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Funeral oration on the death of brother GEORGE WASHINGTON. Prepared at the request of the masonic lodge, No. 14, of Wilmington, state of Delaware, and delivered on St. John the Evangelist's day, being the 27th of December, anno lucis 5799. By GUNNING BEDFORD, A. M.

My friends and fellow-citizens,


ALLED upon by a respectable society, with whom I am connected by the ties of friendship and brotherly love, to aid them in paying funeral honors to their grand master, and the most illustrious of men, I felt all that diffidence arising from a want of abilities to do justice to so important a subject, and from the shortness of time allowed for preparation.

BUT knowing that every one could make the same excuse, though with less justice than myself; and an affectionate society and grateful people, requiring some immediate testimony of respect to be paid to the memory of the beloved Washington, I have ventured with unfeigned hesitation upon the difficult task.

To your candor I submit myself; and in the motives which have brought me here, I trust in your generous bosoms I can read an apology, for every defect which may appear in that ora tion I shall now deliver.

UPON an occasion the most solemn ever witnessed by America, listen to the voice of eternal truth" It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting ;"— for none of us "liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself."

BUT there are some men, illuminated with a purer ray of divinity-patriots of the first magnitude, who in a peculiar sense may be said to live and die, not to themselves, but to others. Endowed with that superior excellence, which does honor to our whole species, the virtuous of every nation claim kindred with

* The exordium is principally taken from Dr. Smith's oration to the memory of Gen. Montgomery and others.

them, and the general interests of humanity are concerned in their characters.

IN veneration for such men, to exchange the accustomed walks of pleasure for the house of mourning-to bedew its sacred recesses with tears of gratitude to their memory-to strive, if possible, to catch some portion of their etherial spirit, as it mounts from this earthly sphere, into perfect union with congenial spirits above-is a laudable custom, coeval with society, and sanctioned by the example of the wisest nations.

Ir was the manner of the Egyptians, the fathers of arts and sciences, not only to celebrate the names, but to embalm the bodies, of their deceased heroes, that they might long be preserved in public view, as examples of virtue, and although dead yét speaking.

BUT this honor was not easily to be obtained, nor was it indiscriminately bestowed. It was decreed only by the public voice of a venerable assembly of judges; before whom the body of the deceased was brought for trial, and solemnly acquitted or condemned upon the evidence of the people.

EVEN kings themselves, however much spared when alive, for the sake of public tranquillity, had still this more than fiery ordeal before their eyes; and by the example of some of their number, who had been refused sepulchre in those very tombs. which their pride had prepared to their own memory, were taught both to venerate and to dread a law which extended its punishments beyond the usual time of oblivion.

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THE moral of this institution was truly sublime, constantly inculcating a most important lesson, that whatever distinctions our wants and vices may render necessary, in this short and imperfect state of our being, they are all cancelled by the hand of death; and through the untried periods which succeed, virtue and beneficence will make the true distinctions, and be the only foundations of happiness and renown.

THE enlightened Athenians had an express law, appointing orations and public funerals in honor of those who gloriously sacrificed their lives to their country. Thucydides has recorded a celebrated oration of this kind, delivered by Pericles. The illustrious speaker, after a most animated description of the amor patria, the love of country, which he exalts above all human virtues, turns to the deceased

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"HAVING bestowed their lives to the public, every one of them, says he, hath received a praise that will never die—a sepulchre which will always be most illustrious; not that in which their bones lie mouldering, but that in which their fame is preserved. The whole world is the sepulchre of illustrious citizens, and their inscription is written upon the hearts of all good men."

THE Romans rewarded deeds of public virtue according to their magnitude, with statues, triumphs, peculiar badges of dress at public solemnities, and songs of praise to the living as well as to the dead.

REPUBLICAN France, ever since her regeneration, has been in the practice of decreeing funeral honors and orations to those whom she has deemed worthy of them.

AND Congress early in our revolution resolved, that a funeral oration should be delivered in honor of general Montgomery, and those officers and soldiers, who magnanimously fought and fell with him, in maintaining the principles of American liberty.

THIS mode of paying respect to departed heroes and patriots, seems well calculated for republican governments. They are necessarily careful of bestowing honors upon the living, but may with great safety and propriety liberally bestow them upon the dead.

Ir must therefore give pleasure to every citizen of America to know, that the president of the United States, penetrated with grief for the great loss his country has sustained, and en

tertaining the most exalted opinion of the character of the deceased, has committed" to an affectionate and grateful people, in whose hearts he can never die, to pay suitable honors to his memory."

THY recommendation, worthy Adams, will be most faithfully obeyed, by that honorable body to whom thou hast committed the mournful trust. An affectionate and grateful people will raise a monument to his memory, which shall command the attention and respect of the world! It is already begun! the foundations are laid! America is weeping through all her forestsher towns and cities are shrouded with black, and covered with mourning-nothing is heard but the still sounds of woe, and universal condolence-all business is suspended, and an awful silence pervades our country, as if nature herself had made a pause!

EARLY in life this great man, whose death we now deplore, was highly distinguished by his country. In seventeen hundred and fifty-four, he held the commission of colonel in the service of Virginia, in the war then carried on by Great-Britain and the colonies against the French and Indians.

IN fifty-five he gave a striking instance of that disinterestedness which afterwards characterized all his actions. By a royal arrangement of rank, no officer who did not derive his commission immediately from the king, could command one who did. Colonel Washington cheerfully relinquished his regiment, and accompanied general Braddock, as an extra aid-de-camp.

In this capacity he rendered the most important service, by extricating the troops from the fatal ambuscade, which cost the life of general Braddock, most of his officers, and the discomfiture of the whole army. In covering the retreat, and saving the wreck of this army, he displayed the greatest abilities. The public prints in Britain and America, were full of applauses for the essential service he had rendered upon so trying an occasion.

THE regulation of rank being afterwards settled, to the satisfaction of the colonial officers, Virginia, impressed with a due sense of his merits, gave him an extensive commission to command all the troops raised or to be raised in that colony. In this character he continued to defend and protect the fron tiers, with the greatest skill and bravery, and commanded the van brigade of general Forbs's army at the capture of Fort du Quesne, in fifty-eight.

TRANQUILLITY being restored on the frontiers of the middle colonies, and colonel' Washington's health having materially suffered, by incessant fatigue and unremitted attention to duty, in fifty-nine he resigned his military appointment. Authentic documents exhibit the tender regret which the Virginia line expressed at parting with their commander, and the affectionate regard which he entertained for them.

AMIDST the numerous great lights which civil calamity produced in our country, during her struggle for liberty and independence, Washington shone with distinguished lustre, and rose pre-eminently above the rest.

BLEST with the most commanding figure-a dignity which forcibly impressed all beholders-a complacency of mannersa mind highly cultivated, and stored with knowledge—and a military fame so honorably acquired; he seemed formed by nature for great and glorious deeds, and pointed out by the hand of Deity to Ainerica, as her revolutionary chief.

It would be incompatible with our present design, to mention in detail the various plans he devised, or the systems he pursued to protect and defend our country during a seven years' war, against a most powerful enemy. They are fresh in the memory of many of us, and recorded in the annals of America for the information of all. Suffice it in this place to say, he surmounted more difficulties than any other general ever encountered-his attention to discipline, raised our army to respectability and renown his vigilance and prudence, defeated all the plans and devices of the enemy-his valor and military knowledge ex

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