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old age, and his strongest efforts were exerted in its accomplishment. These were crowned with success, and he had the happiness to live and see the University completed and filled with students. The course of instruction was designed to prepare the scholars for the general routine of business, both public and private, without being strictly classical. The library was selected by him with great judgment and care, and was confined to what may be termed useful books, treating upon subjects necessary to be understood by every citizen, to prepare him to discharge properly the duties he owes to himself, his family, his country, and his God. A catalogue, written by the hand of Jefferson, is still there, and carefully preserved. He exercised a pa. rental care over this institution as long as his physical powers would permit; and was often seen viewing it with an exquisite pleasure and an honest pride. Much of his time was devoted to visiters, to whom his hospitality was liberally and kindly extended. Thousands of his own countrymen paid their grateful respects to him, and Europeans of distinction thought their tour in the United States incomplete, until they took by the hand the PATRIOT, the sage, the Philosopher, and the phiLANTHROPIST of Monticello. To delight, to instruct, and to please, he was peculiarly calculated. He was familiar with every subject; his mind united the vigour of youth with the experience of age; the strength of a giant with the innocence of a babe. The broad expanse of the universe, the stupendous works of nature, the Pierian fields of science, the deep recesses of philosophy, and the labyrinthian avenues of the intellect of man, seemed spread before him like a map of the world. He was an encyclopedia of the age he adorned, a lexicon of the times he enlightened, and one of the brightest diadems in the crown of his country's glory.
With calm dignity and peaceful quietude, Mr. Jefferson glided down the stream of time towards the ocean of eternity, until he reached the eighty-fourth year of his age. Forty-four years had rolled over his head, since his amiable companion, the daughter of Mr. Wayles, an eminent lawyer of Virginia, had slumbered beneath the clods of the valley. One of two interesting daughters, the only children he ever had, was also resting in the silent grave. The charms of earth began to fade before him, and he felt sensibly that he was fast approaching the confines of another and a better world. The physical powers and mechanical structure of his frame were fast decaying; the canker worm of disease was doing its final work; and the angel of death stood over him with a keen blade, awaiting Jehovah's signal to cut the thread of life, and set the prisoner free. Early in the spring of 1826, his bodily infirmities increased, and from the 26th of June to the time of his decease, he was confined to his bed. He then remarked to his physician, “my machine is worn out and can go no longer." His friends who attended him, flattered themselves that he would again recover, but he was convinced that his voyage of life was about to close, and that he would soon cast his anchor in the haven of rest. To those around him he said, "do not imagine that I feel the smallest solicitude as to the result. I do not indeed wish to die,' but I do not feur to die." To his last moments, he manifested a pe
culiar anxiety for the future prosperity of the university which he had founded, regarding it as the youngest child of his old age. Assured that it would receive the fostering care of the state, he could
say, now Lord, dismiss me. On the 2nd day of July, his body became extremely weak, but his mental powers remained as clear as a crystal fountain. He called his family and friends around him, and, with a cheerful countenance and calm dignity gave directions for his funeral obsequies. He requested that he might be interred at Monticello, without pomp or show, and that the inscription upon his tomb should only refer to him as "The author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statutes of Virginia securing religious freedom, and as the father of the University." He then conversed separately with each of his family: to his surviving daughter, Mrs. Randolph, he presented a small morocco case, which he requested her not to open until after his death, and when opened, was found to contain a beautiful and affectionate poetic tribute to hier virtues.
The next day, being told it was the 3d of July, he expressed a desire that he might be permitted to inhale the atmosphere of the 50th anniversary of our national freedom. His prayer was granted, the glorious 4th of July, 1826, dawned upon him, he took an affectionate leave of those around him, and then raising his eyes upward, articulated distinctly, "I resign myself to God, and my child to my country,” and expired as calmly as an infant sleeps in its mother's arms, without a murmur or a sigh. Thus lived and thus died THOMAS JEFFERSON, universally esteemed in life, and deeply mourned in death by a nation of freemen; deeply lamented by every patriot in the civilized world.
