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A.STOR. LE'-OV >i*f 








nro TOLumB nr oir% ABmnwsD bt tbs auvbob. 





^ 1866. 

' ' J V 


' ^HK 

' '. • 


^J. TO. 

.^ ■ D 

T iCi'^ 


. ' : ". 3 

Eiiieieo accfwdlng to mi a/ /Xn^rMs :i iHe yiiar 1840, Ivy 

Jaickd Sfakks, 

IB Ibe Clerk'i o/Dce oT tli« DMirlct Cuurt nt tlw Disirict <W atmmichntrtU. 




Th£ first volume of the work, entitled 
Tmc Writings op Washington, in twdve 
octavo vdumes, consists of a Life of Wash- 
ington. This has been published in a sep- 
arate form, with a preface, from which the 
foHowing extract is taken. 

*The materials for the Life, 'as well as 
for the large work, have been drawn from 
a great variety of sources; from the manu- 
scripts at Mount Vernon, papers in the 
public offices of London, Paris, Washing- 
ton, and all the old Thirteen States; and 
also from the private papers of many of the 
principal leaders in the Revolution. The 
entire mass of manuscripts left by General 
Washington, consisting of more than two 
hundred folio volumes, was in the authoi-'s 


hands ten years. From these materials it 
has been bis sum to select and combme the 
most important facts, tending to exhibit in 
their true light the character, actions, and 
opinions of Washington/' 

To accommodate a larger number of pur 
chasers and readers, an abridgment of the 
original Life b here presented to the pub- 
lic* The omissions are mostly of a political 
or general nature. The biographical in- 
cidents and other parts, which constitute 
the narrative, have been preserved without 
change and neariy complete. 




Origia of the WMblngUm Family. — John and Uwronec 
WaaJiioftOB emigiute to America. — Birth of C>«orge 
WMhiagton. — Hia early Mucation. — Hia Fondnett fcr 
Biatliematieal Studiea and athletic Amuaementa, ami hw 
BMtbodical Habits. I 


k Proieei formed for bis entering the British Navy as a 
Midshipman. — He becomes a practical Sarreyor. — £a* 
gages in the Employment of Lord Fairrac — Continaes 
the Basioess of Snnreying for three Years. — Appointed 
Adjatant of one of the Districta in Virginia. — Voyage to 
Bariwdoes with his Brother. U 


Tlia French make Encroachments on the Western Frontiers 
of Virginia. — M^or Washingtoa is sent by the Gorernor 
of Viigiaia to ware the Intniders to retire. -* Crosses tho 
Allegany Mountains. ~- Meets Indiana on the Ohio River, 
who accompany him to the French Garriaon. — Indian 
Speech. — Interviews with the French Commander. — Per- 
Uovs AdTentures during his Journey, and in crossing the 
AUegaay River.— Returns to Williamabuig and reporta to 
thaGotamor ft 



Troopt raited for a western Expedition, and put onder the 
Command of Major Washington. — Governor Dinwiddie. 
— Military Prepanllioaa. ** Waahinglon appointed Lfienlen- 
ant-Coionel. — Marchoa to the Allegany Mountain*. •— 
Joined by Partiea of Indiana*-*- Skirmiah with a French 
Detachment under Jumonville. — The chief Command de- 
▼oWet on Colonel Wathlngjlon. -»- Uta genftio^tf Sentiments 
respecting tlte Terms of Service 43 


Fort Necessity. — Indians. -^ Mosenienis of the Army.-^ 
Battle of the Great Meadows. — Vote of Thanks by tlie 
House nf Bufft^ssos. — Washington disapproves the Qof^ 
emor*a Measurca and resigns his Commissiofl 63 


Engages in the RxpeiHtton under General Braddock. — Diflli* 
culties encountered by the Army in if9 March. — Battle of 
the Monongaheia. ^•Its diaastrous Reaolts. — Bravery and 
etfod Conduct of Colonel Waahtngton in that Action.— 
Uis prudent Adrice to Geneid Braddock. T* 


Colonel Washington iqipoiiited Commander-}n»chi<*f ef the 
Viiginia Forces. — Distresses of the Frontier Inhabitants. 
— Difficulties with an Ofiiotr hoUiilg • King'a Commission 
concerning Rank. — Washington visits General Shirley at 
Boston upon this Subject. — His Claim coitffrMed . -^ Ke- 
turns and repaira to his Head-quartera at Wrnchester. *-« 
Embarrassments of his Sftuntion. -^ Tcstlmoniei of Ceofi- 
d»lice in hia Character and AbHity 9 


^Occurrences of the Campaign. — f ncnralnns Of the Savngee 
^ Plan of Fortifications for Che Interior. -- Fort Cumber* 

CONTENTh. ffll 

land. — Menorul prewDted by Colonel WuhingUm to the 
1^1 of LoadouA on Uie Stale of Milttaxpr ASkira in Virgin- 
la. — Governor Dinwiddie miU for England. — An Expedi- 
tieanriMt Foit Oeqecane plinned fagr the BritMh Mini** 
tiT^ Id he eader Ite Couunaiid of Ueuerai Forbot.— Ttie 
Viigkiin Amf angneeMd^ and uniiad with the Regular 
TVoepe in thin Bnierpraae .106 


Colonel Wa^ivgton mnrchea to Fort Cumberland. — Acta la 
Coaeeii wifli Cetoeei Bon^oel.-^ Join* the maiu Army at 
R^falovn ender C«eneral Furbca. — Forma a Tlan of March 
aeited toihe Meuntaine and Wooda. — Commanda the ad- 
vaeeed Diviaioii of tlie Anoy. ->()a(ituKe of Fort Ua- 
qeeane. -^ He rainma to Virginia, rea^gna hia Cenuiuaaion, 
and feliaoe te piivvte Life. •,.•••••.•. U< 


Watnington'a Marriage. — For many Voara a Member eT the 
Vifgniie HeUatf of Mergaatai — Uia pHtmau- end Hahita 
aaa Ptantar. «<- A Veatoyman in the Cbofch, and actire in 
Pari^ AfTaifaw^Hia Opinion of the Stamp Act. -^ Taken 
aoenrij and deeided Stand againat the Coime pimued by 
the Britieh Govemnent towaada tbe Coloniea. — Approvea 

• the Mon-ivporuUoA A gr aaM e n la . •••••.«•• ISft 


loinnbe«tilftad]lthe Meaama of Oppeaiitan;-.flh :ler* 
▼ieea In ptoearing t^ Lande promiaed to the Ofllaera and 
SekHeiB ta the Fienefa War.^Perfema n Tour to the 
Ohio and Kenhnvn Rivere for the pnrpeee of aeleoting 
thoae Landa.-^Taheo an activa Pari atdiflbient Timea in*i 
the Proceedinga of tlie Virginia legislature in defending 
the Righta of the (joloniea. — Hia Opinions on this Sub- 
feet.— Choaen to command aeveral Independent Compa- 
nMi«rMili«ia.-^A Del«0it«totiiefiiat aadMQoadVic* ' 
^ahi QjiTOifiat " A Member ef iba CooAiaeirtal Ccm 

MM , . , . ^UO 



MMtlng of tin Mcond CMgrwi.— WMhlagton 
Commander-in-chief of the CoBlinental Arm^.— 'Repelra 
to l^tmhridge, md takes the ComBMUuL^SMto of the 
Amy. — His Inteieeofse with Cengfsss. >— N u sM t e os Af* 
Auis deTolfe on him. ••••••• 16i 


Cerraspondenee with General Oa0tt.— ConeUa of War ra- 
specting an Aaaanit on Boston. — Organisatioii of a new 
Continental Army. — Dilficnlties in proeoiing Recralta. — 
MUitU eaUed ont— Maritime Aflhira.— Armed Vessels. 

— General Howe takes Command of the British Armj.— 
Condition of the Ameriean Armj at the End of the Year. 

— Washington's Arrangement of his private Aflaiis. • • • Ut 


nstts fbr an Attack on Boston. — Condition of the Armjw-- 
Dorchester Heights fortified. — Eraonatioa of Boston. — 
IVoops mareh to New York. — Waahington repain to Cos* 
grsos. — His Views in Regard to the Sute of the Conntry. 

— Msehiaatlons of the Tories, and Measores taken to do* 
Ibat tlieai.'— Declaration of fail f nf ndence- •.•••• 900 


Arrifil of Lord Hewe^with Proposals for n Re c onc Hia tfea 
with the Colonies. — Mode of addressing Letten to Wash* 
ington attempted hy the British Admiral and GenenL — 
Strength and Condition of the two Armiao. — Battle of 
Long laland.— Remarks on the Battle. SH 


NewTotfc er a cm Hed , and the Britidi take PniHlan of the 
Cnty.— The American Army posted at Haerlem Uelghls 
nd Fort WMhington. — Siloation and Prospects of ths 


Af^.~ Iti WW Oiininslon.— The BritUi kmi li 
WwifchBilif Cmatj, >ad wunh faito Uw Cwuilqr, • • .SM 


I to WIdto PUm aad form ■■ Fnniap 
L— Butte of CiMttortoo't HUl— PMrtoftlM AMfi- 
cu AiaycriMMs the HmImb.— C^itwe of Fort WmIi. 
k^bam tad Fort Loo. — Gonend Wnhiiigtoa rotioili 
Iteoagh Mow Jonojy ud eroHoo tho DoUwara ■iTraotoa. 
— Condwrl md Choraetor of Gononl Loo. — Rodaeod 
Sttii of llM Anqr. M» 


3oBml WHUagtoa bivooled with oxtnovdlMiy Powm If 
CoifNH.— Hio MuuMT of oring thoa.— Ho tieiOMM 
tto Doteirwo.— Butte of TrootoB. — BiCtte of PriaooMk 
—Tho Aiaf foot into Wintor Qntrton tt MoirittowB.— 



GoMnlWttUagtoB'tPiroelMHtloB. — Hit P »o|i tr aiio M Ibr 
tho Mil CtrnptlgB. — Eiehanso of Phtonon. — Cooditloa 
of Iho AiMrieta PritoBoi* in Now Torfc. — Militaiy Opor- 
oliootiaNowJoitoj.— Tho Anoj er otttt tho Doiawtio 
aikl OMonpo Mtr Goimtatowik— Wathiogtoo't fini !■- 
toffiow with Ltftjotto* •••••••••••• fM 


SirWmiaoHoiioltii&tllho Hoadof Elk.— BtlOoof tho 
Bnadywino.— NowPowon oonfbmd on Wathhigton If 
Congftit. — Btttte of GofntntowB. — SUfmitbot tt WUto- 
totnh.— Snflhfingt cftho Amy.— Wintor EnctmiMBoal 
•tViU^Fofio. 911 




Letten written ud eircttlttod la Ibe Num of 
WatriiingttNk — CoiHM^t. Cabtl,-> Ftoavmi eoneemed im 
lt-« HoBonbIc ud gsMroiifl Condael of Ltfkyetta ia f»» 

. . . , . . - . . J 


\ «r «• Asaqr ■! Vdfay »«ga.*.K«« AfMi«t* 
■MMtcoosirted wiOi a CoatedHee <^ C ea y i t .^Hatf. 
p^ pmmA te tlMOil4Mn ft>r « Ttm sT V6m«.— Pkw 
Madiafi ia Ra|ud to Loid MoilM JiraiihUnty BHki. • 17 


AiriMi dr tbo Ftaaeh TMatioo of AHImc» mA CoaufeOMO* - 
tivo StiBigth of Um BitlMh aad AoioiioBB Ar» . 
I iMpaoliag an AHMk Oft FkitoMpUib 
-^Ptaat «r«o Baotty^^Cvaeaitioa of PbilodatpUi^^ 
IV Anay cntneo tbo SMairwo.*-* Baitl« of Maaflloatbi 
— AfVMt tad TtUk of Goaonl Loo. •«••••«» 


Arriral of tbo Fienck^ Floot oador Coaat d'Eitaloff. — Plan 
Ibr combinod Operatioui betweon the Fleet lad tbo Amor* 
kda Amj.^Fm^m of ia At te iapl Ogiiati Iba Emm§r 


tor. — Eiehtnge of Pritonen . — CongreM. — PRjeet €f 
■■ Eipedition to CuuuU. tl 


CMfimneM with ■ Committee of CongreM, ud Plan Ar 
the Beit Cmmpaign. — SulUvu'i Ezpedition agaiiiet the 
ladiaM. ^ The Eaemjr eommeeee e piedateiy Waiftre. 
The Deiaing of New HaTon, Fairfield; tod Norwalk.— 
Sleny Point atonned and taken.— SoeoeaaAil Enteipriae 
agalnat Panlna Hoolc. — Waahington'a Interriewa with the 
French Minister. — Plana propoaed fbr ooOperaling with 
Connt d'Eataing. — The Annj geea into Winter Qnarten. 
— Depreeiaftion of the Correncj, and ita EiTecta. • • • 6i 


lUfieal- or the Marqnia de LeAyette, with Ihe hoM^mn . 
that a French Armament waa on ita Way to the United 
Statea. — The Armjr ti^ea a Peaitioa near Hodaon'a RiTer. 
—The French Squadron arrivea at Newport — Coont de 
Roeheabhav^a InatrMHoia.— Franeh Jpleet Meokadad.— 
Interview between Genenl Waahiagten and the Fraaek 
Cooimander at Hartford. — The Tnaaea of Afetdt — 

' ' PlaM for attMktog New York. • 4 • • « Sft 


Matiif ef the PeaMylTaaia and New Jeney Trea|M.-^ilci»> 
ej of Waahlngtea in proenring SoppUea ftom Fiaaee.-*- 
OpemtioBa of the Enemy in the Cheaapeehe.— Detank* 
nent to Virginia mder Lafojretto.— General Waahiagten 
Tiaite Cbant de Reeherabean at Newport.— Condition of 
the Armj.«— Jntenriew between the Ameriean and Freneh 
Commandera at Weatherdield. -~ Plan of Opeimtiooa. ^ 
A Combined Altaek ea New Teak peepoaed. . • • • 10» 


betweea Ike Amerieu and FreMh Armiea.-* Intel 
llbte QMiit de GteaM hilke Weat ladiee « 


h6 Oljeets of the Ctin|Niigii. — 9«<se«iirAil Upenttaw «f 
LafsTette ■gainst Cornwallu. — TIm eombiiied AnalM 
croai tlio Hodsoo and march to Yiiginla.— -The Fleet ef 
Coeai de Graaae eaten the Cheaepeahe. — Siege <»r Yeifc* 
towB. — Cepitoletioii. — The American Army reteme to 
Hadeea't Riferj the French »■««• fai Viigiaie. . . • W 


FlrBpantloM fop another CamfNugn fecomnendeti and ei» 
forced by General Waahington and ^iprofed uf Oongreaa. 
^Laftyette tetania to France.— The AWr ef Captafai 
AagOL — Backwardneaa of the Statea in racmiUag the 
Army.— Propoaal to General Waahfaigtoii to aaanme Sa- 
praaae Power, and hia Reply. — Sir Gay Carletoa glvee 
NMlee, that Negottetioiia for Peace had hegan.^Th« 
FtaMfa Troopa maroh horn Vifgiaia, Join Geaefal Waah> 
lagloB,aBdaftarwafdaeaihariL at Boataa. U$ 


Diantlafoetioa ef the Army. —The Oaoeiaeead a Me meri d 
to Congreaa. —The aaoaymooa Addiaaaa a at W ew ha if . »» 
JntelUgence arrltea, that a Tnuty of Peace had been aign- 
ed at Paris. — General Waahiagtea'a Seatlmeati coacenn 
lag the civil Goremment of the Unioa.- Hia Circelar 
Letter to the Statea.— He makes aToar to the North.— 
Repalia toCengreea at the Refaeat of that Body.— Hia 
navwall AddieBB to the Army.— The BdtiA •vaemto 
New YeA— Washingiloa leaigaa hia CommWoa, and 
ratitaa to private Lifo at Meant Vemea. W 


He decHaes receiving pecaaiaiy Compen a atioa for ma pah- 
lie Servicea.— Hia FeeHnp on bei«g relieved from the 
Harden of Office. — Devotes himself to Agricultare. -« 
Makea a Tear to the Waatara Ctoaatiy.— Hia etteaslv* 
Flaaa for Inlamal Navigation.— Theaa Phma adapte d hy 
lofVifgiafaL— ViiitoftiwMarqaiadaLaayatta ' 
u— Warfdagtan tafoaaa It aaoqit • ] 


Omn teStttoor ViiflBit.— Hit IUmviI Aot« fiwtboS*. s 
eon ngo mmA of Sdnoatiion. — Approic* tbe CooiUMt W : 
HttnlUigUD'* Schea* for ciitisiag and ChrUfianining the 
Indteiuk m 


ETu OperatioDi in Farming and Uorticullnre.— Visiton at 
Mount Vernon.— •Hia Habiti. — Hoodon'a Statue.— Con- 
dition^ tke Conatry.aad Defocto of die Coni<iderac|r«— t 
WaahingtOD'a Sentineata tboieoa.— Firat Steff towaida 
afcpting a Befiwia. — ConTeation at Annapolia. • • • • J94 


Prapoaal for s g«n<ni OonventioB, and Wailiiflgtmi appefal 
ed m Delegate froon Vii^p<>»-^-^Hia Reaaone for wMiiRg' 
to decline. — Societf of tl« UtortnaaiL-*-' Wadiiiigloa ■•• 
eefita tbe Appointment aa Delegate — Attenda the Con- 
vention^ la choaen Mr Pretiden*, aad alBxea hia Name to 
the New Conatitution. — His Opinion of the Conatitotion. 
-^It ia adopted b/the PBopte. — WaAmgtOB ahoaea tba • 
firatPiMideatdr the United Stataa. ST 


He leeehw official Notice of being eheaea Praaident.— 
Hia Jooniey to tbe Seat of Oovammeat at N«w York. — 
HIv Oatl^ ef Oflce and Inaof^ral Speeeb. -~ Aoqaamta 
biBMelf witb tbe Stafa of puUie AAara.-^Hia AlCantioa 
to hia pritate Pnnaita.-^ Hia Marnier of aaeatfing Varita 
and entertaining Company. — Afflicted with a aofere lll« 
aeaa.— Death of bia Matbar^— Eeeaivaj of hia Uonaa- 
bold.— *£xeeative Departmenti formed. SS4 


Ofllaara ef Iba Eiecalfra DtopartoMata a|»painlad.**-Jadlot>- 
aiy Syalaia ofganlaed. — Waabiagton'a Opiaioa of tbe Sa^ • 
p"aaM Caort^-'Hiitf Haia in AppeiotdMala to Oiiaa.^ 
Hto' lawny Ihnaghr the. BaiHan SMN.-* tyirtMi «C 

GOlfTANTS, ;ni 

of Uoionuneai i^i^ood upon. • , 299 


TIm Psaiideiit twiu Eboda bUad and Mcnat VoniOB.*- 
FonigB BektioM of tbe Unitad Ststat.-'FrMMse, £Dg* 
hod, SpuB.— Indian War.-^-WMhingtoo'i Policj napaofc: • 
tag Ike ladUas. — Congrett iimoU at Philadelphia. — A 
NaUonal Bank eaUblithed.— T«c^ an ^iatilled Spirita.— 
The Preaident'a Tour through the Southern Statea. — Ap* 
pofdoMMBt BilL-« Ptiiilea aad tknir Caaaaa,-^ Dmmm 
ai«M between the Seeielary of StaU nmI the Secietaij of 
the Tkiamy.— WflduH^eflt'i Attempta ti» leeeni^iW thea. Sft 


Wmhi]^bom ia elected Preaident for a Second Tem. ~ 
T^kea the Oath of Oilice. — Relationa between the United 
Statea and Franco. — Opiniona of the Cabinet — Procla- 
nation of Netttralitf. — Party Diviriona and Evcitementa. 
— Gen£t leoeived aa Mtniater IW>m Fiance. — Hia ei* 
tiaordinary Comract. — Meeting of CongroH.— The Prea- 
ident recommenda Meaaurea of Defence. — Commercial 
Aibira. — Mr. Madiaon'a Commercial Reaolotiona. — Mr. 
Jaj appointed Envoy Extraordinary to negotiate a Treaty 
with England. — MUitaiy Preparationa. fH 


InmiectioB in PennaylTania. — Meaaurea adopted by the 
Preaident for auppreating it — Plan for redeeming the 
Pafalic Debt — The Britiah Treaty ratified by the Sen- 
ate. — Popular Excitement reapecting it— The Treaty 
conffBMd by tbe Signature of the Preaident — Reaigna- 
tion of Mr. Randolph. — Circumatancea attending it . . 294 


ne Preaident reibaea to flimiah Papers to the Houie el 
Itvee in relatioa to the Britiah Tk«atjr.-*Ci»* 


tifttj of Laftyette, taA Meam nied bj Wwhhigtoii to 
* procure hit Liberation. -^ DiiBcQitiM with France In re 
gard to the Britiah Treaty. ^ Recall of Mr. Monroe.— 
Waahington'a Farewell Addreaa.^Hia laat Speech toCon- 
greaa. — Inangaration of hia Succeaaor. — Teatimony of 
Reapect ahown to Urn bj the Citlzena of Philadelphia.— 
Ho retiree to Mount Vernon. — Review of hie Adminie- 
tratiOA. SU 


WMhlBgton doTOtea himaelf to Ha private AAdia.— .TVawUee 
between Fraeoe and the United Slatea. — > Pnperaliona fbr 
War.— Wa a h ln gton appointed ComannderMn-ehier of th« 
Provialonal Army of the United Sutea.— Organiiation and 
Amngement of the Army. — Diapatoe with France ad 
jwtod.— Hia laat Ulneaa aad Death. ^ Hia Chaitoler. . aV 





Origia^ A» VaUaglM Panilf.— Mia Md Lcwnaee Wwli> 
tagtos eanignle to America.— Birth of Georgo WHhiogtoo. 
— Hia earij Education. — Hia Fondneai for mathematieal 

Tbk name of Wasbimgton, as applied to a 
iiuiiilyy is pioyed fiom audiaiilie records le 
bare been first known about the middle of 
the thirteenth century. There was prerious* 
\j a manor of that name in the County of 
Durham, in England, the proprietor of which, 
according to a custom not unusual in those 
days, took the name of his estate. From this 
gentlemiin, who was originally called William 
de Hertbum, have descended the branches of 
the Wadiington family, which have since 
spread themselves over various parts of Great 
Britain and America. 

Few individuals of the family have attain^ 
ed to such eminence in the eye of the publiOy 


as to give perpetuity to the memory of lYieir 
deeds or their character; yet, in the local his- 
tories of England, the name is frequently men- 
tioned with respect, and as denoting persons of 
consideration, wealth, and influence. Among 
them Were s^holais, divines, and laAtyets^ well 
known to their contemporaries. Several re- 
ceived the honors of knighthood. Sir Henry 
Washington is r&nowiied' for his bravery and 
address in sustaining the siege of Worcester 
agsdnst rLe' Partiafnenlary fovoes dnriAg thi 
civil wars, and is commended by Clarendon 
for his ^ood conduct ai the taking of BrisloL 
For the most part it would appear, however, 
from siieh facts as can now be ase^rf ained, tW 
the heads of families were mibstatitkd prdprf- 
etots of lands, residing on their 6Statles and 
holditig a reputable station in the higher ctasi^ 
of agriculturists. Proofs* of their opulani;^ 
may still be seen im the B^otintnehta efeeted in 
ehurches, and the ndccftds of the ttMsfer of 

In the year 1038, the inaMr of Solgmre, im 
Korthamptonshire, was granted to Lawrenee 
Wa^ington, of Gray's inn, and for some time 
May^r of Northamptoh. He was }^robaUy 
born at Warton, in Lancashire, where his (an 
tfcer lived. The grandson of this first propri- 
etor of Sulgruvo, who was of the same naiae^ 


fatdl many childidi, t^a of \^b«mi cihal, iflf 
John aoid Lawmnce WashingtiM^ beiiig tbiQ 
seedod and fbortb aoaiB, emtgmted to Yirfj^nia 
abcMit the year 1667, ttid aeltled nt Hndgelut 
(^Mk) OQ th« Fotomac Biver> in the County 
of WestiMMlaiid. The eldest bftoth^, Sir 
William Washington/ mairied a half^aiater of' 
Oeorge Yiilieta, Duke of BiicklilghE«« l4ii«w. 
rMe^ had been a student alQzfind. Jotehadt 
ratidad on ah estate at Sooth; QaYe in Verfey 
skim^ whjck gare rile tto an-ertoneoitt tiadi^^ 
tion among his descendants^ thaC.theiranctat^ 
came ffbm the North of KagjaiuL Tlte tmrc 
bfothera boi^fat laods in Virgioia^ and beOanoie 
siieceasfal plantem 

JcAin Washington^ n»t hmg aftoc ooming let 
Ameriea^^qms employed in li military doaatta^d; 
i^aiast the Indian^ and rose td the laak of 
dokMl. The parish, abe, in which he llv^ 
waa named after hisi. Ho manied Aami 
Fope, by whom he b^ ivt6 send, Lawrence^ 
and. John, and a daughter. The etder .fiC|A| 
LawiBDoe^ married Mildfed Warner^ of Qlaa-> 
qester Connty, and bad tturee ebildr-eni Jfc^bni 
Augnstine, and Mildred. 

Abgusfine Wasliington^ thef seeond son^ vnm 
Hrice married. His first wife waa Jane B^itf 
ler, by ^hom he had three sena aad a.da«gh« 
ler^ BuUer^ who died ki infaneiKj LawieiM^ 

ff LiFK or nrAsitinQTon . 

old, the scrpsiinteisdenoe of tbeir education/ 
asid the maaagemeiit of compUcated affain^ 
demanded bo oommaii share of vesolution^ se^; 
sowee of mind, and strength of character, in- 
these U]if)ortant dudes Mrs. Washington ac- 
quitted bevself ndth great fiflelity to her trust, 
and with entire sueces& Her good sense, as^' 
sidoity, tenderness, and vigilance oyercame 
e^rciy obstade ; and, as tl^ richest retrafd of 
a mothered solicitude and toil, she had the hap- 
piness to see ail hsr children come forward 
with a fair premise into Hfe, filling ihe sphere 
allotted to them m a macKner equally hononn 
bie to themseivids, and to the parent who had 
been the only guide of their prkidples, con^ 
duct, and habits. She lived to witness the 
noUe career of her eldest son, till by his own 
pare merits he was raised- to the head of a na*. 
tion,and applauded and revered by the whole 
world. It has been said, that there never was 
a great man, the elements of whose greatnese 
might not be traoed to the original character-* 
tstics or early influence of his mother. If this 
be true, hew much do mankind Owe to the 
mother of Washington. 

Ufider the colonial govemn^eots, particular* 
ly in the southern provinces, the means of 
education were circumscribed, llie thineess 
of population, and the broad line wiuch sepa* 

Lzns ^sv^WASflnvotm. 

nied ilie rioh fioia tte ;poof , fnnreiilad lii# 
otAWnhateni ci acfaoob on sQ«h a tasis at 
voidd opta Ae doerof i«atnielioa to all daa*; 
ie% and^litts pieptrt the yttcf to Ugliee aem« 
iwitiaa of isaittiag. Vanig men destlnad fyt 
the learned pEofenioDSi vrliooe pareala coidd* 
adbid the expense, were ocaaBiflnaHyggni tm 
Bngiand. Bat the pla&tnn generailjr sM|lit» 
BD other cdneaiMm iotthtkmotmf than aueh aa 
wcMld fit them te be piactical men cf biisi*^ 
ttaaa. In a /ew ^aaes, this vaa derhred fiom n^ 
pnrate tutor; in othersi bom a teachef of that 
eomiSDn aeheolst ^rheee qualifieatioaa would' 
natimdl^ be limited to tthe demaada of his 
employeia, and who wifs aeldom competent to 
inpart more than the atmplest elamenta of 
kaowiedge. Wlien he had iacuksated An 
mysteriea of seading, writii^ arithmetic, and 
keeping aocowits, bis tkiU was eidunisted, and 
tbo duties of his vocation were fiilfiUsd. If 
his popila aspired to higher attainments, they 
were compelled. to leave their master bebind^ 
and find their way without agnido. 

To a school of this description wasOeol*g& 
Washington indebted for all the aids Us mind 
r$oeived in its early discipline and eultain. 
How fiur he profited by these sWider adraiH 
tiiges, or was distinguished for his application 
and love of study, can only be conjectured' 

9 hlWm OV WASMllKBTOn 

fioDQi tbe ntnlti. Tiaditioii lei^orts, thai hm 
was inquisitiTe, docile, and diUgeoi; Iml k^ 
addsi thai his military ptopaiitiliea and paaaott 
for active sports displayed theaunlves ia his 
boyhood ; that he fomed his sehoohnates into 
compamesy who paraded, jnarched, and tou^f^l 
Bimic battles, in which he was always the 
oomnsander of one of the parties. He had a 
fondness for the athletic amusements of runrr 
ningy jumping, wrestling, tossing bars, and oth- 
er fsats o( agility and bodily exercise. Indeed 
it is well known, that these pcactices wece. 
continued by him after he had arrived at the 
age of mature life. It has also been said, that 
while at school his probity and demeanor 
were such, as to win the deferenoe of the 
other boys, who were accustomed to make 
him the arbiter of their disputes, and never 
fidled to be satisfied with his judgment. Such 
are some of the incidents of his juvenile yean, 
remembered and related by his contemporaries 
after he had risen to greatness. 

There are not wanting evidences of his 
early proficiency in some branches of study. 
His manoscif pt scboolbooks, from the time he 
was thirteen years old, have been preserved. 
He had alreidy mastered the difficult parts of 
arithmetic, and these books begin with geooft- 
etry. But there is one, of a previous date, 


which deserves notice, as giving an insight 
into the original cast of his mind, and the sub- 
jects to which his education was directed. It 
is singular, that a boy of thirteen should occu- 
py himself in studying the dry and intricate 
forms of business, which are rarely attended 
to till the affairs of life call them into use, 
and even then rather as an act of necessity 
than of pleasure. But many pages of the 
manuscript in question are taken up with 
copies of what he calls Fanns of Writings 
such %s notes ai hand, bills of exchange, re- 
ceipts, bonds, indentures, bills of sale, land 
warmnts, leases, deeds, and wills, written out 
with care, the prominent words in la^e and 
▼aried characters in imitation <tf a clerk's hand* 
Then follow selections in ihyme, more distin- 
guished for the sentiments they contain, and 
the religious tone that pervades them, than for , 
their poetical beauties. 

But the most remarkable part of the book 
is that, in which is compiled a system of max- 
ims and regulations of conduct, dmwn from 
miscellaneous sources, and arranged under the 
head of Rules of Behavior in Company and 
Comversation. Some of these are unimpor- 
tant, and suited only to form the habits of a 
child ; others are of a higher import, fitted to 
soften and polish the manners, to keep alive 


the best affections of the heart, to impress tha 
obligation of the moral virtues, to teach what 
is due to others in the social relational and 
above all to inculcate the practice of a perfect 

In studying the. character of Wadiingtoci it 
IS obvious, that this code of rules had an influ- 
eoce upon his whole life. His lemperantal 
was ardent, his passions strong, and, amidst 
the multiplied scenes of temptation and ex- 
citement through which he passed, it was hia 
constant effort and ultimate triumph to eheck 
the one and subdue the other. His intercourae 
with men, private and public, in every walk 
and station, was marked with a consisleaey^ 
a fitness to occasions, a dignity, decorum, con* 
descension, and mildness, a req)ect for tll# 
claims of others, and a delicate perception of 
. the nicer shades of civility, which were not 
more the dictates of his native good sense and 
incomparable judgment, than the fruits of a 
long and nnwearted discipline. 

He left school in the autumn preceding his 
sixteenth birthday. The last two years had 
been devoted to the study of geometry, trigo* 
nomeiry, and surveying, for which he had a 
decided partiality. It is probable, also^ tliat 
his friends, discovering this inclination, en* 
couraged him in yielding to it, with the viow 


of qvriffying him for the professioo of a 8ur* 
▼eyor, which was then a JueratiTe employ* 
ment, and led to opportunities of selecting yal<- 
vable new lancb. Ehtting the last sommer he 
was at school, we find him surveying the fields 
arovuid the schoolhouse and in the adjoining 
plantations, of which the boundaries, angles, 
and measurements, the plots and oalculations, 
are entered with formality and precision in his 

Nor was his skill confined to the more sim- 
lie t^roeesses of the art. He used logarithms, 
and proved the accuracy of his work by dif- 
ferent methods* The manuscripts fill several 
quires of paper, and are remarkable for the 
care with which they were kept, the neatness 
and uniformity of the handwriting, the beauty 
of the diagrams, and a precise method and ar* 
rangement in copying out tables and columns 
of figures. 

These particulars will not be thought too 
trivial to be mentioned, when it is known, 
ihat he retained similar habits through life. 
His -business papers, daybooks, legers, and 
letter-books, in which before the Revolution 
no one wrote but himself, exhibit specimens 
of the same studious c«ire nnd exactness. 
Every fact occupies a clear and distiuv t place, 
the handwriting is round and rr^rrK**! «**^thoiit 


interlineations, blots, or blemishes; and, if 
mistakes occurred, the faulty words were so 
skilfully erased and corrected, as to render the 
defect invisible except to a scrutinizing eye. 
The constructing of tables, diagrams, and oth- 
er figures relating to numbers or classification, 
was an exercise in which he seems at all times 
to have taken much delight. If any of bis 
farms were to be divided into new lots, a plan 
was first drawn on paper ; if he meditated a 
rotation of crops, or a change in the mode of 
culture, the various items of expense, labor, 
products, and profits were reduced to tabular 
forms ; and in his written instructions to his 
managers, which were annually repeated, the 
same method was pursued. ' 

Except the above branches of the mathe* 
matics, his acquirements did not extend be- 
yond the subjects usually taught to boys of 
his age at the common schools. It is even 
doubtful whether he received any instruction 
in the princijdes of language. His earliest 
compositions were often faulty in grammati- 
cal construction. By practice, reading, and 
study, he gradually overcame this defect, till 
at length he wrote with accuracy, purity of 
idiom, and a striking appropriateness of phra- 
seology and clearness of style. In the choice 
of his words, to express precisely and forcibly 


his meaning, he was always scnipnlous. In 
this respect his language may be said to have 
reflected the image of hie raiud, in which can* 
dor, sincerity, and directness were prevailing 

No aid was derived from any other than 
hie native tongue* He never even commenced 
the study of the ancient classics. After the 
French ofiicers had joined the American army 
in the Revolution, and particularly while the 
forces under Count de Rochambeau were in 
the country, he bestowed some degree of at^ 
lention on tlvtt language ; but at no time could 
be write or converse in it, or indeed translate 
any paper* 



A Project rormod for hti entering the British Navy m a Hfid- 
•hipman. -*- He becomes a practical Surveyor. — Engages in 
tlie EmpIoymcDt of Lord Fairfax. — Continues the Business 
of Surveying for three Yean. -* Appointad A4)utaiit of ••• 
ef the Districta in Virginia. — Voyage to Barbadoes with bia 

While at school a project was entertained 
by his friends, which, if it had been ma- 
tured, would have changed his own destiny, 
and perhaps have produced an important in- 
fluence upon that of his country. His eld- 
est brother, Lawrence, had been an officer 
in the late war, and served at the siege of 
Carthagena and in the West Indies. Being 
a well informed and accomplished gentleman, 
he had acquired the esteem and confidence of 
General Wentworth and Admiral Vernon, the 
commanders of the expedition, with whom he 
afterwards kept up a friendly correspondence. 
Having observed the military turn of h\A 
young brother, and looking upon the British 
navy as the most direct road to distinction in 
that line, he obtained for George a midship* 
man's warrant, in the year 1746, when he was 
fourteen years old. This step was taken with 
his acquiescence, if not at his request, and he 


pmptfed with a buoyant qiiriC for his dapar** 
luro; but, as the time approached, the soli- 
citude of his mother interposed with an au- 
Uiority, to which nature gave a claim. 

At this critical juncture, Mr. Jaeksoui a 
friend of the fiunily, wrote to Lawrence Wash* 
ington as follows. '< I am afraid Mrs. Wash^ 
ington will not keep up to her first resolution 
She seems to dislike George's going to sea, 
and says severs! persons have told her it was 
a bad scheme. She offers several trifling ob- 
jectioos, such as Ibody unthinking mothers 
liabitually suggest ; and I find that one word 
against his going has more weight than ten for 
it." She persisted in opposing the plan, and 
it was given up. Nor ought this decision to 
be ascribed to obstimkcy, or maternal weakness. 
This was her eldest son, whose character and 
manners must already have ejdiibited a jvom- 
isSy full of solace and hope to a widowed 
mother, on whom alone devolved the charge 
of four younger children. To see him sep- 
loated from her at so tender an age, exposed 
to the perils of accident and the world's rough 
usage, without a parent's voice to counsel or a 
parent's hand to guide, and to enter on a the- 
atre of action, which would for ever remove 
him from her presence, was a trial of her for- 
titude and sensQ of duty, which she could not 


be expected to hazard without reluctance and 

Soon after leaving school he went to re- 
side with his brother Lawrence, at his seat on 
the Potomac River, which had been called 
Mount Vernon, in compliment to the admiral 
of that name. The winter was passed in his 
favorite study of the mathematics, and in the 
exercise of practical surveying, merely with 
the view of becoming familiar with the ap- 
plication of principles and the use of instru- 
ments. At this time he was introduced to 
Lord Fairfax, and other members of the Fair- 
fax family, established in that part of Vir- 

Lawrence Washington had married a daugh- 
ter of William Fairfax, a gentleman of consid- 
eration on account of his wealth, character, 
and political station, being many years a mem- 
ber and for some time president of his Majes- 
ty's Council in the Colony. His seat was at 
Belvoir, a short distance from Mount Vernon. 
He had an interesting family of several sons 
and daughters, intelligent and cultivated, with 
whom George associated on terms of intimacy, 
and formed attachments that were ever after 
valuable to him. In the father he found a 
friend and adviser, as well as a man skilled 
in affairs, of wide experience, and of an en- 


lightened understanding. To his fortunate 
acquaintance with this family he was mainly 
indebted for the opportunities of performing 
those acts, which laid the foundation of his 
subsequent successes and advancement. 

Lord Fairfax, a distant relative of William 
Fairfax, was a man of an eccentric turn of 
mind, of great private worth, generous, and 
hospitable. Possessing by inheritance a vast 
tract of country, situate between the Potomac 
and Rappahannoc Rivers, and stretching across 
the Allegany Mountains, he made a voyage 
to Yirginia to examine this domain. So well 
pleased was he with the climate and mode of 
hfe that he resolved, after going back to Eng* 
land and arranging his afiinSrs, to return and 
spend his days in the midst of this remote ter* 

The immense tracts of wild lands, belong- 
ing to Lord Fairfax in the rich valleys of 
the Allegany Mountains, had not been sur* 
veyed. Settlers were finding their way np 
the streams, selecting the fertile places, and 
securing an occupancy without warrant or li- 
cense. To enable the proprietor to claim his 
quitrents and give legal titles, it was necessary 
that those lands should be divided into lots 
and accurately measured. So favorable an 
opmion had he formed of the abilities and at« 

VOL. L 2^ 

18 Lir£ or WASKINGTOM. irM8 

tmnlnents of young Washingtotiy that he in- 
trusted to him this responsible serrica ; and 
be set off on his first surveying expedition in 
March, just a month from the day he was six- 
teen years old, accompanied by George Fair^ 
ftot, the eldest son of William Fairfiuc. 

The enterprise was arduous, reqpiiring dis* 
cretion and skill, and attended with privai- 
tlons and fatigues to which he had not been 
accustomed. After crossing the first range of 
the Alleganies, the party entered a wildemess* 
Flrom that time their nights were passed mider 
the open sky, or in tents or rude cabins afford-* 
ing but a treacherous shelter against the in- 
clemency of the weather. The winds somo- 
times beat upon them, and prostrated them to 
the ground. Wmter still lingered on the som- 
mits of the mountains ; the rivers, swollen by 
melting snows and recent rains, were impassa- 
ble at the usual fords, except by swimming 
the horses ; the roads and paths through tke 
woods were obstructed by swamps, rocks, and 
precipices. The lands surveyed by him lay 
on the South Branch of the Potomac, seventy 
miles above its junction with the other branch 
of that river. 

The task was executed in 8i»^ a manner, 
as to give entire satisfaction to his employer, 
confirm the good opinion of his friends, and 

ib.K.] LlFfS OF WASniNGTOn. It 

establish bis ispatatioa as a sarreyor. Oft 

other aecoants it was beneficial to bim. It 

iospifed a confidence in himself, kindled fresh 

hopesy and prepared the way for new suc« 

cesses. He had nuneover acquired a knowl-> 

edge of parts of the country hitherto little 

known, which were to be the scene of his 

fifst military operations; and had witnessed 

modes of life, with wiiich it was necessary 

for him to become familiar in fulfilling the 

high trusts that awaited him. During thi» 

expedition he was also present at an Indian 

war dance, and had his first intenriew with 

a race, on whose condition in peace and war 

be was to have a wider influence than any 

other man. 

Having Deceived a conunission or appoint* 
ment, as a public surveyor, which gave au- 
thority to his surveys and enabled him to en* 
ter them in the county ofilces, he devoted three 
years to this pursuit, without any intervals of 
relaxation except the winter months. Portions 
of each year were passed among the Allq;a^ 
nSes, where he surveyed lands on branches of 
the Potomac River, which penetrated far in a 
southern direction among the lofty ridges and 
spurs of tnose mountains^ The exposures and 
hardships of these expeditions could be en« 
dursd oqly for a few weeks tc^ether. As a 

20 Lrr& or washihgtoh. n'»^ 

relief, he would come down iato the seilled 
parts, and surrey private tracts and famu, thus 
applying himself to the uninterrupCed exercise 
of his profession. 

There being few surveyors at that time 
in Yirginia, and the demand for them great, 
the pay allowed for their services was pro* 
portionably high. By diligence and habits <^ 
despatch, the employment was lucrative ; and, 
what was more important, his probity and tal- 
ents for business were at a very early age made 
known to gentlemen, whose standing in socie* 
ty ruddered their friendship and interest a sub- 
stantial benefit. During Uiese three years his 
home was with his brother at Mount Yeraon, 
as being nearer the scene of his labors than 
Ins mother's residence; but he often visited 
her, and assisted in the superintendence of her 

At the age of nineteen his character had 
made so favorable an impression, that he wss 
appointed to an office of considerable distinc- 
tion and responsibility by the government of 
Virginia. The frontiers were threatened with 
Indian depredations and French encroach- 
ments, and, as a precautionary measure, it wss 
resolved to put the militia in a condition for 
defence. To carry this into effect, the prov- 
mce was divided into districts, having in each 

iBT.19.] LIFB OP wasuingtoa; 21 

an officer called an adjutanl^^nenil with the 
nink of major, whose daty it was to assemble 
and exercise the militia, inspect their arms^ 
and enforce all the regulations for discipline 
prescribed by the laws. George Washington 
was commissioned to take charge of one of 
these districts. The post was probably ob-> 
tained through the influence of his biothei 
and William Fairfax, the former a delegate in 
the House of Burgesses, the latta a membel 
of the governor's (youncil. The pay was one 
hundred and fifty pounds a jTear. 

His military propensities had not subsided* 
They rather increased with his years. In 
Tirginia were many officers, besides his broth« 
er, who had served in the recent war. Un« 
der their tuition he studied tactics, learned 
the manual exercise, and became expert in 
the use of the sword. He read the principal 
books on the military art, and joined prac- 
tice to theory as ftff as circumstances would 
permit. This new station, therefore, was in 
accordance with his inclinations, and he en 
tered upon it with alacrity and zeal. 

But he had scarcely engaged in this service, 
when he was called to perform another duty^ 
ieeply interesting in its claims m his sensibil- 
ity and fraternal affection. Lawrence Wash- 
ington, originally of a slender constitution, had 


been for some time suflering under a palmo* 
nary attack, which was now thought to be 
approaching a dangerous crisis. The physi- 
cians recommended a yoyage to the West lad- 
dies, and the experiment of a warmer dimate« 
The necessity of haWng some friend near hipx 
and his attachment to George, were reasons for 
desiring his company. They sailed for Bar-* 
badoes in the month of September, 1761, and 
landed on that idand after a passage ai fire 

The change of air, the hospitality of the 
inhabitants, the novelty of the scene, and the 
assiduous attentions of his brother, rev^ived 
the spirits of the patient, and seemed at first to 
renovate his strength. But the hope was do* 
lusive, and the old symptoms returned. The 
trial of a few weeks produced no essential al« 
terati(m for the better ; and he determined to 
proceed to Bermuda in the spring, and that in 
the mean time his brother should go back to 
Virginia, and accompany his wife to that isl* 
and. Accordingly, George took passage in a 
vessel bound to the Chesapeake, and, after en- 
countering a most tempestuous voyage, reached 
home in February, having been absent some** 
what more than four months. 

He had the smallpox in Borbadoes. The 
disease was severe; but, with the aid of good 

JBt.9.] life of WASHINGTON 23* 

niedical attendance, he was able to go abroad 
ID three weeks. 

The first letter Gcom his brother at Bermu- 
da gave an encouraging account of his health, 
and expressed a wish that his wife should join 
him there; but it was followed by another, 
of a diflSsrent tenor, which preyented her de-- 
parture^ Finding no essential relief, he came 
home in the summer, and sank rapidly into 
his grave, at the age of thirty-four, leaving a 
wife, an infant daughter, and a large circle of 
friends, to deplore a loss keenly felt by them 
all. Few men have been more beloved for 
their amiable qualities, or admired for those 
higher traits of character which give dignity 
to virtue, and a charm to accomplishments of 
mind and numners. 

By this melancholy event, new duties and 
responsibilities devolved upon George. Large 
estates were left by the deceased brother, the 
immediate care of which demanded his over- 
sight. He had likewise been appointed one 
of the executors of the will, in which was 
an eventual interest of considerable magnitude 
pertaining to himself. The estate at Mount 
TemoQ was bequeathed to the surviving daugh- 
ter; and, in case of her demise without is* 
sue, this estate and other lands were to pass to 
George, with the reservation of the use of the 


same to the wife during her lifetime. Al* 
though he was the youngest executor, yet his 
acquaintance with his brother's concerns, and 
the confidence always reposed in him by the 
deceased, were grounds for fdacing the busi- 
ness principally in his hands. His time and 
thoughts, for seyeral months, were taken up 
with these affairs, complicated in their nature, 
and requiring delicacy and caution in their 

His private employments, however, did not 
draw him away from his public duties aa 
adjutant-general. Indeed, the sphere of that 
office was enlarged. Soon after Governor 
Dinwiddie came to Virginia, the colony was 
portioned into four grand military divisions. 
Major Washington's appointment was then re- 
newed, and the northern division was allotted 
to him. It included several counties, each of 
which was to be visited at stated times by the 
adjutant, in order to train and instruct the 
militia officers, review the companies on pa- 
rade, inspect the arms and accoutrements, and 
establish a uniform system of manoeuvres and 
discipline. These exercises, so congenial to 
his taste, were equally advantageous to him* 
self and to the subordinate officers, who could 
not fail to be animated by his example, activi 
ty, and enthusiasm. 

.».] Mrs or WASHINGTON. 25 


The Freneh iinke Encroachtnenti oo the Western Frontiera of 
Virginia.-* Major WMhington is tent by the Goreraor of Vir- 
ginia to warn the Intruders to retire. — Croaaei the Allegany 
Moontaina. — Meeta Indians on the Ohio fUrer, who accompa- 
■y hin to the French Garrison. — Indian Speech. — Interriewe 
with the French Conmander. ^ Perilous Adventares during his 
Joamey, and in crossing the Allegany Riror. ^ Returns to 
Williamsbaig and reports to the GoTemor. 

The time was now at hand, when the 
higher destinies of Washington were to un- 
fold themselves. Intelligence came from the 
frontiers, that the French had crossed the 
Lakes from Canada in force, and were about 
to establish posts and erect fortifications on 
the waters of the Ohio. It was rumored^ 
also, that, alarmed for their safety, the friend* 
ly Indians were beginning to waver in their 
fidelity; and the hostile tribes, encouraged 
by the presence and support of the French, 
exhibited symptoms of open war. The cri- 
sis, in the opinion of Governor Dinwiddie 
and his Council, called for an immediate 
inquiry. A messenger had already been sent 
over the mountains, in the character of a 
trader, with presents of powder, lead, and 
guns for the Indians, instructed to ascertain 


their temper, penetrate their designs, and, 
above all, to trace out the artifices and move* 
ments of the French. 

This messenger, either intimidated or de« 
ceived by the savages, executed his mission 
imperfectly. He went as far as the Ohio 
River, met some of the friendly sachems, de* 
livered his presents, stayed a few days with 
them, and then returned. He brought back 
various reports concerning the French, narrated 
to him by the Indians, wlio had been in their 
camp at Lake Erie, and who magnified their 
strength and formidable appearance, telling 
him, that they took every Englishman pris- 
oner, whom they found beyond the AU^a* 
nies, because all that country belonged to the 
French King, and no Euglishman had a right 
to trade with the Indians in the King's ter* 

In the mean time the British ministry, an- 
ticipating from the political aspect of affairs a 
rupture with France, despatched orders to the 
governor of Virginia to build two forts near 
the Ohio River, for the purpose of securing 
possession, driving off intmders, and retaining 
the alliance of the Indians, or holding them in 
check. Thirty pieces of light cannon and 
eighty barrels of powder were sent out from 
England for the use of the forts. 


These orders came too late. Before fhey 
arrived, the governor of Canada bad been dili* 
gently employed for a whole season in pushing 
forward troops across the Lakes, with muni- 
tions of war and other supplies, and a footing 
had already been gained in the heart of. the 
disputed territory. Bodies of armed men had. 
likewise ascended the Mississippi from New 
Orleans to act in concert, atid established them 
selves on the southern waters of the Ohio. 

As a first step towards executing the orders 
of the ministers, Gk)vernor Dinwiddie resolved 
to send a commissioner in due form, and in- 
vested with suitable powers, to confer with 
the officer commanding the French forces, and 
inquire by what authority he presumed to in- 
vade the King's dominions, and what were his 
designs. The comtvission was delicate and 
hazardous, requiring discretion, ability, experi- 
ence in the modes of travelling in the woods, 
and a knowledge of Indian manners. These 
requisites were believed to be combined in 
Major Washington, and the important service 
was intrusted to him, although as yet but 
twenty-one years old. 

Fortified with written instmctions, with 
credentials and a passport to which the great 
seal of the colony was affixed, he departed, 
from Williamsburg, the seat of government in 


Yi^inia, on the 31st of October, 1753. The 
distance before him to the extreme point of 
his destination, by the route he would pursue^ 
was about five hundred and sixty miles, in 
great part over lofty and rugged mountains, 
and jnore than half of the way through the 
heart of a wilderness, where no traces of civi* 
lization as yet appeared. 

Passing through the towns of Fredericks- 
burg, Alexandria, and Winchester, he arciyed 
at Will's Creek in fourteen days. John Da« 
vidson had joined him aa Indian interpreter ; 
and Jacob Tanbraam, a Dutchman by birth, 
and formerly an officer in the army, was em^' 
ployed to assist in his intercourse with the 
French, being acquainted with their language* 
At Will's Creek he found Mr. Gist, a person 
long accustomed to the woods, having several 
times penetrated far into the interior, and live- 
ly begun a settlement in the valley between 
the last ridge of the Alleganies and the Mo* 
nongahela River. Mr. Gist consented to go 
with him as a guide. Four other men, two 
of them Indian traders, were added as attend* 

The party was now increased to eight per- 
sons. With horses, tents, baggage, and pro* 
visions, suited to the expedition, they left the 
extreme verge of civilization at Will's Creski 


aad entered the fmrests. The incleiuency of 
the season, the Alleganies covered with snow 
and the valleys flooded by the swelling waters, 
the rough passages over the mountains and 
the difficidties in crossing the streams by frail 
rafts, fording, or swimming, were obstacles 
that could be overcome but slowly and with 
patience. They at length reached the Pork 
of the Ohio, where the Monongahela and Al* 
legany unite to form that river. The place 
was critically examined by Major Washington, 
and he was impressed widi the advantages it 
afforded as a military post, both for defence 
and a depository of supplies, in case of hos- 
tilities in that quarter ; and it was by his ad- 
vice, that a fortification was shortly afterwards 
begun there, which became celebrated in two 

Hastening onward to Logstown, about twen- 
ty miles below the Fork, he called together 
some of the Indian chiefs, and delivered to 
them the governor's message, soliciting a guard 
to the French encampments. The principal 
sachem was Tanacharison, otherwise called 
the Half-King. He was friendly to the 
English, or rather he was unfriendly to the 
French ; not that he loved one more than the 
other, but he valued his rights and indepen- 
dence. In the simplicity of his heart, he 8n|>« 


posed the English sought only an intercourae 
of trade, an exchange of arms, powder, and 
goods, for skins and furs, which would be 
beneficial to the Indians. When the French 
came with arms in their hands, took posses- 
sion of the country, and built forts, his suspi- 
cions wore awakened, and he saw no other 
method of defeating their desigas, than by 
adhering to the English. Tanacharison, as a 
deputy from several tribes, had been to the 
faead^quarters of the French commandant, and 
made a speech to him, the substance of which 
be rdated-to Major Washington. 

'^ Fatliers," said he, ^ I am come to tell yon 
your own speeches ; what your own mouths 
have declared. Fathers, you in former days 
set Q silver basin before us, wherein there was 
the leg of a beaver, and desired all the nations 
to come and eat of it, to eat in peace and 
plenty, and not to be churlish to one another ; 
and thiat if any such person should be foimd 
to be a disturber, I here lay down by the edge 
of the dish a rod, which you must scourge 
them with; and if your father should get 
foolish, in my old day^, i desire you may use 
It upon me as well as others. 

" Now, fathers, it is you who arc the distur- 
bers in this land, by coming a^d building your 


towns, and taking it away unknown to na, 
and by force. 

' '^PatfaerSy we kindled a fire a long time 
ago, at^a place called Montroal, where we de- 
aired you to stay, and not to come and intrude 
upon our land. I now desire you may de* 
spatch to that place ; for be it known to you, 
lathers, that this is our land and not yours. 

*< Fathers, I desire you may hear me in 
civilness; if not, we must handle that rod 
which was laid down for tlie use of the ob- 
streperous. If you had come in a peaceable 
manner, like our brothers the English, we 
would not hare been against your trading 
with us as they do ; but to come, fathers, and 
build houses upon our land, and to take it by 
force, is what we cannot submit to. 

<' Fathers, both you and the English are 
white ; we live In a conutry between ; there- 
fore, the land belongs to neither one nor the 
other. But the Great Being above allowed it 
to be a place of residence for us ; so, fathers, 
I desire you to withdraw, as I have done our 
brothers the English ; for 1 will keep you at 
arm's length. I lay this down as a trial for 
both, to see which will have the greatest re* 
gard to it, and that side we will stand by, and 
make equal sharers with us. Our brothers, the 
English, have heard this, and 1 come now to 



tell it to you ; lor I am not afraid to discharge 
you off this land." 

The sachems at length met in council, and 
Major Washington addressed to them a speech, 
explaining the objects of his mission, and the 
wishes of the goyernor. He then gave them 
a string of wampum, the Indian token of 
friendship and alliance. They consulted to- 
gether, and deputed Tanacharison to reply in 
the name of the whole. His language was 
pacific, and the escort was [Hromised ; but, the 
young warriors being out on a hnnting party, 
three or four days were consumed in waiting 
for their return. As his business was pressing, 
Major Wasliington could delay no longer, and 
he finally set off, accompanied by four Indians 
only, Tanacharison being of the number. 

The distance to the station of the French 
commandant was one hundred and twenty 
miles. The journey was performed without 
any important incident, except at Tenango, 
one of the French outposts, where various 
stratagems were used to detain the Indians. 
He was civilly treated, however, by Captain 
Joncaire, the principal officer, who told him 
where the head«quarters were established. 
Rain and snow fell continually, and, after in* 
credible toils from exposure and the badness 
of tlie travelling through an illimitable forest. 


intersected with deep streams and morassef, 
he was rejoiced to find himself at the end of 
his journey, forty-one days from the time he 
left Williamsburg. 

M. de St. Pierre, the commandant, was an 
elderly person, a knight of the military order 
of St. Louis, and courteous in his manners. 
At the first interview he promised immediate 
attention to the letter from Governor Dinwid- 
dle, and every thing was provided for the 
convenience and comfort of Major Washington 
and his purty while they remained at the fort. 
At the nejtt meeting the comiiiission and letter 
were produced, read, translated, and deliberate* 
ly explained. The commandant counselled 
with his officers, and in two days an answer 
was returned. 

The governor's letter asserted, that the lands 
on the Ohio belonged to the crown of Great 
Britain, expressed his surprise at the encroach- 
ments of the French, demanded by whose au- 
thority an armed force had crossed the Lakes, 
and urged a speedy and peaceful dejMirture. 
M. de St. /Pierre replied in the style of a sol* 
dier, saying it did not belong to him to discuss 
treaties, that such a message should have been 
sent to tho Marquis Duquesne, Governor of 
Canada, by Whose instructions he acted, and 
whose orders he should be careful to obey 

VOL. I. H 


and that the summons to retire could not be 
complied with. The tone was respectfuli but 
uncomplying and determined. 

While the French officers were holding 
consultations, and getting the despatch ready. 
Major Washington took an opportunity to 
look around and examine the fort. His at* 
tendants were instructed to do the same* 
He was thus enabled to bring away an ac« 
curate description of its form, size, construc- 
tion, cannon, and barracks. His men counted 
the canoes in the river, and such as were part- 
ly finished. The fort was situate on a branch 
of French Creek, about fifteen miles south of 
Lake Erie. A plan of it, drawn by Major 
Washington, was sent to the British govern- 

The snow was falling so fast, that he or- 
dered back his horses to Venango, resolved to 
go down himself by water, a canoe having 
been offered to him for that purpose. He had 
been entertained with great politeness; nor 
did the complaisance of M. de St. Pierre ex- 
haust itself in mere forms of civility. The 
canoe, by his order, was plentifully stocked 
with provisions, liquors, and every other sup- 
ply that could be wanted. 

But the same artifices were practised and 
expedients tried, as at Venango, to lure away 


the Indians, and keep them behind. Many 
temptations were held out, presents given, and 
others promised. The Half-King was a man 
of consequence, whose friendsliip was net to 
be lost, if it could possibly be retained. He 
persisted in his reserve, however, and now 
offered a second time to the French command- 
ant the speech*belt, or wampum, as indicating 
that the alliance between them was broken 
off. The latter refused to accept it, and sooth- 
ed the savage with soft words and fair profes- 
sions, saying it was his wish to live in amity 
and peace with the Indians, and to trade with 
them, and that he would immediately send 
goods to their towns. These attempts to in- 
veigle the Half-King and his companions were 
discovered by Major Washington, who com- 
plained of the delay, and insinuated the cause. 
M. de St. Pierre was urbane, as usual, seemed 
ignorant of all that passed, could not tell why 
the Indians stayed, and declared nothing 
should be wanting on his part to fulfil Major 
Washington's desires. Finally, after much 
perplexity and trouble, the whole party em- 
barked in a canoe. 

The passage down was slow, fatiguing, 
and perilous. Rocks, shallows, drifting trees, 
and currents kept them in constant alarm. 
" Many times," says Major Washington m his 


36 LIFE or WASHINGTON. [11881 

Journal, " all hands were obliged to get out, 
and remain in the water half au hour or more 
in getting over the shoals. At one place the 
ice had lodged, and made it impassable by 
water ; and we werfe obliged to catry our ca- 
noe across a neck of land a quarter of a mile 
over." In six days they landed at Venango, 
a distance of one hundred and thirty miles by 
the winding of th^ stream. 

The horses were found here, but in so ema-' 
cfated and pitiable a condition, that it was' 
doubtful whether they could perform the jour- 
nny. The baggage and provisions were aill to 
be transported on their backs. To lighten' 
their burden, as much as possible. Major Wash- 
ington, clad in an Indian ^"^Iking-dress, deter- 
mined to proceed on foot; with Mr. Gist and' 
Mr. Yanbraam, putting the horses under the 
direction of the drivers. After three days* 
travel, the horses becoming more feeble, and 
the cold and snow hourly increasing, this 
mode of journeying proved so tardy and dis- 
couraging, that an-other was resorted to. Mr. 
Vanbraam took charge of the horses, with 
orders to go on as fast as he could. Major 
Washington, with a knapsack on 'his back, 
containing his papers and food, and with a 
gun in his hand, left the party, accompanied 
only by Mr. Gist, equipped in the same man- 

ier.91.1 LIF£ OF WASHIJiGTOM. 37 

ner. They turned out of the path, and di- 
rected their course through the woods so as to 
strike the Allegany River, and cross it near 
3hannopiDS Town, two or three miles above 
the Fork of the Qhio. The next day an ad« 
venture occurred, which is well narrated by 
Mr. Gist in a diary writtqn by him at the 

'' We rose early in the morning, and set out 
about two o'clock, and got to the Murdering 
Town on the southeast fork of Beaver Creek* 
Here we met with an Indian, whom I thought 
I had seen at Joncaire's, at Venango, when on 
our journey up to the French fort. This fel- 
low called me by my Indian name, and pre- 
tended to be glad to see me. He asked us 
several questions, as, how we came to travel 
pn foot, when we left Venango, where we 
parted with our horses, and when they would 
be there. Major Washington insisted on trav- 
elling by the nearest way to the Forks of the 
Allegany. We asked the .Indian if he could 
go with us, and show us the nearest way. 
The Indian seemed very glad, and ready to go 
wiih us ; upon which we set out, and the In- 
d' in took the Major's pack. We travelled 
T ry brisk for eight or ten milqs, when the 
7iajor's feet grew very sore, and he very wea- 
iy, and the Indian steered too much northeast- 


wardly. The Major desired to encamp ; upoc 
which the Indian asked to carry his gun, bnt 
he refused ; and then the Indian grew churl- 
ish, and pressed us to keep on, telling us there 
were Ottawa Indians in those woods, and they 
would scalp us, if we lay out ; but go to his 
cabin, and we should be safe. 

" I thought very ill of the fellow, but did 
not care to let the Major know I mistrusted 
him. But he soon mistrusted him as much as 
I did. The Indian said he could hear a gun 
from his cabin, and steered us more north- 
wardl}'. We grew uneasy, and then he said 
two whoops might be heard from his cabin. 
We went two miles further. Then the Major 
said he would stay at the next water, and we 
desired the Indian to stop at the next water ; 
but, before we came to the water, we came to 
a clear meadow. It was very light, and snow 
was on the ground. The Indian made a stop, 
and turned about. The Major saw him point 
his gun towards us, and he fired. Said the 
Major, ' Are you shot ? ' * No,' said I ; upon 
which the Indian ran forward to a big stand- 
ing white oak, and began loading his gun, but 
we were soon with him. I would have killed 
him, but the Major would not suffer me. We 
let him charge his gun. We found he put iu 
a b^ll ; then we took care of him. Eitlier 


the Major or I always stood by the guns. We 
made him make a fire for us by a little run, as 
if we intended to sleep there. I said to the 
Major, * As you will not have him killed, we 
must get him away, and then we must travel 
all night ; ' upon which I said to the Indian, 
* I suppose you were lost, and fired your gun.' 
He said he knew the way to his cabin, and it 
was but a little way. * Well,' said I, * do you 
go home ; and, as we are tired, we will follow 
your track in the morning, and here is a cake 
of bread for you, and you must give us meat 
in the morning.' He was glad to get away. 
I followed him, and listened, until he was 
fairly out of the way; and then we went 
about half a mile, when we made a fire, set 
our compass, fixed our course, and travelled all 
night In the morning we were on the head 
of Piny Creek." 

Whether it was the intention of the Indian 
to kill either of them can only be conjectured. 
The circumstances were extremely suspicions. 
Major Washington hints at this incident in his 
Journal. " We fell in with a party of French 
Indians," says he, " who had lain in wait for 
us. One of them fired at Mr. Gist or me, not 
fifteen steps off', but fortunatelv missed. We 
took the fellow in custody, and kept him till 
nine o'clock at night ; then let him go, and 

.40 LIF£ OF WASHiriGTOrf. [17» 

walked all the remaiuing part of the night 
without making any stop, that wo might get 
the start so far as to be out of the reach of 
their pursuit the next day, since we were well 
assured they would follow our track as soon 
as it was light." No more was seen or heard 
of them. The next night, at dusk, the trav- 
ellers came to the Allegany River, a little 
above Shannopins, where they expected to 
cross over on the ice ; but in this they wer^ 
disappointed, the river being frozen only a few 
yards on each side, and a great body of broken 
ice driving rapidly down the current. 

Weary and exhausted they were compelled 
to pass the night on the bank of the river, ex- 
posed to the rigor of the weather, making their 
beds on the snow, with no other covering thap 
their blankets. When the morning came, their 
invention was the only resource for providing 
the means of gaining the opposite shore. 

" There was no way of getting over," snys 
Major Washington, " but on a raft ; which we 
set about with but one poor hatchet, and fin- 
ished just after sunsetting. This was a whole 
day's work. We next got it launched, and 
went on board of it ; then set off. But before 
we were half way over, we were jammed in 
the ice in such a manner, that we expected 
every moment our raft would sink, and ou^ 


isdyes perish. I, put put my settipgrpole to try. 
to stop the raft, that the ice niight pass by; 
when the rapidity of (he stream threw it, with 
ao much violence against the pole, that it jerk- 
cd me out into ,ten feet water. But I fortu- 
iiately saved o^yself by catching hold of one 
of the raft logs. . Npt withstanding all pur ef- 
fpf ts we could not get the i]|Bift tp. either shorei 
but.wei:e obliged^.as we were pear an islandi 
to quit our raft, and Qiake jto it.?' 

T^is providential escape firo^ most {mmi-* 
Bent danger, was not the end of their calami- 
ties. Thc|y weji^B thrown ipppn a desert island; 
the weather was intensely cold ; }lr. QisVp 
hands and feet were frozen.; and their suffer- 
ings through the night were extreme. A 
gleam of hope appeared with the dawn of 
morning. Between the island and the eastern 
bank of the river, the ice had congealed so 
hard as to bear their weight. They crossed 
over without accident, and the same day 
reached a trading post recently established by 
Mr. Frazier, near the spot where eighteen 
months afterwards was fought the memorable 
battle of the Monongahela. 

Here they rested two or three days, both 
to recruit themselves, and to procure horses. 
Meantime Major Washington paid a compli- 
mentary visit to Queen Aliquippa, an Indian 



princess, who resided at the confluence of the 
Monongahela and Youghiogany Rivers. She 
had expressed dissatisfaction, that he had neg- 
lected this mark of respect on his way out. 
An apology, seconded by the more substantial 
token of a present, soothed her wounded dig- 
nity, and secured a gracious reception. 

Nothing was heard of Yanbraam and his 
party. Anxious to hasten back, and report to 
the governor the result of his mission. Major 
Washington did not wait for them. With 
Mr. Gist he recrossed the Alleganies to Will's 
Creek, and thence proceeded with despatch to 
Williamsburg, where he arrived on the 16th 
of January, having been absent eleven weeks. 



Tntopc raited for a wattern Espeditioa, aad pat under the Com 
mand of Major Waflhington. — Governor Dinwiddle. — Milita 
ry Preparationa. — Washington appointed Lieutenant-Colonel. 
•— Marchea to the Allegany Mooataina. <— Joined hy Partiee of 
Inidiana. — Skirmish with a F^rench Detachment under Jumou 
▼ille. — The chief Command devolves on Colonel Washing- 
ton. — Hia generoua Sentimenti leapeeting the Teraaa of Ser- 

Tbk intentions and movements of the 
French being now understood, Governor Din- 
widdle thought the occasion demanded prompt 
and energetic action. He called his Council 
together, and laid before them Major Washing- 
ton's journal, and the letter of the French 
commandant. It was agreed that the instruc- 
tions heretofore received from the ministry 
imposed it as a duty, in case of an invasion of 
the King's dominions, to repel it by a resort to 

Without waiting for the burgesses to con- 
vene, the Council advised the immediate en- 
listment of two hundred men, with directions 
to march to the Ohio, and build one or two 
forts there, before the French should be able 
to descend the river in the spring, as they had 
threatened to do. An order was issued for 
raising two companies, of one hundred men 


each, in the northern counties by voluntary 
enlistments, or, if that method should prove 
impracticable, by drafts from the militia. The 
conduct of Major Washington had hitherto 
been marked with so much prudence, resolu- 
tion, and capacity, that he was appointed .to 
the chief command of these troops, apparently 
by the unanimous voice of the Council. 

To. make an impression on the mindsof the 
people, and if possible to work them up to 
some degree of enthusiasm, and excite their 
.indignation against the inyadens, Coventor Dix^ 
widdie caused M^jor Washington's journal to 
be published. It w^s copied into.nearly,all the 
newspapers of the other colopies. In London 
it was reprinted, under the auspices of tl)p 
government, and accounted a document of 
.much importance, as unfolding the vie\ii^ of 
the French, and annpuncing the jSrst positive 
proof of their hostile acts in the i}i/sputed ter- 

Nothing more was expected from the ^mall 
military preparations set on foot by the gov- 
ernor and Coi^ncil, than to take a position on 
the Ohio before the French sboi|ld come down 
the river, and uuite with the parties from New 
Orleans. The command of one of the two 
companies was. given to Captain Trent, who^ 
being acquainted with the frontiers, was seat 

^.;B.] life of WASlil^GTON. fii 

forward to enlist ap[i9ng the txaujej^s 
.and ,back settlers, and ordered to commence 
with all speed the building of a fort .at tb^ 
4?ork of the Ohio, in conformity with, the req- 
oxnmendation of M^jpr .Washington, who bad 
examined that place, as yre have seen, with a 
.view to its milita^ advantages. 

At. the same time, TA^}ox Wjashin^ton wa^ 
stationed at Alexandria, as a cpnvenjept .situi^- 
.tion for the rendezvous of his men, and for. si;- 
perinteoding the traospoctation of supplies .and 
.the cannon intended to be mounted in the fort 
liOrd Fairfax, holding the o^e of county- 
lieutenant, ?vhich gave him i^uthority over Xhfi 
.militia in his neighborhood, was active in pro- 
curing enlistments and rendering other ser- 
vices to his young friend. The governor!s 
.in$tinctions to the officers bore /a waflike ai^ 
pect. They were to drive away, kill, and de- 
jstfoy, or seize. as prisoners, all. person^, not the 
subjects of the JCing of Great .Britain, who 
.should attempt to settle or take possession of 
the lands on the Ohio «River or any of its trib- 

When the Assembly jnet, ^ difference of 
opinion prevmled, as to the. measures thi^t 
ought to be pursued ; but ten thousand ppun48 
were finally voted for the defence of the colo- 
ny, cloaked .under the title of '^ an act for the 


encouragement and protection of the settlers 
on the Mississippi." The governor's equa- 
nimity was severely tried. The King's pre* 
rogative and his own dignity he thought were 
not treated with due respect. So obtuse were 
some of the burgesses, that they could not 
perceive the justice of the King's claim to 
the lands in question, and they had the bold* 
ness to let their doubts be known in a full As- 
sembly. " You may well conceive," said the 
governor in writing to a friend, " how I fired 
at this ; that an English legislature should pre- 
sume to doubt the right of his Majesty to the 
interior parts of this continent, the back of his 
dominions." And, alluding to one of the mem- 
bers, he added, " How this French spirit could 
possess a person of his high distinction and 
sense, I know not." Another point was still' 
more annoying to him. The Assembly ap- 
pointed commissioners to superintend the ap- 
propriation of the funds. This act he took as 
a slight to himself, since by virtue of his of- 
fice the disposal of money for public uses 
ought to rest exclusively with the governor. 
Such was his view of the matter, and he de- 
clared that nothing but the extreme urgency 
of the case should have induced him to sign 
the bill. 

To the Earl of Hoidernesse he complained 


of the wayward temper and strange doings of 
the Assembly. ^' I am sorry to find them/' 
said he, " very much in a republican way of 
thinking ; and, indeed, they do not act in a 
proper constitutional way, but make encroach- 
ments on the prerogative of the crown, in 
which some former governors have submitted 
too much to them ; and, I fear, without a very 
particular instruction, it will be difficult to 
bring them to order." Notwithstanding these 
grievances, the governor's zeal for the public 
good rose above his personal feelings, and he 
applied himself ardently to the work he had 

With the means now provided by the legis- 
lature, the military establishment was increas- 
ed to six companies, under the command of 
Colonel Joshua Fry. He was an Englishman 
by birth, educated at Oxford, skilled in the 
mathematical sciences, and much esteemed for 
his amiable qualities and gentlemanly charac- 
ter. Major Washington was made second in 
command, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. 
Subordinate officers were commissioned, and,^ 
to quicken the military zeal of the people, and 
give alacrity to the recruiting service. Govern- 
or Dinwiddle issued a proclamation granting 
two hundred thousand acres of land on the 
Ohio River, to be divided among the troopS| 


yrho 3Uoald epgage in the. proposed expedition, 
apd releasing the same from quitrents for £f- 
teen y^cMrs. One thoqsand acres were ordered 
to \>e laid Qff, contiguous to the fort at the 
JTork^of the.O)iio, for the use of the soldiers 
dpipg duty the^e, Xo be called the garrison 

Th^ rejSispDS .assigned by the .^oy^rnor to 
.the ministers for niakipg this. grant were, that 
:he hoped the soldiers would become perma- 
.nent ,sett}erS| and that it is^as better to seciue 
the lands by.sych a bounty, tlian to,|dlow the 
iFrench .tp t^ke quiet possession of as .many 
millions of acres as he had granted thousands. 
His prpclamation was sanctioned by the King, 
.but. it vr»8 not well receiYed in aiiother quar- 
ter. The Assembly of Pennsylvania .took 
^alarmat.the freedom, .with. which lands, siti\- 
ate as they said in that prpvin^e, .^ere givpfi 
.f^way. .Governor Hamilton wrote an expostu- 
-latpry letter. It .was a perplexing c/ase ; but 
iGqyernor Dii^widdie escaped from the difficult 
.tyiby replying, tjiat the claims of Pennjsylva- 
^ .nia were at least doubtful,. the boundary line 
npt having bfsen run, that the object in view 
equally concerned both provinces, that his 
jgmnt did not necessarily imply future juris- 
diction, and that, if the Pennsylvania claim 
should be established, the quitrents might 


eventually be paid to the proprietary instead 
of the crown. 

Fresh encouragement was inspired by a let- 
ter from the Earl of Holdemesse^ authorizing 
.Governor Dinwiddie to call to his aid two in- 
dependent companies from New York, and 
poe from South Carolina. These were colo- 
nial troops, raised and supported at the King's 
.charge, and commanded by ojfBcers with royal 
commissions. They could be marched to any 
part of the continent. None of these compa- 
.ni^ had ever been stationed in Virginia. Ex- 
presses were immediately despatched to the 
governors of the above colonies, requesting 
them to order forward the companies without 
delay. News came from North Carolina, also, 
that the Assembly, had voted twelve thousand 
poimds for defence, and that a respectable 
force would soon be in the £eld to join their 
neighbors in the common cause. 

Although feebly sustained by the other col- 
onies, the Virginians did not abate their exer- 
tions. The enlistments went on with consid- 
erable success. Colonel Washington continued 
his head-quarters at Alexandria .till the begin- 
ning of April. Two companies had been col- 
lected at that place, with which he marched 
to Will's Creek, where he arrived on the 20ih, 
Laving been joined on the way by another 

VOL. I. 


company under Captain Stephen. The march 
was slow and fatiguing, on account of the 
roughness of the roads, and the difficulty of 
procuring wagons to convey the baggage. It 
was necessary to put the militia law in exe- 
cution, which authorized impressments; but 
measures of this sort are always disliked by 
the people, and orders are tardily obeyed or 
evaded. The artillery and some of the heavi- 
er articles went by water up the Potomac. 

A party of Captain Trent's men had already 
gone to the Ohio, and begun to build a fort. 
Just before Colonel Washington reached Will's 
Creek, a rumor came from the interior, that 
these men were taken by the French; and 
two days afterwards the alarming intelligence 
was confirmed by the ensign of Captain 
Trent's company. He reported, that, while 
they were at work, forty-one in number, a 
body of French troops descended the river 
from Venango, consisting of one thousand men, 
with eighteen pieces of cannon, sixty bateaux, 
and three hundred canoes, under the command 
of Captain Contrecceur, and summoned them 
to surrender, threatening to take forcible pos- 
session of the fort, if this summons were not 
immediately obeyed. No alternative remained, 
and, the captain and lieutenant being absent 
Ensign Ward acceded to articles of capitula- 


tion, and gave tip the fort, but was permitted 
to retire with his men. He came to Will's 
Creek, and brought the news of the disaster. 
His statement, however, as to the numbers of 
the French, their cannon and boats, turned 
out to be very much exaggerated. This was 
the first open act of hostility in the memorable 
war of seven years that followed. The French 
enlarged and completed the fort, which they 
called Fort Duquesne, in compliment to the 
governor of Canada. 

To the little army under Colonel Washing- 
ton, as yet amounting to no more than three 
small companies, this was a critical moment. 
They occupied an outpost, beyond which there 
was no barrier to oppose the formidable French 
force on the Ohio. Even a detachment, well 
armed and disciplined, might surround and cut 
them off. Colonel Fry had not joined them, 
and the whole responsibility rested on the 
Lieutenant-Colonel. He instantly sent ex* 
presses to the governors of Virginia, Maryland, 
and Pennsylvania, setting forth his weak and 
exposed condition, and calling for reinforce- 
ments. He then held a council of war. Not- 
withstanding the dangers that threatened on 
every side, it was resolved to push boldly into 
the wilderness, to clear and prepare the road 
as they advanced, and, if possible, to penetrate 


to the Monongahela at the mouth of Red-stone 

Creek, and erect there a fortification. The 
90ldiers would thus be employed, their appre* 
hensions quieted, the bane of idleness avoided, 
and a way opened for the more expeditious 
march of the troops in the rear. 

So piany obstacles intervened, that the pro- 
gress vras slow^ Trees were to be felledy 
bridges ma4e, marshes filled up, and rocks re- 
moved. In the midst of these difficulties the 
provisions failed, the commissaries hi^ving neg- 
lected to fulfil their engagements, and there 
was great distress for want ^f bread. 

At the Youghiogany, where they were de- 
tained in constructing a bridge, Colonel Wash- 
ington was told by the traders and Indians, 
that <$xcept at one place a passage might be 
had by water down that river. To ascertain 
this point, extremely advantageous if true, he 
en)barked in a canoe with five men on a tour 
of discovery, leaving the army under the com- 
mand of a subordinate officer. His hopes 
were disi^ppointed. After navigating the river 
in his canoe near thirty miles, encountering 
locks and shoals, he passed between two 
mountains, and came to a fall that arrested his 
cpiirse, and rendered any further attempt im- 
practicable. He returned, and the project of 
a conveyance by water was given up. 


He had scarcely rejoined the army, ^^hen a 
message was brought to him from his old friend 
Tanacharison, or the Half-King, then with 
his people near the Monongahela River, which 
warned him to be on hid guard, as a' party of 
French had been out two days, and were then 
marching towards him determined to attack 
the first English they should meet. His ac- 
count was confirmed by another, which Stated 
the French to be only fifteen miles distant. 

Not knowing their number, or at what mo- 
ment they might approach, he hastened to a' 
place called the Great Meadows, cleared away 
the bushes, threw up an entrenchment, and 
prepared, as he expressed it, '^a charming field 
for an encounter.'' He then mounted some 
of the soldiers on wagon-horses, and sent them 
out to reconnoitre. They came back without 
having seen any traces of the enemy; but the 
camp was alarmed in the night, the sentries 
fired, and all hands were kept under aritis till 
morning. Mr. Gist came to the camp, also, 
and reported that a French detachment, con- 
sisting of fifty men, had been at his settlement 
the day before, and that he had observed their 
tracks within five miles of the Great Meadows. 

The approach of the French, with hostile 
designs, was now deemed certain; arid the 
best preparation was made to receive them, 


'which circumstances would permit. In the 
mean time, about nine o'clock at night, anoth- 
er express came from the Half-King, who was 
then with a party of his warriors about six 
miles from the camp, stating that he had seen 
the tracks of two Frenchmen, and that the 
whole detachment was near that place. Colonel 
Washington immediately put himself at the 
head of forty men, leaving the rest to guard 
the camp, and set off to join (he Half- King 
The night was dark, the rain fell in torrents, 
the paths through the woods were narrow and 
intricate, and the soldiers often lost their way, 
groping in the bushes, and clambering over 
rocks and fallen trees. 

The whole night was passed in the march, 
and they got to the Indian encampment just 
before sunrise. A council was held with 
Tanacharison and his chief warriors, and it 
was agreed that they should march in concert 
against the French. Two Indians went out 
to ascertain the position of the enemy, which 
was discovered to be in an obscure retreat, 
surrounded by rocks, half a mile from the 
road. The plan of attack was then formed. 
Colonel Washington and his men were to ad- 
vance on the right, and the Indians on the 
left. The march was pursued in single file, 
according to the Indian manner, till they came 


SO near as to be discovered by the French^ 
who instantly seized their arms, and put them- 
selves in an attitude of defence. 

At this moment the firing commenced on 
both sides. A smart skirmish ensued, which 
was kept up for a quarter of an hour, when 
the French ceased to resist. M. de Jumon- 
ville, the conunander of the French party, and 
ten of his men, were killed. Twenty-two 
were taken prisoners, one of whom was 
wounded. A Canadian made his escape dur- 
ing the action. One of Colonel Washington's 
men was killed, and two or three were wound- 
ed. No harm happened to the Indians, as the 
enemy's fire was directed chiefly against the 
English. This event occurred on the 28th of 
May. The prisoners were conducted to the 
Great Meadows, and thence under a guard to 
Governor Dinwiddie. 

No transaction in the life of Washington 
has been so much misrepresented, or so little 
understood, as this skirmish with Jumonville, 
[t being the first conflict of arms in the war, 
a notoriety was given to it, particularly in Eu- 
•Dpe, altogether disproportioned to its impor- 
tance. War had not yet been declared be- 
tween Great Britain and France, and indeed 
the diplomatists on both sides were making 
great professions of friendship. It was the 


|j6licy <5f each nation to exaggerate the pro- 
ceedings of the other oil their colonial fron- 
tiers, and to make them a handle for recrimi- 
nation and complaints, by throwing upon the 
Jld verse party the blame of committing the 
first acts of aggression. Hence, when the in- 
telligence of the skirmish with Jumonville 
got tb Paris, it was officially published by the 
goverhmetlt, in connexion with a memoil: atid 
various papers, and his death was called a 
murder. It was said, that, while bearing a 
summons as a civil ndessenger without any 
hbstile intentions, he was waylaid and assas- 
sinated. The report was industriously circu- 
lated, and gained credence with the multitude. 
M. Thomas, a poet and scholar of repute, 
seized the occasion to write an epic, entitled 
"/Mmontn7fe," in which he tasked his inven- 
tion to draw a tragical picture of the fate of 
his hero. The fabric of the story and the in- 
cidents were alike fictitious. But the tale 
passed from fiction to history, and to this day 
it is repeated by the French historians, who in 
other respects render justice to the character 
of Washington, and who can find no other 
apology for this act, than his youth and inex- 
perience, and the ferocity of his men. 

