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active duties of life; that we should be absorbed in one unchanging reverie ; that our affections would soon be exhausted, or extinguished; that our families and friends would soon cease to be felt, as the exciting source of our highest enjoyments; and that we should fly to forests and caverns, to impenetrable shades, and secret recesses, that we might bury ourselves from every thing but our own thoughts, and become as unfit for this earth, as it would then seem unfit for us?

On the other hand, we are not permitted to be insensible to the dangers, that every where surround us. We become daily touched with the sense of human infirmity. We learn the salutary lesson, that Providence has allotted to each of us his own sufferinys; that there is no exemption of age, or rank, or station, and that, however often we may have occasion to list our souls in grateful prayer for past blessings, there is a common doom appointed for all. The stream of time has always flowed on, and ever will flow on, noiseless, but irresistible, to the ocean of eternity.

Thoughts, like these, if rightly improved, have a natural tendency to make us wiser, and holier, and better. They enable us to feel, as it were, the yet distant evils; to administer to the calamities of others with a soothing kindness; to warm, as well as to exalt, our own virtues; and to cherish habitually that compassionate tenderness, which, when the day of our own visitation shall arrive, will be found one of the surest sources of earthly comfort. They prepare us also for the higher consolations of religion ; for those sublime views of another and a better world, which Christianity has unfolded with such inexpressible glory, —“When this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.”

And the day of our own visitation is arrived. Death has entered into our little academical circle, and struck down one of its choicest ornaments and supports. His cold and lifeless remains are now before us. We are gathered in this consecrated temple, to perform his obsequies; to devote a brief space to the recollection of his character and virtues; and then to consign these perishable relics to the home, where they shall rest, until that hour, when

“ The trumpet shall be heard on high ;

The dead shall live the living die." I feel, my friends, how utterly inadequate I am, under such circumstances, to the performance of the task assigned me. What can I say, that has not been said a thousand times before? What

can I suggest, which has not already suggested itself to your own
hearts in a more touching form, and with a more homeselt pathos ?
Alas! the language of bereavement has long since rung out all its
melancholy changes. The mourners have daily woven anew the
texture of their sorrows, that they might more diligently employ
their nightly vigils in separating the threads, and moistening each
with their tears.
It has been said, with great force and truth, that

“Our dying friends come o'er us like a cloud,
To damp our brainless ardors, and abate

That glare of life, which often blinds the wise." But they often subserve another, if it be not a holier purpose. By severing every earthly tie, they compel us to rely wholly on the past; to treasure up in our memories every little incident, that we may be enabled to preserve, however faintly, some faithful resemblance of our departed friends. We are thus driven back to trace out every striking feature of their minds and characters; to recall every fleeting association ; and thus, by placing the lines in their due order, to draw out a softened image of every excellence, until, at length, it seems to breathe with the warmth and freshness of life. Painful as is the first effort, the very employment soon becomes the minister of good ; and, like an angel of mercy, it comes with healing in its wings. It is one of the beautiful illustrations of the compensatory power of Providence, that sorrow is thus enabled to extract a secret cure from its own bitterest meditations.

And may I not say, how much there is in such a thought pecuculiarly appropriate to the present occasion ? However deep may be our affliction in our present loss, the past is full of brightness, and the evening shuts not down in a settled and appalling gloom. We can look back upon the life of our departed friend with an approving consciousness. We can see much to love, admire, and reverence in bis character; and nothing to awaken regret for error, or apology for frailty. Such as he was, we can bear him in our hearts and on our lips with a manly praise. We can hold bim up as a fit example for youthful emulation and ambition ; not dazzling, but elevated; not stately, but solid ; not ostentatious, but pure.

of his life there are but few incidents, and these may be briefly told; for in a life not long, but uniform and consistent, filled up in the regular discharge of duty, and in the quiet occupations of a profession, little will be found to attract notice, or invite curiosity. He, who has marked out for himself a course of habitual diligence

and virtue ; who has no ambition, except for wisdom, and no love of power, that he may reap the ordinary rewards of popular favor ; even if he does not pass his days along the sequestered paths of life with a noiseless tenor, has little to engage the vulgar gaze, and can furnish no eccentricities to gratify the idle, and no follies to console the indolent. Such a man addresses himself to higher objects and more enduring aims. He seeks to be what he ought; and is not content to dream on through life, the shadow of greatness, or the finger-point of scorn.

