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Book ^J5L 







.A. E X E E, THE -WAR- 













346 AND 848 BROADWAY. 



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The War of the Revolution happily consummated, 
Washington, on the 23d of December, 1783, resigned his 
commission, at Annapolis, and returned to Mount Vernon 
after an absence of eight years, with the exception of a 
two days' visit, with Count Rochambeau, in 1781. 

With the cares and anxieties of Commander-in-Chief 
removed, the Hero at once devoted himself to restoring 
his neglected estates, resuming the agricultural habits 
and pursuits of an opulent planter ; and on the 1st of Feb- 
ruary, 1784, writes his confidential friend and brother sol- 
dier, Lafayette — "At length, my dear Marquis, I am 
become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, 
free from the bustle of the camp, and the busy scenes of 

public life. I am solacing myself with those tranquil en- 
joyments of which the soldier, who is ever in the pursuit 
of fame — the statesman, whose watchful days and 
sleepless nights are spent in devising schemes to pro- 
mote the welfare of his own, perhaps the ruin of other 
countries — as if this globe was insufficient for us all ; 
and the courtier, who' is watching the countenance of his 
prince, in hopes of catching a gracious smile, can have 
little conception. I have not only retired from all pub- 
lic employments, but I am retiring within myself, and 
shall be able to view the solitary walks, and tread the 
paths of private life with a heartfelt satisfaction. En- 
vious of none, I am determined to be pleased with all ; 
and this, my dear friend, being the order of my march, 
I will move gently down the stream of life, until I 
sleep with my fathers. * * Come and view me in 
my domestic walks."* 

In accordance, doubtless, with this invitation, La- 
fayette, in August of that year, spent two weeks under 
the hospitable roof at Mount Yernon — which is the 
period chosen for illustration. 

The busy portion of the day is over ; and, as the long 
shadows creep slowly over the lawn, the family portion 
of the household have congregated under the ample 

The General and his noble guest have arisen from 
the chairs, which indicate that they had formed a 
portion of the group with the ladies, and are standing 
in colloquy : Washington in the act of speaking, and 
Lafayette leaning against a pillar, in deferential atti- 

tude, holds a newspaper in his hand — suggestive that 
the discourse is a topic of the times. 

Mrs. "Washington is sewing, while her daughter-in- 
law, Mrs. Stuart, formerly Mrs. John Parke Oustis, 
and mother of the two children, is reading a note. On 
the table is a basket, with the ever-present knitting, 
with which she set the example of industry to her asso- 
ciates and dependants. 

"Leaning upon the grandmother's lap is Eleanor 
Parke Oustis, who has sought her protective presence, 
while her brother, Geo. Washington Parke Oustis, fires 
a small cannon, with the assistance of a negress, who 
is blowing a lighted match. ^ 

Two sporting dogs, with an instinct for gunpowder, 
are likewise watching the result. 

On the lawn, a negro servant in the family livery 
of white and crimson, is driving off some trespassing 
cows. Two guests, in the distant summer-house, are 
looking at the prospect. A figure with fishing-rod, and 
an attendant, is coming up the hill toward the mansion. 

On the river is a neighbor's barge, rowed by six 
servants in red livery — suggestive of Mr. Digges, and 
the state which obtained among the planters of the 
Potomac at that period. 

As this river enjoyed an extensive commerce, ves- 
sels and a raft are introduced in the distance, while 
over the trees are the masts of a ship, moored at Mt. 
Yernon landing, receiving a cargo for the factor in 

Mr. Mignot, while at Mt. Yernon, making his study 

for the landscape, enjoyed the privilege of many inter- 
views with Westford, an old mulatto mechanic, who 
went upon the estate the year of Washington's death, 
and who pointed out the changes which time had 
wrought in the venerated site — such trees as were stand- 
ing at that time, those which had grown since, and 
such alterations as had occurred in the disposition of 
the ground — so that the topographical features are de- 
lineated as far as possible to accord with the date of 
the picture, and the house restored to the condition 
which it must have possessed when the great Chief 
made it renowned for a munificent hospitality, and it 
became a type of orde» and neatness, combined with 
unostentatious republican simplicity. 

At this epoch "Washington was 52 years of age, 
Lafayette 27, Mrs. Washington 51, and Mrs. Stuart 
28. The grandchildnen Washington adopted after the 
death of their father in 1781. The head of Washing- 
ton is painted from an original transcript of the Houdon 
bust, which was modelled a few months after the date 
of the picture, by Houdon, who- came to this country at 
the solicitation of Jefferson and Franklin, for the pur- 
pose of making a statue for the Legislature of Virginia, 
and is considered by those familiar with Washington's 
features as by far the best representation of him, while 
artists regard it as the finest type of the Chief extant. 

Washington expired in an upper room which was 
lighted by the two farthest windows seen under the roof 
of the portico. . 


" Whose every battle-field is holy ground, 

Which breathes of nations saved, not worlds undone : 
How sweetly on the ear such echoes sound ! 

While the mere victor's may appal or stun 
The servile and the vain — such names will be 
A watchword till the future'shall be free." 

" George Washington had thanks and naught beside, 
Except the all-cloudless glory (winch few men's is) 
To free his country." 

" Where may the weary eye repose, 

When gazing on the Great ; 
Where neither guilty glory glows, 

Nor despicable state 1 
Yes — one — the first — the last — the best — 
The Cincinnatus of the West 

Whom envy dared not hate, 
Bequeath the name of Washington 
To make man blush there was but one ! " 



A spirit that through coming time 

Shall bear a hallowed name ; 
The gloiy of old conquerors 

Shall pale before his fame. 

And young Ambition on his course 

Shall turn his eagle eye ; 
And men invoke his sainted shade 

In threat'ning anarchy. 

No baleful meteor shall he be, 

To dazzle from afar ; 
But in the firmament of Fame 

A fixed, a polar star ! 

Anne C. Lynch. 


What thoughts of a Hero's repose are awakened at 
mention of the beloved Home of the venerated and 
idolized Father of the Nation ! What a Mecca of the 
Western Hemisphere is its site ! How eloquent are 
the acres which the great and good man cultivated, 
the trees which shaded his repose, the walls which 
sheltered his seasons of seclusion from camp and forum ! 
How many pilgrims from every portion of our own ex- 
tended territory, and from every foreign clime, ac- 
knowledging Freedom as the highest boon, have come up 
hither to breathe the air which nurtured, and to con- 
template the scenes winch were familiar to, the most 
perfect Man of History ! 

With each visitor of late, a feeling of melancholy 
disappointment has usurped all other sentiments — from 
the abject neglect and pitiable squalor, which are mani- 
fest in house and grounds, gateway and garden, hearth 
and tomb. Fortunately, the women of the land have 
rescued the site and its appointments from further de- 
cay, and the wilderness of sloth and poverty promises 
to bloom again with the rose, and become to the 
loving children of the land attractive with green and 
cherished memories. 