The mistakes of the French writers were 
not unknown to Washington ; but, consciou9 


of having acted in strict conformity with his 
orders and military usage, he took no pains to 
correct them, except in a single letter to a 
friend, written several years afterwards, wliich 
related mostly to the errors in the French ac- 
count of the subsequent action of the Great 
Meadows. Unfortunately all his correspond- 
ence and the other papers, which he wrote 
during this campaign, were lost the next year 
at the battle of the Monongahela ; and he was 
thus deprived of the only authentic materials, 
that could be used for explanation and de- 
fence. The most important of these papers 
have recently been found, and they afford not 
only a complete vindication of the conduct of 
Colonel Washington in this affair, but show 
that it met with the unqualified approbation 
of the governor and legislature of Virginia, 
and of the British ministry. 

It is true that Jumonville was the bearer of 
a summons ; but this was unknown to Colonel 
Washington, nor did the mode in which the 
former approached the English camp indicate 
that he came on an errand of peace. He was 
at the head of an armed force, he sent out 
spies in advance, concealed himself and his 
party two days in an obscure place near the 
camp, and despatched messengers with intelli- 
gence to his commander at the fort. These 


were strong evidences of a hostile intention ; 
and, had Colonel Washington not regarded 
them in that light, he would have been justly 
censurable for ignorance or neglect of duty. 

The summons itself was by no mems con- 
ciliatory, tad, if Colonel Washington had actu- 
ally known, that the French officer had such a 
paper in his pocket, he could not properly do 
otherwise than he did, under the circumstan* 
ces in which M. de Jumonville chose to |dace 
himself. It warned the English to retire be* 
low the Alleganies, and threatened compulsory 
measures if it should not be obeyed. The 
presumption was, that the summons was only 
a feint, in case the party should be captured, 
and that Jumonville was to remain conceal- 
ed, and wait for reinforcements, after he had 
reconnoitred the English camp, and ascer* 
tained its strength. If such were not the ob* 
ject, the consequences are justly chargeable on 
the indiscretion of M. de Jumonville in the 
extraordinary mode of conducting his enter- 

The labors and dangers of the field were 
not the only troubles, with which Colonel 
Washington at this time had to contend. By 
an ill-timed parsimony, the pay of the officers 
was reduced so low, as to create murmurs and 
discontent throughout the camp. Complaiuta 

Mt.n.} LIFE OF ^ASHINGtON. 69 

grew loud and vehement, accompanied with 
threats to resign and leare the army to its fate. 
Under this pressure the character of Washing- 
ton shone with the same purity and lustre, that 
often distinguished it afterwards on similat 
trying occasions. In his letters to the gor-^ 
eitior he assumed a firm and manly tone, de^ 
inanded for himself and his associates an al^ 
lowance equal to that received by the King's 
ttoops, and deprecated the idea of being placed 
tipon a footing, which should imply an inferi-^ 
ority in rank, or in the value of their services. 
While he took this high stand in defending 
the just claims of the ofBcers, he endeavored 
to calm their feelings, and reconcile them t^ 
their condition, by appeals to their honor and 
the obligations of duty. " I have communi- 
cated your sentiments to the other officers,** 
said he to the governor, " and, as far as I could 
put on the hypocrite, set forth the advantaged 
that may accrue, and advised them to accept 
the terms, as a refusal might re£ect dkhonot 
upon their character, leaving it to the world to 
assign what reason it pleases for their quitting 
the service." And again ; " I considered the 
pernicious consequences that would attend a 
disunion, and was therefore too much attached 
to my country's interests to suffer it to ripen.' 
In this way he concealed his uneasiness, anr 


tranquillized the minds of his officers, al- 
though he felt the wrongs they suffered, and 
approved the spirit that would not tamely sub- 
mit to them. 

As to himself, it was not so much the small- 
ness of the pay, that gave him concern, as the 
indignity and injustice of having his services 
estimated at a lower rate, than in the Brit- 
ish estabUshment, when in reality no service 
could be more severe and hazardous, or promise 
less of glory, than the one in which he was 
engaged. ''Now if we could be fortunate 
enough," said he, '' to drive the French itrom 
the Ohio, as far as your Honor would please to 
have them sent, in any short time, our pay 
will not be sufficient to discharge our first ex- 
penses. I would not have you imagine from 
this, that I have said all these things to have 
our pay increased, but to justify myself, and 
to show you that our complaints are not frivo- 
lous, but founded on strict reason. For my 
own part, it is a matter almost indifferent, 
whether I serve for full pay, or as a generous 
volunteer. Indeed, did my circumstances cor- 
respond with my inclinations, I should not 
hesitate a moment to prefer the latter ; for the 
motives that have led me here are pure and 
noble. I had no view of acquisition, but that 
of honor, by serving my King and country."] LIFE OF WASHINGTON. 61 

In this declaration, uttered in the sincerity of 
his heart, we perceive the principles, the emi* 
nent virtues, that dictated every act of his 
public life. 

Colonel Pry having died suddenly at Will's 
Creek, while on his way to join the army, the 
chief command devolved on Colonel Washing- 
ton. Recruits were brought forward by Major 
Muse. The North Carolina troops, to the 
number of about three hupdred and fifty, led 
by Colonel Innes, arrived at Winchester. The 
governor was then in that town, holding a 
council with Indians, and he appointed Innes 
commander of the expedition, but confirmed 
Colonel Washington's command of the Vir- 
ginia regiment. 

The appointment of Innes was an unpopu- 
lar measure in Virginia, as he was from an- 
other colony ; and the governor was accused 
of partiality for an old friend and countryman, 
both he and Innes being Scotchmen by birth. 
No ill consequences ensued. Neither Colonel 
Innes nor his troops advanced beyond Win- 
chester. To promote enlistments the men 
were extravagantly paid ; and, when the mon- 
ey raised by the Assembly of North Carolina 
for their support was expended, they dispersed 
of their own accord. An Independent Com- 
pany from South Carolina, consisting of one 


hundred men under Captain Mackay, arrived 
at the Great Meadows. Two companies from 
New York landed at Alexandria, and marched 
to the interior, but not in time to overtake or 
succor the army in advance. 

iB> K.] LiEg or WASUINUTON. 63 


Fwt Nece«tt7.**Tiidtuii. — M«veiiieDts of Um Ann/.— Battle 
•rtbe Great Meadowi. — Vote of Tlianks by the House of 
Burgeesee. — WaeliiAgloa diMpproTes the Govemor'a Momums 
•■d iwsM bit Conmnnon. 

It was foreseen by Colonel Wasliington, 
thaty when the French at Fort Duquesne 
should get the news of Jumooville's defeat, 
a strong detachment would be sent out against 
him. As a preparation for this event, he set 
all his men at work to enlarge the intrench- 
ment at the Great Meadows, and erect pali- 
sades. To the structure thus hastily thrown 
up he gave the name of Fort Necessity. 

The Indians, who leaned to the English in- 
terest, fled before the French and flocked to 
the camp, bringing along their wives and chil- 
dren, and putting them under his protection. 
Among them came Tanacharison and his peo- 
ple, dueen Aliquippa and her son, and other 
persons of distinction, till between forty and 
fifty families gathered around him, and laid 
his magazine of supplies under a heavy con- 

The forces at the Great Meadows, including 
Captain Mackay's company, had now increased 


to about four hundred men. But a new diffi- 
culty arose, which threatened disagreeable 
consequences. Captain Mackay had a royal 
commission, which in his opinion put him 
above the authority of Colonel Washington, 
who was a colonial officer, commissioned by 
the Governor of Virginia. He was a man of 
mild and gentlemanly manners, and no per- 
sonal differences interrupted the harmony be- 
tween them; but still he declined receiving 
the orders of the colonel, and his company 
occupied a separate encampment. At this cri* 
sis, when an attack was daily expected, and 
when a perfect union of design and action 
was essential, such a state of things was so 
unpropitious, that Colonel Washington wrote 
earnestly to the governor to settle the contro- 
versy by a positive order under his own hand. 
The governor hesitated, because he was not 
sure, that Captain Mackay's pretensions were 
inconsistent with the rule adopted by the min- 
istry, namely, that all officers with King's 
commissions should take rank of those com- 
missioned in the colonies. 

To avoid altercation, and prevent the conta- 
gious example of disobedience from infecting 
the troops, Colonel Washington resolved to ad- 
vance with a large part of his army, and, if 
not obstructed by tlie enemy, to go on by 


the shortest route to the Monongahela River. 
Captain Mackay's company was left at Fort 
Necessitf, as a guard to that post The road 
was to be cleared and levelled for artillery car- 
riages ; and the process was so laborious, that 
it took two weeks to effect a passage through 
the gorge of the mountains to Gist's settle- 
ment, a distance of only thirteen miles. The 
Indians were troublesome with their speeches, 
councils, and importunities for presents, partic- 
ularly a party from the interior, who feigned 
firiendship, but who were discovered to be 
spies from the French. Due vigilance was 
practised, and scouts were kept abroad, even 
as far as the neighborhood of Fort Duquesne, 
so that the first motions of the enemy might 
be detected. 

It was at length told by French deserters 
and Indians, that Fort Duquesne was rein- 
forced by troops from Canada, and that a 
strong detachment would shortly march against 
the English. A council of war being called, 
it was at first thought best to make a stand, 
and wait the approach of the enemy at Gist's 
plantation. An intrenchment for defence was 
begim, Captain Mackay was requested to come 
forward with his company, and the scouting 
parties were ordered to return to the camp. 
Captain Mackay promptly joined the advanced 

VOL. L *^ 


diyision ; and another qohqoU deoidad, thai 
the enemf's foree waa so large, aa to le^ve oe 
reasonable hope of a auceesaful reaiatance, and 
that a retreat was necessary. 

In the face of many obstacles this deter* 
mination was executed. The horses were 
few and weak, and a severe service was im- 
posed on the meni who were obliged to bear 
heavy burdens, and drag nine swivels over a 
broken road. Colonel Washington set a wor- 
tfiy example t^ his officers, by lading his horse 
with public stores, going on foot, and paying 
the soldiers a reward for carrying his baggage. 
In two days they all got back to the Great 
Meadows. It was not the intention at first to 
halt at this place, but the men had become so 
much fatigued from great labor, and a defi* 
Gtency of provisions, that they could draw the 
swivels no further, nor carry the baggage on 
their backs. They bad been eight days with- 
out bread, and at the Great Meadows they 
A>und only a few bags of flour. It was thought 
advisable to wait herOi therefore, and fortify 
themselves in the best manner they could, tiU 
they should receive supplies and reinforce- 
ments. They had heard of the arrival at 
Alexandria, of two Independent Companies 
from New York twenty days before, and it 
presumed tliey must by this time have 


leaidied Will's Creek* An express was sent 
to hasten them on^ with 99 much despatch as 

Meantime Colonel. Washington set his men 
to felling trees, and carrying logs to the fort^ 
^ith a view to raise a breastwork, and enlarge 
and strengthen the fortification in the best 
manner, that circumstances would permit* 
The space of greund, called the Great Mea* 
dows, is a level bottom, through which passes 
a small creek, and is surrounded by bills of a 
moderate and gradual ascent. This bottom, 
or glade, is entirely level, covered with long 
grass and small bushes, and varies in width. 
At the point where the fort stood, it is about 
two hundred and fifty yards wide, from the 
base of one hill to that of the opposite. The 
position of the fort was well chosen, being 
about one hundred yards from the upland, or 
wooded ground, on the one side, and one hun- 
dred and fifty on the other, and so situated on 
the margin of the creek, as to afford an easy 
access to water. At one point the high ground 
comes within sixty yards of the fort, and this 
was the nearest distance to which an enemy 
could approach under the shelter of trees. 
The outlines of the fort were still visible, 
when the spot was visited by the writer in 
1830, occupying an irregular square, the di- 


mensions of which were about one hundred 
feet on each side. One of the angles was pro- 
longed further than the others, for the purpose 
of reaching the water in the creek. On the 
west side, next to the nearest wood, were 
three entrances, protected by short breast- 
works, or bastions. The remains of a ditch, 
stretching round the south and west sides, 
were also distinctly seen. The site of this 
fort, named Fort Necessity from the circum- 
stances attending its erection and original use, 
is three or four hundred yards south of what 
is now called the National Road, four miles 
from the foot of I^aurel Hill, and fifty miles 
from Cumberland at Will's Creek. 

On the 3d of July, early in the morning, an 
alarm was received from a sentinel, who had 
been wounded by the enemy; and at nine 
o'clock intelligence came, that the whole body 
of the enemy, amounting, as was reported, to 
nine hundred men, was only four miles off. 
At eleven o'clock they approached the fort, 
and began to fire, at the distance of six hun- 
dred yards, but without effect.- Colonel Wash- 
ington had drawn up his men on the open and 
level ground outside of the trenches, waiting 
for the attack, which he presumed would be 
made as soon as the enemy's forces emerged 
from the woods ; and he ordered his men to 


reserve their fire, till they should be near 
enough to do execution. The distant firing 
was supposed to be a stratagem to draw Wash- 
ington's men into the woods, and thus to take 
them at a disadvantage. He suspected the 
design, and maintained his post till he found 
the French did not incline to leave the woods, 
and attack the fort by an assault, as he sujv 
posed they would, considering their superiority 
of numbers. He then drew his men back 
within the trenches, and gave them orders to 
fire according to their discretion, as suitable 
opportunities might present themselves. The 
French and Indians remained on the side of 
the rising ground, which was nearest to the 
fort, and, sheltered by the trees, kept up a 
brisk fire of musketry, but never appeared in 
the open plain below. The rain fell heavily 
through the day, the trenches were filled with 
water, and many of the arms of Colonel 
Washington's men were out of order, and 
used with difficulty. 

In this way the battle continued from eleven 
o'clock in the morning till eight at night, 
when the French called and requested a par- 
ley. Suspecting this to be a feint to procure 
the admission of an officer into the fort, that 
he might discover their condition, Colonel 
Washington at first declined listening to the 

70 UKfi OF WASHINGTON. 11154. 

proposal ; bat when the eall was repeatedy with 
the additional request that aa officer might be 
seat to them, engaging at the same time their 
parole for his safety^ he sent out Captain Yaa- 
braam, the only person under his command, 
that could speak French^ except the Chevalier 
de Peyrouny, an ensign in the Yirginia regi* 
ment, who was dangerously wounded, and 
disabled from rendering any service on this 
occasion. Yanbraam returned, and brought 
with him from M. de Yilliers, the French 
commander, proposed articles of capitulation. 
These he read and pretended to interpret, and, 
some changes having been made by mutual 
agreement, both parties signed them about 

By the terms of the capitulation, the whole 
ganison was to retire, and return without mo- 
lestation to the inhabited parts of the country ; 
and the French commander promised, that no 
embarrassment should be interposed, either by 
his own men or the savages. The English 
were to take away every thing in their pos- 
session, except their artillery, and to march 
out of the fort the next morning with the 
honors of war, their drums beating and colors 
flying. As the French had killed all the 
horses and cattle, Colonel Washington had no 
means of transporting his heavy baggage and 



stores ; and it was oooceded to him, that his 
xoeu BQight couoeal theU effects, aiid that a 
guard might be left to protect thenii till hones 
could be sent up to take them away. Colonel 
Washington c^reed to restore the prisonersi 
who had been taken at the skirmish with Ju- 
monville ; and, as a surety for this article, two 
hoatages, Captain Tanbraam and Captain Sto^ 
bo, were delivered up to the French, and 
were to he retained till the prisoners should 
return. It was moreover agreed, that the 
party capitulating should ^ot attempt to build 
any more establishments at that place, or be-» 
yond the moimtains, for the space of a year. 

Early the next morning Colonel Washing* 
ton began to march from the fort in good or« 
der ; but he had proceeded only a short dis« 
tance, when a body of one hundred Indians, 
being a reinforcement to the French, cama 
upon him, and could hardly be restrained from 
attacking his men. They pilfered the bag* 
gage and did other mischief. He marched 
forward, however, with as much speed as pos- 
sible in the weakened and encumbered condi- 
tion of his army, there being no other mode 
of conveying the wounded men and the bag*? 
gage, than on the soldiers' backs. As the 
provisions were nearly exhausted, no time was 
to be lost : and, leaving much of the baggage 

72 f-ifE OF WASHINGTON. n****^ 

behind, he hastened to Will's Creek, where all 
the necessary supplies were in store. Thence 
Colonel Washington and Captain Mackay pro- 
ceeded to Williamsburg, and communicated in 
person to Oovemor Dinwiddie the erents of 
the campaign. 

The exact number of men engaged in the 
action cannot be ascertained. According to a 
return made out by Colonel Washington him- 
self, the Virginia regiment consisted of three 
hundred and five, including officers, of whom 
twelve were killed and forty-three wounded. 
Captain ^Mackay's company was supposed to 
contain about one hundred, but the number 
of killed and wounded is not known. The 
Independent Companies from New York did 
not reach the army before the action. 

The conduct of the commander and of the 
troops was highly approved by the governor 
and Council, and received merited applause 
from the public. As soon as the House of 
Burgesses assembled, they passed a vote of 
thanks to Colonel Washington and his officers 
" for their bravery and gallant defence of their 
country." A pistole was granted from the 
public treasury to each of the soldiers. 

Thus commenced the military career of 
Washington, and thus ended his first cam- 
paign. Although as yet a youth, with smal 


experience, unskilled in war, and reljnng on 
his own resources, he had behaved with the 
prudence, address, courage, and firmness of a 
veteran commander. Rigid in discipline, but 
sharing the hardships and solicitous for the 
welfare of his soldiers, he had secured their 
obedience and won their esteem amidst priva- 
tions, sufferings, and perils, that have seldom 
been surpassed. 

Notwithstanding the late discomfiture, Gov- 
ernor Dinwiddie^s ardor did not abate. It was 
indeed a foible with him, that his zeal out- 
stripped his knowledge and discretion. Whol- 
ly ignorant of military affairs, he undertook to 
organize the army, prescribe rules, issue ^or- 
ders, form plans of operation, and manage the 
details. Hence frequent blunders and con- 
fusion. Colonel Washington rejoined his regi- 
ment, which had marched by way of Win- 
chester to Alexandria. He there received or- 
ders to fill up the companies by enlistments, 
and lead them without delay to Will's Creek, 
where Colonel Innes was employed in build- 
ing Port Cumberland, with a remnant of tho 
North Carolina troops, and the three indepen- 
dent companies, that had come to Virginia 
from South Carolina and New York. It was 
the governor's project, that the united forces 
should immediately cross the Alleganies, and 


drive the French from Fort Duquesne, or build 
another fort beyond the mountains. 

Astonished that such a scheme should be 
oontemplated, at a season of the year when 
the mountains would be rendered impassable 
by the snows and rigor of the climatei and 
with an army destitute of supplies, feeble in 
numbers, and worn down by fatigue, Colonel 
Washington wrote a letter of strong remon- 
strance to a member of the governor's Council, 
representing the absurdity and even impossi- 
bility of such an enterprise. His regiment 
was reduced by death, wounds, and sickness. 
He was ordered to obtain recruits, but not a 
farthing of money had been provided. He 
was ordered to march, but his men had neith- 
er arms, tents, ammunition, clothing, nor pro- 
visions, sufficient to enable them to take the 
field, and no means existed for procuring 
them. It is enough to say, that the scheme 
was abandoned. 

The governor was destined to struggle with 
difficulties, and to have his hopes defeated. 
The Assembly were so perverse, as not to 
yield to all his demands, and he never ceased 
to complain of their " republican way of think- 
ing," and to deplore their want of respect for 
the authority of his office and the prerogative 
of the crown. He had lately prorogued them, 


as a punishment (or their obstinaoy, and writ- 
ten to the ministry, that the representatives of 
the people seemed to him infatuated, and that 
he was satisfied '^ the progress of the French 
would never be effectually opposed, but by 
means of an act of Parliament to compel the 
colonies to contribute to the common cause in- 
dependently of assemblies." When the bur- 
gesses came together again, however, he was 
consoled by their good nature in granting 
twenty thousand pounds for the public ser- 
vice; and he soon received ten thousand 
pounds in specie from the government in 
England for the same object. 

Thus encouraged he formed new plans, and, 
as the gift of ten thousand pomids was undei 
bis control, he could appropriate it as be 
pleased. He enlarged the army to ten com- 
panies, of one himdred men each, and put the 
whole upon the establishment of independent 
companies, by which the highest officers in 
the Virginia regiment would be captains, and 
even these inferior to officers of the same rank 
holding King's commissions. The effect was 
to reduce Colonel Washington to the rank of 
captain, and put him under officers whom he 
had commanded. Such a degradation, of 
course, was not to be submitted to by a high- 
minded man. He resigned his commission, 
and retired from the army- 


Governor Sharpe, of Maryland, soon after 
received an appointment from the King as 
commander-in-chief of the forces employed to 
act against the French. Knowing Colonel 
Washington's character, and the importance 
of his aid. Governor Sharpe solicited him, by 
a letter from himself and another from one of 
his officers, to resume his station. It was in- 
timated, that he might hold his former com- 
mission. '^This idea," said Washington in 
reply, "has filled me with surprise; for^Jf you 
think me capable of holding a commission, 
that has neither rank nor emolument annexed 
to it, you must entertain a very contemptible 
opinion of my weakness, and believe me to 
be more empty than the commission itself." 
He promptly declined the invitation, and add- 
ed ; "I sliall have the consolation of know- 
ing, that I have opened the way, when the 
smallness of our numbers exposed us to the 
attacks of a superior enemy ; and that I have 
had the thanks of my country for the services 
I have rendered." 

Thus sustained within himself, neither seek- 
ing redress nor venting complaints, he passed 
the winter in retirement. He acknowledged 
his partiality, however, for the profession of 
arms, and his ambition to acquire experience 
and skill in the military art. Nor did he watt 
long for an opportunity to gratify his wishes. 



EagigM in the Expedition under General Braddock. — DifHcaltioi 
enconntered by the Army in its March. — Battle of the Monon- 
gahela. — Ita diaaatrons Reaulta. — Bravery and good Conduct 
of Colonel Washington in that Action. — Hia prudent Advice 
to General Braddock 

Early in the spring, General Braddock land- 
ed in Yi]^iuia, with two regiments of regular 
troops from Great Britain, which it was sup- 
posed would bear down all opposition, and 
drive back the intruding French to Canada. 
The peojde were elated with joy, and already 
the war on the frontier seemed hastening to 
an end. Colonel Washington acceded to a re- 
quest from General Braddock to take part in 
the campaign as one of his military family, in 
which he would retain his former rank, and 
the objections on that score would be obvi- 

His views on the subject were explained, 
with a becoming frankness and elevation of 
mind, in a letter to a friend. '' I may be al- 
lowed," said he, '' to claim some merit, if it is 
considered that the sole motive, which invites 
me to the field, is the laudable desire of serv- 
ing my country, not the gratification of any 
ambitious or lucrative plans. This, I flatter 


myself, will manifestly appear by my going as 
a volunteer without expectation of reward or 
prospect of obtaining a command, as I am con- 
fidently assured it i? not in General Braddock's 
power to give me a commission that I would 
accept." Again, ** If there is any merit in my 
case, I am unwilling to hazard it among my 
friends, without this exposition of facts, as 
they might eonceire thM some advantageous 
offers had engaged my services. When, in real'^ 
ity, it is otherwise, for I expect to be a consid^ 
erable loser in my private aflTairs by going. It 
lis truie I have been importuned to make this 
campaign by General Draddock, its a member 
of his family, he conceiving, I isttppose, that 
the small knowledge I have had an opportuni- 
ty of acquiring of the country and the Indians 
is worthy of his notice, and may be usefbl to 
him in the progress of the expedition." In- 
fluenced by these honorable and generous mo- 
tives, he accepted the offer, and prepared to 
engage -in the service as a volunteer. 

Several companies of Braddock's two regi- 
ments were cantoned at Alexandria, at which 
place the commander himself met the govern- 
ors of five colonies, in order to concert a gen- 
eral scheme of military operations. Colonel 
Washington was introduced to these gentle- 
men ! and the manner in which he was re- 


ceiv«d by them gave a Ottering testimony of 
the conddemtion, which his name and eharae* 
ter had already inspired. With the deport* 
ment and civilities of Governor Shirley he 
was particularly pleased. 

Cfoneral Braddock marched to the interior; 
and was overtaken by Colonel Washington at 
Winchester, when the latter assumed the sta- 
tion and duties of aid«de^amp. The troops 
followed in divisions by different routes, and 
all assembled at Will's Creek. Here the gen*^ 
eral was disappointed, vexed, and thrown into 
paroxysms of ill humor, at not finding in read*^ 
iness the horses and wagons, which had been 
promised, and on which he depended for trans- 
porting the baggage, tents, provisions, and ar* 
tillery beyond that post. The contractors 
had proved faithless, dther from neglect or 

The embarrassment was at last removed by 
the patriotic zeal and activity of Franklin. 
Being postmastef^neral of the provinces, he 
visited the commander during his march, with 
the view of devising some plan to facilitate 
the transmission of the mail to and from the 
army. On certain conditions he agreed to 
procure one hundred and fifty wagons, and 
the requisite number of horses. By prompt 
exertions, and by his influence among the ftir« 


mere of Pennsylvania, he obtained them all 
and sent them to Will's Creek. This act was 
praised by General &addock in a letter to the 
ministry ; but he passed a severe censure upoa 
the authorities of the country by adding, " that 
it was the only instance of address and integ- 
rity, which be had seen in the provinces." 

While these preparations were in progress. 
Colonel Washington was sent on a mission to 
Williamsburg to procure money for the mili- 
tary chesU The trust was executed with de- 
spatch and success. On returning to camp he 
found that a detachment of five hundred mea 
had marched in advance ; and all the troope 
were immediately put in motion, except a 
small party left as a guard at Fort Cumber- 
land. The scene was new to the general and 
his officers, and obstacles presented themselves 
at every step, which they had not anticipated. 
The roughness of the road made it impossible 
for the usual number of horses to drag the 
wagons, loaded as they were, not only witii 
the supplies and munitions, but with superflu- 
ous baggage, and the camp equipage of the 
officers ; and they were obliged to double the 
teams, thus detaining the whole train of wag- 
ons, till those in front were forced along by 
this tedious process. 

It was soon apparent, that, with these hin- 


diances, the season might be consumed in 
dossing the mountains. A council of war was 
resorted to ; but before it met, the general pri- 
vately asked the opinion of Colonel Waking- 
ton. ^^ I urged him/' said he, " in the warm- 
est terms I was able, to push forward, if he 
even did it with a small but chosen band, with 
sach artillery and light stores as were necessa* 
ry, leaving the heavy artillery and baggage 
with the rear division to follow by slow and 
easy marchesi which they might do safely 
while we were advancing in front." His rea- 
son for pressing this measure was, that, from 
the best advices, an accession of force was 
shc^y expected at Fort Duqnesne, and that it 
was of the utmost moment to make the attack 
before such an event should occur. It was 
moreover important to divide the army, be- 
cause the narrowness of the rood, and the dif- 
ficulty of getting the wagons along, caused it 
to be stretched into a line four miles in length, 
by which the soldiers were so much scattered, 
that they might be attacked and routed at any 
point, even by small parties^ before a proper 
force could be brought to their support 

These suggestions prevailed in the councili 
and were approved by the general. The army 
was separated into two divisions. Braddock 
led the advanced division of twelve hundred 

VOL. I. ^ 

^ LIF^ OF WASHmCTO^. (im 

men lightly equipped, taking only eucb car- 
pages and articles as were absolutely essential* 
Cfolonel Dunbar, with the residue of the aimyi 
about six hundred, remained in the rear. 
. At ^his ti|ne Colonel Washington wpB seized 
with a raging fever, which was so violent a9 
\o alarm the physician ; aud, lus an act of h|i* 
xnauity^ the general <Mrdered him to proceed no 
further, till the danger was over ; with a sq1«- 
^mn pledge, that he should be brought up to 
the front of the army bjsfore it should reacb 
the French ibrt. Consigned to a wagpui and 
po the pfaysici^'S care, he continued with tbe 
rear division nearly two weeks, when he i^ra^ 
ienabled to be moved forward by $low atagei^ 
but not without much pain ftom weakness and 
the jolting of the vehicle* He overtook the 
general at the mopth -of Ae Yougbiogsny 
JEliver, fifteen miles from Fort Duquesne, the 
Qvening before the battle of the Monopgahela. 
The o;fficers and soldiers were now in th^ 
highest spirits, and firm in the convi^^n, that 
they should within a few hours victoriously 
enter the walls, of Fort Dnquesne. The steep 
and rugged grounds, on the north side of th^ 
Honongahela, prevented the army fiom nqafch* 
jng in that direction, and it was necessary ia 
approaching the fort, now abeut fifteen miles 
distant, to ford the river twice, and muich a 

Jte.fS-] hiW^ OP WA9fil]|G.T03^ 83 

fiart of tli« wnf pD the «mth pida. fJarly oi| 
<he moming of the 91^, |iQ things were iq 
readf nois, and ibe whol# tmia piissed through 
Ibe rmr a liltle below thp mouth of the Ypur 
ghiogaay, and proceeded in jperfect order along 
the Bouthem margin of the Mpnpng^hela^ 
Watfiiiigton Was often heard to say during his 
Itietimey that the most beantifu} spectacle h^ 
had erer heheld was the diepi^y pf the Britist) 
tioops on this ereotful morning. Every maq 
was neatly dressed in full uniform, the soldiery 
weie anaogedio eoluimis and marched in ex'r 
aet Older, die sun gleamed from their burnish-p 
ed amis, the riyer flowed tranqijiilly on their 
right| and the deep forest overshadowed theni 
with solepin grandeur on their left. Officers 
and men were equally inspirited with cheering 
hopes and confident anticipations. 

In this manner they marched forward till 
aboQi noon, when they arrived at the second 
crossing-jdace, ten miles from Fort Duquesne. 
They halted but a little time, and then began 
lo fbfd the river and regain its northern bank. 
As aeon as they had crossed, they came upoi^ 
a lerol iJain^ elevated only a few feet above 
the spirface of the river, and extending north- 
ward nearly half a mile from its margin. 
Then commenced a gradual ascent at an angle 
of about three d^^oos, which terminated in 


hills of a considerable height at no great db* 
tatice beyond. The road from the fording* 
place to Port Duquesne led across the plain 
and up this ascent, and thence proceeded 
through an uneven country, at that time coir* 
ered with woods. 

By the order of march, a body of three 
hundred men, under Ck>lonel Gage, made the 
advanced party, which was immediately fol* 
lowed by another of two hundred. Next 
came the general with the columns of artille- 
ry, the main body of the army, and the bag- 
gage. At one o'clock, the whole had croseed 
the river, and almost at this moment a sharp 
firing was heard upon the advanced parties, 
who were now ascending the hill, and had 
proceeded about a hundred yards from the ter- 
mination of the plain. A heavy discharge of 
musketry was poured in upon their front, 
which was the first intelligence they had of 
the proximity of an enemy, and this was sud- 
denly followed by another on the right flank. 
They were filled with the greater consterna- 
tion, as no enemy was in sight, and the firing 
seemed to proceed from an invisible foe. They 
fired in their turn, however, but quite at ran- 
dom, and obviously without eflect. 

The general hastened forward to the relief 
of the advanced parties ; but, before he could 

JBv.Sy.] LIF£ 01^ MTASHINGTON, 85 

nach tho spot whieh they occupied, they gave 
way and fell back open the artillery and the 
other columns of the army, causing extreme 
confusion, and striking the whole mass with 
such & panic, that no order could afterwards be 
restored. The general and the officers behaved 
with the utmost courage, and used every effort 
to laUy the men, and bring them to order, but 
all in vain. In this state they continued near- 
ly three horns, huddling together in confused 
bodies, firing irregularly, shooting down their 
own officers and men, and doing no percep- 
tible harm to the enemy. The Virginia pro- 
vincials were the only troops, who seemed to 
retain their senses, and they behaved with a 
bravery and resolution worthy of a better fato. 
They adopted the Indian mode, and fought 
each man for himself behind a tree. This 
was prohibited by the general, who endeavor- 
ed to form his men into platoons and columns, 
as if they had been mancenvring on the plains 
of Flanders. Meantime the French and In- 
dians, concealed in the ravines and behind 
trees, kept up a deadly and unceasing dis- 
chai^e of musketry, singling out their objects, 
taking deliberate aim, and producing a carnage 
almost unparalleled in the annals of modem 
warfare. More than half of the whole army, 
which had crossed the river in ^ proud ao 

89 ^tPis> Of WASftufOTon. jnm 

array only three hours beA>re', were kiDed oi 
Wotnided. The genefal hiaiself recttved a 
liiortal wound, and many of his best officers 
fell by his side. 

During the whole of the actioii^ as reported 
by an officrer who witnessed his conduct, 
Colonel Washington behaved With "the great* 
est courage arid resolution." Captains Qrme 
dnd Morris, the two other aidsnie-caiDp, wetfe 
wounded and disabled, and the doty of di»^ 
tributiftg the general's orders devolved oa i 
done. He rode in every ditei^tion^ and ^ 
conspicuous mfitrk for the enemy's sharp-^hoou 
^rs. "By the all powerful dii^nsations of 
Providence," said he, in a lett4» to his brother, 
"T have been protected beyond aU hunMoi 
probability or expectation ; for I hisd four bol* 
tets through iny coat, and two horses shot 
under me, yet I escaiped unhurt, alchougb 
death was levelling my companions on every 
side of me." So bloody a contest has rarely 
been witnessed. The number of officers in 
the engagement was eighty*six, of whom twen* 
ty-srix were killed, and thirty«6evBn wounded. 
The killed and wounded of the privates 
Amounted to seven hundred and fourteen. Oa 
(fhe other hand, the enemy's loss was small. 
Their force amounted at least to eight hun- 
dred and fifty men, of whom six huddted 

si] LrFK or wa^Aingtok. 87 

"^erd Indians. Acc6nIiAg Id the refiffns, not 
more than forty were killed. They fought in 
deep ravines, con<iealed by the bashes, and the 
bails of the English passed over their heads. 

The remnant of nraddock^ ^trmy being pot 
to ft'ght, and havbg recrossed the river, Col* 
onel Washington hastened to n^et Colonel 
Dtmbar, and order up horses and wagons for 
the wounded. Three days were occupied in 
retreating to Gist% plantation. The endmy 
did not pursue them. Satiated with carnage 
wad plunder, the Indians could not be tempted 
from the battle-field, and the French were too 
few to act without their aid. The unfortunate 
general, dying of his wounds, was transported 
first inf a tumbril, then on a horse, and at last 
was carried by the soIdieiB. He expired the 
fburth day after the battle, and was bmied in 
Ae road near Fort Necessity. A new panic' 
seized the troops ; disorder and confusion 
feigned; the artillery was destroyed; the 
public stores and heavy baggage were burnt; 
no one could tell by whose orders ; nor were 
fiseipline and tranquillity restored, till the 
Straggling and bewildered companies arrived 
at Fort Cumberland. Colonel Washington, 
fto longer connected with the sofvice, and de* 
bilitated by his late illness, stayed there a 

88 Lir£ OF WASHINQTOn, £1'»6 

few days to regain stcengthi and then zetunied 
to Mount Yernon. 

Such was the termination of an enterpdae, 
one of the most memorable in American his- 
tory, and almost unparalleled for its disasters^ 
and the universal disappointment and conster- 
nation it occasioned. Notwithstanding its total 
and even disgraceful failure, the bitter inTeo- 
tives everywhere poured out against its prin* 
dpal conductors, and the reproaches heaped 
upon the memory of its ill-fated commander^ 
yet the fame and character of Washington 
were greatly enhanced by it. His intrepidity 
and good conduct were lauded by his compan- 
ions in arms, and proclaimed from province tc 
province. Contrary to his will, and in spite 
of his efforts, he had gathered laurels from the 
defeat and ruin of others. Had the expedition 
been successful, these laurels would have 
adorned the brow of his superiors. It might 
have been said of him, that he had done hia 
duty, and acquitted himself honorably ; but he 
could not have been the prominent and single 
object of public regard ; nor could he, by & 
long series of common events, have risen to 
so high an eminence, or acquired in so wide a 
sphere the admiration and confidence of the 
people. For himself, for his country, for man-* 
kind, therefore, this catastrophe, in appearance 

Mr.n.} LIFE or WASHINGTON. 89 

80 calamitous and so deeply deplored at the 
time, should miqnestionabljr be considered as 
a wise and beneficent dispensation of Provi- 

It was known, that he gave prudent coun- 
sel to General Braddock, which was littlo 
heeded. During the march, a body of Indians 
offered their services, which, at the earnest 
recommendation and request of Washington, 
were accepted, but in so cold a manner, and 
the Indians were treated with so much neg- 
lect, that they withdrew one after another in 
disgust. On the evening preceding the action, 
they came again to camp, and renewed their 
offer. Again Colonel Washington interposed, 
and urged the importance of these men as 
scouts and out-guards, their knowledge of the 
ground, and skill in fighting among woods. 
Relying on the prowess of his regular troops, 
and disdaining such allies, the general peremp- 
torily refused to receive them, in a tone not 
more decided than ungracious. Had a scout- 
ing party of a dozen Indians preceded the 
army after it crossed the Monongahela, they 
would have detected the enemy in the ravines, 
and reversed the fortunes of the day. 

General Braddock was a brave man and an 
experienced officer; but, arrogant and obsti- 
nate, he had the weakness, at all times a 

go LIFE OF WA'SUmQTOJf. {mi. 

folly and in bis cbse an iiifatuation, Id dd» 
flpise his enemy. Ignontiit of the coonlryi of 
the mode of warfieure in which he was en* 
gaged, and of the force opposed to him^ he 
refused counsel, neglected iirceaiitioB0| and 
thus lost his lifeJ 

.A] Lirt OF liTASttlNTJTON. 91 


CMmmI WashtagCoii appolifed Comnattder-ln-cbief oT the Vir- 
ginU ForcML -^Dwtrawai of the Frontier Inhabitant*.— .^ Diffi- 
culties with an Officer holding a King't Commission concerning 
Rank.— Wariilttgtoti viiiu General Shirley at Boston upon this 
Seljeot — His Clann confirmed. — Rettama and repdni to bii 
Head-qoartefS at Winchester. — Embarrassments of bis Sitoa 
tion. — Testimonies of Confidence In his Character and Ability. 

Af;rBonciB Colonel Washington retired to a 
private station at Mount Ternon, he did not 
neglect bis duties to the public. Still holding 
the ofice of adjutant-general of the militia, 
be circulated orders for them to assemble at 
certain times and places to be exercised ancL 
reviewed. So much were the inhabitants 
alarmed at the recent successes of the enemy, 
that their martial spirit received a new im- 
pulse, and volunteer companies began to be 
organized. Their ardor was stimulated from 
the pulpit, and it was in a sermon to one of 
these companies, that the accomplished and 
eloquent Safnuel Davies pronounced the cele- 
brated encomium in a single sentence, which 
has often been quoted as prophetic. After 
praising the zeal and courage, which had been 
shown by the Virginia troops, the preacher 
adderl; "As a remariiabie instance of this, I 


may point out to the public that heroic youth. 
Colonel Washington, whom 1 cannot but hope 
Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal 
a manner for some important service to his 
coimtry." This was but the echo of the gen- 
eral voice, and it is a proof of the high esti* 
raation in which the character of Washingtoa 
was at this time held by his countrymen, and 
of the hopes it had raised. 

Another and more substantial proof soon 
followed. The Yii^nia l^islatuie voted forty 
thousand pounds for the public service, and 
enlarged their regiment to sixteen companies. 
Three himdred pounds were likewise granted 
to Colonel Wasliington, and proportional soms 
as the other officers and privates, "for their 
gallant behavior and losses " at the battle of 
the Monongahela. 

While the bill was pending, his friends in 
the Assembly wrote to him, urging his attend- 
ance at Williamsburg, and expressing their 
wishes, that he might be appointed to the 
command of tlie army under its new o^ani- 
zation. Interest was made for another person, 
which was known to be countenanced by the 
governor's predilections. To these letters, 
and particularly to one from his elder brother, 
then a member of the Assembly, he replied in 
lanRuai^^ worthy of himself, dignified, disii • 


tereited, firm. He saiJ thi^ he had eerved 
two caippaignSi besides performii^g a perilous 
journey I had suffered much in his health and 
affiursy had been deprived of his commifldon 
ia a way to wound his feelings, had gone out 
and fought as a y<dunteer, and that the resoU 
of the whole was vexation and disappoint* 
ment. He added, however, ''I am always 
willing and ready to render my country any 
services that I am capable of, but never upon 
the teims I have done*" He did not absolute* 
ly refuse to accept the command, if it should 
be offered, but said he would not seek what 
he did not covet, nor be thought to solicit 
what he would receive only as voluntarily 
bestowed by his countrymen. Standing on 
this high ground, he prescribed several condi- 
tions as essential; among others, a voice in 
choosing his officers, a better system of mili- 
tary Filiations, more promptness in paying 
the troops, and a thorough reform, inducing 
activity and method, in all the departments for 
procuring supplies. 

No one, probably, was more surprised than, 
himself, that all his requisitions should be 
complied with. The appointment was con- 
firmed in the fullest latitude of his demandi^ 
with the additional privilege of an aid-de- 
camp a«id secretary. He had been at home 

M LIFE OP WAsniiimTait. {vnL 

baC four weeks, irhen he whs oalled to Wil- 
I^taisbojrg to receiFO his instractioM and make 
arratigemetits for organizing the new army. 
Pttblic opmion had subdued the governor's 
j^tiality for another candidate, and he accpii- 
dsced with apparent satisfketion. In a letter 
to the ministry, he spoke of Colonel Wadiing- 
toQ as^' a man of great merit and resolution/* 
adding, '^I am ooiiTincdd, if Oeneml Braddoek 
had survived, he would ha^e recommendea 
hiib to the royal favor, whieh I beg your in* 
tisiest in recommending.'' How far the min- 
iMer's interest was effectual is ilnceitsrin ; but 
ilo royal favor to Washington ever crossed the 

Being now established in a command of 
high responsibility, he applied himsiBlf to the 
dischai^e ci its duties with his accustomed en* 
ergy and cirtnmspectiOn. Lieutenant-Oolonel 
Adam Stephen and Major Andrew Lewis were 
the field-officers next in rank« His head- 
quarters were fixed at Winchester. After put* 
ting affairs in train, sending out recruiting offl* 
ders, and reporting to the governor the state 
of the old regiment and estimates for the new, 
he performed a tour of inspection among the 
mountains, visiting all the outposte along the 
frontier from Fort Cumberland to Port I>in- 
widdie on Jackson's River, giving the 

ASr.Sll UPC or WA5HIHQTON. 90 

rf otder^, ttid dbtaink^, from persbnal oImt-* 
vaiion, a knowledge of every thiog within the 
compees of hie comnuuKL Scarcely was this: 
senrice completed^ when an express overtook 
him, on his wajr to Williamsbfnrg, bringing 
intelligence chat the Indians had broken into 
the beek seftt^nents, committed ravages and 
mnrdersy and spread terror on every side. He 
hastened baek to head*qnarters, called in the 
Koemics, sammened the militia to assemble^ 
and (»derad oni sueh a focceas he coidd mliiN 
ter to repei the ratfaless invader& The cheek 
was timely and efiectual, but not such as to 
quiet the fears of the ihbabitantSy who flocked 
in fiunilies from their homes ; and so grtot 
was the panic> that many of them eontinned 
their flight tiU Aey had crossed die Bloe 

There was a circnmstance at this time con* 
neeted with his command, which caused dis< 
content both to himself and to his officers. 
At F<Mt Cumberland was a Captain Dagwor- 
thy, commissiGlied by Governor Skarpe, wUo« 
had under him a small company of Maryland 
troops. This person had held a royal commis^ 
rfon in the last war, upon which he »yw 
plumed himself) refusing obedience to any pfd« 
vincial officer, however high in rank. Henoei^' 
whenever Colonel Washii^tea wns at FtM 

96 L1F£ OF WASHIIfOTOH. [lIBftr 

GiiDib«rIaod, the Maryli^ captain would pay 
no regard to hia orders. The example was 
miaohievona, and kept the garrison in perpelii- 
ai finids and insabordination. The a&ir waa 
laid in due form before Govertior Dinwiddiey 
and his positive order in the ease was re^gueat- 
ed. Not caring to venture his authority in 
deddii^; a doubtful question, the governor to- 
fcained from interference, but at the same time 
told Golonel Washington that Ihe pietensioDa 
of Dagworthy were frivolous ; and he seemed 
not a little incmised, that a captain with thirty 
men should presume to dispute the rank of the 
commander-in-chief of the Virginia foreee, who 
had been commissioned under his own hand. 
In short, he intimated to Colonel Washington, 
that Dagworthy might be arrested, according 
to military usage, taking care, nevertheless, to 
give no order on the subject. 

This vacillation of the governor only in- 
creased the embarrassment. In the first place, 
the fort was in Maryland, and Dagworthy bcU 
ed nnder the governor of that colony, who 
was known to encourago his claim. Again, in 
General Braddock's time, Dagworthy, on the 
gvomid of his old commission, had been pot 
above {»rovincial officers of higher rank. With 
these precedents before him, Colonel Washing* 
ton did not choose to hazard an arrest, for 

iCT.A] LIFE or WASHINGtbn. 97 

which he might lumaelf be called to account. 
He was prompt^ however, in his determination, 
either to resign his'commission, as he had for* 
meriy dooe for a similar reason, or to have this 
djfficoky removed* 

As a last resort, it was proposed to refer the 
matter to General Shirley, now the command* 
er-in-^hief o( his Majesty's armies in America ; 
and it was the request of the officers, that the 
petition should be presented by Colonel Wash- 
ington in person. The proposal was appioyed 
by the governor, who consented to his absence^ 
and fi»rnished him with letters to the General 
and other persons of distinction. 

DeqMtching orders to Colonel Stephen, who 
was left with the command of the Virginia 
troops, he made no delay in preparing for his 
departure. He commenced his tour on the 
4th of February, 1756. General Shirley was 
at Boston. A journey of five hundred miles 
was to be performed in the depth of winter. 
Attended by his aid-de-eamp, Captain Mercer^ 
and by Captain Stewart, he travelled the whole 
way on horseback, pursuing the route through 
Philadelphia, New York, New London, and 
Rhode Island. He stopped several days in the 
principal cities, where his character, and the 
curiosity to see a person so renowned for his 
bravery and miraculous escape at Braddock's 

triiL. I. 

98 LfFfi OP WA^^INGTON. * fl'TOSw 

defeat, procured for him m^ch noti<se. He 
was politely received by General Shirley, who 
acceded to bis petition in its Mlest extent, 
giving a pointed order iu writing, that Dag^ 
worthy should be subject to hid command. 
The journey was advantageous in other re- 
spects. The plan of operations for the coming 
campaign was explained to him by the Gteiier* 
al ; and he formed acquaintances and acquired 
knowledge eminently useful to him at a fu- 
ture day. He was absent from Yirginia aeiren 

While in New York, he was lodged and 
kindly entertained at the house of Mr. Bev- 
erley Robinson, between whom and himself 
an intimacy of friendship si:rt)sisted, Which in- 
deed continued without change, till severed^ 
by their opposite fortunes twenty years after- 
wards in the Revolution. It happened that 
Miss Mary Phillips, a sister of Mrs. Robinaoui 
and a young lady of rare accomplishfrienls, 
was an inmate in the family. The chanm of 
this lady made a deep impression upon the 
heart of the Tirginia Colonel. He went to 
Boston, returned, and was again welcomed to 
the hospitality of Mr. Robinson. He lingered 
there, till duty called him away ; but he wa$ 
careful to intrust his secret to a con6dentiat 
friend, whose letters kept him informed of ev- 


etj importMt ev=ent. 1A a few mrathsinti^l- 
ligence came, that a rival ^as in tfie field, and 
that Ihe consequences could not be answered 
for, if lie delayed to renew kis visitt lo New 
York. Whether time^ the biistle of a camp, 
or the scenes of war, had moderated his admw' 
ration, or whether he dife^ired of success, fS'* 
not known. He nerer saw the lady again, liti 
she was married to that same rivals Capttdn 
Morris, his former associate ia arms; and one 
of BMtddock's ttds-d€M«mp. 

Be had before felt the influence of the teii* 
der passiod. At the sfge of seventeen he was 
smitten by the graces of a fair one, whotn he- 
called a <* Lowland beauty," and whose praises 
fafe recorded in glowing strains, while wdnder* 
ing with his surveyor's compass among the* 
Attegimy Mountains. On tlM ooeaUoa he 
Wrote despbnding lexers to a friend, and m* 
dited ptainiire retses; but never ventured to 
reveal his emotions to the lady, who was mn 
oonselously th^ cause of his pains. 

As the Assembly was to <.onvene just at the 
time of his return, ho hastened to Williams* 
burg, in order to mature a jAaai for employing 
the army during the summers The idea of 
oflTensive operations was abandoned at the out- 
set. Neither artillery, engineers, nor the means 
of traniqx>rtatioii necessary for 8U<A da object, 


could be procured. Penusylrania md Mary- 
land, aroused at last from their apathy, had 
appropriated mouey for defeace ; but, not in- 
clined te unite with Virginia or each oth^ in 
any concerted measures, they wero contented 
to expend their substance in fortifying their 
own IxMrders. If a mora liberal policy had 
predominated, if tfiese colonies had smothered 
their local jealousies and looked only to their 
common interosts, they might by a single com- 
bined effort have driven the Fronch from the 
Ohio, and rested in quiet the romainder of the 
vfBt. Tbero being no hope of such a result, 
it was foreseen by the Virginians, that the 
most strenuous exertions would be requisite to 
defend the long line of their frontiera against 
. the inroads of the savages. 

The Assembly readily came to a determina* 
tion, thereforo, to augmrat the army to fifteen 
hundred men. A bill was enacted for dmfling 
militia to supply the deficiency of recruits, and. 
commissioners wero appointed to superintend 
the business, of whom the Speaker was chair^ 
man. These drafted men wero to serve till 
December, to be incorporated into the army, 
and subjected to the military code. By an 
express clause in the law, they could not be 
marched out of the jnrovince. 

Colonel Washington ropaired to his bead- 


qnartera at Winchester. A few men onl7 
irere stationed there, the regiment being most* 
ly dispersed at different posts in the interior 
80 situated as to afford the best pcoteetion to 
the inhabitants. The enemy were on the 
alert Scaicely a day passed without new ac« 
counts of Indian depredations and massacres. 
The scouting parties and even the forts were 
attacked, and many of the soldiers and some 
of the bmvest officers killed. So bold were 
die savages, that they committed robberies' 
and murders within twenty miles of Winches- 
ter, and serious apprehensions were entertained 
for the safety of that place. 

Rumors were also circulated to the dtspar* 
agement of the army, charging the officers 
with gross irregularities and neglect of duty, 
and indirectly throwing the blame upon the 
commander. A malicious person filled a ga- 
zette with tales of this sort, which seemed for 
the moment to receive public countenance. 
Conscious of having acted with the utmost 
Tigilance, knowing the falsehood and wicked- 
ness of these slanders, and indignant at so 
base a manoeuvre to stain his character, it was 
his first impulse to retire from a station, in 
which patriotism, the purest intentions, hard- 
ships, and sacrifices, were rewarded only with 
calumny and reproach. 

lot LIFIS or WASHIMtiTON. fr]» 

This iotimation W9& vietred by bis frieiids 
in the Houss of Bm^eews aiid Ibe Council 
vitfa much eonoem, as their letters testiBed. 
Miagliog appiobetipa with retpoDstraoce, »sd 
pmis^ with «4vice, tbeyipsde sacb rqiraieiitaT 
tiopSf as it was Qot easy for hh& to disregud* 
" You caoiiDt but know/' said LanHioa Oaitsp, 
*<(bat nothing but want of power in your 
country * has preyent^ it fiooa adding ^very 
hofior an4 reward, U^at perfect merit could 
have entitled itself to. How are we gr|eT^ 
to hear Cojii^nel GeoBge lY^ldungton hinting to 
his country, that he is willing tp retire I Qirm 
me leave, as your intimate £rr^d, to persuadie 
you to forget, that any thing has b^an said to 
your dishonor ; and xecollact, that it could not 
have come from any man that knew you. 
And, as it niay have been the artifice of one 
in no estemi among your countrymen, to raise 
in you such unjust suspicions, as would induce 
you to desert the cause, that, bis own prefer- 
ment might me^t with no obstacie^ I am con- 
fident you will endeavor to give us the good 
effects, not only of duty, but of great cheer* 
fulness and satisfaction, Vft such a servica 
No, Sir, rather let Braddock's bed be your aim, 

^MeaiuDg by eountry the popular branch of the legis 
lature, or the people of Virginia general^. 

Mf.U,} UFS OF WA&H(|(G7^N. :103 

thao any thiiig thut might discolor Aoib.3 lau* 
lels, whicii I promi9e myself ar« kept in stm 
fi>r yoa«" Another friend wrote ; " From my 
constant attendance in the House, I can with 
great truth say, I never heard your conduct 
questioned. Whenever you are mentioned, it 
is with the greatest respect. Your orders and 
instructions appear in a light worthy of the 
most experienced officer. I can assuro you^ 
that a very great majority of the House prefer 
you to any other person." 

Colonel Fairfax, his early patron, and a 
memher of the governor's Council, wrote iu 
terma still more soothing. '^ Your endeavor^ 
in the service and defence of your country 
must redound to your honor ; therefore do not 
l«t any unavoidable interruptions sicken your 
mind in the attempts you may pursue. Your 
good health and fortune are the toa^t of every 
table. Among the Romans, 9uch a general 
acclamation and public regard, shown to any 
o( their chieftains, were always esteemed a 
iiigh honor, and gratefully accepted.'' The 
Speaker of the House of Burgesses expressed 
similar sentiments, in language equally flatter- 
ing and kind. " Our hopes, dear George, are 
all fixed on you for bringing our afOsdrs to a 
happy issue. Consider of what fatal conser 
qucnces to your country your resigning tho 


command at this time may be ; more especial- 
ly as there is no doubt most of the (Ulcers 
would follow your example. I hope you wiH 
allow your ruling passion, the love of your 
country, to stifle your resentment, at least till 
the arrival of Lord Loudoun, or the meeting id 
the Assembly, when you may be sure of hay- 
ing justice done. Who those of your pretend- 
ed friends are, who give credit to the malicious 
reflections in that scandalous libel, I assure 
you I am ignorant, and do declare, that I never 
heard any man of honor or reputation speak 
the least disrespectfully of you, or censure your 
conduct, and there is no well-wisher to his 
country, that would not be greatly concerned 
to hear of your resigning." 

The same solicitude was manifested by mar 
ny persons in different parts of the province. 
A voice so loud and so unanimous he could 
not refuse to obey. By degrees the plot was 
unravelled. The governor, being a Scotch- 
man, was surrounded by a knot of his Caledo- 
nian friends, who wished to profit by this alli- 
ance, and obtain for themselves a lai^er share 
of consideration, than they could command in 
the present order of things. The discontented, 
and such as thought their merits undervalued, 
naturally fell into this faction. To create dis- 
satisfaction in the army, and cause the officers 

iBr «.] LIFE or WASHINGTON. 100 

to resign from disgust, would not only distiaci 
the councils of the ruling party, but make room 
for new promotions. Colonel Innes, the gov- 
ernor's favorite, would ascend to the chief 
command, and the subordinate places would be 
reserved for his adherents. Hence false ru- 
mors were set afloat, and the pen of detraction 
-was busy to disseminate them. The artifice 
was easily seen through, and its aims were de- 
feated, by the leaders on the patriotic side. 
who looked to Colonel Washington as a pillar 
ef support to their cause. ^ 

lun LIFE or WASMINGfOIf. in 


Occurrencei of the Campatgn. — Incuraiooi of the Savages.— 
Plan of Fortifications for the Interior. — Port CamberlaDd. — 
Memoria! presenbed by Colonel Washington to the Bait of 
Loudoun on the State of MilUarj Aflaira in ViigiBta.— >G*t 
ernor Dinwiddie sails for England. — Au Czpeditiou against 
Fort Duquesne planned bj the British Ministrj, to be under 
the Con^mand of General Foibea.-— The Vtifinia Army m^ 
mented, and united with the Regular TroofM in this Enter- 

The campaign, beiog a defensive one, pn^ 
scnted no opportunities for acquiring glory ; 
but the demands on the resources and address 
of the commander were not the less pressing. 
The scene varied little from that of the pre- 
ceding year, except that the difficulties were 
more numerous and complicated. There were 
the same unceasing incursions of the savages, 
but more sanguinary and terrifying, the same 
tardiness in the enlistments, the same troubles 
with the militia, the same neglect in supplying 
the wants of the army ; and on every side were 
heard murmurs of discontent from the soldiers, 
and cries of distress from the inhabitants. 

And what increased these vexations was, 
that the governor, tenacious of his authority, 
intrusted as little power as possible to the head 
of the army. Totally unskilled in military 


mfiairs, and residing two hundred miles from 
the soeoe of action, he y^t undertook to regu- 
late the principal operations, sending expresses 
back and forth, and issuing vague and cotUrsr 
rfictory orders, seldom adapted to circumstan- 
ces, frequently impracdcabie. This absurd in- 
terference was borne with becoming patience 
and fortitude by tbeCommander*in-chief ; but 
not without keen remonstrance to the Speaker 
of the Assembly and other friends, against be- 
ing made responsible for military events, while 
the power to control them was withheldi or so 
heavily clogged as to paralyze its action. The 
patriotic party in the legislature sympathized 
with him, and would gladly have procured re« 
diesBj had not the governor possessed proroga^ 
tives, which they could not encroach upon, 
and which he seemed ambitious to exercise ; 
the more so,^rhaps, as the leaders of the ma- 
jority, learning his foible in this respect, had 
thwarted many of his schemes, and especially 
had assumed to themselves the appropriatieii 
of the public moneya. which by anetent usage 
bad been imder the difection of the governor 
and ConiieiL 

The summer and autumn were passed in 
iddrmishes with the Indians, repairing the dd 
forts, and building new ones. By the advice 
c£ Colonel Washington a large fort was begun 


at Winchester, as a depository for the militarj 
stores, and a rallying-point for the settlers and 
troops, should they be driven from the frontiers. 
It was called Fort Loudoun, in honor of the 
Earl of Loudoun, who had now succeeded 
General Shirley in the American command* 

Another enterprise of greater magnitude was 
likewise set on foot by order of the Assembly ; 
which was a line of forts extending through 
the ranges of the Allegany Mountains from the 
Potomac River to the borders of North Caro- 
lina, a distance of more than three hundred 
miles, thus forming a barrier to the whole fron- 
tier. The scheme was not liked by the gov* 
ernor. Colonel Washington disapproved it 
He objected, that the forts would be too far 
asunder to support each other, that the Indians 
might pass between them unmolested, that 
they would be expensive, and cause the troops 
to be so much dispersed as to prevent their 
being brought together on an emergency, thus 
tempting the enemy to come out in large par^ 
ties and attack the weaker points. He be- 
lieved, that three or four strong garrisons would 
constitute a better defence. In conformity 
with his instructions, however, he drew up a 
plan embracing a chain of twenty-three forts, 
and fixing their several positions. He sent ont 
parties to execute the works, and visited them 


himself from time to time. On one occasion 
he made a tour throughout the whole line to 
the southern limits of Virginia, exposed to im- 
minent danger from the savages, who hovered 
around the small forts, and lay in wait to inter^ 
cept and murder all who came in their way. 

In the midst of these toils, another source 
of vexation occurred in the affair of Fort 
Cumberland. As this was now an outpost ac- 
cessible to the enemy, easily assailed from the 
hills surrounding it, and containing a large 
quantity of stores, which required a guard of 
one hundred and fifty men, who might sudden- 
ly be cut off. Colonel Washington advised the 
removal of the stores to a safer position. The 
post was, moreover, in Maryland, and ought 
to be supported, if kept up at all, at the ex- 
pense of that colony. For some reason not 
explained, the governor had set his heart on 
retaining Fort Cumberland. He said it was a 
King's fort, and he wrote to Lord Loudoun in 
such terms, as to draw from him, not only a 
peremptory order to keep the fort, but an im- 
plied censure on the designs and conduct of 
Colonel Washington in regard to it. So far 
did the governor suffer his warmth and obsti- 
nacy to carry him, that he ordered Fort Cum- 
berland to be strengthened by calling in the 
smaller garrisons, and even drawing away the 


troops from Winchester, thus deranging the 
plan of operations, which the Assembly had 
aathorized, and which the whole army had 
been employed during the season to elTect. 

It is no wonder, that the commander's pa^ 
tience and equanimity began to forsake him. 
In a letter to the Speaker, he said ; " The late 
order reverses, confuses, and incommodes every 
thing ; to say nothing of the extraordinary ex- 
pense of carriage, disappointments, losses, and 
alterations, which must fall heavy on the coun* 
try. Whence it arises, or why, I am truly ig- 
norant ; but my strongest representations of 
matters relative to the peace of the frontiers 
are disregarded, as idle and frivolous; my 
propositions and measures, as partial and sel- 
fish ; and all my sincerest endeavors for the 
service of my country are perverted to the 
worst purposes. My orders are dark, doubtful, 
and uncertain ; to-day approved, to-morrow 
condemned. Left to act and proceed at hazard, 
accountable for the consequences, and blamed 
without the benefit of defence, if you can 
think my situation capable of exciting the 
smallest degree of envy, or affording the least 
satisfaction, the truth is yet hidden from you, 
and you entertain notions very different from 
the reality of the case. However, I am deter- 
mined to bear up under all these embarmss- 


ments some time longer, in hope of a better 
regulation on the arrival of Lord Loudoun, to 
whom I look for the future fate of Virginia. " 

The year was now dmwing to a close. As 
the Earl of Loudoun was expected soon in 
Virginia, Colonel Washington resolved to await 
his arrival, and lay before him a general expo* 
sition of the state of affairs, and, if possible, to 
have the Virginia troops put upon the regular 
ostablishment under the direction of his Lord- 
ship, as the only mode by which the command 
of them could be useful to his country, or 
honorable to himself. In anticipation of this 
event he drew up an able and luminous state- 
ment, which he transmitted to Lord Loudoun, 
then with the armies at the north. 

The paper begins with a modest apology for 
intruding upon his Lordship's notice, which is 
followed by a brief sketch of the history of 
the war in Virginia, and of the part acted in 
it by the author. With the discrimination of 
an acute observer and an experienced officer, 
ho traced a narrative of events, exposed the 
errors that had been committed and their con- 
sequences, both in the civil and military de- 
partments, explained their causes, and sug- 
gested remedies for the future. The commu- 
nication was favorably received, and acknowl- 
edged ia a complimentary reply. 


Lord Loudonn did not execute his first pur- 
pose of going to Virginia, but summoned a 
meeting of several governors and principal 
officers at Philadelphia, to consult on a com- 
prehensive plan for the next campaign. Col* 
onel Washington attended the meeting, where 
he met with a flattering reception from the 
Commander-in-chief, who solicited and duly 
valued his counsels. The result, however, 
was only a partial fulfilment of his hopes. In 
the grand scheme of operations it was decided, 
that the main efforts should be made on the 
Lakes and Canada borders, where the enemy's 
forces were embodied, and that the middle and 
southern colonies should continue in a defen- 
sive posture. He had the satisfaction to find, 
.nevertheless, that his advice was followed in 
regard to local arrangements. The Virginia 
troops were withdrawn from Fort Cumberland, 
which was left to the charge of Maryland. 
Colonel Stanwix was stationed in the interior 
of Pennsylvania, with five companies from the 
Royal American Regiments; and, although 
the Virginia commander was unsuccessful in 
his endeavors to be placed upon the British 
establishment, yet, in conformity with his 
wishes, he was to act in concert with that 
oflicer, and be in some sort under his orders. 

He strenuously recommended an expeditimi 


mr.t5.} LIFE OF WASHII^GTON. 113 

against Fort Daqnesne, believing it might bo 
effected with a certainty of success, since the 
French must necessarily leave that garrison in 
a weak condition, in order to concentrate their 
force at the north to meet the formidable prejy- 
arations making against them in that quarter. 
The wisdom of this advice was afterwards 
manifest to all ; and, had it been seasonably 
heeded, it would have saved the expense of 
wiother campaign, besides preventing the rav- 
ages and murders committed in the mean time 
on the border settlers. In these views, if not 
in others, he had the hearty conciurrence of 
Governor Dinwiddie. 

From the conference at Philadelphia he re- 
turned to his usual station at Winchester. The 
remainder of the season was passed in a rou- 
tine of duties so nearly resembling those of 
the two preceding years, as to afford little nov- 
elty or interest for a separate recital. Em- 
boldened by successes, the Indians continued 
their hostilities, attacking the outfiosts, and 
killing the defenceless inhabitants. In short, 
the service had nothing in it to reward gener- 
ous sacrifices, or gratify a noble ambition. As 
a school of experience it ultimately proved 
advantageous to him. It was his good for- 
tune, likewise, to gain honor and reputation 
even in so barren a field, by retaining. the con- 

VOL. L 6q 


fideiice of his fellow citizens^ and fulfilling 
the expectations of bis friends in the legisla- 
ture, who had pressed upon him the coEiikiaadi 
and urged his holding it. 

But the fatigue of body and mind, which 
lie suffered from the severity of bis labors, 
gradually undermined his strength, and his 
physician insisted on his retiring from the ar- 
my. He went to Mount Yernon, where his 
disease settled into a fever, and reduced him 
so low, that he was confined four months, till 
the 1st of March, 1758, before he was able to 
resume his command. 

Governor Dinwiddie sailed for England in 
the month of January. His departure was 
not regretted. However amiable in his social 
relations, however zealous in the disehai^e of 
his public trusts, he failed to win the hearts, 
or command the respect, of the people. Least 
of all was he qualified to transact military af- 
fairs. His whole course of conduct was mark- 
ed with a confusion, uncertainty, and way- 
wardness, which caused infinite perplexity to 
the commander of the Virginia troops. Every 
one regarded the change as salutary to the in- 
terests of the colony. His place was filled for 
a short time by John Blair, President of the 
Council, till the arrival of Francis Fauquier, 
the next governor. The Earl of Loudoua 


had bePMi oommissioned as successor to Gov- 
ernor Diawiddioi but his military occupations 
at the north prevented his entering upon the 
duties of the office. 

A brighter prospect now opened to Colonel 
Washington. As soon as his health was re- 
stored, he went back to the army ; and from 
that time met with a hearty cooperation in all 
his measmres. He was happy to find, also, 
that his early and constant wishes were at last 
to be realized by a combined expedition to the 
Ohio. New energy had been recently infused 
in the British councils by the accession of 
Mr. Pitt to the ministry. That statesman, al- 
ways guided by an enlarged policy, always 
friendly to the colonies, and understanding 
their condition and importance much better 
than his predecessors, resolved on a vigorous 
prosecution of the war in America. One of 
his first acts was a plan for the campaign of 
1758, in which offensive operations were to 
be pursued throughout the frontiers. General 
Forbes was appointed to take command of an 
expedition against Fort Duquesne. To pre- 
pare the way, Mr. Pitt, knowmg the temper of 
the people, and profiting by the mistakes here- 
tofore committed, wrote a circular letter to the 
colonies most nearly concerned, and requested 
their united aid on such terms, as were acceded 


to With alacrity^ and carried into ^eet with 
promptitude and spirit. He proposed that al* 
the colonial troops should be supplied with 
arms, ammunition, tents, and provisions, at the 
King's charge ; leaving to the colonies no other 
expense, than that of levying, clothing, and 
paying the men. It was moreover stipulated, 
that the provincial officers, when joined with 
the King's troops, should hold rank according 
to their commissions. Had this wise and equi- 
table policy been put in practice three years 
before, it would have given a very different 
aspect to the war in America, by diminishing 
the heavy burdens of the people, promoting 
harmony and good feeling, producing content- 
ment among the troops, and drawing out the 
resources and strength of the country in a 
more effectual manner. 

The Virginia Assembly met, and immedi- 
ately comfdied with the requisitions of the 
minister, augmenting their army to two thou- 
sand men, offering a bounty for enlistments, 
and placing the whole under the general direc- 
tion of the commander of his Majesty's forces, 
for the express purpose of marching against 
Fort Duqaesne. They were divided into two 
regiments. The first was under Colonel Wash- 
ington, who was likewise commander-in-chief 
of all the Virginia troops as before* At the 

J&T.f6.] L1»E^ OF WAJ^HINGTON 117 

head of tho second regiment was Colonel Byrd. 
As General Forbes was detained at Philadel- 
phia several weeks, Colonel Bouquet was sta- 
tioned in the central parts of Pennsylvania 
with the advanced division of regular troops, 
to which the provincicds joined themselves as 
fast as they were ready. To fix on a uniform 
plan of action, and make the necessary arrange- 
ments, Colonel Washington had an interview 
at Conococheague with that oflScer, and with 
Sir John St Clair, quartermaster-general of the 
combined army. He also visited Williams* 
bui^, to advise with the President and Council 
respecting many essential points ; for he was 
not only obliged to perform his military duties, 
but to suggest to the civil authorities the prop- 
er modes of proceeding in relation to the army, 
and press upon them continually the execution 
of the laws, and the fulfilment of the pledges 
contained in the recent acts of the Assembly. 
The arrival of Governor Fauquier had a favor- 
able influence ; as he warmly espoused the in- 
terests of the colony, and showed a friendly 
regard for the commander of its troops, as well 
as a just deference to his opinions. 



Colonel Washioston marchei to Fort CamberUnd. -» Acta m 
Concert with Colonel Boaquet — Joins the main Array at Raij0- 
lown onder General PortMa. ^Fomsa Plan of March anitad 
to the Mountaioa and Woods. — Conmaoda the advaaoed Di^ 
Tiaion of the Army. — Capture of Fort Duquesne. — He returns 
to Virginia, reaigna hia Commiaaion, and retlrea to pnvate Lifb* 

For 8omo time Colonel Washiogtoa was ac- 
tively employed at Winchester, in cdlecting 
and training the newly enlisted men, calling; 
in the parries from the siliall forts and saj^ly- 
ing their places with drafted militia, engaging 
wagons and horses, and putting all things ia 
readiness to march. There was much delay, 
and the soldiers began to be disorderly from 
inaction, and the inhabitants of the vicinity 
to murmur at the pressure laid upon them fot 
provisions and other supplies. A party of 
Cherokee Indians, who had been tempted tc 
join the expedition, with the prospect of rich 
presents from the King's stores, came forward 
so early, that they grew weary, discontented^ 
and troublesome, and finally most of tbeia 
went off in a fit of ill-humor. 

It was a day of joy to him, therefore, when 
he received orders to march the Virginia regi- 
ments from Winchester to Fort Cumberland* 

jBr.ti.] Lrrc or Washington. 119. 

'niis vrm effected by deCaebmenta, which 9X 
the same time cohered the convoys of wagons 
and paekhoises. The whole arrived at Fort 
Cnmberland early in July, except a small 
guaid left at Fort Londoun to protect and pros* 
ecute the works at that place. Lieutenaot- 
Colonel Stephen had proceeded by another 
rente through a part of Pennsylvania, with six 
companies of the first regiment, and joined 
Colonel Bonqaet at Raystown, thirty miles 
from Fort Cumberland, and the bead-Hjuarlers 
of the combined army. Both regiments, ii>- 
chiding officers and privates, amounted to 
about eighteen hundred men. The illness of 
General Forbes detained him long on the way 
from Philadelphia. During this time Colonel 
Washington continned at Fort Cumberland, 
and his troops were employed, some as scout- 
ing parties, and others in opening a new road 
to Raystown and repairing the old one towards 
the Great Meadows. 

He resorted to an expedient, which proved 
highly beneficial to the service. *^ My men 
are bare of regimental clothing," said he, in a 
letter to Colonel Bouquet, ''and I have no 
prospect of a supply. So fiaur from regretting 
this want during the present campaign, if I 
were left to pursue my own inclinations, I 
would not only order the men to adopt the 

120 LIFE or WASHINGTOIV. £1739 

Indiao dress, but cause the officers to do it 
also, and be the first to set the example my- 
seld Nothing but the uncertainty of obtain- 
ing the general approbation causes me to hesi- 
tate a moment to leave my regimentals at this 
place, and proceed as light as any Indian in 
the woods. It is an unbecoming dress, I own ; 
but convenience, rather than show, I think 
should be consulted." He equipped in an In- 
dian dress two companies, which had been or- 
dered to advance to the main body ; and it wbs 
so much approved by Colonel Bouquet, that 
he encouraged the army to adopt it. *' The 
dress," he replied, " takes very well here. We 
see nothing but shirts and blankets. It should 
be our pattern in this expedition." Its light- 
ness and convenience were suited to tlie heat 
of summer, and it saved expense and trouble. 
He had been but a few days at Fort Cum- 
berland, when he learned with great surprise, 
that General Forbes was hesitating as to the 
route he should pursue in crossing the moun- 
tains to Fort Duquesne. The road, over which 
General Braddock marched, was the only one 
that had been cut through the wilderness for 
the passage of wagons and artillery ; and, as 
its construction had cost immense toil, it seem- 
ed incredible that any other route should be 
attempted, or even thought of, so late in the] LIFE OF WASHINGTON. 121 

season. His sentiments being asbed he ex* 
pressed them in the most nnreservcd manner, 
and with a cogency of argument, that could 
have been set aside only by a determination 
on the part of the general, arising from mo« 
tives foreign to the absolute merits of the case. 
Colonel Bouque\, who participated in the gen* 
eral's views, desired a consultation with Wash* 
ington on the subject. '^ Nothing," said he, 
^* can exceed your generous dispositions for the 
service. I see, with the utmost satisfaction, 
that you are above the influences of prejudice, 
and ready to go heartily where reason and 
judgment shall direct. I wish sincerely that 
we may all entertain one and the same opin* 
ion; therefore I desire to have an interview 
with yon at the houses built half way between 
our camps." This proposal was acceded to, 
and the matter was deliberately discussed. 

It was represented by Colonel Washington, 
that a great deal of pains had been taken for* 
merly by the Ohio Company, with the aid of 
traders and Indians, to ascertain the most prac* 
ticable route to the western country ; that the 
one from Will's Creek was selected as far pref* 
erable to any other ; that a road had accord- 
ingly been made, over which Genera] Brad* 
dock's army had passed ; and that this road 
required but slight repairs to put it in good 

122 LIFE or WASHINGTON. (1758 

condition. Even if anotheir route could be 
found; he thought the experiment a hazardous 
one at so advanced a stage in the season, as it 
would retard the operations, and, he feared, 
inevitably defeat the objects, of the campaigD, 
and defer the capture of Fort Duquesne to an- 
other year. Such a result w6uld dishearten 
the colonies, which had made extraordinary 
efforts to raise men and money for the present 
enterprise, with the full expectation of its sue- 
cess ; it would moreover embolden the south- 
ern Indians, already disafGected, who would 
seize the opportunity to comtnit new hostilities, 
thereby distressing the inhabitants, strength- 
ening the enemy, and adding to the difficulty 
of a future conquest. But^ admitting it possi- 
ble, that a new road could be made from Rays* 
town through Pennsylvania, yet no advantage 
could be derived from it, that did not actually 
exist in an equal or greater degree in Brad- 
dock's Road. Forage for the horses was abun- 
dant in the meadows bordering the latter ; the 
streams were fordable, and the defiles easy to 
be passed. 

These reasons, so obvious and forcible, did 
not change the purpose of the general, who, 
it was believed, had been influenced by the 
Pennsylvanians to construct a new road, which 
would be a lasting benefit to that piovitice, by 


Opening a mote direct dbannel of intercourse 
with the West. Colonel Bouquet, of course, 
adh^ed to the yiews q[ his general* 

There was another project, which Colonel 
Washington disapproved, and which bis advice 
prevailed to counteract. The general propos* 
ed to march the army in two divisions, one 
by Braddock's Road, the other directly from 
Raystown, making the road as it advanced. 
To this scheme he strenuously objected. Di* 
viding the army would weaken it, and the 
roates were so fiur apart, without any means of 
conmiunication between the two, that one di- 
vision conld not succor the other in case of an 
attack ; and it was certain the enemy would 
take advantage of such an oversight. Againi 
if the division marching first should escort the 
convoy and be driven back, there Would be a 
perilous risk of losing the stores and artillery, 
and of bringing total ruin npon the expedition. 
In short, every mischief, that could befall a- 
divided army, acting against the concentrated 
fovea of an enemy, was to be apprehended. 
The project was laid aside. 

His opinion was Ukewise desired, as to the 
best mode of advancing by deposits. He made 
an estimate, on the supposition of marching 
by Braddoek's Road, in which it was shown, 
that the whole army might be at Fort Du- 


qaesne in thirty-four days, and hare then on 
hand a supply of provisions for eighty-seven 
days. Perceiving Colonel Bouquet's bias in 
favor of the general's ideas, he could scarcely 
hope his suggestions would be received. So 
strong were his fears for the fate of the expe- 
dition, that he wrote in moving terms to 
Major Halket, his former associate in Brad- 
dock's army, and now one of Geperal Forbes's 

^' I am just retuizied/' said he, " from a con« 
ference with Colonel Bouquet. I find him 
fixed, I think I may say unalterably fixed, to 
lead you a new way to the Ohio, through a 
road, every inch of which is to be cut at this 
advanced season, when we have scarce time 
left to tread the beaten track, universally con« 
fessed to be the best passage through the 

" If Colonel Bouquet succeeds in this point 
with the geneial, all is lost, — all is lost in- 
deed, — our enterprise will be mined, and we 
shall be stopped at the Laurel Hill this winter ; 
but not to gather laurels^ except of the kind 
that covers the mountains. The southern 
Indians will turn against us, and these colo- 
nies will be desolated by such an accession to 
the enemy's strength. These must be the 
consequences of a miscarriage ; and a miscar- 


riage 18 the almost necessary consequence of 
an attempt to march the army by this new 
route. I haye given my reasons at large to 
Colonel Bouquet He desired that I would do 
80y that he might forward them to the gene« 
ral. Should this happeui you will be able to 
judge of their weight. 

'* I am uninfluenced by prejudice, having no 
hopes or fears but for the general good. Of 
this you may be assured, and that my sincere 
sentiments are spoken on this occasion.'' 

These representations were vain. Colonel 
Bouquet was ordered to send forward parties 
to work upon the new road. Si± weeks had 
been expended in this arduous labor, when 
Gieneral Forbes reached the camp at Rays* 
town, about the middle of September. Forty- 
five miles only had been gained by the ad« 
vanced party, then constructing a fort at Loyal 
Hanna, the main army still being at Rays- 
town, and the lai^r part of the Virginia 
troops at Fort Cumberland. At that moment 
the whole army might have been before the 
walls of Fort Duquesne, if they had marched 
fis advised by Washington. An easy victory 
would have ensued; for it was ascertained, 
that the French at that time, including In- 
dians, numbered not more than eight hundred 


men. Under General Foiifes six thomaiid 
were in the field. 

In reporting these facts to the Speaker of 
the Virgioia Assembly, Colonel Washington 
eaid ; *^ See, therefore, how our time has been 
misspent. Behold how the golden opportuni* 
ty has been lost, perhaps never more to be r»- 
gained ! How is it to be accounted for ? Can 
Geneml Forbes have orders feff this? Impos- 
sible. Will, then, our iojored oonntry pass by 
such abuses ? I hope not. Rather let a fiiU 
representation of the matter go to his Majesty. 
Let him know how grossly his glory and in- 
terest, and the publie money, are prostitated.'' 
About this time occurred the ill concerted and 
unfortunate advenmre under Major Grant, wko 
was suffered to push forward. to the very doors 
of the enemy a light detachment, which was 
attacked, cut up, and routed, and be and his 
principal officers were taken prisoners. 

These proceedings, and the counsels by 
which General Foibes seemed to be guided, 
were so unsatisfactory to the Virginia House 
of Burgesses, and gave so discouraging a pre- 
sage of the future, that they resolved to recall 
their troops, and place them on their own fron** 
tier. But, when it was known, from subset 
quent intelligence, that the expedition was in 
progress, and foreseen that its failure might be 

jftf.fS.] Lire QW WASHIWCTOn. 127 

aaoiibed to ibb withdrawing of ths Tirgiaia 
TOgimentSi and periuqps be actuailjr oaosed by 
mch a measuie, they leFoked their lesolvvs^ 
and extended the term of service to the end 
pf the year* 

General Forbes had no sooner taken the com^ 
mand in pemon at Raystown, than ha called to 
head^quarters Colonel Washington, who was 
Mlowed by those companies of his regimeotS) 
which had been posted at Port Oianberland. 
Notwithstanding the stoenuoiis tippositiott be 
hud noniiested to the plans of opentioni as aii 
act of duty, while they were m suspense, he 
auppressed his faeliags and subdued his relnC'^ 
tance, from the same motive, the momeat they 
were decided upon, and he then engaged 
heartily in promoting their execution. If he 
was mortified at the little attention hitherto 
paid to his advice, he was compeDBated by the 
defbrence now shown to his opimDns aad 
judgment. He attended the couneiis of war, 
and was consulted upon every important nieas^ 
ore by the general, at whose request he drew 
up a line of march and order of battle^ by 
which the army conld advance with ficility 
and safety through the woods. The fate of 
Braddock, and its causes, were too deeply im* 
pressed on General Forbes's mind to be ibr« 
gotten or disregarded. Unaccustomed to this 


mode of warfare, more wise and less coofident 
than his predecessor, he was glad to seek the 
aid of one, whose knowledge and experience 
would be available, where valor might waste 
its efforts in vain, and discipdine and strength 
be ensnared by the artifices of a crafty ibe. 

Several weeks previously, when the fimt 
detachments began to march, Colonel Wadi* 
ington requested to be pat in the advance. 
Alluding to the troops, which were to compose 
the first party, he wrote to Colonel Bouquet ; 
^'I pray your interest, most sincerely, with the 
general, to get myself and my regiment in- 
cluded in the number. If any argument is 
needed to obtain this fiivor, I hope without 
vanity I may be allowed to say, that, firom 
long intimacy with these woods, and frequent 
scouting in them, my men are at least as wdl 
acquainted with all the passes and difficulties 
as any troops that will be employed." The 
request was now complied with. He received 
General Forbes's orders to march with bis regi- 
ment ; and at Loyal Hanna he was placed at 
the head of a division, or brigade, amounting 
to one thousand m^n, who were to move in 
front of the main army, and to act as pioneers 
in clearing the road, keei»ng out scouts and 
patrolling guards to prevent a surprise, and 
throwing up intrenchments at proper stations 

JEt.16.] life or WASHINGTON. 129 

as a secnrity to the deposits of provisions. 
While in this command, he had the temporary 
rank of brigadier. 

