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Funeral Oration
Delivered by
Rev. Dr. William Hume
Upon the Occasion of the Death of
Mrs. Andrew Jackson
on December 23, 1828


This pamphlet containing copy of the Sermon delivered by Reverend Dr. William Hume - a life long friend of President and Mrs. Jackson, - upon the occasion of the death and funeral of Mrs. Jackson is presented to the members and friends of the Hermitage Church, at the Anniversary of the Centenary of the Church House which was erected by President Jackson and a few friends.
    It is my wish and prayer that the church may continue the good work of the past hundred years.
Mrs. William  (Mary Leland) Hume
Widow of Major William Hume, who was the oldest
Grandson of Dr. William Hume.
Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 19th, 1923

From Nashville: "Athens of the South" by Henry McRaven published in 1949:

contributed by Bill Alexander, 25 January 2004

"Shortly after noon on December 24 [1828], the remains of Rachel were born to the far corner of her lovely garden for burial. Tennessee had never before witnessed such a funeral. Ten thousand persons, twice the number that lived in Nashville, overflowed the garden, the immense lawn, and the fields. On that morning conveyances of every kind converged on the Hermitage, and thousands trudged there on foot. Sam Houston led the pallbearers along the garden walk to the newly opened grave. Jackson followed, leaning upon the arm of his friend, John Coffee. The Reverend William Hume spoke for twenty minutes. When he had finished tears were streaming down the cheeks of the General. 'In the presence of this dear saint,' he said, 'I can and do forgive all my enemies. But those vile wretches who have slandered her must look to God for mercy."

"The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance."
Psalm CXII, 6th Verse
-------------------------     These words might be applied to that venerable matron, with much propriety, as she gave every reasonable evidence that she was among the righteous.  Indeed, as her name is indissolubly connected with that of the President of the United States, it shall be held in remembrance while the page of history displays the memorable actions of General jackson.  The words of the Psalmist, however, are applicable to her in a much nobler sense.

    The death of this worthy lady is much deplored, not only by her distinguished husband and immediate relations, but by a large majority of the people of the United States of America.  Her character was so well known to multitudes who visited the Hermitage, the abode of hospitality, that the following remarks will readily be acknowledged as true:

    With regard to her religious principles, they were such as are held sound by all religious denominations that are commonly called evangelical.  Convinced of the depravity of human nature, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, she relied on the spirit of God alone, to illuminate, renovate and purify that nature that might be qualified for the unspotted society of heaven.  Believing with the inspired Paul, that by the works of the law, no flesh can be justified in the sight of God, her dependence for eternal life was placed on the merits and meditation of Jesus.  Fully persuaded that the law is holy and the commandment holy, and that God will not acquit the sinner from condemnation, in a way that will conceal the dignity of His government, the purity of His nature, the truth of His threatening, or the glory of His unchangeable justice, she derived all her hope of acceptance with God from Him who "bore our sins in His own body on the tree; who suffered, - the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God."

    While, however, her whole dependence for acceptance with God was founded upon the atonement of the Son of God, through whom grace reigns unto eternal life, she knew that this doctrine did not tend to immorality.  She was taught by Paul that holiness is always inseparably connected with this dependence on the merits of the Savior, and that every motive to holiness arising from interest or gratitude of the pleasures of religion remains in full force; she, therefore, abounded in good works.  Assured by the infallible testimony of her Lord and Master, that every branch of the true vine, as it derives its verdure, beauty, vigor, and sap from the vine is fruitful, she , a genuine branch, was so too.  In acts of piety, as adoration, thanksgiving and praise, she took delight.  Her seat was seldom empty in the house of God.  Though very often surrounded with company from every state in the Union, neither she nor her illustrious husband neglected the house of God on that account.  The tears of genuine penitence were often shed by her in the temple of the Lord.  She had a tender and a feeling heart, and sometimes I have seen the tears bedewing her cheeks while she was speaking of the dangerous condition of those around her, who seemed to be entirely careless about a future state.  Indeed, her devotional spirit was manifest in all her conduct.  She meditated on the wonders of redeeming love with much delight, as the source of her present joy and future hope of glory.  Indeed, her piety was acknowledged by all who knew her, as it manifested itself by the most unequivocal proofs; a reverential awe, a supreme love and profound veneration for the incomparable excellence of God, and a cordial gratitude to Him as the source of all her mercies.  Her love to God was displayed by an unusual obedience to His commands and by a humble submission to His providence.