But, aside from the associations of the place, Mount 
Vernon has few features of impressive beauty. The 
deep, broad-breasted Potomac glides rapidly to the 
sea ; but the width and volume of its flood constitute 
its chief attraction. Wooded promontories and in- 
dented bays, foliage-lined, or sedge-bound, indicate a 
naturally productive soil, with agreeable sites for resi 
deuces on the river banks. A teeming agricultural 
region, capable of prolific crops, is what most impress 
the stranger ; while long reaches of the river between 
the undulating swells of Virginia and the gently-sloping 
hills of Maryland, with fine foliage, in clusters and in : 
dividual trees, make the main points of landscape-in- 

On one of the boldest and most densely wooded of 
the Virginia promontories nestles Mount Vernon — its 
low copula scarcely discernible now from the river at 

Ascending the crumbling boarded walk, through 
a tangled, neglected ravine, the visitor, having passed 
the dilapidated tomb, emerges upon what was once a 
spacious and beautiful lawn, ornamented with sum- 
mer-house, and partially enclosed by the offices. In 
dignified simplicity, the mansion yet dominates over 
the estate. Its tall portico, echoing the ghostly foot- 
steps of a glorious past — 'the patter of childhood's 
tiny feet — the light gliding, with rustling accompani- 
ment of beauty— the matron's stately tread — the gallop 
and rush of bounding boyhood — the heavy-lifted heel 
of care — the soldier's mighty tramp with ring of steel 


and shock of power — the statesman's measured gait 
with lift and emphasis of thought — the shuffle of decay, 
with the uncertain, devious, slippered groping of old 
age — then the clustered footfalls, bearing on bowing 
shoulders a sombre burthen, followed by feet uncertain, 
through hot tears : and we have life's varied paces as 
they shifted and commingled there. How meekly the 
dented and cracked and riven pavement stones proclaim 
the joy, the grief, the bliss, the sorrow, which have vi- 
brated between column and lintel, atwixt sill and hearth. 
The Spring blooms which have frisked riotous within 
and without the eddies of porch and casement. The 
Summer sun lovingly basking with shimmer and blaze 
for faithful dogs, and young black dependents to dream 
through the noon-tide lull. Autumn's leaves, seared, 
shrivelled and wan, rasping dejected notes of wail over 
the hectic year. Winter's drifts moaning at crack 
and cranny, envious of glow and comfort within. Sea- 
son after season, until the Giant of Destiny comes, a 
stripling, to give new significance to each atom of the 
until then, but well-to-do mansion. 

From the moment a comely lad, erect, agile, with 
frank, open brow, well-defined, symmetrical nose, clear, 
piercing blue eye, ruddy cheeks, benignant, generous 
mouth, and clustering curls, with mien and bearing- 
frank and noble as the sun, comes with his elders to 
make brother Lawrence a visit, the site becomes a 
nestage of History. The spirits of the great and good 
of departed eras haunt its precincts. The eyes of living 
faith turn instinctively to its latitude and longitude, 


and while the globe swings, the low promontory abut- 
ting into the rushing Potomac, will be one of the most 
hallowed spots upon its mottled surface. 

Augustine Washington, the father of George, be- 
queathed an estate, then known as Hunting Creek, to 
Lawrence, his eldest son by his first marriage, whose 
admiration for Admiral Vernon, with whom he had 
served in the British navy, led him to name the place 
after him. 

Lawrence, marrying Miss Fairfax, abandoned the 
service, and, devoting himself to agricultural pursuits, 
developed the resources of his patrimony. Being 14 
years older than George, he invited him to Mount Ver- 
non, with the view of directing his education, when a 
peculiar intimacy arose, which ultimated in making 
him his heir in case of the failure of his issue. Law- 
rence died July 26, 1752, leaving a wife, and daughter 
Jennie, who, dying in infancy, the augmented estate 
passed into possession of the one destined to give it a 
vast renown. 

The territory was divided into separate farms, de- 
moted to different culture, and diversified with wood, 
dell, runs of water, and inlets. Washington, describing 
it, says : " No estate in United America is more pleas- 
antly situated ; in a high, healthy country, in a latitude 
between the extremes of heat and cold, on one of the 
finest rivers in the world, a river well stocked with 
shad, herring, bass, carp, and sturgeon. The borders of 
the estate are washed by more than ten miles of tide 


During Lawrence's life, the mansion-house stood by 
itself. When Washington became its possessor, but 
few additions were made, until the time of his mar- 
riage, when extensive out-houses were added, and the 
ground improved and beautified ; other territory was 
appended, and the estate was divided into — the Man- 
sion-House Farm, of 450 acres, with a great extent of 
woodland contiguous, the River Farm, of 1,800 acres ; 
the Union Farm, 841 acres ; Dogue River Farm, 1,076 ; 
and Muddy Hole Farm, 886 acres — making a domain 
of near 4,500 acres. 

When, in 1784, the modern Cincinnatus exchanged 
the sword for the pruning hook, eight years' absence 
had told sadly upon the condition of the Home and its 
immediate surroundings. But the same wonderful 
method and system which had organized an army, and 
brought order from chaos, were energetically directed to 
regulating, developing, and beautifying the house, its 
immediate dependencies, and the extensive domain. 
1784 and 1785 were almost wholly absorbed in this con- 
genial occupation. The early dawn found the good 
master in the saddle, visiting various portions of the 
estate, planning this improvement and that alteration — ■ 
enhancing this advantage, and ornamenting that site. 
Maps and plans exist, showing the thorough mastery 
of details, and constructive taste, with admirable artistic 
appreciation, making the most of the natural surfaces 
and soils ; locating walks, drives, lawns, flower parterres, 
vineyards, and summer-houses, with all the enthusiasm 
of a landscape gardener. Drawing plans, specifying 


the varieties of trees, slirubs, and plants, their disposi- 
tion singly or in groups. Annotating their methods of 
culture, habits, and families, and overseeing in person 
each feature with an interest and zeal commensurate 
with the greatness of his character, which mastered the 
detail, while it embraced the whole. Corresponding 
with foreign and native horticulturists, pomologists, 
breeders of stock, breeders of game ; filling up the 
whole circle of the encyclopedial farmer's pursuits, from 
fashioning of a simple implement of husbandry to the 
erection of the most improved mill ; from a small graft 
to the garnering and distributing the products of the 
thousands of acres ; cherishing the game, protecting the 
fisheries, rearing choice dogs, and following them in the 
exhilarating chase ; growing horses of the rarest and 
most thorough blood, and stabling them with the most 
scrupulous regard for their physical well-being ; and 
riding them with heroic mien, impressing menial and 
courtly bred strangers with a natural nobility, bearing, 
and authority, which had never been equalled : yet, not 
disdaining the handling of any tool, or enlisting in any 
department of labor. From the library to the trench. 
From the fruit-nursery and flower-garden, to the dinner- 
table, with nobles for guests. From a scamper over the 
hills after the hounds, to a sick dependant's hut. From 
wading the brooks for fish, to the Burgesses' Hall, or 
magistrates' bench. Corresponding with statesmen, schol- 
ars, and savans, writing labels for seeds, making inven- 
tories of stock, and sending minutely detailed orders for 
rnadame's and the children's wardrobe to the agent in 


London or Bristol. — Sitting alone at twilight beneath the 
tall piazza, watching the lingering light depart from the 
gleaming Potomac and the opposite shores of Maryland ; 
while summing up the days' peaceful labor, and plan- 
ning the calm duties of the morrow, interspersed with 
thoughts of the seething, wrangling world of politics in 
distant cities, and throughout the land, with retrospec- 
tions of fierce conflicts past, and memoirs of olden 
friends who had stood breast to breast against the hu- 
man tornadoes — or, mingling in gay groups of family 
friends, visitors, and strangers, under the portico's 
shadows — on the lawn, with children at romp — the 
days' work done, the domestics in sport and dance to 
the music of viol and flute, while the birds sang nature's 
vesper-hymn, the crickets chirped, the night-hawks 
swooped, and the evening wind sighed away the cares 
of labor, wooing to repose ; or, around the well-spread 
board with the lamps in twinkle, and the ingle side in 
hospitable glow ; or, in the simple library, working 
towards midnight with piles of papers, memoranda, and 
manuscript spread over the broad table, the household 
abed, with no sound but the ticking of the clock and 
the ripple of the well-worn quill gliding over the paper 
with magical rapidity in large, generous, and flowing 
characters, as thought followed thought through the 
tracery of the mighty hand. The plain, unostentatious 
sword, gathering dust and milldew on its tarnished 
scabbard over the mantle. The war-spurs rusting, the 
holsters cracking with neglect in the corner. Else, 


with. Lear, the secretary, wrestling over statistics, ac- 
counts, reports, and documents of State. 

