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to see a great part of Europe embrace his doctrines; and to shake the foundation of the papal throne, before which the mightiest monarchs bad trembled, he discovered, on some occasions, symptoms of vanity and self-applause. He must have been, indeed, more than man, if, upon contemplating all that he actually accomplished, he had never felt any sentiment of this kind rising in his breast.
Some time before his death, which took place in 1546,) he felt his strength declining, his constitution being worn out by a prodigious multiplicity of business, added to the labor of discharging his ministerial function with unremitting diligence, to the fatigue of constant study, besides the composition of works as voluminous as if he had enjoyed uninterrupted leisure and retirement.
His natural intrepidity did not forsake him at the approach of death; his last conversation with his friends was concerning the happiness reserved for good men in a future life, of which he spoke with the fervor and delight natural to one who expected and wished to enter soon upon the enjoyment of it. The account of his death filled the Roman Catholic party with excessive as well as indecent joy, and damped the spirits of all his followers; neither party sufficiently considering, that his doctrines were now so firmly rooted, as to be in a condition to flourish independently of the hand which first planted them. His funeral was celebrated by order of the Élector of Saxony with extraordinary pomp.
Character of Samuel Adams.-TUDOR.
He combined in a remarkable manner, all the animosities, and all the firmness, that could qualify a man to be the assertor of the rights of the people. Had he lived in a country, or an epoch, when abuses of power were to be resisted, he would have been one of the reformers.
He would have suffered excommunication, rather than have bowed to papal infallibility, or paid the tribute to St. Peter; he would have gone to the stake, rather than submit to the prelatic ordinances of Laud; he would have mounted the scaffold, sooner than pay a shilling of illegal ship money; he would have fled to a desert, rather than endure the prof
ligate tyranny of a Stuart. He was proscribed, and would sooner have been condemned as a traitor, than assent to an illegal tax, if it had been only a six penny stamp, or an insignificant duty on tea; and there appeared to be no species of corruption, by which this inflexibility could have been destroyed.
The motives, by which he was actuated, were not a sudden ebullition of temper, nor a transient impulse of resentment, but they were deliberate, methodical and unyielding. There was no pause, no hesitation, no despondency; every day, and every hour, was employed in some contribution toward the main design, if not in action, in writing; if not with the pen, in conversation; if not in talking, in meditation.
The means he advised, were persuasion, petition, remonstrance, resolutions; and when all failed, defiance and extermination, sooner than submission. His measures for redress, were all legitimate, and where the extremity of the case, as in the destruction of the tea, absolutely required an irregularity, a vigor beyond the law, he was desirous that it might be redeemed by the discipline, good order, and scrupulous integrity, with which it should be effected.
With this unrelenting and austere spirit, there was nothing ferocious, or gloomy, or arrogant in his demeanor. His aspect was mild, dignified and gentlemanly. In his own state, or in the congress of the union, he was always the advocate of the strongest measures, and in the darkest hour, he never wavered or desponded. He engaged in the cause with all the zeal of a reformer, the confidence of an enthusiast, and the cheerfulness of a voluntary martyr.
It was not by brilliancy of talents, or profoundness of learning, that he rendered such essential service to the cause of the revolution, but by his resolute decision, his unceasing watchfulness, and his heroic perseverance. In addition to these qualities, his efforts were consecrated by his entire superiority to pecuniary considerations; he, like most of his colleagues, proved the nobleness of the cause, by the virtue of his conduct: and Samuel Adams, after being so many years in the public service, and having filled so many eminent stations, must have been buried at the public expense, if the afflicting death of an only son had not remedied this honorable poverty.
To expatiate on the value of public faith may pass with some men for declamation—to such men I have nothing to say. To others I will urge--can any circumstance mark upon a people more turpitude and debasement?'. Can any thing tend more to make men think themselves mean, or degrade to a lower point their estimation of virtue, and their standard of action?
It would not merely demoralize mankind, it tends to break all the ligaments of society, to dissolve that mysterious charm which attracts individuals to the nation, and to inspire in its stead a repulsive sense of shame and disgust.
What is patriotism? Is it a narrow affection for the spot where a man was born? Are the very clods where we tread entitled to this' ardent preference because they are greener? No, sir, this is not the character of the virtue, and it soars higher for its-object. It is an extended self-love, mingling with all the enjoyments of life, and twisting itself with the minutest filaments of the heart.
