that when they have ceased to live here they have not ceased to shine; their presence abides with us, and the radiance of their life remains to cheer and bless the world they have forsaken.
The lamented friend whom we commemorate to-day was one of this race of heroes.
His life is an enduring inheritance to his country and to the church of Christ.
Personally, he was a man of rare gifts, physical and mental.
To these were added the advantages of finished culture.
had endowed him for a career of distinction.
The descendant of an honored house—allied by marriage to the family of our great Washington
—he reflected in his character the ennobling influence of his early associations with the great and good.
Habits of temperance, frugality, industry, self-control, formed in youth, adhered to him through life.
With every temptation to luxury, he was an example of moderation; with every incentive to pride and ambition, his tastes were restrained within the limits of an elegant simplicity; and his whole life was one of profound submission to the duties of the hour.
The profession of arms which he had chosen was not likely to make him conspicuous during the reign of peace.
But his great mind had already asserted its power, and won for him a proud distinction among his cotemporaries.
Indeed, his reputation was such at that period that when this institution was first projected, upon a scale of grandeur commensurate with the circumstances which gave it birth, the attention of its founders was directed to him, and the wish was unanimous to make him the head of the institution, to usher it into life, and preside over its destiny.
had chosen for him another sphere.
It is reserved for the convulsions of society to form heroes, as convulsions in nature produce mountains.
The late war, so destructive of everything else, was fruitful in deeds of heroism almost without parallel in history.
Conspicuous above all others in that momentous struggle was your departed chieftain.
A great man was required, and great spirits were ready to gather around him. In what temper of mind he entered into this contest, I can speak with some confidence, from personal interviews with him soon after the commencement of hostilities.
‘Is it your expectation,’ I asked, ‘that the issue of this war will be to perpetuate the institution of slavery?’
‘The future is in the hands of Providence
,’ he replied; ‘but if the slaves in the South
were mine, I would surrender them all, without a struggle, to avert this war.’
I asked him next upon what his calculations were based in so unequal a contest, and how he expected to win success; was he looking to divided counsels