The last to his pillow, the first from his couch, hut 
with time for all things and every person. For the 
stranger, with his letter of introduction, unpropitiously 
arrived. For an excursion with the children. For a ride 
with madame and guests to Annapolis, or Alexandria, 
beguiling the night with a supper and dance, and home 
through the woods and rough roads of the country by 
morning. For a vestry meeting in either of the two 
adjoining parishes. For a school committee. For a State 
dinner at a neighboring plantation. For an argument 
with Dr. Craik. For a game of cribbage with a dowa- 
ger relative, or crisscross with Nelly Custis. For 
chastising a persistent and impudent trespasser ; or, 
for a genial flow of converse with his heart's friend, La- 
fayette, at the end of an August day. The world 
elsewhere forgotten in the cominingiings of close 
woven friendship. 

So prolific of association, sympathy, and sentiment 
is this Home, now more emphatically the nation's ; so 
full of suggestiveness and enthusiasm the theme, one 
who has visited its storied haunts, knows not where to 
limit thought and feeling. No other sight to an 
American can awaken such a flood of sensibility, or so 
deeply stir the emotions with gratitude, devotion, and 

With dwelling and tomb casting reciprocal shadows, 
overhung by the same boughs, steeped in the same per- 
fumes, fanned by the same summer airs, shrinking 


before the same winter blasts, a mingling of life and 
death, action and repose. Great achievements and cor- 
responding memories, woven and clustered so closely, we 
cannot separate the vitality of the Past, from the spirit- 
ual presence of the Present. But the manes of the 
great and good, haunt and infuse a benignant essence 
into, and over every object, subject, and situation. 

It were a pleasant task to trace Washington's every 
connection with his beloved Home. From his first 
visit, when a lad, during his holidays ; then after his 
school-days were passed, and at the age of 15, when he 
left the jurisdiction of Hobby, the sexton-schoolmas- 
ter, for the more congenial direction and sympathetic 
fellowship of his elder brother Lawrence. The sports 
and athletic pursuits which developed his fine physical 
qualities into such noble and manly proportions. The 
visions of a romantic sailor's career, prompted by the 
sea-stories of his nautical brother, longing wistfully for 
the midshipman's warrant, as ships from the old world 
came trading up the Potomac with their mysterious 
aroma of far-off lands. The dream sundered by affec- 
tion for his mother, and the career of surveyor opening 
through the instrumentality of the Fairfaxes. His 
visits to Belvoir, his interviews with the Lowland 
Beauty, weaving verses to her within the groves by the 
river's marge. Then, at the age of twenty, becoming 
heir and proprietor of the great estate, and the conse- 
quent cares which it must have entailed ; the going 
and coming to border wars, with their discipline and 


training, until 1758, when, ordered to repair to Wil- 
liamsburgh, in crossing a ferry of the Pamunkey, it 
proved, nowitkstanding its sorry name, his Rubicon. 
For, meeting a Mr. Chamberlayne, he was coerced, 
against his inclination, to be a guest at dinner, where, 
among others, was a young, blooming widow, Mrs. 
Martha Custis, a patrician of the province. Her hus- 
band departed since three years, with the incumbrance 
of a large fortune, and two children as blessings. 
These proved formidable impediments, and the soldier, 
for once, was recreant to the clamor of duty. The din- 
ner was all too short ; the horses were ordered to the 
stable ; evening waned, still the young hero lingered 
within the influence of two witching dark eyes. Un- 
scathed at Braddock's defeat, oft running the gauntlet 
of Indian rifles, perils by flood and field, inventions, 
schemes, and wily plots of inveterate enemies. — • 
the bloom of beauty, the music of words, despite the 
incumbrance of fortune and babes, had made captive 
the strong, sagacious, cautious man, at last, and the 
gray of the morning saw him galloping to Williams- 
burgh, with the best of him in the witching widow's 
keeping. The same promptitude which controlled him 
in deeds and business, coerced his wooing, scattering 
the crowds of rival suitors. After a few brief interviews, 
he avowed his passion, and claimed his heart from the 
charmer's custody so soon as the campaign should be 

Fate decreed it of short duration, for on the 6th of 
January, 1759, they married at " the White House," the 


bride's residence, according to the good old hospitable 
usages of Virginia, amid rejoicing friends and brilliant 
festivities. Three months after their marriage they 
removed to Mt. Vernon, when, with the accession of 
Madam's fortune to " the Colonel's " large patrimony, 
the mansion and its surroundings assumed more state 
and importance. The war between France and England 
was at an end. Washington resigned his commission, 
and devoting himself to civil pursuits, was elected to 
the House of Burgesses, and turned his attention wholly 
to an agricultural and domestic career. Writing a 
friend, he says : " I am now, I believe, fixed in this seat 
with an agreeable partner for life, and I hope to find 
more happiness in retirement than I ever experienced 
in the wide and bustling world." 

Unmindful of the calls of ambition, home now was 
his only idyl ; the society of Madame, visits to the Fair- 
faxes, to Pohick, Truro, and Alexandria, the bounds of 
his wanderings. Gossiping with Hugh Mercer, the 
doughty captain, discussing with Dr. Craik, the scien- 
tific demonstrator, with the household for audience, his 
chief delight. While supervising the estates gave am- 
ple occupation, and rounded the seasons with a full com- 
plement of blessings. Grateful to the Giver of Mercies, 
the Sabbaths found him in humble devotion at the 
secluded, quiet shrine of Pohick, with reverential de- 
meanor, and unwavering faith in a beneficent, control- 
ling Providence. 

At this period, the style of living among the wealthy 
planters was marked by what would now seem ostenta- 


tious state. Rich, services of plate, sumptuous equip- 
ages with postillions and outriders in livery, superb 
barges for the river, with rowers, wearing the colors of 
their respective families ; the masters of the planta- 
tions vieing with each other in the breed of their horses, 
the quality of their hounds ; their dependants cherish- 
ing the rivalry with punctilio and ceremony. 

Mrs. Washington made visits in a chariot and four, 
with black postillions in red and white livery ; Wash- 
ington generally accompanying her on horseback. 

In those palmy days of the Old Dominion, each estate 
was a small empire. " The mansion house was the seat 
of government, with its numerous dependencies, such 
as kitchens, smoke-house, workshops, and stables. In 
the mansion the planter ruled supreme, his steward or 
overseer was his prime minister or executive officer. 
He had his legion of house negroes for domestic service, 
and his host of field negroes for the culture of tobacco, 
Indian corn, other crops, and all out of door labor; their 
quarter formed a hamlet apart, composed of various 
huts, with little gardens and poultry-yards, all well- 
stocked, and swarms of little negroes gambolling in the 
sunshine. Then there were large wooden edifices for 
curing tobacco, the staple and most profitable produc- 
tion, mills for grinding wheat and Indian corn. Among 
the slaves were artificers of all kinds, tailors, shoemakers, 
carpenters, smiths, and wheelwrights ; so that a planta- 
tion produced every thing within itself for ordinary use ; 
articles of fashion, elegance, luxuries, and expensive cloth- 
ing were imported from London. The planters on the 


Potomac carrying on an immediate trade with England.* 
The products of Washington's estate were noted for 
faithfulness in quantity and quality — flour bearing his 
brand being exempted from inspection in foreign ports. 

Rising before daybreak in winter, "Washington lit 
his own fire, and wrote or read by candle-light, break- 
fasting at eight ; during the summer at seven. Two small 
cups of tea and three or four hoe-cakes, formed his frugal 
repast. Immediately after breakfast he mounted his 
horse and visited different parts of his estate. Two 
o'clock was the dinner hour. Eating heartily, he was no 
epicure ; beer, cider, and old Madeira were his custom- 
ary beverages. In the evening he took tea, and when 
without guests, read aloud to the family. 

His negroes were treated with peculiar kindness, 
visiting them in sickness and in health, measuring care- 
fully each one's capabilities — inventing improvements 
with his mechanics, constructing a plough on a new 
principle with Peter, his smith. 

