Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Printed at the United States' Oracle-Office by Charles Peirce, 1800. Pamphlet. Sewn as issued. Half-title cover: "Anniversary Sermon, on the Death of Gen. Washington."December 4th, 1800. Octavo, 9" x 6." pp. 21, . Edges untrimmed. Minor folding to right-hand corners of first and last few leaves. Faint black, small smudge to inner margin of title-page. Paper browned from plate-marks. Text perfectly readable. (Sabin, 8925). Very good. Item #80547
This eulogy was delivered to commemorate the anniversary of Washington's death. Rather than sermonize Washington's life to deliver a moral message to a pious congregation—as many eulogies did—Joseph Buckminster provides useful insights into Washington's admirable actions and character. Eulogies such as Buckminster's were instrumental in shaping the national mythology surrounding America's first hero.
About the author: Buckminster was a precocious child. He learned Latin and the Greek New Testament at age four, entered Harvard College at 13, and graduated in 1800 at age 16 with both bachelor's and master's degrees. Upon his graduation, he spent two years as an instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy. In 1805 he became minister of the Brattle Street Church in Boston, and quickly launched an almost legendary career of eloquent preaching, biblical scholarship, and literary production which set the tone for the pattern of the minister as a man of letters. He traveled through Europe and collected a library of 3000 volumes that would become the foundation of the library of the Boston Athenæum. Buckminster was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1809. He was the most brilliant member of the Anthology Club, an early editor of the Monthly Anthology, and in 1811 was appointed Dexter Lecturer at Harvard where he occupied the first Chair in Scripture.