AN ORATION DELIVERED APRIL EIGHTH, 1776.
AN ORATION; DELIVERED AT THE King's-CHAPEL IN BOSTON, APRIL 8, 1776, On the Re-Interment of the Remains of the late MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND-MASTER JOSEPH WARREN, ESQUIRE; PRESIDENT of the late CONGRESS of this Colony, AND MAJOR-GENERAL of the MASSACHUSETTS FORCES; Who was Slain in the Battle of BUNKER's-HILL, JUNE 17, 1775.
BY PEREZ MORTON, M. M.
BOSTON: PRINTED, AND TO BE SOLD BY J. GILL, IN QUEEN-STREET. 1776.
Boston,April 5, 1776.
Brother PEREZ MORTON, SIR,
I AM requested by the Brethren of the Grand Lodge, to beg the favor of you to pronounce an ORATION on Monday next, at the re-interment of our late Grand Master JOSEPH WARREN, Esq which I doubt not you will perform with credit to yourself and satisfaction to your audience.
I am, your affectionate brother, and humble servant, JOSEPH WEBB, D. G. M.
Watertown,April 6, 1776.
BROTHER MORTON presents his respects to Brother WEBB, and the other Officers of the Grand Lodge, and thanks them for the honor done him in their requesting him to pronounce an ORATION on the re-interment of the late Grand Master; and gives for answer, that he will endeavor to pre|pare himself, and has no other apology to urge for any deficiencies, that may ap|pear, than his want of abilities for so important an undertaking, and the shortness of time given him to prepare in.
Council-Chamber, Boston,April 8, 1776.
AT a Meeting of the Grand Lodge, and a numerous body of Free and Accepted Masons, after the re-interment of our Most Worshipful Grand Master, JOSEPH WARREN, Esq who was slain in the battle of Bunker's-Hill, June 17, 1775.
In the Chair, the Right Worshipful JOSEPH WEBB, D. G. M.
VOTED, That our Brothers Paul Revere, Edward Proctor, and Stephen Bruce, be a committee to wait on our brother Perez Morton, Esq and present our most cordial thanks, for his ORATION delivered this afternoon, and request a copy thereof for the press.
Attest, WILLIAM HOSKINS, G. Secr'y.
FROM that duty, which I owe to the Lodge, I am constrained to comply with your request; and shall urge no other apology for the defects of the performance, than the very short time that was given me to prepare it in, added to my most sincere wishes of having been better able to have done justice to the exalted character of the subject of it.
I am, with due respect, your most affectionate brother, PEREZ MORTON.
WHAT Tidings from the Grave! Why hast thou left the peaceful Mansions of the Tomb, to visit again this troubled Earth! Art thou the welcome Messenger of Peace! Art thou risen again to exhibit thy glorious Wounds, and thro' them proclaim Salvation to thy Country! Or art thou come to demand that last Debt of Humanity, to which your Rank and Merit have so justly entitled you—but which has been so long ungenerously withheld! And art thou angry at the barbarous usage? Be appeased, sweet Ghost! For tho' thy Body has long laid undistinguished among the vulgar Dead, scarce prive|leged Page 6 with Earth enough to hide it from the Birds of Prey; tho' not a kindred Tear was dropt, tho' not a friendly Sigh was uttered, o'er thy Grave; and tho' the Execrations of an impious Foe, were all thy Funeral Knells; yet matchless Patriot! thy Memory has been embalmed in the Affections of thy grateful Countrymen; who in their Breast have raised eternal Monuments to thy Bravery!
BUT let us leave the beloved Remains, and contemplate for a Moment, those Virtues of the Man, the Exercise of which have so deservedly endeared him to the honest among the Great, and the Good among the humble.
IN the private Walks of Life, he was a Pattern for Man|kind.—The Tears of her, to whom the World's indebted for so much Virtue, are silent Heralds of his filial Piety: While his tender Offspring, in lisping out their Father's Care, proclaim his parential Affection: And an ADAMS can witness with how much Zeal he loved, where he had formed the sacred Connection of a Friend;— their kindred Souls were so closely twined, that both felt one Joy, both one Affliction. In Conversation he had the happy Talent of addressing his Subject both to the Understanding and the Passions; from the one he forced Conviction, from the other he stole Assent.