During the hunting season, Mt. Vernon was alive 
with guests, and reciprocal entertainments were given 
by the opulent neighbors. The convivial repasts after 
a day's sport Washington greatly enjoyed. His diaries 
of the months of November and December are full of 
hunting memoranda. 

" Nov. 22d. Hunting with Lord Fan-fax and his 
brother and Col. Fairfax. 

" Nov. 25th. Mr. Bryan Fairfax, Mr. Grayson, and 
Phil Alexander, came here by sunrise. Hunted and 

* Irving. 


catched a fox with these, Lord Fairfax, his brother 
and Col. Fairfax, all of whom with Mr. Fairfax and 
Mr. Wilson of England, dined here. 26th and 29th. 
Hunted again with same company. 

"Dec. 5th. Fox-hunting. Started a fox and lost 
it ; dined at Belvoir, and returned in the evening." 

Fishing, and shooting canvas-back ducks, were like- 
wise a favorite recreation with him. 

When duty or social obligations called him to Anna- 
polis, he improved the opportunities for attending theat- 
rical representations, of which he was fond ; while at 
balls he was not averse to mingling in the dance and 
stately minuet. 

From the date of his marriage, Washington passed 
several tranquil, happy years at Mt. Yernon. Friends 
and strangers of distinction sought his hospitality. Sur- 
rounded with a devoted household, entranced with the 
beauty and affection of his wife, gladdened by the 
exuberant spirits and gayety of her children, the halcyon 
months glided rapidly away. Occasionally extending 
his thoughts to improvements beyond his own domains, 
he engaged in a project for draining the Dismal Swamp 
and increasing the navigable advantages of contiguous 

Thus nestling under his own roof-tree, the rumors 
of border warfare and distant local dissension, were in- 
sufficient to distract his thoughts from peaceful and 
congenial pursuits. But anon, there is a stir of dis- 
content toward the mother country, which penetrated the 
tranquil shades of Mt. Yernon. Questions of taxation 


by the British crown, unlawfully administered and 
unjustly levied ; questions of inherent rights, which 
set all brains at work, till from murmurs and muffled 
breathings came imprecations and clamor throughout 
the land. 

Returning, in 1765, from a session of the House of 
Burgesses, the demons of unquiet began their incanta- 
tions. Anxiety was molesting every thoughtful man ; 
still, from his quiet abode, he heard but the rumbling 
storm on the far horizon. Patrick Henry's clarion tones 
were penetrating every home. At Mt. Vernon, the 
echoes vibrated again and again. The Stamp Act had 
resulted in burning effigies, and other demonstrations of 
tumult. Still, Washington took no part in the public 
agitation. With the repeal of the Stamp Act he hoped 
that all feeling of animosity would yet be assuaged be- 
tween the mother country and the colonies ; so he con- 
tinued his rural occupations, and his duck-shooting on 
the Potomac. Writing to his friends, he calls England 
" home," and speaks affectionately of reciprocal interests. 
What, then, must have been his feelings when the vin- 
dictive measures of Parliament with regard to the port 
of Boston reached Virginia, and the House of Burgesses 
set apart a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, to 
implore Divine interposition to avert the heavy calamity 
threatening destruction to their rights — to avert civil 
war — and to " give the people one heart and one mind 
in firmly opposing every injury to American liberties ? " 
Washington at Williamsburgh, one of the members 
most strenuous in resisting Lord Dunmore's policy, fast- 


ed rigidly, 1 and attended the services appointed by the 

On the 1st of August, 1774, he is summoned, as rep- 
resentative, to "Williamsburgh, where a convention held 
a six days' session, at which Washington, with Patrick 
Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and five others, were ap- 
pointed delegates to represent the people of Virginia 
in General Congress, to he held at Philadelphia. 

Adieu to the habits and methods of pastoral life. 
Pan's pipe no longer wakes dulcet notes amid the 
rushes, by plashing marge, or murmuring brooklet. 
Clarion strains ring throiigh the air with every breeze. 
The glances of the Good Master go oftener to the sword 
sleeping over the mantel, with each mail's added excite- 
ment, than to the fishing-rod or sporting bridle. Mad- 
ame's face has an anxious echo to the brow of her lord, 
knit with thought and solemn with care, till, on a 
September morning, the master of Mt. Yernon, and all 
its content, passes on horseback through the gate, with 
Edmund Pendleton and Patrick Henry. The house- 
hold, with portentous dread, watches the tall form tow- 
ering above his fellows receding in the distance. A 
wood shuts them from view. The hero has passed from 
the haven of peace into the stormy vortex of govern- 
mental strife. The hospitable gate has closed, like a 
drama curtain, on the act of domestic enjoyment — the 
rites of Ceres — Floral festivals, sylvan ditties, and ex- 
uberant bursts of mirth. The gladiator winds slowly 
towards the arena of conflict, sustained by a giant twain. 
There is the smell of carnage in the air, the thunder rift 


sweeps on. Where is the prophet to foretell the sequel ? 
Anxious wives and mothers moan in anguish, Where ? 

Hastening back to Mt. Vernon from the Congress, he 
finds the first scene of the tragic act begun. The fates 
are busy with brands of discord, and their fruit — dis- 
may. Mrs. Washington's daughter, Martha, had recent- 
ly died. To augment the gloom of the bereavement, his 
bosom friend, Geo. William Fairfax, had departed for 
England, a stanch loyalist. His mansion of munificent 
hospitality was in ashes. William Fairfax was gone. 
The intercourse between Bel voir and Mt. Vernon forever 
at an end. Friends and neighbors, estranged by political 
differences, met no more. Booming of cannon at 
Bunker Hill, vibrating over the States, shook asunder 
olden social bonds — the elements of life ; while the dis- 
membered fragments were, in sorrow and gloom, mar- 
shalling for new combinations and diverse issues. 

The interregnum of eight years, when the master's 
presence was no more the guiding influence, now came. 
The court-yard was empty, no guests strolled at morn 
and eve beneath the winding avenues, or dotted the 
lawn in gay groups. The stables were vacant, the 
corridors silent, save with the stealthy gliding of sad- 
dened domestics. The seasons came and went, corroding 
and gnawing at porch and cornice — the weeds grew, and 
the rank grass waved mournful tokens of absence, and 
its corresponding neglect. 

Of these long eventful eight years we have few 
chronicles save the farm diary. Madame spent with the 


children a portion of some summers, lonely and with the 
burthen of care and anxiety, fearing each post, yet more 
alarmed at its failure. Days of dread, nights of appre- 
hension, made none the less intense with rumors of dep- 
redations committed by the enemy on estates below 
them on the river. Houses and stables burned, cattle 
driven off, domestics butchered, property confiscated, 
masters seized as hostages. 

But at last, after fearful suspense, suffering, and 
exhaustion, the storm broke ; sunshine came through 
the ragged rifts. The pagan of peace was chanted — the 
bow of promise spanned the welkin — the men of might 
and the women of heroism rested from their labors. 
The nation slept in lullaby, and awoke to gratitude. 
All eyes turned toward the promontory on the Potomac, 
where the great soldier had doffed his tattered habili- 
ments of command, and hung up his implements of 
war. With his wood, thicket, and copse, he shut out the 
plaudits of the multitude. The bleating of his lamb- 
kins, the lowing of his herds, the songs of his birds, the 
laugh of his adopted children, were the only music his 
ears would recognize. Neighing chargers and blaring 
trumpets died away in the smoke of the last battle ; 
rustling leaves and swinging boughs beguiled him now. 