It is thus we obey the laws of society, because they are the laws of virtue. In their authority we see, not the array of force and terror, but the venerable image of our country's honor. Every good citizen makes that honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious, but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defence, and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.
For, what rights of a citizen will be deemed inviolable, when a state renounces the principles that constitute their security? Or, if his life should not be invaded, what would its enjoyments be in a country odious in the eyes of strangers, and dishonored in his own? Could he look with affection and veneration to such a country as his parent? The sense of having one would die within him; he would blush for his patriotism, if he retained any, and justly, for it would be a vice. He would be a banished man in his native land.
I see no exception to the respect, that is paid among nations to the law of good faith. If there are cases in this enlightened period, when it is violated, there are none when
it is decried. It is the philosophy of politics, the religion of government. It is observed by barbarians—a whiff of tobacco smoke, or a string of beads, gives not merely binding force, but sanctity to treaties. Even in Algiers, a truce may be bought for money; but when ratified, even Algiers is too wise, or too just, to disown and annul its obligation.
Thus we see, neither the ignorance of savages, nor the principles of an association for piracy and rapine, permít a nation to despise its engagements. If, sir, there could be a resurrection from the foot of the gallows, if the victims of justice could live again, collect together and form a society, they would, however loath, soon find themselves obliged to make justice, that justice under which they fell, the fundamental law of their state. They would perceive, it was their interest to make others respect, and they would therefore soon pay some respect themselves to the obligations of good faith.
It is painful, I hope it is superfluous, to make even the supposition, that America should furnish the occasion of this opprobrium. No, let me not even imagine, that a republican government, sprung, as our own is, from a people enlightened and uncorrupted, a government whose origin is right, and whose daily discipline is duty, can, upon solemn debate, make its option to be faithless-can dare to act what despots dare not avow.
Christian Benevolence. CHALMERS. The benevolence of the gospel lies in actions. The benevolence of our fictitious writers, in a kind of high-wrought delicacy of feeling and sentiment. The one dissipates all its fervor in sighs and tears and idle aspirations—the other reserves its strength for efforts and execution. The one regards it as a luxurious enjoyment for the heart—the other as a work and business for the hand.
The one sits in indolence, and broods, in visionary rapture, over its schemes of ideal philanthropy—the other steps abroad, and enlightens by its presence, the dark and pestilential hovels of disease. The one wastes away in empty ejaculation—the other gives time and trouble to the work of beneficence-gives education to the orphan-provides
clothes for the naked, and lays food on the table of the hungry.
The one is indolent and capricious, and often does mischief by the occasional overflowings of a whimsical and illdirected charity—the other is vigilant and discerning, and takes care lest his distributions be injudicious, and the effort of benevolence be misapplied. The one is soothed with the luxury of feeling, and reclines in easy and indolent satisfaction—the other shakes off the deceitful languor of contemplation and solitude, and delights in a scene of activity.
Remember, that virtue, in general, is not to feel, but to do; not merely to conceive a purpose, but to carry
that purpose into execution; not merely to be overpowered by the impression of a sentiment, but to practise what it loves, and to imitate what it admires.
To be benevolent in speculation, is often to be selfish in action and in reality. The vanity and the indolence of man delude him into a thousand inconsistencies. He professes to love the name and the semblance of virtue, but the labor of self denial terrifies him from attempting it. The emotions of kindness are delightful to his bosom, but then they are little better than a selfish indulgence-they terminate in his own enjoyment--they are a mere refinement of luxury. His eye melts over the picture of fictitious distress, while not a tear is left for the actual starvation and misery with which he is surrounded.
It is easy to indulge the imaginations of a visionary heart in going over a scene of fancied affliction, because here there is no sloth to overcome—no avaricious propensity to control-no offensive or disgusting circumstances to allay the unmingled impression of sympathy, which a soft and elegant picture is calculated to awaken.
It is not so easy to be benevolent in action and in reality, because here there is fatigue to undergo—there is time and money to give there is the mortifying spectacle of vice, and folly and ingratitude to encounter. We like to give you the fair picture of love to man,
because to throw over it false and fictitious embellishments, is injurious to its cause. These elevate the fancy by romantic visions, which can never be realized. They imbitter the heart by the most severe and mortifying disappointments, and often force us to retire in disgust, from what Heaven has intended to be the theatre of our discipline and preparation.