In person, he was slender and erect, six feet two inches in height; light and intelligent eyes; noble and open countenance; fair complexion; yellowish-red hair, and commanding in his whole appear
In all the relations of public and private life, he was a model of human talent and rigid integrity, rarely equalled and never surpassed. His whole career was calm and dignified. Under all circumstances his coolness, deliberation, and equanimity of mind, placed him on a lofty eminence, and enabled him to preserve a perfect equilibrium, amidst all the changing vicissitudes and multiform ills that flesh is heir to. He kept his passions under complete control, and cultivated richly the refined qualities of his nature. His philanthropy was as broad as the human family; his sympathies were co-extensive with the afflictions of Adam's race. He was born to be useful; he nobly fulfilled the design of his creation.
BIOGRAPHY is a subject of such thrilling interest, that the memory of most men, in every age and nation, who have rendered themselves eminent, either in the cause of virtue or vice, glory or infamy, has been handed down on the pages of history. Among the unlettered nations of the earth, we find the exploits of their heroes and sages recorded with hieroglyphics, in wild simplicity; or find their names interwoven in the wild and more romantic tales of mysterious tradition. When graced with truth and impartiality, the subject is not only in. resting, but calculated to enrich our minds, by producing a desire to emulate the examples of the great and good, and by pointing out to us the paths of error, that lead us to disgrace and ruin. The interest felt in the history of an individual, depends much upon the manner the biographer performs his important and responsible duty, but more upon the sphere of action and the magnitude of the cause in which the individual has been engaged. The cause in which John HANCOCK, the subject of this brief sketch, was engaged, is one deeply interesting to every philanthropist, and more especially to every American. It was the cause of humanity and equal rights, opposed to cruelty and oppression; the cause of American Independence, opposed to British tyranny. The part he acted, was alike creditable to his head and heart; his fame is enrolled on the bright list of the illustrious patriots of the revolution.
He was a native of Massachusetts, born near Quincy, in 1737. His father, of the same name, was a clergyman, eminent for his piety, and highly esteemed by the parishioners under his charge. He died during the infancy of his son, and left him under the guardianship of his paternal uncle, who treated him with all the tenderness of a father, and continued him at school until he graduated at Harvard College in 1754. His uncle was a merchant of immense wealth, and, on the completion of his studies, placed him in his counting house, that he might add to his science a knowledge of business, of men, and of things. In 1760, he visited England, saw the mortal remains of George II. laid in the silent tomb, and the crown placed upon the head of his successor. He continued in the business of his uncle until the age of twenty-seven, when his patron and benefactor died, leaving him his vast estate, supposed to be the largest of any one in the province.
He was, for many years, one of the select men of Boston; and, in 1766, was elected a member of the General Assembly of Massachusetts. He there exhibited talents of a superior order, which attracted the attention, excited the admiration, and gained the esteem of his colleagues. They also excited the jealousy and irony of his enemies, who soon put him in the crucible of slander and persecution; but, after
a long trial, he came out like gold seven times tried; he was weighed in the scale of justice, and not found wanting.
As a proof of the high estimation in which he was held when in the assembly, he was placed on the most important committees of that body, and was uniformly chairman. He was also elected speaker, but the governor, who was jealous of his liberal principles, put a veto upon his appointment.
His intelligence had led him to investigate the laws of nature, of God, and of man; he arrived at the conclusion, that men are endowed by their Creator with certain inherent privileges, that they are born equal, and they of right are and should be free. He drank deep from the fountain of liberal principles, and was among the first to repel the blind and cruel policy of the mother country, and rouse his fellow men to a sense of impending danger.
Although deeply interested in commercial business, and more exposed to the wrath of kingly power than any individual in the province, he boldly placed himself at the head of associations for prohibiting the importation of goods from Great Britain. The other provinces caught the fire from these examples; and, to these associations may be traced the preliminaries of the tragic scene, that resulted in the emancipation of the enslaved colonies of the pilgrim fathers.