Thus have we arrived at the period of our picture. 
Unfortunately the register which the great man kept 
of his daily occupation, which would enlighten us pre- 
cisely as to our date, is missing. In the archives of 
the State Department at Washington, carelessly depos- 
ited in an old pine box, are the manuscripts, private 
papers, account-books, and diaries wherein he recorded 


each day's events. But from 1782 to 1785, the diaries 
are wanting, with the exception of his trip to the 
"West, immediately after Lafayette's visit in September. 
Consequently, our data are very imperfect as to who were 
guests at Mt. Yernpn during the sojourn of his friend. 
We do know, however, that Mrs. Washington, the chil- 
dren, and Mrs. Stuart were there. The group, therefore, 
has been restricted to these jDersonages, and the hour 
chosen when the family would most likely convene 
under the portico. The long summer day is nearly 
over. Peace is conquered. Eepose is won, and be- 
fittingly the two heroes are in conjunction at the Home 
of the now Nation's Father. Green and fair is the 
landscape. Scarcely a cloud lingers in the sky ; the 
river partakes of the calm influence ; a night of holy 
tranquillity steals on with the lengthening shadows. A 
few days like these — a few low, earnest talks, pacing 
the piazza, while the harvest moon shed benignant in- 
fluence over the scene, and Lafayette said adieu for a 
season, while Washington went to see his lands at the 
West. After an adventurous journey of 680 miles on 
horseback, he returned home. Lafayette joined him 
at Richmond, and made another visit of a few days, 
when the summons for parting is heard, forebodingly by 
each ; for the presentiment dominated that it was their 
last interview. To shun the sadness which parting at 
Mt. Yernon would occasion, Washington accompanied 
his noble guest to Annapolis. On his return home he 
wrote him the following farewell letter : 

" In the moment of our separation, upon the road as 


I have travelled, and every hour since, I have felt all 
that love, respect, and attachment for yon, with which 
length of years, close connection, and your merits, have 
inspired me. I often asked myself, as our carriages sep- 
arated, whether that was the last sight I ever should 
have of you ? And though I wished to answer no — ■ 
my fears answered yes. I called to mind the days of 
my youth, and found that they had long since fled, to 
return no more ; that I was now descending the hill I 
had been fifty-two years climbing, and that, though I 
was blessed with a good constitution, I was of a short- 
lived family, and might soon be entombed in the man- 
sion of my fathers. These thoughts darkened the 
shades, and gave a gloom to the picture, and, conse- 
quently, to my prospect of ever seeing you again." 

After the departure of Lafayette, Washington 
resumed, with increasing assiduity, his agricultural 
schemes. "Writing a friend in England, he says : 
" The more I am acquainted with agricultural affairs, 
the better I am pleased with them : insomuch that I 
can nowhere find so much satisfaction as in these in- 
nocent and useful pursuits. While indulging these 
feelings, I am led to reflect how much more delightful 
to an undebauched mind is the task of making im- 
provements on the earth, than all the vain glory that 
can be acquired from ravaging it by the most uninter- 
rupted career of conquest." 

On the 10th of January, 1785, he notes in his 
diary, the white thorn in full berry. On the 20th, be- 
gins to clear the Pine Groves of undergrowth. In Feb- 


ruary, transplants ivy under the garden walls. In 
March, plants hemlock trees. Now he plants young 
elms, ash, white thorn, crab-apples, maples, mulberries, 
willows, lilacs; then he sows acorns and buckeye 
nuts brought from the Monongahela, opens vistas 
through the Pine Grove, and twines round his columns the 
scarlet honeysuckle to bloom all the summer. Among 
the trees sets out a group of horse-chestnuts from West- 
moreland, his native county. Everywhere are traces of 
his hands. 

On the four farms were 54 draught horses, 12 mules, 
317 head of black cattle, 360 sheep, and a great num- 
er of swine running at large in the woods. 

But other duties interrupt the rural plans. Each 
post loads his table with letters, until correspondence 
becomes a great burthen. Then Tobias Lear is en- 
gaged as secretary, and tutor to the children, and he 
gains more leisure, only to be importuned by artists 
who personally or through friends beset him to sit, until 
he writes : " At first impatient at the request, and as 
restive as a young colt under the saddle ; now no dray- 
horse moves more readily to his thill than I to the 
painter's chair." 

To this exemplary patience we are indebted for 
the admirable bust which Houdon, the eminent French 
sculptor, made of him in 1785. Of all likenesses 
this, doubtless, is the most satisfactory in many re- 
spects. That of Trumbull's is spirited, and doubtless 
correct ; but in the bust, we have every view of the ex- 
pressive and individual face, and in this regard is inval- 


liable for the later generation of artists. Stuart's por- 
trait in the Atheneeum at Boston was painted some 
years later, and by his contemporaries was considered 
excellent. This, from being one of the last, has passed 
into the type of the Hero ; and most know his features 
from this resemblance, as it has been so universally 
copied and distributed. Finely rendering the benig- 
nity of age and the calmness of maturity, it lacks the 
vigor of the hero, and the firmness of character which 
marked the original. This, in a measure, is owing to 
the feebleness of the mouth, occasioned by a new set 
of false teeth, clumsily introduced about the period of 
the picture. Artistically considered, however, it is a 
wonderfully fine portrait, and will always be a favorite 
with the public. 

The venerable Rembrandt Peale enjoyed the 
privilege of painting Washington ; and his picture is 
said, by contemporaries, to resemble the original. 
All the portraits convey a striking physiognomy, 
unlike that of any other head, ancient or modem. 
The brow is much more full and copious than would 
seem at first glance ; the hair combed back, having 
the tendency to diminish its volume. The ear is set 
far back from the angle of the brow, giving great 
length to the frontal fibre of the brain, ever indicative 
of intellectual power. The height of skull from the 
centre of the eye to the summit is greater than in most 
heads. The clearly-defined, regular nose expresses 
symmetry of character ; while the great length of 
lower jaw from the tip of the ear to the point of the 


chin conveys unmistakably determination, force, and 
indomitable will. In this respect, like Napoleon's 
mask, and that of all great commanders, it is a striking 
example ; and the more minutely the bust of Houdon 
is studied, the more admirable will it appear as deline- 
ating the traits and characteristics of the wonderful 
man. As a type of manly beauty, nothing can be more 
noble or finer ; and, like the head of Napoleon, will 
ever remain a standard from which to compare other 
men's cranial and facial combinations. 

Mr. Lear writes : " General Washington is, I believe, 
almost the only man who does not loose some part of 
his respectability by an intimate acquaintance. I never 
found a single thing that could lessen my respect fbr 
him. A complete knowledge of his honesty, upright- 
ness, and candor, in all his private transactions, has 
sometimes led me to think him more than a man." 

Miss Custis says : " I have sometimes made him 
laugh heartily from sympathy with my joyous and ex- 
travagant spirits, though he was a silent, thoughtful 
man. He spoke little generally — never of himself. I 
never heard him relate a single act of his life during 
the war. I have often seen him perfectly abstracted — 
his lips moving, but no sound was perceptible." 

Mr. Watson, who visited Mt. Vernon in 1785, says : 
" I trembled with awe when I came into the presence of 
this great man. I found him at table with Mrs. Wash- 
ington and his private family, and was received with 
the native dignity, and with that urbanity so peculiarly 
combined in the character of a soldier and an eminent 


private gentleman. He soon put me at my ease by 
unbending in a free and affable conversation. Kind 
and benignant in tlie domestic circle, revered and be- 
loved by all around him, agreeably social, without 
ostentation, delighting in anecdote and adventure, 
without assumption, his domestic arrangements harmo- 
nious and systematic. His servants seemed to watch 
his eye, and to anticipate his every wish — 'hence, a look 
was equivalent to a command. His servant Billy, the 
faithful companion of his military career, was always at 
his side. Smiling content animated every countenance 
in his presence. He modestly waived all allusions to 
the events in which he acted so glorious and conspic- 
uous a part." 

Bishop White observes : " I know no man who so 
carefully guarded against discoursing of himself, or of 
his acts, or of any thing that pertained to him. A 
stranger would never have known, from any thing said 
by him, that he was conscious of having distinguished 
himself in the eyes of the world." 