The month of November had set in, before* 
General Forbes, with the artillery and main 
body of the army, arrived at Loyal Haima. 
The road was extremely bad, and difficulties 
without number interposed at every step to 
cause delays, discouragement, and suffering. 
The season of frost had come, and the sum- 
mits of the hills were whitened with snow. 
It was no wonder that the spirits of the sol- 
diers should flag, scantily clothed and fed, as 
they were, and encountering hardships from 
want, exposure, and incessant labor. More 
than fifty miles, through pathless and rugged 
wilds, still intervened between the army and 
Fort Duquesne. A council of war was held, 
and it was decided to be unadvisable, if not 
impracticable, to prosecute the campaign any 
further till the next season, and that a winter 
encampment among the mountains, or a re- 
treat to the frontier settlements, was the only 
alternative that remained. Thus far ali the 
anticipations of Washington had been realized. 

A mere accident, however, which happened 
just at this crisis, turned the scale of fortune, 
and brought hope out of despair. Three pris- 
oners were taken, who gave such a report of 

VOL. I. 7 


the weak state of the garrison, at Fort Da* 
quesne, that the council reversed their decisr 
ion, and resolved to hazard an effort, which 
iield out a possibility of success, and in any 
event could be scarcely more ruinous than the 
alternative first proposed. Henceforward the 
march was pursued without tents or heavy 
baggage, and with only a light train of ar- 
tillery. The troops, animated by the ejEam- 
ple of the officers, performed their tasks with 
renovated ardor and alacrity. Washington re- 
sumed his command in front, attending peraoa* 
ally to the cutting of the road, establishing 
deposits of provisions, and preparing the way 
for the main army. '^ 

No material event occurred till the 85th of 
November, when General Forbes took posses- 
sion of Fort Duquesne, or rather the place 
where it had stood. The enemy, reduced in 
number to about five hundred men, and de* 
serted by the Indians, had abandoned the fort 
the day before, set fire to it, and gone down 
the Ohio in boats. Thus ended an expeditioni 
in which more than six thousand men had 
been employed for five months. Rejoiced that 
their toils were over, the troops fprgot their 
sufferings ; and the people of the middle prov* 
inces, who had murmured loudly at the dilato- 
ry manner in which the campaign had been 

Mr.%.} ' LfFB OP WASHINGTON. 131 

earned on, vren contented with tbe imie in 
this consummation of their wishes. The eon* 
tinned iUness of Oeneral Forbes had perhaps 
operated unfavorably. He was esteemed a' 
worthy and braTo man, possessiog eminent 
military talents. Worn down with infirmities, 
which had been increased by the fatigues of 
the campaign, he died a few weeks afterwards 
al Philadelphia. 

The lateness of the season rendered it im- 
possibfo, that the Freneh should attempt to re^ 
cover the ground they had lost be&re the next 
yaar. It was necessary, however, that a small 
garrison should be left there, as well to retain 
poasesskMn of the post, as to keep the Indians 
in cheek and win their allianee* Two hun**' 
drsd of the Yiigima troops were detached Ibr 
this senrioe, by the express order of the geaer* 
al, but against the remmistranees of their conn 
mander, who thought they had performed their 
fidl share <tf duty. Cteneial Foibes said he 
bed no authority to leave any of tbe King's 
fosces for that purpose, and tbe place was then 
onderstood to be within the jurisdiction of Vir- 
ginia. This latter circumstance was probably 
the rsaaon, why the task of defence was not 
assigned to the Pennsylvanians, The French 
name of the fort was changed to Fart Piit^ 
in honor of the minister by whose couosels 


the expedition for captoriDg it had been ander- 

On his return, Colonel Washington stopped 
a short time at Loyal Hanna, where he wrote 
a circular letter to the frontier inhabitants, 
requesting them to take out provisions to the 
men at the fort, who would be in great dis- 
tress if not immediately supplied, and promis- 
ing a liberal compensation for every thing that 
should thus be furnished. He then proceed- 
ed by way of Mount Temon to Williamsbnig. 
The remainder of his troops marched to Win- 
chester, where they went into winter quarters. 

For some months it had been his determina- 
tion, if this campaign should prove snccessful, 
to retire from his command at its close. By 
gaining possession of the Ohio, the great ob- 
ject of the war in the middle colonies was ac- 
complished; and, as he had abandoned the 
idea of making any further attempts to be uni- 
ted to the British establishment, there was no 
prospect of rising higher in the military line ; 
so that neither his duty as a citizen, nor his 
ambition as a soldier, operated any longer to 
retain him in the service. The one had been 
faithfully discharged, the other had yielded to 
the force of circumstances, and to the visions 
of the tranquil enjoyments of private life, 
which now opened upon his mind. After set- 


tling all hiB poUie accoimts, tber^ie, he re- 
signed his commission the last week in De- 
cember, baring been actively and almost un* 
interruptedly engaged in the service of his 
country more than five years. 

On this occasion he received from the offi- 
cers, who had served under him, a testimony 
of their attachment, which must have been as 
grateful to his feelmgs, as it was honorable to 
his character. They sent him an address, 
written in camp, expressive of the satisfaction 
they had derived from his conduct as com- 
mander, the sincerity of his friendship, and his 
afiable demeanor; and of the high opinion 
they entertained of his military talents, patri- 
otism, and private virtues. 

The events of this war had a more impor- 
tant influence on the life 'and character of 
Washington, than might at first be supposed. 
They proved to him and to the world his men- 
tal resources, courage, fortitude, and power 
over the will and actions of others. They 
were in fact a school of practical knowledge 
and discipline, qualifying him for the great 
work in which he was to be engaged at a fu- 
ture day. The duties of his station at the 
head of the Virginia troops, and the difficulties 
he had to contend with during an active war- 
fare of five years, bore a strong resemblance to 



those, that d«Tolved on him as GommandeMiH 
chief of the Americati armies in the RevoliH 
tion. They differed in magnitude, and in the 
ends to be attained ; bat it will be seen, as we 
proceed, that they were analogous in many 
striking particuhia, and that the former were 
an essential prepaiation for the latter. 

At. 16.] L1FB or WA9HIK6TOA. 135 


WMhmctoii'i M«rriag«.— For many Teant t Member of Uie Vir 
ginia Hoiue of Burgesfoo.— flis Pnnaita and Habits as a Plaxi' 
ter.^ A VestiTman in the Church, and active in Parish Afiaire. 
-* His Opiiuoa of the Stamp Act ^lUee an early and decided 
Staad againet the Coene panned by the British Government 
toward! the Coloniea. — ApproToa the If on-importation Agree 

In the course of the preceding year. Colonel 
Wa^ington had paid his addresses saccessful- 
I7 to Mrs. Martha Custis, to whom he was 
married on the 6th of January, 1759. This 
lady was three months younger than himself, 
widow of John Parke Custis, and distinguish** 
ed alike for her beauty, accomplishments, and 
wealth. She was the daughter of John Dan* 
dridge. At the time of her second marriage 
she had two children, a son and daughter, the 
former six years old, the latter four. Mr. 
Custis had left large landed estates in New 
Kent County, and forty-five thousand pounds 
sterling in money. One third part of this 
property she held in her own right, the other 
two thirds being equally divided between her 

By this maniage an accession of more than 
one hundred thousand dollars was made to 



Colonel Washington's fortune, which was al- 
read7 considerable in the estate at Mount Ter- 
non, and other lands which he had selected 
during his surveying expeditions and obtained 
at different times. To the management of his 
extensive private affairs his thoughts were now 
turned. He also took upon himself the guar- 
dianship of Mrs. Washington's two childreUi 
and the care of their property, which trust he 
discharged with all the faithfulness and assidu- 
ity of a father, till the son became of age, and 
till the daughter died in her nineteenth year. 
This union was in every respect felicitous. It 
continued forty years. To her intimate ac- 
quaintances and to the nation, the character of 
Mrs. Washington was ever a theme of praise. 
Affable and courteous, exemplary in her deport- 
ment, remarkable for her deeds of charity and 
piety, unostentatious and without vanity, she 
adorned by her domestic virtues the sphere of 
private life, and filled with dignity every sta 
tion in which she was placed. 

While engaged in the last campaign. Colonel 
Washington had been elected a representative 
to the House of Burgesses, in Virginia, from 
Frederic County. Having determined to quit 
the military line, and being yet inclined to 
serve his country in a civil capacity, this 
choice of the people was peculiarly gratifying 


to him. As this was the first time he had 
been proposed for the popular suffrages, his 
friends ui^ed him to leave the army for a few- 
days, and repair to Winchester, where the 
election was to be held. But, regarding his 
duties in the field as outweighing every other 
consideration, he remained at his post, and the 
election was carried without his personal soli- 
citation or influence. There were four candi- 
dates, and he was chosen by a Urge majority 
over all his competitors. The success was 
beyond his most sanguine anticipations. 

He did not establish himself at Mount Yer- 
DOD till three months after his marriage, but 
continued at Williamsburg, or in the vicinity 
of that place, probably arranging the affairs of 
Mrs. Washington's estate. At the same time 
there was a session of the House of Burgesses, 
which he attended. It was during this session, 
that an incident occurred, which has been 
graphically described by Mr. Wirt. "By a 
vote of the House, the Speaker, Mr. Robinson, 
was directed to return their thanks to Colonel 
Washington, on behalf of the colony, for the 
distinguished military services which he had 
rendered to his country. As soon as Colonel 
Washington took his seat, Mr. Robinson, in 
obedience to this order, and following the im- 
pulse of his own generous and grateful heart, 


discharged the duty with gieat dignity, but 
with such warmth of coloring and strength ct 
expression, as entirely confounded the yonng 
hero. He rose to express his acknowledg- 
ments for the honor ; but such was bis trap- 
dation and confusion, that he could not give 
distinct utterance to a single syllable. He 
blushed, stammered, and trembled for a aeo^ 
ond; when the Speaker relieved him by a 
stroke of address, that would have done honor 
to Louis the Fourteenth in his fvoudest and 
happiest moment. ' Sit down, Mr. Washing- 
ton,' said he, with a conciliating smile ; ' your 
modesty equals your valor ; and that surpasses 
the power of any language that I possess.' " * 
From this time till the beginning of the 
Revolution, a period of fifteen years, Washing- 
ton was constantly a member of the House of 
Burgesses, being returned by a large majority 
of votes at every election. For seven years 
he represented, jointly with another delegate, 
the County of Frederic, and afterwards the 
County of Fairfax, in which he resided. There 
were commonly two sessions in a year, and 
sometimes three. It appears, from a record left 
in his handwriting, that he gave his attend- 
ance punctually, and from the beginning te 

*Lire of Patrick Heniy, 3d editioo, p. 45. 

iBT.f7-aL] LIFE or WASHINGTON. 139 

the end of almost every sefision. It was a 
maxim with him through life, to execute 
ponctaaUy and thoroughly every diarge which 
be undertodt:. 

His infloeiice in pnblic bodies was jirodnoed 
more by the soundness of his judgment, his 
quick perceptions, and his directness and un- 
deviating sincerity, than by eloquence or art 
in recommending his opinions. He seldom 
spoke, never hamngned, and it is not known 
that he ever made a set speech, or entered into 
a stormy debate. But his attention was at all 
times awake. He studied profoundly the 
prominent topics of discussion, and, whenever 
occasion required, was prepared to deliver his 
sentiments clearly, and to act with decision 
and firmness. 

After suitable preparations had been made, 
he retired with Mrs. Washington to the charm- 
ing retreat at Mount Yemon, resolved to de- 
vote his remaining years to the pursuit of ag^ 
ricultnre, with no higher aims than to increase 
his fortune, cultivate the social virtues, fulfil 
bis duties as a citizen, and sustain in its ele- 
vated dignity and worth the character of a 
country gentleman. For this sphere he was 
extremely well fitted, both by his tastes and 
his habits of business. In all the scenes of 
his public career, even when his renown was 

140 LIFE OF WASHIHGT019. [11E69-17S1 

the highest, and he was the most actively en* 
gaged in great afiairs^ there was no subject 
upon which his mind dwelt with so lively an 
interest and pleasure as on that of agriculture. 
Nor was there ever a moment, when his 
thoughts would not recur to his tranquil home 
at Mount Yemon, as the seat of his purest 
happiness, or when he would uot have return* 
ed to it with unfeigned delight. 

The occupation of a Virginia planter before 
the Revolution afforded little variety of inci* 
dents. Few modes of existence could be 
more monotonous. The staple product, par- 
ticularly in the lower counties, was tobacco, 
to the culture of which Washington chiefly 
directed his care. This be exported to Lon- 
don for a market, making the shipments in his 
own name, and putting the tobacco on board 
vessels, which came up the Potomac River to 
his mansion at Mount Vernon, or to such other 
points as were most convenient. He had also 
correspondents in Bristol and Liverpool, to 
whom he sometimes consigned tobacco. 

In those days, it was the practice of the 
Virginia plantei-s to import directly from Lon- 
don all the articles of common use. Twice a 
year Washington forwarded lists of such arti- 
cles to his agent, comprising not only the 
necessaries and conveniences for household 


purpoeesi ploughs, hoes, spades, scythes, and 
other implements of agriculture, saddles, bri- 
dles, and harness for his horses, but likewise 
every article of wearing apparel for himself 
and the different members of his family, spe- 
cifying the names of each, and the ages of 
Mrs. Washington's two children, as well as the 
size, description, and quality of the several ar- 
ticles. He required his agent to send him, in 
addition p> a general bill of the whole, the 
original vouchers of the shopkeepers and me- 
chanics, from whom purchases had been made. 
So particular was he in these concerns, that 
for many years he recorded with his own 
hand, in books prepared for the purpose, all the 
long lists of orders, and copies of the multifa- 
rious receipts from the different merchants and 
tradesmen, who had supplied the goods. In 
this way he kept a perfect oversight of the 
business, ascertained the prices, could detect 
any imposition, mismanagement, or careless- 
ness, and tell when any advantage was taken 
of him even in the smallest matter, of which, 
when discovered, he did not fail to remind his 
correspondents the next time he wrote. 

During the whole of this period, in short 
his industry was equal to liis enterprise in 
business. His daybooks, legers, and letter 
books were all kept by himself; nor does it 


appear, that he was in the habit, on any oc- 
casion, of resorting to the aid of a clerk or 
secretary. He usually drew up his con- 
tracts, deeds, and other papers, requiring legal 
knowledge and accuracy. It was a rule with 
him, in private as well as public transac- 
tions, not to rely on others for what he could 
do himself. 

Although his pursuits were those of a re^ 
tired farmer, yet he was by no mean% secluded 
from social intercourse with persons of inteili'* 
genee and refinement. During the periods ef 
his attending the House of Boigesses at Wil- 
liamsburg, he met on terms of intimacy the 
eninent men of Virginia, who, in imitation of 
(he governors (sometimes noblemen, and al- 
ways from the higher ranks of English socie- 
ty), lived in a style of magnificence, which 
has long since passed away, and given place 
to the republican simplicity of modern times. 
He was a frequent visiter at Annapolis, the 
seat of government in Maryland, renowned as 
the resort of the polite, wealthy, and fashion- 
able. At Mount Yemon he returned the 
civilities he had received, and practised, on a 
large and generous scale, the hospitality for 
which the southern planters have ever been 
distinguidied. When he was at home, a day 
seldom passed without the company of fricDds 

iBr.tT-at.1 LIFE OP WASHINGTON. 143 

or strangers at his house. In his diaries the 
names of those visiters are often mentioned, 
and we find among them the goTemors of 
Yii^inia and Maryland, and nearly all the cel- 
ebrated men of the southern and middle colo*- 
nies, who were at that time and afterwards 
conspicuous in the history of the country. 

One of his nearest neighbors was Greorge 
Mason, of Gunston Hall, a man possessing re* 
markable intellectual powers, deeply conver 
aant with political science, and thoroughly 
versed in the topics of dispute then existing 
between England and America. Lord Fairfax 
was also a constant guest at Mount Yemon, 
who, although eccentric in his habits, possess* 
ed a cultivated mind, social qualities, and a 
perfect knowledge of the world. To these 
may be added a large circle of relatives and 
acquaintances, who sought his society, and to 
whom his house was always open. 

Washington had a relish for amusements. 
In his earlier years, as we have seen, he was 
fond of athletic sports, and feats of agility 
and strength. When he was at Williamsbui^ 
or Annapolis, he commonly attended the the* 
mtrical exhibitions, such as were presented on 
the American boards at that day. But his 
chief diversion was the chase. At the proper 
season, it was not unusual for him to go out 


two or three times in a week with hocaesi 
dogS) and horns, in pursuit of foxes, accompa- 
nied by a small party of gentlemen, either his 
neighbors, or such visiters as happened to be 
at Mount Vernon. If we may judge by his 
own account, however, he could seldom boast 
of brilliant success in these excursions. He 
was not disheartened by disappointment; and 
when the foxes eluded his pursuit, he consoled 
himself with the reflection, that the main end 
in view, excitement and recreation, had been 

Another favorite exercise was fowling. His 
youthful rambles in the woods, on his survey- 
ing expeditions, had made him familiar with 
the use of his gun& Game of various kinds 
abounded on his plantations, particularly the 
species of wild duck, which at certain seasons 
resorts in great numbers to the wafers of the 
Chesapeake, and is so much esteemed for its 
superior quality. He was expert in the art of 
duck-shooting, and often practised it. 

Connected with this subject, an anecdote is 
related of him, illustrative of his resolution 
and courage. A person of lawless habits and 
reckless character had frequently entered upon 
the grounds near Moimt Temon, and shot 
ducks and other game. More than once he 
had been warned to desist, and not to retiurn. 

uCt.SS.] life of WASHINGTON. 143 

It was his custom to cross the Potomac in a 
canoe, and ascend the creeks to some obscure 
place, where he could be concealed from ob- 
servation. One day, hearing the discharge of 
a musket, Washington mounted his horse, and 
rode in the direction of the sound. The in- 
truder discovered his approach, and had just 
time to gain the canoe and push it from the 
shore, when Washington emerged from the 
bushes at the distance of a few yards. The 
man raised his gun, cocked it, pointed it at 
him, and took deliberate aim ; but, without a 
moment's hesitation, he rode into the water, 
seized the prow of the canoe, drew it to land, 
disarmed his antagonist, and inflicted on him a 
chastisement, which he never again chose to 
run the hazard of encountering. 

But neither his private occupations, nor his 
important duties as one of the legislators of 
the province, prevented Washington from tak- 
ing an active part in many concerns of less 
moment, wherein he could be useful to his 
friends or the community. He assumed trusts 
at the solicitation of others, which sometimes 
involved much labor and responsibility, and in 
which he had no personal interest ; and cheer- 
fully rendered his services as an arbitrator in 
settling disputes. Such was the confidence in 
his candor and judgment, and such his known 

VOL. I. 


desire to promote peace and concord, that he 
was often called upon to perform offices of this 
kind ; and it was rare that his decision was 
unsatisfactory ; for, however the parties might 
differ in opinion, they were persuaded that 
their cause could not be submitted to a more 
impartial or competent judge. 

His usefulness extended to every object 
within the sphere of his influence. In the af- 
fairs of Truro Parish, to which Mount Yernon 
belonged, he took a lively concern and exer- 
cised a salutary control. He was a vestryman 
of that parish. On one occasion he gained a 
triumph of some moment, which Mr. Massey, 
the clergyman, who lived to an advanced age, 
used to mention as an instance of his address. 
The old church was falling to ruin, and it was 
resolved that another should be built Several 
meetings were held, and a warm dispute arose 
respecting its location, the old one being re- 
mote from the centre, and inconveniently situ- 
ated for many of the parishioners. A meeting 
for settling the question was finally held. 
Geoi^e Mason, who led the party that adhered 
to the ancient site, made an eloquent harangue, 
in which he appealed with great effect to the 
sensibilities of the people, conjuring them not 
to desert the spot consecrated by the bones of 
their ancestors and the most hallowed associ- 


ationd. Mr. Massey said everj one present 
seemed moved by this discourse, and, for the 
moment, he thought there would not be a di&* 
scnting voice. Washington then rose and drew 
from his pocket a roll of paper, containing an 
exact survey of Truro Parish, on which was 
marked the site of the old church, the proposed 
site of the new one, and the jdace where eadi 
parishioner resided. He spread this map before 
the andience, explained it in a few words, and 
then added, that it was for them to determine, 
whether they would be carried away by an 
impulse of feeling, or act upon the obvious 
principles of reason and justice. The argu- 
ment, thus oonfirmed by ocular demonstra- 
tion, was oonclnsive, and the church was erect- 
ed on the new site. 

At the close of the French war, he had an 
adluous service to perform, as one of the com- 
missioners for settling the military accounts of 
the colony, which were compiicated and of 
large extent. His intimate knowledge of the 
subject, and the sympathy he felt for his com- 
panions in arms, and all who had aided the 
cause of their country, were motives for throw- 
ing this task chiefly upon him, and he executed 
it faithfully. 

British writers have asserted, and perhaps 
believed, that Washington's sentiments did not 


harmonize with those of the leaders, who to- 
sisted the aggressions of the mother country 
at the beginning of the great struggle for in- 
dependence, and that he was brought tardily 
into the measures of opposition. This opin- 
ion probably arose from the circumstance of 
his name not being mentioned among the con- 
spicuous actors, and was strengthened by the 
spurious letters ascribed to him in the first part 
of the war, of which more will be said here- 
after. These letters were first published in 
England, and so artfully written, that they 
might easily mislead those, who were willing 
to be deceived on the side of their prejudices 
and wishes. It is nevertheless true, that no 
man in America took a more early, open, and 
decided part in asserting and defending the 
rights of the colonies, and opposing the pre- 
tensions set up by the British government. In 
the Yirginia legislature he went heart and 
hand with Henry, Randolph, Lee, Wythe, 
and the other prominent leaders of the time. 
His opinions and principles were coninstent 
throughout. That he looked for a concilia- 
tion, till the convening of the first Congress, 
and perhaps till the petition of that Congress 
had been rejected by the King, there is no 
doubt ; and so did Franklin, Jay, Jefferson, 
John Adams, and probably all the other master 


spirits, who gave the tone to public sentiment 
and action. 

His disapprobation of the Stamp Act was 
expressed in unqualified terms. He spoke of 
it, in a letter written at the time, as an "un- 
constitutional method of taxation,*' and "a 
direful attack on the liberties of the colonists." 
And subsequently he said, " The repeal of the 
Stamp Act, to whatever cause owing, ought 
much to be rejoiced at ; for, had the Parlia- 
ment of Great Britain resolved upon enforcing 
it, the consequences, I conceive, would have 
been more direful than is generally appre- 
hended, both to the mother country and her 
colonies. All, therefore, who were instrumen- 
tal in procuring the repeal, are entitled to the 
thanks of every British subject, and have mine 
cordially." He was present in the Yirginia 
legislature, when Patrick Henry offered his 
celebrated resolutions on this subject. 1 have 
found no record of his vote ; but it may be 
presumed, from his well-known sentiments, 
and from his frankness in avowing them, that 
he stood in the ranks of the patriotic party, to 
which he ever afterwards rendered his most 
xealous support. 



Joint heBitiljin all the Mewiire* of OpporitioB. — Hit Servi- 
CM in procuring tbo Landt pponiaod to llie CMBeen and Sol* 
diera in the. French War. — Performt a Tour to the Ohio and 
Kenbawa RiTers for the purpote of teiecting thote Lands. ~ 
Takea an active Part at different Timet in the Proceediiv 
of the Virginia Legialatare in defending the Rightt of the Col 
oniet. — Hit Opinions on thit Subject — Choaen to comaauid 
■ewil Independent Companiea of BliHtis.— A DeWgata t» 
the firat and teoond VirgiBi% Conventlont.— A Member of thm 
Continental Congreta. 

Thb spirit of discontent and opposition dif> 
fiised itself rai»dly in all the provinces. In 
the month of April, 1769, just before the a»* 
sembling of the Yirginia l^islature. Colonel 
Washington received sundry papers, eontaiii* 
ing the resolves and proceedings of the mer* 
chants of Philadelphia. These papers he com-* 
municated to his neighbor and friend, Geoi^ 
llason, accompanied by a letter, in which he 
declared his own opinions in a tone of enei^y 
and decision, that could leave no. room to 
doubt, as to his sense of the matter, and the 
ground he was prepared to take. 

^'At a time," said he, ^'when oor lordly 
masters in Great Britain will be satisfied with 
nothing less than the deprivation of American 
freedom, it seems highly necessary that some* 
thing should be done to avert the stroke, and 

Mr.9l.j LIFe OF WASHINGTON. 15t 

maintain the liberty which we have derived 
from our ancestors. Bat the manner of doing 
it| to answer the purpose eflfectuaily, is the 
point in question. 

" That no man should scruple, or hesitate a 
moment, to use aims in defence of so valuable 
a blessing, is clearly my opinion. Yet arms, I 
would beg leave to add, should be the last re- 
source, the dernier resort. We have already, 
it is said, proved the inefficacy of addresses to 
the throne, and remonstrances to Parliament. 
How far, then, their attention to our rights 
and privileges is to be awakened or alarmedi 
by starving their trade and manufactures, re- 
mains to be tried. 

" The northern colonies, it appears, are en* 
deavoring to adopt this scheme. In my opin- 
ion it is a good one, and must be attended 
with salutary effects, provided it can be carried 
pretty generally into execution." 

These sentiments were cordially reciprocat- 
ed by Mr. Mason, who agreed that steps ought 
immediately to be taken to bring about a con- 
cert of action between Virginia and the north- 
ern colonies. This gentleman, who after- 
wards drafted the first constitution of Yirginia, 
and was a skilful writer, drew up a series of 
articles in the form of an Association. The 
Burgesses met in May, and, as Mr. Mason waa 


not then one of their number, Washington 
took charge of the paper, with the view of 
laying it before the Assembly. As soon as the 
Burgesses had come together, and gone through 
with the forms of opening the session, they 
proceeded to consider the late doings of P^ur- 
liament, and passed several bold and pointed 
resolves, denying the authority of Parliament 
to impose taxes and enact laws hostile to the 
ancient liberties of the colonists. The gov* 
srnor, Lord Botetourt, deservedly popular for 
his amiable manners and the real interest he 
felt in the welfare of the people, and at heart 
opposed to the ministerial pretensions, could 
not, in justice to his sovereign and the trust 
reposed in him, silently witness these symp- 
toms of disaffection and disobedience. He 
went the next day to the Capitol, summoned 
the Burgesses to meet him in the council 
chamber, and there dissolved the Assembly. 
Not intimidated by this exercise of the pre- 
rogative, although a virtual reprimand, they 
forthwith repaired in a body to a private house, 
and unanimously adopted the non-importation 
agreement, which had been prepared by George 
Mason, and presented by Washington. Every 
member subscribed his name to it, and it was 
then printed and dispersed in the country for 
the signatures of the people. 

JBr.a?.) LIF£ OF WASUIItgTON. 153 

Washington was scnipiilous in observing 
this agreement; and, when he sent his cus- 
tomary annual orders to I^ndon for goods to 
he used in his family, he strictly enjoined his 
correspondents to forward none of the enu- 
ineiated articles, unless the offensive acts of 
Parliament should in the mean time be re- 

In the midst of his public engagements, 
another affair, extremely vexatious in its de- 
tails, employed much of his attention. The 
claims of the officers and soldiers to lands, 
granted by Governor Dinwiddie as a reward 
for their services at the beginning of the 
French war, met with innumerable obstacles 
for a long time, first from the ministry in 
England, and next from the authorities in 
Virginia. By his unwearied exertions, how- 
ever, and by these alone, and mostly at his 
own expense, the matter was at last adjusted. 
Nor did he remit his efforts, till every officer 
and private soldier had received his due pro- 
portion. Where deaths had occurred, the 
heirs were sought out, and their claims veri- 
fied and allowed. Even Vanbraam, who was 
believed to have deceived him at the capitula- 
tion of tho Great Meadows, and who went as 
a hostage to Canada, thence to England, and 
ne^cr returned to America, was not forgotten 


in the distribution. His share was reserred, 
and lie was informed that it was at his dis- 

While this business was in progress, Wash- 
ington resolved to visit the western lands m 
person, and select for the surveys snch tracts 
as would have an intrinsic value, both in re- 
gard to their location and quality. This was 
the more important, as it was necessary to take 
the land in large tracts, and then divide it ac- 
cording to a prescribed ratio. 

In the autumn of 1770, accompanied b7 
his friend. Dr. Craik, who had been his com- 
panion in arms at the battles of the Creat 
Meadows and of the Monongahela, he per- 
formed a tour of nine weeks for this purpose. 
Proceeding to Pittsburg on horseback, he there 
embarked in a canoe, and descended the Ohio 
River to the Great Kenhawa, a distance of 
two hundred and sixty-five miles. 

At that time there were no inhabitants on 
the Ohio below Pittsburg, except the natives 
of the forest. A few traders had wandered 
into those regions, and land speculators had 
sent out emissaries to explore the country, but 
no permanent settlements had been formed. 
ITe was attended down the river by WilHani 
Crawford, a person accustomed to the woods, 
and a part of the way by Colonel Crogliarr, 

^r.S.J LtrS OF WASHtNGTQS}. 155 

distingnislied for his knowledge of Indian af- 
fairs. The voyage was fatiguing and some- 
what hazardous, as they were exposed without 
shelter to the inclemency of the weather, and 
no one of the party was experienced in the 
navigation of the stream. At night they land- 
ed and encamped. Occasionally they walked 
through the woods, leaving the canoe in chargo 
of the oarsmen. They were thus enabled to 
inspect the lands, and form a judgment of thei 
'soil. Washington was also gratified to meet 
several of his former Indian friends, who, hear? 
ing of his journey, came to see him at different 
places.. Among others, he recognised a chief, 
who had gone with him to the fort on French 
Creek, sixteen years before. They all greeted 
kim with mnch ceremonious respect, making 
speeches according to their manner, welcoming 
Iiim to their country, exhibiting their usua^ 
tokens of friendship and hospitality, and ex- 
pressing a desire to maintain a pacific inter<- 
-eoiirse with their white neighbors of Virginia. 
After arriving at the mouth of the Great 
Kenhawa, be ascended that river about four- 
teen miles, and examined the lands in the vi- 
dnity. He had an opportunity, likewise, to 
practise his favorite amusement ^f hunting. 
UiifiTaloes, deer, turkeys, ducks, and other wild 
game, were found in great abundwce. Plea:^ 


ed with the situation, aspect, and resources of 
the country, he selected various tracts of land, 
which were ultimately surveyed and afqpropri* 
ated to fulfil the pledges to the army. Having 
accomplished his object, he returned up the 
Ohio, and thence to Mount Temon. 

Some months afterwards he assented to a 
proposal from Lord Dunmore, governor of Vir- 
ginia, to join him in an excursion to the west- 
ern country, and the preparations were partly 
^nade; but family afflictions occurring at the' 
iime, in the death of Mrs. Washington's only 
daughter, prevented him from executing the 

The crisis was now approaching, which was 
to call Washington from his retreat, and to en- 
gage him in the widest sphere of public action. 
The complaints, remonstrances, and lofty spirit 
of the colonists had wrought no other impres- 
sion on the British ministry, than to confirm 
them in their delusions, and stimulate them to 
new acts of encroachment and severity, mis- 
taking the calls of justice for the clamor of 
factious discontent, and eager to complete by 
the arm of power the work, which they had 
begun with rashness and pursued with obsti- 
nacy. AltRough apparently shrouded in the 
shades of Mount Yernon, Washington was a 
close observer of every movement, and per- 


fectly master of the history and principles of 
the controversy. Associating, as he did, with 
the eminent men of his day, and exercising 
without intermission the civil functions of a 
legislator, every topic had been brought under 
his notice and minutely examined. We have 
seen the part he had already acted ; and, such 
were his caution, the rectitude of his motives, 
his power of discrimination, and his unerring 
judgment, that he was never known to desert 
a cause he had once embraced, or change an 
opinion, which, from a full knowledge of facts, 
he had deliberately formed. 

The dissolution of the Assembly by Lord 
Botetourt had no other effect than to elicit a 
signal proof of the sentiments of the people, 
and their acquiescence in the acts of their rep- 
resentatives. At the new election every mem- 
ber was returned, who had sat in the former 
Assembly. In the mean time Lord Botetourt 
died, and the Earl of Dunmore succeeded him 
as governor of Virginia. The temper shown 
by the Burgesses, at their first meeting after 
he took possession of the government, was not 
such as to make him desirous of their aid, so 
long as he could dispense with it, and he pro- 
rogued them by proclamations from time to 
time till the 4th of March, 1773. This As- 
sembly is memorable for having brought for- 

1158 LIFE or WilSHrNGTOn. [ITMk 

ward the resolves, iastitating a Committee of 
Gorrespomlence, and t^ecommending the same 
to the legislatures of the other eoloEttes, there- 
by establishing ehannels of intelligence and a 
bond of union, whidi proved of the lUmosi 
importance to the general cause. Wariiingtoa 
was present, and gave his hearty anj^xirt to 
these resolves. 

The next session, which took place in May, 
1774, was productive of still more decisive 
mea^res. Soon after the members had come 
together, news reached Williamsburg of the 
act of Parliament for shutting up the poit of 
Boston, and inflictiiig other disabilities on tlie 
tnhabitahts of that town, which was to laJcs 
effect on the 1st of June. The sympathy and 
patriotic feelings of the Burgesses were strong- 
ly excited ; and they forthwith passed an or^ 
der, deprecating this ministerial procedure, as a 
hostile invasion, and setting apart the lat c( 
June to be observed '^ as a day of fasting, hu* 
miliation, and prayer, to implore the Divine 
interposition for averting the heavy caktmity, 
which threatened destruction to their civil 
rights and the evils of civil war, and to give 
them one heart and one mind firmly to oppose, 
by all just and proper means, every injury to 
American rights." The governor was alarmed 

iS.T.«.l Lfth Of WASUIMGTOM. 453 

at those 8yiDpt9m8, aud dissolved the 
the next moriuDg. 

Not to be diverted from their purpose, how- 
ever, the delegates repaired immediately to the 
Raleigh Tavern^ eighty-nin^ ia number, or- 
ganised themselves into a committee, and drew 
up and signed an Association, in whichj alter 
expressing in strong language their dissatisfac- 
tion with the late doings of the British Parlia- 
ment, and their opinioii that the vital interests 
pf .all the colonies were equally concerned, 
they advised the Committee of Correspoud- 
ence to communicate with the Committees of 
the other colonies, on the expediency of ap- 
pointing deputies to meet in a general con- 
gjpeas. Although the idea of a congress was 
in the minds of many persons throughout the 
continent, had been suggested by Franklin the 
year before, and proposed in town meetings at 
Boston and New York^ yet this was the first 
jpublic assembly by which it was formally rec- 
ommended. As the governor had dissolved 
the legislature, and no other business seemed 
necessary to be done, many of the delegates 
returned to their homes. Such as stayed be- 
hind, attended the religious services on the 
day appointed for the fast. Washington writes 
in his Diary, tliat he '^ went to church, an J 
iasted all day." 


While they ^vrere waiting to perform this 
duty, letters were received from Boston, giving 
an account of a town meeting in that place, 
and a resolution to call on the inhabitants of 
the colonies generally to enter into an agree- 
ment, that they would hold no further com- 
mercial intercourse with Great Britain, eithet 
by imports or exports. Twenty-five of the late 
delegates were still in Wiliiamsbaig, among 
whom was Washington ; and, on the 29th of 
May, they met to consider the subject. On 
one essential point they differed in opinion; 
and, as their number was small, they thought 
it not proper to determine upon any public act, 
which should go abroad as the presumed sense 
of the colony. They did no more, therefore, 
than state the matter clearly in a circular let- 
ter, and recommend a meeting of deputies at 
Williamsburg on the 1st of August, for the 
purpose of a more full and deliberate discus- 
sion. The circular was printed, and distribu- 
ted in the several counties. 

The members, who dissented from the 
proposition in its comprehensive form, were 
not satisfied as to the prohibition of exports. 
All agreed, that the non-importation compact 
should be strictly adhered to, and even en- 
larged, so as to include every article except 
such as were indispensable for common use, 

JBr.42.] LIFE or WASHlNQTQlf. 16. 

and could be obtained only trnn Great Britaiu. 
Exports stood on a differeot footing. Large 
debts were due to merchants in England, 
which could be paid in no other way than by 
exporting produce from the colonies. To, 
withhold this produce was in effect a refusal 
to pay a just debt. Washington was strenu- 
ous on this head, and insisted, that, whatever 
might be done prospectively, honor and jus- 
tice required a faithful discharge of all obliga- 
tions previouriy contracted. The reply was, 
that the colonists, after all, were the greatest 
sufferers, that the English merchants could 
not expect an exemption from the calamities 
brought upon the nation by the weakness or 
wickedness of their rulers, and that che debts 
would in the end be paid. He was not con- 
vinced by this reasoning. At any rate, he was 
not willing to make it the basis of action, till 
other less objectionable methods should be 
found unavailing. 

In conformity to the advice of the circular 
letter, meetings were held in the several coun- 
ties, resolutions were adopted, and delegates 
appointed to meet in convention at Williams- 
burg on the let of August. In Fairfax Coun- 
ty, Washington presided as chairman of the 
meetings, and Was one of a committee to pie- 
pare a series of lescdves expressive of the sence 

VOJ. I. »^ 

16ii tIFC OF WAdHimsTOW. imiL 

of the people. The reeolves ttkemaAres, twen- 
ty^four m all, were drafted by Geo^e Macon ; 
ttnd they constitute one of the ablest and moat 
Inminons expositions of the points at issne be- 

^ tween Great Britain and the colonies, vhich 
'are to be found among the public documents 
of that period. Embracing the great princi- 
ples and £Bu;t8, clothed in a nerrousand appro- 
priate «tyle, they are equally marked with 
dignity, firmness, intelligence, and wisdom. 
They are moreover of special interest as con- 
taining the opinions of Washington at a criti- 
cal time, when he was soon to be raised by 
his countrymen to a station of the highest 
trust and responsibility. 

The Convention met at Williamsbcii^ on 
the day proposed. WaAington was a mem- 
ber from Fairfax County. One of the princi- 
pal acts of this Convention was to adopt a 
new Association, more extensive in its prohi- 
bitions than the former, and fixing on 6ertain 
times when all further intereonise with Brit- 
ish merchant, both by imports and exports, 
was to be suspended, unless die offensive 
acts of Parliament should previously be re- 

* Iiealed. In its general features, this Association 
was nearly the same as the Fairfax County 
Resolves. After sitting six days, appointing 
Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lce^ George 


WashiagtOD, Patrick Henry, Richard Blaod, 
Benjamitt Harnaoo, and Edmund Pendleton 
delegates to the general Congress, and furnish- 
ing them with instructions, the Convention 

The day appointed throughout the colonies 
lor the meeting of the first Congress, at Phii- 
^Mlelphia, was the 5th of September. Two 
of Wasbiii^ton's associates, Mr. Henry and 
Mr. Pendleton, stopped on their way at Mount 
Vernon, whence they all pursued their journey 
ti^ther, and were present at the opening of 
the Congress. The proceedings of this as- 
sembly need not here be recounted. As the 
debates were never made public, the part per- 
formed by each individual cannot now bo 
known. It has only been ascertained, that 
Dickinson drafted the petition to the King and 
.the address to the inhabitants of Cluebec, Jay 
the address to the people of Great Britain, and 
Lee the memorial to the inhabitants of the 
British colonies ; state papers of great histori- 
cal value, which extorted a eulogy from Chat- 
ham, and which will ever be regarded as 
among the ablest specimens of practical talent 
.and political wisdom. 

Mr. Wirt relates an anecdote of Washington, 
.which shows in what estimation ho was held 
by the members of the first Congress. Soon 


after Patrick Henry returned home, being aAed 
'' whom he thought the greatest man in Con- 
gress," he replied, " If you speak of eloquence, 
Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina is by far the 
greatest orator ; but, if you speak of solid in- 
formation and sound judgment, Colonel Wash- 
ington is unquestionably the greatest man on 
that floor."* This opinion was verified by ev- 
ery act of his life. His knowledge, on the 
subjects to which he gave his attention^ was 
most thorough and exact ; and ail the world 
has agreed, that no other man has given snch 
proofs of the soundness of his judgment. 

The business of the Congress being over, 
Washington went back to the occupations of 
his farm. Little leisure was left him, however, 
for these favorite pursuits. It had long been 
a custom in Virginia to form independent com- 
panies for military discipline. These compa- 
nies chose their own officers, adopted uniforms, 
atid provided themselves with colors, arms, and 
dnims, but were governed by the general regu- 
lations of the militia laws. Companies of this 
description had recently been encouraged by 
Governor Dunmore, who had an Indian war 
upon his hands, and was fitting out a formida- 
ble expedition to the West. 

* Life of Patrick Ueaiy, 3d edition, p. lia 

.Ar.48.] LIFE OF WASUfNOTOM. 165 

Their marttai spirit was quiekened, when it 
was perceived that their serrices might be 
wanted in a cause of vastly greater moment. 
As the first military character in the province, 
Colonel Washington was much consulted by 
the officers, and his counsels were implicitly 
followed. He had hardly returned from the 
Congress, when he was solicited by the inde* 
pendent company of Prince William County 
to take command of them as field-officer. Oth- 
er companies tendered him the same honor ; 
and it seemed to be the unanimous expectation 
of the people, that, in the event of a war, he 
would be placed at the head of the Virginia 
forces. He yielded to the solicitations of the 
companies, reviewed them at the different points 
of rendezvous, animated them by his example ; 
and his advice and instructions were received 
by them as orders, which they were bound to 

The second Virginia Convention met at 
Richmond on the 20th of March, 1775. Wash- 
ington attended as a delegate. The proceed- 
ings of the general Congress were first taken 
up, examined, discussed, and approved. Pat^ 
rick Henry then introduced resolutions to es- 
tablish a more efficient system of embodying, 
arming, and disciplining the militia. This 
proposition was startling to some of the mem- 



Meeting of the second Congren. — Wuhtngton chosea Coa. 
mander-in-chief of the Continental Army. — Repein to Ctm- 
bridge, and takea the ComBiuid. — Stete of the AnDj.«^llM 
Intercottiae with Coogren. — Numerotts Afiain devolve on 

When the second Congress aflsembled, on 
the 10th of May, 1775, the relations between 
the colonies and Great Britain had assamed 
an aspect no longer doubtful. ^The petition 
of the former Congress, though received by 
the King, had been treated with silent neglect, 
and had produced no change of measures or 
purpose. The tone of the ministry and pro- 
ceedings of Parliament indicated a fixed deter- 
mination to persevere in their oppressive de- 
mands, and to achieve by force what they 
could not effect by the menaces of power, or 
the terror of the civil arm. Hostilities had in 
fact commenced. The tragical day at Lexing- 
ton and Concord had occurred. The inexcus- 
able rashness of General Gage, in sending 
troops into the country on an errand of plun- 
der and bloodshed, had roused the indigna- 
tion of the inhabitants ; and the yeomanry of 
New England were flying to arms and rallying 
around the standard of American liberty. An] LIFE or WA8Ht!fOTOM. 169 

army, respeetable for numbers, strong in spirit 
and the justice of their cause, had collected in 
the vicinity of Boston, prepared for combat, 
and resolved to resist any further encroach- 
ments of the now declared enemies to their 

Such was the crisis, which presented itself 
to the Congress when they met, and which 
called for the exercise of all their wisdom and 
firmness. Notwithstanding the hope, perhaps 
belief, entertained by many, that a reconcilia* 
tion would still take place on honorable and 
satisfactory terms, yet all perceived the neces- 
sity of prompt and decided action. To shrink 
at this moment, to temporize and delay, would 
be a confession of weakness, an evidence of 
irresolution, which might prove of incalculable 
injury, both by damping the ardor of the 
Americans, and by strengthening the confi- 
dence of their foes. Whatever difference of 
opinimi there might be on other points, every 
member felt, that the hour of preparation was 
come, and that an oi^anized system must be 
instituted, which would draw out and concen- 
trate the military resources of the country. 

While Congress were deliberating on this 
subject, Washington wrote a letter to a friend 
in England, in which, after speaking of the 
battle of I^xington, he says ; '^ This mav 

170 UF£ OF WMHmQTQ^. (17» 

serve to ooaTiDce Lprd 3«c|dwieh, aod othei* 
of the same sentiment) dvit Ajoericans will 
fight for their liberties and ^operty, how- 
ever puaiUametous io his Lordship's eyes they 
may appear in other respects. Unhappy it is, 
though, to reflect, that a brother's sword haa 
been ebeatbed ia a hvother's breast, and that 
the oooe ha]^y and peaceful plains of America 
are either to be drenched in Uood, or inhabited 
by slaves. Sad alternative ! But em a virtuous 
man hesitate in his choice ? " 

Congress fiiBt proceeded to consider the state 
of the coimtry, and to provide for defence, 
Committees were appointed to prepaid reports, 
and it is a proof of the estimation in which 
the practical talents and experience of Wash* 
ington were held, that he was chairman of all 
these committees; first, ior recommending what 
posts should be occupied an the province of 
New York ; seooodlyf for demising ways and 
means of procuring ammunitipn and aalita* 
ry stores ; thirdly, lor making an estimate of 
money necessary to be raised ; fourthly, for pre- 
paring rules and regulations for the govern- 
ment of the army. By voting unanimously, 
that '^ these colonies be immediately put into 
a state of defence," Congress virtually assumed 
a control over the military operations of the 
whole, and the basis of their plans was laid 


aooofdingly. From thai time Ihe tofom oodar 
the direction of Oongren ureie ealled the Con- 
tinental Army. They also veadved to imbo 
ten oompanies of riflsmea in PenntylvaoiAi 
Maryland, and Virginia, which were to mareh 
and jom the anny near Boston as aoon as pos- 
sible, and to be paid by the cestanenL 

These pfelimioary airaqgements being fin* 
ished, the next thing was to appoint a Comr 
SMUMter-iDHsfaief of the American armies. This 
was a %mA of moce deiicaey and diffisuky thao 
might at finrt be anpposed. Many eonsidew 
ti<Mis were to be weighed, besides the parsenal 
qnalffieations of any tndiridnal for that high 
station, eiUier as to character, abilities, or mil« 
itvy skill. In the first phwe, it was essenlial 
that he should be acceptable to all the colanksi 
and partienlaidy to such, as, £R>m their position 
or extent, would be compeUed to take the 
largest shsM in the war. Otherwise local 
jealottsies and discontents might spiiog up, 
which would defeat the best laid schemes, 
and posriUy rain the cause. Next, there were 
officers in the country, older in years than 
Cdonel Washington, who had acquired a. rep«- 
ntation in the last war, and whose services 
wouUL be necessary. To pass over such, as 
should be thought by themselves or their 
friends lo bare higher claims, on the score of 


former rank and standing, a point on which 
military men are always so sensitive, might be 
a hazardous experiment. Besides, the troops 
already in the field were wholly from the 
New England provinces, and it was uncertain 
how far they would be reconciled to a com- 
mander from the south, with whom no one 
among them had a personal acquaintance, and 
who could not be supposed to understand their 
luibits, feelings, and prepossessions. G^ieial 
Ward, who had hitherto been at the head of 
the army by the appointment of Massachu- 
setts, and whose command was cheerfully ac- 
quiesced in by the other New England colo- 
nies, was an officer of experience and ability^ 
and it was questionable in what light an at- 
tempt to supersede him might be viewed. 

These difficulties were deefdy felt by the 
members of Congress, and examined in all 
their bearings. Nor had they come together 
without previously pondering the subject, and 
ascertaining, as far as they could, the views of 
men of influence in different places. From 
the first Congress they had gone home with 
most favorable impressions of the character 
and talents of Colonel Washington. All the 
world acknowledged his military accomplish- 
ments, intellectual resources, courage, cool- 
ness, and control over the minds of otherSi 

£t.43.1 life or WASHtnCTON. 178 

Fire years' experience, in a responsible and 
arduous service, had afforded ample proofs of 
these qualities. It was fortunate, also, that 
political motives conspired to fix the choice on 
him in preference to any other person. Vir- 
ginia was powerful in wealth and numbers, 
and doubly so in its men of brilliant parts, 
who had espoused the cause of the continent 
with a spirit and resolution, which bad no^ 
where else been surpassed. To take the conv- 
mander of the American armies from that 
]»rovince was a dictate of policy, which the 
wise and prudent would not overlook, and 
none but the narrow-minded could disapprove. 

It should be said, to the credit of the New 
England delegates, that they were among the 
foremost to propose, and the most zealous to 
promote, the appointment of Colonel Wash* 
mgton. As the contest had begun in Massft- 
cliusetts, the inhabitants of which had been 
the chief sufferers, and as the existing army 
was mostly raised there, it could not have 
been thought an extravagant assumption, had 
that colony aspired to the honor of furnishing 
a Commander-in-chief. But, happily for Amer- 
ica, the patriots of that day rose far above the 
sordid aims of selfishness and party rivalships. 

While the discussions were going on in 
Congress respecting military preparations, Mr. 


John Adams, one of the delegate$ from 
chusetts, moFed that the army, then besiegiDg 
the Britidi Uroops in Beaton, should be adopted 
by Congress as a Continental army; and, in 
the course of his observations enforcing this 
motion, he said it was his intention to propose 
for the office of Commander-in*chief a gentle- 
man from Tirginia, who was at that time a 
member of their owti body. His vemarks 
wers so pointed, that all present perceiTed 
them to apply to Colonel Washington, who^ 
upon hearing this rtferenoe to himself, retired 
from his seat and withdrew. When the day 
for the appointmtat arriTed, the nominaticm 
waa made by Mr. Thomas Johnson, of Mary- 
land. The choice was by ballot, and, on in- 
specting the votes, it was found that Colonel 
Wadiington was unanimously elected. As 
soon as the result was ascertaioedf the House 
adjourned. On the conveiiing of Congress the 
next morning, the president communicated to 
him officially the notice of his appointment, 
and he rose in his place and signified his ac- 
ceptance in a brief and appropriate reply. 

After expressing his thaftiks for the signal 
honor done him by Congress, and his concern, 
*'£r6m the consciousness that hi^ abilities and 
military experience might not be equal to the 
extensive and important trust," he added; 

iEr «.] Liri3 OP f«^ASfftTNGTO»; 175 

^Lest some tinlttcky erMi shcmld happen, 
nnfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be 
remembered by every gentletnan in the room,* 
that I this day declare with the utmost sincer- 
ity, I do not think mys^f equal to the codh 
mand I am honored with.^' Before the elec- 
tion it had been TOted, that five hundred dol- 
lars a month should be allowed for the pay 
and expenses of the general. On this point 
he said, '^ I beg leave to assnie the Congress, 
that, as no peeuniary consideration could have 
tempted me to accept Ais arduous employ^ 
•*ient, at the expense of my domestic ease and 
nappinesB, I do not wish to moke any profit 
from it. I will keep an exact account of my 
expenses^ Those, I doubt not, they will difr» 
charge ; and that is all I desire.'' 

The appointment was made on the 16th oC 
June. Four days afterwards he received bis 
commission from the president of Congress, in 
which he was declared to be Cdmnmnder-in* 
chi^f of all the forces then raised, ot that 
should be raised, in the united colonies, or that 
should veluntarily offsr their sfervic^ for the 
defence of American Liberty. The membeis 
of Congress pledged themselves by a unani- 
mous reserve, to maintain, assist, and adhere 
to him, with their lives and fortunes, in the 
tfune cause. Four major-generals and eight 

170 I^ll^B or WASHINOTON. IITBu 

brigadiers were likewise appointed for die Coo- 
tinental army. To the former rank were cho- 
sen Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuy- 
ler, and Israel Putnam; to the latter, Seth 
Pomroy, Bichard Montgomery, David Wooeter, 
William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John Thom- 
as, John Sullivan, and Nathanael Greene. To 
these was added Horatio Gates, as adjutant- 
general, with the rank of brigadier. 

The situation of affairs required the cqpae 
mender's presence as soon as possible at Cam- 
bridge, where the army was stationed. Every 
necessary arrangement with Congress was in 
a short time completed, and he left Philadel- 
jdiia on the 2l8t of June, accompanied by 
Gteneral Lee and General Schuyler, and ea* 
corted by a volunteer troop of light-horse from 
the city, whidi continued with him to New 
York. He had reviewed in Philadelphia, at 
the request of the officers, several militia 
companies of infismtry, rangers, riflemeni and 
light-horse. Whwever he appeared, the peo- 
ple manifested great enthusiasm, and eager- 
ness to riiow him all the respect to which his 
new rank entitled him. The Provincial Con- 
gress of New York was then sitting; and| 
when it was known that General Washington 
was on the road, a committee from that body 
was deputed to meet him at Newark, tod at- 

iBv.flt.] LIPE OF WASHINGTON. 177 

tend him acioss Hudson's River. On bis am* 
valy addresses of 0ODgratQlati<m and civility 
passed between him and the New York Con- 

The particulars of the battle of Bunker's 
Hill reached him there, and increased his anx- 
iety to hasteo forward to the army. General 
Schuyler was to remain in New York, as com- 
mander of the military operations in that 
quarts. This was a delicate position, as the 
Britiah Governor Tryon was then in the city, 
a ship of war in the harbor keeping the inhab- 
itants in awe, and throughout . the province 
were many powerful and avowed friends of 
the loyal cause. But great confidence was 
I^aced in the fidelity, discretion, and firmness- 
of General Schuyler. After giving him in- 
structions suitable to the exigencies of the 
case, General Washington again pursued his 
journey, escorted by volunteer military compa- 
nies. Li this manner he travelled to Springfield, 
where he was met by a committee from the 
Massachusetts Provincial Congress, who were 
instructed to provide escorts, and to attend him 
m person, through the remainder of the route. 
He arrived in Cambridge on the 2d of July, 
and took command of the army the next day. 

His first care was to ascertain the numbers, 
position, and anangements of the troops, to 

VOL. I. 9 

f7f) LIFE oi^ WASfimo'^oii. fvm 

inspect the "posts they occupiedy mni to gain a 
knowledge of the strength and {dans at iba 
enemy. The British geaend was hiBoadf 
stationed in Boston, with the light-horse and a 
few other troops ; the b^lk of his army lay on 
Banker's Hill, busy in throwing up uitranobi- 
inents ; and the remainder were oaf the neok 
of land between Boston and Rojribory, which 
had been strongly fortified* Tbe JumMieaiis 
were so posted as to form a complete Uoe of 
siege aronnd Boston and Gharlestown, exsmd^ 
ing nearly twelra aailes from Myslio Evrar to 
Dorchester. latrsnehmeats and radDobta had 
been began al diflbrent points in |hi$ Vant, and 
these works were stitl in progress. The fegi^ 
ments from New Hampshire, Rhode Ldaad, 
and part of those from Oonnectiout, ooeopied 
Winter Hill and Prospect Hill ; several of the 
Massachusetts regiments were at Cambridge, 
and others from Connecticut and Massachusetts 
covered the high grounds in Roxbury* 

Having acquainted himself with- this state 
of affairs, General Washington con?ened a 
council of war. It was the opinion of the 
coancil, that, according to the best intbrmatlon- 
that could be obtained, the enemy's amiable 
fc^ce in Boston amounted to eleven thousand- 
five hundred men, including the regular troops, 
Ivories, and such sailors as might be spared 

ftom' the Aset. It iras ft!ao aibris^d, wjlhoac 8 
disseMm^ Toice, that the pdsTs MW oee«pied' 
should be held and defendcid, and that twedly- 
ttrd thousand men were necessary to give 
proper security to so kmg an exMnt of lines* 
A place of rendezrons, in ca6e the army should 
be attacked and routed, was likewise agreed* 

The difficulty was peroeited of snsfatntng 
p(m9 so widely separated, sAmotft under the* 
gnns of the enemy, and exposed at many 
pMnfis to sudden aMauIts ; Ofid the queitioii of' 
temoiriffg fhither mto the country to a stronger 
posttlott ^HB diseutoed. But this was ihomghi 
to be neither politic in itself, nor wilheut laO^ 
exd i* the execution. It would discourage the 
men, elate the enemy, and have an ill effect 
upon the minds of the people. This consid^ 
eratiott, added to the uncertainty of finding tf 
better place at which to make a stand, and ter 
the great labor and charge already bestowed 
on the works for defence, tma regarded as €»n^ 
elusive against a change. 

The Amerioan army, including the sick and 
absent, amounted (o about seventeen thousand 
men ; but tiie number present, fit for duty^ 
woe onfy fourteen thousand five hundred. 
Tliie was oo ikr ehorf of the number wanted, 
thitt the council' recommended an immedfata 


applieatkm to the New England goveroments 
to make np the deficiency by new lecruita. 

It will easily be supposedi that an army, 
collected as this had been on the spur of the 
moment from different provinces and under dif- 
ferent regulations, would be defective in many 
essential parts. There were few tents and 
stores, no supply of clothing, no military chest, 
no general organization. The regiments acted 
under thdr respective commanders, who were 
united only by mutual consent, bound together 
by no military law, and, except those fipom 
Massachusetts, yielding obedience to General 
Ward mther from courtesy and the necessity 
of the case, than from any recognition of his 
superior authority. The troops of each ptor- 
ince were regulated by their own militia laws. 
These were various and discordant ; and hence 
no geneml system could prevail. Disciphne 
was lax ; disorders frequent. 

But the most alarming want was that of am- 
munition, respecting which the officers them* 
selves seem to have been deceived, till General 
Washington discovered, to his great astonish- 
ment, that there was not powder enough in 
the whole camp for nine cartridges to a man. 

Out of these materials, and in the midst of 
these embarrassments, it was General Wash- 
ington's first task to form, commission, and 

.At.43.1 LIF£ or WASfltlKQTON. 181 

cystematize an army. Another eircuQuCance 
caused great perplexity from the beginning. 
The appointment of general officers by Con- 
gress had given mach dissatisfaction. The* 
pretensions to rank, on the score of former ser* 
vices, had not been well adjusted. The sub- 
ordinate officers and private soldiers mingled 
their sympathies and complaints, and threat- 
ened to leave the army unless these grievances 
should be redressed. Symptoms of discontent 
appeared in every quarter, and threatened to 
destroy the little that remained of method and 
discipline. The ferment was gradually allay-^ 
ed by the prudence of Washington, who refer- 
red the matter to Congress, and proceeded 
steadily to mature his plans. 

He arranged the army into fix brigades, of 
six regiments each, in such a manner, that the 
troops from the same colony should be brought 
together, as far as practicable, and act under a 
commander from that colony. Of the whole 
he made three grand divisions, each consisting 
of two brigades or twelve regiments. The 
division forming the left wing was stationed at 
Winter Hill, and commanded by Major-General 
Lee; the centre division was at CambridgOi 
under Major-General Putnam; and the right 
wmg at Roxbury, under Major-Geneial Ward. 

18B Lire or WAafpiHeTaiv. ivnk 

The faeadHinenMf of <he Cpmnitoder^o-cbief 
WBre with the wntae at Cambridge. 

Thus was ptanlad tha cariginal germ of Jtho 
Qontinenlal arny, to A^oter the growth and 
atrangth of which lequ^ad ttko utmost cara 
and addoess. AU the oftoara w^e commia- 
flioned anew b7CotigP99s,aljtbougb no c h ati g ea 
of xank wese attemptedt wi ¥u> appointmenti 
aaade, except ot the major and brigadier geo* 
onla. By dagtaea the aystam wocked itaelf 
into a tolerable aie^bod ; btU^ after all, it wa« 
flili of impenfectiooa, whiah oo art or akill 
eoiild remedy. The mMmB had been ediated 
by tlieir raapactiye govemmaota fi»ir a ^definite 
fima ood object, and tficy looked upoa thia 
contract as one whkA) they vmre boimd to Svir 
fll, bat not fiuch aa co^ put ifiem under any 
other power. Bach iodi^doal jr^gardod him* 
•df as a paftjr aonearoed, wd claimed lua 
rights asacitiaeo. 

Hanea, when the nilea and regulations of 
the Ckintinotttal armyi which iiad been pm* 
scribed by Oongress, ware presented to them, 
many wonki not accede, because they did ooi 
enlist on such tentts, and they were appiehe»> 
sive some new obligations might devolve oa 
them by giving their assent. Having left their 
homes to fight for liberty, tbey chose to assert 
it first in their own behalf. However repug* 

JBr.iX] Un OP •W^WIfl^TOir^ 183 

Bum 4im laiii|ier ^vw lo 4h0 eiiflCeflice of aa 
armyy thi) commander yielded to hie good 
aeose, aad reeorted to «o other foioe than ibat 
of ajEgqment and facta, judiciottslir set forth 
from time 4o time in the geneml orders ; tena- 
oioua of ilia aothedty no further than the pub- 
lic good esaeiedi and forbearing to opfieae pcej-* 
iMfieeSi ^hiofa eoifld not be sofSiened by per* 
amiMon otor aubdued by aeveiity. He left it 
optional with the men to eubecdbe the artidea 
or not, an^i^g it a neoeoaary conditiaii only 
Willi Ihe new aeciiiita> who enlietad into the 
Gootinewtal mnka. 

In addition 4o tba managenaettt and diapec- 
ttoD of the armiea in th^ fieMi whioh ia aU 
tliai ia usiliMy ^apeoied from a ■comnanndar^n* 
abief, a moet featxNaaible service of a different 
kind iraa thrown upon General Washington. 
Congieas, as the civil head of the confederacyi 
waa as yet feeble in ita powers, imper&etly 
denized, distrustful of its central over the 
piMie wUl, and wholly unversed in miiitary 
concema. Nor did unanimity reign among its 
mraabera. On the great point of resistance, 
liU wrongs should be redressed, there was but 
OBO voieo. As to the means of attaming thia 
end, a wide difference prevailed. Some were 
timid, Axing their hopes upon a apeedy recou- 
eitfatioa; others doubted the ability of the 


country to miMdn a contest ; others wete i»* 
flnenced hy local interests ; while olhers agna 
were resolate, and allowed all thoaghts of fii* 
ture consequences to be swallowed up in the 
single consideration of the justice of thrar 
cause. The majority were of this last descrip- 
tion. Tet even these men, dauntless in qiirity 
and willing to risk every thing on their own 
account, were haunted by a spectre, which 
gave them great unea^ness* History had UM 
them of the danger of military power, tbo 
ambition of asjriring leaders, and the chains 
that had been forged and riveted on Bn unaii»- 
picious people by standing armies. These lea- 
sons made a deep impression, and infiised a 
distrust incompatible with enlarged schemea 
or energetic action. Thus it was, that the 
same ardor of patriotism, which impelled them 
to encounter every hazard, operated as a cheek 
to the only measures by which their object 
could be gained. 

These misgivings were early discovered by 
Washington. He respected the motive, at 
though he could not but lament its eiecls^ 
Conscious, on his own part, of the highest 
purity of purpose, and harboring no latent 
thought, which was not directed to the best 
good of his country, if he felt wounded at this 
suspicion, he did not suffer it to appear in his 


dondueti Dor to alter bis opinkm of the watch^ 
ffA gnardians of tlie peojrfe's liberty. Exaan* 
ple, he wiself thought, would be nore regard* 
ed than cotnidainty more persuasiTe than words. 
If ability and courage are necessary in a com- 
mander, he soon saw, that, in his case at least, 
patience, forbearance, and f<Mrtitude were not 
less so. 

A regular army and a military S3rstem were 
to be created, and on such principles as would 
insure their stability and continuance. This 
great work was to be executed mainly by the 
GommandeMn-<ihief. Congress might approve^ 
sanction, and aid ; but it was his taric to in* 
Vent, combine, organize, establirfi, and sust«n. 
To this end he kept up an unremitted corre* 
spondence with Congress during the whole wan 
His letters were read to the House in fliU see* 
irion, and almost etrery important resolution re* 
specting the army was adopted on his sugges* 
tion or recommendation, and emanated from 
his -mind. He was thus literally the centre of 
Ynotion to this immense and complicated m»- 
cMne, not more in direoting its operations, 
Ihan in proriding for its existence, and pre«- 
serring from derangement and ruin its various 
parts. His perplexities were often increased 
by the distance at which he was stationed 
from Congress, the tardy movements of tluit 

us I'lre or y/A^um^jiW, vvk 

bodf, and Iha kmg liiM it took to obUm tbm 
NMks of.tkaiff dtlibeoRtioniu By it ^fmntmd 
watcfafulneai and fovalbwsliC, aad hy aoticir 
paling tho ftitvue in bm oomnanicaticms, he 
eoBtrived to JeMM ibi$ iofiooFeoiaMe as £tf « 
U eottld ha done* 

Beaidm his uncaamng iatacpoorie wUh Odd- 
gress, he wa« obliged to correspond with the 
heiMk of tha |«o?iMi«l gofaranients^ and af- 
tararards with tha goveroon wd legidatiirw 
af tiie Stataoi wUh ponvantionsi commitioM, 
and civil magiitiataa. Ia tbcaa waia laaUy 
iFaiied tha exaoniiye ppw^iv of the confedaial^ 
fid goramaient. Coagivai imarwrnnondedi 9d^ 
yiaMi, feaotral ; Ihay voled man and auf^iUei^ 
afaigaing d«a proponiona to the xeapeaUfa 
SMaa ; liaia their aatbority oaaaed. The seat 
araa left to tha will of tha peopia, a;ieiciaad 
through their reproeaoMiva^ in the l^tate lagiar 
lalurea* Theae hodiaa laviirad tha parpeliiai 
promptinga of tha Commander^^in-cihiefy wim 
fiareihla repreaentationa af tha weaknaaa aad 
wants of the amy » and appeala to all tha mo» 
jliTea whtoh could atimulnta patrjotiaoi or tooeh 
^lie springs of inteaest. One advaatas^i how» 
aver, attended these harassing relations, which 
■ught eompeoaata for so eztcaofdinary a weight 
of caia and raspopaibility. They brought him 
inta more diraot aontaot. with the souvcas of 

I. pameff and embiled trim lo* extrad bw influ* 

< 0009, mi Ihe fnuAt af Us m9ix>m^ iaiq cbuie- 

■ peb where they wem most oe#de4, and would 

ij pcodiiM the test effeote; thw ealaigiog the 

B covpess of hie own c^oBideratioi^ eed ftfe- 

metieg public hannony and uaien* 

i He bad oot been long in oamp, when he 

I was oalled apcm to exeicite hie finnneee in a 

I manner, that for a moment threatened diea- 

I greeable consequences. The enemy's armed 

\ Teasels were hovering on the coast, seizing 

f small craft, and menacing towns on the sea- 

> boaid. The inhabitants were alarmed, and 

f claimed protection. The legislature of Massa- 

I chnaetts and the governor of Connecticut ap» 

t plied to Washington with a formal request, 

that he would detach troops from the army for 
i that purpose. To refuse this request was del- 

icate ; to grant it, dangerous. In the former 
case, it would excite the clamors of the peo* 
pie and the dissatisfaction of their rulers ; in 
the latter, it would weaken the army so much, 
as to leave the camp exposed to a successful 
assault, and the country around Boston to in- 
sult and ravage. The army itself might be 
dispersed, and the hopes of the continen 
blighted in the bud. He did not hesitate. 
He declined, and stated his reasons in lan- 
guage so judicious and forcible, as to avoid 

188 MFB OP Washington: pm 

gifring oiSenee, and to blunt the edge of dis- 
appointment. Tbia precedent was followed 
thiougbout tbe war. It was established as a 
rale, that attacks of the enemy at isolated 
points along the coast must be repelled by the 
militia in the ricinityy except when the Con- 
tinental army was in a condition to make 
detachments without jeoparding the general 

;43.] LIFE OF WASHINOTOn. 189 


C«ratpoiideace wHh Genenl Gags. — > Comcilf of War rafpMtp 
lag •• AaiMlt Ml BmIob.— OrgaiNMtiM af • MW Contiaeiiul 
Ann/. — Difficnltiea in procuring Recniita — Militia called oat» 
— MaritioM Affaira. — Armed Vesaela. — General Howe takM 
CmmmA of the Briliih Amy.— Cwidltioft of tlw AnsiloM 
Annj at tbe End of tbe Year. — Waahiogton'a Anangement ef 
hia priTate Aflaira« 

GcnzralQaoe commanded the British troops 
in Boston. Prisoners had fallen into his hands 
on the eventfnl day at Banker's Hill, and h6 
had seized other 'persons accused of disaffec- 
tion to the King. These he had thrown in- 
discriminately into prison, no distinction being 
made between officers, soldiers, and citizens. 
The report went abroad that they were treated 
with great severity. Justice to his country, 
and the calls of humanity, made it incumbent 
on Washington to remonstrate against such 
conduct. He wrote to the British general. 
The occasion awakened recollections of more 
than common interest. Just twenty years had 
(elapsed since he and Gage fought side by side 
on the bloody battle-field of the Monongahela. 
An intimacy then subsisted between them, 
which was cherished afterwards by a friendly 
correspondence. Par different was the tela* 

19^ |.IF£ 0F WA«HllfGTON. (17^ 

tion in which they now stood to each other, 
at the head of contending annies ; the one 
obeying the oov^maadi -of hie ^^ereign, the 
other upholding the cause of an oppressed 

Their letters were sigmficaiit of <he ehaage* 
The remonstrance of Washingtonj clothed in 
dignified but pointed language, tepsesented 
the impolicy as well as cruelty of ill treatment 
to prisoners, since it would impose upon him 
the neeesfity of leCaliating, and cbeia would 
be np end to the horrors of war, tf such a eya» 
iem were pursued. General Gage denied the 
charge of barsl;^ usage, and took credit to hist^ 
self for his olemeacy jn sparing personsi 
*^ whose lives by the law of the land were 
destined to the cord" As to diflecence of 
mnky he piofessed not to know any, whseh 
was not derived from Dhe King. 

These principles set at nopght all the rules 
of honorable warfsurei and indicated that the 
highest ojEcers in the American anny, if cap- 
tui«d, would be treated as culprits. The only 
apparent remedy was retaliation. The prison* 
ers in Wasliii^toa's possession were immedi- 
ately ordered into the country, and he gave 
dixeetions that they should receive in eveqr 
re^ypect the saQie treatment, ss was known to 
be praoiised oa the unfortunate sufferers in 

Ak.A^.] UFR OF IVASHIfiOTOI^. 19\ 

t Boston, Sikch Vf99 liifl first impuliie; but, 

I t»wwer justifiad by the l&w« of w«r, be could 

,1 laiol racoDcile to hiinielf an act, <wbi^b should 

I wSict puiiishmeDt cm inooQeftt men for tbo 

foUy or obduracy of a couunauder. The or^ 
^ dsr was oouutannanded, while the prisoneni 

\\ weve oa the foad to Northampton, the place of 

K theJr de9tiMli<Ma ; and Colonel Reed^ one of 

B his isids-deHcainpi wrote to the oonimittee of 

^ the towO) directing that the prisoners should 

^ be at liberty to go abroad on tbe^r paiole. He 

^ added; ''The Oeoeral further requestSi that 

', eFfry other indulgence and civility oonsUtent 

^ with their secui[ity may be shown to tbeni| as 

^ long as they deo»eaa rthemse^ves with decenoy 

^ and good manners. As they havf committed 

^ no hostility against the people of this coaaAry« 

^ they havje a just piaim to mild treatment ^ aihI 

the General does not doubt| that your conduct 
towards them will be such, as to compel their 
grateful acknowledgments! that Americans are 
as merciful as they are brare." 

In replying to General Gage's letter, Washr 
ington said ; " You affect^ Sir, to desf»se ^all 
rank not derived from the same source as yoor 
own» I cannot conceive one more bonosabiey 
than that which fbws from the uncorrupte^ 
choice of a brave aj^d £f€e pe<^e, the purest 
eource and original fountain of all power* Far 

192 LIFE or WASHINGTON. fmb 

from making It a plea for chielty, a mind of 
true magnanimity and enlarged ideas uronM 
apprehend and respect it/' The indiscretion 
and weakness of the British general's conduct 
adiziit of no defence ; yet it should be remem- 
bered, that he was taught by his superiors to 
look upon the asserters of liberty in America 
as rebels, and to treat them as such. Little 
can be said, however, in praise of his political 
sagacity, knowledge of human nature, or en* 
largement of mind. 

The army was soon augmented by the com- 
panies of riflemen from Virginia, Pennsylra- 
nia, and Maryland, which had been raised in 
compliance with a resolution of the Continen- 
tal Congress. The companies were filled up 
with surprising quickness, and on their arrival 
in camp the numbers of several of them 
exceeded the prescribed limit. Within two 
months from the time the orders were sent 
out, they had been enlisted and equipped, and 
had marched from four to seven hundred mile^ 
to the army at Cambridge. 

General Washington had the satisfaction to 
find, also, that the reinforcements of militia, 
which he had requested frc^ro the New Eng» 
land governments to strengthen his camp^ 
came in as expeditiously as could be desired 

The deficiency of powder in the cunp a4 


Cambridge continned to be a cause of extreme 
anxiety to Washington. Small quantities were 
collected, but in no proportion to the demand. 
What added to his concern was, that the ent»- 
my might discover his weakness on this ac" 
count, and march out to attack him. In such 
an event, the whole army must inevitably oe 
routed and dispersed. Secrecy was indispen- 
sable; and consequently the people at large 
were as ignorant of his condition, as the ene- 
my within their lines. Murmurs began to be 
audible that the army was inactive, and that a 
superiority of numbers might justify an at« 
tempt against the town. The subject was re** 
ferred to a council of general cheers, who 
unanimously opposed such an experiment. A 
report next gained credit, that tenderness for 
the inhabitants of the town, and reluctance to 
bum their houses and pmperty, were motives 
for this forbearance. Congress, either partiei^ 
pating this sentiment, or willing to hazard the 
consequences, hinted their wishes to the gen* 
eral by suggesting, that, ^4f he thought it 
practicable to defeat the enemy and gain pos* 
session of the town, it would be advisable to 
make the attack upon the first favorable ocoa* 
sion, and before the arrival of reinforcementSi 
which Congress apprehended might soon be 
expected.'' Another council was cailled« a 

VOI«. I. 

tH UP£ OF WAWHHSTeK. fiia» 

■milh after ihe abovq,i»}g^wwbr ihia sogga*- 
tiwv aod again tbme wm « luiaahuoua voioa 
agatfiat il. Whatever WasbiAgioa'a o^a ofan- 
ian maf bava bean, he was caoatniiBed to ao- 
qmesoe in aHence ; /or It would hare beeii 
highly iaipm<leiit to undeMJca such an eater- 
prise, vrhUe all tbo offi^^rs were oppoaed to it, 
and bia aatnal eondilion damaa^ed conceal- 
Bfteftt ffoia tktd public. 

Ocoamoaal canaoaadaa aad -sbrirfDiriiaa took 
plaoe at ihe advanced potota oo the lineai but 
Iha eiaonif $boved m dispoHtioo Co leave their 
iatrofiahiaeiMa. in ftct, they never meditated 
an attack, iinleaa ceinfoiiaeaieBta should arriva. 
General Guge wroto to Lord Darti^onthf that 
auch an attempt, if anoeetsful, would be fraiu 
lees, aa there were neither horses nar oarriaBta 
for transportation, and no ether end eoald bo 
aaawesad than to drive the Amedeana firaia 
one 8Ux)ng-*hoId to another. 

The lime was drawing aear when it would 
be neeeasary to form a xpew anay. The Gon« 
nectieut and Rhode Islmd troops were migaged 
to serve only till the beginning of December, 
aal none beyond the end of that month. The 
attefition of Coi^pess had been caUed to the 
aubjeet, and a comaaiuee of three membeia 
was appointed to repair to the camp, and meet 
deiagMes from the New Ei^land colonies, Cot 

JBg.m,} LirS OP WAj$1iIHGTON. l^fi. 

tli0 pac{Mee of ^MriKWff 4ii0 mosl ^laeUMl 
neHm of cMlinaiog, r^ubiiii^, w^ mpport* 
ing tbe ConiineQUii Brmfp FfaukUn, LyoGh, 
and Hafriaon ^Bm ti» commUaey ^nd tbey 
JMned the .detogaiet at WaebiDgtoo's beadr 
qnaiten on tbe 18lti of Qelober^ 

As the persMB conaliliiiltng Hub ooairentioa 
were unddlkd io ttulitary ii0iWi» ^Ae plan 
p rop osed hy Geaeml Wa«Uhii8ta«, mlmh had 
been diacuased and metufied by « oonoett of 
offieeBB, VM in the awn adapted- U "vas eoar 
ceived, that, to give faoper emwAfj tbe Aimt- 
iean ansf jonghi to he nnmerieeUy twioe aa 
laigaaatfaatof ifaeaoeaiyinBMoii. T'WSfNUty*- 
aoc fegimeots, tiieaafDm, ware a a aig p od for Iba 
navr oq^anisation, beaidaa liflanieQ ^aod «vtil* 
lerjr, each ngiment Mng dtiPided iota eight 
ooiiqMUBa& Tfaewlioieonmberof men would 
then hjieatiinate aavHiat to twenty thpvmid 
thrae hondiK^ and aeTeDty-Hvoi. Many (tf 
those already on ithe greuad, wboaa lerm of 
aevriee waa aoen to expiie, it was bO{)ed would 
oaenUat, aad liia deicieoey vaa to lie aa|q>lied 
by lecnika fiom the oountr y. The delegatea 
tnppoaed thai tfairty^wo tbaaaaod men nigbt 
bo caiaad in the fioor New England colonies fot 
OM year, die period fixed hy Ooagiesa for al) 
^ a enliMneota. 
. i£tH ibe oenranti^n w^ diasolfjad, Iha 

196 LIFE or WASRinOTON. PT» 

committee from Congress contintied to sit, and 
took various other sabjeets into oonaideralmi. 
The articles of war underwent a reTiskm, and 
several changes were introduced, which eszpe- 
rience had proved to be necessary. Regola* 
tions for disposing of prizes captured at sea, 
for the exchange of prisoners, the enq^ioymeQi 
of Indians, and many local details relating to 
the army, came mider notice, and certain defr- 
nite hiles were agreed upon* When the com« 
mictee returned to Congress, their ptoeeedings 
were approved and confirmed. 

This conference wis of great eervioe to tho 
Oommander^iuH^hief. It affi>rded an opporta* 
nity of expressing his sentiments with more 
freedom and fulness, than he could do by writr- 
ten communications. A system was likewise 
formed for future operations in which he could 
confide, as both Congress and the easlem col- 
onies were bound to suj^rt the measures 
agreed upon by their representatives. 

The next step was to oi^anise the army ae- 
cording to the new arrangement, to appoint the 
colonels and inferior officers of the several regi- 
ments, and issue recruiting orders. This was 
an afiair of great delicacy and embarrassment* 
It was in the highest degree important to re- 
tain as many of the men as possible, who were 
now in the ranks ; and it was soon discovered. 

At. 43.1 ^^^^ OF WASHIHGTOST. 197 

^^j thai very few would remain, unless they could 

^ know beforehand what ofiiceKs they were to 

serve under, and could have all their partialis 
tiea gratified. Local considerations threw ma* 
ny obstacles in the way. Caie must be taken, 
that each colony should have its due proportion 
of officers, according to the number of men it 
was expected to furnish ; and that their rank 
should be so adjusted as to suit the caprices of 
some, and the extravagant claims of others* 
The task was formidable, but it was at lasl 
accomplished, and the recruiting began. 

In addition to the concerns of the army» 
Washington was obliged to bestow much time^^ 
and attention on maritime affiurs. No public 
vessels as yet belonged to the continent, nor 
had Congress made any provision for a naval 
warfare. While the British troops and the in- 
habitants of Boston were shut up within the 
limits of that town, and excluded from a di- 
rect intercourse with the country, it was ne« 
cessary that all their supplies should come to 
them by water ; and the large number of ves* 
sels employed in this service suggested the 
idea of fitting out cruisers in the ports along 
the coast to capture them. Having no instruct 
tions to this effect, yet believing it compatible 
with the general design of annoying and dis- 
tressing the enemy^ Washington took on him- 

I9d Lire OF vr/f^suinaron. p7m 

self the respansiMBty df eqnippiiig and send- j 

itig out armed f eesels. Agents were eSEipliyTed- | 

in Salem, Beterly, Marblehead, and Ptjrmfiatby 
to procure and fit them ont, and they were 
manned by officers and sailors ffom the army. 
His instructions to the captains were precise 
and guarded ; and, that he might seem to act 
under the authority of Ihs commission, he or* 
derea them to ^' fake ceramand of a detaeh* 
ment of the army, with which they wens to 
prooeM en board, crane sigainst such resads 
as were found m the seiViecf of die enemy, and 
seiae aS sueh as were ladese with soldiers, 
arms, ammunition, or provisions." 

In a few weeks six armed schooners were 
under sail, cruising in the waters of Hassaehu-^ 
setts Bay. Several captures were made, and 
particularly a valuable one by Captain Hanly, 
donsisting of munitions of war. But, on the 
whole, the first enterprises were not crowned 
with signal success. Some of the officers 
proved incompetent, the men mutinied, and 
the management of the busineiss in ite defails 
caused infinite trouble. The system was im- 
proved by degrees, other Vessels were fitted 
duf, and CiHigress provided prize-courts and 
regulations, which resulted at length in the 
esmblisfament of a Continental Navy. Bnt 
Qeneral Washington was not relieved from 


I this cfaaige^ fifi after{ the enemy eracuated 

^ Boston. 

One incident ilhtstratire of his cbamcter 
should be here mentioned. Two armed ves- 
sels were despatched to the River St. Law-* 
lence, with orders to intercept two brigantines, 
which it had been understood were to sail 
from England to Quebec with arms and am- 
munition. Failing in this object, the captains 
made a descent upon the Island of St. John's, 
ptilaged the inhabitants, and brought some of 
them away prisoners. Whether this act was 
consistent or not with the customary rules of 
warfare, it was severely reprimanded by Wash- 
ington, who immediately set the prisoners at 
liberty, treated them with the greatest kind- 
le ness, restored alt the property that had been 
^ taken, and provided the best means in his 
J^ power to send them back to their homes. 
^ The burning of Falmouth, an act of per- 
y sonal malice and cruel wantonness on the part 
I of a British naval officer, and the threats of the 
I enemy that the same fate should fall upon oth- 
er seaport towns, produced consternation, and 
I the most pressing requests to General Washing- 
I ton for assistance in powder, arms, and troops. 
^ Again he was compelled, by the necessities 
^ of his own situation, to withhold the relief so 
strenuously solicited. His sympathies were 

900 l^IF£ OF WASHINGTON. (171& 

keenly affected by their sufferii^s, and his pop- 
ularity was jeoparded by the refusal ; yet ia 
this case, as in all others, a stern sense of duty 
subdued his private feelings and fortified his 

When the news of the battle of Bunker's 
Hill reached the British cabinet, General Gage 
was recalled, '4n order to give his Majesty 
exact information of every thing, and suggest 
such matters as his knowledge and experience 
of the service enabled him to furnish." la 
the dearly bought victory at Bunker's Hill he 
had made a discovery, which seems to have 
been not less astonishing to himself, than mor- 
tifying to the ministers. '^ The trials we have 
had," said he, in a letter to Lord Dartmouth, 
^'show the rebels are not the despicable rabble 
too many have supposed them to be." In the 
opinion of the ministers this intelligence show- 
ed likewise, that General Gage had been duped 
by ill advisers or his own ignorance, and that, 
either from obstinacy, want of address, or in- 
capacity, he was not competent to the station 
he occupied. On the 1st of October he was 
superseded in the command by General Howe. 

