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[p. 91]

Inauguration of President Quincy.

Letter June 6, 1829.

The newspapers will give you the order of the performances at the inauguration of President Quincy, and I will notice only those points that arrested my attention. Mr. Quincy looked like a man who was engaging with his whole soul in a great and solemn undertaking, but who felt himself to be equal to the task, and his deportment seemed to inspire all with confidence. . . . . Gov. Lincoln quite captivated me, I had never seen him before, and had always heard him spoken of by the angry bridge-men as a little whipper-snapper, who owed his election rather to accident than his own merit, but on this occasion he performed his part with a gracefulness and dignity that delighted everybody,—his address was quite long, but was delivered with perfect ease, and I was pedant enough to admire the display of Latin in the whole ceremony. After the salvetes, praestantissimes, and excellentissimzes were over, one of the theological students in behalf of the graduates delivered an English salutatory which was very happily conceived and invented:—in addressing the President, he deprecated employing the language of adulation, as the flowing superlatives of the Latin ill became the sober honesty of our mother tongue. But the principal topic of this address was a beautiful tribute to the memory of President Kirkland,—he was mentioned by all the speakers,—and I was struck with the difficulty they seemed to find in recollecting that he was still numbered with the living, the occasion appeared so imperatively to require him to be numbered among the departed. Mr. Newhall eulogized with all the warmth of affection his various knowledge, discrimination, sagacity, playful wit, ready sympathy, expansive generosity, universal kindliness, large conceptions and entire disinterestedness; and in addressing his successor, he warned him by the example of the past to be moderate in his expectations of reaping the reward of his virtuous exertions, as we had recently witnessed the same malevolence which led the Athenians of old to become weary of hearing Aristides called the Just, and to denounce Socrates as the perverter of youth. These allusions were received with a thunder of applause, and we fancied that some of the corporation looked a little green and yellow. The inaugural address itself was very grave, dignified and sensible; full of discriminating observations upon the spirit of the age, earnestly inculcating right notions of education as consisting not in external means, places, teachers, books, sciences, but in the grand inward mental and moral process by which every individual with unremitting labor and self-denial, laying self-knowledge for the basis of his whole superstructure, must train himself up for glory and immortality. He was for banishing all ephemeral pursuits and compositions, and


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Josiah Quincy (3)
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