|Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:|
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vol. IV: Literature of the Republic, Part I., Constitutional period, 17881820
|The Father of His Country|
|By Henry Lee III (17561818)|
[Born in Westmoreland Co., Va., 1756. Died at Cumberland Island, Ga., 1818. A Funeral Oration in Honor of the Memory of George Washington. 1800.]
FIRST in warfirst in peaceand first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere; uniform, dignified and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him, as were the effects of that example lasting.
| To his equals he was condescending, to his inferiors kind, and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender; correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.|| 2|
| His last scene comported with the whole tenor of his lifealthough in extreme pain, not a sigh, not a groan escaped him; and with undisturbed serenity he closed his well-spent life. Such was the man America has lostsuch was the man for whom our nation mourns.|| 3|
| Methinks I see his august image, and I hear falling from his venerable lips these deep-sinking words:|| 4|
| Cease, Sons of America, lamenting our separation: go on, and confirm by your wisdom the fruits of our joint councils, joint efforts, and common dangers; reverence religion, diffuse knowledge throughout your land, patronize the arts and sciences; let Liberty and Order be inseparable companions. Control party spirit, the bane of free governments; observe good faith to, and cultivate peace with all nations, shut up every avenue to foreign influence, contract rather than extend national connection, rely on yourselves only: be Americans in thought, word, and deed;thus will you give immortality to that union which was the constant object of my terrestrial labors; thus will you preserve undisturbed to the latest posterity the felicity of a people to me most dear, and thus will you supply (if my happiness is now aught to you) the only vacancy in the round, of pure bliss high Heaven bestows.|| 5|