The abilities of this officer were perhaps su- 
perior to those of his predecessor, but they did 
not grow by experience in the public estima- 
tion. He possessed the advantage, however, 


of not having mingled in the exciting events, 
in which General Gage had acted such a part 
as to bring down upon him the ill will and 
reproaches of the people. General Howe wa? 
a brother of Lord Howe, who had been slain 
at Ticonderoga in the last war, and whose 
memory was ever cherished with warm affec- 
tion by the colonists. Hence he had nothing 
to contend against -but the physical force, de- 
termined spirit, and political skill of the Amer- 
icans. Prejudices were in his favor, and no 
antipathies existed. Unluckily he imbibed the 
idea, that he was quelling a rebellion, and that 
a scrupulous regard to the rules of honorable 
^ warfare was not exacted in such a contest. It 

^ would be hard to blame him, perhaps, on this 

score, since he was only conforming to the 
spirit of his instructions ; yet a little more dis- 
cernment in penetrating .the actual state of 
' things around him, a little more discretion and 

sagacity in adapting his conduct to circumstan- 
ces, would have shown his character in a bet- 
ter light without diminishing the value of his 
services in the cause he was set to maintain. 

The enlistments in the new army went on 
slowly. The dissatisfaction and cabals of the 
officers, the exacting temper and undisciplined 
habits of the men, occasioned endless perplex- 
ities. General Washington felt intense anx- 
• 10 


iety. His patience and fortitude were tried in 
the severest manner. A. month's experiment 
had obtained only fire thousand recruits. At 
one time he was flattered with promibes, at 
another almost every gleam of hope was ex- 
tinguished, till at length, when the term oi 
service of the Ck>nnecticut troops was about to 
expire, it was ascertained that they would go 
off in a body, and leave a fearful blank in an 
army already deficient in numberSi and weak* 
ened by internal disorders. He appealed to 
every moiive, which could stimulate their pa- 
triotism, pride, or sense of honor, but all ia 
vain ; and it was with the greatest difficulty, 
that he could persuade them to stay ten days 
longer, till the militia could be assembled to 
supply their place. 

Orders were issued for calling in the militia. 
By a prudent foresight he had suggested to 
Congress the necessity of being intrusted with 
this authority, and it was granted in general 
terms. But here again a new trouble arose. 
The same spectre of military domination, 
which had from the first struck so much draad 
into the minds of many persons, and had lioi- 
ited the existence of the present army to one 
year, was still busy in spreading its terrors, and 
tormenting its adversaries. If the Commander- 
ia^bief could call out the whole force of the 

^r.4&] ' LIFE OF WASttlNlJTOM. 203 

cooBtiy at bis option^ wb^te would be the 
bottnds of bis power, where the checks to 
soaring ambition, where the aafeguard of the 
people's liberties? Such questions were ask- 
ed in a tone of triumphant confidence, imply- 
ing that they could not be answered. Happi- 
ly Congress pnt an end to them by a simple 
expedient. They amended their resolve, by 
making it iacumbent on the Commander-in- 
chief to gain the consent of the executive, au- 
thority of each colony, before he summoned 
its militia. In fact be had hitherto proceeded 
in this way, and probably always would have 
done so; but this form of the resolve allayed 
the fears of the alarmists, and was equally ef- 

When Qeneral Washington complained to 
Governor Trumbull of the exstraordinary con- 
duct of the Connecticut troops, the latter re« 
{died; ''There is great difficulty to support 
liberty, to exercise government, and maintain 
subordination, and at the same time to prevent 
the operation of licentious and levelling prin- 
ciples, which many very easily imbibe. ThA 
pulse of a New England man beats high for 
liberty; his engagement in the service he 
thinks purely voluntary ; therefore, when the 
time of enlistment is out, he thinks himself 
not holden without further engagement. This 


was the case in the last war. I greatly fear 
its operation amongst the soldiers of the other 
colonies, as I am sensible this is the genius 
and spirit of our people." Another considera- 
tion had great weight, perhaps greater than ail 
the rest. The men expected a bounty. A 
soldier's pa7 did not satisfy them, as they 
could obtain better wages in other emfdoy- 
ments, without the fatigue and privations of a 
camp. Congress had declared against boun- 
ties, and they could not be offered, unless the 
colonies should choose to do it individually on 
their own account. 

At the end of the year, when the old army 
was dissolved, the whole number of the new 
establishment was nine thousand six hundred 
and fifty. More than a thousand of these 
men were absent on furloughs, which it had 
been necessary to grant as a condition of reen- 
iistment. This result was peculiarly discour- 
aging. ^'It is easier to conceive than de- 
scribe," said General Washington, '^ the situa- 
tion of my mind for some time past, and 
my feelings under our present circumstances. 
Search the volumes of history through, and I 
much question whether a case similar to ours 
is to be found; namely, to maintain a post 
against the flower of the British troops for six 
months together, without powder, and then to 


have one army disbanded and another to bo 
raised within the same distance of a reinforced 
enemy." His immediate safety, however, was 
secured by the addition of five thousand mili- 
tia, who soon came in, and were to remain till 
the middle of January. And the advanced 
state of the season rendered it improbable that 
the enemy would undertake sudden enterpri- 

When General Washington accepted the ap- 
pointment of Congress, he supposed it would 
be in his power to visit his family in the win- 
ter, and attend for a short space to his private 
affairs. This was found impracticable, or at 
least inconsistent with the duties of his charge; 
and Mrs. Washington joined him at head-quar- 
ters in December, where she remained till the 
next spring. This was her practice during the 
war. She passed the winters with her husband 
in camp, and returned at the opening of the 
campaigns to Mount Temon. 

His large estates were consigned to the care 
of a superintendent, Mr. Lund Washington, in 
whom he had confidence, and who executed 
the trust with diligence and fidelity. Not- 
withstanding the multitude of public concerns, 
which at all times pressed heavily, and which 
he never neglected, the thoughts of General 
Washington constantly reverted to bis farms. 


In the midst of the nK>st stimng and ereDtfiil 
scenes of the war, he kept up an unremitted 
correspondence with his manager, in which he 
entered into details, gare minute instr actions, 
and exacted in return frequent and full reports 
of the particulars relating to the culture of his 
lands, their products, the condition of the la- 
borers, and erery transaction of business. 
From the beginning to the end of the ReTolu- 
tion, Lund Washington wrote to the General 
as often at least as two or thre^ times a monlh^ 
and commonly every week, detailing minute* 
!y all the events that occurred on the pkuHa* 
tions, his purchases, sales, and payments of 
mo'iey, the kinds and quantity of produce, oe- 
euijations of the laborers, and whatever else 
could tend to explain the precise condition and 
progress of the btisincss in his hands. These 
letters were regnlarly answered by the Gene- 
ral, even when the weight and embarrassment 
of public duties pressed most heavily upon 
him, and full instructions were returned for 
regulating the plans and conduct of the mana- 
ger. Hardly any copies of this description of 
letters were recorded, if retained, and the origi- 
nals have been lost or destroyed. But Lund 
Washington's letters are preserved, and they 
give evidence of the extraordinary attention 
bestowed by the Commander-in-chief ou his 

JBT.iu.] LIFE OF WASlliNGtON. 207 

domestic aflkirs, though several hundred miles 
from home^ and bearing a burden of public 
cares, which alone was enough to distract and 
exhaust the firmest mind. 

An extract from one of his letters on these 
lofHcs will show a trait of characteri and the 
footing on which he left his household at 
Mount Vernon. 

'^ Let the hospitality of the house, with re- 
spect to the poor, be kept up. Let no one go 
hungry away. If any of this kind of people 
should be in want of com, supply their neces- 
sities, provided it does not encourage them in 
idleness; and I have no objection to your giv- 
ing my money in charity, to the amount of 
forty or fifty pounds a year, when you think 
at well bestowed. What I mean by having no 
objection is, that it is my desire that it should 
be done. You are to consider, that neither 
-myself nor wife is now in the way to do these 
good offices. In all other respects, I recom- 
mend it to you, and have no doubt of your 
observing the greatest economy and frugality; 
as I suppose you know, that I do not get a far- 
thing for my services here, more than my ex- 
penses. It becomes necessary, therefore, for 
me to be saving at home." 



rUiMi Tor an Attack en Boaton. — Condition of the Armj. — Dor- 
cheater Heighta fortified. — Evacuation of Boaton. — TVoops 
inarch to New Vork. — Waahingtoo repain to Congrean. — His 
Viewa in Regard to the State of the Countiy. — MachinntioaM 
of the Toriea, and Meaaurea taken to defeat them. — Declar»» 
tion of Independence. 

Towards the end of December it was 
certaiued, that General Howe was fitting out 
a part of his fleet in the harbor of Boston for 
some secret enterprise. Its destination could 
only be conjectured; but the season of the 
year and other circumstances induced a belief, 
that an operation at the south was in view. 
Fears were entertained for New York, theu in 
a defenceless condition^ feeble from the tinnid 
counsels of its provincial Congress, awed by a 
British man-of-war, and distracted by the arti- 
fices of Governor Tryon, whose presence and 
address had kept together on Long Island a 
formidable body of Tories, some concealed, 
others undisguised. 

No efforts were to be spared to prevent the 
enemy from gaining possession of so important 
a post as New York, which, with Hudson's 
River, opened a direct channel to Canada, 
through which an invading army might pass. 



to the great injury of the interior country, 
if not to the discomfiture of the army in 
the northern department. In the present state 
of General Washington's forces, he could not 
send a detachment from camp. As the roost 
promising scheme that offered, General Lee 
was despatched, with instructions from the 
Commander-in-chief to raise volunteers in Con- 
necticut, hasten forward to New York, call to 
his aid other troops from New Jersey, put the 
city in the best posture of defence which his 
means would permit, disarm the Tories and 
other persons inimical to the rights and liber- 
lies of America, and guard the fortifications 
^ on Hudson's River. 

^ Meantime General Washington became more 

^ and more impatient to make an attack on Boo- 

^ ton. He summoned a council of officers oa 



the 16th of January, to whom with strong ar« 
guments he urged the necessity of such an at- 
tempt before the enemy should be reinforced, 
and requested their opinion. They agreed 
that the attack ought not to be deferred a mo- 
ment after there should be a fair hope of its 
succeeding; but, with the force then in the 
^ field, they believed it impracticable. That 

^ his feelings were keenly affected by his situa- 

^ tion, is apparent from the tone of a letter writ- 

I ten at the time. " Could I have foreseen the 

VOL. I. lOq 


difficulties," said he, " which have come Q{ion 
us ; could I hare known that such backward- 
ness would have been discovered by the old 
soldiers to the service, all the generals npon 
earth should not have convinced me of the 
propriety of delaying an attack upon Boston 
till this time." He alludes here to the soldiefs 
of the first army, who had refused to enlist, 
and gone home, in much greater numbers than 
he had anticipated. 

The new regiments were increasing very 
tardily. The time for which the five thou- 
sand militia engaged to serve had expired, 
and a few only could lie prevailed upon to 
stay longer. Another call for militia was 
indispensable. Seven regiments were appor- 
tioned to Massachusetts, four to Connecticut, 
and two to New Hampshire. By the time 
these should come in, it was hoped the ice on 
the waters around Boston would be frozen 
hard enough to facilitate an assault on the 

Besides the want of powder, which had at 
no time been supplied in any adequate quanti- 
ty, the deficiency of arms threatened serious 
consequences. There were nearly two thou- 
sand men in camp without firelocks. Every 
expedient was tried to procure them, but with 
little eflect. The New England governments 







JKt.49.] Ltrs OP WASHINGTOK. 211 

bad none to famish. The mllilia, reluctant to 
fiart with their armsy carried them away when 
they returned home. Officers were sent into 
the country widi money to purchase them. A 
few were obtained in this way, but not enough 
to arm all the men. 

Despondency was seldom known, perhaps 
never, to unsettle the constancy or self-corn"* 
mand of Washington. He seemed to gather 
new strength by resisting the pressure of diffi^* 
culties thickening around him. Borne up by 
a conscious integrity, weighing well every act 
of his life, convinced of the justice of his 
cause, and habitually trusting in the direction 
of an overruling Providence, his far-reaching 
mind looked steadily to the end, and he went 
onward, resolute in purpose, strong in hope. 
The events of the last six months, however, 
and the position in which he was now placed, 
could not but awaken anxious forebodings^ and 
touch his sensibility. He saw his own reputa^ 
tion and the vital interests of his country in 
jeopardy. The means of rescuing the one 
£rom unmerited censure, and securing die oth« 
er on a solid bsMs, were feeble, remote, uncer« 
tain. The fo^ iwing is his language on the 
occasion, conta. led in a letter to a friend. 

** I know the unhappy predicament in which 
I stand ; I know that much is expected of me ; 


I know, that, withoot m^n, without 
without ammunition, without any thing fit foe 
the accommodation of a soldier, little is to be 
done ; and, what is mortifying, I know that I 
cannot stand justified to the world withoat 
exposing my own weakness, and injuring the 
cause, by declaring my wants, which I am de- 
termined not to do, further than unavoidable 
necessity brings every man acquainted with 
them. My situation is so irksome to me at 
times, that, if I did not consult the public 
good more than my own tranquillity, I shouFd 
long ere this have put every thing on the cast 
of a die. So far from my having an army of 
twenty thousand men well armed, I have beea 
here with less than half that number, include 
ing sick, furloughed, and on command, and 
those neither armed nor clothed as they should 
be. In short, my situation has been such, that 
I have been obliged to use art to conceal it 
from my own officers." 

As a contrast to this representation, proving 
the buoyancy of his mind and hia determined 
spirit under the heaviest depression, another 
passage is here quoted from the same letter. 

" With respect to myself, I have never en- 
tertained an idea of an accommodation, since 
I heard of the measures, which were adopted 
in consequence of the Bunker's Hill fight 


The King's speech has confirmed the senti* 
ments I entertained upon the news of tliat af- 
fair ; and, if every man was of my mind, the 
ministers of Great Britain should know, in a 
few words, upon what issue the cause should 
be put. I would not be deceived by artful 
declamtions, nor specious pretences ; nor would 
I be amused by unmeaning propositions ; but, 
in open, undi^:uised, and manly terms, pro- 
claim our wrongs, and our resolution to be re« 
dressed. I would tell them, that we had borne 
much, that we had long and ardently sought for 
reconciliation upon honorable terms, that it had 
been denied us, that all our attempts after 
peace had proved abortive, and had been gross- 
ly misrepresented, that we had done every 
thing which could be expected from the best 
of subjects, that the spirit of freedom rises too 
high in us to submit to davery. This I would 
tell them not under covert, but in words as 
clear as the sun in its meridian brightness." 

By degrees the affairs of the army assumed 
a more favorable aspect Owing to the mild- 
ness of the winter, little ice was formed till 
the middle of February, when it was suffi* 
ciently strong to enable the troops to march 
over it from Roxbury and Dorchester. The 
Commande^in-chief proposed to take advan* 
tage of this opportunity, and make an imme* 


diate assault on Bostoa. His optaion was 
oyerruled by a council of officers, moch to his 
disappointment and chagrin. "Though we 
had been waiting all the year," said he, *^ for 
this favorable event, the enterprise was thought 
too dangerous. Perhaps it was ; perhaps the 
irksomeness of my situation led me to under- 
take more than could be warranted by pni*- 
dence. I did not think so, and I am sure yet, 
that the enterprise, if it had been undertaken 
with resolution, must have succeeded ; without 
it, any would fail." It was resolved, however, 
that active operations should commence, and 
that possession should be taken of Dorchester 
Heights, which might possibly bring out the 
enemy to an engagement in that quarter, and 
thus, by dividing the forces in Boston, lead to 
a general attack. 

Speedy arrangements were made for execu- 
ting this plan, and the essential pert of it was 
effected by a body of troops, who marched m 
the night under the command of Geneiai 
Thomas, gained the summit of the Heights 
without being discovered, and by great activity 
erected before morning such works, as would 
secure them against the enemy's shot. To 
divert the attention of General Howe, an in- 
cessant cannonade and bombardment upon the 
town had been kept up the two preceding 


nights, and during the saixte night, from Lech- 
mere^s Point, Ck>bble Hill, and Roxbury. 

As Dorchester Heights commanded the 
harbor, and also Nook's Hill, from which the 
town could easily be annoyed by cannon and 
mortars, it was expected that the enemy would 
attempt to didodge the American detachmenti 
and that the scenes of Bunker's Hill wonld 
again be acted over. In anticipation of soch 
an event, Washington prepared to assault the 
town at the same time on the opposite side. 
For this service four thousand chosen men 
were set apart, and put in two divisions, one 
under General Sullivan, the other under Gen« 
era! Qreene, the \^hole beihg commanded by 
General Putnam. At a concerted signal they 
were to eitibark in boats, near the mouth of 
Charles River, attended by three floating bat* 
teries, under the fire of which they were to 
land in the town, and then act according to 
circumstances and instructions given by sig^ 

In the event there was no occasion for this 
attempt. It was not the policy of General 
Howe, nor consistent with his designs, to 
bring on a general engagement. He remained 
in Boston at his own discretion, it having been 
recommended to him by the ministry, several 
months before, to leave that p\ace and repair to 

216 LIPE OF WASHINGTON. [t73»i. 

a soathern port. Although he thooght there 
were solid reasons against such a step, yet he 
did not choose to sacrifice his men, or nin haz- 
ardsj while so much rested on his responsibil* 
ity. But when the admiral told him, that, 
unless the Americans were dislodged from 
Dorchester Heights, the King's ships could 
not remain in the harbor, be consented to de* 
tach three thousand men under Lord Percy for 
that purpose. The execution of the plan was 
defeated by a furious storm, which came on 
while the troops were embarking. The next 
day he determined to suspend offensive opera- 
tions and to evacuate the town. 

Washington had regarded this result as prob- 
able ; and, having no other motive for tempting 
General Howe to an engagement, than that of 
forcing him from the town, it was of conrse 
accordant with his principles and his wishes^ 
that it should be done without bloodshed. 
His only aim, therefore, was to keep his post 
strongly guarded, and his troops ready for ac* 
tion. Humanity and pnKcy required, also, that 
the town should be saved, if possiUe, from the 
ravage and destruction to which it must inevi- 
tably be exposed by an assault. Apprehend* 
ing such an issue, after the Americans had 
planted themselves on Dorchester Heights, 
the inhabitants obtained from General Howe a 


declaration, that the town should not be do* 
stroyedy unless the King's troops were molest- 
ed during their embarkation. An informal 
message to this effect was forwarded to Wash- 
ington by the selectmen of the town, but he 
declined taking any notice of it, as not being 
authenticated by the name of the British com- 
mander. This proceeding was enough, how- 
ever, to produce a tacit understanding between 
the parties, and the troops were allowed to de- 
part without molestation. The town was left 
uninjured, except from the natural effects of 
having been so long occupied by soldiers, and 
the disorders attending so hasty an embarka- 

• Boston was evacuated on the 17th of March, 
and several regiments commanded by General 
Putnam immediately entered it, and took pos- 
session of all the posts. It was found to be 
very strongly fortified. General Washington 
himself went into the town the next day, and 
was received with enthusiasm by the inhab- 
itants. The legislature of Massachusetts took 
an early opportunity to present to him an ad- 
dress, expressive of their respect and attach- 
ment, their obligations for the great services 
he had rendered to his country, and their 
thanks for the deference he had invariably 
shown to the civil authorities. 

218 Ln*B OF w'AffHiHGTON. imk 

CoiigresB wece not backward in rendorii^ m 
due tribute to their Commander-in-cbief. A 
unammous vote of thanks was conveyed to 
him in a letter, drafted by a committee ex* 
pressly appointed for the occasion, and signed 
by the President. A gold medal was ordered 
to be stnick, commemorative of the evacuation 
of Boi^n, and as an honorable token of tba 
public approbation of his conduct. 

General Howe, with his army in seventy- 
eight ships and transports, sailed for Halifax. 
His effective force, including seamen, was 
about eleven thousand men. More than a 
^ousand refugees left Boston in his fleet. By 
the adjutant's return, Washington's army,offi- 
cers and men, amounted to twenty-one thou- 
sand eight hundred, of which number two 
thousand seven hundred were sick. The en- 
listments had been more successful latteriy 
than at first. There were also six thousand 
eight hundred militia, most of whom had been 
suddenly called in from the neighboring towns, 
to strengthen the lines in case of an attack on 

It was reported, while the troops were pre- 
paring to embark, that they were destined foi 
Halifax ; but, suspecting this to be given out 
by the British commander, as a feint to cover 
bis real designs, and anxious for the safety of 

.Ar.41] LIFE OF WASliriCGTON. 219 

^ New York, Oenend Waiditiigton called fdr iW6 

^ thousand militia from Croniiectical, and one 

> thomaBd from New Jersey, to be thrown into 
1 that city without delay, which, added to the 
I force already on the spot, might oppose the 

> landing of the enemy till his own troops could 
r arrive. The day after the evacuation, he or- 
dered five Continental regiments, the battalion 
of riflemen, and two companies of artillery to 
nnich under General Heath. They went by 
land to Norwich, and thence by water through 
the Sound. The whole army, except five 
legimenta detained for the defence of Boston 
vnder Genoral Ward, followed in divii^ions, 
pursuing the same route. Putnam was sent 
forward to take the command in New Yoric ; 
Lee having been appointed by Ccmgress to the 
eouthem department, and hJBiviog hastened 
thither to watch the motions of General 01iii« 
ton, who it Was expected would make a de- 
scent soiteewhere on the coast at the south. 

The British fleet lingered ten days in NaiH 
tasket Road, and Washington could not ven* 
ture to leave his post, nor indeed to order away 
all his army, till assured that the fleet had ae* 
tuaUy put to sea. When this was ascertained, 
he aet off for New York, passing through 
Ptovidence, Norwich, and New London. At 
Norwich he had an interview with Governor 


Trumbull, who came there to meet him. On 
the 13th of April he arrived in New Yoik. 
The divisious of the army, moving more slow^ 
ly, did not unite in that place tiU aonie days 

It was soon evident, that General Howe 
had gone in another direction, and that no im- 
mediate danger was to be apprehended fiom 
the enemy. The British armed vessek, hith- 
erto remaining in the harbor, retired down to 
Sandy Hook, twenty-five miles from the city. 
The militia from Connecticut and New Jersey 
were discharged. The first task of the Com** 
mander was to inspect the works began by 
General Lee, direct their completion, and pie- 
pare other means of defence. 

The presence of General Washington being 
thought essential at Congress, for the parpoee 
of advising with them on the state of affidrsi 
and concerting arrangements for the campaign, 
he repaired to Philadelphia, leaving the army 
in the command of General Pntnam. On his 
way he examined Staten Island and the op* 
posite Jersey sliore, with the view of deter- 
mining the proper places for works of defence. 
He was absent fifteen days. He seems to 
have been disappointed and concerned at dis- 
covering divisions in Congress, which portend- 
ed no good to the common cause. It was 


known, from the late proceedings in Parlia- 
ment, that commissioners were coming out 
with proposals of accommodation. In a letter 
to bb brother, written at Philadelphia, he 
speaks as follows. 

" I am very glad to find, that the Virginia 
Convention have passed so noble a vote, and 
with so much unanimity. Things have come 
to such a pass now, as to convince us, that we 
have nothing more to expect from the justice 
of Great Britain ; also, that she is capable of 
the most delusive arts ; for I am satisfied, that 
DO commissioners were, ever designed, except 
Hessians and other foreigners; and that the 
idea was only to deceive and throw us off our 
guard. The first has been too effectually ac- 
complished, as many members of Congress, in 
Acfttj the representation of whole provinces, 
are still feeding themselves upon the dainty 
food of reconciliation ; and, though they will 
not allow, that the expectation of it has any 
influence upon their judgment with respect to 
their preparations for defence, it is but too ob- 
vious, that it has an operation upon every part 
of their conduct, and is a clog to their pro- 
ceedings. It is not in the nature of things to 
be otherwise; for no man, that entertains a 
hope of seeing this dispute speedily and equi- 
tably adjusted by commissioners, will go to 

801 LIFK OF WA9X|I«GTO!f/ |t7» 

the saqie expense and nin tbe nam hazaide to 
prepare for the worst eveDt, as he who be- 
lieves, that he must coDquer, or submit to an* 
conditional terms, and the concomitants, sacli 
as confiscation, hanging, and the like." 

The allusioo, at the beginning of this para- 
graph, is to a recent vote of the Virginia Gott- 
v^tion, recommending tp Congress to declaie. 
the United Colonies free and independeol 
States. The opinion, thai it was time for Ihia 
decisive step to be tajcen) had been, firmlj 
rooted in the nund of Washington ever sioeq 
he first saw tbe King's speech at tbe ppeninc 
of Parliament, and undpr^ood from it the 
temper with which the British govemBieot 
was determined, at all events, to posh its 
claims upon the colonies. From that moment 
his last hope of reconciliation vanished. He 
was convinced, that submission on tierms too 
hamiUatiog to be adpiitted, or a hard stru^x"®! 
was the only alternative. Froin tluit moroenli 
therefore, he believed the colpqies ought to 
stand op the broad. groun4 of independeope. 
They could lose nothing by aseumjng such a 
position; they had been driven to it by theii 
adversaries ; whether from weak counsels^ ob- 
stinacy, or wilful oppression, it was useless^ to 
inquire ; and, if they must yield at last, it was 
better to fall nobly contending for freedom and 

iBr.41] LIFE or WA9HINQTON. 223 

justice, than to oink bade iato fleniiude, tean^ 
ed with the reproach of degrading ooncesaons. 
Such beiag bis sentiments, be was rejoiced at 
the spirit manifested in so powerful a colony 
as Virginia, setting an ex^mnple which others 
were ready to follow, and leading to a union 
which would fix the thoughts and hearts of 
the people on a single object, encourage the 
desponding, strengthen the military arm, and 
give a new impulse to the whole country. 

Notwithstanding the hesitancy of some of 
the members of Congress, there was still a 
laige majority for yigorous action; and, while 
he was there, they resolved to reinforce the 
army at New York with thirteen thousan4 
eight hundred militia, drawn from Massachu* 
setts, Cronnecticut, New York, and New Jer- 
sey ; and a flying camp, of ten thousand moroi 
from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. 

On his return to New York, he lost no time 
m making preparations to receive the enemy, 
whose fleet was now expected soon to approach 
the coast* Besides the burden of his com«* 
mand, he was harassed with other difficulties. 
Long Island, Staten Island, many parts of the 
interior, and even the city itself, swarmed with 
disaffected persons, or Tories, who were plot-* 
ting clandestine and dangerous schemes. Gov- 
ernor Tryon, the centre of motion to this fra- 


ternity, continued on board a vesselL at the 
Hook, and had his emissaries abroad in eveiy 
direction. The Provincial Congress, eith» 
distrustful of its powers, or too much contam- 
inated with the leaven of disaffection in some 
of its members, was tardy to propose, and 
more tardy to execute, any plans for eradicat- 
ing the mischief. Washington expostulated, 
reasoned, urged, till at length a secret commit- 
tee was appointed to take up and examine sus- 
pected persons. 

Aware of the delicacy of this subject, Con- 
gress early passed a resolution, by which the 
power of apprehending Tories was put into 
the hands of the civil authority of each colo- 
ny. This was a wise and politic regulation. 
Much abuse and injustice might have followed, 
if the Continental officers had been permitted 
to arrest persons upon suspicion ; whereas the 
local civil authorities, with a full knowledge 
of characters and circumstances, might proceed 
with proper discrimination, and avoid con- 
founding the innocent with the guilty. That 
there might not be a want of power to execute 
this business effectually, the conventions, as- 
semblies, and committees were authorized to 
employ a military force from the Continental 
army, which, in such cases, was bound to act 
under their orders. Many Tories were appre- 


hfiiided in New York and on Long Island; 
some were impriaonedi others disarmed. A 
deep ploty originating with Oovernor Tryon, 
was defeated by a timely and fortunate discov- 
ery. His agents were found enlisting men in 
the American camp, and enticing them with 
rewards. The infection spread to a consid* 
arable extenty and even reached the Gener- 
al's guard, some of whom enlisted. A soldier 
of the guard was proved guilty by a court- 
martiali and executed. It was a part of the 
plot to seize General Washington and convey 
him to the enemy. 

On the 28th of June, a part of the British 
fleet from Halifax arrived at the Hook. The 
remainder followed within a week, and Gen* 
eral Howe established his head-quarters at 
Staten Island. An immediate attack was ex- 
pected ; but such was not the purpose of Gen- 
eral Howe. A fleet from England was ou its 
way to join him, under the ccnnmand of his 
brother, Lord Howe, the bearer of proposals 
from the ministry for an accommodation, the 
eflect of which was to be tried before hostili- 
ties should be renewed. 

Whjist the enemy was thus gathering 
strength at the door of New York, and in 
sight of the American troops, General Wash- 
ington received from Congress the Dedaraiwn 

VOL. f. 11 


of Tfid^endence. At six o'cloek in the ev 
ing, the regiments were paraded, and ibm Dm- 
laration was read aloud in the hearing of them 
all. It was greeted with ^e n|ost hearty de- 
monstrations of joy and applanse. ^^ The Gen- 
eral hopes/' said the orders of the day, '' that 
this important event will setre as a fresh in- 
centive to every officer and soldier to aet with 
fidelity and courage, as knowing, that now the 
peace and safety of his country depend, under 
God, solely on the success of our arms, and 
that he is now in the service of a state pos- 
sessed of sufficient power to reward his merits 
and advance him to the highest honors of a 
free country.'' The United Colonies of North 
America were declared to be Free and Inde^ 
pendent StateSj and from that day the word 
colonies is not known in their history. 

As the Americans had no armed vBsaels in 
the harbor. General Howe ventured upon the 
experiment of sending two ships, one of forty 
and the other of twenty guns, with three ten- 
ders, up Hudson's River. Taking advant^^ 
of a brisk and favorable breeze, they passed 
the batteries at New York and Pftulus Hook 
without being checked, or apparently injured, 
the men on the decks being protected by ram- 
parts of sand-bags. The vessels ascended to 
a part of the river, called Taj^xin Sea, where 


the breadth of the water secured them against 
molestation from the land. General George 
Clinton then had eommand of the New York 
militia. He called out three regiments, and 
stationed them at different points on the banks 
of the river, particularly in the Highlands, to 
defend those passes, and prevent the enemy 
from penetrating beyond them. But in reality 
the British general'a only objects were, to cut 
off the communication by water betweea 
Washington's army and Canada, and between 
the city and country, thereby obstructing sup- 
plies ; to give countenance to the Tories ; and 
to take soundings in the river. The vessels 
were absent from the fleet five weeks, during 
which time one of the tenders was burnt by a 
fire-ship sent among them by a party of Amo> 



irrival of Lord Howe, with Proposalf for a Reconciliation witk 
the Colonies. — Mode af addrewing Letten to Waakioclos 
itlempted by the Britiah Admiral and General.— Strengtk and 
Condition of the two Armiea. — Battle of Long lalaad. — Re- 
marks on the Battle. 

Lord Howe joined hi^ brother at Staten 
Island before the middle of July. While at 
sea, be had written a circular letter to the lale 
royal governors in the colonies, presuming 
Uiem to be still in power, accompanied by a 
Declaration setting forth his authority as com* 
missioner from the King, and the terms pro- 
posed for a reconciliation. These papers were 
put on shore by a flag at Amboy, whence they 
came to the hands of General Washington, who 
enclosed them to the President of Congress. 
The terms amounted to nothing more than a 
promise of pardon and favor to those, who 
should return to their allegiance and assist in 
restoring public tranquillity. The papers were 
ordered to be published by Congress, that the 
people might know, as stated in the order, 
what they had to expect from the court of 
Great Britain, and " be convinced that the 
valor alone of their country was to save its 
liberties." I^ord Howe's arrival at so lato a 


Ar.H] ''t ^ or WASHINGTON. 229 

day, being «fter the declaration of indepeod- 
ence, was regarded by him as a circumstance 
unfavorabie to the success of his mission ; bu^ 
the truth is, the proposition he brought out 
would not at any time have been listened to, 
as affording a reasonable ground of reconcilia- 
i' tion. It left untouched all the original causes 

of complaint. To suppose the ministry had 
any other hope of this measure, than what was 
derived from the prowess of their formidable 
army and fleet, would be a severe reflection 
upon their common intelligence and wisdom. 
The Americans believed it to be an attempt to 
amuse, deceive, and disunite them ; and, by i| 
natural reaction, it tended to increase their ef- 
forts and bind them more closely together. 

The day before the above papers were land-> 
ed at Amboy, Lord Howe despatched a letter 
to general Washington by a flag, which was 
detained in the harbor by the guard-boats, till 
the general's orders should be known. Ho 
had previously determined to decline receiving 
any letter from the British commanders, not di« 
rected to him in his public character. Colonel 
Reed, adjutant-^general of the army, went dawn 
to meet the flag, with instructions to that effect. 
The oflicer, who had charge of the flag, showed 
htm a letter directed '^ To George Washingiotij 
Esq.j'* which he said was from I^ord Howe. 

5^ Lfpfi OP Washington. (itk 

It was, of eounse, declined. The officer ex* 
pressed regret, said the letter was important^ 
and rather of a civil than military nature, and 
at last inquired in what manner Mr Washing- 
ton chose to be addressed. Colonel Reed re- 
plied, that his station was well known, and 
that no doubts could properly exist on that 
point. They separated, and the flag returned 
with the letter to the fleet. In mentioning 
this incident to Congress, Washington said, 
" I would not upon any occasion sacrifice es- 
sentials to punctilio ; but in^ this instance, 
the opinion of others concurring with my own, 
I deemed it a duty to my country and my ap* 
pointment, to insist upon that respect, whicb, 
in any other than a public view, I would wil- 
hngiy have waved." The course he had taken 
was highly approved by Congress, and a re* 
wive was passed, that in future no letters 
fhould be received from the enemy, by com- 
tnanders in the American army, which ^uld 
not be directed to them in the charactere they 

As occasional intercourse between the chiefs 
of 4he two armies was necessary, for the pur- 
pose of treating about the exchange of prison- 
ers and other matters, General Howe wrote to 
Washington a few days afterwards, repeating 
the same superscription. This letter was like* 


wfae refiioed. He Uien sent C*ok>Ml Paxersoo^ 
adjutant-general of the British anny, who wa9 
admitted to an interview with the American 
commander^ and piodaeed a letter directed 
•* To Gewrge Washington^ Esq, Sfc. ^rc. ^c." 
Colonel Paterson u$ed the title of '^ £xcellei>* 
cy " in addressing him, and said, '' that Cretieral 
Howe much regretted the difficulties, which 
had arisen respecting the address of tlie letter 
to General Washington ; that it was deemed 
consistent with propriety, and founded upon 
precedents of the like nature by ambassadors 
and plenipotentiaries, when disputes or difficult 
ties of rank had arisen ; that Lord Howe and 
General Howe did not mean to derogate from 
the respect or rank of General Washington ; 
and that they held his person and character 
in the highest esteem." Washington replied, 
''that a letter directed to a person in a public 
character should have some description or indi* 
cation of it, otherwise it would appear a mere 
private letter; and that he should absolutely 
decline any letter directed to him as a private 
person, when it related to his public station." 
After a good deal of conversation on this sub- 
ject, and also on the particulars supposed to be 
contained in the letter, Colonel Paterson was 
introduced to several of the general officers of 
the American army, and. then took his leave» 


In giving an account of this confercoco to the 
ministry, Oeneral Howe obsenred, " The in* 
terview was more polite than interesting; 
however, it induced me to change my anper* 
scription for the attainment of an end so desir- 
able ; and in this view I flatter myself it will 
not be disapproved." From that time all let* 
ters addressed by the British commanders to 
General Washington bore his proper titles. 

Oeneral Howe remained two months at 
Staten Island, waiting for reinforcements, be* 
fore he commenced the operations of the cam* 
paign. This period was employed by Wash- 
ington in strengthening his works on New 
York Island. A fort was begun at the iK^h 
part of the island, on a hill not far from the 
east bank of the Hudson, which was called 
Fort Washington ; and another nearly opposite 
to it on the other side of the river, in New 
Jersey, at first called Fort Constitution, and af* 
terwards Fort Lee. Between these forts the 
river's channel was obstructed by hulks of 
vessels and chevaux-de-frise. Batteries were 
erected on the margins of the North and East 
Rivers, redoubts were thrown up at dtflerent 
places, the grounds near Kingsbridge were for- 
tified, and the whole island was put in as good 
a state of defence, as the time and circumstan- 
ces would p^.rmit. Plans were concerted {ac 

Mr.4kJ LirS or WASHINGTON. ^3 

attackiog the enemy on SCaten Island by par- 
ties from the Jersey shore ; but the want of 
boats, and other obstacles, rendered these plans 
abortive. A general attack was thought unad^ 
visable, as pntting too much at hazard, while 
the enemy occupied an island protected oja 
every side by their fleet. 

By the middle of August the British rein- 
forcements had all arrived. General Howe's 
strength then consisted of his own army from 
Halifax, additional troops from England, Hes- 
sians, several regiments from the West Indies 
and the Floridas, the detachments on board 
Sir Peter Parker's squadron, under Clinton and 
Cornwallis, returned from their signal repulse 
at Sullivan's Island, and such men as Lord 
Dimmore had brought with him from Virginia. 
The aggregate of these forces was probably 
somewhat above twenty-four thousand men. 
It has been estimated as high as thirty thou- 
sand. The fleet was numerous and well 
equipped ; and the whole armament, for both 
the land and sea service, was supplied with all 
kinds of military stores. 

To meet these formidable preparations, Gen- 
eral Washington's army, according to a return 
made out on the dd of August, including ofll- 
cers and men of every description, amonnlcd 
nominally to twenty thousand five hmidrcd 


and thiity^seven. Of these, three thousand 
SIX hundred and sixty-eight were sick, ninety* 
seven absent on furlough, and two thousand 
nine hundred and forty-six on command, leav- 
ing only eleven thousand one hundred, besides 
oiBcers, present fit for duty. Many of these 
were militia, suddenly called from their homes, 
unaccustomed to arms and to the exposure and 
hardships of a camp. Tlie season of the year 
and the want of tents occasioned much sick- 
ness. Even this small army was greatly di- 
vided, being stationed at many pointa, from 
Brooklyn to Kingsbridge, over a space of mors 
than fifteen miles in extent. 

An attack from the enemy was daily ex- 
pected. As the waters around New York were 
accessible to the lleet and small craft, Creoeial 
Howe could land at such places as he chose, 
and every point was therefore to be guarded. 
Meantime the American army gradually gained 
strength, l^he Convention of New York call- 
ed out the militia of four counties. About 
three thousand assembled, and formed an enr 
campment under General George Clinton near 
Kingsbridge. Three thousand came from 
Connecticut- Two battalions of riflemen from 
Pennsylvania, one from Maryland, and a regi- 
ment from Delaware, likewise joined the army. 

Intetligennc at length arrived, that tlie Brit- 

ief.44] LIFE, or wAftumo rt)N. B3S 

lefa Uoops irere landing on Long bland, be- 
tveen Ihe NaroovB and Sandy Hook. It waa 
than appurent, that Ihey designed to appcoaeh 
the city across Long Island, and not to attempt 
an immediate bombardment. Anticipating this 
movement, Washington had at an eady day 
posted a body of troops at . Brooklyn, on a part 
of Long Island opposite to the city of New 
Tork, and separated from it by the Eiast Ri7er. 
This position was well secured on the land 
side by a chain of intrenchments and redoubts, 
running along. die high grounds from Walt* 
about Bay to Qowan's Gove ; these works 
having been constructed under the eye of Gkn-» 
etal Greene. It was defended on the watet 
side by batteries at Red Hook, Oovemor's 
Island, and other points. Between Brooklyn 
and the place where the enemy landed, was a 
KSBge of hills covered with a thick wood, and 
eiossed by thitee roads. The precaution had 
been taken to throw up breastworks at tba 
principal passes on these hills, where three or 
four regiments were stationed. General Greene 
at first commanded on Long Island, but falling 
Ul with a fever, he was succeeded for a short 
lime by General Sullivan. The command at 
length devolved on. Gederal Putnam. 
: The British army occupied the plain on the. 
other side of the hills, extending in a line from 


Ihe Narrows to Flaibush. General Graot coii> 
inanded the left wing near ihe coast, De Hek- 
ter the centre, composed of Hessians, and 
Clinton the right. About three o'clock in the 
morning, on the 27th of August, a report was 
brought to the camp, that the British were io 
motion on the road leading along the coast 
from the Narrows. A detachment under Lord 
Stirling w is immediately ordered out to meet 
them. General Sullivan was sent Io die heights 
above Flatbush, on the middle road. One 
regiment only was at this post ; and a little to 
the north of it, on the Bedford road, were two 
others. Meantime General Clinton, with Earl 
Percy and Corn wal lis, led the right wing of 
the British army by a circuit into the Jamaica 
road, which was not guarded, and gained the 
rear of the Americans under Sullivan. BefiNO 
this was accomplislied, reinforcements had been 
sent from the camp to support both Sullivan 
and Stirling. The attack Was begun at an 
early hour by Grant and De Heister, but was 
kept up with little spirit, as they were not to 
advance till Clinton should reach the left flank 
or rear of the Americans. As soon as it was 
known, by the sound of the guns, that this 
was eflfected, they pushed vigorously forward, 
and the action became general and warm m 
every pert. The troops under Lord Stirling, 


m eonsisting of the Pennsyhrania, Marylaivi atjd 

fti Delaware regioienls, fought wUh signal bm« 

B ^^^Yf contesting eyery foot of ground against a 

i: greatly superior force, till Lord Oomwallis, with 

( a detachment from Clinton's division, came 

IF upon their rear, brought them between two 

c fires and compelled them to retreat within 

« their lines across a creek and marsh near Oow* 

I an's Cove. General Snllivan, with the regi- 

I ments on the heights above Flatbnsh, being 

i attacked by De Heister on one side and Clin- 

i ton on the other, after making m obstinate re^ 

sistance for three hours, was obliged to surren- 
der. As the grounds were broken and covered 
with wood, the action in this part was con- 
ducted by a succession of skirmishes, and ma- 
ny of the troops forced their way through the 
enemy and returned to Brooklyn. After the 
battle was over, General Howe encamped his 
army in front of the American lines, intending 
to carry them by regular approaches with the 
cooperation of his fleet. 

The issue of the day was disastrous to the 
Americans. Their loss was between eleven 
and twelve hundred men, more than a thon- 
srmd of whom were captured. General Snili* 
van and I»rd Stirling were among ftie prison^ 
ers. The whole number engaged was about 
five thousand, who were opposed by at least 


fifteen thousmd of the eoettiy, well provided 
with artillery. That so many escaped, was 
•wing lo the nature of the ground, and to the 
action having bean fonght in detached parties, 
aome of which were several miles distant (torn 
eaeh other. The courage and good conduct 
of the troops, particularly those under Lord 
Stirling, were universally acknowledged. 

During the action Qeneral Washington cross- 
ed over to Brooklyn. He is said to have wit- 
nessed the rout and slaughter of his troops 
with the keenest anguish, as it was impoesibie 
to detach others to their relief without expoa* 
ing the camp to imminent danger. A heavy 
rain the next day kept the main body of the 
enemy in their tents. Light parties came out, 
and there was occasional skirmishing near the 
lines, A strong head wind prevented the ships 
from ascending the harbor. The loss sustained 
in the late action, the injury which the arms 
and ammunition had received by t|ie rains, the 
great force of the enemy, and the probability 
that the ships would take advantage of the 
ficst favorable wind, sail into the East Rive**, 
and thus cut off the only channel of retreat, 
rendered it obvious, that any further attempt to 
maintain the post at Brooklyn would be haz- 
wrdous in the extreme. It was known, also, 
that some Of the Britidi ships had [faaseu 

iET.U.! LlFfi OF WASHIKGTOn. 339 

roond Long Island, and were now in Flushing 
Bay ; and there were indications, that it was 
Greneral Howe's desigu to transport a part of 
his army across the Sound, and form an en- 
campment above Eingsbridge. This would 
pat New York Island in jeopardy, and the 
forces at Brooklyn would be essential for ila 
defence. A council of war was called. No 
time was lost in deliberation. It was resolved 
to withdraw the troops from Long Islands 
Boats were collected and other preparations 
were made without delay. On the morning 
of the 30th, the whole army, amounting to 
nine thousand men, the military stores, nearly 
all the provisions, and the artillery, except a 
few heavy cannon, were safely landed in New 
York. With such secrecy, silence, and order, 
was every thing conducted, that the last boat 
was crossing the river, before the retreat was 
discovered by the enemy, although parties were 
stationed within six hundred yards of the linea 
This retreat, in its plan, execution, and duo- 
cess, has been regarded as one of the most re- 
markable military events in history, and as re<> 
fleeting the highest credit on the talents and 
skill of the commander. So intense was the 
anxiety of Washington, so unceasing his eic^ 
errions, that for forty-eight hours he did tM 

240 LIFE or WASHIHGTON. .177a 

close his eyes, and rarely dismounted from his 

There have heen various strictures on this 
battle, both in regard to the action itself, and 
to the policy of Washington in attempting to 
oppose the enemy at all on Long Island. The 
strange oversight in leaving the Jamaica road 
unguarded, and the neglect in procuring early 
and constant intelligence of the movements of 
the British army, were the immediate causes 
of the deplorable events of the day. These 
faults, however, such as they were, rested with 
the officers on the Island. General Washing- 
ton had given express instructions, that the 
strictest vigilance should be observed in every 
part of the outer lines. It was unfortunate 
that the illness of General Greene deprived 
the commander on the spot of his counsel, he 
being thoroughly acquainted with the grounds 
and the roads ; whereas General Putnam took 
the command only four days before the action, 
and of course had not been able from personal 
inspection to gain the requisite knowledge. 
The want of vedettes was another unfortunate 
circumstance. To communicate intelligence 
with sufficient celerity over so wide a spacoi 
without light-horse, was impracticable. At 
this time, however, not a single company of 


eavalry had been attached to the American 

As to the other point, the propriety of main- 
taining a stand on Long Idaod, it must be con- 
sidered, that the enemy was to be met some- 
where, that the works at Brooklyn offered a 
fair prospect of defence for a considerable time 
at least, that the abandonment of the Island 
would open a free passage to General Howe to 
the very borders of New York, separated mily 
by the East River, and that to retreat, without 
even tf show of resistance, as the first opera- 
tion of the campaign, would be unsatisfactory 
to Congress, the country, and the army. Be- 
sides, it was not the purpose of Washington to 
entice the enemy to a general action, or allow 
himself to be drawn into one, if it could pos- 
sibly be avoided. Such an experiment, with 
his raw troops and militia, against a force sn* 
perior in numbers, and still more so in experi- 
ence and discipline, aided by a powerful fleet, 
he well knew would be the height of rashness, 
and might end in the total ruin of the Ameri- 
can cause. Wisdom and prudence dictated a 
different course. To wear away the campaign 
by keeping the enemy employed in small en- 
counters, dividing their attention, and interpos- 
ing obstacles to their progress, was all that 
could be done or undertaken with any reason- 

VOL. I. 


able hopb of succefs. Such a sy&tem wouU 
diminish the resources of the enemy, habituate 
his own soldiers to the practices of wai, give 
Ae country an opportunity to gather strength 
by union and time, and thus prepare the way 
for more decisive efforts at a future day. This 
policy, so sound in its principles, and so trium- 
pliant in its final results, was not relished by 
the sliortstghted multitude, eager to hear of 
l^attles and victories, and ready to ascribe the 
disappointment of their wishes to the fault of 
the General. The murmurs and conaplaints 
of such persons, though so loudly and videly 
expressed that they might be taken as denoting 
the public sentiment, were borne with forti- 
tude by Washington ; nor did he suffer him- 
self to be turned by them from what he be^* 
lieved to be his duty in watching over the 
vital interests of his country. 

By the last returns, the number of troops 
fit for duty was less than twenty thousand, 
and many had siace deserted. One thousand 
men w^ere immediaitely ordered to join him 
from the Flying Camp, then in New Jersey 
under Genetal Mercer. A bounty of ten dol- 
lars had been offered to each soldier, that would 
enlist into the Continental service j but this pro- 
duced little effect, as the bounty to the militia 
was in some instances double that amount. 

jbt.Uw] life or WAsnii^sTOtfv 

" Till of lale," he observes, " I had no doubt 
of defending New York ; nor should I have 
yet, if the men would do their duty ; but this 
I despair of. It is painful to give such unfa- 
vorable accounts ; but it would be criminal to 
conceal the truth at so critical a juncture. Ev- 
ery power I possess shall be exerted to serve 
the cause ; and my first wi^ is, that, what- 
ever may be the event, the Congress will do 
me the justice to think so." In snoh a situa- 
tion a more gloomy or discouraging prospect 
could hardly be imagined. No trials, bowevor, 
in a good cause, could depress the mind or 
unnerve the energy of Washington. 

244 LIFE or WASHlKGTOlf. |I7X» 


flew York eTienated, and the Britiah take PoaaaiaioB of tb» C^f 
— The Ameriewi Ariiij poated at Haerlem Ueighta and Fort 
Washington. — Sitaation and Prospects of the Armj. — Its new 
Organization. — The British land in Westchaaler Cwmitj,uam 
ttHidi inU the Couitoy. 

When Genend Howe had taken possessioa 
of Long Island, his plans began to be unfold- 
ed. The fleet came into the harbor, and an 
armed vessel passed up the East River ; but 
there were no indications of an attack on the 
city. It was obvious, indeed, that he designed 
to take New York by encompassing it on the 
land side, and to refrain from a cannonade and 
bombardment, by which the city might be in- 
jured, and rendered less fit for the accommo- 
dation of his troops in the winter, and less val- 
uable as a place to be held during the war. 
Such being clearly the aim of the British com 
mander, the attention of Washiogton was next 
drawn to the best mode of evacuating the city. 

As a preparatory step he removed beyond 
Eingsbridge the stores and baggage least want- 
ed. In a council of general ojfficers there was 
a difference of opinion as to a total evacuation. 
All agreed, that the town would not be tena- 


ble, if it should be bombaitled ; and it waa 
raanifeaty that this might be dooe at any nu^ 
meat. Some were for destroying the city at 
mice, and leaving it a waste, from which the 
enemy coold derire no benefit. Ab an arga* 
ment for this procedure, it was said two thirds 
of the property belonged to Tories. Others 
thought the position should be maintained at 
every hazard, till the army was absolutely 
driven out. A middle course was taken. It 
was resolved so to dispose the troops, as to be 
prepared to resist any attack on the upper parts 
of the Island, and retreat with the remaindet 
whenever it should become necessary. Nine 
thousand men were to be stationed at Mount 
Washington, Kingsbridge, and the smaUer 
posts in the vicinity of those places, five thou- 
sand to continue in the city, and the residue 
to occupy the intermediate space, ready to sup* 
port either of these divisions. The sick, 
amounting to one quarter of the whole army, 
were to be removed to the Jersey side of the 

While those arrangements were in progress, 
the enemy were not idle, although probably 
less active than they would otherwise have 
been, in consequence of an interview between 
Lord Howe and a committee of Congress at 
Staten Island, solicited by the former ia the 


hope of tuggeeting^ kome plan of leeonciliBtioo 
conformable to the terma of his oommiatioB. 
This attempt pioving abortiye, the operationa 
cammeDced in earnest Four ships sailed into 
the East River, and aochmred abe«l a mile 
above the city. The next day six others fol- 
lowed* Parties of British troops landed od 
Buchanan's Island, and a cannonade was 
opened npon a battery at Hocen's Hook. 

On the 16th of September, in the moraing, 
three men^tf-war ascended Hadson's Biirer aa 
high as Bbomtngdale, with the view of divid- 
ing the attention of the Americans by making 
a feint on that side. At the same time GeD* 
eral Howe embarked a strong division of his 
army, commanded by General Clinton, con* 
sisting of British and Hessimis, at the head of 
Newtown Bay on Long Island. About eleven 
o'clock, these troops, having come into the 
East River, began to land at Sip's Bay, under 
the &re of two forty-gm ships uid three frig- 
ates. Batteries had been erected there ; but 
the men were driven from them by the firing 
from the ships. iioBeral Washington was 
now at Haerlem, whither he had gone the 
nighl before, on account of the movements of 
the eaeany at Montresor's Idand ; and, hearing 
the aound of the guna, he hastened with all 
despatch to the place of landing. To his ioex* 

d^.4L] LfPG or WAsnmGTOM. 947 

pmflible chagrin be fotind tbe tioopei that fasd 
been petted on the Hnes, precipitately retrealiog 
without firing a riiot, although not mofe thati 
sixty or aereoty of the enemy were in sight ; 
and also two brigades, whidi had beeniMFdered 
to their support, flying in the greatest confu- 
sion, in spite of every eflbrt of their officers to 
nrily and form them. It is said, that no indi^ 
dent of the war caused Wasiungton to be so 
mnch excited, as be appeared on this occasion. 
He rode hastily towards the enemy, till hia 
own person was in danger, hoping to encoor- 
age the men by his example, or lonse them to 
« sense of shame for their cowasdice. But all 
his exertions were fruitless. The troops, be- 
ing eight regiments in all, fled to the main 
body on Haerlem Plains. 

The division in New York, under the comr 
mand of General Putnam, retreated with diffi^ 
eulty, and with considerable loss. Fifteen 
men only were known to be killed, but more 
than three hundred were taken prisoners.. 
Nearly all the heavy cannon, and a considem^ 
ble quantity of baggage, stores, and provisions, 
were left behind. A prompt and judicious ma*^ 
Msnvre on the part of the British gealeral, by 
stretcbing his army across the island from Kip'a 
Bay to Hudson's River, would have cut ofi* the 
rear of the retreating division. Bnt this was 

248 LtFB or WASRI19GTON. P7?S 

not effected, nor were the Americens 
with much vigor ia their xeUeat General 
Washtngton drew idl bis forces together with- 
ki the lines on the Heights of Haeriem, where 
they eseamped the same night Head-quar- 
ters were fixed at Morris's House, a mile and 
a half south from Blount Washington, on 
which was situate the fort of that name. 
After sending a small detachment to take poe* 
session of the city, General Howe encamped 
with the larger part of his army near the 
American lines, his right resting on the East 
River, and his left on the Hudson, 8unx>ned 
at each extreme by the ships in those rivers. 

The next morning, Colonel Knowlton went 
out with a party of rangers, volunteers from 
the New England regiments, and advanced 
thfongh the woods towards the enemy's lines. 
When he was discovered, General Howe de- 
tached two battalions of light infantry, and a 
regiment of Highlanders, to meet and drive 
him back. To these were afterwards added a 
battalion of Hessian grenadiers, a company of 
chasseurs, and two fieldpieces. On the appear* 
ance of these troops in the open grounds be- 
tween the two camps. General Washington 
rode to the outposts, that he might be at hand 
to make such arrangements as circumstances 
should require. He had hardly reachod the 

44.] LIFE OF WASHmCTON. 249 

linesy when he beard a firing, which proceeded 
from an encounter between Colonel Knowlton 
and one of the British parties. The rangers 
Tetornedy and said that the body of the enemyi 
as they thought, amounted to three hundred 
men. Slnowlton was immediately reinforced 
by three companies from Weedon's Virginia 
legiment under Major Leitch, and ordered to 
gain their rear, while their attention was di* 
▼erted by making a disposition to attack them 
in front. 

The plan was successful. As the party ap- 
proached in front, the enemy rushed down the 
hill to take advantage of a fence and bushes* 
and commenced firing, but at too great a dis- 
tance to be efiectual. Meantime Colonel 
Knowlton made an attack on the other side, 
though rather in the flank than rear, and ad- 
vanced with spirit. A sharp conflict ensued. 
Major Leitch, who led the attack, was carried 
ofi* mortally wounded, three balls having been 
shot through his body; and in a short time 
Colonel Knowlton fell. The action was reso- 
lutely kept up by the remaining oflicers and 
the men, till other detachments arrived to their 
support; and they charged the enemy with 
such firmness and intrepidity, as to drive them 
from the wood to the plain, when General 
Washington ordered a retreat, apprehendingi 


what proved to be the case, that a lai^ body 
was on its way from the British camp. The 
engagement, from first to last, continued torn 
hours, although the sharp fighting was of short 
duration. General Howe reported eight offi* 
cers and seventy privates woonded, and four* 
teen men killed. The American loss was fif- 
teen killed, and about forty-five wounded. 

Colonel Knowlton was a gallant and meri* 
torious officer, and his death was much la- 
mented. The events of the day were impor- 
tant, not so much on account of their magni- 
tude, as of their influence on the army. The 
retreating, flying, and discomfitures, which 
had happened since the British landed on Long 
Island, contributed greatly to dispirit the troops^ 
and to destroy their confidence in themselves 
and in their officers. The good conduct and 
success of this day were a proof, on the one 
hand, that the enemy was not invincible, and 
on the other, that the courage, so nobly exhib- 
ited at Lexington and Bunker's Hill the year 
before, still existed in the American ranks. 

The lines were too formidable on Hacrlem 
Heights to tempt the British commander to 
try the experiment of an assault. His army 
lay inactive on the plains below more than 
three weeks. General Washington employed 
the time in strengthening his works, and pre* 

JEt.41.] life of WASHINGTON. 251 

panng at all points for defence. His lines in 
front extended from Haeriem River to the 
Hndson, qnite across- the Island, which at this 
place is somewhat more than a mile wide. 
General Greene commanded on the Jersey side, 
with his head-quarters at Fort Lee ; and Qen« 
eral Heath at Kingsbridge, beyond which, on 
a hill towards the Hudson, a fort was erected, 
called Fort Independence. 

The subject, which now engaged the most 
anxious thoughts of Washington, was the sit«« 
nation and prospects of the army. We have 
seen that the establishment formed at Cam-' 
bridge was to continue for one year, and the 
time of its dissolution was near at hand. He 
had often called the attention of Congress to 
this important subject, and pressed upon them 
the necessity of some radical alterations in the 
system hitherto pursued. By the experience 
of the past year all his first impressions had 
been confirmed, and all his fears realized, in 
regard to the mischievous policy of short en- 
listments, and of relying on militia to act 
against veteran troops. Disobedience of orders, 
shameful desertions, running away from the 
enemy, plundering, and every kind of irregu- 
larity in the camp, had been the fatal conse- 

" To bring men to a proper degree of sub- 


ordination," said he, " is not the work of a day, 
a month, or even a year ; and, unhappily for 
us and the cause we are engaged in, the little 
discipline I have been laboring to establish in 
the army under my immediate command is in 
a manner done away, by having such a mix* 
ture of troops, as have been called together 
within these few months. Relaxed and unfit 
as our rules and regulations of war are for the 
government of an army, the militia (those 
properly so called, for of these we have two 
sorts, the six-months' men, and those sent ia 
as a temporary aid,) do not think themselves 
subject to them, and therefore take liberties, 
which the soldier is punished for. This cre- 
ates jealousy ; jealousy begets dissatisfaction ; 
and this by degrees ripens into mutiny, keep- 
ing the whole army in a confused and disor- 
dered state, rendering the time of those, who 
wish to see regularity and good order prevail, 
more unhappy than words can describe. Be- 
sides this, such repeated changes take place, 
that all arrangement is set at nought, and the 
constant fluctuation of things deranges every 
plan as fast as it is adopted." 

At the close of the long and able letter to 
Congress, from which this extract is taken, his 
feelings under the trials he suffered, and in 


.44.] LIFE or WASHINGTON. 253 

contemplatiDg the future, are impressively de- 

" There is no situation upon earth less envi- 
able, or more distressing, than that person's, 
who is at the head of troops regardless of or- 
der and discipline, and unprovided with almost 
every necessaiy. In a word, the difficulties, 
which have for ever surrounded me since I 
have been in the service, and kept my mind 
constantly upon the stretch ; the wounds, which 
my feelings as an officer have received by a 
thousand things, that have happened contrary 
to my expectations and wishes ; the effect of 
my own conduct, and present appearance of 
things, so little pleasing to myself, as to render 
it a matter of no surprise to me if I should 
stand capitally censured by Congress ; added 
to a consciousness of my inability to govern an 
army composed of such discordant parts, and 
under such a variety of intricate and perplex- 
ing circumstances; — induce not only a belief, 
but a thorough conviction in my mind, that it 
will be impossible, unless there is a thorough 
change in our military system, for me to con- 
duct matters in such a manner as to give satis- 
faction to the public, which is all the recom- 
pense I aim at, or ever wished for." 

Moved by his representations and appeals, as 
well as by their own sense of the necessity of 


the case, Congress detennined to le^i^aiiixe 
the army, on a plan conformable in its essential 
featares to the suggestions of the Commander- 
in-chief. Not that the jealousy of a standing 
army had subsided, but the declaration of in- 
dependence had put the war upon a footing 
different from that, on which it was before 
supposed to stand ; and they, who for a long 
time cherished a lingering hope of reconcilia- 
tion, w re at length convinced, that the strug- 
gle would not soon terminate, and that it must 
be met by all the means, which the wisdom, 
patriotism, and resources of the country could 
supply. As it was a contest of strength, a 
military force, coherent in its parts and durable 
in its character, was the first requisite. To 
the resolute and discerning this had been obvi- 
ous from the moment the sword was drawn. 
The events of a year had impressed it on the 
minds of all. 

The new army was to consist of eighty- 
eight battalions, apportioned in quotas to the 
several States according te their ability. The 
largest quota was fifteen battalions, which 
number was assigned respectively to Virginia 
and Massachusetts. The men were to serve 
during the war, this great point being at last 
gained. To encourage enlistments, a bounty 
of twenty dollars and one hundred acres of 


land was offered to each non-commissioned 
officer and privale ; and lands in certain quauti* 
ties and proportions were likewise promised to 
the commissioned offi^eni. The business of 
enlisting the troops to fill up the quotas, and 
of providing them with arms and clothing, 
deyotved upon the several States to which 
they belonged. The expense of clothing was 
to be deducted from the soldier's pay. Colonels 
and all lower officers were to be appointed by 
the States, but commissioned by Congress. 
The mles for the government and discipline 
of the army were at the same time revised 
and greatly amended. 

Thus matured, the plan was sent to the 
Commander-in-chief, and was soon followed 
by a committee from Congress, instructed to 
inquire into the state of the army. From this 
committee the views of Congress were more 
fliUy ascertained ; but General Washington per- 
ceived defects in the scheme, which he feared 
would retard, if not defeat, its operation. The 
pay of the officers had not been increased ; 
and he was persuaded, that officers of charac- 
ter could not be induced to retain their com- 
missions on the old pay. The mode of ap- 
pointing them was defective, it being left to 
the State governments, which would act slow- 
lyi without adequate knowledge, and often 


under influences not salutary to the interests 
of the army. The pay of the privates was 
also insufficient. Congress partially remedied 
these defects in conformity to his advico, by 
raising the officers' pay, giving a suit of clothes 
annually to each private, and requesting the 
States to send commissioners to the army, with 
full powers to arrange with the Command««* 
in-chief the appointment of all the officers^ 
With the jealousy of State sovereignty, and 
the fear of a standing army, this was all thi^ 
could be obtained from the representatives of 
the States. And perhaps it was enough, con- 
sidering their want of power to execute their 
resolves, and the necessity of being cautious 
to pass such only as the people would iqpprove 
and obey. The above {dan was modified be- 
fore it went into effect, by allowing men to 
enlist for three years ; these men not receiving 
the bounty in land. Hence the army from that 
time was composed of two kinds of troops, 
those engaged for the war, and those for three 
years. At length, also, the States being negli- 
gent and tardy in providing for the appoint- 
ment of officers, Congress authorized General 
Washington to fill up the vacancies. 

A circular letter was written by the Presi* 
dent of Congress to the States, ui^ing them 
to complete their quotas without delay. The 

Mn. H] Mrs or WASHINCiTOK. 257 

proper steps vers immediately taken ; but aa 
aril sooa crept into the system, which pro- 
duced much mischief througliont the war. 
To hasten enlistments, some of the States of- 
fered bounties in addition to those given by 
Congress ; and in many cases the towns, to 
which qnotas were assigned by the State gov- 
ernments, raised the bounties still higher, dif- 
fering from each other in the amount. Again, 
when the militia were called out on a sudden 
emergency, it was usual to offer them extraor- 
dinary rewards for a short term of service. 
This practice was injurious on many accounts. 
It kept beck men from enlisting by the hope 
of higher bounties; and, when they were 
brought together in the field, although the 
-Continental pay was uniform, yet many were 
receiving more from incidental bounties, and 
•in various proportions, which created murmur- 
ings and jealousies between individuals, com- 
panies, and regiments. Nor was there the sal- 
utary check of interest to operate as a restraint 
upon the States. The war was a common 
charge, and, when money or credit could be 
applied to meet the present exigency, it was a 
small sacrifice to be bountiful in accumulating 
a debt, which the continent was pledged to 
pay. There could be no other remedy than a 
supreme power in Congress, which did not ex- 
VOL. I. 12q 

LIFE OF WAStllliGTOX. ftim 

ist ; and the evil was at all times a aooice of 
ifregiilarities in the military arraogemeata, and 
of Fexation to the GoniDiaDder*iD-chief. 

The arduous duties of General Washiogtoa'a 
immediate command were now increaaed by 
the task of organizing a new army, and hold- 
ing conferences with commissioners from the 
States for the appointment of officers, in the 
midst of an active campaign, while the enemy 
were pressing upon him with a force vastly an* 
perior in discipline, at times superior in nam* 
hers, and abundantly supplied with provisional 
clothing, tents, and all the munitions of war. 

Sir William Howe was soon in motion. 
Haying prepared his plans for gaining the rear 
of the American army, by which he hoped ei- 
ther to cnt off its communication with the coun- 
try, or bring on a general action, he first sent 
two ships, a frigate, and tenders up the Hnd«- 
son. These vessels passed the batteries, and 
ran through the obstructions in the river, with- 
out receiving any apparent damage ; and thus 
secured a free passage to the Highlands, there- 
by preventing any supplies from coming to the 
American army by water. This experiment 
having succeeded even better than he had ex- 
pected, the British commander, on the I2th of 
October, embarked his troops on the East Riv- 
er on board flat-boats, sloops, and schooners, 

JBr.411 Lirfi OF WASHINGTOM. 959 

passed through Hell Gate into the Sound, and 
landed the same day at Frog's Point. Two 
brigades of British troops, and one of Hessians, 
amounting to five thousand men, were left un- 
der Earl Percy at Haerlem to cover the city 
of New York* General Howe remained five 
days at Frog's Point, waiting, as he says, for 
stores, provisions, and three battalions from 
Staten Island ; but, according to the American 
accounts, the strong defences, guarded by de* 
laehments from Washington's army, and the 
destruction of the causeway connecting tho 
Point with the main land, discouraged him 
from attempting to march into the country at 
•that place. He reembarked, landed again at 
Pell's Point, and advanced to the high grounds 
between East Chester and New Rochelle. 
Four days later he was joined by General 
Knyphausen with the second division of Hes* 
sians, and a regiment of Waldeckers, just £ir-> 
rived from Europe. 



Washington adTancei to White Plains and forma an 
roeaU — Battle of Chatterton's Hill. — Part of the American 
Anny croaaes the. Hudson. — Capture of Fort Waahingtoa and 
Fort Lee. — General Washington retreata throngfa New Jetney, 
and crosses the Delaware at Trenton. — Conduct and CbaincMr 
of Genera] Lee. — Reduced State of the Army. 

General Washington took measures to 
counteract these movements and the designs 
of them. He arranged his army in toxn divis- 
ions, commanded respectively by Major^en- 
ends Lee, Heath, Sullivan, and Lincoln. The 
last was not a Continental officer, but had re** 
eently come forward with a body of Massa- 
chusetts militia. It was decided in a council 
of war, that the army should leave New York 
Island, and be extended into the country, so as 
to outflank General Howe's columns. At the 
same time it was agreed, '' that Fort Washing* 
ton should be retained as long as possible." 
Two thousand men were left for that object. 

One of the four divisions crossed Kings- 
bridge, and threw up breastworks at Valen- 
tine's Hill. The others followed, and formed 
a line of detached camps, with intrenchments, 
on the heights stretching along the west side 
of the River Brunz, from Valentine's Hill to 


White Plains. This disposition was necessa- 
ry in order to protect the baggage, stores, and 
cannon, which were removed with great diffi- 
culty for the want of wagons and horses. 
General Washington proceeded with the ad- 
vanced division to White Plains, where he for- 
tified a camp in such a manner, as to afford 
security to the whole army, and where he in- 
tended to hazard a general engagement, if 
pushed by the enemy. The camp was on el- 
evated ground, defended in front by two lines 
of intrenchments nearly parallel to each other, 
and between four and five hundred yards apart. 
The right wing rested on the Brunx, which, 
by making a short bend, encompassed the 
flank and part of the rear. The left wing 
reached to a pond, or small lake, of some ex- 
tent, by which it was effectually secured. 

As Sir William Howe marched his army di- 
rectly forward in solid columns, without de- 
taching any considerable parties towards New 
York and the Hudson, it was evident he in- 
tended to seek an opportunity to force a gener- 
al action. As soon as the baggage and stores 
were brought up, therefore, Washington drew 
all his troops into the camp at White Plains, 
In the interim, parties of Americans attacked 
the enemy's outposts at different points, and 
sfHrited skirmishes took place. 


Before noon, on the 38th of October, the 
British army came in view, and displayed it- 
self on the sidea of the hilla in £ront of Wash- 
ington's lines, and within two miles of his 
camp. A commanding height, called Chatter* 
ton's Hill, stood half a mile to the south of 
the American right flank, and was separated 
from it by the Brunx and low, marshy ground. 
A militia regiment had been posted there, 
which was joined in the morning by Colonel 
Haslet, with his Delaware regiment, and after*' 
wards by a battalion of Maryland troops, and 
others, mostly militia, to the number of about 
sixteen hundred, the whole being imder the 
command of General M'^Dougall. The British 
commander made it his first object to dislodge 
these troops. For this purpose a battalion of 
Hessians, a brigade of British commanded by 
General Leslie, and the Hessian grenadiers 
under Cdonel Donop, were ordered to cross 
the Brunx and attack in front ; while Colonel 
Rahl, with another brigade of Hessians, should 
cross further down the river and advance by 
a circuitous march upon the American right 
flank. They forded the Brunx, and formed in 
good order on the other side under the fire of 
their cannon, though not without being galled 
by the troops at the summit of the bill. They 
then ascended the lieights, and, after a shoct 


but severe ftctioo, drove the Americans from 
their works ; but, contented with gaining the 
poet, and fearing they might be cut off by 
venturing too far from the main body, they 
desisted from pursuit. The American loss has 
been variously represented. According to a 
return made by General Howe himself, the 
prisoners were four officers and thirty-five pri* 
vates. The number killed was not known. 

It was expected that this advantage would 
be followed by an immediate attack on the 
camp. Snch indeed was the first intention of 
General Howe, and his troops lay on their 
arms all that night. Nothing more occurred, 
however, the next day, than slight skirmishes 
between the advanced parties. On reconnoi- 
tring the camp, General Howe thought it too 
strong for an assault, and resolved to wait for 
a reinforcement from Earl Percy, then at Haer- 
lem. This arrived in two days, and the Slst 
of October was fixed on for the attack ; but a 
heavy rain caused it again to be deferred. 

The same night General Washington drew 
all his troops to another position on the hills in 
his rear, which the delays of his opponent had 
allowed him time to fortify, and which could 
be more easily defended than his first camp. 
So judiciously was this movement planned and 
oondueted, that it was carried into effect with* 


out loss or molestation, and even without be* 
ing discovered by the British army. The idea 
of a battle was now abandoned by Genenu 
Howe ,- he despaired of being able to dislodge 
the Americans from this strong position ; and 
it was soon ascertained, that he was withdraw- 
ing his army towards the Hudson and Kings* 

As this might be a feint to entice the Amer- 
ican forces from the hilly country, Washington 
remained in his new camp for a few days, till 
it was found that the enemy were actually re- 
tracing their steps. It was then foreseen, that 
their first grand roanoBuvre would be to invest 
Fort Washington ; and their next to pass the 
Hudson, and carry the war into New Jersey, 
and perhaps make a push for Philadelphia. To 
meet these changes in the best manner he 
could, he ordered all the troops belonging to 
the States west of the Hudson, five thousand 
in number, to cross the River at King's Ferry, 
all the crossing places below being obstructed 
by British vessels. The rest of the army, 
composed of New York and eastern troops, 
was separated into two divisions. One of these, 
under General Heath, was stationed on both 
sides of the river in the Highlands, to defend 
those passes. The other, amounting to aboot 
four thousand men, of whom many were mil* 

Mt 41] Lire OF WASHII9GT0II. 365 

itia, whose times of service were soon to ex- 
pire, was left in the camp near White Plains^ 
commanded by General Lee, with discretiona- 
ry instructions to continue on that side of the 
Hudson, or to follow the Commander-in-chief 
into New Jersey, as he should judge expedi- 
ent when the designs of the enemy were un- 
folded. Having given these orders. General 
Washington inspected the posts at the High- 
lands, and then repaired to Hackinsac, at which 
place the troops that had crossed the river as- 
sembled, after a circuitous march of more than 
sixty miles. 

General Howe moved his whole army to 
the neighborhood of Kingsbridge. At his ap- 
proach the Americans retired from Fort Inde- 
pendence, destroyed the bridge over Haerlem 
River, and withdrew to the lines near Fort 
Washington. Thirty flat-boats had passed up 
the Hudson undiscovered in the night, and 
entered Haerlem River, which, joined to oth- 
ers brought in from the East River, aflbrded 
amfde means to the British army for crossing 
to New York Island. It was resolved to make 
the assault on the fort from four different 
points. The British adjutant-general was sent 
to Colonel Magaw, the commander in the fort, 
with a summons to surrender, which Colonel 


Magaw rejected, saytog he would defend hiBi- 
self to the last exlremity. 

The next morning, November 16th, Geneial 
Enyphausen advanced with a body of Hes- 
sians to the north of the fort, and commenced 
the attack. Earl Percy nearly at the same 
time assailed the outer lines on the south; 
and two parties landed at some distance from 
each other, after crossing Haerlem River, and 
forced their way up the steep and rugged as- 
cents on that side. The lines in every part 
were defended with great resolution and ob- 
stinacy ; but, after a resistance of four or five 
hours, the men were driven into the fort, and 
Colonel Magaw was compelled to surrender 
the whole garrison prisoners of war. The 
American loss was about fifty killed, and two 
thousand, eight hundred and eighteen prison- 
ers, including officers and privates. The num- 
ber of men originally left with Colonel Magaw 
was only two thousand; but, when the attack 
was threatened. General Greene sent over re- 
inforcements from Fort Lee. 

This was the severest blow which the 
American arms had yet sustained, and it hap* 
pened at a most unpropitious time. That there 
was a great fault somewhere, has never been 
disputed. To whom it belongs, has been 
made a question. The project of holding the 

«>r.l4] LIFE OF WASHINGTON. 267 

pOBt, after the British began to retreat from 
White Plains, was G^aeral Greene's ; andy as 
he had commanded at the station several 
weeks, he was presumed to be perfectly ao- 
quainted with the condition of the garrison 
and its means of defence, and deference was 
paid to his judgment Eight days before the 
attack, Washington wrote to Geneml Greene ; 
'< If we cannot prevent vessels from passing 
up, and the enemy are possessed of the sur- 
rounding country, what valnable purpose can 
it answer to attempt to hold a post, firom which 
the expected benefit cannot be had? I am 
therefore inclined to think, that it will not be 
prudent to hazard the stores and men at Mount 
Washington ; but, as you are on the spot, I 
leave it to you to give such orders, as to evac* 
uating Mount Washington, as you may judge 
best." Nothing more decisive could be said, 
without giving a positive order, which he was 
always reluctant to do, when he had confi- 
dence in an officer on a separate command. 
His opinion, that the troops ought to be with- 
drawn, is clearly intimated. General Greene 
replied ; ^' I cannot help thinking the garrison 
is of advantage ; and I cannot conceive it to 
be in any great danger. The men can be 
brought off at any time, but the stores may 
Qol be so easily removed. Yet I think they 

268 LIFE OF WAgHINGTOlf. ftm 

may be got off, if matters grow desperate." 
To this opinion Oeneral Greene adhered to 
the last. The ovening before the assault, Gen- 
eral Washington went from Hackinsac to Fort 
Lee; and while crossing the nvetf with the 
view of visiting the garrison, he met Generab 
Greene and Putnam retumingy who told him 
"the troops were in high spirits, and would 
make a good defence." He went back with 
them to Fort Lee. The sammons to sur- 
render had already been received by Cdonel 
Magaw; the attack was expected the next 
momkig, and it was now too late to withdraw 
the troops. ^ 

In a letter to his brother, written from Hack- 
insac three days after the surrender. General 
Washington said; "This post, after the last 
ships went past it, was held contrary to my 
wishes and opinion, as I conceived it to be a 
hazardous one ; bnt, it having been determined 
on by a full council of general ofBcers, and a 
resolution of Congress having been received, 
strongly expressive of their desire, that the 
channel of the river, which we had been la* 
boring to stop for a long time at that place, 
might be obstructed, if possible, and knowing 
that this could not be done, unless ihete were 
batteries to protect the obstruction, I did not 
care to give an absolute order for withdrawing 

JBt.U.] life of WASHIlfGTO^• 269 

the garrison, till I could get round and see the 
situation of things, and then it became too 
late, as the fort was invested. Upon the pass* 
ing of the last ships, I had given it as my 
opinion to General Greene, under whose care 
it was, that it would be best to evacuate the 
place ; but, ps the order was discretionary, and 
bis opinion differed from mine, it unhappily 
was delayed too long." 

From these facts it seems plain, that the 
loss of the garrison, in the manner it occurred, 
was the consequence of an erroneous judgment 
on the part of General Greene. How fiur the 
Gomnumder4n-chief should have overruled his 
opinion, or whether, under the circumstances 
of the case, he ought to have given a peremp- 
tory order, it may perhaps be less easy to de* 

Sir William Howe followed up his successes. 
A detachment of six thousand men, led by 
Earl Comwallis, landed on the Jersey side, six 
or seven miles above Fort Lee, gained the high 
grounds with artillery, and marched down be- 
tween the Hudson and Hackinsac rivers. The 
whole body of troops with Washington not 
being equal to this force, he withdrew the gar- 
rison from Fort Lee to the main army at 
Hackinsac, leaving behind the heavy cannon, 
many tents, and a large quantity of baggage. 


pToviaoD, and other stores, which the lapid 
advance of the enemy made it impossibie to 
secure. Being now in a level country, wber« 
defence was difficult, pent up between rivers, 
and pressed by a force double his own, no re* 
source remained but a rapid retreat. The Jer- 
sey shore, from New York to Bnmswic, was 
open to the British vessels, and a landing 
might be effected at any place without oppoo^ 
tion. It was necessary, therefore, that he 
^ould move towards the Delaware, pursuing 
a route near the Rariton River, that he might 
be in the way to prevent General Howe from 
throwing in a strong detachment between him 
and Philadelphia* 

While on the march, he wrote earnest letters 
to the gOTernor of New Jersey and to Con* 
gress, describing his situation, and requesting 
the support of all the militia from New Jersey 
and Pennsylvania, that could be called into 
the service. When he arrived at Branswic, 
the army then with him amounted to less than 
four thousand. He was closely pursued by 
Comwallis ; but the retreat was effected, with** 
imi loss, to Trenton, where he crossed the Del* 
aware, and took a stand on the western side 
of that river, securing the boats, and guarding 
the crossing^places from Coryell's Ferry to 
Bristol. At this time the nimiber of his men. 

Mt.4i.} LIFE OF WASHrMGTON. 87t 

fit for duty, was about three thonsaod* The 
enemy did not attempt to pass the river. Foe 
the present. General Hove was contented with 
having overrun New Jersey ; and be covered 
his acquisition by a chain of cantonments, at 
Pennington, Trenton, Bordentown, and Bur* 
lington. In these positions, the two armiee 
continued with little change for nearly three 

The troops, constituting the Flying Gamp 
heretofore mentioned, were all enlisted in the 
middle States, and engaged for a year. Their 
term of service expired during the march,* and 
none, except a small part of those from Penn* 
sylvania, could be prevailed on to stay longer. 
The Board of War suggested a plan for enlist- 
ing prisoners, and appealed to the example of 
the enemy. * Oeneral Washington opposed the 
measure, as not accordant with the rules of 
honorable warfare, and said he should rem<«* 
Btrate on the subject to Sir William Howe. 
He m<Mreover thought it impolitic. In times 
of danger, such recruits would always be the 
most backward, fearing the punishment they 
would receive if captured, and communicating 
their fears to the other soldiers. Prisoners 
would likewise be tempted to enlist with the 
intention to desert and carry intelligence to 
the enemy, for which they would be largely 


rewarded. Under no circnmstanceSy therefore, 
could confidence be placed in such men ; and 
the chance was, that they would do much 

From the time the army separated at White 
Plains, General Lee had acted a very extraor- 
dinary part Washington requested him, in a 
letter written at Hackinsac, to lead his divis- 
ion into New Jersey, and join the army on its 
march. This was soon followed by a positive 
order, which was often repeated. General 
Lee sent back various excuses, lingered on the 
east' side of the Hudson, endeavored to draw 
away two thousand of General Heath's men 
from the Highlands, contrary to the instruc- 
tions given by General Washington to the lat- 
ter; and, after crossing with apparent reluc 
tance into Jersey, his progress w^as so slow, 
that, in three weeks from the time he first re- 
ceived ordere to march, he had only reache«l 
Morristown. The truth is, that he had schemes 
of his own, which he was disposed to effect 
at the hazard of disobeying the Commander- 
in-chief. In the first place, he hoped to make 
a brilliant stroke upon New York, when it 
should be exhausted of troops for the exjiedi- 
tion towards the Delaware; and next, aAer 
crossing the Hudson, he still fostered the de- 
sign of performing some signal exploit by at- 

JBr.ii] L1F£. OF WASHIJSGTO^. 273 

tacking the enemy in their rear. Bat his am« 
bidous projects and hopes were suddenly cut 
riiort. While on his march, not far from Ba&- 
kiugridge, he lodged one night at a private 
house three miles from his army, with a small 
guard. A Tory in the neighborhood gave 
notice of his situation to the enemy, and early 
in the morning the house was surrounded by 
a party of light-horse, commanded by Colonel 
Harcourt, who took him prisoner, and bore 
bim off in triumph to the British camp. 