    As a wife, connected with one who stood so high in the estimation of his fellow-citizens, she was, as a Christian exposed to some peculiar temptations; for who can resist the fascinations of honor and power?  While she rejoiced in the honor of a nation of freeman spontaneously given to a husband so dear to her heart, yet no unbecoming elation of mind, no haughtiness, no overbearing conduct, could ever be seen, even by an inimical eye, in this amiable lady.  She was adorned with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, in an eminent degree.  Esteem and affection were so mixed in her bosom for her husband, that her respectful behavior to him, in her house and among her connections and acquaintances, struck every beholder as the soft impulse of the sweetness of her disposition; so that by her kindness and affability, her husband was more happy in his own family than in the midst of triumphs.  In consequence of her amiable manners, his own house was the chief place of his enjoyment.

    The tears and lamentations of the servants are proofs of the most unequivocal kind of her excellence as the mistress of her household.  Never did children seem to mourn more sincerely for a mother than the household servants lament for her.  The cordial regard of her servants may well be attributed to the gentleness of her commands, the calmness of her temper, and her tenderness in treating them in health and in sickness.  She was indeed a mother to her family.

    The widow and the orphan will long lament the death of Mrs. Jackson.  In the circle of the widows and orphans her benevolence accompanied with the most substantial acts of beneficence, shone with distinguished splendor.  To her the words of Job may be properly applied:  "When the ear heard her, then it blessed her; and when the eye saw her, it gave witness to her, because she delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that none to help him.  The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon her, and she caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.  She put on righteousness, and it clothed her.  Her judgement was a robe and a diadem..  She was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame, and a mother to the poor and needy."  She viewed the bounties of Providence not only to refresh herself and her family, but as designed by her Benefactor to flow in channels leading to the doors of those who were perishing of thirst, that they, also, might quaff and be satisfied.

    Some, indeed, during the presidential struggle, with unfeeling hearts and unjustifiable motives, exerted all their powers to throw her numerous virtues into the shade.  It was no doubt the intention of the defamers to arouse the indignation of her husband that he might perpetrate some act to prevent his elevation to that high station to which the American people resolved that he should be raised.  Under this cruel treatment, Mrs. Jackson displayed the temper of a disciple of Him who was meek and lowly of heart.  Her meekness was conspicuous under all the injuries and provocations which were designed to provoke and exasperate her.  Seldom, indeed, has the busy tongue of slander and detraction been more gratuitously and basely employed;  never was it put to silence with more helplessness and confusion than in the case of this amiable and pious lady.  Influenced by the religion that she professed, she restrained all immoderate sallies of passion and harsh language on that trying occasion.  She felt, indeed, the injustice of the warfare.  Her compassionate heart was wrung with sorrow.  Her tears flowed, but there was no malevolence on her bosom.  She could have received no pleasure in giving pain to her detractors.  Confiding in God, that he would bring forth her righteousness as the light and her salvation as a lamp that burneth, she was not disappointed.

    She was permitted to live until the people of America, by their unbiased suffrage, asserted their full conviction of her innocence in a manner calculated to shame and confound the most furious and unprincipled of her defamers.  Yes, she lived to see every cloud of calumny blown away by the united breath of the American people; she found herself and her beloved husband in the enjoyment of an unclouded sky, favored with the smiles and the esteem of a people uninfluenced by detractors and qualified to form their own opinions.

    While we cordially sympathize with the President of the United States, in irreparable loss he has sustained in the death of his amiable lady, whom he deemed so worthy, as he said, of our tears; we. from our long acquaintance with Mrs. Jackson, and our many opportunities of seeing her virtues displayed, cannot doubt but that she now dwells in the mansions of glory in company with the ransomed of the Lord, singing the praises of that savior whom she loved and served while she was a pilgrim on earth.  In heaven, she drinks of the pure stream of the river of life, issuing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Copy of this provided by Margaret Leland Duvic.
Learn more about Rachel Donelson Jackson