, directed him to politics, and he was called upon to fill several positions of high diplomatic trust. For many years he was Minister Plenipotentiary from his native country at Stockholm, and in 1814, was one of the five commissioners who negotiated the treaty of Ghent. On his return to the United States, he was elected a representative in the lower House of Congress, from Massachusetts. In 1817, he received the degree of Doctor of Laws, from Brown University. Mr. Russell “had no skill as a forensic or parliamentary speaker; but he was a versatile, forcible, elegant and facile writer, and when the subject permitted, handled his pen with a caustic severity which is seldom passed.” Few of his literary productions have been preserved.

ON SEIZING EAST FLORIDA.

This speech, on the proposition for seizing and occupying the Province of East Florida by the troops of the United States, was delivered by Mr. Hunter, in secret session of the Senate of the United States, on the second of February, 1813:

MR. PRESIDENT: It is, sir, with the utmost reluctance, that I make the attempt to suggest some remarks on the present subject. For although the question now under consideration is confessed on all sides to be one of the deepest interest and importance, involving in its decision no less a consequence than that of a change of our relations with a friendly power from a state of peace to that of war, yet we have been informed by the honorable gentleman from Maryland * (whose judgment on all occasions, from his experience and standing here, is entitled to peculiar respect) that every exertion will be unavailing, and that it is the pre-determination of a majority of this Senate to adopt the present bill. If that gentleman desponds after his own able and ample discussion of the present bill, and his own vigorous efforts to prevent his own prediction, it would be presumption in me to hope. Whoever, too, moves in the discussion of this question must go on depressed, if not alarmed, by the denunciation of the honorable gentleman from Georgia, who in the overflowing of an allowable zeal and anxiety (connected as he deems the success of this bill to be with the peculiar interest and advantage of his own State) has declared it not less than infatuation, that pretends to foresee any evil consequences resulting from its adoption.

In spite, however, of the forlorn hope to which I am condemned by the honorable gentleman from Maryland, and the certainty of incurring the penalty of the denunciation of the honorable gentleman from Georgia (to whose personal good opinion I am far from being indifferent), I feel myself impelled by obligations of duty, by a fair interpretation of the instructions of my constituents in reference to another occasion, and the clearest convictions of my understanding, to record my vote against the present proposition; and from the pressure of the same motives, I find myself induced, hopeless and unpropitious as is the occasion, to assign my reasons for that vote.

And in the first place, is it nothing, is it a consideration worthy of no regard, that this House has but lately, after a protracted and solemn discussion, rejected the very proposition contained in the bill before us? Is a character for consistency in its measures of no importance to this branch of the legislature? Does not the

* General Samuel Smith. vol. II.-22

peculiarity of its construction—the duration of its members in office, and the very mode of their appointment, indicate the hope that it would be, and the design that it ought to be, distinguished for the consistency of its conduct? Do not all the speculations upon the theoretic perfection of our constitution, contemplate this, as the body that, resisting temporary impulses, and opposing its own firmness to a fluctuating and imbecile policy, would give something like system and stability to our national councils? Sir, I doubt not our power at all times—and upon great and extraordinary occasions I doubt not the right, the expediency and propriety of reversing our decisions. No body of men can be infallible, and therefore its decisions ought not to be irreversible. All I contend for is, that a case clear and strong indeed ought to be made out, to induce the Senate to forfeit, or even to hazard its character for stability and consistency. I do not say that our deliberate decisions, a few months since, is such conclusive proof of its absolute perfection, of its entire impeccability, as that it operates as an estoppel upon all subsequent inquiry, and necessarily precludes all debate; but grounding myself upon a well-known distinction, I do say, it is Imost persuasive, convincing and satisfactory evidence of the correctness of that decision, and that according to all the principles of parliamentary usage, deducible either from the rules of a sound logic, or from judicial analogies, it imposes on the honorable mover of this proposition and all its advocates, the necessity of substantiating, by new and further evidence, by arguments not before adduced, and by considerations of policy, arising out of a new juncture of our affairs—the wisdom, propriety and necessity of the present proceeding. This too, sir, ought to be done with a clearness and copiousness of proof, sufficient to repel the warrantable, and inevitable suspicion, which always attaches to a renewed effort for a re

jected measure; to an application for a new

trial, upon a suggestion of new and further evidence. What is the actual case ? have we new proofs 2 even new statements’ have we had any thing but arguments before refuted? Is the relation of our country different? Has any new event taken place? No, sir, it is not even pretended. I do therefore, on the ground of our former decision, on the ground that we were then right, and on the absence of all new inducement from proof, statement or argument, to do away that presumption, call upon gentlemen, as they respect themselves individually— upon the Senate, whose character for consistency and dignity (most important and essential attributes of that character) will be compromitted and hazarded with the nation, to resist this overthrow of their best resolves—to stand to their former opinions, and to permit no con

« 前へ次へ »