Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

best expression of the cherished memories of the past. The following inscription was upon the plate:

REV. ARTHUR BUCKMINSTER FULLER,
Chaplain of the 16th Regiment of
Massachusetts Volunteers;

Killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Va.,
11th December, 1862,
Aged 40 years.

'I must do something for my Country."*

The following verses were sung from the Army Melodies:

[ocr errors]

Sleeping soft, the soldier lies

Calmly, in his bed of blood;
Where, a living sacrifice,

He his body gave to God.

By salvation's Captain led,

In the army of the Lord,
Battle-fields a dying bed

Soft and glorious afford!
There amid the rage of strife,

Clash and roar of conflict grim,
While to God he gives his life,
In the storm, is calm to him.

The first address was from Rev. Rollin H. Neale, who said:

"My principal difficulty in speaking on this occasion is in controlling my feelings within just bounds. I have seldom heard of a death which so deeply affected me. My first impression was a sense of personal bereavement. say, 'I am distressed for thee, my brother! hast thou been unto me.' I would not be unmindful of other bereavements which have occurred in our midst.

I could truly Very pleasant

* Christian Register.

"Putnam and Lowell, Shurtleff and Phillips, Cabot and Willard, and other loved ones, are warm in public sympathy, and the hearts of friends and relatives are freshly bleeding over their graves. But I am sure no one has fallen in this war more tenderly loved, and whose death, in the circle of his acquaintance, has produced a profounder impression than that of the Chaplain of the Sixteenth Regiment. His published letters, so characteristic, frank, and full, have made him widely known. We have followed him from scene to scene, to Alexandria and Fortress Monroe, to the neighborhood of Suffolk and the terrible field of Fair Oaks, to Harrison's Landing, and on board of transports, sometimes sleeping on the vessel's deck and sometimes on the bare ground; but always cheerful, always active, encouraging his boys,' as he called them, ministering to the sick and the wounded, having a good word to say of everybody, and evil of none. We see him ever manly, dignified, uncompromising. He never conceals his sentiments. He condemns rebellion and slavery in the face of their most earnest and bitter advocates, and yet in such a tone of sincerity and kindness as to gain the respect of rebel officers and the confiding love of the poor dying Southern prisoner, whom he soothingly comforted, and at whose cot he knelt in fervent prayer.

"An ingenuous, open-hearted, whole-souled man was our departed friend. There was nothing little, mean, or selfish about him. He was ready to do a kind act or perform any service for a friend without stopping to think what might be the effect upon himself. Some blame him, and perhaps he was imprudent, in the worldly sense of the term, for taking a gun and going into the ranks. But it was just like him. When the battle was raging, and his men, his children, his pastoral charge, were called to face the danger, it was not in his nature to sit idle in his tent; and if he forgot his headache, and his weakened frame, and as some say his profes

sional character, I should feel rebuked and ashamed, if, as his friend, I attempted to make an apology for him. No, it was an act of generous emotion, of noble heroism, of selfsacrificing patriotism, which will endear him to his associates in the army, and place him high among the martyrs in this struggle. Sure I am that neither the soldiers to whom he ministered as chaplain, nor those churches in New England of which he had been the beloved pastor, will think the less of his religious character now that his blood has been poured out in his country's cause.

"When settled in this city I became acquainted with him. Our friendship was intimate and unreserved. With his earnest, genial, and pre-eminently humane spirit, we forgot our theological differences, and 'wherein we were agreed walked by the same rule and minded the same thing.' Deeply do I sympathize with his relatives, his brothers, his bereaved wife, his orphan children. No public tribute to his memory, no official funeral solemnities, are necessary to exalt him in their estimation. They knew him at home, the sphere he loved the best, amid the thousand sweet and tender charities of life. He loved the circle immediately around him, and cherished an affectionate remembrance of those who had previously been removed by death, esteemed parents, a lamented brother, an honored sister.

"The quiet rural spot at Mount Auburn which he has described and carefully laid out and adorned for 'our family' now waits to receive all that was mortal of himself. It is hallowed ground, fit emblem of the peaceful rest which his weary spirit has now entered. No more fatiguing marches. Strifes and fears and dying groans shall agitate his soul no

more.

'No rude alarms of angry foes,
No cares to break the long repose,
No midnight shade, no clouded sun,
But sacred, high, eternal noon.'"

Rev. E. O. Haven, D. D., was the next speaker. He said:

"We see before us to-day an extraordinary sight. Ministers of the Gospel of Christ of different denominations pay their tribute of honor and affection a brother minister who

has finished his course, not as is most common for men of his profession, dying peacefully among his people, breathing upon them a benediction, and bearing testimony to the fidelity of the Saviour in the closing hour of life; not, as is sometimes the case, expiring suddenly in the midst of official duty, and translated at once from the pulpit to the congregation of the faultless and immortal, - but who died on the field of battle, clad in the soldier's garb, with deadly weapons in his hands, in the forefront of terrible strife.

[ocr errors]

"Many are shocked at the thought of such a scene. Distant lands will wonder when they hear the report. It will be quoted as an indication of a fearful passion for blood which has usurped the American mind. There are some, even at home, who will timidly inquire, Why is this waste of life? Why must the ambassador of the Prince of Peace subject himself to the violence of war? Has there not been a forgetfulness of the proprieties of official dignity? Has there not been a misapprehension of the duties of a Christian minister?

"Could he whose mangled body now lies before you, from which the deadly bullet has expelled the noble Christian soul, rise again and speak out as he was wont to do in ringing words, they would not be apologetic, but words of exultation. Were it possible for him to be at once fallen in battle and yet alive with us, I know that he would fill our souls with his own holy enthusiasm. I know that he would make us understand and feel the magnitude of his thought and the love of his heart, when he offered to his country, in what he thought her bitterest trial, the sight of his eye and the strength of his arm, and above all the moral example of his character, won

by many years' devotion to the good of his fellow-men. He offered all this to his country, and he did right. It was an overflowing love. He gave away his life for liberty to all men, instead of slavery for negroes, vassalage for the great majority of the whites, and a despotism— greatest curse of all — for a few. He offered his life to inspire the army with noble purpose, and if need be to inspire the nation. He knew that his life might be taken, and is not now surprised; but there comes a voice from his spirit to us saying: Waste not your sympathies in inactive sorrow, but convert the strong tide of your emotion into vigorous thought and powerful action. 'Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and your children,' or see to it that they are so protected as not to need your

tears.

"He was a brave man. He had shown that long before he crossed the perilous bridge and preceded the great army in their passage over the Rappahannock. His bravery was not rash physical courage. His was a cultivated mind and a full heart. Life was to him full of hopes, affections, and ambitions. He had the poet's imagination to paint the future, and the Christian's purpose to produce it. To him life was intensely valuable. The great teacher of modern philosophy has said: A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to athe16 ism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion.' So a little thought makes man a coward, but deeper thought fills him with courage. Our friend was bravé because he was a man of thought, of self-control, of obedience to God's law, and of faith. Such a man cannot be timid, for God is in him. He had long ago determined what to live for, to advocate what he believed to be true, to benefit man, to imitate Christ, to honor God. That I believe he has tried to do. That gave him the courage of an apostle. I am not speaking words of formal eulogy, but what the character of this good man deserves.

« AnteriorContinuar »