This event created a strong sensation of 
surprise and regret throughout the country. 
The military talents, experience, and activity 
of General Lee had inspired universal confi- 
dence, and raised high expectations in the 
minds of the people. He had served in Amer- 
ica during the last war, and afterwards with 
distinguished reputation in different parts of 
Burope. His recent enterprise and successes at 
the south had confirmed the good opinion be- 
fore entertained of his abilities and skill. His 
capture, therefore, considering the circumstan- 
ces, appeared inexplicable. Public sentiment, 
ever prone to extremes, took a direction unfa- 
vorable to his character. As no plausible rea- 
son could be assigned for his conduct in ex- 
posing himself so incautiously, it was surmised 
that he was a voluntary prisoner, and sought 

VOL. I. 13 


this method of joiniog the enemy without in 
curring the odium of desertion. But there 
was no just ground for such a suspicion. As 
a soldier, he was true to the interests of his 
adopted country ; as a friend to American free- 
dom, his sincerity may be questioned. Har- 
boring the most bitter resentment against the 
British King and ministry, for reasons not ful- 
ly understood, he wished to see them hum- 
bled ; and this motive alone would have im- 
pelled him to embrace any cause tending to 
such a result* 

Violent in his temper, hasty in bis resolves, 
reckless in adventure, possessing an inordinate 
self-confidence and unbounded ambition, he 
looked upon the American war as presenting 
an opportunity for gratifying at the same time 
his animosity and his passion for glory. He 
entered heartily into the measures of opposi- 
tion to the British arms, and in the first year 
of the contest rendered important services; 
but, believing himself superior to every other 
officer in the American mnks, impatient of 
control even by Ck)ngress or the Commander- 
in-chief, and always pressing on the verge of 
disobedience, his arrogance had risen to a pitch, 
that must soon have led to mischievous conse- 
quences to himself, and perhaps to the country, 
if he had escaped the misfortune of captivity 


He vas a man of genius, well educated, and 
a skilfal writer; but eccentric in his liabitS; 
unsettled in his principles, often offensive in 
his manners, showing little deference to the 
opinions and feelings of others, and little re- 
gard to the usages of society. 

The command of Lee's division devolved 
on General Sullivan, who marched with it as 
soon as possible to the main army. Four reg- 
iments under General Gates also arrived from 
Ticonderoga, being relieved at that place by 
the retreat of General Carleton to Canada for 
winter quarters. These were all the regular 
forces, which General Washington could draw 
to his support. Heath was ordered to advance 
with a part of his division from the Highlands ; 
but the taking of Rhode Island by the British, 
and the threatening appearance of the enemy's 
vessels in the Sound, made it imprudent to 
weaken that post, or to call away any of tho 
eastern troops, and the order was countermand- 
ed. Three regiments on their march from 
Ticonderoga were ordered to halt at Morris- 
town, that, in conjunction with a body of mi- 
litia there assembled, they might inspirit the 
inhabitants and protect the country in that 

As soon as the ice should become sufficient- 
ly strong, it was expected the enemy would 


pass the Delaware, and bring all their force to 
bear upon Philadelphia. Anticipating this 
event, Congress adjourned to Baltimore. Gen- 
eral Putnam took the command of the militia 
in Philadelphia, being instructed to throw up 
a line of intrenchments and redoubts from the 
Delaware to the Schuylkill, and prepare for an 
obstinate defence. 



Geaenl Washington inrested with extnordinuy Powen by Ccm- 
gren. — His Manner of uiing them. — Ho recrones the Del- 
ftwaro. — Battle of Trenton. — Batde oT Princeton. — Th« 
Army goes into Winter Quarters at Morristown. — Remarka on 
these £Tents. 

This was the gloomiest period of the war. 
The campaign had been little else, than a se« 
ries of disasters and retreats. The enemy had 
gained possession of Rhode Island, Long Isl- 
and, the city of New York, Staten Island, and 
nearly the whole of the Jerseys, and seemed 
on the point of extending their conquests into 
Pennsylvania. By the fatal scheme of short 
enlistments, and by sickness, the effective 
farce with General Washington had dwindled 
away, till it hardly deserved the name of an 
army. A proclamation was pabltshed jointly 
by Lord Howe and General Howe, offering 
pardon in the King's name to all, who should 
take the oath of allegiance, and come under 
his protection within sixty days. Many per- 
sons, among whom were men of wealth and 
consideration, accepted these terms, and went 
over to the enemy. Others, especially in New 
Jersey, took the oath, but remained at their 
homes In short, so great was the panic and 


80 dark the prospect, that a general desponden- 
cy pervaded the Continent. 

In the midst of these scenes of trial and dis- 
couragement, Wasliington stood firm. What- 
ever his apprehensions may have been, no 
misgivings were manifest in his conduct or his 
counsels. From his letters, written at this 
time on the western bank of the Delaware, it 
does not appear that he yielded for a niCMnent 
to a sense of immediate danger, or to a doubt 
of ultimate success. On the contrary, they 
breathe the same determined spirit, aud are 
marked by the same coufidence, calmness, and 
forethought, which distinguish them on all 
other occasions. When asked what he wotild 
do, if Philadelphia should be taken, he is re- 
ported to have said ; '^ We will retreat beyond 
the Susquehanna River ; and thence, if neces- 
sary, to the Allegany Mountains." Knowing, 
as he did, the temper of the peofde, the deep- 
rooted cause of the controversy, and the actual 
resources of the confederacy, he was not dis- 
heartened by temporary misfortunes, being per- 
suaded that perseverance would at last ovei- 
come every obstacle. While even the shadow 
of an army could be kept in the field, the war 
must be carried on at an enormous expense by 
the British government, which the wealthiest 
nation could not long sustain. 


Deeply impressed with this conviction, and 
making it both the groundwork of his policy 
and his rule of action, he applied all his ener- 
gies to a renovation of the army, boldly ox- 
posing to Congress the errors of their former 
systems, and earnestly exhorting them to a 
more effectual exercise of their authority in 
giving support and vigor to the military estab- 
lishment. His representations had their due 
effect. Notwithstanding the extrmne sensi- 
tiveness hitherto shown by Congress, in regard 
to a military ascendency, the present crisis was 
such, as to silence the opposition, if not to 
change the sentiments, of the members who 
had looked with distrust upon every meajsure 
tending to strengthen the military arm. Gen<* 
eral Washmgton was at once invested with 
extraordinary powers. By a formal resolve he 
was authorized to raise sixteen battalions of 
infantry, in addition to the eighty-eight already 
voted by Congress, and appoint the ofBcers ; to 
raise and equip three thousand light-horse, 
three regiments of artillery, and a corps of en- 
gineers; to call upon any of the States for 
such aids of militia as he should judge neces- 
sary ; to form magazines of provisions ; to dis- 
place and appoint all officers under the rank of 
brigadiers, and fill up vacancies in every part 
of the army ; to take whatever he should want 


for the use of the army, allowing the inhabi- 
tants a reasonable price for the same ] and to 
arrest and confine persons, who refused to re* 
ceiye the Continental currency, or who were 
otherwise disaffected to the American cause, 
and to report them for trial to the States of 
which they were citizens. These powers con« 
stituted him in all respects a military DicUUor. 
They were to continue six months; and in 
his exercise of them he fully justified the con- 
fidence of Congress, as expressed in the pre- 
amble to the resolve, in which it is said they 
were granted in consequence of a perfect reli* 
ance on his wisdom, vigor, and uprightness. 

In this case, as in all others where powei 
was intrusted to him, whether acting in a mil- 
itary or civil capacity, he was cautious to ex- 
ercise it no further than to effect the single end 
for which it was designed. Fearless in the 
discharge of duty, and never shrinking from 
responsibility, he was at the same time free 
from the vanity, which too often besets men 
in high stations, of gaining personal conse- 
quence by making himself felt as the centre 
and moving spring of the operations over 
which he had control. No man was more 
vigilant in seeing that every thing was proper- 
ly done ; but he was willing that others should 
be the agents, or the contrivers, and that every 


one should have the credit and the praise of 
his worthy deeds. In the present instance, 
therefore, when Congress or the governments 
of the States voluntarily relieved him from a 
part of his task, which they sometimes did 
while he possessed the dictatorship, so far was 
he from thinking it an encroachment on his 
authority or an interference, that he expressed 
satisfaction and thanks. 

To the main point, however, of reforming 
and recruiting the army, he gave his immedi- 
ate and earnest attention. In advancing this 
object, he employed the powers with which 
he was invested to their fullest extent. The 
mode of appointing officers was one of the 
most serious defects in the system recently es- 
tablished by Congress. Some of the States 
had neglected to complete their appointments ; 
and generally these were made with so little 
judgment, and with such a disregard of milita- 
ry rules, that officers without worth or experi- 
ence had been put over the heads of those, 
who were accustomed to service, and had giv- 
en proofs of their valor and ability. By his 
power to displace, and to fill up vacancies, 
Washington rectified these errors as far as pru- 
dence would permit. The appointments for 
the sixteen additional battalions of infantry, 
and the new regiments of light-horse, artillery, 


and ajQgineeiB, being wholly in his hands, be 
took care to provide for meritorious officers, 
who had been overlooked by the States ; thus 
removing their disgust, securing a valuable ae« 
cession to the army, and inducing many pri* 
vates to reenlist, who had participated in the 
dissatisfaction of their officers. 

Before these measures for arranging the ar- 
my were matured, other events of great im- 
portance occurred, which gave a new face to 
affairs. From the moment Washington cros&* 
ed the Delaware, his thoughts were turned 
upon devising some method to retrieve his 
losses, or at least to impede the progress and 
derange the plans of the enemy. For several 
days it was uncertain what course General 
Howe would pursue. The river continued 
free from ice longer than was expected. He 
kept his detachments cantoned at the places 
where they had first been lodged, the strongest 
being at Brunswic, ready to move in any di* 
rection at a short notice. Meantime the Amer* 
ican force gained accessions by Lee's division, 
the regiments from Ticonderoga, and the mili* 
tia from Philadelphia and the eastern parts of 
Pennsylvania, who turned out with spirit and 
in considerable numbers. These latter troops 
were in two bodies, one at Bristol under Gea 
eral Cadwaladcr, the other nearly opposite the 

^lT.44.] LIF£ OF WASHINGTON. 383 

town of Tr^iton, commanded by General 
Ewing. The Concinental regiments were still 
retained in their original position higher up 
the river. 

At length General Washington resolired to 
hazard the bold experiment of recrossing the 
Delaware, and attacking the enemy on their 
own ground. At Trenton were three regi- 
ments of Hessians, amounting to about fifteen 
hundred men, and a troop of British light-^ 
horse. Small detachments were stationed at 
Bordentown, Burlington, Black Horse, and 
Mount Holly. These latter posts were to be 
assaulted by Oadwalader, who was to cross 
near Bristol, while Washington should cross 
above Trenton, and Ewing a little below, and 
unite in the attack upon the Hessians in that 
place. The night of the 25th of December 
was fixed on for making the attempt. 

At dnsk, the Continental troops selected for 
the service, and commanded by General Wash- 
ington in person, amounting to two thousand 
four hundred men, with twenty pieces of ar- 
tillery, began to cross at M^Eonkey's Ferry, 
nine miles above Trenton, and it was supposed 
they would all be passed over by twelve 
o'clock ; but the floating ice retarded the boats 
fo much, that it was almost four o'clock in the 
morning before the whole body, with the ar- 


tillery, was landed on the opposite bank of the 
river ready to march. The troops were then 
formed in two divisions. One of these, com- 
manded by General Sullivan, marched in the 
road near the river ; and the other, led by Gen- 
eral Greene, moved down a road further to the 
left, called the Pennington road. General 
Washington was with this division. The roads 
entered the town at diiferent points, and as the 
distance by each was nearly the same, it was 
intended that the attacks- should begin simul- 
taneously. At eight o'clock the left division 
fell in with the enemy's advanced guard, and 
almost at the same instant a firing was heard 
on the right, which showed that the other di- 
vision had arrived. They both pushed forward 
into the town, meeting with little opposition, 
except from two or three pieces of artillery, 
which were soon taken. The Hessians, being 
driven from the town and hard pressed, made 
a show of retreating towards Princeton, but 
were checked by a body of troops sent to in- 
tercept them. Finding themselves surround- 
ed, and seeing no other way of escape, they all 
surrendered prisoners of war. 

The number of prisoners was twenty-three 
officers and eight hundred and eighty-six pri- 
vates. Others were found concealed in houses,, 
making in the whole about a thousand. The 

Mr.a,} LIFE or WASHINGTON. 285 

British light-horae, and four or five hundred 
Hessians, escaped at the beginning of the ac- 
tion over the bridge across the Assanpink, and 
fled to Bordentown. Six brass fieldpieces and 
a thousand stand of arms were the trophies of 
victory. Colonel Rahl, the Hessian comman- 
der^ and a gallant officer, was mortally wound- 
ed. Six other officers and between twenty 
and thirty men were killed. The American 
loss was two privates killed and two others 
frozen to death. Captain William Washing- 
ton, distinguished as an officer of cavalry at a 
later period of the war, and Lieutenant Mon- 
roe, afterwards President of the United States, 
were wounded in a brave and successful as- 
sault upon the enemy's artillery. The fact, 
that two men died by suffering from cold, 
is a proof of the intense severity of the weath* 
er. It snowed and hailed during the whole 

The ice had formed so fast in the river be- 
low Trenton, that it was impracticable for the 
troops under Cadwalader and Ewing to pass 
over at the times agreed upon. Cadwalader 
succeeded in landing a battalion of infantry ; 
but the ice on the margin of the stream was 
in such a condition, as to render it impossible 
to land the artillery, and they all returned. If 
Ewing had crossed, as was proposed, and taken 


possession of the bridge on the south side of 
the town, the party that fled would have been 
intercepted and captured. And there was the 
fairest prospect that Cadwalader would have 
been equally fortunate against the detachmenta 
below, or have driven them towards Trenton, 
where they would have met a victorious army. 
This part of the plan having failed, and the 
enemy being in force at Princeton and Bnms- 
wic, it was thought advisable by General 
Washington not to hazard any thing further, 
especially as his men were exhausted with fa- 
tigue. He recrossed the Delaware with his 
prisoners the same day, and gained his en* 
eunpment on the other side. 

The Britiph and Hessian troops posted at 
Bordentown, and in the vicinity of that place 
immediately retreated to Princeton, so that the 
whole line of the enemy's cantonments along 
the Delaware was broken up and driven back. 
As soon as his troops were refreshed, General 
Washington again passed over the Delaware, 
and took up his quarters at Trenton, resolved 
to pursue the enemy, or adopt such other 
measures as his situation would justify. Mean- 
while General Cadwalader succeeded in cross- 
ing over with eighteen hundred Pennsylvania 
militia, who were followed by as many more 

jct.Mw] life of wasbii^gtok. 287 

under General Mifflin, all of whom formed a 
junction with the main army at Trenton. 

At this critical moment the term of service 
of several regiments expired, the dissolution 
of the old army occurring on the last day of 
the year ; and, worn down with the extraor* 
dinary hardships of the campaign, the men 
seemed at first determined to go off in a body» 
and return to their homes. By much persuar 
sion, however, and' the exertions of their offi<* 
eers, seconded by a bounty of ten dollars to 
each man, more than half of them agreed to 
remain six weeks longer. 

It was not presumed that Sir William Howe 
would long permit the Americans quietly to 
possess the advantages they had gained, or de- 
lay to retaliate for the disasters bis army had 
suffered. He was now in New York; and, 
when the intelligence of the late events reach- 
ed that city, he ordered Lord Cornwallis, then 
on the eve of embarking for Europe, to sus- 
pend his departure, aud take the command in 
the Jerseys. This officer hastened to Prince- 
ton, followed by additional forces from Bruns- 
wic In the morning of the 2d of Januaryi 
it was ascertained that the enemy's battalions 
were marching towards Trenton, and General 
Washington prepared to meet an attack. To 
harass them on their march, and retard their 


progress, he sent out strong parties on the 
road to Princeton, with orders to skirmish at 
every advantageous position. 

These orders were faithfully obeyed, and 
the head of the enemy's cohimns did not reach 
Trenton till four o'clock in the afternoon. 
The American army then retired to the high 
ground beyond the Assanpiuk. The bridge 
was defended by artillery, and a sharp cannon- 
ade was kept up, particularly at that point, and 
at the fords above the bridge, which the ene« 
my attempted to pass. At dusk the firing 
ceased, and Lord Cornwallis encamped his 
troops near the village, intending to renew the 
combat in the morning, when bis reinforce* 
ments should arrive. The Americans encamp- 
ed on the ground they occupied after crossing 
the Assanpink, and the fires kindled by the 
two armies were in full view of each other. 

To all appearance a general action must bo 
fought the next day, and this with fearful 
odds, as the British were superior in numbers, 
and immeasurably so in the discipline and ex* 
perience of their men ; for more than half of 
the American army consisted of militia, who 
had never seen a battle, and had been but a 
few days in the service. At the beginning of 
the evening (leneral Washington assembled 
his ofhcers in council, and a bold resolutioxi 

^fir.44.] LfFE OF WASHINGTON/ 289 

was adopted. From the number of Lord Com- 
wallis's troops it was rightly conjectured, that 
he could not have left many in the rear ; and 
it was decided to move by a concealed march 
on the east side of the Assanpiuk to Princeton. 
If no obstacles were met with on the way, 
it was possible that the army might push on- 
ward to Brunswic, surprise the enemy there, 
and capture the stores, before Lord Cornwallis 
could return. To secure his baggage and pre- 
vent it from encumbering the army, General 
Washington ordered it to be silently removed 
to Burlington, and at twelve o'clock at night 
commenced his march. That the suspicion 
of the enemy might not be awakened, the fires 
were kept burning, and the guards were order- 
ed to remain at the bridge and the fords, till 
the approach of daylight, when they were to 
follow. Men were employed during the night 
digging an intrenchment so near the enemy's 
sentries, that they could be heard at their 

Pursuing a circuitous route, General Wash- 
ington reached Princeton a little after sunrise. 
Three British regiments were found there, be- 
ing the seventeenth, fortieth, and fifty-fifth, 
commanded by Colonel Mawhood, two of 
which were designed to reinforce Lord Corn* 
wallis that morning at Trenton. These two 

VOL. I. 


were already on tbeir march. The Ameri* 
oaa vanguard fiisi engaged the seveDteenth^ 
and a short but very severe confltet ensued. 
The regiment was thrown into disorder, and 
the fragments dispersed. Some accounts say, 
that they broke through the American ranks ; 
others, that they fled. At any rate, after a 
brave resistance, they escaped from the field, 
and regained the road to Trenton. The ren- 
counter was likewise sustained with spirit by 
the fifty-fifth regiment, which finally retreated 
towards Brunswic, as did also the fortieth, 
which took little part in the action. The 
British loss was more than one hundred killed, 
and about three hundred prisoners. 

But the victory was by no means a blood- 
less one to the Americans. General Mercer 
was mortally wounded ] and Colonel Haslet, 
Colonel Potter, and other officers of subordi- 
nate rank, were killed. General Mercer was 
a Scotchman by birth, and in his youth had 
been in the battle of CuUoden. He served 
in America with distinction during the last 
French war, and afterwards settled in Virginia. 
He was a brave and worthy man, an intimate 
friend of the Commander-in-chief, much re- 
spected for his talents, military character, and 
private worth, and his death was deeply la- 
mented. Colonel Haslet had distinguished 

Mt.U.} LirB OF WASHINGTON. ig91 

himadf for hrarery and good eondoct in tho 
battles of Long Island and Chatterton's Hill, 
and in several hasardous enterprises. Through- 
oat the action, General Washington exposed 
his person in the hottest parts of the combat, 
giving orders and animating the troops. At 
the request of the prisoners, Captain Leslie, a 
British officer mueh beloved by them, and 
killed in the action, was buried with military 
honors in the American camp. 

When daylight appeared, and it was discov- 
ered that the Americans were gone. Lord 
Gomwallis easily penetrated the plans of Wash- 
ington, and his conjecture was confirmed by 
the firing heard in the direction of Princeton. 
Alarmed for the safety of Brunswic, be imme- 
diately retreated, and his van had almost reach- 
ed Princeton, when the rear of the American 
army left it. Washington pursued the two 
fugitive regiments as far as kingston, where 
be turned short to the left, and arrived the 
same evening at Pluckemin, having twice 
crossed the Millstone River, and caused the 
bridge at Kingston to be taken up, in order to 
retard the march of the enemy. Considering 
the exhausted state of his men, who had not 
slept for thirty-six hours, and the near ap« 
preach of Cornwallis with a superior army of 
A'»h troops, he thought it prudent to abandon 


nis design upon Branswic, contenting himself 
with his success at Princeton, and with having 
drawn the enemy from all their posts on the 

At Pluckemin he remained no longer than 
to give his troops rest and refreshment, and 
then advanced to Morristown, where his win- 
ter quarters were finally established. This 
was not in all respects so favorable a situation 
as he desired ; but it was in a mountainous re- 
gion, difficult of access to the enemy, and sur- 
rounded by a fertile country affording abundant 
supplies. He did not sit down idle, however, 
nor trust to the barriers of nature for his pro- 
tection. Unprovided as his men were with 
almost every thing necessary for a winter cam- 
paign, he sent out detachments to assail and 
harass General Howe's troops ; and with such 
vigor and address were these expeditions con- 
ducted, that in a short time not a single British 
or Hessian regiment remained in the Jerseys, 
except at Brunswic and Amboy, between 
which places and New York was an open 
communication by water. 

Such were the splendid results of General 
Washington's plans and operations from the 
time he determined to recross the Delaware. 
When his a .my was thought to be on the verge 
of annihilation, and the whole world regarded 


American liberty as struggling in the last stage 
of its existence, he commenced and pursued 
an offensive warfare against a hitherto victori- 
ous army, strong in numbers and confident in 
its strength, and, within the brief space of 
three weeks, dislodged it from every post it 
bad taken along the Delaware River, relieved 
Philadelphia from danger, and recovered almost 
the whole province of New Jersey. The glo* 
ry of these achievements was rendered doubly 
eonspicuous by their immediate effects. The 
despondency, which had weighed heavily upon 
the minds of the people, was dispelled as by 
a charm, the martial spirit was revived, and 
a new animation infused into the public conn- 



General Wtthington'i ProcIaniatioB. — Hit PreparatioM ftr tb* 
next Cempeign. — Eiehango of Priiooen. ~ Conditien of t)m 
American Prisonera in New Vork.— Military Operatioos in New 
Jersey. — The Army crossea the Delaware and encamps near 
Genntntows. ~ Waabiagton'i firat Interriew with LaOQretla. 

Head^Quaiiters being at Morristown; the 
central or main divisioQ of the army was en- 
camped for the winter near that place m huts 
temporarily constracted for the purpose. Can- 
tonments were likewise established at Twious 
points from Princeton on the right, where Gen- 
eral Putnam commanded, to the Highlands on 
the left, which post continued under the charge 
of General Heath. Skirmishes often happened 
between the American advanced troops and 
the enemy's foraging parties. For six months 
however, no enterprise of magnitude was un* 
dertaken on either side. 

Sir William Howe's proclamation, as we 
have seen, had produced considerable effect in 
the Jerseys. Not only the disaffected, but 
many well disposed citizens, finding them- 
selves in the power of the enemy, had sought 
protection for their families and their property 
by taking an oath of allegiance to the King. 

ifir.4i.] LIFE OK WASHINGTON. 295 

Their hopes had been fatally disappointed. 
With such license had the British and Hessian 
troops overrun the country, that they plun- 
dered, burnt, and destroyed whatever came in 
their way, and in some instances committed 
the greatest outrages upon the inhabitants, 
without discriminating between friends and 
foes. In one respect this conduct was service- 
able to the cause of the patriots. It roused 
the indignation of the people, and, goaded by 
the deep feeling of their wrongs, the militia 
flew to arms with an alacrity and determination 
not surpassed on any former occasion. A large 
number of substantial farmers, however, more 
pacific in their dispositions, who had taken 
advantage of the proclamation, professed scru* 
pies in regard to their oath. They looked up* 
on their pledge as binding them at least to a 
passive neutrality. 

To remove this difficulty, and draw a proper 
line of distinction between friends and ene- 
mies, General Washington issued a counter 
proclamation, commanding all persons, who had 
received protections from the British commis- 
sioners, to repair to headquarters or to some 
general officer of the army, to deliver up such 
protections, and take an oath of allegiance to 
the United States ; " nevertheless granting fuii 
liberty to all such, as preferred the' interest and 

296 LIFK or WASHINGTON. [1771 

protection of Great Britain to the freedom and 
happiness of their country, forthwith to with* 
draw themselves and their families within tht 
enemy's lines.'' Thirty days were allowec" 
for complying with this order, at the end oi 
which period, those, who had neglected or re- 
fused to comply, were to be deemed as adher- 
ents to the King of Great Britain, and treated 
as enemies to the American States. 

Strange as it may be thought, the publish- 
ing of this proclamation was considered an 
undue exercise of power. Even in Congress 
it was censured by some of the members. The 
legislature of New Jersey more than hinted, 
that it was an encroachment on their preroga- 
tives. An oath of allegiance to the United 
States was said to be absurd before the confed- 
eration was formed, and the power of requir- 
ing such an oath was claimed exclusively for 
each State. Hence the opposition arose, not 
from an impartial view of the abstract merits 
of the act, but from the jealousy of State 
sovereignty. Fully convinced, however, of 
the necessity, reasonableness, and equity of the 
measure, Washington adhered to it, and in- 
structed his officers accordingly, willing, as in 
all other cases, to risk his own popularity in 
promoting the public interests. 

His first care, after putting the troops in 


winter-quarters, was drawn to the completion 
of the army for the next campaign ] and he 
wrote circular letters to the governors of the 
middle and eastern States, urging them in the 
strongest terms to adopt prompt and effectual 
methods for raising recruits and filling up their 
regiments. His efficient strength through the 
winter was so small, that prudence required 
bim to use the expedient, to which he was of- 
ten driven, of magnifying his numbers to the 
public, lest the enemy, becoming acqueunted 
with his weakness, should make a sudden and 
rapid movement upon him, and obtain an easy 
victory. This deception, so essential to his 
safety, operated unfavorably ; since it gave the 
impression that his army was much larger than 
it really was, and diminished the efforts of the 
States to provide seasonable reinforcements. 
It was only in the midst of a campaign, when 
the enemy were in motion, that the people 
thought of danger ; and then it was often too 
late to make proper exertions for increasing the 

To stimulate the activity of the States, by 
forcible and reiterated representations to the 
governors and legislatures, by argument, per- 
suasion, and appeals to every motive of pride, 
honor, and patriotism, was the task which he 
was obliged to repeat every winter ; and this 


was a source of unceasing anxiety from the 
lime the troops went into quarters, till they 
again took the field to combat the enemy. 
Congress, embarrassed by the novelty of their 
(liities and the indefinite nature of their powers, 
deliberated with caution, and were seldom 
ready to act in military affairs, till incited by 
the counsels or earnest entreaties of the Com- 
mander-in-chief. For several months he had 
urged upon them the necessity of a larger 
number of general officers in the army, and in 
February five additional major-generals and 
ten brigadiers were appointed. 

On this subject he always spoke with deli- 
cacy in his letters, rarely expressing an opin- 
ion as to the qualifications of individuals, and 
avoiding equally the appearance of partiality 
and of a wish to interfere in any degree with 
the appointing power. Various considerations 
produced delays and sometimes contentions in 
Congress respecting military appointments. 
Local predilections interposed the chief obsta- 
cles. The claims of the respective States 
were to be regarded, according to which the 
general officers were to be taken from each 
in proportion to the number of troops it 
furnished. By this rule the best officers in 
the country could not be selected, if it hap- 
pened that more than one or two resided in 

iKT.4i.J LIFE OF WAS«m«TON. 299- 

the «ime State. Moreover there were htqueat 
disagreements among the delegates of a partic- 
ular State, in regard to the comparatiye merits 
of Che candidates df such State, especially 
when the pretensions of each were supported 
by the influence of friends or parties. This 
mode of appointing officers not only brought 
some into the service, who were incompetent 
to their high station, but created dissensions in 
the army about rank, and added to the many 
troubles that harassed the Commander-in*- 

Soon after General Howe arrived at Staten 
Island from Halifax, a correspondence was 
opened between him aud General Washington 
respecting the exchange of prisoners ; and it 
was mutually agreed, that officers should be 
given for officers ot equal rank, soldier for sol- 
dier, and citizen for citizen. Exchanges were 
effected upon this basis till the capture of Gen* 
era! Lee. The British commander chose to 
consider that offioer in the light of a deserter 
from the King's service, although he had re* 
trigned his commission before he joined the 
American army ; and, in conformity with this 
view of his character, he wae kept in more 
rigorous confinement than other prisoners of 
war. It was also understood, that he was to 
be tried by a court-martial. When these facts 


came to the knowledge of CongresSi they 
thought it necessary, ia support of their own 
dignity, and for the protection of their officers 
who might fall into the enemy's hands, to 
adopt energetic and decisive measures, and im- 
mediately resolved on severe retaliation. They 
decreed, that Colonel Campbell, a British pris- 
oner in Massachusetts, and five Hessian field- 
officers taken at Trenton, should be subjected 
to precisely the same treatment as General Lee. 
The consequence was, that Colonel Campbell 
was confined in a common jail, and the Hes- 
sian officers, who had been sent to Virginia, 
were deprived of the privileges usually granted 
to prisoners of war. General Washington at 
once saw the injurious tendency of this hasty 
and premature act of retaliation, and remon- 
strated strenuously against it. 

On the other hand the American prisoners, 
who had been taken at Fort Washington and 
confined in New York during the winter, had 
endured such sufferings as to excite universal 
indignation, and reflect reproach on the British 
commander. This is not the place to investi- 
gate the causes ; but the fact is indisputable. 
A large proportion of them sunk under their 
sufferings and died; and, when others were 
sent out for exchange in the spring, they were 
80 much emaciated and broken down, so total- 


I7 unfit for service, that General Washington 
refused to return for them an equal number of 
healthy British or Hessian prisoners. Sir WiU 
Ham Howe said this refusal was a violation of 
the rule for exchange, which had been agreed 
upon between them ; and, although he could 
not deny the facts, yet he declared the pris- 
oners had been treated as well as his circum- 
stances would permit, and been provided with 
every thing necessary for their comfort. 

These difScuIties interrupted for some time 
the exchange of prisoners. It should never-> 
theless be said, to the credit of Sir William 
Howe, that the retaliatory act of Congress did 
not influence his conduct towards the Ameri" 
can prisoners ; and it should also be added, 
that a want of humanity was never alleged to 
be a trait of his character. The sufferings of 
the unfortunate men in New York were proba- 
bly to be attributed more to his inattention, 
than to any direct order ; but this apology, if 
indeed it can be called an apology, is far from 
amounting to a justification. He wrote a state 
of the aflair to the British government, partic- 
ularly respecting General Lee ; and the minis- 
try decided that he should thenceforward be 
retained as a prisoner of war, although they 
had previously transmitted an order requiring 
him to be sent to England. This change of 


purpose was dictated by policy, General Howe 
hitving intimated that any evU, which might 
befall the Hessian officers in consequence of 
the detention of General Lee, would have a 
bad elTect on the troops of that nation serving 
in America. 

The winter passed away, and the spring 
wa« far advanced before the British comman- 
der gave any indications of his designs for the 
campaign. His reinforcements from Europe 
arrived later, and in smaller numbers, than he 
anticipated ; and he was obliged to curtail the 
plans, which he had suggested to the ministry 
the ];»receding autumn. 

That he might not seem to be idle, he sent 
up the Sound a detachment of two thousand 
men under Governor Tryou, who landed ia 
Connecticut, marched into the eountry, and 
destroyed the public stores at Danbury. They 
were bravely met by the militia and a few 
Continental troops, who harassed them on their 
Viarch, and jMirsued them back to their boats. 
Id the rencounters with the enemy on their 
retreat, General Wooster and General Arnold 
were wounded. The former died of his 

At length General Howe enlarged his force 
at Brunswic, and began to build a bridge th^re, 
ao constructed as to be laid on flat-boats, which 

/EfT.i:^] LIF£ OF WASUINGTON. 303 

it was supposed he iotended to transport over 
Itnd to the Delaware, and use in crossing that 
river. Meantime General Washington collect- 
ed at Morristown the troops, which had been 
enlisted into the new army in Virginia and the 
middle States, and ordered those from the 
eastward to assemble at Peekskill on the Hud- 
son. The want of arms, hitherto severely 
felt| was opportunely supplied by the arrival 
of two vessels from France, containing twen- 
ty-four thousand muskets. 
. Near the ci^d of May he drew his main 
array to a very strong position at Middlebrook, 
only nine miles from Brunswic, and prepared 
to contest the passage of the enemy, should 
they attempt to move towards the Delaware. 
On the 13th of June, the British army march- 
ed from Brunswic, commanded by Sir William 
Howe in person, and stretched itself several 
miles into the country, well fortified on the 
right at Brunswic, and secured in front by 
the Rariton. and on the left by the Millstone. 
This position was occupied six days. The 
object of this manoeuvre was to bring on a 
general action. Washington was too cautious, 
however, to be tempted into such a snare at a 
great disadvantage with his raw troops, but ho 
determined to defend his ground in auy event. 
Not choosing to run the hazard of an attack. 


General Howe returned with his whole army 
to BruDswic, and in a short time evacuated 
that place and retreated to Amboy. Three 
regiments, detached under General Greene, 
fell upon his rear, pursued him as far as 
Piscataway, and did considerable execution. 
Washington then advanced towards the enemy 
with his main force to (iuibbletown. Finding 
him thus drawn from* his strong post, Sir Wil- 
liam Howe marched suddenly into the country 
with all his troops seven or eight miles to 
Westfield, evidently seeking to turn the Amer- 
ican left, and gain the high grounds. To 
counteract this attempt, Washington retired 
again to Middlebrook ; and the only result of 
these movements was some smart skirmishing 
between the advanced parties of the two ar- 
mies, with little loss on either side. Thus 
foiled in all his mancsuvres for bringing on a 
general engagement, Sir William Howe cross- 
ed over to Staten Island, using for that pur- 
pose the floating bridge constructed at Bruns- 
wic, and entirely evacuated the Jerseys. 

The very next day Washington received 
the first intelligence, that Burgoyne was ap- 
proaching Ticonderoga with a formidable army. 
For some time it had also been reported by 
spies and deserters, that a fleet of large vessels 
and transports was preparing in the harbor of 

Mt.46.] LIFE or WASHINGTON* 305 

New York, with the apparent object of an ex- 
pedition by water. At first it was not doubt* 
ed, that this armament was destined against 
Philadelphia. Bnt the news from the north 
east a cloud of uncertainty over all the ene- 
my's schemes. It now seemed more probable^ 
that concerted operations between Howe and 
Burgoyne were in view, and that the former 
would speedily ascend the Hudson to form a 
junction with the latter. The fitting out of 
the fleet, it was supposed, might have the 
double aim of a feint to deceive the Americans 
into a belief that some distant operation by 
sea was intended, and of actually preparing to 
transport troops up the Hudson. It was like* 
wise conjectured, that an attack on New Ekig- 
land was meditated, with the view of creating 
a diversion in favor of Bnrgoyne ; and this was 
in fact a part of Howe's original plan, which 
he abandoned in consequence of the deficien- 
cy of his reinforcements from Europe. 

This state of things was peculiarly embar* 
rassing to Washington. While it was neces- 
sary for him to watch every point, it was still 
• more so, that he should be at hand the 
Wow wherever it should be struck. The 
great object, at which the British had been 
aiming from the beginning of the war, name* 
ly, a possession of Hudson's River and the 

VOL. I. i^Q 


eommunication with Canada, thus separating 
the eastern and southerti States, was so impor- 
tant, that he could not doubt this to be the 
special intent of Burgoyne's expedition; and 
yet he had seen so many evidences of General 
Ho^ire's designs upon Philadelphia, that he 
was unable to relinquish his conviction of their 
reality. The immediate danger, however, was 
on the Hudson, to guard against which he 
despatched two regiments to Peekskill, and 
prepared to follow with his whole army. 

This movement required caution and delay ; 
for, stiould he withdraw his force too soon from 
the centre of Jersey, Sir William Howe might 
land his troops at South Amboy, and march to 
Pliiladelphia before he could be overtaken. 
But, when it was known, that the enemy had 
actually embarked on board the fleet, Wash* 
ington moved slowly towards the Highlands 
by way of Morristown and Ramapo, advanc* 
ing as far as the Clove, and at the same time 
detaching Lord Stirling with a division to 
Peekskill. At this juncture the fleet dropped 
down to the Hook and went to sea* Waiting 
no longer than to be convinced of the absolute, 
departure of tlie fleet, he immediately began 
to retmce his steps. The two divisions under 
•Sullivan and Stirling, which had crossed the 
Hudson to Peekskill, were recalled, and the 

4&r.46.] LIF£ OF WASHINGTON. 307 

tmiy pursued various loutes to the banks of 
tike Delaware. There he resolved to stay till 
he should receive further intelligence of the 
British fleet; fqr it was still possible that it 
might return to New York and ascend the 

News soon came, however, that it had been 
seen at the Capes of the Delaware, and its des- 
tination was then thought to be no longer 
doubtful. The army marched to German- 
town, wb^re it would be in readiness to de- 
fend the oity of Philadelphia, and the General 
himself hastened forwar4 to Chester. He 
there learned that the fleet had left the Capes 
and steered eastward. All his calculations 
were again baffled ; for it was naturally infer- 
red from the course taken by the fleet, that 
General Howe would either go directly back 
to New York, or to some place on the coast of 
New England, and cooperate with Burgoyne. 
Till this point was settled by certain informa- 
tion! nothing could be done. The army con- 
tinued at Germantown, prepared to march at a 
laoment's warning, except Sullivan's division 
and some other regiments, which were ordered 
lo lake post in New Jersey. 

Dnring this suspense General Washington 
passed two or three days in Philadelphia, hodd- 
ipg conferences with committees and members 


of Congress. It was here that he had his 
first interview with the Marquis de Lafayette. 
The enthusiastic zeal with which that yonng 
nobleman had embraced the American cause, 
his romantic adventures in leaving his own 
country and crossing the Atlantic, and the in- 
cidents which befell him on liis arrival, are 
well known ; and the part he acted during the 
war, his influence in gaining effectual aid frcmi 
the French government, his deep and lasting 
attachment to Washington, the ardor and con- 
sistency with which he adhered to the inter- 
ests of his adopted country to the end of bis 
life, and the affection which the peo{de of that 
country have ever manifested for his person 
and character, all conspire to make the day on 
which he entered the service one of the most 
remarkable in the Revolution. 

When Lafayette arrived in Philadelphia, he 
put his letters into the hands of Mr. Lovell, 
Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Af- 
fairs. He called the next day at the Hall of 
Congress, and Mr. Lovell came out to him and 
said, that so many foreigners had offered them- 
selves for employment, that Congress was em- 
barrassed with their applications, and he was 
«orry td inform him there was very little hope 
of his success. Lafayette suspected his papers 
had not been read, and he immediately sat 


down and wrote a note to the President ef 
Congress, in which he desired to be permitted 
to serve in the American army on two condi* 
tions; first, that he should receive no pay; 
secondly, that he shonid act as a voinnteer. 
These terms were so different from those de- 
manded by other foreigners, and presented so 
few obstacles on the ground of an interference 
with American officers, that they were at once 
accepted. His rank, zeal, perseverance, and 
disinterestedness overcame every objection; 
and he was appointed a major-general in the 
American army, more than a month before he 
had reached the age of twenty. 

Washington was expected shortly in Phila- 
delphia, and the young general concluded to 
await his. arrival before he went to head-quar- 
ters. The first introduction was at a dinner 
party, where several members of Congress 
were present. When they were about to sep- 
arate, Washington took Lafayette aside, spoke 
to him very kindly, complimented him upon 
the noble spirit he had shown, and the sacri- 
fices he had made, in favor of the American 
cause, and then told him that he should be 
pleased if he would make the quarters of the 
Commander-in-chief his home, establish him- 
self there whenever he thought proper, and 
consider himself at all times as one of his fam- 

310 I'l^fi 0^ WASHINGTON. (1777. 

U7 ; adding, in a tone of pleasantry, that he 
Oould not promiae him the luxuries of a court, 
or even t^e conveniences, which his former 
habits might have rendered essential to his 
.eomfort, but, since he had become an Ameri- 
can soldieri he would doubtless contrive to ae- 
comniodate lumself to the character he had 
assumed, and submit with a good grace to the 
eusloms, manners, and privations of a republi- 
can army. If Lafayette was made happy by 
his success with Congress, his joy was re- 
doubled by this flattering proof of friendship 
and regard on the part of the Commandcr-iu- 
chief. His horses and equipage were imme- 
jdiately sent to camp; and ever afterwards, 
even when he had the conunand of a division, 
.he kept up his intimacy at head-quarters, and 
enjoyed all the advantages of a member of the 
General's family. The day after the dinner, 
Washington inspected the fortifications in the 
Delaware River, and invited Lafayette to ac- 
company him* 

Mt.^l^] Lirfi OF WASHINGTON. 311 


Sir William Howe lands at the Head of Elk. ~ Battle oT the Bran- 
<tjwine. — New Powera conferred on Washington by Congrest. 
— Batde of Germantown. >- Skirmichea at Whttenarsb. ~ 
Suteringa of Che Amj. — Winter Encampment at Valley Forge. 

For several days BoChing was heard of tha 
fleet, till it was seen again near the coast about 
sixteen leagues south of the Capes of Dela* 
ware* This was a proof, that it was really 
|l)ound to the southward ; and, as ten days 
passed without any other intelligence, the 
opinion began to prevail, that it was gone to 
Charleston. So thoroughly was this belief 
irapresaed upon Washington and his oiSicers, 
that a council decided it to be expedient to 
maroh towards the Hudson, and either act 
against Burgoyne, or attack New York. This 
decision was approved by Congress; but, the 
very day on which the army was to march, an 
express arrived with intelligence, that the fleet 
was coining up the Chesapeake Bay, and had 
already ascended two .hundred miles from its 
mouth. All uncertainty was now at an end. 
No one doubled the designs of Sir William 
Howe against Philadelphia, though, as Wash- 
ington said, the routp he had chosen was " a 


very strange one." The detachments were 
recalled from New Jersey, where Sullivan had 
employed them in an unsaccessful enterprise 
against Staten Island, and the whole army 
marched to Wilmington. 

The reconnoitring parties soon reported the 
enemy to have landed below the Head of Elk. 
The American troops were posted at Red Clay 
Creek, a few miles beyond Wilmington, the 
pickets being advanced to Christiana Bridge. 
There was constant skirmishing between the 
light parties of the opposing armies, in which 
the Americans behaved with spirit, gained 
some advantages, and took about sixty prison* 
ers. When General Howe had landed all his 
men, artillery, and baggage, his movements 
indicated an intention to outflank the American 
right ; and Washington retired from his post* 
tion at Red Clay Creek, crossed the Brandy- 
wine, and took possession of the high ground 
near Chad's Ford. His right wing, so posted 
as to guard the fords above, was commanded 
by General Sullivan ; and the Pennsylvania 
militia, under General Armstrong, was stationed 
on the left about two miles below. 

At the same time the British advanced to 
Kennet Square, seven miles from Chad's Ford. 
At daybreak, on the morning of the 11th of 
September, Sir William Howe put his army ia 

JEt.45.| life of WASHINGTON.* 313 

motion in two divisions; one, under Enyp- 
hausen, taking the direct road to Chad's Ford ; 
the other, led by Lord Coniwallis, moving 
along the Lancaster road, which ran for sever- 
al miles nearly parallel with the Brandywine 
River. Sir William Howe was with this di- 
vision. As soon as Knyphausen's advanced 
parties approached near Chad's Ford, they 
w^re attacked by General Marwell with a 
body of light troops, and a very sharp ren- 
counter ensued ; but the enemy's columns 
pressed forward, and Maxwell was compelled 
to retire. From this time Knyphausen kept 
up a heavy fire of artillery, which was return- 
ed across the river ; but he made no serious 
attempt to pass the ford. Parties went over 
and skirmished, and there wais brisk firing at 
different points, without much execution on 
either side. It was the plan of the Hessian 
general to amuse the Americans in front, till 
Cornwallis should have time to gain their right 
flank and rear. 

This design was early suspected by Wash- 
ington, and he waited with extreme anxiety for 
intelligence from the patroles, who had been 
sent to watch the roads leading to the fords, 
which were all guarded as high up as the fork 
of the Brandywine, six or seven miles above 
Chad's Ford. At length, between eleven and 


twelve a'clock, a message came from General 
SulUvap, stating that a large body of the ene- 
my had been discovered marching towards the 
upper fords. Washington ordered Sullivan to 
push over the river and meet that division, 
while be crossed and attacked Enyphausen in 
front. Before this order could be executed, 
counter informatioa was received. This con- 
tradiction and uncertainty caused the order to 
be suspended. A little after two o'clock, how- 
ever, all doubt was removed. Having taken a 
Wide circuit of seventeen miles and crossed 
two branches of the Brandywine above the 
fork, Cornwallis had gained the heights near 
Birmingham meeting-house, within two miles 
of Sullivan's right flank. Sullivan marched 
with the three divisions under his command, 
being his own, Stephen's, and Stirling's, and 
began to form his troops for action ; but, before 
the arrangement could be completed, Cornwal- 
lis opened the attack with such impetuosity, 
that after a short resistance the right of the 
American line was broken, the remainder 
thrown into confusion, and the whole forced 
to a precipitate retreat. Some of them rallied, 
and took another stand, where they maintained 
a short and spirited conflict, till again driven 
by a greatly superior force from their ground. 
The firijjg in this quarter was the signal for^} LlFi; OF WASHINGTON. 315 

Knypfaaiiaoa to eross tbe river, and assault tha 
Amerioan intr^^nchoieBta at Chad's Ford. He 
was met \)y GeaeraJ Wayne, who defended 
tlie po^t with his usual gallantry ; but, at the 
head of ^ single division only, he was in no 
condition to withstand half the British army. 
Genecal Greenie with another division had re- 
moved to a cental poiEit between Chad's Ford 
and Sullivan's scene of action, where he could 
give suj^rt to either party as oiicumstanoes- 
might require* Covering 3uUivan's retreat^ 
wd seizing a p^ss about 9- mile from Dilworthi 
be choked tb^ puisiut of the en§my,an4 sm* 
tained a warm engagement tili^ dark^ The 
firing then ceased. The British temained on 
the field ef battle, and the Americans retreated 
in mi»cb disorder by different routes toCbeaieri 
where they ail arrive in the couise <^ tbe 

The numbers engaged in tbi4 action have 
never been aocumtaly ascertained. Chief Jus* 
tice Marshall estimates tbe British army, whea 
it landed, at eighteen thousand men, healthy 
and well supplied with all the implements of 
war. He supposes tbe American army, in- 
cluding militia, ameimted to fifteen thousand ; 
but, from sickness and other caoses, he thinks 
the effective strength on the day of battle was 
not more than eleven thousand. Sir WiUian 


Howe reported his loss to be ninety killed, 
four hundred and eighty-eight wounded, and 
six missing. He stated that about three bun- 
dred Americans were killed, six hundred 
wounded, and four hundred taken. This 
could be only a conjectural estimate, since 
General Washington made no return of his 
loss to Congress ; such a return being imprac- 
ticable in the disconnected and moving condi- 
tion of his army. The Marquis de Lafayette, 
while dismounted and endeavoring to rally the 
troops, was wounded in the leg, which caused 
him to retire from active service for two 

The expediency of fighting this battle with 
a force so much inferior, and under many dis- 
advantages, has been questioned by foreign 
writers. If the subject be viewed in a mil- 
itary light only, there may perhaps be just 
grounds for criticism. But it should be differ- 
ently regarded. General Washington knew 
the expectation of the country and of Con- 
gress ; and he was persuaded, that a defeat 
would be less injurious in its effects on the 
public mind, than the permitting of the enemy 
to march to Philadelphia without opposition. 
He doubtless hoped to make a better resist- 
ance ; which he would have done, if he had 
not been deceived by contradictory intelligence 


^r.45.] LIFE OP WASHINGTON. 317 

in the time of battle, against which no fore- 
sight could guard. Although some of his 
troops behaved ill, yet others, and the larget 
fwtt, fought with signal bravery, and inspired 
ttim and themselves with a confidence, which 
could have been produced only by the trial. 

The day after the action he retreated to 
Philadelphia, and encamped near Germantown« 
So far from being dismayed by the late disas- 
ter. Congress were inspirited to new exertions, 
and resolved to strengthen the army and bring 
together all the means of defence in their 
power. Fifteen hundred Continental troops 
were ordered down from General Putnam's 
command on the Hudson, and the militia in 
Pennsylvania and the adjoining States were 
summoned to join the main army with all pos- 
sible despatch. Anticipating the necessity of 
removing from Phibdelphia, Congress again 
invested General Washington with extraordi- 
nary powers. He was authori2sed to suspend 
officers, who should misbehave, and fill up va« 
cancies ; to take provisions and other articles 
for the subsistence and comfort of the army 
within seventy miles of head-quarters, paying 
or giving certificates for the same ; and to re- 
move, or secure for the benefit of the owners, 
all goods and eiSects, which might be service- 
able to the enemy. This last clause was of 

318 LIFE OP WASHrnGtON' flTTt- 

sfjecial itnportafn^e ; as a great ntirtiber cf di^' 
afflicted persons in and around Philadelphia 
would take no pains to lAritbdratr their prop^ 
erty, preferring that it should fall into the 
hands and contribflte to the supplies of the 

After allowing his men one day for rest and 
refreshment, Washington returned across the 
Schuylkill, and took the Lancaster road lead* 
ing to the teft of the British army, fully deter- 
mined to offer battle. This bold step, taken 
before the enemy had left the fieUd of action af 
the Rrandy wine, was a proof that the late re* 
pulse had in no degree unsettled his owh reso- 
lution, or damped the ardor of his troops. The 
two armies met twenty-thitee miles from Phila- 
delphia, and an engagement was actually be- 
gun between the advanced parties, when a 
heavy rain came on and rendered both armies 
totally unfit to pursue the contest. Washing* 
ton retired to the Yellow Springs, but Was not 
followed by the British ; and he finally passed 
over the Sdiuylkill at Parkfer's Ford. The 
account of these movements is best related in 
his own words. 

" The enemy," he says, " by a variety of 
perplexing maftoeuvres through a country from 
which I could not derive the least intelligence 
(being to a man disaffected), contrived to pass 


the Schuylfcil) last night at the Faitiand and 
other fords m the neighborhood of it. They 
marched immediately towards Philadelphia-, 
and I imagine their advanced parties will be 
near that city to-night. They had so far got 
the start before I received certain intelligence 
that any considerable number had crossed, that 
1 found it in vain to think of overtaking their 
rear, with troops harassed as ours had been 
with constant marching since the battle of 

<^When I last recrossed the Schuyflcill, it 
was with a firm intent of giving the enemy 
battle wherever I should meet them ; and ac-^ 
cordingly I advanced as far as the Warren 
Tavern upon the Lancaster road, near which 
place the two armies were upon the point of 
coming to a general engagement, but were 
prevented by a most violent flood of rain, 
which continued all the day and following 
night When it held up, we had the mortifi^ 
cation to find that our ammunition, which had 
heen completed to forty rounds a man, was 
entirely ruined ; and in that situation we had 
nothing left for it, but to find out a strong 
piece of ground, which we could easily main- 
tain till we could get the arms put in order, 
and a recruit of ammimition. Before this 
could be fully effected, the enemy marched 


from their position ooar the White Horse Tav- 
ern, down the road leading to the Swedes' Ford. 
I immediately crossed the Schuylkill above 
them; and threw myself full in their front, 
hoping to meet them on their passage, or soon 
after they had passed the river. The day before 
yesterday they were again in motion, and 
marched rapidly up the road leading towards 
Readiog. This induced me to believe that 
they had two objects in view; one to get 
round the right of the army, the other per- 
haps to detach parties to Reading, where 
we had considerable quantities of military 
stores. To frustrate those intentions, I moved 
the army up on this side of the river to this 
place, determined to keep pace with them; 
but early this morning I received intelligence, 
that they had crossed the fords below. Why 
I did not follow immediately, I have mention- 
ed in the former part of my letter; but the 
strongest reason against being able to make a 
forced march is the want of shoes. Messieurs 
Carroll, Chase, and Penn, who were some days 
with the army, can inform Congress in how 
deplorable a situation the troops are, for want 
of that necessary article. At least one thou- 
sand men are barefooted, and have performed 
the marches in that condition." 
Congress adjourned first to Lancaster, and 


then to Torktown in Pennsylvania, where 
they continued eight months, till Philadelphia 
was evacuated by the enemy. Immediately 
after the British entered the city, Lord Howe 
went out of the Chesapeake with his fleet 
and came round into the Delaware, intending 
to force the strong defences in that river, and 
ascend to Philadelphia. To aid in this under* 
taking a detachment of British troops was 
stationed on the left bank of the river in New 
Jersey. The larger part of the army was en- 
camped at Germantown, the remainder being 
in the city. 

In this divided state of Sir William Howe's 
forces, Washington conceived the plan of at- 
tacking him by surprise. The British encamp- 
ment extended across the village of German- 
town, and at right angles with the main road. 
The American army was near Skippack Creek, 
about fourteen miles distant. At seven o'clock, 
in the evening of the 3d of October, the march 
began, and by the order of battle the troops 
were to approach the enemy by four routes, it 
being expected that the whole would arrive 
nearly at the same time. The divisions of 
Sullivan and Wayne, flanked by Conway's 
brigade, were to enter the town by the road 
leading to the enemy's centre, while Arm- 
strong, with the Pennsylvania militia, was to 

VOL. I. 15 


take the YOad on the right near the Schaylkill| 
and gain their left and rear. The divisions of 
Greene and Stephen, flanked by M'^Dougaira 
brigade, were to make a circuit on the Ameri- 
can left, and attack the British right wing» 
while the Maryland and Jersey militia, under 
Small wood and FormaUi were to move down 
by a road still further to the left, and fall upon 
their right flank and rear. The plan was ex- 
tremely well concerted, and the surprise was 
complete. The attack commenced between 
daybreak and sunrise. At first the action was 
very warm in the centre, and afterwards oa 
the Americaa left, and every thing seemed to 
promise success; but the Americans were ulti* 
mately obliged to retreat* and leave the enemy 
in possession of the ground. Washingtoa 
speaks of this event as follows, in a letter to 
bis brother. 

'* After the enemy had crossed the Schuyl* 
kill, we took the first favorable opportunity of 
attacking them. This was attempted by a 
night's march of fourteen miles to surprise 
them, which we effectually did, so far as to 
reach their guards before they had notice of our 
coming; and, if it had not been for a thick 
fog, which rendered it so dark at times that 
we were not able to distinguish friend from 
foe at the distance of thirty yards, we should, 

JBr.m.) LiFR or WASHINGTON, 323 

I believe, ha?e made a decisive and glorious 
day of it. But Provideoee designed it other*^ 
wise ; for, after we bad driven the enemy a 
mile or two, after they were in the utmost 
confusion, and flying before us in most places, 
after we were upon the point, as it appeared to 
iBverybody, of grasping a complete victory, 
our own troops took fright and fled with pre* 
eipitation and disorder. How to account for 
this, I know not ; unless, as I before observed, 
the fog represented their own friends to them 
tot a reinforcement of the enemy, as we at* 
tacked in diflerent quarters at the same time, 
and were about closing the wings of our army 
when thb happened. One thing, indeed, con* 
tribnted not a little to oiur misfortune, and that 
was a want of ammunition on the right wing, 
which began the engagement, and in the 
eoarse of two hours and forty minutes, which 
time it lasted, had, many of them, expended 
the forty rounds, that they took into the field. 
After the engagement we removed to a place 
about twenty miles from the enemy, to collect 
our forces together, to take care of our wound- 
ed, get fiirnished with necessaries again, and 
be in a better posture, either for offensive or 
defensive operations. We are now advancing 
towards the enemy again, being at this time 
within twelve miles of ihem. 


'< Our loss in the late action was, in killed, 
wounded, and missing, about one thousand 
men ; but, of the missing, many, I dare say, 
took advantage of the times, and deserted. 
General Nash of North Carolina was wound^ 
ed, and died two or three days after. Many 
valuable officers of ours were also wounded, 
and some killed. In a word, it was a bloody 
day. Would to Heaven I could add, that it 
had been a more fortunate one for us." 

General Howe reported his loss to be seven- 
ty-one killed, four hundred and fifty wound- 
ed, and fourteen missing. The American loss^ 
as stated by Dr. Gordon on the authority of 
the Board of War, was one hundred and fifty 
killed, five hundred and twenty-one wounded, 
and about four hundred prisoners. In the 
midst of the action, six companies of the for- 
tieth British regiment, commanded by Colonel 
Mulgrave, took possession of Chew's House, a 
strong stone building, which they barricaded 
and defended with so much obstinacy, as to 
retard for some time the advance of the second 
line of the Americans, intended to support the 
centre ; Und, during this delay, Sullivan's di- 
vision, which had been closely engaged in 
front, having mostly expended its ammunition, 
began to retreat, and, falling back upon the 
second line, threw it into disorder. This cir- 

Mt 4ft.] LIFE OP WASHIKGTON. 32ff 

cumstance, added to the dense fog, is snpposed 
to have contributed much to the unfortunate 
issue of the day. 

But the battle of Qermantown was not 
without its good effects. It revived the hopes 
of the country by proving, that, notwithstand- 
ing the recent successes of the enemy, neither 
the spirit, resolution, and valor of the troops, 
nor the energy and confidence of the Com- 
mander, had suffered any diminution. They 
were as prompt and eager to meet their ad- 
versaries in battle, as at the beginning of the 
campaign. Considered in its political relations, 
the event was not less important. When the 
American Commissioners in Paris had their 
first interview with Count de Yergennes to 
converse on a treaty of alliance, after compli- 
menting them on the favomble prospects in 
America, and the conduct of the American 
troops, he added, '* that nothing struck him so 
much as General Washington's attacking and 
giving battle to General Howe's army ; that to 
hring an army, raised within a year, to this, 
promised every thing." It has been common- 
ly supposed, that Burgoyne's defeat was the 
taming point with the French government in 
jrining the United States against England, and 
probably it was ; but the above fact, recorded 
by one of the OommissioQers at the time. 


shows that the opefations of Washington's ar- 
my had their due weight in the scale. 

The British fleet having entered the Dela 
ware, every exertion was made to remove the 
obstructions in the river, and drive the Ameri* 
cans from their fortified posts. By the activity 
of the small naval armament under Commo<? 
dore Hazlewood, and the brave defence of Red 
Bank and Fort Mifflin, these eflbrts were re* 
sisted for more than six weeks, when a vastly 
superior force, both by land and water, oom- 
polled an evacuation of those places, and open- 
ed a passage for the enemy's shipping to Phil« 

Washington returned to his former station 
after the battle of Oermantown, and in a few 
days encamped in a strong position at White- 
marsh, fourteen miles from Philadelphia. Gen- 
eral Greene was ordered with a detachment 
into New Jersey to operate against ComwaUis, 
who had passed over with a large body of 
troops to aid in reducing Fort Mercer at Ked 
Bank. The Marquis de Lafayette was a vol- 
unteer under Greene, and distinguished him- 
self in a skirmish with the enemy at Glouces- 
ter Point, although his wound was not yet 
entirely healed. No event of importance oc- 
curred. The British reorossed the river to 
Philadelphia, and Greene joined the main army 



at Whitemanh. A reinfoioemetil like'Oirifle ar- 
rived from the north, consisting of Moi^an's 
rifle corps and part of the New Hamprtiire and 
Massachusetts troops; the surrender of Bar- 
goyne, and the relinquishment by the British 
of their temporary acquisitions in the High- 
lands, rendering their services no longer neces- 
sary in that quarter. 

Sir William Howe, having received an ac- 
cession to his strength by several regimenui 
from New York, thought a good opportunity 
presented itself for trying his fortune in anoth- 
er battle, if he could find the Americans in 
such a condition as to attack them to advan- 
tage. He marched out of the city with twelve 
thousand men, in the evening of the 4th of 
December, and the next morning took post 
at Chestnut Hill, about three miles from the 
right of the American encampment. Wash- 
ington sent out light troops to skirmish, but 
resolved to wait for the general attack on the 
ground he had chosen. This was an adven- 
ture, which General Howe was not inclined to 
hazard. After manoeuvring three days in the 
front and on the flanks of the American lines, 
seeking for an advantage which his opponent 
was careful not to give, he retreated suddenly 
to Philadelphia, having lost in the difl*erent 


rencounters twenty men killed, sixty-three 
wounded, and thirty-three missing* 

The season being IGeut advanced, and the 
troops worn down by the hard service of the 
campaign, it was thought necessary to make 
immediate preparations for winter quarters.. 
Many of the soldiers were suffering extremely 
for the want of clothes and shoes; and. even 
the supplies of provision and forage were ob- 
tained with difficulty. So great was the dis- 
affection of the inhabitants, particularly after 
the British entered Philadelphia, that the larger 
portion of them refused to sell their produce to 
the American contractors, some perhaps through 
fear of the enemy, others from a sincere at- 
tachment to the royal cause ; and even the 
well affected were unwilling to part with their 
property upon so feeble a s^urity as the cer- 
tificates given on the authority of Congress* 
With his usual delicacy and caution, Washing- 
ton was reluctant to exercise the powers with 
which he was intrusted to*obtain supplies from 
the people by forcible means. The soundest 
policy forbade this practice, as long as it could 
possibly be avoided. It alienated friends, and 
added a new motive for disaffection. 

The officers differed widely in regard to the 
best mode of disposing of the army for the 
winter. Some advised that it should be quar- 

iKt.4a.] LIFE or WASHINGTON. 329 

tered at Wilmington ; others recommended the 
valley of Tredyfin, a few miles west of the 
Schnylkill, as the place of cantonment ; while 
others preferred a line of detached posts ex- 
tending from Lancaster to Reading. The mat- 
ter was largely discussed in a council of war, 
and elaborate arguments in writing were given 
for each of these dispositions. 

The opinions of the officers were so Tariont 
and contradictory, that the Commander was 
finally obliged to act according to his own 
judgment, and on his own responsibility. He 
decided to establish a fortified encampment at 
Valley Forge, about twenty miles from Phila- 
delphia. The ground was covered with woods, 
and bounded on one side by the Schuylkill, 
and on the others by ridges of hills. He ex- 
amined the site in person, and designated the 
particular parts in which each regiment was to 
be quartered. Tho army marched to this 
piace, and, on the 18th of December, orders 
were issued for building huts. Trees were 
felled for this purpose, and the huts were con- 
structed with logs, the dimensions of each be- 
ing sixteen feet by fourteen. One hut Was 
assigned to twelve privates, and one to a small- 
er number of officers, according to their rank. 
A general officer was the sole tenant of a hut. 
These structures were arranged in parallel line« 

380 LIFE or WAtiHINGTOB. [rm. 

where the shape of the ground would admit, 
aod, when the encampment was completed, it 
had the appearance of a town with streets and 
avenues. Troops from the same State inhab* 
ited the same street or quarter. The whole 
encampment was surrounded on the land jitde 
by intrenchments ; and a bridge was thrown 
across the river to open a communication with 
the country in that direction. Here the army 
remained till the following Juno. A detach* 
ment was alao stationed at Wilmington, to pro« 
tect the State of Delaware from the iacuiMont 
of the enemy's foraging parties. 





8|«rloiii Letten written md eirenlsM in the Vvmm #r Wash- 
•iBgton. — Conwaj'i CalMl. — Penoiu coaoerned ia iC — Hon- 
orable tod generoni Conduct of Lafajette in relation to thii 

The command of the American annies, and 
the responsibilities attending that high office, 
irere not the only causes of rexation, which 
at this time harassed the mind of Washington. 
Attempts were made by his public adversaries, 
and by secret foes wearing the mask of friend* 
ship, to destroy his influence and ruin his char- 

A pamphlet was published in London, con- 
taining a series of letters, purporting to have 
been written by him in the summer of 1776, 
and with his signature attached to them. It 
was stated in the preface, that, when Fort Lee 
was evacuated, General Washington's servant 

VOL. 11. 1 


was left behind indisposed ; that in his posses- 
sion was a small portmanteau belonging to the 
General, in which, among other things of tri-* 
fling value, were the drafts of several private 
letters to Mrs. Washington, Mr. Lund Wash* 
ington, and Mr. Custis ; and that these had 
been transmitted to England by an officer, into 
whose hands they had fallen. This fiction 
was contrived to deceive the public into a be- 
lief of the genuineness of the letters, although 
in reality not one of General Washington's 
servants, nor a single article of his baggage, 
was taken by the enemy in the whole coarse 
of the war. But the tenor of the letters was 
the most insidious part of the fabrication. 
Washington is represented as expressing senti- 
ments totally at variance with his conduct,, 
and as deprecating the misguided zeal and 
''rashness of Congress in declaring indepen- 
dence, and pushing the opposition to Great 
Britain to so perilous an extremity. The let- 
ters were refn'inted in New York, and indus« 
triously circulated in various forms through 
the agency of disaffected persona' The di^ 
guise was too flimsy to cover so nefarious a 
pur^jose. Whatever credit they may have 
gained in England, they could have no influ-* 
ence on his countrymen, who undeiBtood his 


Tbe author of Iheae qrarioitt epistles was 
never publicly known. Tbey were writteu 
with considerable art, and by a person ac- 
quainted with many particulars of General 
Washington's family concerns. It is probable^ 
alsOy that parts of intercepted letters actually 
written by him were interwoven. He never 
thought the subject worthy of his notice, till 
near the end of his presidency, when a new 
edition of these same forgeries was palmed 
upon the public to gratify the spleen of a ma- 
lignant party spirit, and to effect a purpose 
even more infamous than the one contemplated 
by their original author. He then declared 
them, in a letter to the Secretary of State, to 
be spurious and false. 

Whilst the enemies of his country were 
thus employed in scattering the seeds of de- 
traction and falsehood, the agents of faction 
were secretly at work, both in the army and 
in Congress, to disparage and undermine his 
reputation. This conspiracy has been called 
Conway^a Cabals from the name of the indi* 
vidual who acted the most consfHcuous part. 
The other prominent leaders were Genera) 
Gates and General Mifflin. The causes and 
origin of the disaffection of these officers to 
tne Commander-in-chief have not been ex- 
plained. When they joined the service, at thoi 


beginning of the ?rar, they professed to be his 
friends, and probably were such. It was 
mainljr at his instance, that General Gates re- 
ceived his first appointment. Being an Eng- 
lishman by birth, some of the members of 
Congress had scruples on the subject, thinking 
their cause would be safest in the charge of 
native Americans, both on account of their in- 
fluence over the people, and of the ardor and 
sincerity of their patriotism. These scruples 
were waved, however, in favor of Gates and 
Charles Lee, and in each case at the solicita- 
tion of Washington, who had confidence in 
their attachment to American liberty, and be- 
Keved important aid might be derived from 
their military skill and experience. 

The first symptoms of discontent are sup- 
posed to have been manifested at Cambridge. 
Gates was adjutant-general of the army, with 
the rank of brigadier. Mifflin went there as 
aid-de-camp to the Commander-in-chief, by 
whom, under the authority of Congress, he 
was appointed quartermaster-general, with the 
rank of colonel. After the organization of the 
first Continental army. Gates applied for the 
command of a brigade, and Mifflin of^ a regi- 
ment. These requests were declined by Wash- 
ington, on the ground, m the first place, that 
the duties of their offices required their whole 


attention, and, in the next, that such an indol* 
gence would interfere with the just claims of 
other officers. This refusal is thought to hare 
given an offence, that was not forgotten. It is 
certann, that, after the army marched from 
Cambridge, General Oates made interest with 
Congress to be employed at a distance fiom 
Washington's immediate command, and con- 
tinued to do so ; and the correspondence with 
him on the part of Gates, made necessary by 
his official relation to the Commander-in-chief, 
80 far from being cordial and friendly, was 
diarked with "an air of design, a want of 
candor in many instances, and even of polite- 
ness.'' These are the words of Washington, 
contained in a letter to the President of Con* 
gress three years after the army left Cam- 
bridge, and they are verified by the conrespond- 
ence since published. 

Conway, by birth an Iridiman, had been in 
the French service from his youth, and found- 
ed his claim to consideration on the cireum* 
stance of his being an officer of thirty years' 
experience. He joined the army at Morris- 
town, having the rank of brigadier, by the 
appointment of Congress. Of all the men in 
the world, he was the last to conciliate the fa- 
vor of Washington. Boastful, presumptuous, 
and intriguing, bent on pushing his fortune, 


and lookiog only to pereoiial aggrandizementi 
he was unprincipled in regard to the means 
and reckless of consequences. Abundant proofs 
of these traits of character and of sinister aims 
were exhibited during the campaign; and, 
when it was rumored that Conway was to be 
promoted, Washington wrote to a member of 
Congress a letter of strong remonstrance against 
it| assigning his reasons without reserve* The 
success of the northern army, in the capture 
of Burgoyne, was the signal for the malecon- 
tents to assume a bolder attitude in prosecuting 
their machinations. Anonymous letters were 
sent to the President of Congress and the Gov- 
ernor of Vii^inia, filled with insinuations, com- 
plaints, and exaggerated statements, and as- 
cribing all the misfortimes of the campaign to 
the incapacity, or ill-timed Fabian policy, of 
the Commander-in-chief. It was affirmed, with 
as much effrontery as falsehood, that his force 
had been three or four times as lai^e as that 
opposed to him ; and no pains were spared to 
make it appear, that all his plans and opera- 
tions evinced a want of military knowledge, 
judgment, and decision. 

These artifices, though practised in secret 
for a time, were well known to Washington. 
His scrutinizing observation easily penetmted 
the designs of those, who acted under the] LIFE OF WASHINGTON. 7 

cloak of a pretended atlachmenl ; and his real 
friends, moved not less by a sense of duty 
to their countryi than of justice to him, took 
care to put him on his guard, and to acquaint 
him with the intrigues of the caba^, as far as 
they could be ascertained from overt acts, or 
inferred from less obvious indications. The 
ajSiur was at length brought to his notice in a 
definite shape. When Colonel Wilkinson, one 
of Gates's aids-de-camp, was on his way from 
Saratoga to Congress, as bearer of despatches 
announcing the capitulation of Burgoyne, he 
stopped at the quarters of Lord Stirling, who 
was then at Reading. In a free conversation 
while there, Wilkins9n repeated pert of a letter, 
which Gates had received from Conway, con- 
taining strictures on the management of the 
army under Washington, accompanied with 
disparaging reflections. Prompted by patriot- 
ism and friendship. Lord Stirling conmiuni- 
cated to him an extract from the letter as ro* 
peated by Wilkinson. A correspondence on 
the subject followed between Washington, 
Gates, and Conway. The genuineness of the 
extract was denied, but the letter itself was 
never produced. Two or three persons after- 
wards saw it in confidence, among whom was 
Mr. liaurens, President of Congress; and, al- 
though the words proved not to be exactly the 


same, yet the tenor and spirit of tlie letlef 
were accurately reported. The traasaction, and 
the incidents springing from it, could not long 
be concealed from the officers of the army. 
Rumors respecting them went abroad, and the 
public sentiment was expressed in a tone so 
unequivocal and decided, as to discourage the 
instigators ; and their schemes were abandoned, 
before they had produced any of the fatal mis- 
chiefs, which must inevitably hare followed, 
if their ambitious hopes had been realised. 

There is no reason to suppose, that any of 
the officers were directly implicated in the ca* 
bal, except Gales, Miffiin, aud Conway, That 
a considerable party in Cpngress favored the* 
projects of these men is evident from the pro-» 
ceedings of that body for several months. 
After the capitulation at Saratoga, Gates fat* 
warded the official account of the event to 
Congress, without communicating the intelli- 
gence in any shape to the Commander-inr 
chief, which his duty as an officer and the 
common rules of courtesy required him to do ; 
and Congress never intimated their dissatisfac- 
tion with this breach of decorum, and marked 
disrespect to the commander of their armies, 
whose authority they were bound to support. 
Nearly at the same time Congress ini^tuted a 
nnw Board of War, to which were gnmt^Hl 

.fiv.45.] LIFE OP WASHINOTOlf. 9 

large powers, and of which Gates and Kifflin 
were appointed members, Gates being placed 
at its head. 

One of the first acts of this board was a 
projected expedition to Canada, planned by 
Gates, and ap{»oved by Congress, without con- 
sulting Washington in the least of its particn* 
lars. The first intimation he had of it was in 
a letter from the Board of War, enclosing 
another to Lafayette, informing him of his be- 
ing appointed to the command of the expedi^ 
tion. It was the design of this stroke of pol • 
icy to bring over Lafayette to the interests of 
the faction. They had little knowledge of his 
character. He was not to be deceived nor 
cajoled. He carried the letter to Washington, 
told him that he saw through the artifice, and 
should decline. Washington replied, that he 
knew not the object of the expedition, nor 
how it was to be carried into effect, but the 
appointment was an honorable one, which 
would place him in a conspicuous station, 
where he would in any event acquit himself 
with credit ; for, if the enterprise should fail, 
he was persuaded his conduct would be such 
as to save him from faults and screen him from 
censure, and the responsibility would rest with 
its projectors. Yielding to this advice, he ac- 
ceded to the proposal, went to Albany, where 


he had been promised that troops and every 
thing necessary should be provided, and, after 
waiting there three months, his patience being 
exhausted and all his hopes defeated, as the 
Board of War did nothing to fulfil their pcom« 
ise or promote the expedition, he returned to 
the camp at Talley Forge.* 

And it might here be recorded to the honor 
of Lafayette, if indeed his whole career in 

* Before Lafayette commenced his journey to Albany, 
he rode to Yorktown, for the porpoee of making arrange- 
ments with the Board of War. As aooD as he arrived, 
he called on General Gates, whom he foond sunoonded 
by his friends seated at a dinner-table. They greeted 
him with much cordiality. He joined them at the table, 
the wine passed round, and several toasts were given. 
Determined not to act under disguise, and to take the 
first opportunity of letting his sentLmeaUi be known, he 
called to them, just as t|iey were about to rise, and ob- 
served that one toast had been omitted, which he would 
propose. The glasses were filled, and he gave as a toast, 
**The Commander-in-chief of the American aimiea." 
It is needless to say, that it was coldly received ; and it 
is possible, that this early and bold avowal of his predi- 
lections had some influence in damping the ardor, with 
which the leaders of the faction had planned this abor- 
tive Canada expedition. Conway was appointed second 
in command ; but Lafayette insisted that the Baron de 
Kalb, in whom he had confidence, should be one of the 
officers, which was granted, but not without evident re- 
luctance. Baron de Kalb, being higher in rank than 
Conway, was thus the second in command, and Conway 
^e third. 


America was not a noble monument to his 
honor, his generosity, and unwavering fidelity 
to every trust reposed in him, that from the 
very first he resisted every attempt that was 
made by the flatteries of Conway, and the ar- 
tifices of others, to bring him into the league. 
In the earliest stage of the cabal, before it had 
been whispered to the public, he wrote to 
Washington, stating his opinion of Conway, 
and his fears for the ' unhappy consequences 
that might flow from his conduct. " I need 
Bot tell you,'^ said he, *'how sorry I am at 
what has happened ; it is a necessary result of 
my tender and respectful friendship for ypu, 
which is as true and candid as the other senti- 
ments of my heart, and much stronger than so 
new an acquaintance might seem to admit. 
But another reason for my concern is my ar- 
dent and perhaps enthusiastic wish for the 
happiness and liberty of this country. I see 
plainly that America can defend herself, if 
proper measures are taken ; but I begin to fear 
that she may be lost by herself and her own 
sons." And again in conclusion he added; 
*' My desire of deserving your approbation is 
strong ; and, whenever you shall employ me, 
you can be certain of my trying every exer- 
tion in my power to succeed. I am now 
bound to your fate, and I shall follow it and 


sustaiii ky as well by my sword as by all the 
means in my power." To this pledge he watf 
ever true.* 

Standing firm in his integrity, Washington 
took no pains to counteract these machinations 
of his enemies, and, whatever may have been 
his regret and indignation at such evidences 
of ingratitude and perfidy, be did not allow 
them to disturb his equanimity, or to turn him 

* The following extract from a letter written by Lafa- 
yette ta Baron Steuben, while the fketioa was at its 
height, affords an additional proof of his warm and gen- 
erous friendship for Washington. It was dated at Alba- 
ny, on the 12th of March, 1778. Baron Steuben had 
rec^^ly arrived in the country. 

** Permit me," said Lafayette, ** to express my satisfiic- 
tion at your having seen General Washington. No ene« 
mies to that great maa can be found, except among the 
enemies to his country ; nor is it possible for any maa 
of a noble spirit to refrain from loving the excellent qual- 
ities of his heart I think I know him as well as any 
person, and such is the idea which I have formed of hinu 
His honesty, his frankness, his sensibility, his virtne, to 
the full extent in which this word can be understood, arc 
above all praise. It is not for me to judge of his milita- 
ry talents; but, according to my imperfect knowledge 
of these matters, his advice in oouncil has always ap- 
peared to me the best, although his modesty prevents 
him sometimes from sustaining it; and his predictions 
have generally been fulfilled. I am the more happy in 
giving you this opinion of my friend, with all the sincer- 
ity which I feel, because some persons may perhaps i^- 
tenpt to deceive you oa tliis point" 

Mt.45.} LIFE OP WASHIlfOTON. }3 

in the least degree from his lofty purpose of 
serving his country in the sphere allotted to 
him with the disinterestedness, diligence, and 
afdor, that characterizeLd his public life in 
every vicissitude of events. In a letter to 
President. Laurens, who had enclosed to him 
an anonymous communication of a very insid- 
ious tendency, which he had received, and 
which the writer designed for Congress, Wash- 
ington wrote as follows. 

^' I cannot sufficiently express the obligation 
I feel to you, for your friendship and polite- 
ness upon an occasion in which I am so deep- 
ly interested. I was not unapprized, that a 
malignant faction had been for some time form*^ 
ing to my prejudice; which, conscious as I 
am of having ever done all in my power to 
answer the important purposes of the trust re- 
posed in me, could not but give me some pain 
on a personal account. But my chief concern 
arises from an apprehension of the dangerous! 
consequences, which intestine dissensions may 
j^roduce to the common cause. 

'^ As I have no other view than to promote 
the public good, and am unambitious of hon- 
ors not founded in the approbation of my 
country, I would not desire in the least degree 
lo. suppress a free spirit of inquiry into any 
pert of my conduct, that even faction itself 


may deem reprehensible. The anonymous 
paper handed to yoa exhibits many serious 
charges, and it is my wish that it should be 
submitted to Congress. This I am the more 
inclined to, as the suppression or concealment 
may possibly inyolye you in embarcassments 
hereafter, since it is uncertain how many or 
who may be privy to the contents. 

^< My enemies take an ungenerous advantage 
of me. They know the delicacy of my situ- 
ation, and that motives of policy deprive me 
of the defence I might otherwise make against 
their insidious attacks. They know I cannot 
combat their insinuations, however injurious, 
without disclosing secrets, which it is of the 
utmost moment to conceal. Bu*. vhy should 
I expect to be exempt from censure, the un* 
failing lot of an elevated station ? Merit and 
talents, with which I can have no pretensions 
of rivalship, have ever been subject to it. My 
heart tells me, that it has been my unremitted 
aim to do the best that circumstances would 
permit ; yet I may have been very often mis- 
taken in my judgment of the means, and may 
in many instances deserve the imputation of 

To what extent the members of Congress 
were concerned in this affidr, it would be dif- 
ficult now to decide. Names have been men- 


tioned, but without such a clear statement of 
facts as to fix a direct charge upon any indi- 
vidual. The proceedings of Congress show, 
that the faction had supporters in that body ; 
but who they were, or what precise objects 
they had in view, cannot now be ascertained 
from the testimony hitherto made public. 
The first aim of the cabal was, no doubt, to 
disgust Washington and cause him to resign. 
It is probable, that Gates*s immediate coadju- 
tors in the army looked to him as the succes- 
sor, and that Gates flattered himself with this 
illusive dream. The dissatisfied members of 
Congress, it is more likely, had their eyes up- 
on Charles Lee, who was soon to be exchanged. 
Conway was the victim of his ambition and 
intrigues. Being wounded by an American 
officer in a duel, he wrote to General Wash- 
ington while he thought himself near his end, 
expressing sorrow for his past conduct. " My 
career will soon be over," said he ; '' therefore 
justice and tnith prompt me to declare my last 
sentiments. You are in my eyes the great 
and good man. May you long enjoy the love, 
veneration, and esteem of these States, whose 
iberties you have asserted by your virtues." 
This confession, dictated at a solemn moment 
T y a corroding conscience, although it may be 
deemed an apology for personal injuries, can- 


not atone for the guilt of having endeayored, 
in a time of public danger and distress, to kin- 
dle the flame of discord in a country, whose 
liberties he had ofiered to vindicate, and 
whose cause he was pretending to serve. He 
unexpectedly recovered of his wound, and re« 
turned to France, leaving a name which few 
will envy, and an example which no one will 
be ambitious to imitate, who reflects how soon 
a crime may be followed by a just retribution* 



SoiTerings of the Army at Valley Forge. — New Arrangeroenti 
concerted with a Committee oC Congress. — Half-pay granted 
to the Officers for a Term of Years. — Proceedings in Regard 
to Lord North's conciliatory Bills. 

The winter at Talley Forge is memorable 
in the history of the war. Owing to changes 
in the quartermaster's and commissary's de- 
partments, according to a scheme planned by 
Congress contrary to the judgment of Wash- 
ington, the army had been wretchedly sup- 
plied ; and at no time were the sufferings of the 
troops so great, as they were for a few weeks 
after they went into winter quarters. Hardly 
were the huts begun, when information was 
received, that a party of the enemy had left 
Philadelphia, with the apparent design of for* 
aging and drawing subsistence from the coun- 
try. Several regiments were ordered to be in 
readiness to march, when it was discovered 
that they had no provisions, and^that a danger- 
ous mutiny was on the point of breaking out. 
The only remedy was to send parties abroad 
to collect, wherever they could find it, as much 
provision as would satisfy the pressing wants 
of the soldiers. 

VOL. 11. 


The same wants recurred at different times 
through the winter. On one occasion General 
Washington wrote ; " For some days there has 
been little less than a famine in camp. A part 
of the army have been a week without any 
kind of jQesh, and the rest three or four days. 
Naked and starving as they are, we cannot 
enough admire the incomparable patience and 
fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not 
been ere this excited by their sufferings to a 
general mutiny and dispersion. Strong symp- 
toms, however, of discontent have appeared in 
particular instances ; and nothing but the most 
active efforts everywhere can long avert so 
diocking a catastrophe.'' Such was the scarci- 
ty of blankets, that many of the men were 
obliged to sit up all night by the fires, without 
covering to protect them while taking the oom-^ 
moQ refrei^hment of sleep; and in numerous 
instances they were so scantily clad, that they 
could not leave their huts. Although the offi- 
cers were better provided, yet none was ex- 
empt from exposures, privations, and hard* 

Notwithstanding this deplorable condition 
of the army, there were not wanting those, 
who complained of its inactivity, and insisted 
Qiti a winter campaign. When the encamp- 
ment was begun at Valley Forge, the whole 


iramber of men in the field was eleven thou 
sand and nineiy-eight, of whom two thousand 
eight hundred and ninety-eight were unfit for 
duty, '^ being barefoot and otherwise naked." 
In making this statement to Congress, and allu- 
ding to a memorial of the legislature of Penn- 
aylvania, Washington said ; ^^ We find gentle- 
men, without knowing whether the army was 
really going into winter quarters or not, repro- 
bating the measure as much as if they thought 
the soldiers were made of stocks or stones, 
and equally insensible of frost and snow ; and 
moreover, as if they conceived it easily practi- 
cable for an inferior army, under the disadvan- 
tages I have described ours to be, which are by 
no means exaggerated, to confine a superior 
one, in all respects well appointed and provid- 
ed for a winter's campaign, within the city 
of Philadelphia, and to cover from depreda* 
tion and waste the States of Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey. But what makes this matter still 
more extraordinary in my eye is, that these 
very gentlemen, — who were well apprized 
of the nakedness of the troops from ocular 
demonstration, who thought their own soldiers 
worse clad than others, and who advised m^ 
near a month ago to postpone the execution of 
a plan I was about to adopt, in consequence 
of a resolve of Congress, for seizirg clothes. 


under strong assurances that an ample supfdy 
would be collected in ten days agreeably to a 
decree of the State (not one article of which, 
by the by, is yet come to hand), — should 
think a winter's campaign, and the covering 
of these States from the invasion of an enemyi 
so easy and practicable a business. I can as- 
sure those gentlemen, that it is a much easier 
and less distressing thing to draw remonstran- 
ces in a comfortable room by a good fireside, 
than to occupy a cold, bleak hill, and sleep un- 
der frost and snow, without clothes or blankets. 
However, although they seem to have littlo 
feeling for the naked and distressed soldiers, I 
feel superabundantly for them, and, from my 
soul, I pity those miseries, which it is neither 
in my power to relieve nor prevent." 