As an evidence that John Hancock was a leading patriot at that time, the first seizure that was made by the revenue officers, under pretence of some trivial violation of the laws, was that of one of his vessels. The excitement produced by this transaction was so great, that a large number collected to rescue the property. It was moved under the guns of an armed ship, ready charged, to repel any attack. But the popular fury rose like a thunder gust from the western horizon; they rushed to the onset; brought away the vessel, razed to the ground some of the houses occupied by the custom-house officers, and burnt, in triumph, the boat of the collector. This fire was, for a time, smothered by the mantle of authority, but it was never extinguished; it was the fire of Liberty. It only required to be fanned by the impolitic oppression that eventually blew it into curling flames.
To prevent the recurrence of a similar scene, several regiments of British troops, with all their loathsome vices fresh upon
them, were quartered amongst the inhabitants. This was like pouring pitch on a fire to extinguish it. The stubborn and independent spirits of Boston were not to be awed into subjection. The consequences were tragical. On the evening of the 5th of March, 1770, a party of these soldiers fired upon, and killed a number of the citizens, who had collected to manifest their indignation against those they hated more than they feared. Had an earthquake shook the town to its very centre, the agitation could not have been greater. Had it been melting before devouring flames, the commotion could not have increased.
The tolling of bells; the groans of the wounded and dying; the shrieks of widows, mothers, and orphans; the flight of soldiers; the rush of the inhabitants; the cry of vengeance, urged on by popular fury; all combined to render it a scene of confusion and horror, upon which imagination dwells and sickens; beneath which, description
quails and trembles; at the sight of which, humanity bleeds at every pore. It is a commentary, strong and eloquent, upon the impropriety of quartering soldiers amongst citizens, of maintaining civil law by military force, and of intruding upon the sanctum sanctorum* of private and domestic peace.
On the following day, a meeting of the inhabitants was held; a committee was appointed, at the head of which were Hancock and Samuel Adams, instructed to request the governor to remove the troops from the town. He at first refused, but finding, under existing circumstances, that discretion was the better part of valour, he ordered their removal. This, with promises that the offenders should be brought to condign punishment, prevented further hostilities at that time.
The awful and imposing solemnities of interring those who were killed, was then attended to. Their bodies were deposited in the same tomb; tears of sorrow, sympathy, and a just indignation, were mingled with the clods as they descended upon the butchered victims; and the event was, for many years, annually commemorated with deep and mournful solemnity. A te deum and requiem were chanted to their memory, and the torch of liberty was replenished at their tomb.
At one of these celebrations, in the midst of the revolution, John Hancock delivered the address. A few brief extracts will give the reader some idea of the feelings and sentiments that pervaded his bosom, and of his powers as an orator and a statesman.
"Security to the persons and property of the governed, is so evidently the design and end of civil government, that to attempt a logical demonstration of it, would be like burning a taper at noon day, to assist the sun in enlightening the world. It cannot be either virtuous or honourable to attempt to support institutions of which this is not the great and principal basis.”
"Some boast of being friends to government: I also am a friend to government, to a righteous government, founded upon the principles of reason and justice; but I glory in avowing my eternal enmity to tyranny.”
He then proceeded to portray, in vivid colours, the wrongs inflicted by the mother country, and urged his fellow citizens to vindicate their injured rights.
In speaking of the Boston massacre, his language shows the emotions of his heaving bosom, the feelings of his indignant soul.
"I come reluctantly to the transactions of that dismal night, when, in such quick succession, we felt the extremes of grief, astonishment, and
rage; when Heaven, in anger, suffered hell to take the reins; when Satan, with his chosen band, opened the sluices of New England's blood, and sacrilegiously polluted her land with the bodies of her guilt
“Let this sad tale never be told without a tear; let not the heaving bosom cease to burn with a manly indignation at the relation of it
* Holy or sacred place.