Of the reverential awe he inspired, it is told that at 
a ball, the moment he entered, all mirth was checked. 
Every face was grave, every tongue silent. He en- 
deavored to engage the young people in conversation. 
Finding it in vain, he retired sadly to the company of 
his elders. Soon happy voices and laughter again re- 
sounded. Cautiously on tip-toe he approached the door, 
and stood some time a delighted spectator of youthful 

But the domestic interlude to the life of action is 


again drawing to a close. Events, in spite of himself, 
compel him beyond the " limits of his farm." The 
nation, in selecting its first President, demands his char- 
acter, and the sacrifice of his inclinations for retire 
ment to the public welfare. 

To Lafayette he writes : " The Presidential chair 
has no fascinating allurements for me. At my time of 
life, and under my circumstances, the increasing in- 
firmities of nature, and the growing love of retirement, 
do not permit me to entertain a wish beyond that of 
living and dying an honest man on my own farm." 

To Colonel Henry Lee : " You know my invincible 
attachment to domestic life, and that my sincerest wish 
is to continue in the enjoyment of it until my final 

To Alex. Hamilton : " Should I accept the Pres- 
idency, it would be with a fixed determination of lend- 
ing whatever assistance might be in my power to pro- 
mote the * public weal, in hopes that at a convenient 
and early period my services might be dispensed with, 
and that I might be permitted once more to retire and 
pass an unclouded evening, after the stormy day of life, 
in the bosom of domestic tranquillity." 

What, then, was the magnitude of the sacrifice 
which again removed him from such a home. 

On the 16th of April, 1789, he bade it farewell with 
a sorrowing heart for another eight years. And once 
more the master's absence breeds neglect and decay. 
Nor was it until March, 1797, that the place was glad- 
dened, while the nation's eyes were tearful over the 


farewell address. For the last time, the triumphal cor- 
tege swept through its gates, aud there were revelry aud 
joy among friends, neighbors, and dependents. 

The remaining two years of the glorious career, the 
undimmed sun declining to a golden setting — are they 
not recorded in the heart and memory of all ? The 
violent illness and sudden death — the wail of an idoliz- 
ing people — the requiems — the muffled drums and sol- 
emn bells which rang out the century, while a mourn- 
ing nation gazed in stupor at the bier of its greatest 
son ! But the debt of nature paid, he began to live in 
the hearts of his children. Faction and political con- 
tumely shrunk abashed from his ashes, and his colossal 
spiritual image began to assume the gigantic propor- 
tions which command the admiration and regard of 
the world. 

Each act of his life grows purer with the test of 
time. Poets and painters .of coming years will illus- 
trate incident after incident, until all the points in his 
great career will be translated into glowing verse and 
imperishable hues, which shall foster memory in his 
children, and iead them to emulate his glorious deeds. 


1732. — Born Feb. 22, near the banks of the Potomac, in 
Westmoreland Co., Va., the eldest son of a second 
1747. — Left school, and went to reside with his step-brother 
A 1748. — Appointed surveyor of Lord Fairfax's lands. 
1749. — Commissioned as Public Surveyor. 
1751. — Appointed military inspector with rank of major. 
" — Sails with Lawrence for Barbadoes. 
y 1752. — On the death of his brother, becomes executor, and 
afterwards proprietor of Mt. Vernon. 
1753. — Sent as Commissioner to the French — crosses the Al- 

1754. — Appointed to command the Virginia troops. Colonel 
of the Virginia regiment. 
" — Battle of Great Meadows, July 3d. 
1755. — Appointed Aide-de-camp to Gen. Braddock. 
" —Battle of Monongahela, July 9th. Braddock's defeat. 
" — Retires to Mt. Vernon in August. Again appointed 
to command Virginia troops. 
1756. — Feb. Journey to Boston. Meets at New York Miss 

Mary Phillipes. 
1757. — Attends a meeting of Governors and officers at Phila- 
" — Retires to Mt. Vernon, ill with a fever. 


1758. — Ordered to Fort Cumberland. At the taking of Fort 
Duquesne. Resigns his commission. 

1759. — Jan. 6th. Marries Mrs. Martha Custis. Elected 
member of the House of Burgesses. Retires to 
Mt. Vernon in April. Occupied as a Planter till 

1767. — Takes an early part against British aggression. 

1769. — House of Burgesses dissolved. 

1770. — Visits his western lands. 

1774. — At the Convention of Williamsburgh. Appointed del- 
egate to a General Congress at Philadelphia. 

1775. — Chosen to command volunteer companies — re-chosen 
delegate to 2d Congress. 
" — Chosen to command the American army. Commis- 
sioned June 19th. July 2d, joins the army at 

1776. — March 4, Dorchester Heights taken. April 13, 
marches to New York. Battle of Long Island, 
Aug. 27th. Oct. 26, Battle of Chatterton Hill. 
" — Dec. 7, crosses the Delaware. Dec. 26, battle of 

1777. — Battle of Princeton. July, First interview with La- 
fayette at head-quarters near Philadelphia. Sept. 1 1 , 
Battle of Brandywine — Lafayette wounded. Oct. 
4, battle of Germantown. Encamps at Valley 
Forge, Dec. 18th. 

1778.— May 20th, Lafayette attacks Barren Hill. June 28, 
battle of Monmouth. 

1779. — Storming of Stony Point. 

1780. — April, Lafayette returns from France. 
" — Sept. 23d, capture of Andre. 


^ 1781. — Lafayette sent with a detachment to Virginia. Oct. 

17, Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown. 
1782. — Lafayette returns to France. 
1783. — Peace proclaimed. 
" — Farewell address to the army, Nov. 2. Nov. 25, 

takes possession of New York. Dec. 23d, re 

signs his commission, and retires to Mt. Vernon. 
- 1784. — Devotes himself to agriculture. Aug., Lafayette 

visits him. Dec. 8, Lafayette's departure. 
1785. — Houdon models his bust. 
1786. — Appointed delegate to a General Convention. 
1787. — May 14. Elected President of the Convention at 

1788. — Constitution adopted. 
1789. — Chosen First President. April 23d, public entry 

into New York. Oct., makes a tour through the 

New England States. 
1790.— Visits Mt. Vernon in Sept. 
1791. — Makes a tour through the Southern States. 
1793. — Chosen President for a second term. 
179G. — Endeavors to procure the release of Lafayette. Sept. 

15th, issues his farewell address. 
1797. — March 4th, retires from office to Mt. Vernon. 
1798. — Appointed again to the command of the army. 
1799.— Died Dec. 14th. 


" Tby fame shall pass from age to age, 
From clime to clime, from sire to son ; 
And nistory on her glowing page 
Shall write the name of Washington." 

Anne 0. Ltnch. 

Gilbert Martin Marqtjis de Lafayette was born at 
Charanac, in Auvergne, in 1757. At the age of seven- 
teen he married the grand-danghter of the Duke of 
Noailles, inheriting a large fortune, with high rank and 
position at court. (From a note in Mrs. Kirkland's 
Memoirs of Washington, we extract the following ac- 
count : ) 

Lafayette was but eighteen years old when he hap- 
pened to dine in company with the Duke of Glouces- 
ter, brother of King George III., and heard the contest 
between England and America discussed by the Duke 
and his friends, the character and conduct of " the 
rebels " being, of course, very severely treated. His 
interest was so strongly excited, that he asked many 
questions of the Duke, and felt himself, in spite of the 
most unfavorable representations, deeply interested in the 
idea of people battling for their liberty, under so many 
discouraging circumstances. Before he left the com- 
pany, he had conceived the project of going, in person, 
to the aid of this struggling people. Returning to 
Paris, Lafayette procured an introduction to Silas 


Deane, then one of our commissioners for obtaining the 
alliance of France, and was, by Mr. Deane's repre- 
sentations, confirmed in his desire to take part in the 
patriotic struggle. The loss of Fort Washington, and 
other unlucky accidents, very much dampened the 
courage of the friends of the cause ; but Lafayette was 
above such hasty conclusions. " My zeal and love of 
liberty," said he, " have perhaps hitherto been my pre- 
vailing motives ; but now I see a chance of usefulness, 
which I had not anticipated. I have money ; I will 
purchase a ship, which shall convey to America my- 
self, my companions, and the freight for Congress. 