After the immediate wants of the army in 
camp were provided for, he next employed his 
thoughts in devising a new and improved sys- 
tem for the future. The experience of three 
campaigns had proved the necessity of radical 
and extensive changes in the plans hitherto 
pursued, both in regard to the organization and 
discipline of the army, and to the methods of 
obtaining supplies. He deemed the subject to 
be of the utmost importance, and one upon the 
due adjustment of which would depend not 
only the efficiency, but even the existence, of 


a ContiDental military force. That he might 
act upon the soundest principles, and with all 
the aids that could be collected from the 
knowledge and reflections of others, he re- 
quested the general officers to state their senti- 
ments in writing. The result was a series of 
elaborate essays, containing such facts, discus- 
sions, and opinions, as the judgment and mil- 
itary skill of the writers enabled them to pre* 

Moved by the earnest solicitations of Wash* 
ington, Congress at the same time took the 
subject into consideration. Their debates fi- 
nally terminated in the appointment of a com- 
mittee of five members of their body, who 
were instructed to repair to the camp at Talley 
Forge, and invested with ample powers to con- 
fer with the Commander, and digest in concert 
with him such a system as would correct ex- 
isting abuses, lead to salutary reforms, and put 
the army on the footing he desired. When 
the committee arrived in camp, he laid before 
them a memoir, drawn up with great care, rep- 
resenting in detail the defects of previous ar- 
rangements, and containing an outline of a 
new and improved system. The committei» 
continued in camp three months, and then re- 
turned to Congress and presented a report, 
which was in the main adopted. 


Oq one pointy however, which Washiogtoa 
considered not more equitable in itself, thaa 
essential to the continuance of an army, there 
was great difference of opinion among the 
members of Congress. Hitherto there had 
been no provision made for the officers after 
the war should end, and no other inducement 
offered to them than their common wages 
while in actual service. Numerous complaints 
and resignations convinced Washington, that 
this motive, even when strengthened by am- 
bition and patriotism, was not enough. He 
proposed half-pay for life, after the close of the 
war, or some other permanent provision. 

^' If my opinion be asked," said he in a let- 
ter to Congress, '' with respect to the necessity 
of making this provision for the officers, I am 
ready to declare, that I do most religiously 
believe the salvation of the cause depends up- 
on it, and, without it, your officers will moul- 
der to nothing, or be composed of low and il- 
literate men, void of capacity for this or any 
other business. To prove this, I can with 
truth aver, that scarce a day passes without 
the offer of two or three commissions j and 
fny advices from the eastward and southward 
are, that numbers who had gone home on fur- 
lough mean not to return, but are establishing 
themselves in more lucrative employments 

JBr.4&] LirE or WASHINGTON. 28 

Let Congress determine what will be the con- 
eequeiice of this spirit. 

" Penonally, as an officer, I hare no inter- 
est in their decision, becaose I hare declared, 
and I now repeat it, that I never will reeeiva 
the smallest benefit from the half-pay estidb- 
lishment ; but, as a man who fights under the 
weight of pioscriptioo, and as a citizen, who 
wishes to see the liberty of his country es- 
tablished npon a permanent foundation, and 
whose property depends upon the success of 
our arms, I am deeply interested. But, all 
this apart, and justice out of the question, up- 
on the single ground of economy and pubUc 
saring, I will maintain the utility of it ; for I 
have not the least doubt, that, until officers 
consider their commissions in an hon^^mble and 
interested point of view, and are afraid to en- 
danger them by negligence and inattention, no 
<»der, regularity, or care, either of the men or 
public property, will prevail' 

These representations, so judicious and for^ 
cible, could not fail to have some influence 
even on the minds of those, who were the 
most decided in their hostility to the measure. 
But they did not produce entire conviction, 
and the subject met with difficulties and do* 
lays. One party thought, or professed to think, 
that CcHigress had no power to act in such a 


matter, and proposed to refer it to the State 
legislatures ; another was haunted with the 
fear of a standing army, a jMivileged class, and 
a pension list ; and another could see no dif- 
ference between the sacrifices of the officers, 
in defending their country, and of private cit- 
izens, whose property was plundered, ravaged, 
and destroyed by the enemy. After much 
discussion, the plan of half-pay for life waa 
carried, but by so small a majority that the 
vote was reconsidered, and a compromise was 
effected. By the ultimate decision, the offi- 
cers were to receive half-pay for the term of 
seven years, and a gratuity of eighty dollars 
was to be given to each non-commissioned 
officer and soldier, who should continue in the 
service to the end of the war. 

While this subject was under discussion, 
Washington saw with deep concern the jeal- 
ousy of the army, which was manifested in 
Congress, and its unhappy influence on their 
deliberations. In other countries this preju- 
dice exists against standing armies only in 
times of peace, and this because the troops are 
a distinct body from the citizens, having few 
interests in common with them, and little oth- 
er means of support than what flows from 
their military employment. But ^'it is our 
policy," said he, ''to be prejudiced against 


them in time of war, though they are citizens, 
having all the ties and interests of citizens, 
and in most cases property totally unconnected 
with the military line." So heavily did this 
subject weigh upon his mind, that he unbup- 
dened himself freely in a letter to a member 
of Congress, and used all his endeavors to 
promote harmony, union, and a national feeU 
ing among those on whom the safety of the 
republic depended, whether acting in a civil 
or military capacity. 

** If we would pursue a right system of pol- 
icy," he observed, 'Mn my opinion, there 
should be none of these distinctions. We 
diould all. Congress and army, be considered 
as one people, embarked in one cause, in one 
interest ; acting on the same principle, and to 
the same end. The distinction, the jealousies 
set up, or perhaps only incautiously let out, 
can answer not a single good purpose. They 
lire impolitic in the extreme. Among individ- 
uals the most certain way to make a man your 
enemy is to tell him you esteem him such. 
So with public bodies ; and the very jealousy, 
which the narrow politics of some may affect 
to entertain of the army, in order to a due 
subordination to the supreme civil authority, is 
a likely means to produce a contrary effect; 
to incline it to the pursuit of those measures, 


which they may wish it to avoid. It is un 
just, because do order of men in the Thirteen 
States has paid a more sacred regard to the pro- 
ceedings of Congress than the army ; (bt with-> 
out arrogance or the smallest deviation from 
truth it may be said, that no historyxDow ex- 
tant can furnish an instance of an army's suf- 
fering such uncommop hardships as ours has 
done, and bearing them with the same patience 
md fortitude. To see men, without clothes to 
cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie 
on, without shoes (for the want of wbkh their 
marches might be traced by the blood from 
their feet), and almost as often without pro> 
visions as with them, marching through the 
frost and snow, and at Christmas taking up 
their winter quarters within a day's march of 
the enemy, without a house or hut to cover 
them till they could be built, and submitting 
without a murmur, is a proof of patience and 
obedience, which in my opinion can scarce be 

Bound by strong ties of attachment to the 
army, on the good or ill fortunes of which his 
own reputation so much depended, he spared 
no efforts to redress its grievances, maintain its 
Eights, and mitigate iis sufferings ; but he was 
prompt and inflexible in checking the least 
disposition to etw^roach on the civil power^ or 

JBr.^.] LIVE or WASHIKGTOlf. 97 

to cfadra privileges^ however reasonable lo 
ttiaiBaelveSy which the peculiar circumstaDcea 
of the country rendered it hazardous or inex- 
pedient to grant Considering the materiate 
of the army, composed of freemen bro«^t to- 
gether and held togeiheor almost without the 
aid of law or of authority in any supreme 
heady unaccustomed to a soldier's life, impa-. 
tient under discipliney and constantly exposed 
to extraordinary privations and distressesi it 
may truly be said, that no oommander ever 
had a more difficult task to perform ia dis^ 
charging the duties of his station ; and this in 
addition to the labor and responsibility of sug-> 
gesting to Congress the important measures, 
which they were to adopt in regard to milita- 
ry affairs, the vexation of seeing his plana 
thwarted by prejudice and party dissension^ 
and the anxiety be never ceased to feel on ac^ 
count of the divided counsels, apathy, antipa- 
thies, and local predilections, which were man- 
ifested both in Congress and in the State leg- 

About the middle of April arrived in New 
York a draft of what were called Lord North^Si 
Conciliatory Billsy containing a new project, 
by him submitted to Parliament, for settling 
the differences between Great Britain and that 
United States* This movement was prompt- 

28 LIFE or WASHIN0TO29. [ITm 

ed by the apprehension, that France would 
soon acknowledge the independence of the 
latter, and join in the war against England. 
Goyemor Tryon, to whom the draft of the 
bills was sent, had it immediately reprinted in 
New York, and took measures to disperse 
copies of it as extensirely as possible in the 
country, which, he said, was done in obedience 
to "his Majesty's command." Copies were 
enclosed by him to General Washington, with 
a polite request that he would aid in circulat- 
ing them, " that the people at large might be 
acquainted with the favorable disposition of 
Great Britain towards the American colonies." 
Washington sent them to Congress. 

As to the tenor of the bills, it is enough to 
say, that the terms held out were such as 
would undoubtedly hare been accepted in the 
first stages of the controversy. Important 
changes had since occurred. The Americans 
had declared themselves an independent na- 
tion. They had shed their blood, expended 
their means, and endured the miseries of a 
three years' war, in defence of the rights they 
claimed, and the character they had assumed. 
It was no part of the British ministry's plan 
to treat with the American States as an inde- 
pendent power. They were to go back to 
their old condition as colonies, be favored with 

Mr, 4$.} LtrE OF WASHINGTON 29 

certain priyileges, and, reliered fiom the bur* 
den of self-government, to trust their liberties 
again to the parental guardianship of the moth- 
er country. Till the remembrance of the pest 
should be obliterated, these proffers were not 
likely to gain the confidence or change the 
sentiments of those, who had taken the lead 
in opposition after a thorough knowledge of 
the causes, and of the grounds on which they 
stood, and who had already risked much and 
labored hard to secure the political existence 
and prosperity of their country, by establish- 
ing them on the firm basis of union and free- 

Yet it was feared there were some, who. 
weary of the war, or disheartened at the pros- 
pect of its continuance, might be soothed with 
the Toice of conciliation, and thus become 
cold supporters of the popular cause, if not de» 
cided advocates for peace on the terms pro- 
posed. To {Movent this consequence, as far as 
the weight of his judgment would go, Wash- 
ington expressed his own opinions in very de- 
cided language to a member of Congress only 
two days after he learned the contents of the 
conciliatory bills. '^Nothing short of inde- 
pendence, it appears to me, can possibly do. 
A peace on other terms would, if I may be 
allnw^d the expression, be a peace >f war. 


The injnriM we hare rocdved from the BriUsh 
nation were 8o unprovoked, and have been «r> 
great and so many, that they can never be for- 
gotten. Besides the fends, the jealousies, the 
animosities, that would ever attend a union 
with them ; besides the importance, the advan- 
tages, which we should derive from an unre* 
stricted commerce; our fidelity as a people, 
our gratitude, our character as men, are opposed 
to a coalition with them as subjects, but in 
case of the last extremity. Were we easily to 
accede to terms of dependence, no nation, upoa 
future occasions, let the oppressions of Britaia 
be ever so flagrant and unjust, would interpose 
for oor relief^ or, at most, they would do it 
with a cantiDua rehictence, and upon conditiona 
most probably that would be bard, if not di»> 
hooorable to us«" Fortunately, the subject 
appeared in the same light to Congress. Aa 
soon as the drafts of Lord North's bills were 
received, they were referred to a committee ; 
upon whose report a short discussion ensued ; 
and it was unanimously resolved, that the 
terms offered were totally inadequate, and that 
no advances on the part of the British gevera- 
ment for a peace would be met, unless, as a 
preliminary step, they either withdrew theii 
armies and fleets, or acknowledged unequivo* 
cdly the independence of the United States. 

«r.4&] UFB or WAStflliOTOK. 31 

At the same time the bills were published ia 
coanezioD with the prooeediogs of Congress, 
and circulated throughout the country. 

The three commissianersy Lord CarMe, 
Governor Johostoae, and William Eden, sent 
over from England to negotiate the business 
of conciliation, did not arrive in Philadelphia 
till six weeks after the drafts of the bills were 
published by Governor Tryon, Two of the 
oommissionera, Johnstone and Eden, were the 
bearers of private letters of introduction to 
General Washington from his friends in Eng- 
kindy and also of many other letters to gentle- 
men of high political standing. To all ap- 
pearance the olive branch was fairly held out. 
The secretary to the commission was Dr. Fer- 
guson, the celebrated professor of moral philos- 
ophy in Edinburgh. On the first landing of 
the commissioners, they despatched their letters 
to Washington's camp, and requested a pass- 
port for Dr. Ferguson to go to Yorktown, 
where Congress was then sitting, and present 
in person the papers they had brought. This 
matter being wholly of a civil nature, he did 
not think himself authorized to give such a 
passport, without the direction of Congress, 
and he forwarded to them the application. Im- 
patient at the delay, or fearing a positive re- 
fusal from Congress to receive the papers, the 


commissioners immediately sent them through 
the usnal medium of a flag to the President. 
The reception they met with may be imagined 
from the manner in which Lord North's bills 
had been disposed of. The door to any kind 
of compromise on the principles laid down in 
those bills had been effectually closed, and 
Congress adhered to their first resolution. The 
commissioners remained several months in the 
country, made various attempts to gain their 
object, as well by art and address as by official 
intercourse, and at last went back to England 
baffled and disappointed, if indeed they ever 
had any real hope of success, which may be 



Arrifil of the Freach TVaatfei of Alliaace and Commeioe.— > 
Comp«ntiT6 Strength of the Britiah and Americmn Armiot. « 
Difcaasions respecting an Attack on Philadelphia. — Plana of 
the Enemy. — Evacuation of Philadelphia. —The Aimy ctoaaaa 
the Delawaie— Battle of Monmonth.— Aireat and Trial of 
General Lee. 

Meantime an important event occurred| 
which diffused universal joy in America. 
The King of France recognised the indepen* 
dence of the United States in a formal treaty 
of amity and commerce, and in a treaty of de» 
fensive alliance, both signed in Paris on the 
dth of Febniary, by M. Crtowd on the part of 
France, and by the American commissionerB, 
Franklin, Deane, and Lee. It was of course 
expected, that this procedure would bring on 
a war between England and France, and the 
parties mutually agreed not to lay down their 
arms till the independence of the United 
States should be assured by a treaty at the ter- 
mination of the war. The messenger, who 
brought the news of this auspicious event, and 
who was likewise the bearer of the treaties, 
arrived in Torktown on the 2d of May, ten 
days after Congress had passed their resolves 
respecting Liord North's bil s. This last fact 


at LIF£ OF WASIillfeTOM. (IT9| 

18 worthy of remark, as it shows that the trans- 
actions in France, being then unknown, had 
no influence in producing those resolves. The 
treaties were immediately ratified by Congress. 
The army participated in the rejoicings ev- 
erywhere manifested on this occasion. A day 
was set apart for a public celebration in camp. 
It began in the morning with religious services, 
and a discourse to each of the brigades by one 
of its chaplains. Then followed military pa- 
r?ides, marchings, and firings of cannon and 
musketry, according to a plan announced ii| 
the g^ieral orders. The appearance was bril- 
liant and the effect imposing. The whole cer- 
emony was conducted with perfect regularity^ 
and was dosed with an entertainment, patri- 
otic |Q«8ts» muaicj and other demonstrations of 

The British kept possession ^f Philadelphia 
through the winter and the spring following j 
andy although Washington's camp was within 
twenty miles of the city, yet no enterprise was 
undertaken to molest him in his quarters. 
Foraging parties went out and committed dep- 
redations upon the inhabitants ; but they were 
watched by the Americans, who sometimea 
met them in fierce and bloody rencounters* 
When it was told to Dr. Franklin in Paris, 
that General Howe had taken Philadelphia, he 


8agacioiisly replied ; " Bay rather, that Phila* 
delphia has taken General Howe." This pre- 
diction, if such it may be called, was verified 
in the end. The conquest gained at the ex- 
pense of a campaign, and with a considerable 
loss of men, actually availed nothing. Phila- 
delphia, fortified on the land side and guard- 
ed by a formidable fleet in the river, afforded 
to the British army a resting-place for eight 
months. This was the whole fruit of the 
bloodshed and victory. New York would 
have afforded the same, without the trouble of 
a campaign, and at much less cost. 

The number of troops for the Continental 
army, according to the new establishment 
agreed upon by the committee of Congress at 
Valley Forge, was to be about fcnrty thousand 
besides artillery and horse. When a council 
of war was called, on the 8th of May, to con- 
sider what measures should be adopted for fii- 
ture operations, it was found, that the army, 
including the detachments on the North River 
and at other places, did not then exceed fifteen 
thousand men, nor was it supposed that it 
could soon be raised higher than twenty thou- 
sand effective men. The number at Valley 
Forge was eleven thousand eight hundred. 
The British army in New York and Philadel- 
phia, as since ascertained from the adjutant's 


letams, amounted to nearly thirty thoasand, 
of which number nineteen thousand five hun- 
dred were in Philadelphia, and ten thousand 
four hundred in New York. There were be- 
sides three thousand seven hundred in Rhode 
Island ; making the whole British army in the 
middle and eastern States upwards of thirty- 
three thousand. 

These numbers are much lai^er than was 
imagined by the council of war. They esti- 
mated the enemy's force in Philadelphia at ten 
thousand, in New York at four thousand, and 
in Rhode Island at two thousand, besides cav- 
alry and artillery. Upon this basis the ques- 
tion was discussed, whether it was expedient 
to take the field and act on the defensive, or 
wait till the plans of the enemy should become 
more obvious, and then he guided by circum- 
stances. There was great unanimity in the 
decision. To take the city by storm was im- 
practicable without a vastly superior force; 
and equally so to carry it by siege or block- 
ade, strongly fortified as it was by nature and 
artificial works, and by vessels of war. Mili- 
tia might be called out, but it was uncertain in 
what numbers ; and, however numerous, they 
could not be depended on for such an enter- 
prise. In every view of the subject, tliere- 


fore, weighty objections presented themsdves 
against any scheme of offensiire operations. 

It was not long before affairs began to pat 
on a new aspect. From the intelligence com- 
municated by spies, and from various indica- 
tions, it was suspected, that the enemy were 
preparing to evacuate Philadelphia. Sir Wil- 
liam Howe, weary of a service in which he 
found liimself gradually losing the confidence 
of his employers and supplying his enemies 
with weapons to assail his reputation, and 
thinking his honors dearly bought at such a 
price, had asked to be recalled, and his request 
was granted by the King. He was succeeded, 
in the command of his Majesty's forces in 
America, by Sir Henry Clinton, who had been 
made knight of the order of the Bath during 
the past year. The treaties between France 
and the United States were regarded by the 
court of Great Britain as a declaration of war 
on the part of France, and caused a change in 
the plans of the ministry for conducting the 
contest in America. It was resolved to make 
a sudden descent upon some of the French 
possessions in the West Indies. To aid in ex- 
ecuting this project, Sir Henry Clinton was 
ordered to send five thousand men from his 
army ;^and also three thousand more to Flori- 
da ; and to withdraw the remainder to New 


York. Another reason for this last movemen* 
was the probability, that a French fleet would 
soon appear at the mouth of the Delaware, and 
thus blockade the shipping in that river, and 
put in jeopardy the army, diminished as it 
would be by the departure of the above de- 

Sir Henry Clinton first intended to proceed 
by water with his whole army to New York ; 
but this was found impracticable for want of 
transports. He therefore shipped his cavalry, 
part of the German troops, the American loy- 
alists, his provision train and heavy baggage, 
on board such vessels as were in the river, and 
prepared to march through New Jersey with 
the main body of his army. 

While these preparations were making with 
as much secrecy as possible by the British 
commander, Washington sent out from Valley 
Forge a detachment of two thousand men un- 
der the Marquis de Lafayette, the object of 
which was to cover the country between the 
Delaware and Schnylkill, to interrupt the com* 
munication with Philadelphia, to obstruct the 
incursions of the enemy's parties, and gain in- 
telligence of their motions and designs. La- 
fayette marched to Barren Hill, and, while 
stationed there, a large part of the British army 
came mit by a forced march in the night, with 


the intention of attackihg him by surprise, and 
cutting off his detachment. Owing to the 
ne^iigenee, disobedience, or treachery of a 
picket guard, Lafayette was nearly surrounded 
by the enemy before he was informed of .their 
approach ; but, by a very skilful manoeuvre, 
qaickly conceived and performed in a masterly 
manner, he gained a ford and drew off his 
whole detachment across the Schuylkill, with 
the loss of only nine men killed and taken. 
The enemy retreated to Philadelphia. 

To obstruct the progress of the British 
troops, in case they should take the route over 
land to New York, General Maxwell was or^ 
dered to cross the Delaware with a brigade, 
and to act in concert with General Dickinson, 
who commanded the New Jersey militia. It 
being more and more evident, that Sir Henry 
Clinton was preparing to move by land, the 
opinion of the general officers was required, as 
to the operations in consequence of that event. 
The principal point to be considered was, 
whether the army should pursue the British, 
fall upon their rear, and bring on an engage- 
ment. Opinions were various ; but nearly all 
the officers were opposed to an attack, on ac-> 
count of the superiority of the enemy in force 
and discipline. General Lee, who had been 
exchanged, and had recently joined the army, 


argued vehemently agaiDst such a step. Some 
of the officers agreed with him ; others, who 
were unwilling to advise a general actiony 
thought that the enemy should at any rate be 
harassed in their march, and that an engage- 
ment, though not to be sought, should not be 
avoided if circumstances rendered it expedient. 
The news of the evacuation of Philadelphia, 
which took place in the morning of the ISth 
of June, was received while the subject was 
still under discussion. General Arnold, who 
had not yet entirely recovered from the wound 
he received at Saratoga, was ordered to march 
with a small detachment into the city, and to 
retain the command there. General Lee and 
General Wayne, each at the head of a division,, 
took the road to Coryell's Ferry, with orders 
to halt on the first strong ground after passing 
the river. Washington followed, and in six 
days the whole army had crossed the Dela- 
ware, and arrived at Hopewell, five miles from 
Princeton. Detachments in the mean time 
had been sent to impede the enemy's march* 
Morgan's corps of six hundred men was order- 
ed to gain their right fiank, Maxwell's brig- 
ade to hang on their left, and General Scott, 
with fifteen hundred chosen troops, to gall their 
left flank and rear. To these were joined the 
New Jersey militia under General Dickinson, 


and a party of volunteers from Pennsylvania 
commanded by General Cadwalader. 

After the British had crossed the river and 
landed at Gloucester Point, they marched by 
the way of Haddonfield and Mount Holly, and 
moved on slowly till they came to Crosswicks 
and Allen Town. Being encumbered with a 
long train of wagons and bat-horses, and con- 
fined to a single road, their line extended near- 
ly twelve miles. It was necessary, also, to 
stop and build bridges over every stream and 
the marshy ground, as the bridges had all been 
destroyed by the Americans. These interrup- 
tions retarded their progress. Nor was it till 
he reached Allen Town, that Sir Henry Clin- 
ton decided what direction he should take from 
that place. It was his first purpose to proceed to 
the Rariton, and embark bis troops at Brunswic 
or South Amboy for New York. But, finding 
Washington almost in his front, and deeming 
it imprudent to hazard a battle while his army 
was so much encumbered, and on such ground 
as his antagonist might choose, he turned to 
the right, and took the road leading to Mon- 
mouth and Sandy Hook. 

At this time Washington's army had ad- 
vanced to Kingston. In a council of war, 
convened at Hopewell, the question was again 
discussed, as to the mode of attacking the en- 

43 LIFE OF WASRlKGTOn. (1719. 

emy. Sir Henry Clinton's {orte was supposed 
*o consist of nine or ten thousand effective 
men. The Continental troops under Washing- 
ton amounted to a little over twelve thousand ; 
and there were about thirteen hundred militia. 
General Lee still persisted in the same senti- 
ments as at first ; and, as he was now next in 
rank to the Commander-in-chief, and an officer 
of long experience, his opinions and arguments 
had great weight in the council. He seemed 
averse to any kind of interference with the 
enemy; but he acceded to a proposal, in 
which he was joined by five others, that fif- 
teen hundred men should be sent to hang on 
their rear. Six general officers, namely, Greene, 
Lafayette, Steuben, Wayne, Duportail, and 
Paterson, were for sending twenty-five hun« 
dred men, or at least two thousand, which 
should be followed by the main army at such 
a distance as to afford support, if it should be 
necessary. It was clearly the wish of these 
officers to draw the enemy into a general en- 
gagement, if it could be done under favorable 
circumstances. Indeed Greene, Lafayette, and 
Wayne declared their sentiments to this effect 
in writing. 

Thus embarrassed with the divided opinions 
of his officers, Washington had a delicate pari 
to act. There can be no doubt, however, thai 

JBi.46.] Lir£ OF WASHINGTON, 43 

bis owD judgment 8tfongl7 inclined him to 
seek an engagement, from the time be left 
Valley Forge. The reputation of the army, 
and the expectation of the country, in his 
view required it ; and he believed the chances 
of success at least sufficient to authorize the 
attempt After the council at Hopewell, there* 
fore, be asked no further advice, but proceeded 
on his individual responsibility. He immedi- 
ately ordered a detachment of one thousand 
men under General Wayne to join the troops 
already near the enemy, and gave to General 
Lafayette the command of all the advanced 
parties, amounting now to about three thou^ 
sand eight hundred men, including militia. 

In his instructions to Lafayette he said; 
" You are to use the most effectual means for 
gaining the enemy's left flank, and giving 
every degree of annoyance. For these pur- 
poses you will attack them as occasion may 
require by detachment, and, if a proper openr 
ing should be given, by operating against 
them with your whole command." Foresee- 
ing that these orders, executed with the spirit 
and ardor which characterized Lafayette, would 
soon lead to an action with a large part of the 
enemy's force, Washington prepared to sus- 
tain the advanced division, keeping within a 
distance proper for that purpose. 


General Lee's seniority of rank entitled him 
to the command of all the advanced detach- 
ments ; but, disapproving the plans of the 
Commander-in-chief and believing they would 
fail, he voluntarily yielded his claims to La- 
fayette. After this arrangement had been 
made with Washington's consent, and Lafa- 
yette had marched towards the enemy, Lee 
changed his mind and applied to be reinstated. 
As Lafayette could not with any degree of 
justice or propriety be recalled, Washington 
resorted to an expedient, which he hoped 
would preserve harmony, although it might 
not be entirely satisfactory to either of the 
parties. He put Lee at the head of two addi- 
tional brigades, with orders to join the advanc- 
ed detachments, when he would of course 
have the command of the whole ; but direct- 
ed him at the same time to give Lafayette 
notice of his approach, and to afford him all 
the assistance in his power for prosecuting any 
enterprise, which he might already have un- 
dertaken or planned. He wrote also to Ija- 
fayette, explaining the dilemma into which he 
was thrown by the vacillating conduct of 
General Lee, and expressing a conviction that 
he would cheerfully acquiesce in a measure, 
which thi exigency of the occasion rendered 

/Bt.46.] life of WASHINGTON. 45 

While the main army moved forward to 
Cranberry, and the advanced parties were hov- 
ering around the enemy's flanks and rear, Sir 
Henry Clinton changed the disposition of his 
line, placing the baggage train in front, and 
his best troops in the rear. With his army 
thus arranged, he encamped in a strong posi- 
tion near Monmouth Court-House, secured on 
nearly dl sides by woods and marshy grounds. 
This was his situation on the morning of the 
•28th of June. Washington was at this time 
six or seven miles distant, and, receiving intel- 
ligence at five o'clock, that the enemy's front 
had begun to march, he instantly put the army 
in motion, and sent orders to General Lee by 
one of his aids to move on and commence the 
attack, " unless there should be very powerful 
reasons to the contrary," acquainting him at 
the same time, that he should come up as soon 
as possible to his support. 

After marching about five miles, he was 
surprised and mortified to learn, that the whole 
of Lee's division, amounting to five thousand 
men, was by his orders retreating, without 
having made any opposition except one fire 
from a party, which had been charged by the 
enemy's cavalry. The situation was the more 
critical and alarming, as General Lee had giv- 
en no notice of his retreat, but was marching 


his troops into the face of the rear diviMODi 
thus running the hazard of throwing all parts 
of the army into confusion at the moment 
when the enemy were pressing upon him with 
unimpeded force. * 

Washington rode immediately to the rear of 
the retreating division, where he found General 
I/ee, and, accosting him with a warmth in his 
language and manner, which showed his dis- 
appointment and displeasure, he ordered the 
troops to be formed and brought into actioou 
Iiee promptly obeyed, and with some difficulty 
the order of battle was restored in time to 

* Lee had manGeuvred near the enemy for some time 
with the apparent intention of attacking them. While 
thoB engaged, a party of British troops moved towards 
his right flank, and so placed itself that Lafayette thought 
a fair opportunity offered for cutting it o£ He rode 
quickly up to Lee, and asked him if an attack could not 
be advantageously made in that quarter. ^ Sir,** replied 
Lee, <<yoa do not know British soldiers ; we cannot stand 
against them ; we shall certainly be driven baek at first, 
and we must be cautious," Lafayette answered, that it 
might be so, but British soldiers had been beaten, and it 
was to be presumed they might be beaten again, and at 
any rale he was for making the trial. Soon afterwards 
one of Washington's aids arrived for intslUgence, and, aa 
he was returning, Lafayette desired him to say to the 
General, that his presence at the scene of action was 
extremely important Before this message reached him, 
the retreat had begun. 

i&r.4S.] UP6 OF WASHINGTON. 47 

check the advance of the enemy before the 
other division cwie up. 

A disposition of the left wing and second 
line of the army was then made on an emi^ 
nence^ and partly in a wood, covBred by a mo* 
rasa in front. This wing was commanded by 
Lord Stirling, who placed some batteries of 
oaoncm in such a manner as to play upon the 
enemy with great effect, and, aided by parties 
of infantry, to put a stop to their advance in 
that direction. General Greene commanded 
the right wing, and on the march he had been 
ordered to file off and take a road, which would 
bring him upon the enemy's flank. On hear- 
ing of the retreat he marched up and took a 
very advantageous position on the right. Be-* 
ing warmly opposed in front, the enemy at- 
tempted next to turn the American left flank, 
but were repulsed and driven back ; and a 
similar movement to the right was equally un- 
successful, as they were bravely met by the 
troops with artillery under General Greene. 
In the mean time General Wayne advanced 
with a body of infantry, and kept up so hot 
and well-directed a fire upon the enemy's front, 
that they retired behind a marshy ravine to the 
ground which they had occupied at the begin- 
ning of the engagement. 

In this situation both their flanks were se- 


cured ry •\oods and morasses, and thejr could 
be app.-o&r.hed in front onl^ through a narrow 
pass. Two bodies of troops were ordered to 
move round and gain their right and left, while 
the artillery should gall them in front. Be- 
fore these movements could be effected, night 
came on and put an end to the action. In- 
tending to renew the contest in the morning, 
Washington directed all the troops to lie upon 
their arms in the places where they happened 
to be stationed at dark. Wrapped in his cloak, 
he passed the night on the field of battle in 
the midst of his soldiers. But, when the 
morning dawned, no enemy was to be seen. 
Sir Henry Clinton had silently withdrawn his 
troops during the night, and followed bis bag- 
%tge train on the road leading to Middletown. 
Is he would have gained commanding ground, 
vhere he might choose his own position, be^ 
fore he could be overtaken, and as the troops 
had suffered exceedingly from the intense heat 
of the weather and fatigue, it was not thought 
expedient to continue the pursuit. 

This battle, though it can hardly be said to 
have resulted in a victory, was nevertheless 
honorable to the American arms, and, after the 
inauspicious retreat of the first division, was 
fought with skill and bravery. It was proba- 
bly in all respects as successful as Wadiingtan 


had hoped. Congress passed a unanimous vote 
of thanks to the Commander and the army. 

Four British officers and two hundred and 
forty-five privates were left dead on the field, 
and were buried by the Americans. It appear- 
ed that others were likewise buried by the en- 
emy, making the whole number of killed 
nearly three hundred. The American loss 
was sixty-nine killed. Several soldiers on both 
sides are said to have died in consequence of 
the extreme heat of the day, and it is probable 
that the number of Americans reported as 
killed does not include all that died from this 

But the loss of Sir Henry Clinton in battle 
made but a small part of the diminution of his 
army while marching through Jersey. One 
hundred were taken prisoners, and more than 
six hundred deserters arrived in Philadelphia 
within three weeks from the time he left it, 
being drawn thither chiefly by the attachments 
they had formed during eight months' resi- 
dence in the city. Others also escaped into 
the country while on the march ; so that the 
army, when it reached New York, had suffered 
a reduction of at least twelve hundred men. 

After the action, Sir Henry Clinton proceed- 
ed to Sandy Hook, where Lord Howe's fleet, 
having come round from the Delaware, was in 



readiness to convey the troops te New York. 
Washington marched to Hudson's River, cross* 
ed at King's Ferry, and encamped ueai White 

The pride of General Lee was wounded by 
the language, which Washington used wheo 
he met hira retreating. The day after the iio 
tion, Lee wrote a letter to Washington, coa* 
taining expressions,, which no officer could 
with propriety address to his superior. This 
was answered in a tone, that rather tended to 
increase than soothe his irritation, and he re* 
plied in terms still more offensive. In a sub" 
sequent note, written the same day, he request- 
ed that his case might be referred to a court- 
martial. He was accordingly put in arrest, 
under three charges ; first, disobedience of or- 
ders in not attacking the enemy, agreeably to 
repeated instructions; secondly, misbehavioi 
before the enemy, in making aa unnecessary 
disorderly, and shameful retreat ; thirdly, dis* 
respect to the Commander-in-chief in two let* 
ters written after the action. A court-martial 
was summoned, which sat from time to time 
for three weeks while the army was on its 
march ; and finally declared their opinion, tha4 
General Lee was guilty of all the charges, and 
sentenced him to be suspended from all com*^ 
inand in the army of the United States for thq 

Mt.16,] LIFS OP WA&Hii«GT01«. 01 

term of twelve months. In the written opin- 
ion of the court, the second charge was mod- 
ified by omitting the word " shwieful " ; but 
in all other respects the charges were allowed 
to be sustained by the testimony. Congress 
approved the sentence. General Lee left the 
army, and never joined it again. He died four 
years afterwards in Philadelphia. * 

* Soon after General Lee rejoined the army at Valley 
Forge, a cnrious incident occnrred. By an order of Con- 
gress, General Washington was required to. adroioisler 
the oath of alleigianoe to the general officers. The mar 
jor-generals stood around Washington, and took hold of 
a Bible together according to the usual custom ; but, just 
as he began to administer the oath, Lee deliberately 
withdrew his hand twice. This movement was so mgOf 
IWf and was performed in so odd a manner, that the offi- 
ceis smiled, and Washington inquired the meaning of his 
hesitancy. Lee replied, **As to King George, I am 
ready enough to absolve myself from all allegiance to him, 
but I have some scruples about the Prince of Wales." 
The sliangeBess of this reply was such, that the officevfi 
burst into a broad laugh, and even Washington could not 
refrain from a smile. The ceremony was of course in- 
terrupted. It was renewed as soon as a composure was 
restored proper for the solemnity of the occasion, and 
Lee took the oath with the other officen. Coonected 
with the subsequent conduct of General L^e, this inci- 
dent was thought by some, who were acquainted with it, 
to have a deeper meaning than at first appeared, and to 
mdicate a less ardent and fixed patriotism towards tho 
United States, tiian was consistent with the rank aad 
pvofessions of the second officer in th^ command of tfap 
American forces 



A.iTiTal of the French Fleet under Connt d'Cstaing. — Plans Tor 
combined Opcnitioot between the Fleet and the Ameiican Ai^ 
mj. — Failure of an Attempt against the Enemy at Rhode 
island. — Cantonments of the Army for the Winter. — Exchange 
or Prisonera. — Congress.^ Project of an Expedition to Canada. 

Before the army crossed the Hudson, Gen- 
eral Washington heard of the arriyal of Count 
d'Estaing on* the coast with a French fleet, 
consisting of twelre ships of the line and four 
frigates. The admiral touched at the Capes 
of the Delaware, where he was informed of 
the evacuation of Philadelphia, and, after de- 
spatching up the river one of his frigates, on 
board of which was M. Gerard, the first min- 
ister from France to the United States, he 
sailed {ot Sandy Hook. No time was lost by 
General Washington in sending him a letter 
of congratulation, and proposing to cooperate 
with him in carrying any plans into execution, 
which might be concerted for attacking the 
enemy. Colonel Laurens, one of his aids-de- 
camp, was the bearer of this letter, to whom 
the Count was referred for such information as 
he might wish to obtain. When it was known 
that the fleet had arrived at the Hook, Colonel 


Hamilton, another confidential aid, was sent 
on board accompanied by four skilful pilots, 
and instructed to explain the GenexaPs views 
fully to Count d'Estaing. 

If it should be found practicable for the 
French vessels to pass the bar, and engage the 
British fleet then at anchor within the Hook, 
it was supposed a simultaneous attack on the 
land side might be made to advantage ; and 
indeed not without a prospect of very fortu- 
nate results, if the French should be able by 
a naval victory to enter the harbor and ascend 
to the city. These hopes were soon dissipated 
by the unanimous opinion of the pilots, that 
there was not suflicient depth of water to ad< 
mit Count d'Estaing's heavy ships over the 
bar, and by their refusal to take the responsi- 
bility of attempting to conduct them through 
the channel. 

The only enterprise, that now remained, 
was an attack on the enemy at Rhode Island, 
where six thousand British troops were sta* 
tioned, chiefly in garrison at Newport, and pro- 
tected by a few small vessels, batteries, and 
litrong intrenchments. The French squadron 
departed for that place, without being molest* 
ed by Lord Howe, whose force was not such 
as to eoeourage him to go out and give battle^ 
Anticipating the French admiral's determina- 


don, Washington j^repared to lend all the aid 
in his power to make it effectual. General 
Sullivan vas already in ProTidence, at the 
head of a considerable body of Coatittentai 
troops ; aad he was ordeied to apply to the 
States of Rhode Isl^d, Maasachusett$, and 
Connecticut, for militia enough to augment hif 
force to at least five thousaad men. A de« 
tachment of two brigades inarched from tbq 
main army under Lafayette^ who was Ibllowed 
by General Greene. The events of th«3 ex** 
pedition do not (all within the limits of the 
present narrative. Various eauses contributed 
lo its failure, by defeating the combined aotioa 
of the land and naval forces. Count d'Eataing's 
fieet, after leaving Newport, was so much crip* 
pled by a tremendous storm, and a partial en- 
gagement at sea, that he put in to the harbor 
of Boston to refit, where he remained till Nor 

The disagreements, which unhappily exisir 
ed between the American and French, officers 
at Rhode Island, gave the deepest concern t# 
Washington. In a letter to Lafayetle, who 
had communicated the particulars, be lament- 
ed it as a misfortune, which might end in a 
serious injury to the public interest; and he 
endeavored to assuage the rising animosity of 

JBr.46.] LIFK OF WASHING Tej9« 6A 

the parties by counsels oqpally creditable to 
his feelings as a man and to his patriotism. 

To Count d'Estaing he wrote in language 
fiot less delicate and conciliatory^ nor less fitted 
to remove unfarcM^ble impresmoos. 

In compliance with the order from the min- 
istry given early in the season. Sir Henry 
Clinton detached five thousand men to the 
West Indies and three thousand to Florida; 
but there was much delay in fitting out these 
expeditions, and the troops did not actually 
sail till near the end of October. Lord Howe's 
fleet in the mean time had been reinforced by 
a squadron from Europe. As neither the or** 
d«rs nor the plans of the British general were 
known, it was conjectured that he might have 
in view a stroke upon Count d'Estaing's fleet 
in Boston harbor, and perhaps an attack upon 
that town. It is probable, also, that General 
Clinton gave a currency to rumors of this sort, 
for the purpose of diverting the attention of 
the Americans from his real objects. A report 
gained credit, behoved to have come from 
good authority, that New York was to lie 
evacuated. Washington suspected the truo 
origin of this rumor, and could not persuade 
himself that an eastern expedition was intend- 
ed ; yet the pubUc impression Jind the convic- 
tion of some of his officers \rere so strong, as 


to its reality, that he took measares to guard 
against it. 

He established his head-quarters at Freder- 
icksburg, thirty miles from West Point, near 
the borders of Connecticut, and sent forward 
a division under General Gates to Danbury. 
The roads were repaired as far as Hartford, to 
facilitate the march of the troops, and three 
brigades were despatched to that [dace. Genr 
eral Gates went to Boston, and took command 
of the eastern department, as successor to Geiv 
eral Heath. These operations kept the army 
employed on the east side of the Hudson more 
than four months, till it was finally ascertain- 
ed that the enemy had no designs in that di* 

Sir Henry Clinton took care to profit by 
this diversion of the American army. Forag- 
ing parties passed over to New Jersey, and 
ravaged the country. One of these parties at- 
tacked Baylor's dragoons in the night, at a 
short distance from Tappan, rushing upoa 
them with the bayonet, and committing india- 
criminate slaughter. A similar assault was 
made upon Pulaski's legion at Egg Harbor. 
Both these adventures were attended with 
such acts of cruelty on the part of the enemy, 
as are seldom practised in civilized warfoie* 
And they were not less impolitic than crueli 

jEt.46.] life of WASHINGTON 57 

being regarded with universal iodignation and 
horror by the people, and exciting a spirit of 
hatred and revenge, which would necessariiy 
react in one form or another upon their foes. 
In fact this point of policy was strangely mis* 
understood by the British, or more strangely 
perverted, at every stage of the contest. They 
had many friends in the countryi whom it was 
their interest to retain, and they professed a 
desire to conciliate others; yet they burned 
md destroyed towns, villages, and detached 
farm-houses, plundered the inhabitants without 
distinction, and brought down the savages with 
the tomahawk and scalping-knife upon the de- 
fenceless frontier settlements, marking their 
course in every direction with murder, desola* 
tion, and ruin. The ministry approved and 
encouraged these atrocities, flattering them- 
selves that the people would sink under their 
sufferings, bewail their unhappy condition, be- 
come tired of the war, and compel their lead- 
ers to seek an accommodation. The effect 
was directly the contrary in every instance. 
The people knew their rights, and had the 
common feelings of humanity ; and, when the 
former were wantonly invaded and the latter 
outraged, it was natural that their passions 
should be inflamed, and that they who were 
Et first pacifically inclined should be roused to 

88 LIFE OF WASHmOTOX, [177a 

resigtance and retaliation. If the Britiafa cab- 
inet had aimed to defeat its own objects, and 
to consolidate the American peo{de into a 
united phalanx of opposition, it could not have 
chosen or pursued more effectual methods. 

The campaign being closed, General Wasfa-» 
ington prepared to put the anny into winter 
quarters. Nine brigades were stationed on the 
west side of Hudson's River, exchisiTe of the 
garrison at West Point. One of these was 
near Smith's Clove, where it could serve as a 
reinforcement to West Point, should this be 
necessary; one at Elizabethtown ; and the 
other seven at Middlebrook, which place was 
likewise selected for head-quarters. Six brig* 
ades were cantoned on the east side of the 
Hudson and at West Point as follows ; one at 
West Point, two at the Oentinental Tillage, a 
post between Fishkill and West Boint, and 
three in the vicinity of Danbnry in Gonnecti* 
cut. The surtillery was at Pluckemin. A line 
of cantonments was thus formed around New 
York from Long Island Sound to the Dela- 
ware, so disposed as to afibrd security to the 
country, and to reinforce each other in case of 
an excursion of the enemy to any particular 
point. The other important objects intended 
by this disposition were the comfort, discii^ine, 
and easy subsistence of the troops. General 



Putnam commanded at Danbury, and GtenenJ 
M^Dougall in the Highlands. In the expecta- 
tion that the British detachments, T^hich sailed 
from New York, might act in the winter against 
South Carolina and Georgia, General Lincoln 
was sent by order of Congress to tako the 
command of the southern department. 

The four regiments of cavalry were widely 
separated ; one being at Winchester in Virgin-* 
ia, another at Frederic in Maryland, a third at 
Lancaster in Pennsylvania, and a fourth al 
Durham in Conoecticul. These cantonments 
were chosen apparently with a view to the 
convenience of procuring forage. 

The eSLchange of prisoners continued to be 
a troublesome and perplexing subject. Ar* 
ratigements had been made with Sir William 
Howe, before he left Philadelphia, by which 
exchanges to a certain extent bad been effect* 
ed. But new difficulties arose in regard to 
what were called the Convention Troops. Al- 
though Congress had ratified the convention 
of Saratoga, yet for various reasons they did 
not permit Burgoyne's army to embark for 
Europe according to the terms of that conven* 
tion. Washington had no concern with this 
affair, except to execute the orders of Congress. 
These troops being thus retained in the coun- 
try, it was finally agreed, on the part of the 


British commander, that they should be ez- 
ehanged for American prisoners in his hands. 
But the conditions prescribed by Congress 
were such, that it was a long time before the 
object was attained. They proposed that offi- 
cers of equal rank should first be exchanged ; 
next, superior officers for an equivalent num- 
ber of inferior ; and if, after all the officers of 
the enemy should be exchanged, there should 
still be a surplus of American officers among 
the prisoners, they were to be exchanged for 
an equivalent number of privates of the con- 
vention troops. 

This principle was objected to by Sir Hen- 
ry Clinton on two grounds; first, it separated 
the officers from the corps to which they were 
attached ; and, secondly, it gave an advantage 
to the Americans, inasmuch as their officers 
could go immediately into active service, 
whereas the British officers must remain idle 
till the privates constituting the corps to which 
they belonged should be released. Congress 
did not choose to relax from their resolves, and 
the business of exchange was a perpetual 
source of vexation. In short, the interests of 
the two parties were so much at variance, that 
it was not easy to reconcile them. The diffi- 
culty of procuring soldiers in Europe, and the 
great expense of bringing them over aiul 



mamtaining them, rendered every man of vast- 
ly more importance to the British army, than 
iu the American ranks, which could be filled 
up with militia when the occasion required. 
Honce the British general was always extreme- 
ly solicitous to procure the exchange of his 
private soldiers, and Congress equally averse 
to gratifying him in this point. There was 
another reason, which operated with consider- 
able weight on both sides. The British pris- 
oners were mostly German troops, who had no 
affection for the cause in which they were en^ 
gaged, and who, while in the country under a 
loose system of militar/ discipline, had many 
facilities and temptations to^ jsert. 

There was another cause of anxiety in the 
breast of Washington, which began now to be 
felt more seriously than at any former period 
of the war. The men of talents and influ- 
ence, who had taken the lead and combined 
their strength in raising the stsmdard of inde- 
pendence, had gradually withdrawn from Con- 
gress, till that body was left small in number, 
and comparatively feeble in counsels and re- 
source. For the year past, the number of del- 
egates present had seldom averaged over thir* 
ty, and sometimes it was under twenty-five. 
Whole States were frequently unrepresented ; 
and indeed it was seldom, that every State wa3 


80 falty lepreseDted as to entitle it to a Tote. 
And at no time were private jealousies and 
party feuds more rife or mischievous in their 
effects. These symptoms were alarming to 
every true friend of his country, who reflected 
on their tendency, and they filled the mind of 
Washington with deep concern. To those, 
in whom he had confidence, he laid open his 
fears, and endeavored to awaken a sense of the 
public danger. 

The conquest of Canada was always a fa- 
vorite project with Congress ; and at this time, 
when the British forces were divided by being 
employed against the French in the West In- 
dies, it was thought that a good opportunity 
offered itself for turning the arms of the United 
States against that province. After the termi- 
nation of the affair at Long Island, the Mar- 
quis de Lafayette went to Philadelphia, and 
obtained a furlough from Congress, with the 
intention of returning to France on a short 
visit. In concert with him a plan was formed 
of an attack on Canada, which was to be the 
principal object of the ensuing campaign, and 
the basis of which was a cooperation with a 
French fleet and army. Lafayette was to have 
full instructions for arranging the matter with 
\he court of Versailles, aided by the counsel 


and sdppott of Dr. Franklin, then the Ameri- 
dm plenipotentiary in Prahce. 

The plan was on a very large scale. At* 
tacks weire to be made by the American army 
at three points hk distant from each other, 
namely, Detroit, Niagara, and by way of the 
Conn^cticnt River ; while a French fleet should 
ascend the St. Lawrence, with four or five 
thousand troops, aiid act against J^uebec. The 
scheme was discussed, matured, .and approved 
with much unanimity in Congress, and then 
sent to Washington with the request that he 
would communicate his sentiments. He re- 
plied in a long despatch, entering minutely into 
the subject, and showing that the plan was im- 
practicable ; that it required resources in troops 
and money, which were not to be had ; that it 
would involve Congress in engagements to 
their ally, which it would be impossible to ful- 
fil ; and that it was in itself so extensive and 
complicated, as to hold out no reasonable hope 
of success, even with all the requisite means 
of pursuing it. 

Such was his opinion in a military view. 
But the subject presented itself to him in an- 
other aspect, in which he thought it deserved 
special consideration. Canada formerly be- 
longed to France, and had been severed from 
her in a manner, which, if not humiliating to 

64 LIF£ OF WASHINGTON. [177«. 

her pnde, contributed nothing to her glory* 
Would she not be eager to recover this lost 
province 7 If it should be conquered with her 
aid, would she not claim it at the peace as. 
rightfully belonging to her, and be able to ad- 
vance plausible reasons for such a demand? 
Would not the acquisition itself hold out a 
strong temptation? The territory abounded 
in supplies for the use of her Islands, it opened 
a wide field of commerce with the Indian na- 
tions, it would give her the command of posts 
on this continent independent of the precari- 
ous good will of an ally, it would put her in a 
condition to engross the whole trade of New- 
foundland, and above all, it would afford her 
facilities for awing and controlling the United 
States, '' the natural and most formidable rival 
of every maritime power in Europe." He 
added, '< France, acknowledged for some time 
past the most powerful monarchy in Europe 
by land, able now to dispute the empire of the 
sea with Great Britain, and, if joined with 
Spain, I may say, certainly superior, possessed 
of New Orleans on our right, Canada on our 
left, and seconded by the numerous tribes of 
Indians in our rear from one extremity to the. 
other, a people so generally friendly to her, 
and whom she knows so well how to concil- 
iate, would, it is much to be apprehen^lcd 


ifiT.46] LIFE or WASHINGTON. 65 

have It in her power to giro law to these 

These sentiments, he said, did not grow out 
of any distrust of the good faith of France in 
the alliance she had formed. On the contrary, 
he was willing to entertain and cherish the 
nost favorable impressions, in regard to her 
motives and aims. "*But," he added again, 
'^ it is a maxim founded on the universal ex- 
perience of mankind, that no nation is to be 
trusted further than it is bound by its interest ; 
and no prudent statesman or politician will 
venture to depart from it. In our circumstan* 
ces we ought to be particularly cautious ; for 
we have not yet attained sufficient vigor and 
maturity to recover from the shock of any false 
step, into which we may unwarily fall. If 
France should even engage in the scheme, in 
the first instance, with the purest intentions, 
there is the greatest danger, that, in the pro* 
gress of the business, invited to it by circum-> 
stances, and perhaps urged on by the solicita- 
tions and wishes of the Canadians, she would 
alter her views." In short, allowing all his 
apprehensions to be unfounded, he was still 
reluctant to multiply national obligations, or to 
give to any foreign power claims of merit for 
services performed beyond what was absolute- 
ly indispensable. 



The observations and reasonings <^ the 
Commander-in-chief were so far operative on 
Congress, as to induce them at once to narrow 
their scheme, though not entirely to give it up* 
They participated in the general opinion, thai 
the war with France would necessarily employ 
the British fleet and troops in other parts of thu 
world, and that they would soon evacuate the 
towns on the seacoast of the United States. 
In this event, they thought an expedition 
against Canada should still be the object of the 
campaign, and that preparations should acoor* 
dingly be made. They requested General 
Washington to write to Dr. Franklin, and to the 
Marquis de Lafayette, who was then at BostoDi 
ready to depart for Europe, and state to them 
such details as might be laid before the French 
court, in order that eventual measures might 
be taken for cooperation in case an armament 
should be sent to Quebec from France. The 
plan in this shape, however, was not more sat« 
isfactory to him, than in its original form. He 
saw no reason for supposing the British would 
evacuate the States, and he believed a system 
of operatioTKS built upon that basis would fail. 
At any rate he was not prepared to hasard tha 
responsibility of drawing the French govern^ 
ment mto a measure so full of uncertainty^ 
and depending on so many contingencies. 


JSt.46.} LIF£ of WASHmoTOlf. 67 

The armjr being now in winter qnmrters, and 
his presence with it not being essential; ho 
suggested the expediency of a personal inter- 
Tiew with the members of Congress, in which 
his sentiments coald be more fully explained 
than by writing. This proposition Was ap« 
proved. He arrived in Philadelphia on the 
24th of December, and, after several discns- 
sions between him and a committee of Con- 
gress, the Canada scheme was wholly laid 

It is a remarkable fact, as connected with 
the above suspicions on political grounds, that 
the French government was decidedly opposed 
to an expedition against Canada. The French 
minister in the United States was instructed, 
before he left France, not to favor any projects 
of conquest ; and it was the policy of the 
court of Versailles, that Canada and Nova 
Scotia should remain in the power of Great 
Britain. The reasons for this policy may not 
be obvious; but the fact is unquestionable. 
It is to be considered, however, that France 
had by treaty pledged herself te carry on the 
war, till the independence of the United States 
should be secured ; but she had not engaged 
to fight for conquests, nor for the extension of 
the territories of the United States beyond 
their original limits. Such an engagement 


would haire bound her to continue the war in- 
definitely, with no other object than to gratify 
the ambition or enmity of her ally, while every 
motive of interest and of national honor mjght 
prompt her to seek fur peace. It was evident, 
too, that the pride of England, humbled by 
conceding the independence of her revolted 
colonies, would never brook the severance of 
her other provinces by the direct agency of 
France. AH conquests thus made, therefore, 
would perplex the negotiations for peace, and 
might involve France in a protracted war, 
without the least prospect of advantage to her- 
self. Hence she resolved to adhere strictly to 
her pledge in the treaty of alliance. But, al- 
though the French minister in America was 
instructed not to hold out encouragement of 
codperation in plans of conquest, yet he was at 
the same time directed not to throw any obsta- 
cles in the way ; thus leaving the United States 
to decide and act for themselves. Should they 
gain conquests by their own strength, these 
might reasonably be claimed by them in a 
treaty of peace, without embarrassing the re- 
lations between France and England* 


Mr.16.] I IPC OF WASHlNGTOir. 69 


-ConAraiiCM with a Comalttee of Coagrtn, and Plaoi for th« 
neit Cainpaign, — Sullivan's Expedition against the Indians.— 
The Eoemj commence a predatory Warfare. — The Burning of 
New Haven, Fairfield, aad Norwalk. — Stony Point stormed 
and taken. — Saccenfol Enterpriao against Paulas Hook.-* 
Washington's Interviews with the French Minister. — Plana 
proposed for cooperating with Coast d'Eataing.— Tho Army 
goea iato Winter Quartaw. — ■Dapfeciatiwi of the Curreacyi 
aad ito Efiects. 

General Washtkctton remained in Phila- 
delphia abont five weeks, holding conferences 
with a committee of Congress, and making ar- 
rangements for the campaign of 1779. He 
Buggested three plans, with remarks on the 
mode of executing them, and the probable re- 
sult of each. The first plan had in view an 
attempt to drive the enemy from their posts on 
the seacoast ; the second, an attack on Niagara, 
and an offensive position in that quarter ; and, 
i.y the third, it was proposed to hold the army 
entirely on the defensive, except such opera- 
tions as would be necessary to chastise the In- 
dians, who had committed depredations on the 
frontiers during the past year, and who, em- 
boldened by success, might be expected to re- 
peat theii ravages. 

After mature deliberation, and taking into 

70 LIFE OF WASHmcrON. [im 

the account the exhausted state of the country 
in regard both to pecuniary resources and sup- 
plies for an army, it was decided to adopt the 
third plan as the best suited to circumstancesi 
the least expensive, and perhaps the most ben* 
eficial in its ultimate effects. It would afford 
an opportunity to retrench the heavy chaiges 
of the war, and to pursue a system of economy 
imperiously demanded by the financial embar- 
rassments in which Congress had become in- 
volved, and thus enable them to do something 
for the relief of publip credit, and for restoring 
the value of the currency, which was. fast 
smking into disrepute, unsettling pdcen, and 
threatening ruin to almost every branch of in- 
dustry. It would also give repose to the coun- 
try, and, by leaving a larger number of labor- 
ers to cultivate the soil, contribute to increase 
the supplies so much wanted for the comfort 
of the people, as well as for the subsistence of 
the army. 

Having completed all the Qeoeaaary arrange- 
ments with Congress, he returned to head- 
quarters at Middlebrook. The infantry of the 
Continental army was organized for the cam? 
paign in eighty <-qight battalions, apportioned to 
the several States, according to the ratio hith^ 
erto assumed. There were four regiments of 
cavalry and fo.rty-nine companies of artillery. 


The objects of the campaign not r^quiriiig: 
80 larger number of men in the field as on 
former oocasioiiBy it was. intended to bestow* 
the more alteiytion upon their discipline and 
practical skill; Baron Steuben, trained in the* 
wars and- under the e^e of Frederic the Great, 
had been appointed inspector-general of the* 
army the year'bef6re« He wrote -a system of' 
taotiesj which was published, adopted, and put 
in pmotice. His senrioea were of great impor*^ 
laiice,both as an experienced offioer, and* as m 
snccessftri teadier of his sysMra, by ; which the 
discipline of the army was much improved,* 
and thedia(M>rdant exercises and evolutions of; 
the* troops from dtferent • States wemredHoed 
to method and uniformity. 

The winter and the spring passed away 
Without the occurrence of any remarkable 
event The British remained within their 
lines at New Yoric, showing no disposition for 
hazardous adventures, and apparently making 
no preparation for any important expeditioo 
into the country. 

General Washington in the mean tim^- turn- 
ed his thoughts to the fitting out of an expe-* 
dition against the Indians. The confederated 
IndiJBuis of the Six Nations, except the Oneidas 
and a few of the Mohawks, inflhenced by Sir 
J<rfm Johnson, and Britidi agents frbm Canadai 


became hostile to the UDited States, although 
at first they pretended to a sort of neutrality. 
Joined by a band of Tories, and persons of 
abandoned principles collected from yarious 
parts, they fell upon the frontier settlements, 
and waged the most cruel and destructive wac 
against the defenceless and unoffending inhab* 
itants. The massacres at Cherry Valley and 
Wyoming had filled every breast with horror^ 
and humanity cried aloud for vengeance on the 
perpetrators of such deeds of atrocity. To 
break up these hordes of banditti, or at all 
events to drive them back and lay waste their 
territories, was the object of the expedition. 

Four thousand Continental troops were de- 
tached for the purpose, who were joined by 
militia from the State of New York and inde- 
pendent companies from Pennsylvania. The 
command of the whole was given to General 
Sullivan. Three thousand men rendezvoused 
at Wyoming, where General Sullivan first ea< 
tablished his head-quarters, and from which 
place he proceeded up the Susquehanna River 
into the Indian country. At the same time 
General James Clinton advanced with another 
division from the Mohawk River, by way of 
Otsego Lake and the east branch of the Sue« 
quehanna, and formed a junction with SuUivau 
near the fork, where the two main branches of 

/Bt.17.) life of WASHINGTON. 73 

the river unite. The army, then amounting 
to about five thousand men, including militia, 
marched into the wilderness towards the In- 
dian settlements. It was met and opposed by 
a body of Tories and Indians, who were soon 
routed and driven back. There was no other 
encounter, except slight skirmishes with small 
parties. Sullivan pursued a circuitous route as 
fkr as the Genessee River, destroying all the 
villages, houses, corn, and provisions, which 
fell in his way. Every habitation was desert- 
ed, the Indians having retired with their fami- 
lies to the neighborhood of Niagara, where 
they were protected and supplied by a British 
garrison. The purpose of the expedition being 
attained, the army retraced its steps down the 
Susquehanna, to Wyoming, and arrived there 
after an absence of a little more than two 

Sir Henry Clinton early in the spring sent a 
detachment of two thousand five hundred men 
to Virginia, commanded by General Matthews. 
They landed at Portsmouth, sacked the town, 
marched to Suflblk, destroyed a magazine of 
provisions in that place, burnt the village and 
several detached private houses, and seized 
large qyantities of tobacco. Many vessels 
Were likewise captured, others were burnt and 
liunk, and much plunder was taken. With 

74 LJF£ Of WASHINpTON^ [177ft 

this ooot]r t^ey xeXurD^ ie New Xork;. Th^ 
enterprise was executed ia conformity with, 
orders from the ministry, who, after the, ill 
success of their commissioners, h^d adgpted. 
the policy of a. predatory warfare on the sea- 
coast, with the design of destroying the. towiis, 
ships, and nxagazines, conceiving, as expres^d, 
by Lord George Germain, " ilfj^i a war of this, 
sort, c.arried on with spirit and h^umapity^ 
would probably in^duce the rebellious. provinces, 
to retujrn tp their allegiance, or at le^st prevent, 
their sending out -that swarm of privateers,, the. 
success of which had encouraged them tp,p^r* 
severe in their revolt." 

Wh^n the squadroa resumed from Yirginia^ 
it was immediately joined, by oth^r vessels 
having on board a large body of troops, all 
of which sailed up Hiudson's River. Thi^. 
expedition was conducted by Sir Henry Clin- 
ton in person, and his first objeot was to 
take the posts at Stony Point and YerplaQck.'s. 
Point, situate, on opposite sides of the Hudson, 
where the Americans had thrown up works, to 
protect King's Ferry, the main channel of. 
communication between the eastern .and mid- 
dle States. Should circuifistances favor so 
bold an experiment^ he intended next to. en- 
deavor to force his way into the Hi|;hlands,^ 
make himself master of the fortifications and. 

Ar.47.] MF£ OF WASfilMClONw 7B 

itrong pp^sqesy aod tlivs seeure ,tbe commati^'of 
the Ha4«on. 

Being informed of t^&prepArationsin.Neir 
York, and peoetmfing the dqs^gns of the Brit*? 
ish commander, Waptyingtop vt^ at hand in 
time to preheat. the axeeution of the second 
part of the scheme* By rapid marches he 
drew bis .troops from their cantonments in Nevi; 
Jersey, and placed theqi io such positions as to 
discourage Sir Henry Clinton from attempting 
any thing further^ than the capture of the two 
posts above mentioned, which \Kere in na coH* 
ditiop to resist a formidable fleet and an army 
of more tht^n.six thousand men» After this 
event,.wbich hi^ppened on the Ist of June, CUn. 
ton withdrew his forces down the rivf r, and af 
length to New York, leaving a strong garrisoi; 
at each of the posts, with orders to extend iind 
complete the works begun by the Americans ; 
and also directing. si|ch a numbeir of armed 
vessels and boats to remain. there, as would be 
necessary i^ furpish supplies and contribute t^ 
their defence. 

General Washington remoyed bis head* 
qufiFters to New Windsor, a few miles. above 
West Ppjnt, distributing his . army chiefly in 
and near the Highlands, but stationing a. force 
on each sidiQ of the river below, suflioient to 
check any sudden incursion of the enemy. 


The system of devastation and plunder was 
Tigorously pursued. About the beginning of 
July a detachment of two thousand six hun- 
dred men, under Governor Tryon, sailed from 
New York into Long Island Sound. They 
first landed at New Haven, plundered the in- 
habitants indiscriminately, and burnt the stores 
on the wharfs. This being done, they em-* 
barked, and landed at Fairfield and Norwalk, 
which towns were reduced to ashes. Dwell- 
ing-houses, shops, churches, school-houses, and 
the shipping in the harbors, were destroyed* 
The soldiers pillaged without restraint, com- 
mitting acts of violence, and exhibiting the 
horrors of war in some of their most revolting 
forms. It does not appear that there were 
troops, magazines, or public property in either 
of She towns. The waste and distress fell on 
individuals, who were pursuing the ordinary 
occupations of life. The people rallied in 
self-defence, and a few were killed ; but the 
enemy retired to their vessels before the mili- 
tia could assemble in large numbers. 

The British commander hoped that this in- 
vasion of Connecticut would draw away the 
American army from the Highlands to a posi- 
tion where he might bring on an engagement 
Vinder favorable circumstances. Washington's 
habitual caution guarded him against allowing 

Ct.47.] life of WASHINGTON. 7T 

stieh an advantage. On the contrary^ while 
the enemy's forces were thus divided, he re- 
solved to attack the strong poet at Stony Point 
'^ The necessity of doing something to satisfy 
Ihe expectations of the people and reconcile 
them to the defensive plan, which he was 
obliged to pursue, the value of the acquisition 
in itself, with respect to the men, artillery, and 
stores, which composed the garrison, the effect 
it would have upon the successive operations of 
the campaign, and the check it woidd give to 
the depredations of the enemy," were, as he 
said, the motives which prompted him to this 
undertaking. He reconnoitred the post him- 
self, and instructed Major Henry Lee, who 
was stationed near it with a party of cavalry, 
to gain all the information in his power as to 
the condition of the works and the strength 
of the garrison. 

The enterprise was intrusted to General 
Wayne, who commanded a body of light in- 
fantry in advance of the main army, where h0 
was placed to watch the movements of the 
enemy, to prevent their landing, and to attack 
separate parties whenever opportunities should 
offer. Having procured all the requisite in- 
formation, and determined to make the assault, 
Washington communicated general instructions 
to Wayne in writing and conversation, leaving 

78: hiTA cur w^sniAfiTon.; [imt 

the. rest to tbe well tried bnreiy aod ridll' c^ , 
that gaUaut .oflker. 

The night of: the l£ch of July ymsAxtd. 
on for the attack* After a maich of feucteen: 
miles. dnriog the afternoon^ the party, anived 
withis a mile and a half of the enemy at 
eight o^clock. in the oTening. The worlc»» 
weie. thettxeconooitred by theoommander and. 
the principal officer^ and at half pettelMren 
the. whole moved focwatd in twa oohimo8'4« 
tbe asaault. Tbe. ran of the: rtghi cotwanft 
conaatedof. one.h«indmd. and. fifty volunteem 
with unloaded, muskets and fixed bayonets^ 
preceded by. twenty picked men to remove the^ 
«fcaf9. and other. obstractions* One hundred 
volunteers,' preceded likewise by twenty me% 
composed the van. of the left. Positive orders 
were givea.not to fire,. but to rely wholly on 
the bayonet, which orders w«re faithfully 
obeyed^ A deep morass in front of the ,enen)y *s 
works, and a double row of oicUts, retarded 
their proigi;ess ; but these obstaoles were soon 
overoome by the ardor of tbe^ troops, and the 
assault began about twenty minutes after 
twelve. From that time they pushed forward 
in the face of a. tremendous fire of musketry 
and. of cannon loaded with gmpeshot, and both 
columns met in the centre of .the enemy's 
Wiorka, escb arriving nearly at the same in* 

JBr.47.] LIF9 Q¥ WA8JlINOT02«i. 79. 

Btaot. Genetal WayDe, who advaaced with 
ihe xigbX column, received a slight wound in 
the bead, and was 80]^f t^ into th^ worka 
by his aids^de-camp. 

The assauU was succee^ful in all its parts. 
The number of prisoners was fi^e hundred 
and forty-three, and the number killed on the 
side of the enemy was sixty'three. Of the, 
assailing party fifteen were killed, and eigbty-» 
three wounded. Several, capnons apd martan^ 
of Tacious siaes^ a Ifgrge number of mu^ket^i 
diells, shot, and tents, aud a pipportioual quann 
iity of stores, were taken. The action is al<« 
lowed to have been one of the most brillianl 
of the Revolotion. Congress passed resolves 
complimentary to the officers and privates^ 
granting specifip rewards, and directing th^ 
value of all the military stores taken in the 
garrison to be divided ampng the troops in pro- 
portion to the pay of the officera and meut 
Three di&rent medals were ordered tp be 
struck, emblematical of the action, and award* 
ed respectively to General Wayne, Colonel 
Fleury, and Colonel Stewart. Congress also 
passed a vote of thanks to General Washing- 
ton. " for the vigilance, wisdom, and magoa^ 
nimity, with which he had conducted. the mil- 
itary operations of the States," and especially 
as manifested in his Qrders for the late attack* 


It was his first intention, if the storming of 
Stony Point should proTe successful, to make 
an immediate attempt against Yerplanck's 
Point, on the opposite side of the river. For 
this purpose he had requested General Wayne 
to forward the intelligence to head-quarters 
through the hands of General M^Dongall, who 
commanded at West Point, and who would be 
in readiness to send down a detachment by 
the way of Peekskill to attack Yerplanck's 
Point on the land side, while it was cannona- 
ded from Stony Point across the river. By 
some misunderstanding, the messenger neg* 
lected to call at West Point, and thus several 
hours were lost before General M'^Dougall re- 
ceived the intelligence. To this delay has 
been ascribed the failure of the undertaking 
against Yerplanck's Point. From the letters 
of General M^Dougall and other officers writ- 
ten at the time, however, it is evident that the 
Want of horses and conveniences for the trans- 
portation of artillery was such, as to render it 
impossible in any event to arrive at Yerplanck's 
Point with the adequate means of assault, be^ 
fore the enemy had assembled a sufficient 
force to give entire security to the garrison. 

When Washington examined Stony Point 
after the capture, he resolved to evacuate the 
post, remove the cannon and stores, and de- 


8tro7 the \rorks. Being accessible by the en- 
emy's vessels of war, a larger number of men 
would be required for the defence than could 
properly be spared from the main army ; and- 
at the same time it might be necessary to haz- 
ard a general action, which was by no means 
to be desired on such terms as would be im- 
posed, and for such an object. Every thing 
was brought off, except one heavy cannon. 
The enemy afterwards reoccupied the post, 
and repaired the works. 

About a month after the storming of Stony 
Point, another enterprise similar in its charac- 
ter, and not less daring, was executed by Ma- 
jor Henry Lee. At the head of three hundred 
men, and a troop of dismounted dragoons, he 
surprised the enemy's post at Paulus Hook, 
opposite to New York, and took one hundred 
and fifty-nine prisoners, having two only of 
his party killed and three wounded. The 
plan originated with Major Lee, and great 
praise was bestowed upon him for the address 
and bravery with which it was executed. A 
medal of gold, commemorative of the event, 
was ordered by Congress to be struck and pre- 
sented to him. 

No other events of much importance hap- 
pened in the army under Washington's imme- 
Uate command during the campaign. The 

VOL. 11. 

SSk LiF£ or WASHrNGTOif. {mr 

British troops remamed inactive at Netr York,, 
and the Americaas held their ground in the 
Highkiads. In the course of this year the 
works at West Point and in. its yicinity: were 
chiefly constructed. A part of the time two 
thousand five hundred men were on fatigue 
duty every day. Before the end of July the* 
beadK^uarters of the Commander-4n-chief were 
removed to West Point, where he continued 
for the rest of the season. 

As few incidents of a personal nature inter- 
vene to vary the monotony of military opera- 
tions, and of the great public aflfairs which oc- 
cupied the thoughts of Washington, it may 
not be amiss to insert here a letter inviting a 
friend to dine with him at head-quarters. It 
gives an idea of the manner in which he 
lived, and shows that he could aometimes be. 
plajrfui, even when oppressed with public 
cares, and in the midst of the harassing duties 
of his command. The letter is addressed to 
Dr. Cochran, surgeon-general in the army, and 
dated at West Point on the 16tb of August. 
" Dear Doctor, 

" I have asked Mrs. Cochran and Mts. Lii^- 
ingston to dine with me to-morrow ; but am I 
not in honor bound to apprize them of their 
fare? As I hate deception, even where the 
imagination only is concerned, I will. It is 



«ieediess to premise, that my table is large 
enough to hold the ladies. Of this they had 
ocular proof yesterday. To say how it is 
usually covered, is rather more essential ; and 
this shall be the purport of my letter. 

'' Since our arrival at this happy spot, we 
have had a ham, sometimes a shoulder of ba« 
con, to grace the head of the table ; a piece of 
loast beef adorns the foot ; and a dish of beans, 
or greens, almost imperceptible, decorates the 
centre. When the cook has a mind to cut a 
figure, which I presume will be the case to* 
itoorrow, we have two beefsteak pies, or dishes 
of crabs, in addition, one on each side of the 
centre dish, dividing the space and reducing 
the distance between dish and dish to about 
six feet, which without them would be nearly 
twelve feet apart. Of late he has had the sur* 
{rising sagacity to discover, tliat apples will 
make pies ; and it is a question, if, in the vio- 
lence of his efforts, we do not get one of apples, 
instead of having both of beefsteaks. If the 
ladies can pot up with such entertainment, and 
will submit to partake of it on plates, once tin 
but now iron (not become so by the labor of 
scouring), I shall be happy to see them; and 
am, dear Doctor, yours." 

Sir Henry Clinton, disappointed in not re- 
ceiving additions to his army from Europe, 


Degaii to be weary of his sitaation, md to de- 
spair of effecting any thing that would either 
redound to the glory of the^^ritish anus, or 
answer the expectations of his employers. Oa 
the 2ist of August he said, in a letter to Lord 
George Germain, ^' 1 now find myself obliged 
by many cogent reasons to abandon every 
view of making an effort in this quarter. The 
precautions, which General Washington has 
had leisure to take, make me hopeless of bring* 
ing him to a general action, and the season 
dissuades me strongly from losing time in the 
attempt," He informs the minister, that hie 
thoughts are turned to the south, that he shall 
put New York in a complete state of defence, 
withdraw his troops from the posts on the 
Hudson, and sail for South Carolina with a 
large part of his army as soon as the season 
will permit him to act in that climate^ 

After Count d'Estaing left the harbor of 
Boston, he proceeded to the West Indies, where 
he operated during the winter, took St. Yin- 
cent and Grenada, and had a naval engage- 
ment with Admiral Byron's fleet. It was ex* 
pected, that he would return to the United 
States in the course of the summer, and 
M. Gerard, the French minister in Philadelphia, 
held several conferences with a committee of 
Congress respecting a concerted plan of action 



between the French sqnadron and the Ameri* 
can forces. For the same object M. Gerard 
went to camp, and held interviews with the 
Commander-in-chief, to whom Congress dele- 
gated the power of arranging and execnting 
the whole business in such a manner as hi8 
judgment and prudence should dictate. Vari- 
ous plans were suggested and partly matured ; 
but, as the unfortunate repulse of the French 
and American troops in their assault on Savan- 
nah, and the subsequent departure of Count 
d'Estaing from the coast, prevented ^heir being 
carried into execution, they need not be ex- 
plained in this place. 

The intercourse with Washington on this 
occasion left favorable impressions on the mind 
of the French minister. In a letter to Count 
de Yergennes, written from camp, he said ; '' I 
have had many conversations with General 
Washington, some of which have continued 
for three hours. It is impossible for me briefly 
to communicate the fund of intelligence, which 
I have derived from him ; but I shall do it in. 
my letters as occasions shall present them- 
selves. I will now say only, that I have form- 
ed as high an opinion of the powers of his 
mind, his moderation, his patriotism, and his 
virtues, as I had before from common report 
conceived of his military talents, and of the 


incalculable services he has rendered to his 
country." The same sentiments were often 
repeated by the successor of M. Gerard, and 
contributed to establish the unbounded confi* 
dence, \vhich the French government placed 
in the American c6mmander during the war. 

Ahhough the plans of cooperation failed, yet 
they were serviceable in embarrassing the 
schemes of the enemy. As soon as it was 
known that Count d'Estaing had arrived in 
Georgia, Sir Henry Clinton naturally supposed 
that he would proceed northward, and unite 
with Washington in a combined attack on 
New York. Alarmed for his safety in such an 
event, he caused Rhode Island to be evacuated, 
and drew to New York the garrison, which 
had been stationed nearly three years at that 
place, consisting at times of about six thou- 
sand men. Stony Point and Verplanck's Point 
\*rere likewise evacuated. The appearance of 
Count d'Estaing's fleet on the coast retarded 
Sir Henry Clinton's southern expedition till 
near the end of December, when, having re- 
ceived reinforcements from Europe, he em- 
barked about seven thousand troops, and sailed 
for South Carolina, under the convoy of Ad- 
miral Arbuthnot. 

The campaign being now at an end, the ar- 
my was again put into winter quarters, the 



.nain body in the neighborhood of Morristown, 
strong detachments at West Point and other 
posts near the Hudson, and the cavalry in Con* 
necticut. The head-quarters were at Morris- 
town. The ill success of the allied arms at 
Savannah, and the indications of Sir Henry 
Clinton's designs against South Carolina, were 
reasons for sending more troops to General 
Lincoln's army ; and, before the middle of De^ 
cember, two of the North Carolina regiments 
and the whole of the Yirgmia line marched to 
the south. 

A descent upon Staten Island by a party un- 
der Lord Stirling, a retaliatory incursion of the 
enemy into New Jersey at Elizabethtown, and 
a skirmish near White Plains, were the only 
military events diuring the winter. 

The army for the campaign in 17S0 was 
nominally fixed by Congress at . thirty-five 
thousand two hundred and eleven men. Each 
State was required to furnish its quota by the 
1st day of April. No definite plan was adopt- 
ed for the campaign, as the operations must 
depend on circumstances and the strength and 
condition of the enemy. 

One of the greatest evils, which now afflict- 
ed the country, and which threatened the most 
alarming consequences, was the depreciation 
f the currency. Destitute of pecuniary re- 


sources, and without the power of imposing 
direct taxes, Congress had, early in the war, 
resorted to the expedient of paper money. For 
a time, while the quantity was comparatively 
small, its credit was good ; but in March, 1780, 
the enormous amount of two hundred millions 
of dollars had been issued, no part of which 
had been redeemed. At this time forty paper 
dollars were worth only one in specie. Prices 
rose as the money sank in value, and every 
branch of trade was unsettled and deranged. 
The effect was peculiarly oppressive on the 
troops, and was a principal reason for the ex- 
orbitant bounties allowed to them in the latter 
years of the war. The separate States like* 
wise issued paper money, which increased the 
evil, without affording any adequate relief. 
The only remedy was taxation ; but this was 
seldom pursued with vigor, owing, in part, to 
the distracted state of the times and the ex* 
hausted condition of the country, and in part 
also to State jealousy. As each State felt its 
burdens to be heavy, it was cautious how it 
added to them in a greater proportion than its 
neighbors ; and thus all were reluctant to act, 
till impelled by the pressure of necessity. 

So low had the credit of the currency fallen, 
that the commissaries found it extremely diffi- 
cult, and in some cases impossible, to purchase 


.4fcr.4?.} LIFE OF WASHII^GTOJ). 89 

supplies for the anny. Congress adapted a 
new method, by requiring each State to furnish 
a certain quantity of beef, pork, flour, corn, 
forage, and other articles, which were to be de- 
posited in such places as the Commander-in- 
chief should determine. The States were to 
be credited for the amount at a fixed valuation 
ip specie. The system turned out to be im- 
practicable. The multitude of hands into 
which the business was thrown, the want of 
proper authority to compel its prompt execu'« 
tion, the distance of several of the States from 
the army, and the consequent difficulties of 
transportation, all conspired to make it the most 
expensive, the most uncertain, and the least 
effectual method that could be devised. It 
added greatly to the embarrassments of the 
military affairs, and to the labor and perplex- 
ities of the Commander-in-chief, till it was 

To keep up the credit of the currency. Con-* 
gress recommended to the States to pass laws 
making. paper money a legal tender at its nom- 
inal value for the discharge of debts, which 
bad been contracted to be paid in gold or silver* 
Such laws were enacted, and many debtors 
took advantage of them. When the army 
was at Morristown, a man of respectable stand- 
ing lived in the neighborhood, wbo was assid- 


lious in his civilities to Washington, which 
were kindly received and reciprocated. Un- 
Uickily this man paid his debts in the depre* 
dated currency. Some time afterwards he 
called at head-quarters, and was introduced as 
usual to the General's apartment, where he was 
then conversing with some of his officers. He 
bestowed very little attention upon the vidter. 
The same thing occurred a second time, when 
he was more reserved than before. This was 
so different from his customary manner, that 
Lafayette, who was present on both occasions, 
could not help remarking it, and he said, after 
the man was gone ; " General, this man seems 
to be much devoted to yon, and yet you have 
scarcely noticed him." Washington replied, 
smiling ; " I know I have not been cordial ; I 
tried hard to be civil, and attempted to speak 
to him two or three times, but that Continen- 
tal money stopped my mouth." He considered 
these laws unjust in principle, and iniquitous 
in their effects. He was himself a loser to a 
considemble amount by their operation. 

At the beginning of April, when the States 
were to have completed their quotas of troops, 
the whole number under Washington's imme* 
diate command was no more than ten thousand 
four hundred rank and file. This number was 
soon diminished by sending the remainder of 


the Maryland line and the Delaware regiment 
to the southern army. The British force at 
New York ^mounted to seventeen thousand 
three hundred effective men. From that time 
the army of the north consisted of such troops 
only, as were raised in the New England 
States, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsyl- 
vania. To hasten and give effect to the ar- 
rangements for the campaign, and draw more 
expeditiously from the States their quotas of 
soldiers and supplies. General WashHigton re- 
quested a committee of Ck^ngress to attend the 
army, with power to act in the name of that 
t)ody for definite objects. The committee re* 
mained in camp between two and three months* 
General Schuyler, then a member of Congress, 
was one of the committee, and his experiencei 
aound judgment, and energetic character, en- 
abled him to render essential services in thai 



Arrival of tbe Marqait 4b Lafnjettey with th« InteUtgevce that a 
French Armameot was od its Waj to the United States. — The 
Army takes a Position near Hudson's River. — The French 
Squadron arrivea at Newport ^ Couot de Rochatnbeau** lo- 
atnictiona. ^ French Fleet blockaded. — Interview between 
General Washington and the French Commander at Hartford. 
—The Treason of Arnold. — Plans for attacking New York. 

