« AnteriorContinuar »
Speculative reasoners, during that age, raised many objections to the planting of those remote Colonies; and foretold, that, after draining their mother-country of inhabitants, they would soon shake off her yoke, and erect an independent government in America.
DAVID HUME, Hist. of Eng., JAMES I.; a. d. 1603-1625.
LORD BROUGHAM, in speaking of the Father of our Country, calls him "the GREATEST man of our own or any age; the ONLY ONE upon whom an epithet, so thoughtlessly lavished by men to foster the crimes of their worst enemies, may be innocently and justly bestowed." He adds, "It will be the duty of the historian and the sage, in all ages, to let no occasion pass, of commemorating this illustrious man; and, until time shall be no more, will a test of the progress which our race has made in wisdom and in virtue, be derived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of Washington."
The powerful influence of his character, his achievements, and his opinions, is acknowledged by all men. It has long been extending and increasing. And it cannot fail to produce, eventually, the most important and happy results, in the fulfilment of the final destinies of nations, and the attainment of the chief end of human existence.
By common consent, Washington is regarded as not
merely the Hero of the American Revolution, but the World's Apostle of Liberty. The war of the Revolution was a war of principle, that involved the interests of all mankind. England's violation of our sacred rights, was the stirring of the eagle's nest. It naturally awakened emotions of resistance. British prerogative was opposed by American freedom. Prerogative became arbitrary, and Freedom asserted her rights; Prerogative became oppressive and cruel, and Freedom took up arms and declared her independence The spirit of America's cause was impersonated in her great chief. He was a manifestation of the nation's heart and mind. And under his judicious guidance, by the providence of God, America not only stood erect, before the world, clothed in the panoply of justice, but moved steadily onward in her course; her shield, and breastplate, and whole armor flashing, at every step, with the light that shone on her from heaven.
Our victory being won, Washington sheathed his sword, and sat, for a brief space, under the shadow of his own vine and fig-tree. Soon, at the nation's call, he guided her in establishing the foundation, and rearing the superstructure, of her vast and imposing political fabric. He saw its topstone laid. And he was exulting, with holy joy, at the completion of his work, when the Supreme Disposer of events, by suddenly removing him from earth, in the fulness of his glory and renown, consecrated his character, and imparted to his opinions the commanding authority which they now possess.
The first name of America, not only is, but always will
be, that of Washington. We pronounce it with filial reverence, as well as gratitude; for we admire and love him, not merely in consideration of what he did, but what he was. There is a sacred charm in his actions and his sentiments, as well as a divine philosophy in his remarkable career.
But his example and his precepts are a legacy, not only to America, but to all mankind. And as they are contemplating and admiring his virtues, they are invited to read, in his own words, his golden maxims. These are adapted to the use of Statesmen, Soldiers, Citizens, heads of families, teachers of youth, and, in a word, all who should aim at what is great and good, in public and in private life, and who would avail themselves of such sagacious, profound, and ennobling sentiments.
With a view to furnish, for popular use, a small volume. of the words of Washington, the labor of culling and arranging his memorable precepts in this collection, was originally undertaken. Public documents and private letters, manuscripts and printed volumes, have accordingly been examined, with a view to the completeness and interest of the collection; and none but undoubtedly authentic materials have been used in forming it.
The late EARL OF BUCHAN, whose uniform regard for the American States was manifested long before the epoch of their Federal Union, said of our Washington, "I recommend the constant remembrance of the moral and political Maxims conveyed to its citizens by the Father and Founder of the United States. It seems to me, that such Maxims and
such advice ought to be engraved on every FORUM or PLACE OF COMMON ASSEMBLY among the people, and read by parents, teachers, and guardians, to their children and pupils, so that TRUE RELIGION, AND VIRTUE, its inseparable attendant, may be imbibed by the rising generation, to remote ages."
That generation after generation may enjoy the blessedness of the benign influence which these Maxims are so eminently calculated to exert, should surely be the prayer of patriots, philanthropists, and Christians, until all men shall be animated by the spirit of Washington, and exemplify his precepts.
NEW YORK, September 12th, 1854.
J. F. SCHROEDER.