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THE HOME OF WASHINGTON
.A. E X E E, THE -WAR-
T, P. ROSSITER AND L. R. MIGNOT.
HOME OF WASHINGTON
AFTER THE WAR.
T. P. ROSSITER AND L. R. MIGNOT.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES OP THE PERSONAGES INTRODUCED.
T, P. ROSSITER.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
346 AND 848 BROADWAY.
THE HOME OF WASHINGTON
AFTER THE WAR.
T. P. ROSSITEE AND L. R. MIGNOT.
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.
WASHINGTON AT HOME.
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
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
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
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
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-
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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
CHEONOLGY OF WASHINGTON.
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
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-
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
" 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
" 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
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
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.
MRS. MAETHA WASHINGTON.
Maktha Dandridge was born in the county of New
Kent, Colony of Virginia, in May, 1732, the same year
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-
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
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-
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.