Before the end of April, the Marquis de 
Lafayette arrived at Boston from Prance, with 
the cheering intelligence that the French gov* 
eniment had fitted out an armament of naval 
and land forces, which might soon be expected 
in the United States. He proceeded imme- 
diately to Washington's head-quarters, ami 
thence to Congress. Although many of the 
Americans had hoped that their arms would be 
strengthened by the troops of their allies, yet 
no indications had hitherto been given, which 
encouraged them to believe that any aid of this 
sort would be rendered. The experiment was 
also thought by some to be hazardous. Tho 
prejudice against French soldiers, wliich had 
been implanted and nurtured by the colonial 
wars, it was feared might lead to serious con- 
sequences, if French troops should be landed 
in the United States, and brought to act iu 


iDr.48] LIFE OF. WASHINGTOJ!«. 98 

ooncert with the American army. So strongly 
was Count de Vergennes influenced by this 
apprehension, that he opposed the sending of 
troops to America, and advised that the efforts 
of France in succoring her ally should be ex- 
pended in naval equipments, which he believ- 
ed would be more effectual in annoying and 
weakening the common enemy. In this opin- 
ion, however, the other members of the cabi- 
net did not concur, and it was resolved to send 
out a fleet with a body of troops to operate on 
land. Lafayette was principally instrumental 
in effecting this decision. It was a point upon 
which he had set his heart before he left Amer- 
ica, and it may be presumed that he previously 
ascertained the sentiments of Waithington. At 
any rate, his observation while in the country 
had convinced him, that French troops would 
be well received ; and he had the address to 
bring the majority of the ministry to the same 
way of thinking. 

In the month of June, General Enyphausen 
crossed over with such a force as he could spare 
from New York, and made an incursion into 
New Jersey. He was met by detachments 
from the American army, and some smart skirr 
mishing ensued, particularly at Springfield, 
where the encounter lasted several hours. The 


enemy were driren Jback, and tfiey retired to 
Staten Island. 

The object of this adventure could not e9r 
Bily be ascertained. 'General Washington at 
first supposed it to be a feint to amuse him in 
that quarter, while a more formidable force 
should be suddenly pushed np the Hudson to 
attack the posts in the Highlands. This opin- 
ion was countenanced by the arriral, just at 
that time, of Sir Henry Clinton from his suc- 
cessful expedition against Charleston. No such 
attempt being made, however, the only effect 
was to draw General Washington's army near- 
er the Hudson, where he took a position in 
which he could act in defence of New Jereey 
or the Highlands, as occasion might require. 

News at length came, that the French fleet 
had entered the harbor of Newport, in Rhode 
Island, on the 10th of July. The aitnament 
consisted of seven or eight ships of the line, 
two frigates, two bombs, and upwards of five 
thousand troops. The fleet was commanded 
by the Chevalier de Ternay, and the army by 
the Count de Rochambeau. This was called 
the first division. Another, being detained for 
the want of transports, was left at Brest al- 
most ready to sail, which it was said would 
soon follow. 

The instructions from the ministry to Count 



de RochambeaOy vere . extremely judicious, 
and contrived in every part to secure harmony 
between the American and French armies. 
The general and the troops were to be in all 
cases under the command of General Wash- 
ington. When the two armies were unitedi 
the French troops were to be considered as 
auxiliaries, and to yield precedence by ti^cing 
the left. American officers were to command 
French officers of equal rank, and holding 
commissions of the same dates; and, in all 
military acts and capitulations, the American 
^geoerab were to be named first and to sign 
first. These instructions, expressed in clear 
«Rd positive terms, wem made known to Gen- 
eral Washington by Lafisiyette before the troops 
landed. A copy in detail was likewise sent to 
him by Count de Rochambeau. They pro- 
duced all the happy effects, which could have 
been anticipated. Perfect harmony subsisted 
not only between the armies, but between the 
people and the French troops, from their first 
arrival in the country till their final departure. 
The Continental officers, by the recommenda- 
tion of Greneral Washington, wore cockades of 
black and white intermixed, as a compliment 
to the French troops, and a symbol of friend- 
ship ; the former color being that of the Ameri- 
can cockade, and the latter that of the French 



A plan of cotnbioed operaiioiia against the 
enemy in New York was drawn up by Gen- 
eral Washington, and forwarded to Count de 
Rochambeau by the hands of Lafayette, who 
went to Newport for the purpose of making 
explanations, and concerting arrangements with 
the French general and admiral. This plan 
had for its basis the naval superiority of the 
French over the English, by whidi the fleet 
of the latter might be attacked to advantage, 
or at least blocked up in the harbor of New 
York. At the present time, however, this 
was not the case. The arrival of Admkal 
Graves, with six ships of the line, had increas- 
ed the British naval force considerably beyond 
that of the Chevalier de Ternay ; and it was 
agreed that nothing conld be done, till he 
should be reinforced by the second division 
from France, or by the squadron of iite Count 
de Ouichen, which was expected from the 
West Indies. 

Forewarned by the British ministry of the 
destination of the French armament, Sir Hen- 
ry Clinton made seasonable preparations to 
meet it, and requested Admiral Arbutbnot to 
be ready with his fleet. After considerable 
delay he embarked six thonsand troops at 
Frog^s Neck, intending to proceed through the 
Sound and cooperate with the fleet in an at* 


At.48.] lifc of wabhingtojn. 97 

tack on the French at Newport. In the meaa 
time Coant de Rochambeau, aided by General 
Heath, then present with the French army, 
called in the militia of the neighboring coun- 
try, and increased the force at Newport so 
much, that Sir Henry Clinton, despairing of 
success, landed his men at Whitestone, on 
Long Island, and returned to New York, with- 
out effecting any part of his object. Another 
reason for his sudden return was, that Waslv- 
ington had drawn his army acroes the Hudson, 
and taken a position on the east side of that 
river, from which he might attack the city 
during the absence of so large a portion of the 
troops. It was Sir Henry Clinton's first hope, 
that, by the aid of the fleet, he should be able 
to complete his expedition against Newport, 
and cotne back to New York before Washing- 
ton could assume an attitude which would 
menace the city; but in this he was disap- 

Having a decided naral superiority, howev«- 
er, Admiral Arbuthnot blockaded the French 
squadron in the harbor of Newport, and Count 
de Rochambeau's army was obliged to remain 
there for its protection. This state of things 
continued through the season, and no military 
enterprise was undertaken. The seoond French 
division was blockaded at Brest, and never 


98 LIFE OF WASHlllGTOll. [1790 

came to America ; and the Ckrant de Gaieheii 
sailed from the West Indies to France witboat 
tOQching in any part of the United States. 
Both parties, therefore, stood on the defensive, 
^vatching each other's motions, and depending 
on the operations of the Bdtish and French 
fleets. General Washington recrossed the 
Hudson, and encamped bebw Orangetown, or 
Tappan, on the borders of New Jerseyi which 
station he held till winter. 

In this interval of leisure, a conference be^ 
tween the cooMnanders of the two allied ar- 
mies was suggested by Count de Rochambeau, 
and readily assented to by General .Waduog- 
ton. They met at Hartford in Connectieat, 
on the 21st of September. During the abh 
sence of General Washington, the army was 
left under the command of General Greene. 
The interview was more interesting and ser- 
viceable in cementing a personal friendship, 
and promoting amicable relations between the 
parties, than important in establiriisng an ulte- 
rior system of action. Nothing indeed eoiild 
be positively agreed upon, since a naval supe- 
riority was absolutely essential to any entei^ 
prise by land, and this superiority did not ex- 
ist. All the plans that were brought into view, 
therefore, rested on contingencies, and in the 
end these were unfavorable to a combined op* 



At this time General Arnold held the eom- 
mand at West Point and other fortified poets 
in the Highlands. No officer in the American 
army had acquired higher rsttovn for military 
talents, activity, and courage. He had signal- 
ized himself at the taking of Tieoaderoga, by 
his expedition thiough the wilderness to Que* 
bee', in a naval engagement on Lsike Cbatn- 
plain, in a rencontre with the enemy at Dan- 
bury, and above all in the decisive aelion nt 
Saratoga. When the British evacuated Phila- 
delphia, he was appointed to the oommand in 
that city, being disabled by his wounds for 
immediate active service. Arrogant, fond at 
display, and extravagant in his style of living, 
he was soon involved in difficulties, which 1^ 
to his ruin. His debts accmnnlated, and, to 
relieve himself from embarrassment and indulge 
his passion for parade, he resorted to practices 
discreditable to him as an officer and a man. 
Heavy charges were exhibited against him by 
the President and Council of Peimsylvania, 
which were referred to a court-martial. Af- 
ter a thorough investigation, the court sen- 
tenced him to receive a public reprimand from 
the Oommander*in-chief. He had previously 
presented to Congress large claims against the 
United Stales on account of money, which he 
said he had expended for the public service in 


Canada. These claims were examin^i and 
in part disallowed. In the opinion of many, 
they were snch as to authorize a suspicion of 
his integrity, if not to afford evidence of de- 
liberate fraud. 

These censures, added to the desperate state 
of his private affairs, were more than the pride 
of Arnold could bear. At once to take re- 
venge, and to retrieve his fortunes, he resolved 
to become a traitor to his country, and seek 
employment in the ranks of the enemy» This 
purpose was so far fixed in his mind fifteen 
months before its consummation, that he then 
began, and continued afterwards, a secret cor- 
respondence with Major Andre, adjutant-gen- 
eral of the British army. The more easily to 
effect his designs, he sought and obtained the 
command at West Pointy where he arrived the 
first week in August. From that time it was 
his aim, by a plan concerted with the British 
general, to deliver West Point and the other 
poets of the Highlands into the hands of the 

The absence of Washington from the army, 
on his visit to Hartford, was thought to afford 
a fit occasion for bringing the affair to a crisis. 
Th6 Tulture sloop of war ascended the Hud- 
son, and anchored in Haverstraw Bay, six or 
seven miles below King's Ferry. It was con* 



trived that a meeting should take place bo* 
tween Arnold and Andr^, for the purpose of 
making arrangements. Andre went ashore 
from the Vulture in the night on the west side 
of the river, where Arnold was waiting to re* 
oeire him. They remained together in that 
place till the dawn of day, when, their busi* 
ness not being finished, Arnold persuaded him 
to go to the house of Joshua H. Smith, at 
eome distance from the river, where he was 
concealed daring the day. Arnold left him in 
the morning and went to West Point. It was 
Andre's expectation and wish to return to the 
Vulture ; but, this not being pmcticable, he 
left Smith's house in the dusk of the evening 
on horseback, and crossed the river at King's 
Ferry with a written pass signed by Arnold, 
in which the bearer was called John Anderson* 
Before leaving Smith's house, he exchanged 
his regimentals for a citizen's dress, over which 
he wore a dark, loose great-^oat. 

The next day while riding alone towards 
New York, he was suddenly stopped in the 
road by three armed militia-men, Paulding, 
Williams, and Van Wart, about half a mile 
north of Tarrytowo. They searched him, 
and found papers secreted in his boots. From 
this discovery they inferred that lie was a spy.; 
•and, taking him back to the nearest American 


oatpost at North Castle, they delivered hiai 
over to LieuteDant-Colonel JamoBOQ, who was 
stationed there with a party of drageooA. 
Jameson examined the papers, and knew theni 
to be in the handwriting of Arnol4. They 
were of a very extraordinary charaeter, eon-* 
taining an exact account of the state of thii^a 
at West Point, and of the strength of tb^ gar* 
rison, with remarks on the different works, anc) 
a report of a council of war recently held at 
the head-quarters of the army. Jameaon waa 
amazed and bewiidored. He sent a mesaenr 
ger to Arnold with a letter, stating that a {htis- 
oner, who called himself John Anderson, bad 
been bronght to him and was then in custody, 
find that papers had be^i found upon his per?- 
eon, which seemed to him of a dangerous teq^ 
dency. Al the same time he despatched an 
oxpress to General Washington, then supposed 
to be on the road returning from Hartford. 
This express was the bearer of the pfl^pec^ 
which had been taken from Andre's boots. 

The next morning Andr^ was sent, under 
the chaise of Major Tallmadge, to Cotonal 
Sheldon's quarters at New Salem for greater 
security. Being now convinced that there 
was no hope of escape, he wrote a letter Iq 
Oeneral Washington revealing his name and 
true character. Till this time no one about hia^ 


iBT.48.1 <*!**£ OF WASHINOTON. 108 

knew who he was, or that he held a miiitary 
rank. He submitted the letter to Major Ta)K 
xnadge and other officers, who read it with aa> 

Having finished his interview with the 
French commanders, Washington returned 
from Hartford by the upper route through 
Fishkill. Consequently the express, who was 
sent with the papers, and who took the lower 
route, by which Washington bad gone to Hart* 
ford, did not meet him, but came back to North 
Castle. lu the mean time Washington puD> 
sued his journey by the way of Fishkill to 
West Point. Two or three hours before he 
reached Arnold's house, which was on the side 
of the river opposite to West Pdnt and at a 
considerable distance below, the messenger ar- 
rived there with the letter from Jameson, by 
which Arnold was informed of the capture of 
Andre. He read it with some degree of i^ta- 
tion, and, pretending that he was suddenly 
called to West Point, mounted a horse stand* 
ing at the door, rode to the river, entered his 
barge, and ordered the men to row down the 
stream. When the barge approached King's 
Ferry, he held up a white handkerchief, and 
the officer who commanded at Terplanck's 
Point, supposing it to be a flag-boat, allowed it 
to pass without inspection. Arnold proceeded 


directly to the Yulture, which was still at an* 
chor in the river aear the jdace where Andre 
had left it. 

Washington arrived at Arnold's house, and 
went over to West Point, without hearing any 
thing of Arnold. On his return, however, in 
the afternoon he received the abovementioned 
letter from Andr^, and the papers found in his 
boots, which had been forwarded from North 
Castle. The plot was now unravelled. The 
first thing to be done was to secure the posts. 
Orders were immediately despatched to all the 
principal officers, and every precaution was 

Andre was first removed to West Point, and 
thence to the head-quarters of the army at 
Tappan. A board of officers was summoned, 
and directed to inquire *nto the case of Major 
Andr^, report the facts, i nd give their opinion, 
both in regard to the nature of his offence, and 
to the punishment that ought to be awarded. 
Various papers were laid before the board, and 
Andre himself was questioned, and desired to 
make such statements and explanations as he 
chose. After a full investigation the board re- 
ported, that the prisoner came on shore in the 
night, to hold a private and secret interview 
with General Arnold; that he changed his 
dress within the American lines, and passed 



the guards in a disguised haUt and under a 
feigned name ; that he was taken in the same 
disguised habit, having in his possession sever- 
al papers, which contained intelligence for the 
enemy ; and that he ought to be considered as 
a spy, and, according to the law and usage of 
nations, to suffer death. General Washington 
approved this decision ; and Major Andre was 
executed at Tappan on the 2d of October. 

While Andre's case was pending, Sir Henry 
Clinton used every effort in his power to res* 
cue him from his fate. He wrote to General 
Washington, and endeavored to show, that he 
could not be regarded as a spy, inasmuch as he 
came on shore at the request of an American 
general, and afterwards acted by his direction* 
Connected wish all the circumstances, this ar- 
gument could have no weight. That he was 
drawn into a snare by a traitor did not make 
him the less a spy. As the guilt of Arnold 
was the cause of all the evils that followed, an 
exchange of him for Andre would have been 
accepted ; but no such proposal was intimated 
by the British general ; and perhaps it could 
not be done consistently with honor and the 
course already pursued. From the moment 
of his capture till that of his execution, the 
conduct of Andre was marked with a candor, 
self-possession, and dignity, which betokened a 


brave and noble spirit. There was no straofer 
trait in the character of Washington than hu- 
manity ; the misrortunes and sufferings of oth- 
ers touched him keenly ; and his fiselings wero 
deeply moved at the port he was compelled 
to act in consenting to the death of Andre ; 
yet justice to the office he held, and to the 
cause for which his countrymen were shedding 
their blood, left him no alternative.* 

While these operations were going on at the 
north, all the intelligence from the south gave 
evidence, that affairs in that quarter were as* 
suming a gloomy aspect The British forces, 
with Lord Comwallis at their head, were over-» 
running the Carolinaa, and preparations were 
making in New York to detach a squadron 
with troops to fall upon Virginia. The defeat 
of General Gates near Camden, in South Car- 
olina, was a heavy blow upon the Americans, 
and left them in a state from which it was 
feared they would not soon recover. Congress 
requested General Washington to ai^int an 
officer to succeed Gates in the command of the 
southern army. With his usual determination 
and judgment he selected General Greene, who 
repaired to the theatre of action, in which he 

* A full and detailed account of the particulan relating 
to this subject is contained in Sparks's lAJh and 7Ve«- 
8on qfAmoliL 


^r.4S.] L1P£ OP WASHINGTON. 107 

was SO eminently distingciished during the 
subsequent years of the war. 

Gaining an increased confidence in the 
Commander-in-chief, which a long experience 
of his wisdom and disinterestedness author- 
ized, Congress at length adopted the important 
measures, in regard to the army, which he had 
earnestly and repeatedly advised and enforced. 
They decreed that all the troops, thenceforward 
to be raised, should be enlisted to serve during 
the war ; and that all the officers, who eontin- 
lied in the service to the end of the war, should 
be entitled to half-pay for life. Washington 
ever believed, that, if this system had bean 
pursued from the beginning, it would have 
shortened the war, or at least have caused a 
great diminution in the expense. Unfortunate- 
ly the States did not comply with the former 
part of the requisition, but adhered to the old 
method of filling up their quotas with men 
raised for three years and for shorter terms. 
The extreme difficulty of procuring recruits 
was the reason assigned for persevering in this 

Lafayette commanded six battalions of light 
infantry, stationed in advance of the main ar- 
my. He projected a descent upon Staten Isl- 
and, but was prevented from executing it by 
the want of boats. A plan was likewise formed 


for a general attack on the north part of New- 
York Island. The enemy's posts were recon- 
noitred, extensive preparations were made, 
and a large foraging party was sent into West- 
chester County to mask the design, and draw 
the attention of the enemy that way. But 
the sudden appearance of several armed vessels 
in the river caused the enterprise to be deferred 
and finally abandoned. The foraging expedi- 
tion, conducted by General Stark, was suc- 

The army went into winter quarters at the 
end of November ; the Pennsylvania line near 
Morristown, the New Jersey regiments at 
Pompton, and the eastern troops in the High- 
lands. The head-quarters of the Commauder- 
in-chief were at New Windsor. The French 
army remained at Newport, except the Duke 
de Lauzun's legion, which was cantoned at 
Lebanon in Connecticut. 

i] Lire t*/ WASHINGTON. 109 


Mutiny of the Penosylmnia and New Jersey Trooptu — Agency of 
Washington in procuring Suppiiea from France. — Operations 
of die Enemy in the Chesapeake. — Detachment to Virginia 
under Lafayette. — General Washington risits Count de Ro- 
cbambeau at Newport — Condition of the Army.» Interview 
between tiie American and French Commanders at Weathers 
field. — Plan of Operations. — A Combined Attack on New 
York proposecL 

The year 1761 opened with an event, 
which filled the country with alarm, and 
threatened dangerous consequences. On the 
1st of January a mutiny broke out among the 
Pennsylvania troops, stationed near Morristown, 
and about thirteen hundred men paraded under 
arms, refused obedience to their officers, killed 
one captain, mortally wounded another, and 
oommitted various outrages. The mutineers 
marched in a body towards Princeton with six 
fieldpieces, avowing their intention to proceed 
to Philadelpliia, and demand from Congress a 
redress of their grievances. They complained 
that their pay was in arrears, that they were 
obliged to receive it in a depreciated currency, 
that many of the soldiers were detained be- 
yond the term of their enlistment, and that 
they had suffered every hardship for the want 


of money, provigions, and clothing. Bjr the 
prudence and good management of General 
Wayne, who took care to supply them with 
provisions on their march, they were kept from 
plundering the inhabitants and other excesses. 
He sent the intelligence of the revolt by an 
express to General Washington, who, consid-- 
ering the number of the mutineers, and the 
apparent justice of their complaints, recom- 
mended to him not to use force, which might 
inflame their passions, increase opposition, keep 
alive resentment, and tempt them to tiira 
about and go to the enemy, who would not 
fail to hold out alluring offers. He advised 
General Wayne to draw from them a statement 
of their grievances, and promise to represent 
the case faithfully to Congress and the State 
of Pennsylvania, and endeavor to obtain re* 

These judicious counsels had the effect de- 
sired. A committee of Congress, joined by 
the President of Pennsylvania, met the revolt-* 
ers at Trenton, and made proposals to ihem^ 
which were accepted, and they gave up their 
arms. An ambiguity in the written terms of 
enlistment was one of the principal causes of 
dissatisfaction. The agreement on the pert of 
the soldiers was, to serve for three years or 
during the war. By the interpretation, which 


JGt.48.] LlJsh OF WASHINGTON 111 

the officers gave to these expressions, they 
bound the soldiers to serve to the end of tiio 
war; whereas the soldiers insisted that they 
engaged for three years only, or during the 
war if it should come to an end before the 
three years had elapsed. Accordingly they 
demanded a discharge at the expiration of that 
period. This construction being allowed, it 
was the means of disbanding a large part of 
the Pennsylvania line for the winter, but it 
was recruited again in the spring to its original 
complement. The revolters were indignant 
at the suspicion of their going to the enemy, 
and scorned the idea, as they expressed it, of 
turning Arnolds. Two emissaries sent among 
them with overtures from Sir Henry Clinton 
were given up, tried by a court-martial, and 

Not knowing how far this example might 
infect the troops generally, the sufferings of all 
of whom were not less than those of the 
Pennsylvania line, General Washington took 
speedy measures to prevent the repetition of 
such a scene as had just occurred. He order- 
ed a thousand trusty men to be selected from 
the regiments in the Highlands, and held in 
readiness to march, with four days' provisions, 
at the shortest notice. The wisdom of this 
precaution wo^ soon put to the proof; for news 


came, tbat fhe New Jersey troops, stationed at 
I'ompton and Chatham^ were in a slate of mu- 
tiny, having risen in arms against their officers, 
and threatened to march to Trenton, where the 
legislature of the State was then in session, 
and demand redress at the point of the bayo- 
net. The case required promptness and ener^ 
gy. Six hundred men were put under the 
command of General Howe, with orders to 
march and crush the revolt by force, unless 
the men diouid yield unconditioQal submission 
and return to their duty. These orders were 
faithfully executed. Taken by surprise, the 
mutineers were compelled to parade without 
their arms, make concessions to their officers, 
and promise obedience. To impress them 
with the enormity of their guilt, and deter 
them and others from future acts of the kind,, 
two of the ringleaders were tried by a field 
court-martial and shot. By this summary pro* 
cecding the spirit of mutiny in the army was 
• subdued. 

In the midst of these distracting events 
Washington was employed, at the request of 
Congress, in affording important counsels to 
Colonel John Laurens, who had been appoint- 
c<l on a mission to Prance, for the piiri)ose of 
obtaining a loan and military supplies. Such 
was tiie dcrangt^d state of tho currency, sa 


k>w had the resources of the country been 
drained, and so feeble was the power of draw- 
ing them ont, that, in the opinion of all, the 
military efforts of the United States could not 
be exerted with a vigor suited to the exigency 
of the occasion, nor even with any thing more 
than a languishing inactivity, unless sustained 
by succors from their allies both in money and. 
supplies for the army. The sentiments of 
Washington, communicating the fruits of his 
knowledge, experience,, and judgment, with 
the weight of his name, were thought essen- 
tial to produce a just impression on the French 
cabinet He wrote a letter to Colonel Laurens, 
remarkable for its appropriateness and abilityi. 
containing a clear and forcible representation 
of facts, with arguments in support of the ap« 
plication of Congress, which was first present- 
ed by that commissioner to Dr< Franklin, and 
afterwards laid before the ministry and the 
King. The influence of this letter, in pro^ 
curing the aids solicited from the French gov-* 
emment, may be inferred from the circum'* 
stance of a recent loan being accompanied with 
the suggestion, that the money to be appropri-r 
ated for the army should be left at the disposal 
^of General Washington. 

The British general seems not to have med- 
itated any ofTonsive operations in the northern 

vol*. II. 


States for the coming campaign. His atteiH 
tion was chiefly directed to the south, where 
such detachments as could be spared from his 
army at New York were to cooperate with 
Lord Cornwallis. Sixteen hundred men, with 
a proportionate number of armed vessels, were 
sent into the Chesapeake under the command 
of Arnold, who was eager to prove his zeal for 
the cause of his new friends by the mischief' 
he could do to those, whom he had deserted 
and sought to betray. Before his arrival in 
the Chesapeake, General Ledie had left Yir* 
ginia and sailed for Charleston j so that Arnold 
received the undivided honor of his ez|doitS| 
and, what he valued more highly, a libeial 
share of the booty that fell into his hands. 
He burnt Richmond, seized private property, 
and committed depredations in sundry places. 

About the middle of January the British 
fleet blockading the harbor of Newport was so 
much shattered and dispersed by a violent 
storm, that the scale of superiority turned in 
favor of the French squadron. The Chevalier 
de Ternay had recently died, and M. Destoo* 
ches, who succeeded him in the command, 
reconnoitred the enemy's fleet after the storm, 
and. finding it well secured in Gardiner's Bay, 
at the east end of Long Island, he was not in- 
clined to seek an engagement. Taking ad* 


TBQtage of the opportanity, howeyer, be de- 
tached a ship of the hue and two frigates un- 
der M. de Tilly to the Chesapeake, with the 
design to blockade Arnold's squadron^ and to 
act against him in concert with the American 
troops on land. As soon as General Washing- 
ton heard of the damage suffered by the Brit- 
ish ships, he wrote to Cbunt de BochambeaQi 
recommending Uiat M. Destouches should pro- 
ceed immediately to Virginia with his whole 
fleet and a thousand troops from the French 
army. This advice was not received till after 
the departure of IL de Tilly from Newport, 
when it was too late to comply with it, as the 
British fleet in the mean time had gained 
strength, and made it hazardous for M. De»- 
lonebes to leave the harbor. 

M. de Tilly's expedition was only in part 
floccessful. He entered the Chesapeake, but 
Arnold drew his vessels so high up the Eliza- 
beth River, that they could not be reached by 
the French line-of-battle ship ; and one of the 
frigates ran aground, and was set afloat again 
with difficulty. As M. de Tilly could not 
remain long in the Chesapeake without the 
risk of being blockaded by a British force, he 
put to sea, and arrived at Newport after an ab- 
sence of fifteen days. 

Although the British had repaired their dam- 

lid LirE OF WASHINGTON. [1181. 

aged vessels, yet by the junction of M. de 
Tilly an equality was restored to the French ; 
and M. Destouches, in oonfonnity to the rec- 
ommendation of General Washington, resolved 
on an expedition to Virginia with his whole 
naval force, to which Cmmt de Rochambeaa 
added eleven hundred troops, commanded by 
Baron de YiomeniL The French were pui^ 
sued by Admiral Arbnthnot with all his block* 
ading squadron, and overtaken near the capes 
of Virginia, where an action ensued, which 
terminated with nearly equal honor to both 
parties. The object of the expedition was 
thus defeated, unless it was a part of M. De»- 
touches's purpose to bring on a naval engage- 
ment, which is not improbable. The fleet 
returned to Newport without attempting la 
enter the Chesapeake. 

The moment Washington receivi^ the in*- 
telligence, that M. de Tilly had sailed to the 
southward, he detached twelve hundred to&a 
from his army to proceed by land to the Ches- 
apeake and cooperate with the French againet 
Arnold. At the head of this detachment he 
placed the Marquis de Lafayette, being influ- 
enced in his choice both by a political motive, 
and by his confidence in the ability and bra- 
very of that officer. The appointment was 
e#mpiimentary to the allies, and it was thought 

jet.«9.j life of washinuton. 117 

Ihat harmouy would be more mirely preserved 
by a commander, who was beloved by the 
American troops, and respected for his rank 
and character by his own countrymen. La- 
fayette marched from Hudson's River on the 
120th of February. On his arrival in Virginia, 
Ills seniority of rank would give him the com- 
mand of all the Continental troops in that 
fitate, and of all the militia drawn into the 
service to oppose the enemy in the waters of 
the Chesapeake. Hitherto Baron Steuben had 
conducted the operations against Arnold in 
Virginia, having been detained for that purpose 
when on his way to join General Greene. 

To mature the plans for the campaign, and 
to communicate with the French commanders, 
on points that could not be safely intrusted to 
writing, General Washington made a journey 
to Newport. He left head-quarters on the 2d 
of March, and was absent nearly three weeks. 
He arrived a day or two before M. Destouches's 
departure on the expedition above mentioned. 
The citizens of Newport received him with a 
public address, expressive of their attachment, 
their gratitude for his services, and the joy 
they felt at seeing him among them. In his 
reply, he took care to reciprocate and confirm 
the sentiments, which they had declared in 
regard to the allies. " The conduct of the 


French army and fleet/' said he, '' of wbidi 
the inhabitants testify so grateful and so affec- 
tionate a sense, at the same time that it evin- 
ces the wisdom of the commanders and th« 
discipUne of the troops, is a new proof of the 
magnanimity of the nation. It is a further 
demonstration of that generous zeal and con- 
cern for the happiness of America, which 
brought them to our assistance, a happy pre- 
sage of future harmony, a [deasing eyidence 
that an intercourse between the two nations 
will more and more cement the union, by the 
solid and lasting ties of mutual affection." In 
short, the meeting between the commanden 
of the allied armies was in all respects satisfac- 
tory to both parties ; but the projects of the 
enemy were so uncertain, and future operations 
depended so much on contingent and unfore- 
seen events, thai nothing more could be agreed 
upon, than general arrangements for acting ia 
concert at such times and places as circuia- 
stances should require. 

Although the design of the British general 
was not then known, it appeared afterward that 
he aimed to transfer the seat of war to the 
Chesapeake, and if possible to Pennsylvania. 
This scheme was urged by Lord ComwaUiSi 
who was of the opinion that it ought to be 
pursued even at the expense of abandoning 


New York, To aid in effecting it, Sir Henry 
lintoa sent another detachment to Virginia, 
consisting of two thousand men, under General 
Phillips, who was ordered to cooperate with 
Arnold, and ultimately with Lord Cornwallis, 
t being presumed that Cornwallis would make 
his way through North Carolina, and be able 
to succor these troops in Virginia, and probably 
to join them with his army. 

The first object of Lafayette's expedition 
was to act in conjunction with the French 
fleet ; but, as no part of the fleet entered the 
Chesapeake, he was disappointed in that pur- 
pose. His troops advanced no further than 
Annapolis, although he went forward hhnself 
to Williamsburg. Having ascertained that an 
English squadron had entered the Chesapeake, 
instead of the French, he immediately prepar- 
ed to return with his detachment to the main 
army near the Hudson. He proceeded by 
water to the Head of Elk, where he received 
additional instructions from General Washing- 
ton, directing him to march to the south, and 
either meet the enemy in Virginia, or continue 
onward to the southern army, as should be ad- 
vised by General Greene. 

The enemy ascended the Che8i4)eake Bay 
and its principal rivers, with their small armed 
vessels, plundering and laying waste the prop- 


erty of the inhabitants. One of these vessels 
came up the Potomac to Meant Ternon ; and 
the manager of the estate, with the hope of 
saving the houses from being pillaged and 
burnt, yielded to the demands of the officers 
in a manner, which excited the regret and dis- 
pleasure of Washington. In reply to his man* 
ager, who had informed him of the partictilars^ 
he said ; " I am very sorry to hear of your 
loss ; I am a little sorry to hear of my own ; 
but that which gives me most oonoem is, that 
you should go on board the enemy's vessels, 
and furnish them with refreshments. It would 
have been a less painful circumstance to me to 
have heard, that, in consequence of your non- 
compliance with their reqaest, they had burn- 
ed my house and laid the plantation in ruins. 
You ought to have considered yourself as my 
representative, and should have reflected on 
the bad example of communicating with the 
enemy, and making a voluntary offer of re- 
freshments to them with a view to prevent a 
conflagration. It was not in your power, I ac- 
knowledge, to prevent them from sending a 
-flag on shore, and you did right to meet it ; but 
you should, in the same instant that the busi- 
ness of it was unfolded, have declared explicit- 
ly, that it was improper fbr you to yield to the 
Te<{ue8t ; after which, if tbey had proceeded to 



help themselves by foree, you could but have 
submitted ; and, being unprovided for defence, 
this was to be preferred to a feeble opposition, 
which only serves as a pretext to burn and de* 
stroy.'^ The reader need not be reminded of 
the aocordance g{ these sentiments with the 
noble disinterestedness, which regulated his 
oonduct through the whole of his public life« 
' An extract from his diary, written on the 1st 
of May, will exhibit in a striking maoner the 
condition of the army at that time, and the 
prospects of the campaign. 

^*To have a clearer underetanding of the 
entries, which may follow, it would be proper 
to recite in detail our wants and our prospects ; 
but this alone would be a wt>rk of much time 
and great magnitude. It may suffice to give 
the sum of them, which I shall do in a few 
words. Instead of having magazines filled 
with provisions, we have a scanty pittance 
scattered here and there in the different States ; 
instead of having our arsenals well supplied 
with military stores, they are poorly provided 
and the workmen all leaving them ; instead 
of having the various articles of field*eqnipago 
in readiness to be delivered, the quartermaster- 
general, as the dernier resort, according to his 
account, is but now applying to the several 
Btates to provide these things for their troops 


respectively ; instead of having a regular sys* 
teni of transportation established upon credit, 
or funds in the quartermaster's hands to defray 
the contingent expenses of it, we have neither 
the one nor the other, and all that busioess, or 
a great part of it, being done by military im- 
press, we are daily and hourly oppressing the 
people, souring their tempers, and alienating 
their affections; instead oC having the regi- 
ments completed to the new establishment, 
which ought to have been done agreeably to 
the requisitions of Congress, scarce any State 
in the Union has at this hour an eighth part 
of its quota in the field, and little prospect that 
I can see of ever getting more than half ; in a 
word, instead of having .every thing in readi- 
ness to take the field, we have nothing ; and, 
instead of having the prospect of a glorious 
offensive campaign before us, we have a be- 
wildered and gloomy defensive one, unless we 
should receive a powerful aid of ships, land 
troops, and money from our generous allies, 
and these at present are too contingent to build 

Happily the train of affairs took a more fa- 
vorable turn than he anticipated. In a short 
time he received the cheering intelligence, that 
Ck>unt de Barras had arrived in Boston harbor 
with a French frigate, that other vessels and 


JEr.49,} LIPE OP WASHI190T0K. 133 

a reinforcement of troope from Franee might 
Moon be looked for, and that a fleet under the 
Count de GnuBse would sail from the West In- 
dies to the United States in July or August 
Another meeting between the commanders g( 
the allied armies was thus rendered necessary* 
It took place at Weathersfield, in Connecticut, 
on the 22d of May. Count de Barras, having 
succeeded M. Destouches in the command of 
the French squadron, was detained at New- 
port by the appearance of a British fleet off 
the harbor ; but the Marquis de Chastellux, a 
major-general in the army, accompanied Count 
de Rochambeau. On the part of the Ameri- 
cans were the Gommander4n-cbief, General 
Knox, and General Duportail. 

The two principal objects brought under 
consideration were ; first, a southern expedi- 
tion to act against the enemy in Tiiginia ; sec- 
ondly, a combined attack on New York. The 
French commander leaned to the former ; but 
he yielded to the stronger reasons for the latter, 
which was decidedly preferred by General 
Washington. A movement to the south must 
be wholly by land, the French fleet being in- 
ferior to that of Admiral Arbuthnot, by which 
it was blockaded, and of course not in a condi- 
tion to go to sea. The difficulty and expense 
of transportation, the season of the year in 


"which the troopB wookl reach Yirginia, being 
the hottest part of sdmmer, and the waste of 
men always attending a long march, w^re for- 
midable objections to the first plan. It was 
believed, also, that the enemy's force in New 
York had been so mtich weakened by detach* 
ments, that Sir Henry Clinton would be com- 
pelled either to sacrifice that place and its de» 
pendencies, or recall part of his troops from the 
south to defend them. 

It was therefore agreed, that Count de Ro- 
chambean should march as soon as possible 
from Newport, and form a junction with the 

•American army near Hudson's Rirer. Before 
leaving Weathersfield, a circular letter was 
written by General Washington to the govern- 
ors of the eastern States, acquainting them 
with the result of the conference, and urging 

-them to fill up their quotas of Continental 
troops with all possible despatch, and to hold a 
certain number of militia in readiness to march 
at a week's notice. If men could not be ob- 
tained for three years, or during the war, he 
recommended that they should be enlisted for 
the campaign only, deeming the exigency to 
be of the greatest importance, bodi in a milita- 

• ry point of view and in its political bearings ; 
for the seal of the Americans, and their wii- 
liiigness to make sacrifices for the common 


j^.49.1 LIFE OF WASHINGTON* 125 

cause, would be estimated by the manner in 
which they should now second the efforts of 
their allies, and contribute to give effect to 
their proffered services. A body of militia 
was likewise to be called to Newport, for the 
defence of the French fleet in the harbor after 
the departure of the troops. The two com- 
nanders returned to their lespectiFe armieSi 
and prepared to put their plan in execution. 

i26 Lirs or washinotom. [i-». 


Jooction between the American end French Armiei. — Intelli 
gence from Count de Grasse in the West Indies chengps the 
Object! of the Cunpeign. — Svcoeieftil OpeimtioM of Lnfiijeila 
agaiiMt Cornwallis. — The combined Armies cross the Hudson 
and msrch to Virginia. — The Fleet of Count de Grasse enters 
the Chesapeake. ^ Siege of Terktown. * Capitolatioo. — Tb« 
American Aimjr raUinia to Undfon's River ^ the French resBains 
in Virginia. 

The attention of the Commander-in-chief 
was but partially taken up with the affairs un« 
der his own eye. He held a constant corre- 
spondence with General Greene and Lafayette, 
who kept him informed of the operations at 
the south, and asked his advice and direction 
on points of difficulty and importance. The 
western posts beyond the Alleganies were also 
under his command, and required much of his 
care. Incursions of the enemy from Canada 
kept the northern frontier in a state of alarm^ 
and a considerable portion of the New York 
troops was called away for the protection of 
that quarter. 

The wants of the army, especially in the 
article of bread, were at this time relieved by 
the generous and spirited exertions of Robert 
Morris, recently appointed Superintendent of 
Finance by Congress. He procured from con* 

«r.4a] LIFE or WASHINGTON. 127 

tractors two thousand barrels of flour, promis- 
ing hard money, and pledging his own credit 
for its payment. The act was volanlary, and 
the relief seasonable. It was one of the many 
valuable services, which that distinguished 
patriot rendered to his country. 

General Washington drew the several parts 
of his army out of their quarters, and took his 
first position near Peekskill, but soon advanced 
towards New YotIc, and encamped on the 4th 
of July near Dobbs's Ferry, and about twelve 
miles from Eingsbridge. On the 6th he was 
joined by Count de Rochambeau with the 
French army, which had marched in four di- 
visions from Providence by way of Hartford. 
The Americans encamped in two lines, with 
their right resting on the Hudson. The French 
occupied the left, in a single line extending to 
the river Brunx. 

Preparations were made for an attack on the 
north part of New York Island a short time 
before the junction of the two armies. Gen- 
eral Lincoln descended the Hudson with a de- 
tachment of eight hundred men in boats foi ^ 
this purpose, landed above Haerlem River, and 
took possession of the high ground near Kings- 
bridge. At the same time the Duke de Lau- 
zun was to advance from East Chester with 
his legion, and fall upon Delancey's corps of 


refugees at Monrisania. Uoforeseen causes pve^ 
Tented the attack, and Lauzun did not arrive 
in season to eiSect his part of the enterprise. 
After some skirmishing the enemy's outposts 
were withdrawn to the other side of Haerlem 
River. General Wa^ington came forward 
with the main army as far as Valentine's Hill, 
four miles from Kingsbridge, to support Oei^ 
eral Lincoln in case it should be necessary* 
The troops lay upon their arms daring the 
night, and the next day retired to the encamp* 
ment near Dobbs's Ferry. 

At this place the two armies continued six 
weeks. A plan of a general attack was form- 
ed, Bnd the two commanders recomioitred the 
enemy's works, first by passing over the Hud- 
son and viewing them across the river from 
the elevated grounds between Dobbs's Ferry 
and Fort Lee, and next at Kingsbridge and 
other places in its vicinity. But the recrnits 
came in so tardily from the States, that the 
army was never in a condition to authorize an 
tindertoking of such mc^nitnde without the 
cooperation of a French fleet superior to the 
'British ; more especially as a reinforcement of 
about three thousand Hessian recruits arrived 
in New York from Europe. A despatch had 
early been sent to Count de Grasse in the West 
Indies^ advising him to sail directly to Sandy 


JBr.48.) LIFE or WASUIllOTOir. 129 

Hooky and thus teeure a naval miperiority. On 
tbia contingency depended the execution of 
the plan* 

While theae operatioas were in progresay a 
French frigate arrived at Newport with a letter 
from Count de OraaBe, dated at Cape Fran^oia 
in St. DomingOy stating that he should shortly 
sail from that place, with his whole fleet and 
three tboasand two hundred land troops, for the 
Che8^)eake« This letter was received by Gea^ 
oral Washington on the 14th of August. It 
produced an immediate change in the objects 
of the campaign. The engagementa of Count 
de Orasss in the West Indies were such, that 
be oonld not promise to remain on the coast 
beyond the middle of October. It being doubt* 
fill whether, with all the force that could be 
collected, and with the fairest prospect of ulti* 
mate success, the siege of New York could be 
brought to an issue by that time, it was re* 
solved at once to abandon that project, and 
proceed to Tirginia with the whole of the 
French troope, and such a part of the Ameri«- 
can army as ccmld be spared from the defence 
of the posts on Hudson's River and in the 
Highlands. In this decision Count de Ro» 
efaambeau ccH-dially united, and the march to 
the south began without delay. 

Comwallis haH advanced from North CaroUr 


130 LIFE or WASHINGTON. fim. 

na, formed a jimetion with the British detach^ 
ment in the Chesapeake, and overrun the lower 
counties of Yif^inia ; but he was cheeked by 
the active exertions and skilful manceuyres of 
Lafayette, whose generalship and prudent con- 
duct merited the greatest applause. This was 
peculiarly gratifying to Washington, who in 
case of failure, might have been censored fot 
intrusting to so young an officer the iuoardons 
experiment of encountering one of the most 
experienced and accomplished generals of the 
age. "Be assured, my dear Marquis," said 
Washington in writing to him, " your conduct 
meets my warmest approbation, as it most that 
of everybody. Should it ever be said, that my 
attachment to you betrayed me into partiality, 
you have only to appeal to facts to refute any 
such charge." Count de Tergennes bore sim- 
ilar testimony. In a letter to Lafayette he 
said ; " I have followed you step by step 
through your whole campaign in Virginia, and 
should often have trembled for you, if 1 had 
not been confident in your wisdom. It lequires 
no common ability and dcill to enable a man 
to sustain himself as you have done, and dur* 
ing so long a time, before such a general as 
Lord Cornwallis, who is lauded for his talents 
in war ; and this too, with such a great dia- 
proportion in your focces." The minister of 


Ap.49.] LirX or WASHINGTON, 131 

war was also ccmimanded by the Eing to ex- 
IMress the royal approbation in the warmest 
terms, and to assure Lafayette of his being 
raised to the rank of field-marshal in the 
French army, when his serWces should be no 
longer required in the United States. 

It was the first object of Washington and 
Rochambeau to act against Cornwallis in Yir* 
ginia. Should that general retreat to North 
Carolina, it was then intended to pursue him 
with a part of the combined army, and to em- 
bark the remainder on board the French fleets 
and proceed with it to Charleston, which was 
at that time held by the British. The two 
armies crossed the Hudson at King's Ferry, 
and marched by difierent routes to Trenton, 
and thence through Philadelphia to the Head 
ef Elk. The stores and baggage, with one 
regiment, passed down the Delaware by water 
to Christiana Creek. Sir Henry Clinton was 
of course ignorant of the expected approach 
of Count de Orasse to the Chesapeake, and 
much finesse was used to misguide and bewil- 
der him in regard to the design of these move* 
ments ; it being apprehended, that, suspecting 
the real object, he might send reinforcements 
to Virginia before the arrival of the French 
fleet. Accordingly fictitious letters were writ** 
ten and put in the way of being intercepted. 

132 LIFE ar WASHmcTOK: \nm 

and a deceptive provision of ovens, forage, and 
boats was made in New Jersey, by which the 
British general would be led Co suppose, that 
an attack was intended from that quarter. 
These stratagems were successful to the ex^ 
tent anticipated ; and the troops had made con-» 
siderable progress in their march, before Sir 
Henry Clinton was fully aware of their desti* 

General Heath was left in the command od 
Hudson's River. The moving army was pot 
under the charge of General Lincoln. The 
soldiers, being mostly from the eastera and 
middle States, marched with reluctance to the 
southward, and showed strong symptoms of 
discontent when they passed through Phila-i 
delphia. This had been foreseen by General 
Washington, and he urged the Superintendent 
of Finance to advance to them a month's pay 
in hard money. But there was no such mon^ 
ey in the treasury. Mr. Morris succeeded| 
howe^r, in borrowing for this purpose twenty 
thousand hard dollars from the French conk* 
mander, which he promised to return within 
thirty da]^. 

General Washington and Count de Rocham-i 
beau preceded the army ; and the former, aAer 
stopping for a short time in Philadelphia, huB* 
tened forward to Mount Yernon, which lay in 



his route. This casual Tint was the first he 
had paid to his home since he left it to attend 
the second Continental Congress, a period oi 
six years and fi^e months ; so entirely had he 
sacrifked his time, personsd interests, and lo^ 
eal attachments to the service of his country. 
Nor did he now remain any longer than to 
await the arrival of Count de Rochwibeau, 
whom he had left at Baltimore. The two 
generab then made all haste to the head-quar- 
lers of Lafayette's army near Williamsburg, 
which they reached on the 14th of September. 
In the mean time Count de Qrasse, with his 
whole fleet, consisting of twenty^six ships of 
the line and several frigates entered the Ches* 
apeake, after a partial engagement with Admi- 
ral Graves off the Capes. He had also been 
joined by the Count de Barras, with the French 
squadron from Newport. Three thousand men 
from the West Indies, commanded by the 
Marquis de St. Simon, had already landed, and 
united with Lafayette. Transports were im« 
mediately despatched up the Chesapeake, to 
bring down the French and American troops 
from the Head of Elk and Annapolis. For 
the purpose of concerting measures for a coop^ 
eration between the naval and land fcurces, the 
two commanders held a conference with Count 
de Grasse on board the Villa de Paris at Cape 



Lord Gomwallis, eaq)ecting aid from Sir 
Henry Clinton, and hoping the British force at 
sea would be superior to the French, had tak«a 
possession of Yorktown and Gloucester, two 
places separated by York River, and nearly 
opposite to each other. The main part of bi» 
anny was at Yorktown, around which be 
threw up strong works of defence, and prQq[Nir» 
ed to sustain a siege. To this extremity 1m 
was at length reduced* All the troops hwkg 
assembled, the American and French geaenda 
marched from the encampment near Williams* 
burg, and completely invested Yorktown on 
the 30th of September. The Americans were 
stationed on the right, and the French on the 
left, in a semicircular line, each wing resting 
on York River. The post at Gloucester was 
invested by Lauzun's legion, marines from the 
fleet, and Virginia militia, under the command 
of M. de Ghoisy, a brigadier-general in the 
French service. 

The siege was carried on by tie usnal pro* 
cess of opening parallels, erecting batteries, 
firing shot, throwing shells, and storming re* 
doubts. The enemy were neither idle nor in* 
efficient in their efforts for defence and annoy- 
ance. The principal event was the storming 
of two redoubts at the same time ; one by a 
party of the American light infantry, the other 



by a detachment of French grenadiers and 
ehasseurs; the former headed by Lafayette, 
the latter by the Baron de Yiomenil. They 
were both successful. The assailants entered 
the redoubts with the bayonet, in a brave and 
q>irited manner, under a heavy fire from the 
enemy. The advanced corps of the American 
party was led by Colonel Hamilton, " whose 
well-known talents and gallantry," said Lafa- 
yette in his report, "were most conspicuous 
and serviceable." Colonels Laurens, Oimat, 
and Barber were also distinguished in this a»* 

The besiegers pudied forward their trencheS| 
and kept up an incessant fire from their bat* 
leries, till the 17th of October, when, about 
ten o'clock in the morning, the enemy beat a 
parley, and Lord Cornwallis sent out a note to 
General Washington proposing a cessation of 
hostilities for twenty-four hours, and the ap- 
pointment of commissioners on each side to 
settle the terms for surrendering the posts of 
Yorktown and Gloucester. In reply General 
Washington requested, that, as a preliminary 
step, his Lordship would communicate in writ- 
ing, the terms on which he proposed to sur- 
render. This was complied with, and hostili- 
ties ceased. 

The basis of a capitulation, furnished by 


136i LIFfi OP WASHINGTON. piSt. 

the British general, was, that the garrisohs 
should be prisoners of war, with the cust<mia- 
ry honors ; that the British and Gennafi troopa 
should be sent to Europe, under an engage- 
ment not to serve against France or America 
till released or exchanged ; that all arms and 
public stores should be given up; that the 
officers and soldiers should retain their private 
property ; and that the interest of several ia^ 
dividuals in a civil capacity should be attended 
to. This last ohuse was designed to protect 
the traders and other Americans, who had 
joined the enemy. 

: Some of these points not being admissible, 
General Washington transmitted an answer the. 
next day, in which he sketched the outlines 
of a capitulation, and informed Lord Comwal- 
lis, that he was ready to appoint commissioners 
to digest the articles. All the troops in the 
garrisons were to be prisoners of war, and 
marched into such parts of the country as 
could most conveniently piovide for their sab- 
sistence; the artillery, arms, accoutrements, 
military chest, and public stores, with the 
shipping, boats, and all their furniture and ap- 
parel, were to be delivered up; the officers re- 
taining their side-arms, and both the officers 
and soldiers preserving their baggage and f 0- 
fectSj except such property as had been taicen 

JSr.4l.] LIFE OF WASHINaTON. 137" 

in the country, which was to be reclaimed 
The surrendering army was to receive the 
same honors as had been granted by the Brit- 
ish to the garrison of Charleston. Upon these 
general terms a treaty was finally adjusted , 
the commissioners being Colonel Laurens and 
the Tiscount de Noailies on the part of the 
Americans and French, and Colonel Dun- 
das and Major Ross on that of the Britislu 
The articles of capitulation were signed on 
the 19th of October, and in the afternoon of 
that day the garrisons marched out and sur- 
rendered their arms. 

The traders within the enemy's lines were 
not regarded as prisoners, and they were al-* 
lowed a certain time to dispose of their prop- 
erty or remove it ; but no provision was made 
for other persons in a civil capacity within the 
enemy's lines. At the request of Lord Corn- 
wallis, however, the Bonetta sloop of war was 
left at his disposal for the purpose of sending 
an aid-de-camp with despatches to Sir Henry 
Clinton; and in this vessel, which was suf- 
fered to depart without examination, all per- 
sons of the above description took passage for 
New York ; and thus the British commander 
was enabled to maintain his good faith towards 
those, who had joined him in the country, 
without including them in the terms of capita 


ulation. The Bonetta, with her crew, gam, 
and stores was to return and be giFen up. 

The whole number of prisoners, exclusiye 
of seamen, was somewhat over seven thou* 
sand men; and the British loss during the 
siege was between five and six hundred^ Th^ 
combined army employed in the siege consist* 
ed of about seven thousand American regular 
troops, upwards of five thousand French, and 
four thousand militia. The loss in killed and 
wounded was about three hundred. The land 
forces surrendered to General Washington, and 
became prisoners to Congress ; but the seamen, 
ships, and naval equipments, were assigned to 
the French admiral. 

The success was more complete, and more 
speedily attained, than had been anticipated. 
The capture of Comwallis, with so large a 
part of the British army in America, occasion- 
ed great rejoicings throughout the country, as 
affording a decisive presage of the favorable 
termination of the war. Congress passed a 
special vote of thanks to each of the comman* 
ders, and to the officers and troops. Two 
stands of colors, taken from the enemy at the 
capitulation, were given to General Washing- 
ton, and two pieces of field-ordnance to Count 
de Rochambeau and Count de Grasse respec- 
tively, as tokens of the national gratitude for 



their senrices. Congress moreover resolved to 
commemorate so glorious an event by causing 
a marble column to be erected at Yorktown, 
adorned with emblems of the alliance between 
France and the United States, and an inscrip- 
tion containing a narrative of the principal 
incidents of the siege and surrender. 

General Washington, believing a most fa- 
vorable opportunity now presented itself for 
following up this success by an expedition 
against Charleston, wrote a letter to Count de 
Grasse the day after the capitulation, request- 
ing him to join in it with his fleet. He also 
went on board the admiral's ship, as well to 
pay his respects and offer his thanks for what 
had already been done, as to exfdain and en- 
force the practicability and importance of this 
plan. By the instructions from his court, and 
by his engagements to the Spaniards, Count 
de Grasse was bound to return to the West 
Indies without delay, and thus it was not in 
his power to accede to the proposal. It was 
then suggested, that he should transport a 
body of troops to Wilmington, in North Caro- 
lina, and land them there while on his voyage. 
To this he at first made no objection; but, 
when he ascertained that there would be a 
difficulty in landing the men without running 
the risk of dividing his fleet, or perhaps of be- 


rng driven off the coast with the troops oa 
board, he declined the iindertaking. Lafayette 
was to command this expedition ; and the pur* 
pose of it was to take a British post at Wil- 
mington, and then march into the interior and 
unite with the southern army under General 

The troops commanded by the Marquis 
de St. Simon were embarked^ and Count de 
Grasse set sail for the. West Indies. Before 
his departure, General Washington presented 
him with two beautiful horses^ as a testimony 
of personal consideration and esteem. 

As nothing further could be effected by the 
allied forces during the ean^pcdgn) a detach- 
ment of two thousand men, comprising the 
Continental troops from Pennsylvania, Mary- 
land, and Virginia, was put under General Sl 
Clair, with orders to reinforce General Greene 
M the south. The troops betoaging eastward 
of Pennsylvania were transported by water to 
the Head of Elk, whence they marched to 
their winter cantonments in New Jersey and 
near Hudson's River. The French army re- 
mained in Virginia till the following summer, 
the head^quarters of Coiuit de Rochambeau 
))eing at Williamsbui^. 

The prisoners were marched to Winchester 
in Virginia, and Fredericktown in Maurylaud : 


a 4Br.49.J LIFE OF WASIIiNGTOf«. 141 

a mtui a part of them subseqiiently |o Laticlister 

e 4n Pennsylvania. Lord Cornwallis, and the 

f othef principal officers^ went by sea to New 

i York on parole. 

ij All these affairs being arranged, General 

» Washington left Yorktown on the 5th of No- 

vember. The same day he arrived at Elthao^ 
[ where he was present at the death of Mr. 

Custisi the only son of Mrs. Washington. He 
stayed there a few days to mingle his grief 
with that of the afflicted widow and mother. 
The occasion was not less trying to his sym- 
pathy than to his sensibility, for he had watch- 
ed over the childhood and youth of the de- 
ceased with a paternal solicitude, and after- 
wards associated with him as a companion, 
who possessed his confidence and esteem. Mr. 
Custis was a member of the Virginia legisla- 
ture, and much respected for his public and 
private character. He died at the age of 
twenty-eight, leaving four infant children, the 
two youngest of whom, a son and daughter, 
were adopted by General Washington, and 
they resided in his family till the end of his 

From Eltham he proceeded by the way of 
Mount Vernon to Philadelphia, receiving and 
answering various public addresses while on 
h'^ journey. The day after his arrival he at- 


tended Congress, bejng introduced into the 
hall by two members, and greeted with a con- 
gratulatory address by the President He was 
requested to remain for some time in Philadel- 
phia, both that he might enjoy a respite firom 
the fatigues of war, and that Congress might 
avail themselves of his aid, in making prepa- 
rations for vigorous and timely efforts to draw 
every advantage from the recent triumph of 
the allied arms. 


JSt.49.1 life of WASHINGTON. .43 


Prcparationi for mother Campaign recommended and enforced by 
General Waahingtoa and approved by Congreaa. — LafayeUe 
retvma to France.^ The Affair of Captain Aagill. — Back- 
wardness of the Statea in recruiting the Army. — Proposal to 
General Washington to aiaanie Supreme Power, and hia Re- 
ply. «-> Sir Gay Carleton gi?ea Notice, that Negotiationa for 
Peace had begun. — The French Troopa march from Virginia, 
join General Washington, and afterwards embark at Boeton. 

From the state of affairs at this time, both 
in Europe and America, it was evident that 
the war could not be of much longer duration. 
Considering, however, the temper hitherto 
manifested by the British cabinet, and the 
spirit with which a large majority of the na- 
tion had sustained the ministerial measures, it 
was generally supposed that another campaign 
would be tried. This was Washington's be- 
lief; and, in his communications to Congress 
and to persons of influence in various parts of 
the country, he urged the importance of being 
fully prepared. This he regarded as the wisest 
policy in any event. If the war continued, the 
preparations would be necessary ; if it ceased| 
they would have a favorable effect on the ne- 
gotiations for peace. 

He was apprehensive, that the people, from 



a mistaken idea of the magnitude of the late 
success in Virginia, would deceive themselves 
with dekisive hopes, and grow remiss in their 
efforts. " To prevent so great an evil," said 
he, " shall be my study and eudeavoi ; and I 
cannot but flatter myself, that the States, rath- 
er than relax in their exertions, will be stimu- 
lated to the most vigorous preparations for 
another active, glorious, and decisive campaign, 
which, if properly prosecuted^ will, I trust, 
under the smiles of Heaven, lead us to the 
end of this long and tedious war, tmd set us 
down in the full security of the great object 
of our toils, the establishment of peace, hber- 
ty, and independence. Whatever may be the 
policy of Europeah courts during this winter, 
their negotiations will prove too precarious a 
dependence for us to trust to. Our wisdom 
should dictate a serious preparation for war, 
and, in that state, we shall find ourselves in a 
situation secure agiunst every event." 

These sentiments met the full concunenoe 
of Congress. They resolved to keep up the 
same military establishment as the year before ; 
and to call on the States to complete their 
quotas of troops at an early day. They voted 
new requisitions of money and supplies. These 
resolves were adopted with a }Mromptnefi8, zeal, 
and unanimity, which had r&rely been slioirn 




011 former oecasioos. To aid in carrying them 
mto effect, it iras deemed advisable for the 
Commaader-in-chief to write two circular let* 
tert to the governors of all the States. The 
first, relating to finance, was dated on the 22d 
e£ January, 1762, and contained arguments 
for raising money adequate to the public exi* 
genoies, particularly the payment and clothing 
of the troops. The second, dated a week lar 
ter, exhibited the numbers and condition of 
the army then in the field, and uiged the com* 
pieting of the quotas according to the requiei- 
tion of Congress. 

Other methods were also used to provide 
means for prosecuting the war. Succors con* 
tinned to be received from Fmnce, and, by 
the persevering application of Franklin to the 
French court, a loan of six millions of livres, 
payable in monthly instalments, was promised 
for the coming year. AXter the capitulation at 
Yorktown, there being no prospect of further 
active service till the next campaign, the Mar- 
quis de La&yette obtained permission from 
Congress to return on a visit to his native 
country. Besides passing resolves complimen- 
tary to his character, zeal, and military eon* 
duct, Congress made him the bearer of a letter 
to the King of France, in which he was com- 
mended to the noticr of his sovereign in very 

VOI*. II. » ' 


vann terms. Much leliaace was placed oo 
the representations he would make ooQceming 
the state of affairs in America, and on his in- 
flaence to procure the desired assistance from 
the French government. The ministers from 
the United States in Europe were likewise iur 
structed to confer with the Marquis de Laiar 
yette, and avail themselves of his knowledge 
and counsels. 

About the middle of April, ^General Wash* 
ington left Philadelphia and joined the army, 
establishing his head-quarters at Newborg* 
He had hardly arrived in camp, when he heard 
of an occurrence, which produced much ex- 
citement at the time, and led to consequences 
of considerable notoriety, though in them- 
selves of little moment. The particulars are 
these. Captain Huddy, an American ofiicer, 
who commanded a small body of troops ia 
Monmouth County, New Jersey, was taken 
prisoner by a party of refugees, conveyed into 
New York, and put in close confinement A 
few days afterwards he was sent out of the 
city, under the charge of Captain Lippencot, 
at the head of a number of refugees, by whom 
he was hanged on the heights near Middle- 
town. This wanton act exasperated the peo- 
pie in the neighborhood, who knew and es- 
teemed Captain Huddy. Affidavits and a 


iBT.fla.] LIFE or WASHINGTON. 147 

Statement of facts were fnnxrarded to General 
Washington. These he laid before a council 
of officers, who gave it as their unanimous 
opinion, that the case demanded retaliation, 
that the punishment ought to be inflicted on 
the leader of the party by which the murder 
was committed, and that, if he should not be 
given up, an officer equal in rank to Captain 
Huddy ought to be selected by lot from the 
British prisoneis. 

A representation of the facts was according- 
ly sent to Sir Henry Clinton, with a demand 
for the surrender of Lippencot. This demand 
not being complied with, an officer was desig- 
nated for retaliation. The lot fell upon Cap- 
tain Asgill, a young man only nineteen years 
old, who was then a prisoner at Lancaster in 
Pennsylvania. The affair was in suspense for 
several months. Although Lippencot was not 
delivered up, yet Sir Henry Clinton, and his 
successor Sir Guy Carleton, not only disavowed 
the act as having been done without authori* 
cy, but reprobated it with unmeasured severi- 
ty. The subject was referred by them to a 
court-martial, and Lippencot was tried. From 
the developements it appeared, that the guilt 
of the transaction rested mainly with the 
Board of Associated Loyalists in New York, 
and that Lippencot acted in conformity with 


what he belieVed to be ttie orders of the boaid. 
Hence he was acquitted, as uot pioperly an- 
swerable for the crime a£ the act. 

When these circumstances were made known, 
the whoLs matter was laid before Congress. 
Considering the ground taken by the British 
commanders in disayowing and censuring the 
act, added to the irresponsible nature of Lip- 
pencot's conduct, General Washington inclined 
to release Captain Asgill, and was disappointed 
and dissatisfied at the delay of Congress in 
coming to a decision on the subject. Mean- 
while the mbther of A^ill, already borne down 
with family afflictions, which were increased 
by the impending fate of her son, wrote a 
pathetic letter of intereession to the French 
ministry. This was shown to the King and 
dueen; and it wrought so much on their 
feelings, that Count de Yergennes by their di- 
rection wrote to Genenal Washington, soliciting 
the liberation of Asgill. Although this com- 
munication arrived after it had been determined 
not to insist on retaliation, yet it had the effect 
to hasten the proceedings of Congress, and hj 
their order Captain Asgill was set at liberty. 

Little progress was made by the States in 
filling up their quotas of troops. When Gen- 
eral Washington arrived in camp, the whole 
. number of efiactive men in the northern army 

Mf,9f>.] LIFE OF WAS^IMGTOIV.- 149 

was somewfaat flhort of t«n thousfeuid ; nor was 
it muoh incBeased afterwards. Ill &ct, aftec 
the eapitulattoii at Yorktovn, tbe cooviotioa 
iras nearly noiTersal, that the war would not 
be pursued any further in the United States^ 
The recruiting service consequently languish-* 
ed. £eliered from danger, and worn out 
with their long toils and sacrifices, the people 
were slow to perceiye, that large prepacatioiis 
would be the means of procuring better terms 
of peace, and seemed contented with the pree* 
ent {NTOspects. News airiired in the first part of 
May, which indicated an approaching change 
in the British cabinet, and symptoms of pacifie 
measures. Fearful of the efiect which this 
inldltgence might produce, Washington took 
occasion to express his own sentiments without 
reserve in a circular letter, which he was just 
at that time despatching to the governors of 
the States. 

" Upon the most matiue deliberation I cw 
bestow," he observed, '' I am obliged to de- 
clare it as my candid ofttnion, that the meaa- 
iites of the enemy in all their views, so far as 
they respect America, are merely delusory (they 
having no serious intention to admit our inde- 
pendeiKe upon its true {urinciples), and are cal- 
culated to <}uiet the minds of their own people, 
and reconcile them to the continuance of the 


war ; while they are meant to amase the oooih 
try into a false idea of peace, to draw us off 
from our connexion with France, and to lall 
us into a state of security and inactivity, which 
having taken place, the ministry will be left 
to prosecute the war in other parts of the 
world with greater vigor and effect. Even if 
the nation and Parliament are really in eamesi 
to obtain peace with America, it will undoobt* 
edly be wisdom in us to meet them with great 
caution and circumspection, and by all means 
to keep our arms firm in our hands, and, instead 
of relaxing one iota in our exertions, rather to 
spring forward with redoubled vigor, that we 
may take the advantage of every favorable op- 
portunity, until our wishes are fully obtained* 
No nation ever yet suffered in treaty by prepar* 
ing, even in the moment of negotiation, most 
vigorously for the field." 

The discontents of the officers and soldierB, 
respecting the arrearages of their pay, had for 
some time increased ; and, there being now a 
prospect, that the army would ultimately be 
disbanded without an adequate provision by 
Congress for meeting the claims of the troops, 
these discontents manifested themselves in au- 
dible murmurs and complaints, which forebod- 
ed serious consequences. But a spirit still 
more to be dreaded was secretly at work. In 



(B JCr.W.] LirK OF WASHtMUTOll. 161 

It redacting on the limited powers of Congiessi 

i and on the backwardness of the States to com- 

I ply with the meet essential requisitionsy even 

^ in support of their own interests, many of the 

^ officers were led to look for the cause in the 

I form of government, and to distrust the stabil- 

/ ity of republican institutions. So far were 

f they carried by their fears and speculations, 

^ that they meditated the establishment of a 

I new and more energetic system. A colonel in 

, the array, of a highly respectable character, 

and somewhat advanced in life, was made the 
organ for communicating their sentiments to 
the Commander-in-chief. In a letter elabo* 
rately and skilfully written, after describing 
the gloomy state of affairs, the financial diffi- 
culties, and the innumerable embarrassments 
in which the country had been involved dur- 
ing the war, on account of its defective politi- 
cal organization, the writer adds ; 

" This must have shown to all, and to mili- 
tary men in particular, the weakness of repub- 
lics, and the exertions the army have been able 
to make by being under a proper bead. There- 
fore I tittle doubt, that, when the benefits of a 
mixed government are pointed out, and duly 
considered, such will be readily adopted. In 
this case it will, I believe, be uncontroverted, 
that the same abilities, which have led us 


thfoagh difficulties, apparently iosurmouatabla 
by haman power, to victory and glory, those 
qualities, that have merited and obtained the 
universal esteem and veneration of an army, 
would be most likely to coaduct and direct 
us in the smoother paths of peace. Some peo- 
ple have so connected the ideas of tyramfiy aad 
monarchy, as to find it very difficult to sepw* 
ate them. It may therefore be requisite Co 
give the head of such a constitution, as I pro* 
.pose, sOme title apparently more' moderate ; 
b It, if all othelr things were once adjusted, I 
believe strong arguments might be produced 
for admitting the title of Kwe, which I con- 
ceive would be attended with some material 

To this communication, as unexpected as it 
was extraordinary ia its centeatSi Washingtoa 
replied as fellows. 

«Ne«1)Uf|r*9S May, 1789. 
" With a mixture of great surprise and as- 
tonishment, I have read with attention the sen- 
timents you have submitted to my perusal. Be 
assured, Sir, no occurrence iu the course of the 
war has given me more painful sensations, than 
your information of there being such ideas ex- 
isting in the army, as you have expressed, and 
I must view with abhoirence and reprehend 


JBr.flO.] LIFB OF WA9HI»<2TON« 153 

with 0er6rity. For the jycesent, the coramuiu^ 
cation of them will rest ia my owa bosom, 
unless some further egitation of the matter 
shall make a disclosure necessary. 

'^ I ate much at a loss to conceive what part 
of my conduct could have given encourage- 
ment to an address, which to me seems big 
with tibe greatest mischiefs, that can befall my 
country. If I am not deceived in the knowl* 
edge o€ myself, you oouU not have found a 
person to whom your schemes are more disa«' 
greeable. At the asHve time, in jnstice to my 
own feelings, I cmst add, that no man possess- 
es a more sincere wish to see ample justice 
done to the acmy than I do ; and, as far as my 
powers and influence, in a constitutional wayi 
extend, they shall be employed to the utmost 
of my abilitilss to effect it, should there be any 
occasion* Let me coiyure you, then, if yon 
have any regard for your country, concern for 
yourself or posterity, or lespect for me, to ban«- 
ish these thoi^hts from your mind, and never 
4tommuntcate, as from yourself or any one else, 
a sentiment of the like nature. I am, Sir, &c. 


Such was the language of Washington, 
when, at the head of his army and at the 
height of his power and popularity, it was 



proposed to him to become a king. After this 
indignant reply and stern rebuke, it is not 
probable that any further advances were made 
to him on the subject. 

Sir Guy Carleton arrived at New York early 
in May, and superseded Sir Henry Clinton as 
commander of the British armies in Ammca. 
His first letter to Washington was pacific ia 
its tone, and showed, that at least a temporary 
change had taken place in the sentiments of 
Parliament respecting the principles on which 
the war had been conducted, and the policy 
of continuing it. Nothing of a positive nature 
was communicated, however, till the beginning 
of August, when Sir Guy Carleton again wrote, 
that he was authorized to give notice, that ne- 
gotiations for a general peace had commenced 
at Paris, and that the independence of the 
United States would be conceded as a prelimi- 
nary step. From this time, therefore, prepara- 
tions for war ceased, and no further acts of 
hostility were committed by either party. It 
not being certain, nevertheless, that the nego- 
tiations would actually result in peace, no part 
of the American army was dismissed, but the 
posture of defence was maintained with the 
same caution and vigilance as before. 

The French troops had continued in Yirgin- 
ia since the capitulation at Yorktown. They 



I marched to Hudson's River, and formed a 

I jnnctioQ with the forces under Washington 

I about the middle of September. The two ar- 

mies had been encamped on the east side of 
the river near Yerplanck's Point more than a 
month, when the French marched to Boston, 
where a fleet was ready to receive them, and 
sailed before the end of December,* having 
been in the country two years and a half. 
The Baron de Yiomenil commanded the troops 
when they went on board the fleet at Boston. 
The Count de Rochambeao, accompanied by 
the Marquis de Chastelluz, sailed some days 
later from Baltimore. 

General Washington had drawn the larger 
part of his army down the river to Yerplanck's 
Point, more as a mark of courtesy to the allied 
troops in meeting them there, than for any mil- 
itary object ; and, after their departure, he re- 
turned to his former encampment at Newburg, 
Where head-quarters continued till the army, 
was disbanded. 



niMfttiflfkctioB of di« Anny. -«Tho (MBoera Mod a Memorial •• 
Congrew.— The anonymous AddreBses at Newborg. — Intelli- 
gence arrives, that a Treaty of Peace bad been signed at Paria. 
— Geaeral Waahhigtoii's Sentimeiite coacening the civil Gov* 
emment of the Union. — His Circular Letter to the States. — 
He makes a Tour to the North. ~ Repairs to Congress at the 
. Request of that Body. ^ His FireweU Addrasa to the Amy. — 
The British eyacuate New Yerk. — Waahington raaigna kii. 
Commission, and retires to private Life at Mount Vernon. 

Ths winter being a season of inactivity, 
and the prospect of peace becoming every day 
less doubtful, the officers and soldiers had leia-- 
ure to reflect on their situation, and to look 
foric^ard to the condition awaiting them at the 
end of the war. When they compared their 
long services and sufferings with the sacrifices 
of those, who had been engaged only in the 
pursuits of private life, and with the rewards 
hitherto received, they felt that they had' 
claims, as well on the gratitude and generosityi 
as on the justice, of their country. At the 
same time, various circumstances conspired to 
make them apprehensive, that these claims 
would neither be adequately met nor duly es- 
timated. Congress had no funds ; the States 
were extremely backward in applying the onlv 
remedy by an effectual sj^stem of taxation 


Mr.!».] LITE or WASHIHOTON. 15? 

and the resource of foveign loans was nearly 
exhausted. It was natural, that this state of 
things, added to long arrearages of pay, and 
accounts unsettled and without any security 
fbr a future liquidation of them, should cause 
much excitement and concern. 

In the month of December, the officers in 
camp determined to address Congress on the 
suhject of their grievances. A memorial was 
accordingly drawm up, which was undeistood 
to express the sentiments of the army. It 
contained a representation of the money actu- 
ally dne to them, a proposal that the haif-pay 
fbr life should be commuted for a specific sum, 
and a request that security should be giv^en by 
the government for fulfilling its ^engagements. 
The commutation it was believed would be 
more generally acceptable to the public than 
half-pay for life, which had always been op- 
posed by a strong party, as favoring the idea of 
a pension list and a privileged class, and as 
hostile to republican institutions. * Three offi« 
cers were deputed as a committee to carry 
this memorial to Congress, and instructed to 
use their endeavors to obtain for it a successful 

The dissensions, which had long existed in 
Congress, were brought to bear on this subject. 
Many of the members were disposed to do 


ample justice to the anny, and to all other 
public creditors, by assuming their claims as a 
Continental charge, and proiriding for the set- 
tlement of them by a Continental fund and 
securities ; while others, jealous of State rights 
and State sovereignty, disapproved this course, 
and urged the plan of referring unsettled ac- 
counts to the respective States. Congress 
took the memcMrial into consideration, and 
passed resolves indefinite in their character, 
and not such as were likely to answer the ex- 
pectations or quiet the uneasiness of the army. 
The claims of public creditors were recog- 
nised, but no scheme was suggested for estab- 
lishing funds, or giving security. On an esti- 
mate of the average ages of the officers, it 
was decided, that half-pay for life was equiva- 
lent to five years' whole pay : but the requi- 
site number of nine States could not be oo- 
tained in favor of the commutation. Appre- 
hending a defeat, if they pressed the subject, 
and hoping that the vote would ultimately be 
carried, the committee thought it prudent to 
delay further proceedings, and one of them 
returned to camp with a letter containing a 
report of what had been done. 

The representations thus communicated were 
by no means satisfactory to the officers. Dis- 
appointed and irritated, many of them were 



for resorting to measures, which should con- 
vince Congress, not only of the justice of their 
demands, but of their resolution to enforce 
them. Hence originated the famous Newburg 
Addre9se$. At a private consultation of sev- 
eral officers it was agreed, that a meeting of 
the general and field officers, a commissioned 
officer firom each company, and a delegate 
from the medical staff, ought to be called for 
the purpose of passing a series of resolution^ 
which should be forwarded to their committee 
at Congress. On the 10th of March a notifi- 
cation to this effect was circulated in camp, 
fijcing the time and stating the object. The 
same day an anonymous address to the army 
was sent out, written in a strain of passionate 
and stirring eloquence, and extremely well 
suited to excite the feelings and rouse the 
spirit of those for whom it was intended. 
Foreseeing the fatal consequences that might 
result from an assembling of the officers under 
such circumstances, and at the same time 
deeply impressed with the justice of their 
complaints and the reality of their wrongs, 
Washington had a delicate task to perform; 
but he executed it with his characteristic de- 
cision, firmness, and wisdom. He sought 
rather to guide and control the proceedings 

160 tlFE OF WASHlJTGTOlf. IVm 

thus begun, thaa to check or discountenanca 
them by any act of severity. 

In general orders the next morning, after 
censuring the anonymous paper and invitatioii 
as irregular and disorderly, he appointed a day 
and hour for the meeting of the officers, when 
they might "devise what further measures 
ought to be adopted, as most rational, and best 
calculated to attain the object in view." This 
was followed by another anonymous address, 
in a tone more subdued than the former, but 
cxpresshig similar sentiments, and representing 
the orders as favorable to the purpose desired, 
the time of meeting only being changed. 
The Commander-in-chief, however, took car* 
to frustrate the design of this interpretation by 
conversing individually with those officers in 
whom he had the greatest confidence, setting 
before them in a strong light the danger that 
would attend a rash or precipitate act in such 
a crisis, inculcating moderation, and using his 
utmost efforts to appease their discontents, and 
persuade them to deliberate without passion, 
and under a deep conviction that the vital in- 
terests of their country were involved in the 
measures they should adopt. 

When the officers were assembled at the 
time appointed. General Washington addressed 
them in very impressive terms, reminding them 


e of the cause for which they had taken tip 

arms, the fidelity and constancy with which 
E they had hitherto devoted thetnselyes to that 

I cause, and the sacred trust which was still re- 

I posed in them as the defenders of their coun<« 

I try's liberty ; appealing to the honor and pa- 

! triotism, by which they had so nobly and geii- 

I erously shown themselves to be actuated in 

i the perils of the field, and amidst the unex- 

ampled sufferings of a protracted war; and 
I imploring them not to cast a shade over the 

I glory they had acquired, nor tarnish their well- 

earned reputation, nor lessen their dignity, by 
an intemperate or indiscreet act at the moment 
when the great object of their toils was 
I achieved, and the world was loud in its praisd 

I of their valor, fortitude, and success. He ac- 

, knowledged the equity of their claims, and 

I the reasonableness of their complaints; but 

i he deprecated the idea, that on this account 

, they should distrust the plighted faith of their 

I country, or the intentions of Congress; ex- 

pressing his firm belief, that, before they should 
be disbanded, every thing would be adjusted 
^ to their satisfaction; and pledging himself, 

from a sense of gratitude for their past servi- 
^ ces, and from the attachment he felt to an ar- 

j tny, which had adhered to him in every vicis* 

situde of fortune, to employ all his abilities 

VOL. II. y 



and his best exertions to procure for theoi 
complete justice, as far as it could be done con- 
sistently with the great duty he owed to his 
country, and to the authority which every citi* 
zen was bound to respect. 

After speaking these sentiments, and others 
of a similar tendency, suited to soothe their 
feelings and inspire confidence, he retired from 
the assembly. The deliberation of the officers 
was short, and their decision prompt and unan- 
imous. They passed resolutions, •thanking the 
Commander-in-chief for the course he had pur- 
sued, and expressive of their unabated attach- 
ment ; and also declaring their unshaken reli- 
ance on the good faith of Congress and their 
country, and a determination to bear with pa- 
tience their grievances till in due time they 
should be redressed. A full account of the 
transactions was transmitted to Congress and 
published in their journals. 

The incidents are clearly and briefly related 
by General Washington in a letter to Governor 
Harrison of Yhrginia, written immediately af- 
ter their occurrence. 

'' You have not been unacquainted, I dare 
say, with the fears, the hopes, the apprehen- 
sions, and the expectations of the army, rela- 
tive to the provision which is to be made for 
them hereafter. Although a firm reliance on 

JBt.51.] life of WASHINGTON. 1]63 

the integrity of Congress, and a belief that the 
public would finally do justice to all its ser- 
vants and give an indisputable security for the 
payment of the half-pay of the officers, had 
kept them amidst a variety of sufferings toler- 
ably quiet and contented for two or three years 
past; yet the total want of pay, the little 
prospect of receiving any from the unpromis- 
ing state of the public finances, and the abso- 
lute aversion of the States to establish any 
Continental funds for the payment of the debt 
due to the army, did at the close of the last 
campaign excite greater discontents, and threat-* 
en more serious and alarming consequences, 
than it is easy for me to describe or you 
to conceive. Happily for us, the officers of 
highest rank and greatest consideration inter- 
posed ; and it was determined to address Con* 
gress in an humble, pathetic, and exjdicit man* 

" While the sovereign power appeared per* 
fectly well disposed to do justice, it was dis- 
covered that the States would enable them to 
do nothing ; and, in this state of affairs, and 
after some time spent on the business in Phila*- 
delphia, a report was made by the delegates of 
the army, giving a detail of the proceedings. 
Before this could be fully communicated to 
the troops, while the minds of all were iu a 


peculisr state of inquietude and initatieu, aa 
anonymous writer, though be did not step forth 
and give his name boldly to the world, sent 
into circulation an address to the officers of the 
army, which, in point of compositioui in ele- 
gance and force of expression, has rardiy been 
equalled in the English language, and in which, 
the dreadful alternative was proposed, of relin- 
quishing the service in a body if the war con*- 
tinned, or retaining their arms in ease of peace« 
until Congress should comply with all their 
demands. At the same time, and at the noo- 
ment when their minds were inflamed by the 
most pathetic representation^, a general meet- 
ing of the officers was summoned by another 
anonymous productioo. 

• ^ It is impossible io $ay what would have 
been the consequences, bad the author suc- 
ceeded in his first plans. But measures hav- 
ing been taken to postpone the meeting, so as 
to give time for cool reflection and countecac- 
iion, the good sense of the officers has termi* 
nated this aflair in a manner, which reflects 
the greatest glory on themselves, and demands 
ihe highest expressions of gratitude from their 

Thus, by the prudent measures of the Com- 
mander 4n-chief, the excitement was allayed, 
and tranquillity was restored to the aimy. Nor 


^fr,i\.} LIFE OF WASHINGTON. 165 

did he delay to fulfil the pledge he had made» 
writing to Congress with an earnestness and 
force of argument, which showed him to be 
moved not less by his feelings, than by a sense 
of duty, in asserting the rights and just claims 
of those, who, to use his own wqfds, '^ had so 
long, so patiently, and so cheerfully suffered 
and fought under his direction," and urging a 
apeedy decision in tlteir favor. His represeur 
tations and appeals were not disr^arded. The 
subject was again considered in Congress, and 
the requisite number of States voted for the 
commutation of half-pay, and for the other 
provisions solicited by the officers in their me- 

In a few days the joyful news arrived, that 
a preliminary treaty of peace had been signed 
at Paris. The intelligence was brought in a 
French vessel from Cadiz, with a letter from 
the Marquis de Lafayette, who was then at 
.that place preparing for an expedition to the 
West Indies under Count d'Estaing. Shortly 

* The anonymous addresses were from the pen of Ma- 
jor John Armstrong, at that time an aid-de-camp to Gen- 
eral Gates. They were written at the request of several 
officers, who believed that the tardy proceedings of Con- 
gresa, and the relootaBce of that body to recognise the 
claims of the public creditors, called for a more decided 
expression of the sentiments of the army. 



afterwards Sir Guy Carleton commtinicated the 
same, as from official authority, and announced 
a cessation of hostilities. A proclamation to 
this effect was made to the American army on 
the 19th of April, precisely eight years from 
the day on which the first blood was shed ia 
this memorable contest at Lexington. 