HE was blessed with a Complacency of Disposition, and Equa|nimity of Temper, which peculiarly endeared him to his Friends; Page 7 and which, added to the Deportment of the Gentleman, command|ed Reverence and Esteem even from his Enemies.
SUCH was the tender Sensibility of his Soul, that he need but see Distress to feel it, and contribute to its Relief.—He was deaf to the Calls of Interest even in the Course of his Profession; and wherever he beheld an indigent Object, which claimed his healing Skill, he administred it, without even the Hope of any other Re|ward, than that which resulted from the Reflection of having so far promoted the Happiness of his Fellow Men.
IN the social Departments of Life, practising upon the Strength of that Doctrine, he used so earnestly to inculcate himself, that no|thing so much conduced to enlighten Mankind, and advance the great End of Society at large, as the frequent Interchange of Sen|timents, in friendly Meetings; we find him constantly engaged in this eligible Labour; but on none did he place so high a Value, as on that most honorable of all detached Societies, THE FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS: Into this Fraternity he was early initiated; and after having given repeated Proofs of a rapid Proficiency in the Arts, and after evidencing by his Life, the Professions of his Lips— finally, as the Reward of his Merit, he was commissioned the most worshipful GRAND MASTER of all the ancient Masons, thro' North-America.—And you, Brethren, are living Testimonies, with how much Honor to himself, and Benefit to the Craft universal, he discharged the Duties of his elevated Trust; with what sweetned Page 8 Accents he courted your Attention, while with Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, he instructed his Lodges in the secret Arts of Free-masonry; what perfect Order and Decorum he preserved in the Go|vernment of them; and in all his Conduct, what a bright Example he set us, to live within Compass, and act upon the Square.
WITH what Pleasure did he silence the Wants of poor and pen|nyless Brethren; yea the Necessitous every where, tho' ignorant of the Mysteries of the Craft, from his Benefactions, felt the happy Effects of that Institution which is founded on Faith, Hope and Charity. And the World may cease to wonder, that he so readily offered up his Life, on the Altar of his Country, when they are told, that the main Pillar of Masonry, is the LOVE OF MANKIND.
THE Fates, as tho' they would reveal, in the Person of our GRAND MASTER, those Mysteries, which have so long lain hid from the World, have suffered him, like the great Master-builder in the Temple of old, to fall by the Hands of Ruffians, and be again raised in Honor and Authority: We searched in the Field for the murdered Son of a Widow, and we found him, by the Turf and the Twig, buried on the Brow of a Hill, tho' not in a decent Grave.—And tho' we must again commit his Body to the Tomb, yet our Breasts shall be the Burying Spot of his Masonic Virtues, and there—
Page 9IN public Life, the sole Object of his Ambition was to acquire the Conscience of virtuous Enterprizes; Amor Patriae was the Spring of his Actions, and Mens Conscia Recti was his Guide.— And on this Security he was, on every Occasion, ready to sacrifice his Health, his Interest and his Ease, to the sacred Calls of his Country. When the Liberties of America were attacked, he ap|peared an early Champion in the Contest; and tho' his Knowledge and Abilities would have insured Riches and Preferment (could he have stoop'd to Prostitution) yet he nobly withstood the fascinating Charm, tossed Fortune back her Plume, and persued the inflexible Purpose of his Soul, in guiltless Competence.
HE sought not the airy Honors of a Name, else, many of those Publications, which in the early Period of our Controversy served to open the Minds of the People, had not appeared anonymous. In every time of eminent Danger, his Fellow-Citizens flew to him for Advice; like the Orator of Athens, he gave it, and dispell'd their Fears:—Twice did they call him to the Rostrum, to comme|morate the Massacre of their Brethren; and from that Instance, in persuasive Language he taught them, not only the dangerous Ten|dency, but the actual Mischief, of stationing a Military Force, in a free City, in a Time of Peace.—They learnt the profitable Lesson, and pen'd it among their Grievances.
Page 10BUT his Abilities were too great, his Deliberations too much wanted, to be confined to the Limits of a single City, and at a Time when our Liberties were most critically in Danger from the se|cret Machinations and open Assaults of our Enemies, this Town, to their lasting Honor, elected him to take a Part in the Councils of the State.—And with what Faithfulness he discharged the impor|tant Delegation, the Neglect of his private Concerns, and his un|wearied Attendance on that Betrustment, will sufficiently testify: and the Records of that virtuous Assembly will remain the Testi|monials of his Accomplishments as a Statesman, and his Integrity and Services as a Patriot, thro' all Posterity.
