6
PREFACE.

we do not now institute games, or slaughter oxen, or build up sacrifices. We think not that their shades will repose more or less quietly from any manifestation of our reverence and regret. But we give vent to natural and honorable emotions; and though the rest of the dead may not be stirred to any human joy by any thing done for their honor on earth, we know and feel that many a living heart, strained with cares, and striving against doubts and discouragements in the steep ascent to fame, will be soothed and strengthened in its tasks, and borne onward and upward in its aspirations, by these majestic tokens of the homage which genius wins from the world. They set up beacons upon which longing eyes gaze intently in absorbing veneration for the past,--and swelling souls find in them a perpetual motive and unfailing support in the toils and exertions of public life. They are the aliment upon which young ambition feeds and hardens until it is able to achieve the greatness it emulates, and to earn the lofty rewards of posthumous renown, the aspiration after which first fired its zeal.

In the contemplation of these unstinted honors to the memory of CALHOUN, CLAY and WEBSTER, not only will many an obscure youth find stimulants to perseverance in the path of public duty, but living statesmen yet in the heat of conflict, may find in them the consoling assurance of a just appreciation, when they, too, shall have emerged into an atmosphere cleared of the partisan mists of the day. To that serene region, Death raises them at once. There the prejudices of the time vanish, and the instincts of justice, gratitude and reverence resume their sway. The dead have no longer partisans or enemies among their countrymen. We all join to do honor to their memory to claim an equal share in their renown--to mourn together over their loss, and to unite as kindred to plant laurels upon their tombs.

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