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Eulogy on Chief-Justice Chase Delivered by William M. Evarts before the Alumni of Dartmouth College, at Hanover   By: (1818-1901)

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ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by D. APPLETON & CO., In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.




MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN, THE ALUMNI OF DARTMOUTH COLLEGE: When, not many weeks since, the committee of your association did me the honor to invite me to present, in an address to the assembled graduates of the college, a commemoration of the life, the labors, and the fame of the very eminent man and greatly honored scholar of your discipline, lawyer, orator, senator, minister, magistrate, whom living a whole nation admired and revered, whom dead a whole nation laments, I felt that neither a just sense of public duty nor the obligations of personal affection would permit me to decline the task. Yielding, perhaps too readily, to the persuasions of your committee that somewhat close professional and public association with the Chief Justice in the later years of his life, and the intimate enjoyment of his personal friendship, might excuse my want of that binding tie of fellowship in a commemoration, in which the venerated college does dutiful honor to a son, and the assembled alumni crown with their affection the memory of a brother, I dismissed also, upon the same persuasion, all anxious solicitudes, which otherwise would have oppressed me, lest importunate and inextricable preoccupations of time and mind should disable me from presenting as considerable, and as considerate, a survey of the eminent character and celebrated career of Mr. Chase as should comport with them, or satisfy the just exigencies of the occasion.

The commemoration which brings us together has about it nothing funereal, in sentiment or observance, to darken our minds or sadden our hearts to day. The solemn rites of sepulture, the sobbings of sorrowing affection, the homage of public grief, the concourse of the great officers of state, the assemblage of venerable judges, the processions of the bar, of the clergy, of liberal and learned men, the attendant crowds of citizens of every social rank and station, both in the great city where he died, and at the national capital, have already graced his burial with all imaginable dignity and unmeasured reverence. To prolong or renew this pious office is no part of our duty to day. Nor is the maturity or nurture which the college gives to those it calls its sons, bestowed as it is upon their mind and character, affected by the death of the body as is the heart of the natural mother; nor are you, his brethren in this foster care of the spirit, bowed with the same sense of bereavement as are natural kindred. The filial and fraternal relation which he bore to you, the college and the alumni, is hardly broken by his death, nor is he hidden from you by his burial. His completed natural life is but the assurance and perpetuation of the power, the fame, the example, which the discipline and culture here bestowed had for their object, and in which they find their continuing and ever increasing glory. The energy here engendered has not ceased its beneficent activity, the torch here lighted still diffuses its illumination, and the fires here kindled still radiate their heat.

Not less certain is it that the spirit of this commemoration imposes no task of vindication or defense, and tolerates no tone of adulation or applause. The tenor of this life, the manifestation of this character, was open and public, before the eyes of all men, upon an eminent stage of action, displayed constantly on the high places of the world. No faculty that Mr. Chase possessed, no preparation of mind or of spirit, for great undertakings or for notable achievements, ever failed of exercise or exhibition for want of opportunity, or, being exercised or exhibited, missed commensurate recognition or responsive plaudits from his countrymen... Continue reading book >>

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