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Art. XXXV.

A Discourse, occasioned by the Death
of General George Washington, de-
livered December 29, 1799. By

John Thornton Kirkland, Minis-
ter of the New South Church, Bos-
ton. To which is added, Wash-
ington's Valedictory Address. Bos-
ton.
Thomas and Andrews. 8vo.
pp.
44. 1800.

FEW of the orations which have
commemorated the death of
Washington can be quoted in
comparison with this. The strain
of eloquence is more unaffectedly
impassioned, more correctly figura-
tive, more temperately encomiastic,
than commonly is met with.

It is a sermon, founded on the
words of Job: “I chose out their
way, and sat as chief, and dwelt as
a king in the army, as one that
comforteth the mourners.” But
the text prefixed is all that reminds
us of the pulpit, since, in the course
of the performance, the text is not
alluded to; nor, indeed, does there
occur more than one scriptural quo-
tation.

This discourse has no narrative.
No account, circumstantial or
compendious, of Washington's ex-
ploits is introduced. The principal
features of the general and magis-
trate are selected and displayed in
glowing colours, and the portrait is
not disfigured by the affectation of
historical accuracy or chronological
method.

An analysis of the sentiments of
this performance, or minute and
particular criticisms on the style,
would be of little use to the reader,
and be unjust to the author, whose
rhetorical merit must be estimated
by the general effect of his composi-
tion, collectively and rapidly con-
sidered.

Eloquence, or that property which
sways our imagination and our pas-
sions, is a lustre reflected from a
large surface. Like beauty, it is an

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emanation from the whole, and
vanishes when our eye proceeds to
discriminate and particularize, to
limit its view to dissevered parts
and single atoms. We shall there-
fore content ourselves with quoting
passages most replete with Mr.
Kirkland's peculiarities of thinking
or expression. The following spe-
cimen will suffice:

“Was the nation to be roused
from dangerous sleep? his name
was sounded in their ears. Was
faction to be driven from the light?
it was pointed to his awful frown.
Was a foreign foe to be deterred
from invasion? it was shown his
hand upon his sword. With him,
its patron, the federal administra-
tion would not despair of final sup-
port; with him, their leader, the
armies of America would be
ineffectually held up to odium,
would be created with facility, and,
in every conflict, would feel in-
vincible. In the present dubious
aspect of our national interests,
every thing was hoped, in aid of
the present system; from the part
which he would take, in case of
civil dissention, or increased danger
from foreign arts or arms.

“Whilst the life of this personage
was so interesting to the public
welfare, it was not less subservient
to the private virtues of the man,
the citizen, and the christian. With
him, its patron and model, no moral
virtue wanted a living eulogy; no
laudable sacrifice an animating in-
centive. We strengthened our de-
fence of the gospel, by showing the
infidel that Washington was a chris-
tian; and we put to silence the sel-
fish traducer of patriotism, by re-
minding him of the patriot Wash-
ington. Men were animated to be
just and sincere, disinterested and
humane, diligent and frugal, modest
and brave, not only because it was
right and wise, but because it was
to follow Washington.”