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My friend Quincy has sacrificed his life for the sake of his country. The ship in which he sailed arrived at Cape Ann within these two days ; but he lived not to get on shore, or to hear and triumph at the account of the success of the Lexington engagement. His remains will be honorably interred by his relations. Let him be numbered with the patriotic heroes who fall in the cause of Liberty, and let his memory be dear to posterity. Let his only surviving child, a son of about three years, live to possess his noble virtues, and to transmit his name down to future generations.”
Nor can we fail to recall, in this connection, those most remarkable words in the last will and testament of that patriot father, whose career was as brilliant as it was brief, and whose premature death was among the severest losses of our early Revolutionary period :
“I give to my son, when he shall arrive to the age of fifteen years, Algernon Sidney's Works, John Locke's Works, Lord Bacon's Works, Gordon's Tacitus, and Cato's Letters. May the spirit of Liberty rest
Such was the introduction to history of him whose life is just closed. Such were the utterances in regard to him while he was yet but of infant years. How rarely is it vouchsafed to any one to fulfil such hopes and expectations ? Yet, now that he has left us at almost a patriarch's age, these words seem to have been prophetic of the career which awaited him; and we could hardly find a juster or a more enviable inscription for his monument than to say that “ he lived to possess the noble virtues of his father, and to transmit his name down to future generations," and that “ the spirit of Liberty rested upon him.”
It is not for me, however, gentlemen, to attempt even a sketch of the career or character of our departed associate and friend. I have indeed been permitted to know him for many years past, as intimately, perhaps, as the difference of our ages would allow. As I attended his remains a few days since as one of the pallbearers, a distinction which was assigned me as your President, - I could not forget how often at least forty years before, when he was the next-door neighbor of my father's family, I had walked along with him, hand in hand, of a summer or a winter morning, — he on his way to the City Hall as the honored Mayor of Boston ; and I, as a boy, to the Public Latin School just opposite. From that time to this I have enjoyed his acquaintance and his friendship, and have counted them among the cherished privileges of my life. But there are those of our number, and some of them present with us to-day, who have been associated with him, as I have never been, in more than one of his varied public employments, and who can bear personal testimony to the fidelity and ability with which he discharged them.
We may look in vain, it is true, for any of the personal associates of his early career as a statesman. He had outlived almost all the contemporaries of his long and brilliant service in our State and National Legislatures. But associates and witnesses are still left of his vigorous and most successful administration of our municipal affairs, and of his faithful and devoted labors for sixteen years as President of our beloved University. Meantime, the evidences of his literary and intellectual accomplishments are familiar to us all, in his History of the University, in his History of the Athenæum, in his Municipal History of Boston, in his Biographies of his ever-honored father and of his illustrious friend and kinsman, John Quincy Adams, and in so many speeches, addresses, and essays upon almost every variety of topic, historical, political, literary, social, and moral.
We may follow him back, indeed, to the day when he was graduated with the highest honors at the University of which he lived to be the oldest alumnus; and we shall never find him idle or unemployed, nor ever fail to trace him by some earnest word or some energetic act. Everywhere we shall see him a man of untiring industry, of spotless integrity, of practical ability and sagacity, of the boldest independence and sturdiest self-reliance; a man of laborious investigation as well as of prompt action, with a ready pen and an eloquent tongue for defending and advocating whatever cause he espoused and whatever policy he adopted. Even those who may have differed from him as not a few, perhaps, did
as to some of his earlier or of his later views of public affairs, could never help admiring the earnest enthusiasm of his character, and the unflinching courage with which he clung to his own deliberate convictions of duty. Nor could any one ever doubt that a sincere and ardent love of his country and of his fellow-men, of political and of human liberty, was the ruling passion of his heart.
And seldom, certainly, has there been witnessed among us a more charming picture of a serene and honored old age than that which he has presented during the last few years. Patient under the weight of personal infirmities ; hopeful in the face of public dangers and calamities; full of delightful reminiscences of the past, and taking an eager interest in whatever might promote the welfare of the present; grateful to God for a long and happy life, and ready to remain or depart, as it might please Him, — he seemed, so far as human judgment might presume to pronounce, to have attained a full measure of that wisdom of which it is written, “ Length of days is in her right hand ; and, in her left, riches and honor."
