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styled him) who should fall into their power. This hazardous employment he instantly and fearlessly accepted. He embarked soon after, and, through many imminent perils, arrived in safety. Of the signal advantages derived from that commission you are well aware. A treaty was made with France, and, in the year 1778, our great countryman Franklin was received by that nation as the acknowledged minister of a sovereign and independent power.*
Mr. Adams was afterwards sent to Holland, where he successfully negotiated a loan.
Whilst Mr. Adams was serving his country abroad, Mr. Jefferson was rendering equal service at home. Being elected governor of Virginia, he gave the most effectual aid to the cause of the revolution. This rests upon no doubtful or questionable authority. Twice, in the course of the year 1780, were resolutions adopted by Congress, approving his conduct, in aiding their military measures in the south. In the same year Congress instructed a committee “to inform Mr. Adams of the satisfaction they received from his industrious attention to the interests and honour of these United States abroad." Thus did they both deserve, and thus did they both receive, the highest rewards that could be bestowed upon them.
Not to fatigue you by too much detail, let me simply mention, that Mr. Adams was appointed sole commissioner to nogotiate peace with Great Britain in 1779,—that he was one of those who negotiated the provisional articles of peace with Great Britain in November, 1782,—who made the armistice for the 'cessation of hostilities in January, 1783,
* The treaty was signed at Paris, the 6th February, 1778, by B. Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee. The Congress of the United States, desired the suppression of the 11th article, consenting in return that the 12th should likewise be considered of no effect. The acts rescinding these two articles were signed at Paris, the 1st September, 1778, on the part of the United States, by B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams. Doctor Franklin was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France, on the 14th September, 1778.
and who finally negotiated the definite treaty of peace in September, 1783.
The thirteen United States, sovereign and independent by their own exertions and the favour of Providence, from the fourth July, 1776, were now universally acknowledged as such, and admitted by all to their place in the family of nations. They chose, for their two principal representatives abroad, the illustrious men whose death we are here met to commemorate. Mr. Jefferson succeeded Dr. Franklin in France; Mr. Adams was sent to England. They were joined also with Dr. Franklin, in a plenipotentiary commission to negotiate treaties of amity, commerce, and navigation, with the principal powers of Europe.
The first treaty with Prussia, the only fruit at that time of the commission, bears the names of Franklin, of Jefferson, and of Adams. What a splendid constellation of talent ! Sufficient, of itself, to shed unfading lustre on a nation-more than sufficient to refute the exploded European doctrine of the degeneracy of man in America.
Our history from this period is familiar to you all. When the present constitution was framed, Mr. Jefferson was still in France. Ever alive to the welfare of his beloved country; ever watchful of those sacred principles of human right, which it had been the labour of his life to vindicate and maintain, he looked with intense anxiety upon this interesting movement. To his suggestion, it is understood, we are indebted for the ten original amendments to the constitution, embodying such restrictions on the authority of Congress, and such assertions of the fundamental rights of the citizen, as were thought necessary to the preservation of the just power of the states, and the security of civil and religious freedom.
Upon the organization of our present government, the voice of the nation assigned the highest place to Washington. He was elected President of the United States. The illustrious men whom we now commemorate, were second
only to him who had no equal. The one was elevated by the choice of the people; the other by the choice of Washington.
Mr. Adams was elected Vice-President of the United States; or rather, let me say, he was the second choice for President. As the constitution then stood, two were voted for as President, and he who had the smallest number of votes was the Vice-President.
Mr. Jefferson was called home by the father of his country, to fill the high and arduous station of Secretary of State. With what ability he performed its duties, at a period of more than ordinary difficulty, I need not state; for it is still fresh in the recollection of most of those who hear me.
A second time was Mr. Adams elected to the second office in the country, Washington still filling the first. Before a third election came, the great father of his country announced his determination to retire, bequeathing to his countrymen, in a farewell address, his solemn injunctions and advice, which ought for ever to remain engraven upon their hearts. He thus set the example, now ripened into an established limitation, that the highest office in the government is not to continue in the same hands for a longer period than two constitutional terms.
In this great trust, in dignity and importance the greatest in the world—the first magistrate of a nation of freemen, the first citizen of a republic, selected from millions by their spontaneous choice-in this great trust, Mr. Adams succeeded Washington; Mr. Jefferson having the almost equal honour of being his chosen competitor. Mr. Jefferson was elected Vice-President.
At the expiration of four years they were again competitors. After a contest, still remembered for the eagerness and warmth, I will not say the violence of the parties which then divided the United States, Mr. Jefferson was elected President. Mr. Adams retired from public life.
Mr. Jefferson was a second time chosen to the same high office. As the expiration of this term drew nigh, imitating the dignified example of Washingtion, and, if possible, strengthening its influence by his deliberate opinion, Mr. Jefferson announced his intention to retire. He retired in March, 1809. Thus terminated the public employment of these eminent
Thus did they take leave, as it were, of that country, whose welfare had so long engrossed their attention and engaged their anxious labours. Is there a man who would desire now to revive the recollection of the angry feelings, and the warm contention, which prevailed among their fellow citizens during a portion of the latter period of their service ? Is there a man among us, who, upon
this occasion, consecrated to the indulgence of virtuous emotion, would consent to disturb the harmony that breathes in the common acknowledgment to the illustrious dead? To obscure the glorious light of the revolution, by seeking to render permanent every cloud that is raised in the gusts of momentary excitement ? Let the truth be told. It is replete with salutary counsel, and it exalts the character of the departed sages. Be it, that they appeared to be rivals. Be it, that they were, for a time, separated and placed in opposition, the leaders of the two great parties in the nation. Did they, therefore, love their country less ? Where they less influenced by the sacred ardour, that animated their hearts in the darkest hour of the revolutionary contest? Were they not patriots still, the same lofty and incorruptible patriots, who, on the 4th July, 1776, had pledged "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour?”. Did either of them admit a thought, or would either of them, for all the honours the world could bestow, have countenanced a design unfriendly to his country's interests? Let them answer for themselves, or rather let each answer for the other. The healing influence of time soon allayed the little irritation which conflict had produced. They
looked upon their country, and they saw that she was prosperous and happy. They saw, perhaps, that even the contests of party, angry as they seemed at times to be, yet governed by the spirit of patriotism, were over-ruled for her permanent advantage; that eager discussion had elicited truth, and the solid good sense of a reflecting people had seized and secured whatever was valuable and worthy to be preserved. Both had triumphed in the triumph of their country's welfare. The aged patriots felt that they still were brothers. Their ancient friendship revived. No. thing remained but the remembrance of the scenes in which they had acted so mighty a part. Nothing was heard from either but heartfelt acknowledgements of the other's worth and services. If it had been in the order of Providence to permit one of these illustrious citizens to witness the departure of his associate, the survivor would have been the first whose honoured voice would have been heard to pronounce the eulogy of the departed patriot.
To form an estimate of the merits and services of these distinguished men, far more would be necessary than has been now attempted, or the occasion will allow. I have only selected for reflection some of the principal incidents of their public lives. But let me remind you, that they are characteristic incidents. If you follow them into their respective states, if you follow. them into their retirement, whatever may be their employments or pursuits, they are all stamped with the same ardent love of country, the same unaffected reverence for the rights of mankind, the same invincible attachment to the cause of civil and religious freedom.
Great are their names ! Honoured and revered be their memory! Associated with Washington and Franklin, their glory is a precious possession, enriching our annals, and exalting the character of our country.
Greater is the bright example they have left us! More precious the lesson furnished by their lives for our instruc