Our departed friend, John Hooker Ashmun, was born in Blandford, in Massachusetts, on the third day of July, 1800. His father was the Honorable Eli P. Ashmun, a distinguished lawyer of the Hampshire bar, who for several years represented that county in our State Senate, and afterwards represented this Commonwealth in the Senate of the United States. It was my good fortune to know him in the latter station, which he filled with great dignity, ability, and public respect. He retired voluntarily from public life, either from a superior attachment to his profession, or from ill health, and died about the year 1819. His mother was the daughter of the Reverend John Hooker, a distinguished clergyman of Northampton, from whom he derived his name. His mother died when he was quite young; so that he early lost that maternal care, which is always deeply felt, and is so generally irreparable; though it was in his case fortunately supplied by another, towards whom he entertained, during his whole life, a very tender regard. At an early age he was put under the instruction of a Mr. Grosvener, who kept a private school at Northampton, with whom he made such proficiency, that at nine years of age he was deemed an extraordinary Latin scholar. He was afterwards removed to Blandford, and was there fitted for college by the Rev. Mr. Keep of that town. At the age of twelve he was deemed well qualified to enter upon the usual collegiate studies ; but he was kept back until the succeeding year by the prudence of his father. He was then matriculated, and remained three years at Williamstown College ; and then joined the Junior Class in Harvard University, and took his first degree at the annual commencement in the year 1818. During his residence at this University he does not appear to have exerted himself with any uncommon ardor in his studies. His own account of the matter seems to have been, that, though the labors required of him would not have cost him much effort, he had little relish for them; and

his extreme youth rendered them less attractive and less instructive than they would otherwise have been; so that much of his time passed without any correspondent improvement, except in the department of mathematics. It is not improbable, too, that, entering at an advanced standing, he did not easily acquire that intimacy with his classmates, which was calculated to nourish his ambition; and that he felt something of that estrangement, which rarely fails to be the accompaniment of young persons, engaging in new studies with those, who have already caught, as it were, the genius and inspiration of the place, by an earlier union in common pursuits.

As soon as he was graduated, he entered upon the study of the law, in the office of his father ; whom, however, he had the misfortune, soon afterwards, to lose ; and he then completed his studies under the care of the Honorable Lewis Strong, of Northampton. It was about this period, that he became intimately acquainted with the late Judge Howe, then a resident in the same town, whose very high professional attainments and untimely death are yet fresh in the memory of all of us. In due time he was admitted to the bar; and henceforth he devoted himself, with intense zeal and strenuous industry, to the noble science of the Law,- his favorite, and, I had almost said, his all-absorbing study. His career was soon marked by deserved success; and before he left the bar, at which he was then accustomed to practise, he stood in the very first rank of his profession, without any acknowledged superior. It is well known, that Judge Howe had established a Law School, at Northampton, of very high character; and, during the last year of his life,

Ir. Ashmun, although quite young, was associated in his labors ; and, on his decease, in connexion with that accomplished statesman and jurist, the late Mr. Mills, he continued the establishment with unabated celebrity and success. In fact, from the ill health of Mr. Mills, the principal instruction in the School devolved almost entirely on Mr. Ashmun; and, with his characteristic vigor, he rose in energy, as the pressure demanded more various and exhausting labors.

Upon the reorganization of the Law Institution in this University, in the year 1829, Mr. Ashmun was invited, by the unanimous vote of the Corporation, to the chair of the Royall Professorship of Law. This tribute to his extraordinary merit occurred under circumstances, as gratifying as any, which could well attend any similar appointment. The office was not only unsought on his own part, but it was wholly unexpected. It was a spontaneous movement of the Corporation itself, acting on its own responsibility, upon a deliberate review of bis qualifications, and after the most searching inquiry into the solidity of his reputation. The choice was fully justified by the event. The honors of the University were never more worthily bestowed, never more meekly worn, and never more steadily brightened. He remained in the conscientious discharge of the arduous duties of this station with an unfaltering fidelity to the last. He might almost be said to have died with bis professional armor on him. Scarcely a fortnight is now elapsed, since his voice was heard in the forum, mastering a case of no inconsiderable nicety and importance; and only on the day before his death, he was meditating new labors, and laying before me the scheme of our future juridical instructions.

I need hardly say, in this place, with what distinguished ability he filled the professor's chair. His method of instruction was searching and exact. It disciplined, while it awakened the mind. It compelled the pupil to exert his own powers; but it brought with it the conscious rewards of the labor. His explanations were always clear, and forcible, and satisfactory. Although his learning was exceedingly various, as well as deep, he never assumed the air of authority. On the contrary, whenever a question occurred, which he was not ready to answer, he had no reserves and no concealments. With the modesty, as well as the tranquil confidence, of a great mind, he would candidly say, “ I am not lawyer enough to answer that.” In truth, bis very doubts, like the doubts of Lord Eldon, and the queries of Plowden, let you at once into the vast reach of his inquiries and attainments. There is not, and there cannot be, a higher tribute to his memory than this, that, while his scrutiny was severely close, he was most cordially beloved by all his pupils. He lived with them upon terms of the most familiar intimacy; and he has sometimes, with a delightful modesty and elegance, said to me," I am but the eldest boy upon the form.”

He had for more than eight years been in a state of declining health, the victim of a constitutional disease, slow and silent in its approaches, which deluded our hopes, and lulled our fears, and was most insidious in the very hours, in which it moved the heart with unusual cheerfulness. It may be truly said, in the language of one of the most eloquent of modern statesmen on a similar occasion, that it pleased the Almighty " to make his shortened span one long

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