Not many years ago, he prepared an agricultural Essay, which is now on our table. Not many months ago, and when he was on the eve of his ninety-second birthday, I met him at the Cambridge Observatory, coming to visit the institution which had been a special object of his interest and of his bounty, and to take a last look, as he said, at the great revealer of the stars. Still later, I found him in his own library, reading Thucydides, and applying the matchless periods of Pericles to the dangers of our dear land, and to the heroic deaths of so many of our brave young men. Nothing seemed wanting to complete the picture of such an old age as was described by the great Roman orator, and exemplified by the great Roman censor. Nor would it be easy to find a better illustration than his last years afforded of those exquisite words in which the great poet of the English lakes has translated and expanded one of the most striking passages of that consummate essay of Cicero:
Rightly it is said
THE NOMINATION OF MCCLELLAN.
A SPEECH MADE AT THE GREAT RATIFICATION MEETING IN UNION SQUARE, NEW
YORK, SEPTEMBER 17, 1864.
I THANK you, fellow-citizens, for this friendly and flattering reception. I thank your honored President for the kind words in which he has presented me to you. I feel glad in being here under the lead of one who, as the gentleman who called the meeting to order well said, has added new honor to a name that was already associated with so much true and tried patriotism, with so much of spotless integrity, and with so much of financial and commercial wisdom. You know me, men of New York, - if I may presume to imagine that you know me at all, - as a member of the old Whig party of the Union, as long as that party had any organization or existence. And I cannot help recalling the fact, on this occasion, that among my earliest political efforts, nearly thirty years ago, was a speech in this city against the Democratic candidates of that day. I fear that my faculty of making a speech, or certainly an open-air speech, is somewhat impaired by the lapse of years; but such as I can make is heartily at the service of the Democratic candidates of to-day. I could not find it in my heart to refuse the request of your Committee of Arrangements, seconded as it was by an old and valued friend, whom I knew so long ago as the tried and trusted friend of Daniel Webster, that I would at least be present as a witness of this great demonstration. Nor, being here, can I refuse to respond to the call which has been made on me by your honored President, and to bear my humble testimony to the cause in which you are engaged. It was promised me that I should see the greatest meeting ever held in America; and no one can doubt, I think, that the promise is fulfilled. It is, indeed, a glorious sight, this vast assemblage of American citizens, unseduced by patronage, unawed by power, in the great commercial metropolis of the Union, - itself one of the noblest products of that Union,-- all rallying beneath a common banner, all animated by a common resolve; that banner, the Stars and Stripes, that resolve, to do all that in us lies for the rescue of our country from the dangers by which it is encompassed. You are assembled in Union Square, and I am glad to know that you all intend to stand square on the platform of the Union. You are assembled on the anniversary of the day on which the Constitution of the United States received the attesting signatures of its framers; and I rejoice to be assured that you are all resolved to uphold the authority and vindicate the supremacy of that Constitution. Yes, my friends, in yonder city of Philadelphia, — which we are glad to remember, in this connection, was also the birthplace of George B. McClellan, - on the seventeenth day of September, 1787, that sacred instrument was perfected, which has secured union and peace to our land for more than seventy years past, and which, if this day's ratification shall be successfully carried out, may still, I fondly hope and believe, secure union and peace to our land for seven times, or even for seventy times, seventy years to
You are assembled, too, on the anniversary of the day, when the noble candidate, whose nomination you are about to ratify, completed his great work of rescuing the capital of his country from the Confederate hosts by the glorious victory of Antietam. You have not forgotten those memorable days of September, 1862, when the fate of our Republic seemed just trembling in the scales, when almost all men's hearts were failing them for fear, and when the gallant McClellan, forgetting the unmerited indignities to which he had just been subjected, forgetting every thing but his country's dangers and his own determination to stand or fall with its flag, and responding without a'murmur, or a moment's delay, to the personal appeal of the President, — gathered up the scattered fragments of his brave but broken army, re-organized their shattered battalions as by the waving of a magician's wand, drove back the invaders across the Potomac, and once more secured the safety of Washington