"While the vessel was getting ready, Lafayette 
visited England, in performance of a previous agree- 
ment with a friend, and was there treated with all the 
attention and courtesy due to his high rank and dis- 
tinguished connections. 

When he had been three weeks in London, he re- 
ceived private intelligence that his vessel was ready ; 
and, breaking away from all that was most interesting 
in England, he immediately set out for France. 

So delicate was his sense of honor, that he declined 
an invitation, from one of the royal dukes, to visit the 
dockyards, at Portsmouth, where the naval armament 
was then being fitted for the American war, lest he 
should seem to have taken an undue advantage of his 
position. He met with many difficulties, and much 
opposition before he could even reach his vessel. A 
I lire de cachet, a terrible thing in those days, was sent 
after him, but he eluded it, and by stealth sailed for 


America, accompanied by the Baron de Kalb, and 
eleven other officers, of different ranks, seeking service 
in America. On the voyage, he employed himself, 
though sea-sick, with studying English, and also with 
reading works on military tactics. Lafayette desired 
the captain to sail directly for the United States, but 
this the gentleman was by no means disposed to do, 
urging the probability of their being taken by some 
British cruiser, and sent to Halifax as prisoners, for 
nobody knew how long. 

Lafayette stood out for his rights as owner; the 
captain remained unyielding, until the young hero 
threatened to supersede him, and put the second 
officer in his place. Upon which it came out that the 
captain had on board eight thousand dollars' worth of 
goods for sale on his own account, which he was 
naturally very loth to see captured by the British. 
Upon which the marquis promised to make good any 
loss, although the goods had been smuggled on board 
his ship without his permission or knowledge. 

By a good Providence they made land on the coast 
of South Carolina. "Here," says Mr. Sparks, from 
whose animated account our whole sketch is con- 
densed, " here they debarked, and a distant light 
served to guide them. When they arrived near the 
house whence the light proceeded, the dogs growled 
and barked, and the people within supposed them to 
be a party of marauders from the enemy's vessels. 
Before gaining admittance, it was demanded of them 
who they were and what they wanted. 


"Baron cle Kalb was their interpreter, he having 
before been in America, and acquired some facility in 
speaking the English language. 

" At length suspicions were removed, and the 
strangers were received with a cordial welcome and a 
generous hospitality. Lafayette retired to rest, re- 
joiced that he had at last attained the haven of his 
wishes, and was safely landed in America, beyond the 
reach of his pursuers. 

"The morning was beautiful. The novelty of 
every thing around him, the room, the bed with 
mosquito curtains, the black servants, who came to 
ascertain his wants, the beauty and strange appear- 
ance of the country, as he saw it from his windows, 
clothed in luxuriant verdure, all conspired to produce 
a magical effect, and to impress him with indescriba- 
ble sensations. He found himself in the house of 
Major Huger, a gentleman not more remarkable for 
his hospitality than for his worth and highly respect- 
able character. Major Huger provided horses to 
convey him and his companions to Charleston. The 
vessel likewise went into Charleston harbor." 

In one of Lafayette's letters to his wife — for this 
boy of nineteen had a wife and two children — he 
writes : 

" As to my own reception, it has been most agree- 
able in every quarter ; and to have come with me 
secures the most flattering welcome. I have just 
passed five hours at a grand dinner, given in honor of 
me by an individual of this city. Generals Howe and 


Moultrie, and several officers of my suite, were present. 
We drank healths and tried to talk English. I begin to 
speak it a little. To-morrow I shall go with these 
gentlemen and call on the Governor of the state, and 
make arrangements for my departure. The next day 
the commanding officers here will show me the city 
and its environs, and then I shall set out for the 

" Considering the pleasant life I lead in this 
country, my sympathy with the people, which makes 
me feel as much at ease in their society as if I had 
known them for twenty years, the similarity of their 
mode of thinking and my own, and my love of 
liberty and of glory, one might suppose that I am 
very happy. 

" But you are not with me ; my friends are not with 
me ; and there is no happiness for me far from you and 

At Philadelphia Lafayette presented himself at 
the door of Congress, but received a very discouraging 
answer to his first application. He was told there were 
so many French gentlemen applying for situations 
in the army, that his chance was very slender. Who 
can wonder that the stripling should not, at first sight, 
have inspired anybody with much respect for his 
efficiency as a soldier ? 

But the aspect of things changed materially when 
he made an application in writing to be allowed to act 
as a volunteer without pay \ 

Here he put himself at once, in one particular, on 


a level with tlie commander-in-chief, whose refusal of 
all pecuniary compensation, had given him throughout 
such an immeasurable advantage. 

The result was that Lafayette received the com- 
mission of a major-general in the army of the 
United States, when he was not quite twenty years of 

Washington, in the first instance, invited him to 
make head-quarters his home, adding, in a tone of 
pleasantry, " that he could not promise him the lux- 
uries of a court, or even the conveniences which his 
former habits might have rendered essential to his 
comfort ; but, since he had become an American 
soldier, he would doubtless contrive to accommodate 
himself to the character he had assumed, and submit, 
with a good grace, to the customs and manners, and 
privations of a republican army." If Lafayette was 
made happy by his success with Congress, his joy was 
redoubled by this flattering proof of friendship and 
regard on the part of the commander-in-chief. 

His horses and equipage were immediately sent to 
camp and ever afterwards, even when he had charge of a 
division, he kept up his intimacy at head-quarters, and 
enjoyed all the advantages of a member of the 
general's family. 

From this time the commander-in-chief felt that 
he had a friend ; and the warmth of his expression 
towards the marquis is hardly excelled by even the 
vivacious tenderness of the young enthusiast for him- 
self. Washington's letters to his friends are warm and 


friendly, as well as candid and confiding; but to 
Lafayette he always, after they became acquainted, 
writes in a tone of affection which bears testimony to 
the worth of both — the man of forty-six and the youth 
of twenty. 

Lafayette fought as a volunteer at the battles of 
Brandywine and Monmouth in 1778, and received the 
thanks of Congress. He then proceeded to France in 
order to obtain reinforcements ; returned with arma- 
ments under General Rochanibeau, and commanded 
"Washington's vanguard at the time of the surrender of 
Lord Cornwallis in 1782. After the capitulation, of 
Yorktown he returned to France, was elected member 
of the Notables in 1787, and, on the breaking out of 
the Revolution, he took part with the friends of liberty. 
In October, 1789, he was made commander-in-chief of 
the national guard, and ordered and assisted in demolish- 
ing the Bastille. On the 6th he marched to Versailles, 
saved the Royal Family from the outrages of the mob, 
and placed them under the protection of the national 
assembly. In 1790 he proclaimed the " sacredness 
of the right of insurrection," and established, hi con- 
junction with Bailly, the club of Feuillans. On the 
attempted escape of Louis XYL, Lafayette lost some of 
his popularity, through being accused of conniving at 
it. But dissipating these calumnies, he fought against 
the emigrants and allies in Flanders, and mutual 
accusations passed between him and Dumouriez and 
Collot d'Herbois. He returned to France to denounce 
them and to protest against the violence offered to the 


King. But the Mountain was too strong for him ; he 
was burnt in effigy on the 30th of June, 1792, and 
being obliged to escape from France, fell into the hands 
of the Austrians, who imprisoned him at Olmutz. 