The Congress of our Colony could not observe so much Virtue and Greatness without honoring it with the highest Mark of their Favour; and by the free Suffrages of that uncorrupted Body of Freemen, he was soon called to preside in the Senate.—Where by his daily Councils and Exertions, he was constantly promoting the great Cause of General Liberty.
BUT when he found the Tools of Oppression were obstinately bent on Violence; when he found the Vengeance of the British Court must he glutted with Blood; he determined, that what he could not effect by his Eloquence or his Pen, he would bring to Purpose by his Sword. And on the memorable 19th of April, he appeared in the Field, under the united Characters of the General, the Soldier and the Physician.—Here he was seen animating his Page 11 Countrymen to Battle, and fighting by their Side, and there he was found administering healing Comforts to the wounded. And when he had repelled the unprovoked Assaults of the Enemy, and had driven them back into their Strong-holds, like the virtuous Chief of Rome, he returned to the Senate, and presided again at the Councils of the Fathers.
WHEN the vanquished Foe had rallied their disordered Army, and by the Acquisition of fresh Strength, again presumed to fight against Freemen; our Patriot, ever anxious to be, where he could do the most good, again put off the Senator, and in Contempt of Danger flew to the Field of Battle, where, after a stern, and almost victorious Resistance, ah! too soon for his Country! he sealed his Principles with his Blood—then—
Enriched indeed! And the Heights of Charlestown shall be more memorable for thy Fall, than the Plains of Abraham are for that of the Hero of Britain. For while he died contending for a single Country, You fell in the Cause of Virtue and Mankind.
THE Greatness of his Soul shone even in the Moment of Death; for if Fame speaks true, in his last Agonies he met the Insults of his barbarous Foe, with his wonted Magnanimity, and with the true Spirit of a Soldier, frowned at their Impotence.
Page 12IN Fine, to compleat the great Character—like HARRING|TON he wrote, like CICERO he spoke, like HAMPDEN he lived, and like WOLFE he died.
AND can we, my Countrymen, with Indifference behold so much Worth and Valour laid prostrate by the Hand of British Tyranny! And can we ever grasp that Hand in Affection again? —Are we not yet convinced "that he who hunts the Woods for Prey, the naked and untutored Indian, is less a Savage than the King of Britain"! Have we not Proofs, wrote in Blood, that the corrupted Nation, from whence we sprang (tho' there may be some Traces of their ancient Virtue left) are stubbornly fixed on our Destruction! And shall we still court a Dependance on such a State? Still contend for a Connection with those, who have forfeited not only every kindred Claim, but even their Title to Humanity! Forbid it the Spirit of the brave MONTGOMORY! Forbid it the Spirit of immortal WARREN! Forbid it the Spirits of all our valiant Coun|trymen! Who fought, bled and died for far different Purposes; and who would have thought the Purchase dear indeed! to have paid their Lives for the paltry Boon, of displacing one Set of Vil|lains in Power, to make Way for another. No. They contend|ed for the Establishment of Peace, Liberty and Safety to their Coun|try, and we are unworthy to be called their Countrymen, if we stop at any Acpuisition short of this.
Page 13Now is the happy Season, to seize again those Rights, which as Men we are by Nature entitled to, and which by Contract we never have and never could have surrendered:—But which have been repeatedly and violently attacked by the King, Lords and Commons of Britain. Ought we not then to disclaim forever the forfeited Affinity; and by a timely Amputation of that rotten Limb of the Empire, prevent the Mortification of the whole? Ought we not to listen to the Voice of our slaughtered Brethren, who are now proclaiming aloud to their Country—
Yes, we ought and will—We will assert the Blood of our mur|dered Hero against thy hostile Oppressions, O shameless Britain! and when "thy Cloud-cap'd Towers, thy gorgeous Palaces" shall by the Teeth of Pride and Folly be levell'd with the Dust—and when thy Glory shall have faded like the Western Sunbeam—the Name and the Virtues of WARREN shall remain immortal.