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ments, and manufactures; on another, an array of the fossil productions of our country, mineral and animal; the polished remains of those colossal monsters that once trod our forests, and are no more; and a variegated display of the branching honors of those “monarchsof the waste,” that still people the wilds of the American Continent.
From this hall he was ushered into a noble saloon, from which the glorious landscape of the West again burst upon his view; and which, within, is hung thick around with the finest productions of the pencil-hislorical paintings of the most sriking subjects from all countries and all ages; the portraits of distinguished men and patriots, both of Europe and America, and medallions and engravings in endless profusion.
While the visitor was yet lost in the contemplation of these treasures of the arts and sciences, he was startled by the approach of a strong and sprightly step, and turning with instinctive reverence to the door of entrance he was met by a tall, and animated, and stately figure of the patriot himself-his countenance beaming with intelligence and benignity, and his outstretched hand, with its strong and cordial pressure, confirming the courteous welcome of his lips. And then came that charm of manner and conversation that passes all description-so cheerful, so unassuming, so free, and easy, and frank, and kind, and gay—that even the young, and over-awed, and embarrassed visitor at once forgot his fears, and felt himself by the side of an old and familiar friend. There was no effort, no ambition in the conversation of the philosopher. It was as simple and unpretending as nature itself. And while in this easy manner he was pouring out instruction, like light from an inexhaustible solar fonntain, he seemed continually 10 be asking, instead of giving information. The visitor felt himself lifted by the contact, into a new and nobler region of thought, and became surprised at his own buoyancy and vigor. He could not, indeed, help being astounded, now and then, at those transcendant leans of the mind, which he saw made without the
slightest exertion, and the case with which this wonderful man played with subjects which he had been in the habit of considering among the argumenta crucis of the intellect. And then there seemed to be no end to his knowledge. He was a thorough master of every subject that was touched. From the details of the humblest mechanic art, up to the highest summit of science, he was perfectly at his
where at home. There seemed to be no longer any terra incognita of the human understanding : for what the visitor had thought so, he now found reduced to a familiar garden walk; and all this carried off so lightly, so playfully, so gracefully, so engagingly, that he won every heart that approached bim, as certainly as he astonished every mind.
Mr. Jefferson was wont to remark, that he never left the conversation of Dr. Fianklin without carrying away with him something new and useful. How often, and how truly, has the same remark been made of him. Nor is this wonderful, when we reflect, that that mind of matchless vigor and versatility had been all his lifə, intensely engaged in conversing with the illustrious dead, or following the march of science in every land, or bearing away, on its own steady and powerful wing, into new and unexplored regions of thought.
Shall I follow him to the table of his elegant hospitality, and show him to you in the bosom of his enchanting family? Alas! those attic days are gone; that sparkling eye is quenched; that voice of pure and delicate affection, which ran with such brilliancy and effect through the whole compass of colloquial music, now bright with wit, now melting with tenderness, is hushed for ever in the grave!
These two great men, so eminently distinguished among the patriots of the Revolution, and so illustrious by their subsequent services, became still more so by having so long survived all that were most highly conspicuous among their coevals. All the stars of first magnitude in the equatorial and tropical regions had long since gone down, and still they remained. Still they stood full in view, like those two resplendent constellations near the opposite poles, which never set to the inhabitants of the neighboring zone.
But they, too, were doomed at length to set: and such was their setting as no American bosom can ever forget!
In the midst of their fast decaying strength, and when it was seen that the approach of death was certain, their country and its glory still occupied their thoughts, and circulated with the last blood that was ebbing to their hearts. Those who surrounded the death bed of Mr. Jefferson report, that in the few short invervals of delirium that occurred, his mind manifestly relapsed to the
age of the Revolution. He talked, in broken sentences, of the committee of safety, and the rest of that great machinery which he imagined to be still in action. One of his exclamations was, * Warn the Committee to be on their guard ;" and he instantly rose in his bed, with the help of his attendants, and went through the act of writing a hurried note. But these intervals were few and short. His reason was almost constantly upon her throne, and the only aspiration he was heard to breathe, :he
prayer that he might live to see the fourth of July. When that day came, all that he was heard to whisper was the repeated ejaculation,- Nune Domine dimittas,” now, Lord, let thy servant depart in peace! And the prayer of the patriot was heard and answered.
The Patriarch of Quincy, too, with the same certainty of death before him, prayed only for the protraction of his life to the same day. His prayer was also heard : and when a messenger from the neighboring festivities, unapprized of his danger, was deputed to ask him for the honor of a toast, he showed the object on which his dying eyes were fixed, and exclaimed with energy, "Independence for ever!” His country first, his country last, his country always !
“O save my country-heaven ! he said and died !"
Hitherto, fellow citizens, the Fourth of July had been celebrated among us only as the anniversary of our Independence, and its votaries had been merely human beings. But at its last recurrence-the great jubilee of the nation—the anniversary, it may well be termed, of the liberty of man-Heaven itself mingled visibly in the celebration, and hallowed the day anew by a double apotheosis. Is there one among us to whom this language seems too strong ? Let him recall his own feelings, and the objection will vanish. When the report first reached us, of the death of the great man whose residence was nearest, who among us was not struck with the circumstance that he should have been removed on the day of his own highest glory? And who, after the first shock of the intelligence had passed, did not feel a thrill of mournful delight at the characteristic beauty of the close of such a life. But while our bosoms were yet swelling with admiration at this singularly beautiful coincidence, when the second report immediately followed, of the death of the great sage of Quincy, on the same day—I appeal to yourselves—Is there a voice that was not hushed, is there a heart that did not quail, at this close manifestation of the hand of Heaven in our affairs ! Philosophy, recovered of her surprise, may affect to treat the coincidence as fortuitous. * But Philosophy herself was mute, at the moment, under the pressure of the feeling that these illustrious men had rather been translated, than had died. It is in vain to tell us that men die by thousands every day in the year, all over the world. The wonder is, not that two men have died on the same day, but that two such men, after having performed so many and such splendid services in the cause of liberty-after the multitude of other coincidences which seem to have linked their destinies together-after having lived so long together, the objects of their country's joint veneration-after having been spared to witness the great triumph of their toils at home—and looked together from Pisgah's top on the sublime effect of that grand impulse which they had given to the same glorious cause throughout the world, should on this fiftieth anniversary of the day on which they had ushered that cause into light, be both caught up to Heaven, together, in the midst of their raptures! Is there a being, of heart so obdurate and sceptical, as not to feel the hand and hear the voice of Heaven in this wonderful dispensation? And may we not, with reverence, interpret its language? Is it not this? “These are my beloved servants, in whom I am well pleased. They have finished the work for which I sent them into the world : and are now called to their reward. Go ye, and do likewise !"
One circumstance, alone, remains to be noticed. In a private memorandum found among some other obituary papers and relics of Mr. Jefferson, is a suggestion, ‘in case a memorial over him should ever be thought of, that a granite obelisk, of small diminsions, should be erected, with the following inscription :
HERE WAS BURIED
And Father of the University of Virginia.
All the long catalogue of his great, and splendid, and glorious services, reduced to this brief and modest summary!
Thus lived, and thus died, our sainted Patriots ! May their spirits still continue to hover over their countrymen, inspire all their councils, and guide them in the same virtuous and noble path! And may that God, in whose hands are the issues of all things, confirm and perpetuate, to us, the inestimable boon, which, through their agency, he has bestowed; and make our Columbia the bright exemplar for all the struggling sons of liberty around the globe !