There he remained five years, till after Bonaparte's 
triumphant campaign of Italy, when, on the special de- 
mand of the latter, he was set at liberty. Lafayette, how- 
ever, was consistent ; when Napoleon became an apostate 
from liberty, he voted against the consulate for life, and 
withdrew from public affairs. But after the battle 
of Waterloo he reappeared to protest against the 
dictatorship ; and having subsequently protested against 
the dissolution of the legislative body by Prussian 
bayonets, again withdrew to his estate — till he was 
returned, in 1818, deputy for the department De la 
Sarthe. In 1821 he made a visit to America, and was 
received with distinction and enthusiasm as joint 
founder of American liberty with Washington and 

The unconstitutional violence and ordinances of 
Charles X. f in June, 1830, brought Lafayette on 
the stage again in the character with which he com- 
menced his career — that of commander-in-chief of the 
National Guard, and the advocate and supporter of a 
citizen king. He soon after resigned the command, and 
having seen Louis Phillipe recognized as King of 
the French, he once more retired to domestic life. 
He died in 1834, and was buried in Paris. 


Maktha Dandridge was born in the county of New 
Kent, Colony of Virginia, in May, 1732, the same year 
with Washington. 

She was descended from a long line of ancestors, 
which was originally represented in the colony by the 
Reverend Orlando Jones, a Welsh gentleman, who 
early established himself on the banks of the Potomac. 

Her education was commensurate with her position 
in society, and the advantages of the times. Endowed 
with quick perceptions and a ready adaptation, added 
to great personal beauty, she early became a favorite, 
and was surrounded by numerous admirers. 

After a short season as a reigning belle, she recipro- 
cated the attachment of Colonel Daniel Parke Custis, 
son of the Hon. John Custis, of Arlington, a king's 
counsellor. Opposition on the part of the father, who 
was desirous of a more ambitious alliance, led to a delay 
in their union ; but the king's counsellor yielded at last, 
and the ardent lover carried his fair bride to his plan- 
tation on the borders of the Pamunky River, whose 
mansion was known as The White House. 

Colonel Custis was an affluent planter, and a pleas- 
ing type of the Virginia gentleman of the olden time. 


Their marriage was blessed with three children ; the 
eldest, a son, died in early life. Colonel Custis soon 
followed him to the grave, leaving his young and beau- 
tiful widow sole executrix to extensive estates, and the 
care of two young children, a boy, John Parke Custis, 
and his sister Martha. 

After the usual period of mourning had passed, Mrs. 
Custis, with increased charms and augmented fortune, 
was again surrounded by many suitors and ardent ad- 
mirers. The White House became renowned for taste, 
refinement, and hospitality, until the young military 
Hero's destiny led him into conjunction with her star at 
the house of Mr. Chamberlayne, which we have re- 
counted in the foregoing pages. 

After her marriage with the renowned Colonel, her 
life became so closely interwoven with his, it is difficult 
to separate the strands. Mount Yernon became her 
permanent home immediately after the union, until 
"Washington's appointment to the command of the army. 

Her added fortune gave a new expression to the 
mansion and its dependencies. Fond of style and 
punctilio, she yet possessed all the graces and accom- 
plishments which gave a charm and zest to home. 
Every department of the domestic arrangements re- 
ceived her constant supervision and direction. 

With a most paternal regard Washington took upon 
himself the guardianship of her children, administering 
on their portion of inheritance with the utmost exact- 
ness, directing their education, and regulating their so- 
cial duties. 


How much he became attached to them is evinced 
by the accounts given of his anguish at the death of 
Miss Custis, which took place on her attaining woman- 
hood in 1770. 

Before John Parke Custis reached his 20th year, he 
became engaged to Miss Calvert, daughter of Benedict 
Calvert, a descendant of the old and distinguished 
Maryland family of that name. Washington, on the 
ground of his extreme youth, opposed the match, de- 
siring it might be postponed ; but out of consideration 
of his being an only child — the last of his family — gave 
his consent, and they were married before the groom 
attained his majority. 

Upon Washington's taking command of the army 
at Cambridge, Mrs. Washington followed him thither, 
and was more or less with him at head-quarters during 
the war, especially at the time of the winter encamp- 
ments, where she was ever regarded as a most devoted 
wife, and worthy example of the matron and heroine. 
Her time on these occasions was employed in knitting 
and making clothing for the soldiers, visiting the sick, 
administering to, and relieving the distressed 

After the war, Mount Vernon became the seat of 
a most munificent, though unostentatious hospitality, 
over which she presided with a dignity second only to 
that of the General's. Distinguished guests at all sea- 
sons paid her devoted homage ; the good and brave of 
all lands were the recipients of her courtesies and bounty. 
Just at the termination of the Eevolutionary struggle, 
her son died at Eltham. Washington, returning from 


the capitulation of Yorktown, was called to his death-bed, 
(October, 1781,) when, of four little grand-children, he 
adopted the two youngest, (introduced into the picture,) 
and they became inmates of Mount Vernon, and a por- 
tion of his household. When called to the Presidency, 
he transferred his home to New York and Philadelphia. 

During the interval between the war and the Presi- 
dency, we have much contemporaneous testimony as to 
her character and life. The Marquis de Chastellux 
writes : " She appeared to me one of the best women 
in the world, and beloved by all about her." 

While presiding over the domestic department, and 
controlling the social elements of the Presidential man- 
sion, we have too many anecdotes and descriptions of 
her life to attempt here a sketch of that period, so full 
of incident. 

It was with unfeigned reluctance she left the quiet 
shades of Mt. Vernon, to become the leaderess of the 
.Republican court. Her duties, manifold and arduous, 
heroically fulfilled, the season of her return to the be- 
loved home on the banks of the Potomac was hailed 
with enthusiastic gratitude and joy. 

The felicity of peace and domestic tranquillity was 
all too short. Two and a half brief years, and her light 
went out for this world. The sorrow of the nation's 
loss was concentrated in hers. Bowing to the inexor- 
able, she meekly bided her summons to depart. " All 
is over now — I shall soon follow him — I have no more 
trials to pass through," was her simple and touching 
wail. With each morning's sun, and each eve's de« 


eline, she gazed from her window at the quiet mound 
beneath the tall trees, where they had laid the nation's 
idol and her adored. Month after month, with pious 
resignation, she told off the shattered loops of her lone 
destiny, until the year 1801, when, at the age of sev- 
enty-one, she was laid beside her hero-husband, as we 
behold them, within the same tomb to-day. 


Mrs. Stuart, the wife of John Parke Custis, was a 
daughter of Benedict Calvert, and descendant of Cecil 
Calvert, Lord Baltimore. She was early married, and 
had four children. At the commencement of the war, 
her husband was made a member of Washington's mili- 
tary household, serving as aide-de-camp. At the time 
of his death, he enjoyed the rank of Colonel. 

Mrs. Custis remained a widow but two years, mar- 
rying Dr. Stuart a few months previous to the date 
of the picture. 

During Lafayette's visit, she was with her two 
youngest children and her mother-in-law. 

Eleanor Parke Custis married Major Lawrence 
Lewis, Washington's favorite nephew. She died in 
Clarke county, Virginia, in 1852, at the age of seventy- 
four year??. 

George Washington Parke Custis was born at 
Mt. Airy, Maryland, the seat of his maternal grand- 
father. He remained at Mt. Vernon until the death of 
his grandmother, when he was about twenty-one years 


old. He was appointed comet of the horse in 1199, 
and soon afterwards was promoted as aide-de-camp to 
Gen. Pinckney, of South Carolina. In 1802 he began 
the erection of the present mansion at Arlington, an 
estate of one thousand acres left him by his father, 
opposite "Washington, commanding extensive views of 
the Potomac and surrounding country, where he kept 
up the state of a hospitable Virginia gentleman, until 
the time of his death, two or three years since. • Hav- 
ing witnessed every Presidential inauguration, and min- 
gled with the prominent men during his long life, his 
reminiscences Lad a peculiar value and interest.