Although the military labors of General 
Washington were now drawing to a close, in 
the attainment of the great object to which he 
had devoted himself with an ardor, constancy, 
endurance, and singleness of purpose, that had 
never been surpassed by any commander, yet 
his anxiety for the future was scarcely dimin- 
ished. The love of liberty, which had prompt* 
ed him to such trials and disinterested exer- 
tions in the cause of his country, was equally 
alive to the success of that cause in building 
up the fabric of freedom on a firm and durable 

The preparation of a plan for a peace es- 
tablishment, which had been solicited by Con- 
gress, and some preliminary arrangements with 
the British commander in regard to the evac- 
uation of New York, occupied him several 
weeks. For these latter objects he had a per- 
sonal conference with Sir Guy Carleton at 

The circular letter, which he wrote to the 



gfoyernors of the States, as his last official com* 
munication, and which was designed to be laid 
before the several legislatures, is remarkable 
for its ability, the deep interest it manifests for 
the officers and soldiers, who had fought the 
battles of their country, the soundness of its 
principles, and the wisdom of its counsels. 
Four great points he aims to enforce as essen* 
tial in guiding the deliberations of every public 
body, and as claiming the serious attention of 
every citizen, namely, an indissoluble union 
of the States ; a sacred regard to public juB* 
tice ; the adoption of a proper military peace 
establishment ; and a pacific and friendly dis- 
position among the people of the States, which 
should induce them to forget local prejudices, 
and incline them to mutual concessions for the 
advantage of the community. These he calls 
the pillars by which alone independence and 
national character can be supported. On each 
of these topics he remarks at considerable 
length, with a felicity of style and cogency of 
reasoning in all respects worthy of the subject 
No public address could have been better 
adapted to the state of the times ; and coming 
from such a source, its influence on the minds 
of the people must have been effectual and 
most salutary. 

Many of the troops went home oa furloogh ; 


I Sir Guy Garietoo commimicated the 
naie.B fimn official authority, and annonnoed 
a (I ■iiiiiwi of liostilfties. A proclatnatioa to 
this tSect vas made to the Ainerican army on 
fbe IMi of April, preciself eight yean ffom 
At day on which the first blood was shed in 
this memocaMe contest at Lexingtoiu 

Ahbough the military labors of General 
Washingtoo were now drawing to a close, ia 
the attainment of the great object to which be 
had deroied himself with an ardor, constancy, 
cfriaraDce, and angleness of porpose, that had 
nerer been sur pa ss e d by any commander, yet 
his anxiety fiir the fatnre was scarcely dimin- 
xAed. Hie lore of liberty, which had prompt* 
cd hm to such trials and disinterested ezer- 
ticw m the canse of his coontry, was equally 
alife to the socoess of that canse in building 
up the frbiic of freedom on a firm and durable 

The preparation of a plan for a peace es* 
ld>lisfaaMiit, which had been solicited by Om- 
rresi. and some preliminary arrangements with 
the Bhtxsli commander in regard to the evac- 
naOoB of 2iew York, occupied him 
For these falter objects he . 



No ptMit 

aiapled to JlB^ ., ^ ^ 







168 hirSi OF WASHINGTON^ £tlB& 

and Oeneml Wasbiagton, haTing little to do in 
camp till the arrival of the defioitive treaty, 
resolved to emi^oy the interval in making a 
tour to the northward, for the double purpose 
of gmtifyiog hia cariosity in viaitiog the scenes 
of the late military Qperationa in that quarter, 
and of ascertaining from observation the natu-- 
ral resouroes of the country. In company with 
Qovernor Clinton be asoended the Hudson to 
Albany, and proceeded thence over the battle- 
fields of Saratoga, as far as Ticonderoga and 
Grown Point Turning then to the Mohawk 
River, be extended his journey westward to 
Fort Schuyler. He was absent from Newburg 
nineteen days. Ever legardiag the condition 
and affairs of his country on a comprehensive 
scale, and fixing his thoughts on its importance 
as a nation, he saw, while on this tour, the 
immense advantages that would result firom a 
.water communication between the Hudson and 
the great lakes, and believed in its practicabil- 
ity. His hopes and his anticipations have 
since been realized in the magnificent work, 
opening a passage for boats by a canal from 
the Hudson to Lake Erie, and effected by the 
eoteiprise and wealth of the State of New 

When he returned to Newburg, he found a 
letter from the President cf CongresSj asking 

Jte.M.] LIF£ OF WASHlKGTOJf. 169 

his attendimce on that assemhly, then in ses- 
»iotL at Princeton. The object of this request 
waSy to consult him on the arrangements for 
peace, and other public concerns. While he 
was making preparations to leave camp, Con- 
gress conferred on him new honors. It was 
voted unanimously, that an equestrian statue 
of General Washington should be erected at 
the place where the residence of Congress 
should be established, and that it should be 
executed by the best artist in Europe, under 
the superintendence of the Minister of the 
United States at the Court of Versailles. 

Leaving the army under the immediate com- 
mand of General Knox, the officers higher in 
rank having gone home by permission, Wash- 
ington obeyed the summons of Congress, and 
went to Princeton, where he was introduced 
into the assembly while in session by two of 
the members appointed for the purpose. He 
was then addressed by the President, who con- 
gratulated him on the success of the war, in 
which he had acted so conspicuous and impoi^- 
tant a part. '^ In other nations," said the Pres- 
ident, '^ many have performed eminent services, 
for which they have deserved the thanks of 
the public. But to you, Sir, peculiar praise is 
due. Your services have been essential in ac- 
quiring and establishing the freedom and inde^ 


170 LIFE or wASHiNGToir. \mx 

pendence of your country. They desenre the 
grateful acknowledgments of a free and inde- 
pendent nation." To this address Washington 
replied in the presence of Congress, and then 
retired. A .house vras provided for him at 
Rocky Hill, three or four miles from Prince- 
ton, where he resided, holding conferences from 
time to time with committees and members of 
Congress, and giving counsel on such subjects 
as were referred to his consideration. 

A large part of the officers and soldiers had 
been permitted during the summer to retire 
from the army on furlough, and Congress issued 
a proclamation, on the 18th of October, dis- 
charging them from further service, and all 
others who had been engaged to serve during 
the war. The army was thus in effect dis- 
banded. A small force only was retained, con- 
sisting of such troops as had been enlisted for 
a definite time, till the peace establishment 
should be organized. 

This proclamation was followed by General 
Washington's farewell address to the army, a 
performance not less admirable in its principles 
and its objects, than his circular letter to the 
States. To his cordial and affectionate thanks 
for the devotedness of the officers and soldiers 
to him through the war, and for the manner in 
which they had discharged their duty, he adds 



eeasonable advice as to their conduct in re* 
sinning the character of private citizens, and 
in contributing to the support of civil govern- 
ment. *' Let it be known and remembered,*' 
said ho, "that the reputation of the federal ar- 
mies is established beyond the reach of mar 
levolence; and let a consciousness of their 
achievements and fame still incite the men, 
who composed them, to honorable actions ; 
under the persuasion, that the private virtues 
of economy, prudence, and industry, will not 
be less amiable in civil life, than the more 
splendid qualities of valor, perseverance, and 
enterprise were in the field. Every one may 
rest assured, that much, very much, of the fu- 
ture happiness of the officers and men will de- 
pend upon the wise and manly conduct, which 
shall be adopted by them when they are min- 
gled with the great body of the community. 
And, although the General has so frequently 
given it as his opinion in the most public and 
explicit manner, that, unless the principles of 
the Federal Government were properly sup- 
ported, and the powers of the Union increased, 
the honor, dignity, and justice of the nation 
would be lost for ever; yet he cannot help 
repeating, on this occasion, so interesting a sen-, 
timent, and leaving it as his last injunction to 
every officer and every soldier, who may view 


the sabject in the saoie serious poin; of light, 
to add bis best eodeaxrors lo those ot his wor- 
thy fellow Citizens towards effecting these 
great and valoable purposes, on which our 
.rery existeooe as a nation so materially de« 

At length Sir Guy Carleton received orders 
from the ministry to eyacaate New York, and 
gaTe notice to Geneial Washington that be 
should soon be ready for that event. Delay 
bad been occasiooed by the want of transports 
in suflSlcient numbers to send to Nova Scotia 
the refugees, who had sought protection in 
New York during the war, and the large 
jamount of goods, stores, and military supplies, 
which bad accumulated in that city. Many 
of these persons would gladly have remained 
in the country, having property which they 
desired to recover, and relatives and friends 
whom they were reluctant to abandon; but 
they were exiled by the laws of the States^ 
and could not be admitted to the privileges of 
a residence till these laws were repealed. 

Washington repaired to West Pointi to 
which place General Knox had drawn the 
troops, that still remained in the service. Ar- 
rangements were made with Governor Clinton, 
the chief magistrate of the State of New 
York, by which the city was to bo delivered 


into bis charge. ▲ datacbmeDt of tioopB 
maiehed from West Point to Haerlem, and 
was joined there by General Washington and 
Governor Clinton* In the morning of the 
85tb of November, they advanced to the upper 
part of the city, where they continued till one 
o'clock, when the British parties retired from 
the poets in that quarter, and were followed by 
the iUxferican iniieuQtry and artillery, preceded 
by a eorps of dragoons. Meantime the British 
troops embarked* Possession being thus tar 
k^n of the city, the military officers, and the 
civil ofiicers of the State, made a public entry 
The General and Governor rode at the head 
of the procession on horseback. Then cam^ 
in regular succession the lieutenant-governor 
and members of the council, General Kaor 
and the officers of the army, the speaker of 
the Assembly and citizens. They were es* 
corted by a body of Westchester light-horse, 
as a compliment to the Governor and civil aur 
thority ; the Continental military jurisdiction 
being supposed to have ceased, or at least to 
have been suspended in deference to the civil 
power of the State. Governor Clinton gave n 
public entertainment, with which the transac- 
tions of the day were closed. Perfect order 
and quiet prevailed from the beginning to the 
end, and no untoward incident occurred to mar 



the interest of an occasion, which had been 
80 long wished for, and was so joyfully wel- 

A trial of feeling now awaited the Comman- 
der-4n-chief, which for the moment was more 
severe and painful, than any he had been call* 
ed to bear. The time had arrived, when he 
was to bid a final adieu to his companions in 
arms, to many of whom he was -bound by the 
strongest ties of friendship, and for all of whom 
he felt a lively gratitude and sincere regard. 
*'This afiecting interview took place on tlie 
4th of December. At noon, the principal of- 
ficers of the army assembled at Frances's tav- 
ern; soon after which their beloved commander 
entered the room. His emotions were toe 
strong to be concealed. Filling a glass, b» 
turned to them and said, ' With a heart full of 
love and gratitude, I now take leave of you ; 
I most devoutly wish, that your latter days 
may be as prosperous and happy, as your for- 
mer ones have been glorious and honorable.' 
Having drunk, he added, ' I cannot come to 
each of you to take my leave, but shall be 
obliged if each of you will come and take me 
by the hand.' General Knox, being nearest, 
turned to him. Washington, incapable of at 
terance, grasped his hand, and embraced hifli. 
In the same affectionate manner he took leave 



of each succeeding officer. The tear of man- 
ly sensibility was in every eye; and not a 
word was articulated to interrupt the dignified 
silence and the tenderness of the scene. Lear« 
ing the room, he passed through the corps of 
light infantry, and walked to White Hall, 
where a barge waited to conrey him to Paulus 
Hook. The whole company followed in mate 
and solemn procession, with dejected counte* 
nances, testifying feelings of delicious melan* 
choly, which no language can describe. Hav- 
ing entered the barge, he turned to the com* 
pany, and, waving his hat, bid them a silent 
adieu. They paid him the same affectionate 
compliment; and, after the barge had left 
them, returned in the same solemn manner to 
the place where they had assembled."* 

Congress had adjourned from Princeton to 
Annapolis in Maryland. Washington travelled 
slowly to that place, greeted everywhere on 
the road by the acclamations of his fellow eiti* 
zens, and the most gratifying tokens of their 
love and respect. As he passed along, public 
addresses were presented to him by the legish 
latures of New Jersey, Pfennsylvania, and Mary- 
land, the Philosophical Society and the Univei^ 
sity in Philadelphia, citizens of towns in their 

* Marshall's Lt/e of tVashtngton^ 2d ed., Vol IL 
p. 57. 


corporate capacity, reUgious societies^ and vbt 
nous iacorporated associatioos. Arrived at the 
seat of Congress, he informed the President^ 
that he was ready to resign the commissiony 
with which he had been honored in the ser- 
vice of his country. This ceremony was per* 
formed in the Hall of Congress on tlie 23d of 
December, all the members and a large con- 
course of spectators being present. At the 
dose of his address on this occasion, he said ; 
'^ Having now finished the work assigned me, 
I retire from the great theatre of action ; and, 
bidding an affectionate farewell to this august 
body, under whose orders I have so long acted, 
I here offer my commission, and take my leave 
of all the employments of public life." He 
then advanced and gave his commission into 
the hsnds of the President, who replied to his 
address. The ceremony being ended, he with- 
drew ij»m the assembly, divested of his offi- 
cial character, and sustaining no other rank 
than that of a private citizen. 

The next morning he left Annapolis, and 
reached Mount Temon the same day, having 
been absent in the command of the army 
somewhat more than eight years and a half, 
during which period he had never been at his 
own house except accidentally while on his 
way with Count de Rochambeau to Yorktown, 
and in returning from that expedition. 




He deolijiet receifinf pecooiary Compeiisftioii for hti pob«.« 
Serrices. — His Feelings on being relieTod firom the Burden of 
Ofioe. — Devotes hiaiaetr to Agricaltare. — Mekes t Tour to 
Ihe Weetern Ceontiy.— His extensive PIum for internsl Nsvi- 
gation. — These Plans adopted by the SUte of Virginia. — Visit 
of the Marqais de Lafayette to Asaerica. — Wasbingtoa leflisee 
to aoeepia Oomtios fnw the Stirte ef Vargiaia. — His liberal 
Acts for the Encoaragement of Education. — Approves th^ 
Countess of Huntington's Scheaae for civiMting and Cfaristian- 
isUig ifae IwUaM. 

Gkhsbaj; Washikoton believed his career 
M a pablic man to be now at an ep<L He 
ieems indeed to have formed a resolution never 
again to leave his retirement, unless ^lled out 
by some great exigency in the afiairs of his 
eouQtry, which at that time he neither foresaw 
nor expected. However much he might have 
been gratified with the honors bestowed upon 
him by his countrymen^ with the success of 
his long and unwearied services^ and the apt 
plause of the whole civilized world, it was 
nevortheless with a heartfelt delight which 
none of these could give, that he returned to 
the quiet scenes and congenial employments 
of pdvate life. For we may here repeat what 
has been said in a former part of this narrative^ 
Ihat no occupations interested him so much, 



or engaged his thoughts so constantly, as those 
of the practical agriculturist. He was fond 
of adorning and improring his grounds as aD 
amusement, and was deyoted to the cultivation 
of his farms, upon a thorough, economical, and 
systematic plan, both as a means of increasing 
his property, and as being suited to his tastes 
and early habits. 

His first care, ifter establishing himself at 
Mount Yemon, was to examine minutely into 
the state of his private affairs, which had be- 
come deranged by his long absence and the 
disorders of the times. His fortune was am* 
pie for a republican citizen, and a man who 
derived neither consequence nor pleasure from 
display, but it had necessarily suffered a dimi^ 
nution during the war. Adhering rigidly to 
the resolution he had formed, when he accept- 
ed the command of the army, not to receive 
any remuneration from the public, either in 
the shape of pay or other pecuniary reward, 
he now considered it a duty to repair the loss- 
es he had sustained, as well by economy in 
his style of living, as by all the usual efforts 
to increase the productiveness of his estates. 

Some of his countrymen, estimating his ser» 
vices to the public at their just value, and 
knowing the injury his private affairs had snf* 
fered in ccmsequence of them, hoped to change 



his purpose of refusing pecuniary compensar 
lion. A few days before he resigned his com- 
mission, the Supreme Executive Council of 
Pennsylvania sent the following instructions on 
this subject to the delegates in Congress from 
that State. 

'' Though his Excellency General Washings 
ton proposes in a short time to retire, yet his 
illustrious actions and virtues render his char- 
acter so splendid and venerable, that it is 
highly probable the admiration and esteem of 
the world miay make his life in a very consid* 
erable degree public, as numbers will be desir* 
ous of seeing the great and good man, who 
has so eminently contributed to the happiness 
of a nation. His very services to his country 
may therefore subject him to expenses, unless 
he permits her gratitude to interpose. 

" We are perfectly acquainted with the dis- 
interestedness and generosity of his soul. He 
thinks himself amply rewarded for all his la- 
bors and cares, by the love and prosperity of 
his fellow citizens. It is true, no rewards 
they can bestow can be equal to his merits. 
But they ought not to suffer those merits to be 
burdensome to him. We are convinced that 
the people of Pennsylvania would regret such 
a consequence. 

** We are aware of the delicacy, with which 


this subject must be treated. But, relying 
upon the good sense of Ckingress, we wish it 
may engage their early attention." 

These instructions were receiTed by thd 
delegates, and a copy was forwarded to Gen-* 
eral Washington after he had arrived at Mount 
Vernon. It was not thought advisable to lay 
them before Ck)ngresS) or take Bny steps ia fut» 
filling them, without his previous knowledge 
and approbation. In this case, as in every 
other, he acted consistently with his character* 
He promptly declined the intended favor. All 
proceedings on the subject were accordingly 
stopped. There can be no doubt, thai the 
sentiments of the Executive Council of Penn* 
sylvania would have been responded to by the 
whole nation, and that a liberal grant from 
Congress would everywhere have met with a 
cordial assent. 

The feelings of Washington, on being re* 
lieved from the solicitude and burdens of office^ 
were forcibly expressed in letters to his frienda 
*' At length," s&id he, in writing to Lafayette^ 
'^ I am become a private citieen, on the banks 
of the Potomac ; and, under the dimdow of 
my own vine and my own figtree, free from 
the bustle of a camp, and the busy scenes of 
public life, I am solacing myself with those 
tranquil enjoyments, of which the soldier^ who 


is ever in pnrsnit of fame, the statesman, 
whose watchful dafs and sleepless nights are 
spent in devising schemes to promote the wel-^ 
fare of his own, perhaps the ruin of other 
countries, as if this globe was insufficient for 
us all, and the courtier, who is alwa7s watch-' 
ing the countenance of his prince, in hopes of 
catching a gracious smile, can have very little 
conception. I have not only retired from all 
public employments, but I am retiring within 
myself, and shall be able to view the solitary 
walk, and tread the paths of private life, with 
a heartfelt satisfaction. Envious of none, I 
am determined to be pleased with all ; and 
this, my dear friend, being the order for my 
march, I will move gently down the stream of 
life, until I sleep with my fathers.'* 

To General Knox he wrote ; " I am just 
beginning to experience that ease and freedom 
from public cares, which, however desirable, 
takes some time to realize ; for, strange as it 
may seem, it is nevertheless true, that it was 
not till lately I could get the better of my usu- 
al custom of ruminating, as soon as I waked 
in the morning, on the business of the ensuing 
day ; and of my surprise at finding, after re- 
volving many things in my mind, that I was 
no longer a public man, nor had any thing to 
do with public transactions. I feel now, how- 


ever, as I cooceive a wearied traveller must do, 
who, after treading many a painful step with a 
heavy burden on his shoulders, is eased of the 
latter, having reached the haven to which all 
the former were directed, and from his house- 
top is looking back, and tracing with an eager 
eye the meanders by which he escaped Uie 
quicksands and mires which lay in his way ; 
and into which none but the all-powerful Guide 
and Dispenser of human events could have 
prevented his falling/ 

The time and thoughts of Washington were 
now confined to his farms, and to such acta 
of hospitality as were demanded by the nu- 
merous visits from strangers and his acquaint- 
ances, who were drawn to Mount Ternon by 
motives of curiosity, admiration, and respect. 
However onerous these visits might be, on 
some occasions, his house was open to all that 
came, and his personal civilities were so ren- 
dered as to strengthen the affections of his 
friends, and win the esteem of those, who ha^ 
known him only by his fame, and revered him 
for his public character. And it is but just to 
say, that in all these duties Mrs. Washington 
performed her part with such discretion, assi- 
duity, and courtesy, without ostentation on the 
one hand or constraint on, the other, as, at the 
same time that it proved the goodness of her 

Mr. at.} tIFG OF WASHINGTON. 183 

heart aod her power to please, insured the com* 
fort and enjoyment of her guests, and con- 
vinced them of the domestic harmony and 
happiness, that reigned in the mansion at 
Mount Temon. 

In the month of September, 1784, Wash* 
ii^ton made a tour to the Western country, for 
the purpose of inspecting the lands he owned 
beyond the Allegany Mountains, and also of 
ascertaining the practicability of opening a 
communication between the head waters of the 
rivers running eastward into the Atlantic, and 
those that flow westward to the Ohio. The 
extent of this journey was six hundred and 
eighty miles, the whole of which he travelled 
on horseback, using pack-horses for the con- 
▼ejrance of a tent, the necessary baggage, and 
SDch supplies as could not be procured in the 
wild and unsettled regions through which he 
was to pass. He crossed the mountains by the 
usual route of Braddock's Road, and spent sev- 
eral days in surveying and inspecting his lands 
on the Monongahela River, a part of which was 
occupied by settlers. His first intention was to 
descend the Ohio, as he had done in the year 
1770, to the Great Kenhawa, where he owned 
a large tract of wild land ; but the hostile tem- 
per of the Indians rendering this expedition 
hazardous, and the motive not being strong 


enough to induce him to run risks, he advanced 
westward no further than the Monongahela. 
Returning by a circuitous route, he passed 
through the heart of the wilderness, first as- 
cending the Monongahela River, and thence 
traversing the country far to the south between 
the ridges of the Allegany Mountains, with the 
special view of deciding the question in his 
own mind, whether the Potomac and James 
Rivers could be connected by internal naviga- 
tion with the western waters. He conversed 
on the subject with every intelligent person be 
met, and kept a journal in which he recorded 
the results of his observations and inquiries. 

His thoughts had been turned to this enter- 
prise before the Revolution ; and, since the 
peace, he had used unwearied diligence by an 
extensive correspondence to procure facts re- 
specting the rivers falling into the Ohio from 
the west, and into the great Lakes, and also 
the distances from various navigable points 
in those rivers and lakes to the head waters 
of the streams flowing towards the Atlantic. 
Soon after returning from his western tour, he 
communicated to the governor of Virginia the 
fruits of his investigations in a letter, one of 
the ablest, most sagacious, and most important 
productions of his pen. Presenting first a 
clear state of the question, and showing the 


practicability of facilitating the intercourse of 
trade between the east and the west by im- 
proving and extending the water communica* 
tions, he then proceeds by a train of unan- 
swerable argument and illustration to explain 
the immense advantages, that would arise from 
such a melasure, in strengthening the union of 
the States, multiplying the resources of trade, 
and promoting the prosperity of the country. 

At this time the State of Virginia, being 
large and powerful, stretching on one side to 
the Atlantic ocean and on the other to the 
western waters, and having in its bosom two 
noble rivers descending from the summits of 
the Alleganies, he thought the most favorably 
situated for beginning the great work. He 
recommended, therefore, as a preliminary step, 
that commissioners should be appointed to sur* 
vey the Potomac and James Rivers from tide* 
water to their sources, and the portages be- 
tween them and the principal western streams, 
following these streams to their junction with 
the Ohio, measuring with accuracy the distan- 
ces, noting the obstructions to be removed;, and 
estimating the probable expense. He also ad- 
vised a similar survey of the rivers west of the 
Ohio, as far as Detroit. " These things being 
done," said he, '^ I shall be mistaken if preju- 
dice does not yield to facts, jealousy to candor, 



and finally, if reason and natare^ thus aided, 
do not dictate what is right and proper to bo 
done." The governor laid this letter before 
the legislature. It was the first suggestion of 
the great system of internal improvements, 
which has since been pursued in the United 

A short time before his journey to the west, 
Washington had the satisfaction of receiving 
at Mount Ternon the Marquis de Lafayette, for 
whom he cherished the warmest friendship, 
heightened by gratitude for the disinterested^* 
ness and ardor with which he had espoused 
the cause of American freedom, and the sig- 
nal services he had rendered. Two or three 
months were passed by Lafayette in the mid« 
die and eastern States, and in November he 
arrived at Richmond in Virginia. Washington 
met him at that place, where they were both 
received with public honors by the legislature 
then in session. They returned together to 
Mount Vernon ; and, when Lafayette's visit 
was concluded, Washington accompanied him 
on his way to Annapolis. 

In a letter to Lafayette's wife he said ; '' We 
restore the Marquis to you in good health, 
crowned with wreaths of love and respect from 
every part of the Union." The parting of the 
iwo friends was affecting, and showed the 


Strength of the ties by which they were unit- 
ed. As soon as he reached home, Washington 
wrote to him as follows. '^ In the moment of 
our separation, upon the road as I travelled, 
and erery hour since, I have felt all that love, 
respect, and attachment for yon, with which 
length of years, close connexion, and your 
merits have inspired me. I often asked my* 
self, as oar carriages separated, whether that 
wa3 the last sight I ever should have of you ? 
And, though I willed to say No, my fears an* 
swered Yes. I called to mind the days of my 
youth, and found they had long since fled to 
return no more ; that I was now descending 
the hill I had been ^^ty^wo years climbing, 
and that, though t was blest with a good con- 
atitution, I was of a shdrt-lived £eimtly, and 
might soon expect to be entombed in the man- 
sion of my fathers. These thoughts darkened 
the shades, and gave a gloom to the picture, 
and consequently to my pro^)ect of seeing you 
again." This melancholy presage was fulfill- 
ed. They never met afterwards. But their 
attachment remained indissoluble, and Wash- 
ington lived to sympathize in the misfortunes 
of his friend, and to have the consolation of 
using all the means in his power to rescue him 
from the sufferings he so long endured in a 
cruel imprisonment. 


The hopes of General Washington^ in re- 
gard to his favorite scheme of internal naviga- 
tion, were more than realized. The legislature 
of Virginia, after duly considering his letter to 
the governor, not only appointed the commis- 
sion for surveys, but organized two companies, 
called the Potomac Company and the James 
River Company, for the purpose of carrying 
the plan into effect. They moreover compli- 
mented him without a dissenting voice, by a 
donation of fifty shares in the former company, 
and one hundred shares in the latter ; the fifty 
shares being estimated at ten thousand dollars, 
and the others at five thousand pounds sterling. 
Aware of his delicacy on the subject of re- 
tseiving money from the public, the legislature 
contrived to frame the preamble of the act in 
such language, as, it was hoped, would re- 
move his scruples. " It is the desire of the 
representatives of this commonwealth to em- 
brace every suitable occasion of testifying 
their sense of the unexampled merits of George 
Washington towards his country; and it is 
their wish in particular, that those great works 
for its improvement, which, both as springing 
from the liberty which he has been so instru- 
mental in establishing, and as encouraged by 
his patronage, will be durable monuments of 

31 jet.0.] life of Washington; 189 

f his glory, may be made monuments also of the 

f gratitude of his country." 

I If he was highly gratified, as he must have 

B been, with this public testimony of affection 

i^ and respect, he was scarcely less embarrassed 

( by it. Not that he hesitated, as to the course 

) he should pursue, but the grant had been 

I made in so hberal a manner, and from motives 

so pure, that he feared a refusal might be re- 
garded in an unfavorable light, as evincing 
either ingratitude to his friends, or a disposi- 
tion to gain applause by a show of disinterest- 
edness, unusual if not unnecessary. He stated 
his difficulties freely in private letters to the 
governor, and to some of the principal mem- 
bers of the legislature ; declaring, at the same 
time, that he could not, consistently with his 
principles, accept the proffered gift in such a 
way, that he should derive from it any emolu- 
ment to himself. A positive decision was not 
required till the next session of the legislature, 
when he wrote officially to the governor de- 
clining the grant ; but, lest the operations of 
the companies should be retarded by with- 
drawing the subscriptions for the shares, which 
had been made by the treasurer on his account, 
he suggested, that, if the Assembly should 
think proper to submit to him the appropriation 
of them for some object of a public nature, he 



wcmld accept the tnwt. His proposition was 
cheerfully acceded to ; and, by an act of the 
Assembly, the shares were assigned to sach 
public objects, as he should direct during his 
life, or by his last will and testament. 
. The purpose, which he first had in view, 
was the encouragement of educationi and this 
purpose was ultimately accomplished. Some 
time before his death, he made over the shares 
in the James River Company to an ittstituti<Mi 
in Rockbridge County, then called Liberty 
Hall Academy. The name has since been 
changed to Washington College. The fifty 
idiares in the Potomac Company he bequeathed 
in perpetuity for the endowment of a uniTer- 
«ty in the District of Colombia, under the 
auspices of the goTemment ; and, if such a 
•eminary diould not be established by the 
government, the fund wi^s to iocrease till it 
should be adequate, with such other resources 
as might be obtained, for the aecompliahment 
of the design. The establishing of a tiati<mBl 
university was always one of his favorite 
schemes. He recommended it in his mes* 
sages to Congress, and often in his letters 
spoke of the advantages, which would be de- 
rived from it to the nation. 

It may here be added, that he was a zealous 
advocate for schools and literary institutions 


{a Mr.».] LIFE or WASHINGTON. 191 

A of every kiad, and songfaft to pioaiDte them, 

'i wtienever an oppoitumty offered, by his public 

1^ addresses and by private benefactiooa. In this 

if spirit he aecepted the chancellonhip of Wil- 

liam and Mary OoUege, being earnestly solicit- 
f ed by the trustees. In his answer to them. 

If accepting the appointment, he said ; " I rely 

I fully in your sCrenuons endeavors £ar placing 

g the system on such a basis, as wdll render it 

I tnost beneficial to the State and the republic 

. of letters, as well as to the more eactensive 

^ interests of humanity and religion.'' The 

chancellor's duty coneisted chiefly in suggest*- 
ing vad approving measures for the manage- 
Ynent of the college, and in recommending 
professors and teachers to fill vacancies in the 
departments of instruction* 

The acts of charity by whichi he oentiibut- 

^ from his private means to fetter education 

were not few nor smail. During many yeara, 

he gave fifty pounds annually for the instruo- 

tion of indigent children in JUeaoandria; and 

l>y will he left a legacy of four thousand dei- 

lars, the net income of which was to be used 

^or the same benevolent object for ever. Two 

6r three instances are known, in whkii he 

oflbred to pay the espenses of young men 

through their collegiate coarse. When Gen- 

-eral Oreene •died, he proposed to take, uader 




his pcotection one of the sons of his departed 
friend, pay the charges of his education, and 
bring him forward into life. Fortunately the 
circumstances, in which General Greene left 
his family, rendered this act of munificence 
and paternal care unnecessary. Other exam- 
]des might be cited ; and, from his cautious 
habit of concealing from the world his deeds 
of charity, it may be presumed many others 
ore unknown, in which his heart and his hand 
were open to the relief of indigent merit. 

The Countess of Huntington, celebrated for 
her religious enthusiasm and liberal charities^ 
formed a scheme for ciidlizing and Christian- 
izing the North American Indians. Being a 
daughter of the Earl of Ferrers, who was de- 
scended through the female line from a remote 
branch of the Washington family, she claimed 
relationship to General Washington, and wrote 
to him several letters respecting her project of 
benevolence and piety in America. It was her 
design to form, at her own cha^e, in the 
neighborhood of some of the Indian tribes, a 
settlement of industrious emigrants, who, by 
their example and habits, should gradually iiH 
troduce among them the arts of civilization ; 
and missionaries were to teach them the prin* 
ciples of Christianity. Lady Huntington pro- 
posed, that the government of the United 



States should grant a tract of wild lands upon 
which her emigrants and missionaries should 
establish themselves. A scheme, prompted by 
motives so pure, and founded on so rational a 
basts, gained at once the approbation and coun- 
tenance of Washington. He wrote to the 
President of Congress, and to the governors 
of some of the States, expressing favorable 
sentiments of Lady Huntington's application. 
Political and local reasons interfered to defeat 
the plan. In the first place, it was thought 
doubtful whether a colony of foreigners set- 
tled on the western frontier, near the English 
on one side and the Spaniards on the other, 
would in the end prove conducive to the pub- 
lic tranquillity. And, in the next place, the 
States individually had ceded all their wild 
lands to the Union, and Congress were not 
certain that they possessed power to grant any 
portion of the new territory for such an object. 
Hence the project was laid aside, although 
Washington offered to facilitate it as far as he 
could on a smaller scale, by allowing settlers 
to occupy his own lands, and be employed 
according to Lady Huntington's views. 





Hii Operntiont in Fanning and Hortienltune. — Vmlera at Moant 
Vernon. ~ Hii Uabita. — Uoadon'a Statue. — Ooaditioii of th» 
Country and Defecta of the Conrederacj. — Waahington's Sen 
timenta thereon. — First Steps towards etfisctitig u Reform. — 
CottTention at ABnnpoiia. 

In the spring of 1786, he was engaged for 
several weeks ib plaD'ting his grouilds at Mount 
Vernon with trees and shrubs* To this inters 
eating branch of husbandry he had devoted 
considerable attention before the war, and dur* 
ing that period he had endeavored to carry out 
his plans of improvement. In scnne of his 
letters from camp, be gave minute directions 
to his manager for removing and planting 
trees ; but want of 6kill and other causes pre* 
vented thebe directions from being complied 
with, eteept in a very imperfect manner. The 
first year after the war, he applied himself 
mainly to farfning operations, with the view 
of restoring his neglected fields and tx>mmenc^ 
ing a regular system of i»ractical agriculture. 
He gradually abandoned the cultivation of 
tobacco, which exhausted his lands, and sub- 
stituted wheat and grass, as better suited to 
the soil, and in the aggregate more profitable. 


At. S3.] LIFE OF WASfllNVTDN^ 196 

He begftn a new method of rottftion of crops, 
in which he stadied the particular qualities of 
the soil in the different parts of his fanii% 
causing wheat, maize, potatoes) oats, grass, 
and other crops to succeed each other in the 
same fteld at stated times. So exact was he 
in this method, that he drew oat a scheme iu 
which all his fields were mimbered, and the 
crops assigned to them for seveml years iu 
advance. It proved so successful, that he por^ 
aued it to the end of his life, with occasioDai 
slight deviations by way of experiment. 

Having thus arranged and systematiaed bis 
agricultural opemtions, he now set himself at 
work hi earnest to execute his purpose of 
planting and adorning the grounds around the 
mansion-house. In the direction of the left 
wing, and at a considerable distance, was a 
vegetable garden ; and on the right, at an 
equal distance, was another garden fer orna- 
mental shrubs, plants, and flowers. Between 
these gardens, in front of the house, was a 
spacious lawn, sunromnkd by serpentine walks. 
Beyond the gardens and lawn were the o^- 
chards. Tery eariy in the spring he began 
with the lawn, selecting the choicest trees 
from the woods on his estates, and transferring 
them to the borders of the serpentine walks, 
arranging them in such a manner as .to |n»- 



duce symmetry and beauty in the general ef- 
fect, intermingling in just proportions forest 
trees, erergreens, and flowering shrubs. He 
attended personally to the selection, removal, 
and planting of every tree ; and his Diary, 
which is very particular from day to day 
through the whole process, proves that he en- 
gaged in it with intense interest, and anzioua- 
ly watched each tree and shoot till it showed 
signs of renewed growth. Such trees as were 
not found on his own lands, he obtained from 
other parts of the country, and at length his 
d&ign was completed according to his wishes. 
The orchards, gardens, and green^houses 
were next replenished with all the varieties 
of rare fruit*trees, v^etables, shrubs, and flow- 
ering plants, which he could procure. This 
was less easily accomf^idied ; but, horticulture 
being with him a favorite pursuit, he contin- 
ued during his life to make new accessiona 
of fruits and plants, both native and exotic. 
Pruning trees was one of his amusements; 
and in the proper season he might be seen 
almost daily in hm grounds and gardens with 
a pruning-hook or other horticultural imple- 
ments in his hands. Skilful gardeners were 
sought by him from Europe, whose knowl- 
edge and experience enabled him to execute 
his plans. 



{]9 jEt.SS.1 life op WASHINGTON 197 

1^ Although relieved from pablic cares, he 

soon discovered, that the prospect, which he 

i had so fondly cherished, of enjoying the repose 

^ of retirement, was much brighter than the 

reality. Writing to General Knox, he said, 
f ^' It is not the letters from my friends, which 

^ give me trouble, or add aught to my perplex* 

^ ity. It is references to old matters, with which 

j I have nothing to do ; applications which 

oftentimes cannot be complied with ; inquiries 
which would require the pen of an historian to 
satisfy ; letters of compliment, as unmeaning 
perhaps as they are troublesome, but which 
must be attended to ; apd the commonplace 
business, which employs my pen and my 
time, often disagreeably. Indeed these, with 
company, deprive me of exercise, and, unless 
I can obtain relief, must be productive of dis- 
agreeable consequences." The ap^dications, 
of which he complains, were chiefly from of- 
ficers or other persons, who had been connect 
'ed with the army, and who wished to obtain 
from him certificates of character, or of ser- 
vices rendered during the war, or some other 
statement from his pen, for the purpose of 
substantiating claims upon the government. 
His real attachment to all who had served 
faithfully in the army, as well as his humani* 
if, prompted him to comidy with these le 



questo ; but in many cades they were aniea- 
eonable, and iti ail troublesome, as they re- 
quired an examination of bis voluminous pa- 
pens, and a recurrence to facts which often 
could aot be easily asoeitained. Aud then his 
correspondence on topics of public interest, 
friendship, and civility, with persons in Europe 
and America, was very extensive. Add lo 
this, his private affairs, the keefHX^ of ac- 
counts, aud his letters of business. For mote 
than two years after the close of the war he 
bad no «lerk or secretary, and he was there- 
fore incessantly employed in writing. At 
length this labor was in senfte degree lessened 
by the aid of Mr. Lear, who became his sec* 
retary, and resided in his family many yean 
(HI terms of intimate friendship^ 

The multitude of visiters at Mount YernoD 
kioreased. They came from the Old World 
and Che New. Among them were foreignerc 
of distinction, particularly from France and 
other countries on the eontinent of Europe,' 
hritiging letters of introduction from the Mar- 
quis de Lafayette, Count de Rochambeau, 
Ck)ttnt d'Estaing, and some of the other gen- 
ecai officers, who had served in America. The 
celebrated authoress and champion of liberty, 
-Oatfaerine Macanlay Graham, professed to have 
crossed the Atlantic for the sole purpose of 


testifying in person her admiration of the char* 
acter and deeds of Washington. His own 
countrymen, in every pent of the Union, as 
may well be saiqKieed, were not less earnest in 
their good will, or less ready to prove their re« 
spect and attachment. Some came to keep 
alive friendship, some to ask coansel on pub- 
lic affairs, and many to gratify a natural and 
ardent curiosity. This throng of visiters tie* 
cessarily demanded much of his time ; but in 
other respects the task of receiving them was 
made easy by the admirable economy of the 
household under the management of Mrs. 

His habits were uniform, and nearly the 
same as they had been previously to the wan 
He rose before the sun, and employed himself 
in his study, writing letters or reading, till the 
hour of breakfiut. When breakfast was over, 
his horse was ready at the door, and he rode 
to his farms and gave directions for the day to 
the managers and laborers. Horses were lik^ 
wise prepared for his guests, whenever they 
chose to accompany him, or to amuse them*- 
selves by excursions into the country. Re«- 
turning from his fields, and despatching such 
business as happened to be on hand, he went 
again to his study, and continued there till 
ihiee o'clock, when he was summoned to diu- 



ner. The remainder of the day and the eve* 
ning were devoted to company, or to recreation 
in the family circle. At ten he retired to 
rest. From these habits he seldom deviatedy 
unless compelled to do so by particular cir- 

The State of Yii^nia having resolved to 
erect a statue in honor of General Washington, 
the governor was authorized to employ an art- 
ist in Europe to execute it. Dr. Franklin and 
Mr. Jefferson, then in Paris, were commission* 
ed to select the artist and make the contract. 
They chose M. Houdon, who was accounted 
one of the first statuaries of his time. It was 
the intention, that the statue should bear an 
exact resemblance to the original. M. Houdoa 
engaged in the undertaking with great enthu- 
siasm, and came to America in the same vessel, 
that conveyed Dr. Franklin home from his long 
and brilliant mission to France. He was at 
Mount Yernon three weeks, in the month of 
October, 1786, and modelled a bust of General 
Washington, as exact in all its lineaments as 
his skill could make it. The statue is a pre* 
cise copy of the model, and is undoubtedly the 
best representation of the original that exists. 

However much Washington was devoted to 
his private pursuits, so congenial to his taste 
and so exacting in their claims on his atten- 

iBr.68.] LIFE OP VASUIHUrON. 201 

tion, yet neither his zeal for the pfublic good, 
nor the importunity of his correspondents, 
would allow his thoughts to be withdrawn 
from the political condition of his country. 
His opinions were asked and his advice was 
sought by the patriotic leaders in the public 
councils, and by such eminent persons as had 
been his coadjutors in the great work of inde* 
pendence, who now looked with concern upon 
the system of national government, which was 
confessedly inadequate to stand by its own 
strength, much less to sustain the Union of the 
States. This union had hitherto been pre 
served by the pressure of war. It was rather 
the last resort of a stern necessity, than the 
spontaneous choice of all the thirteen repub- 
lics. Peace had taken away its main props, 
and was fast dissolving the slender bands by 
which it Was bound together. Congress was 
its centre of action ; and this body, imperfect- 
ly organized, possessing little real authority, 
never confident in what it possessed, and often 
distracted by party discords, had become almost 

The confederation had proved itself to be 
defective in many points absolutely essential to 
the prosperity of a national government, if not 
to its very existence. The most remarkable 
of these defects was the want of power to reg* 


202 LIFE or WASHiNGTOiii. im 

tdate commerce, and to provide for the pay 
ment of debts contracted by the confederacy. 
Without such power it was impossible to eze^^ 
cute treaties) fulfil foreign engagements, or 
cause the nation to be respected abroad ; and 
equally so, to render justice to public creditors 
at home, and to appease the clamor of discon«- 
tent and disaffection, which so glaring a breach 
of public faith would naturally mise. 

It was evident to all, that an alarming crisis 
was near at hand, scarcely less to be dreaded 
than the war from which the country had just 
emerged, unless a timely and effectual remedy 
could be provided. Washington's sentiments 
were often, freely, and feelingly expressed. 
*^ That we have it in our power," said he, ^' to 
beoome one of the most respectable nations 
upon earth, admits, in my humble opinion, of 
no doubt, if we would but pursue a wise, just, 
and liberal policy towards one another, and 
keep good faith with the rest of the world. 
That our resources are ample and increasing, 
none can deny ; but, while they are grudging- 
ly applied, or not applied at all, we give a vital 
stab to public faith, and shall sink, in the eyes 
of Europe, into contempt* It has long been a 
speculative question among philosophers and 
wise men, whether foreign commerce is of real 
advantage to any country ; that is, whether 



f the luxursr, effeminacy, and corraptions, which 

} are introduced along with it, are counterbal- 

' anced by the convenience and wealth which 

' it brings. But the decision of this question is 

i of very little importance to us. We have 

! abundant reason to be convinced, that the spirit 

of trade, which pervades these States, is not 
to be restrained. It behoves us then to estab*- 
lish just principles ; and this cannot, any more 
than other matters of national concern, be done 
I by thirteen heads, differently constructed and 

organized. The necessity, therefore, of a con- 
trolling power is obvious ; and why it should 
be withheld is beyond my comprehension." 

In short, the embarrassments growing out 
of the weakness of the confederacy, the utter 
inability of Congress to collect the means for 
paying the public debts or to provide for their 
security, the jealousies of the States, and the 
factious spirit of individuals, filled the mind 
of every true friend to his country with gloom 
and despondency. Congress had recommend- 
ed an impost, or rate of duties, which was to 
be uniform in all the States, and the proceeds 
of which were to be appropriated to relieve 
the national wants. The States came tardily 
into this measure, as it seemed to be yielding 
a powor, which was claimed as a special pre* 
rogative of State sovereignty. The States, in 


which commerce chiefly centred, were infla* 
enced by another motive. A larger amount 
would be drawn from the revenue in such 
States, than in others of equal or greater ex* 
tent, population, and internal wealth. The 
fiict was overlooked or disregarded, that the 
consumers, wherever they resided, actually 
paid the impost, and that the commercial 
States, by controlling the imposts in their own 
ports, enjoyed advantages which the others did 
not possess. New York never acceded to the 
recommendation of Congress in such a manner 
as to make it operative; and, as the success of 
the measure everywhere depended on the ca* 
price of the legislatures, and a rigid system of 
collection faithfully administered, there was 
but little hope of its answering the important 
end of supplying the national treasury. 

A dissolution of the Union, or an early and 
thorough reform, was inevitable. The mode 
of efieoting the latter, and saving the republic, 
was a theme upon which Washington dwell 
with deep solicitude in his correspondence and 
conversations with his friends. By a concur- 
rence of favorable circumstances his advice 
and personal efforts were made available at the 
beginning of the train of events, which ended 
in the achievement of the constitution. " To 
form a compact relative to the navigation of 


the rivers Potomac and Pocomoke, and of part 
of the bay of Chesapeake, commissioners were 
appointed by the legislatures of Virginia and 
Maryland, who assembled at Alexandria, in 
March, 1785. While at Mount Yernon on a 
visit, they agreed to propose to their respective 
governments the appointment of other commis- 
sioners, with power to make conjoint arrange- 
ments, to which the assent of Congress was to 
be solicited, for maintaining a naval force in 
the Chesapeake, and to establish a tariff of du- 
ties on imports, to which the laws of both 
States should conform. When these proposi- 
tions received the assent of the legislature of 
Virginia, an additional resolution was passed, 
directing that which respected the duties on 
imports to be communicated to all the States 
in the Union, which were invited to send dep- 
uties to the meeting." * 

Accordingly, in January following, the As- 
sembly of Virginia appointed commissioners, 
who were instructed to meet such as should 
be appointed by the other States, " to take into 
consideration the trade of the United States, 
to examine the relative situation and trade of 
the said States, to consider how far a uniform 

* Marshau^'s lAft of fFaskingian^ 2d ediUon, Vol. IL 
p. 105. 


STStem in their commercial relations may be 
necessary to their common interest and their 
permanent harmony, and to report to the sev- 
eral States such an act relative to this great 
object, as, when unanimously ratified by thera, 
will enable the United States in Congress as«- 
sembled efiectually to provide for the same.'* 
The commissioners met at Annapolis, in Sep- 
tember, 1786. Five States only sent deputies, 
and some of these came with such limited 
powers, tliat it was soon ascertained that noth- 
ing could be done towards effecting the object 
for which they had come together. Their de- 
liberations ended in a report to their respective 
States, in which they represented the defects 
of the federal sjrstem, and the necessity of a 
revision. They likewise recommended anoth- 
er convention of deputies from all the States, 
furnished with requisite powers, who should 
meet at Philadelphia on <the second day of 
May. At the same time they sent a letter to 
Congress accompanied with a copy of their re- 
port to the States 

M.] LIFB or WASHIlfGTOH. 907 


Propoftl for a gsBoenl CoDTention, and Woahlngton appointed a 
Delegate from Virginia. — His Reasons for wishing to decline. 
— Society of the Cincinnati. — Washington accepts the Ap^ 
poUtment an Delegate. — Atteoda the Conventiony is choeen ita 
President, and affiles his Name to the New Constitution. — Hia 
Opinion of the Constitution. — It is adopted by the People. — 
Wanhingtoa choeeo the fiiat Praaident of the United SlatM. 

When the legklatare of Yirginia anembledy 
the report of the deputies was taken into con- 
rideiatioo, and it was resolved to appoint seven 
delegates to meet those from the other States 
in a general convention. Washington's name 
was pat at the head of the list, and he was 
chosen by a unanimons vote of the representa- 
tives. The intelligence was first comsnunica- 
ted to him by Mr. Madison, then a member of 
the Assembly, and afterwards officially by the 

He was not a little embarrassed with this 
choice ; for, although he heartily approved the 
measure, yet he thought there were reasons of 
a personal nature, which made it inezpedienti 
if not improper, for him to take any part in 
it He did not absolutely decline, but suggest* 
ed his difficulties, aud expressed a hope, that 
some other person would be appointed in his 



iOi LtPC or WASHINGTON. (vm 

place. As the weight of his name and the 
wisdom of his counsels were felt to be ex* 
tremely important, in giving dignity and suc- 
cess to the proceedings of the convention, and 
as several months would intervene before the 
meeting, neither the governor nor his other 
friends pressed him to a hasty decision, trust- 
ing that time and reflection would remove his 

His objections were frankly stated, and they 
are among the many evktences of his scrupu* 
bus legiird to diractnest and oonaisteoey kt 
every act of his life. ^' It is not only ineoii* 
▼enient for me to leave home," said he to the 
governor, ^^but there will be, I apptehend, ioo 
much cause to charge my conduct with inoon^ 
sistency in again appearing on a public theatre, 
after a public declaration to the contrary ; and 
it will, I fear, have a tendency to sweep me 
back into the tide of puUic affairs, when re- 
tirement and ease are so much desired by me, 
and so ecGsentially necessary." There can be 
no doubt, that, when he resigned his commis- 
sion in the army, he firmly believed nothing 
could again occur to draw him from the retire- 
ment, to which he returned with such un- 
feigned satisfaction, and which no other con- 
sideration than the superior claims of his 
country could induce him to forego. On the LifE or WAdnmGTDir* 309* 

present oceasian he was not convinced, thaf 
his'services would be more vahiable than those 
of other citieens, whose ability and knowledge 
of public affairs, as hie modesty would per- 
suade him, better qnalified them for the task 
of demising and maturing a system of civil 

There was another objeetion, also, which 
seemed to bear with conrnderable weight on 
Ms mind. At the close of the war, some of 
the officers had formed themselves into an aa« 
toeiation, called the Society nftkB Cmckmad^ 
the object of which was to establish a bond 
of tmion and fellowship between the officers, 
who had served together during the war, and 
were then about to be separated, and partiou«* 
lariy to raise a permanent fund tot the relief 
of ttnforttmate members, their widows, and or* 
phans. Although Washington was not oon-> 
cemed in forming this society, yet he was 
well pleased with its "benevoleiit design, and 
consented to be its pvesident. Unexpectedly 
to him, however, and to all olhers comBCted 
with it, a very general dissatisfaction arose 
throughout the country, in regard to some of 
the principles upon which the society was 
founded. It was to be hereditary in the fami- 
lies of the members ; it had a badge, cm: order, 
offensive in republican eyes, as imitating the 




Biiropean orders of knighthood ; it admitted 
foreign officers, -who had served in America, 
and their descendants ; it provided for an in- 
definite accumulation of funds, which were to 
be disposed of at the discretion of the mem- 
bers. Discontents grew into clamorous cen- 
sures. Pamphlets were written against the 
society, and it was denounced as anti-republi- 
ean, and a dangerous political ingine. At the 
first geiWEal meeting, which was held at Phil- 
adelphia in Blay, 1784, Washington exerted 
himself successfully to have the most objec- 
tionable features altered, and the articles of 
association were new modelled conformably 
to his suggestions* After these changes the 
alarmists were less vehement in their attacks ; 
but they were not silenced, and the society 
continued to be looked upon with jealousy and 

A second general meeting was to take place 
in Philadelphia at the time appointed for the 
assembling of the conventi<m. Before receiv- 
ing notice that he was chosen a delegate, 
Washington had written a circular letter to the 
branches of the Society in the different States, 
declaring his intention to resign the presidency, 
and giving reasons why it would be incon- 
venient for him to attend the general meeting. 
He thought himself thus placed in a delicate 


JEt.54.] life of WASHINGTON. 811 

situation. Were he to be present at the con- 
vention, the members of the Cincinnati Soci- 
ety might suppose they had just grounds for 
suspecting his sincerity, or even of charging 
him with having deserted the officers, who had 
so nobly supported him during the war, and 
always manifested towards him uncommon re- 
spect and attachment. Having a grateful sense 
of their affectidn, and reciprocating in reality 
all their kind feelings, he was reluctant to put 
himself in a condition, by which their favor- 
able sentiments would be altered, or their sen- 
sibility in any degree wounded. 

Again, some of his friends in various parts 
of the country expressed themselves doubting- 
ly in their letters, as to the propriety of his 
going to the convention, and some advised 
against it. Many thought the scheme illegal, 
since there was no provision in the articles of 
the confederation for such a mode of revinon, 
and it had not been proposed by Congress. It 
was feared, therefore, that the doings of the 
convention would end in a failure, and perhaps 
in the disgrace of the delegates. They, who 
were perplexed with apprehensions of this sort, 
were unwilling that the brilliant reputation of 
Washington should be put to the hazard of be- 
ing tarnished by an abortive experiment, and 
believed the interests of the country required 


it to be keld in raservB for a move fitting op- 

These obstacles, formidable for a time, were 
at last removed. Crongress took the subject 
into consideration, and xecommeoded to the 
States to send delegates to the convention foi 
the purposes mentioned in the Annapolis report. 
Thus the messure was sanctioned by law. 
Congress likewise aj^nted the second Mon- 
day in May, as the day for the delegates to as- 
semble at Philadelphia. The time waa fixed 
with refeorence to the meeting of the Cincin^ 
nati, which was to be a week earlier, whereby 
General Washington would be enabled to join 
bis brethren of that fraternity, should he think 
proper, and explain his motives for declining 
to be again elected president. 

AAer these pioceedingB^ and after it waa 
found that the more enlightened part of tho 
community very generally approved the schemQ 
of the convention, his friends everywhere urg** 
ed him to accept the appointment as one of the 
delegates from Virginia, and be acceded to 
their wishes. Another circumstance had much 
influence in bringing him to this decision. It 
began to be whispered, that the persons op^ 
posed to the convention were at heart mon- 
archists, and that they were glad to see the 
distractions of the country increasiAg^ till the 



^ peopW lAould be weary of ihem, and discovei 

their only hope of aecuri(y to consist in a 

I strong government, as it wa3 generally caUed| 

I or, in other words, a constitutional monarchy ; 

, for BO one was ever supposed to dream of a 

, despotic power in America. It has been said 

and believed, thai a small party, in despair of 
better thii^, actually meditated such a project, 
and turned their eyee to sqme of the roya) 
fiunilies in Europe for a sovereign suited iq 

I control the ^ring elements of republicanisoi 

in the United States* However this may be, 

^ it is certain that no imagined remedy could 

have been more severely reprobated by Wash*- 
ifigton. We have seen with what a stern re- 
huke the pDe|K>sal to be a king waii met by 

' him, even when he liteically had the power of 

the nation in his hands. From the beginning 
of the Revolution to the end of bis lifio, he 
vaa an uncompromising advocate fpr a repub? 
lican system. In the abstract he regarded it 
as the best ; and be had fietith enough in the 
virtue of the people, and in the efficacy of 
their former habits, to convince him that it 
might be successfully established. At all 
events he was for having the experiment thor- 
oughly tried ; and his whole conduct proves, 
Ihat, in regard to himself, he was ready to risk 
his reputation, his property, and his life, if 


necessary, in a cause so momentous to the 
welfare of his country and to the social pio* 
gress of mankind. 

He did not go to the convention unprepared 
for the great work there to be undertaken. 
His knowledge of the institutions of hb own 
country and of its political forms, both in theii 
general character and minute and affiliated 
relations, gained by inquiry and long expe- 
rience, was probably as complete as that of 
any other man. But he was not satisfied with 
this alone. He read the history and examined 
the principles of the ancient and modem con*^ 
federacies. There is a paper in his handwrit- 
I ing, which contains an abstract of each, and 

I in which are noted, in a methodical order, 

their chief characteristics, the kinds of au- 
thority they possessed, their modes of oper* 
ation, and their defects. The confederacies 
analyzed in this paper are the Lycian, Ant- 
phictyonic, Actuean, Helvetic, Belgic, and 
Germtuiic. He also read the standard works 
on general politics and the science of gov- 
ernment, abridging parts of them, according 
to his usual practice, that he might impress 
the essential points more deeply ou his mind. 
He was apprehensive, that the delegates might 
come together fettered with instructions, which 
would embarrass and retard, if not^ defeat* 


>T.d5.] LIFE or WASHIlHSTOJf. 215 

the salutary end proposed. ''My wi^ is,'* 
said he, '* that the convention may adopt no 
temporizing expedients, bat probe the defects 
of the constitution to the bottom, and provide 
a radical cure, whether they are agreed to or 
not. A conduct of this kind will stamp wis-' 
dom and dignity on their proceedings, and 
hold up a light, which sooner or later will 
have its influence." Such were the prepara- 
tions, and such the sentiments, with which 
he went to the convention. 

His arrival at Philadelphia was attended 
with public honors. At Chester he was met 
by General Mifliin, Speaker of the Assembly 
of Pennsylvania, and several olScers and gen- 
tlemen of distinction, who proceeded with 
him from that place. At Gray's Ferry a com- 
pany of light-horse took charge of him and 
escorted him into the city. His first visit was 
to Dr. Franklin, at that time President of 
Pennsylvania. All the States were represent- 
ed in the convention, except Rhode Island; 
and, when the body was organized for busi- 
ness, General Washington was elected by a 
unanimous vote to the president's chair. The 
convention was in session four months, and 
the diligence of the members is proved by the 
fact, that they sat from five to seven hours a 
day. The result was the Constitution of the 


216 LiFC or WASHiHGiajf . {vvh 

United States, which was preposed to he sub^ 
stitntedfor the Artieles of Confederation, Oa 
the 17th of September, 1787, the eonstitutioQ 
was signed by all the memben proseot, ezoept 
three, and ferwarded with a letter to Congress. 
By that assembly it was esnt to the State 
legislalares, tot the piupoee of being submitted 
IB each State to a conrentien of delegntea 
chosen by the people, in cpaformity with « 
lesolTo of the general oonveation. 

The constitution,, as it came from the band3 
ef its fraoBeni, was regarded by no one as the- 
•retioally perfect. To form a compact, which 
should unite thirteen independent lepublice 
into a consolidated goTemment possessing a 
control over Ae whole, was not a work of easy 
aohteTement, even if there had been a uni- 
formity in the previously established systems 
of the several States. The difficulty was in* 
creased by the wide diffeosnces in their situa;* 
tion, extent, habits, wealth, and particular iA^ 
terests. Rights and privileges were to be 
surrendered, not always in proportion to the 
advantages which seemed to be promised as an 
equivalent. In diort, the constitution was an 
amicable compromise, the result of mutual 
deference and concession. Dr. Franklin said^ 
in a short speech near the close of the conr 
rention ; " I consent to this constitution, be- 


came I expect no bettw, and because I am not 
mate it is not the best. The opinions I have 
had of its errors I sacrifice to the public good.'* 
And Washingtoa wrote not long afterwards ; 
^ There are some things in the new form, I 
wiU readily acknowledge, which never did, 
and I am persuaded never will, obtain my eor<* 
dial approbation ; but I did then conceive, and 
do now meet fiimly believe, that in the aggre-> 
gate it is the best constitution, that can be oin 
taaaed at this epoch, and that this, or a disso-i 
Itttion, awaits our choice, and is the only al-* 
ternative." Again; ^^It appears to me little 
diort of a miracle, that the delegates from so 
many States, different from each other in their 
manners, cirouDBStances, and prejudices, riiould 
unite in forming a system of national goven^ 
ment, so little liable to well-founded objeC"> 
tions. Nor am I yet such an enthusiastic, par-* 
tial, or undiscrinunating admirer of it, as not 
to perceive it is tinctured with sonie real 
though not mdical defects." 

Similar sentiments were doubtless entertain* 
ed by all the promineut friends to the consti* 
tntion. F&ulty as it was, they looked upon it 
as the best that could be made, in the existing 
state of things, and as sueh they wished it to 
be fairiy tried. It was moreover remarkable, 
that what one called a defect, another thought 

818 Lire OF WASHINGTON. [vm 

its most Taluable part, so that in detail it wis 
almost wholly condemned and approved. This 
was a proof, that there was nothing in it es- 
sentially bad| and that it approached Terj 
nearly to a just medaum. If we judge from 
the tenor a£ Washington's letters, after it was 
sent out to the world, he watched its fitte with 
anxious solicitude, and was animated with joy 
at the faror it gradually gained with the pub- 
lie and its ultimate triumph. It was unirer- 
sally agreed, that his name affixed to the eon- 
stitution carried with it a most efledire in- 
fluence on the minds of the people. 

The legislatures of all the States, which 
had been represented in the general couTen- 
tion, directed State conventions to be assem- 
bled, consisting of delegates chosen by the 
people for the express purpose of deciding on 
the adoption of the constitution. The ratifi- 
cation of nine States was necessary to give it 
validity and effect The conventions in the 
several States m^t at different times, and it 
was nearly a year before the requisite nun^Jber 
had passed a decision. In the mean time, 
both the friends and opponents of the consti- 
tution were extremely active. The weight of 
opinion, however, was found everywhere to 
preponderate on the side of the constitution. 
In some of the States it was adopted unan^ 


mously, and id nearly all of thein the majority 
was much larger than its moat zealous advo* 
eates had ventured to hope. Amendments 
were reeommended in some instances, but in 
none was the ratification clogged by positive 
conditions of this sort. The same spirit of 
compromise and mutual concession seemed to 
prevail, that had been manifested in the gen* 
era! convention. In fine, though the opposi* 
tion was strong, and upheld by a few of the 
ablest and best men in the country, yet the 
popular voice was so decidedly expressed on 
the other side, as to afford the most encourag- 
ing presages of the successful operation of the 
new form of government. 

Each State convention transmitted to Con- 
gress a testimonial of its ratification, signed by 
all its members. When these testimonials had 
been received from the requisite number of 
States, an act was passed by Congress appoint- 
ing a day for the people thronghout the Union, 
to choose electors of a President of the United 
States, according to Ae constitution, and an- 
other day for the electors to meet and vote for 
the person of their choice. The former elec- 
tion was to take place on the firat Wednesday 
in February, 1789, and the latter on the first 
Wednesday in March following. 

It was DO sooner ascertained, that the con- 


adtnlioD would probaUy be adofited, than tho 
eyes of the natien were turaed upon Wasb* 
ugtOB, as the individual to be aelected for thai 
ofSlce, the highest^ most honoiaUe, and mool 
leapoBoibie, that aould be conlerrad by the 
aufiiagea of a frae people. His relueCaoce to 
being fiurther mgaged in publte life vea mstt 
knowfi, but every one knew alao, that be nev* 
er MfuGed to obey the call of hia eeimtryy oi 
lo make peisonal sacriiices for die pafaiic good* 
This was a ground of hope and of oonfidence. 
in him the whole people would be united* 
As to other candidates, Aese would be differ^ 
ances of opinion, tivalahips, and, it waa foared, 
unhappy divisions, that might mar the work 
no suoeesafoUy begun, and perhaps end in its 
overthiDW and ruin. The interest fait in the 
subject, therefore, was intense ; and at no pe- 
riod, even daring die struggle of die Revolu^ 
4ion, was the strong support of Wadiington 
more necessary, than at this crios. 

The public sentiment was too openly and 
limdly proclaimed to be concealed fipom him. 
Indeed those of his compatriots and associate^ 
whose intimacy entitled them to use such a 
freedom, begw early to prepares him for the 
fesult, by such arguments and advice, as they 
knew would be candidly considered, and be 
Ihe bent suited to aot upon his nund. Some 


Mt.9$.} LIFE OF WASHiy^pTaiff. ^l 

tkD% h%tom die election, tti reply to a letter in 
vhidK the subject hed been broegkt pointedly 
before bun by a gentlemaai thea a. member of 
CoogreaSy be wrote 3$ {oilows. 

'' Should the coniiogeiw^y you suggest take 
I^ace, and should my unfeigned reluctance to 
accept the office be overcome by a deference 
to the reeeons and opinions of my frieiidsi,^ 
might I not, after the declarations I have 
made, (and Heaven knows tbey were made in. 
the sincerity of my heart,) in Ihe jivlgmeut 
of the impartial world and of posterity, be 
ehargeaUe with levity and inconsistency, if 
DoC with rashness and ambition? Nay, far* 
ther, wocdd tbeie not be some apparent fooor 
daiion lor the two former charges ? Now jue- 
tice to myself and tranqnilUty of conscience 
require, that I should act a psrt, if not above 
imputation, at least capable of vindication. 
Nor will you conceive me to be too solicitous 
for repntation. Though I prize as I ought the 
good optxiion of my fellow citizens, yet, if I 
know myself, I would not seek or retain popa* 
larity at the expense of one social duty or 
moral virtue. 

'^ While doing what my conscience inform* 
ed me was right, as it respected my God, my 
eountry, and myself, I could despise all- the 
party clamor and unjust censure, which might 

322 LIFE or WASHiirGTon. ivms: 

be expected from some, whose penonal enmity 
might be occasioned by their hostility to the 
government. I am conscious, that I fear alone 
to give any real occasion for obloqny, and that 
I do not dread to meet with unmerited re- 
proach. And certain I am, whensoever I shall 
be convinced the good of my country requires 
my reputation to be put in risk, regard for my 
own fame will not come iti competition with 
an object of so much magnitude. If I declin- 
ed the task, it would lie upon quite another 
principle. Notwithstanding my advanced sea- 
son of life, my increasing fondness for agricul- 
tural amusements, and my growing love of 
retirement, augment and confirm my decided 
predilection for the character of a private citi- 
zen, yet it would be no one of these motives, 
nor the hazard to which my former reputation 
might be exposed, nor the terror of encounter- 
ing new fatignes and troubles, that would de- 
ter me from an acceptance ; but a belief, that 
some other person, who had less pretence, and 
less inclination, to be excused, could execute 
all the duties full as satisfactorily as myself.'' 

Suffice it to say, that his scruples yielded 
to the earnest solicitations of his friends, to 
mature reflection, and to the counsels of his 
unerring judgment. The day of election 
came, and Osobox Washingtok was chosen, 


iBr.57.1 LirB OF WASHINGTON. ^£i 

by the Tinaaiixioiui vote of the electors, and 
probably without a dissenting voice in the 
whole natioui the first President of the United 

334 LIFK OF WikSiIIliGTO« ivm 


Ha reeeiTM official Notice of being cboeen Pietidont — Urn 
Journey to the Seet of GoTernment et New York. — His Oftth 
of Office end loiogiinl Speech. — Acqoeiote himteif with the 
Sute of pohlic Affaira. — His Attentioo to his priTtte Pomits. 

— His Manner of receiTing Visits and entertaining Company. 

— Afflicted with a se? ere Illness. ^ Death of his Mother. — 
EcoBOB J of his Uovaehold. — fiieenttve DepartmeBli formed. 

It being known that the choice of the peo- 
ple had fallen on General Washington foi 
Pcesident, he made preparations to begin the 
duties of the office as soon as bis election 
should be notified to him by the jmper au- 
thority, l^he 4th of March was assigned as 
the day for the meeting of Congress, but a 
quorum did not come together till a month 
later. The votes of the electors were then 
opened and counted ; and a special messenger 
was despatched to Mount Ternon with a letter 
from the President of the Senate to General 
Washington, conveying official intelligence of 
bis election. John Adams was at the same 
time declared to be chosen Vice-President of 
the United States. Two days after receiving 
the notification, Washington left home for 
New York, which was then the seat of Con- 


afir.ST.l LIFE OF WASHlNQTON« 900 

Hia feelings on thit oeeasioii are indicated 
in the following extract from his Diary} writ* 
ten on the day of his depertaie. '^ Aboat ten 
o'clock I bade adiea lo Mount Yernon, to prn 
vate life, and to domestic felicity ; and, with 
a mind oppfessed with more anxious and paiu- 
f«il sensations than I bare words to expiess,, 
set out tot New York in company with Mr. 
Thomson and Colonel Humphreys^ with the 
best diqiosition to render service to my coun- 
try in obedience to its call, but with l^ss lu^ 
of answering its eapectatioas*" Th^ whol^ 
journey was a kind of triumphal procession 
He had hardly left hie own bou9ey when h^ 
was met by a company of gentlemen firom 
Alexandria, who proceeded with him to thai 
town, where an entertainment was prpFided 
for hkn, and where he xeceivod and aoswei^d 
a public address. The peofde gathered to n^ 
him afi be passed along the read* When he 
approached the several towne, the most le^ 
spectable citizens came out to meet and wel^ 
ooma him; he was escorted from plaee t0 
place by companies of militia; and in the 
principal cities his presence was announced by 
the firing of cannon, ringing of bells, and mili* 
tary display. 

A committee of Ooogress, consisting of 
three members of the Senate and five a£ thp 



House of Representatives, was aj^iated to 
meet him in New Jersey and attend him to 
the city of New York. To Elizabethtown 
Point came many other persons of distinction, 
and the heads of the several departments of 
government. He was there received in a 
barge, splendidly fitted up for the occasion, 
and rowed by thirteen pilots in white uni- 
forms. This was followed by vessels and 
boats, fancifully decorated, and crowded with 
spectators. When the President's barge came 
near to the city, a salute of thirteen guns was 
fired from the vessels in the harbor, and from 
• the Battery. At the landing he was again 
saluted by a discharge of artillery, and was 
joined by the governor and other officon of 
the State, and the corporati<m of 4he city. A 
procession was then formed, headed by a long 
military train, which was followed by the 
principal ofiicers of the State and dty, the 
clergy, foreign ministers, and a great concourse 
of citiasens. The procession advanced to the 
house prepared f<^ the reception of the Presi 
dent. The day was passed in festivity and 
joy, and in the evening the city was brilliant- 
ly illuminated. 

The first public act of the President way 
that of taking the oath of office. It was de- 
cided by Congress, that this should be done 


with some ceremony. In the morning of the 
day appointed) April 30th, at nine o'docki re* 
ligious serricee suited to the occasion were 
performed in all the churches of the city. At 
twelve the troops paraded before the Presi-* 
dent's door, and soon afterwards came the 
committees of Congress and the heads of de« 
partments in carriages, to attend him to the 
Federal Hall, where the two houses of Con* 
grass were assembled. The progression moved 
forward with the troops in front, next the 
committees and heads of departments, then 
the President in a coach alone, foUow^ed by 
the foreign ministers, civil officers of the State^ 
and citizens. Arrived at the Hall, he ascend* 
ed to the senate-chamber, and passed thence 
to a balcony in front of the house, where the 
oath was administered to him in presence of 
the people by Chancellor Livingston. The 
President returned to the senate-chamber, in 
the midst of loud acclamaUons from the sur* 
rounding throng of spectators, and delivered to 
the two branches of Congress his Inaugural 
Speech. He then went on foot to St. Paul's 
Church, where prayers were read by the bisbr 
op, and the ceremonies were closed. Tokens 
of joy were everywhere exhibited, as on the 
day of his arrival, and at night there was a 
display of illuminations and fireworks. 

9dd LTr£ OF WAdtfrnoTON. tnm 

Under ati^iees thtis fatmwUe^ WaodHngtoo 
entered again upon the ctaeet of public life^ 
surrounded and sustained by the emiiienl lead-* 
ers, who had acted with him in esiabliriiiag 
the liberties of his eountry, and cheered with 
the conviction of having received the T(rfao* 
tary suffrage and possessing the good wishes 
of every American citizen. Yet he was aware^ 
that the task he had tmdjartaken was one of 
no common ttdisponsibility or easy axecutioiL 
The hopes tad Mp^taiibna 6f his counlryo 
men, he knew, were in proportion to tfa^ uamt^ 
ifflity with whioh Ihey bad tiowned him with 
honors, and laid the hardens of their pabiio 
cares on his shonlders. A kiew system of 
government was to be put in aetioO) upon 
which depended the destiny of his eeontry) 
and with the good or ill success of which his 
flitare reputation would be identifted. 

In his inaugnnd speech, after expressing fait 
deep sense of the magnitude of the trust con* 
fided to him, the struggles bis mind had un* 
dergone in deciding to accept it, and « con« 
sciousness of his deficiencies, he added ; ^ In 
this conflict of emotions, all I dare «v«r is, 
that it has been my faithful study U> collect 
my duty from a just appreciation of every 
circumstance by which it might be aflected* 
All I dare hope is, that, if in accepting this 


Mr,m} LIFE or fTASHlNCTOlV.' 829 

task I hftire been too tmfch iWiiyed by a grate- 
ful retiaembrance of former instances, or by an 
affectionate sensibility to this cmns^endent 
proof, of the confidence of tny fellow citizens, 
and have thence too little consulted tny inea- 
pecity, as well as disinclitiation for the weighty 
and untried eares before me, my error will be 
palliated by the motiyes which misled me, 
imd its eonseqoences be judged by my eoutih 
%tf with seme shafe of the partiality in which 
Ihey Originated.'* With these sehtitoents, and 
with fert^nt supplications to the Almighty 
Being, whose guidance and overruling Pmvf- 
deuce be acknowledged hi all the events of 
his life, he commenced the arduous duties of 
chief magistmte of the nation* In eonfoiMity 
With the rule to which he had hitherto ad^ 
hered, he gave notice to Congreas, that he 
should aceept no other Compensation for hia 
services, than subh as would be ndoessary to 
deftay the expenses of his bonsehdd and oth^ 
charges incident to his public station. 
- As the various departments of government 
under the new system could not be instituted, 
till Congress had passed laws fbr their orgat>- 
ization and support, the business belonging to 
these departments continued to be transacted 
by the officers, who had previously been 
charged with it. Mr. Jay acted as secretary 


of IbiB^n aflairsi and General Knox as aociei* 
ary of war. The treasury was under ihe con- 
trol of a boaid of commissioners. The Free- 
ident requested from each of them an elab* 
orate report , that he might become acquainted 
with the actual state of the government in all 
its foreign and domestic relations. These re- 
ports he read and condensed with his own 
handy particularly that from )he treasury boards 
tiil ha made himself master of their oontants. 
In regard to foreign aflain, he pursued a atiU 
■oore laborious process. With pen in hand ha 
perased from beginning to end the offidal oor» 
respoodence, deposited in the public archives^ 
ftom the date of the treaty at peace at the 
termination of the war till the time he entered 
i:^n the Pceadency. These volumineus pa- 
pers he abridged and studied, aoeording to hit 
usual praeticey with the riew of fixing in hia 
mind evefy important point thi^ had been 
discussed, as well as the history of what had 
been done. 

Among the private reasons, which had dia> 
inclined him to leave his retirement at Mount 
Yemen, were his growing attachment to agri- 
culture, and his desire to pursue the S3f8tem 
adopted for the cultivation of his farms. Since 
the war he had devoted himself with equal 
delight and constancy to this pursuit, and 


broagbt his plans into a tndn, which promised 
the most satisfactory resalts. He had pro* 
eured from Europe the works of the best 
writers on the subject, which he read with 
diligence and reflection, drawing from them 
sach scientific principles and practical hints, 
as he could advantageously use in improving 
his modes of agriculture. He was resolved to 
mature his designs, and in the intervals of 
psblic duties to bestow a part of his leisure 
upon that object With his chief manager at 
Mount Yemen he left full and minute direo- 
tions in writing, and exacted from him a 
weekly report, in which were registered the 
ttansactions of each day on all the farms, such 
as the number of laborers employed, their 
health or sickness, the kind and quantity of 
work executed, the progress in planting, sow* 
ing, or harvesting the fields, the appearance 
of the crops at various stages of their growth, 
tbe effects of the weather on them, and the 
condition of the horses, cattle, and other live 
stock* By these details he was made perfect- 
ly acquainted with all that was done, and 
eonld give his orders with almost as much 
precision as if he had been on the spot. 

Once a week regularly, and sometimes twice, 
he wrote to the manager, remarking on his 
report of the preceding week, and adding new 

939 |4lFB OF WASHINGTOM« fl'Sit 

dkectione. These lettara fcequttbtlf ^xtfended 
to two or three sheets, aod were always wci^ 
tea with his own hand. Sueh was his labo* 
rious exactness, that the letter he seat awayr 
was usually transcribed from a rough draft. 
A press copy was taken of the transcripty 
which was car^Uy filed with the manager's 
seport for bis future inspection. In this habit 
h9 peiseyered with unabated diligence thsougk 
tihe wboJe eight years of his IVesidsncyy ex- 
ceipt during the diort visits he occasionally 
made U> Mount Vemon, at the close of the 
sessions of Congress, when his presence. cenU; 
be dispensed with at the seat, of government 
He moseover naintained a large coneqMMsdr-' 
^Qnce on agriculture with gentlemen in Euiope 
and America. His letters to Sir John Sin-* 
ciair^ Arthur Young, and Dr. Anderson, barns 
been published, and are well known. Indeed 
bis thoughts never seemed to flow more Isee- 
ly, nor bis pen to move more easily, than 
wh^n he was writing on agricuUurei extolling^ 
it as a most attractive pursuit, and describing 
the pleasure he derived from it and its sopo* 
rior claims not only on the practical econo« 
mist, but on the statesman and philantluo- 

The President had not been long in New 
York, before he fonnd it necessary to establish 



rates fbr leeeiving yiskert and entertuniag 
companf. There being no precedent to serve 
as a guide, this was an affair of considerable 
delicacy and difficulty. In the first place, it 
was essential to maintain the dignity of the 
office by such forms as would inspire deference 
aQd respect ; and, at the same time, the nature 
of republican institutions and the habits of the 
people required the chief magistrate to be ae^ 
cessible to every cttiasen on proper occasions 
and for reasonable purposes. A just line- was 
dMffefbre to be* drawn between toa much pomp 
and ceremony on the one hand, and an ex- 
treme of familiarity on the other. Regard was 
also to be had to the President's time and con- 
▼enience« After a short experiment of learing' 
the matter to the discretion of the public, it 
was proved, that without some fixed rale he 
would iiev«r have an hour at bis^ disposid. 
Prom bfsakftist till dinner his doov was be- 
sieged with persons calling to pay their re- 
spects, or to consult him on affairs of little 
moment. His sense of duty to the chnms of 
his office, and to himself, convinced him that 
tfiis practice could not be endured. The Vice* 
President, Mr. Jay, Mr. Madison, Mr. Hamilton, 
and other gentlemen, concurred m this opin- 
ion, and by their advice a different mode was 

234 LiF£ OF WASHINGTON. frm 

Everj Tuesday, between the hours of three 
and four, he was prepared to receive such per* 
sons as chose to call. Foreign ministersi 
strangers of distinction, and citizens, came and 
i?ent without ceremony. The hour was pass- 
ed in free conversation on promiscuous topies, 
in which the President joined. Every Friday 
afternoon the rooms were open in like manner 
for visits to Mrs. Washington, which were on a 
still more sociable footing, and at which Gen* 
eral Washington was always presenti These 
assemblages were of the nature of public lev* 
ees, and they did not preclude such visits of 
civility and friendship, between the President's 
family and others, as is customary in society. 
On affairs of business by appointment, wheth-^ 
er with public officers or private citizens, the 
President was always ready to bestow his time 
and attention. He accepted no invitations to 
dinner, but invited to his own table forugn 
ministers, officers of the government, and 
strangers, in such numbers at once as his do* 
mestic establishment would accommodate. On 
these occasions there was neither ostentation 
nor restraint, but the same simplicity and ease 
with which his guests had been entertained at 
Mount Temon. 

No visits were received on Simdays. In 
the moniing he uniformly attended churchi 



and in the afternoon he retired to his private 
apartment. The evening was spent with his 
family, and then an intimate friend would 
sometimes eall, but promiscuous company was 
not admitted. 

JSaving laid down these general rules, which 
soon became known to the public, he found 
relief from a heavy tax upon his time, and 
loose leisure for a faithful dischai^e of his du« 
ties. In the course of the summer, however, 
he was seized with a violent malady, which 
reduced him very low, and which for a few 
days was thought to endanger his life. He 
was confined six weeks to his bed, and it was 
more than twelve before his strength was re- 
stored. A constitution naturally strong, and 
the attendance of Dr. Bard, a physician equal- 
ly eminent for the excellence of his character 
and skill in his profession, enabled him to rise 
from an illness the most painful and trying 
that he had ev^ endured. From the effects 
of it he never entirely recovered. 

He had hardly gained strength to go abroad, 
when he heard of the death of his mother, 
who died in August, at the age of eighty-two. 
Writing to his sister on this occasion he said ; 
" Awful and affecting as the death of a parent 
is, there is consolation in knowing, that Heaven 
has spared ours to an age beyond which few 

236 Urfi OF WASHINGTON* [17*. 

wJtitmti, and fisuirored ber witb tlM foU enjoyment 
of her mental feM^ultiea, and -a$ muoh bodily 
itceogth as usuaUy falls to the lot of fourscoie. 
Under these considemtioBSy and a hope thai 
she is translated to a happier place, it is the 
duty of ber nelatives to yield doe submission 
to the decrees of the Creator." A diort time 
before be left Mount Yecnen for New York, he 
made a risit to his mother at Fredecicksfaargi 
the plaee of ber reside&oe. She was then 
sinldng under a disease, which he foresaw 
would prove fatal- ; and he tdok an affiDcting 
and final leave of ber, convinced he shoidd 
never see her again. She had been a widow 
forty-eix years. Through life dM was temark«> 
able for vigor of miod asid body, simplicity of 
mannera, and uprigbtness of chamcter. She 
must have lelt a mother's jofy at the suceess 
and lenown of her son, but tfaey caused no 
change in her deportment or style of living. 
Whenever be visited ber at her dwelling, even 
in the height of his g^atness, he lileraJly re* 
J:urned to the scenes and domestic habits of his 
boyhood. Neither pride nor vanity miagled 
with the feelings excited by the attentions she 
received as the mother of Washington. She 
listened to his praises and was silent, or added 
only that he had been a good son, and she be** 
lieved he had done his duty as a man. 


As soon ad he -vtst established in his oiScei 
'Washington introduced strict habits of econor 
my into his household, which were preserved 
•without essential change to the end of his 
public life. The whole was luider the care of 
a steward) to whom he gave general directions. 
All other persons connected with the establish^ 
ment were accountable to the steward, bint 
each of them was required to keep aa exact 
record of the purchases and expenditures made 
'by him, specifying every particular. These 
accounts, with tmdesmen's bills and other 
vouchers, were presented once a week to Wash* 
'ington, who inspected them minutely, and cer 
tified with his own signature thaft they were 
approved. By this method he was enabled to 
ascertain at any moment the precise state of 
his pecuniary affairs, and to guard against ex- 
travagance and waste. He might say with 
Seneca ; '< I keep an account of my expenses ; 
' I cannot affirm that I lose nothing, but I can 
tell you what I lose, and why, and in what 
manner." The salary of the President, as 
fixed by law, was twenty-five thousand dollars 
a year. But with the most rigid economy his 
expenses were seldom within this limit, and 
he was of course obliged to draw on his pri- 
vate fortune to make up the deficiency. 

Congress continued in session till near the 

it33 LIFE OF WASHUIGTOn. [17» 

end of September, when they adjourned for 
three months. They had been mostly occu- 
pied in passing laws for the ofganization of 
the government, the administration of justice, 
and the raising of a revenue. Mercantile reg- 
ulations were established, imposing duties on 
tonnage and imported goods. Amendments to 
the constitution were framed, and recommend- 
ed to the States for adoption. Three execu- 
tive departments were formed, at the head of 
each of which was to be a secretary, name- 
ly, the departments of foreign affairs, of the 
treasury, and of war. The first was after- 
wards called the department of state, and in- 
cluded both foreign and domestic affairs. So 
lai^e a portion of the administmtion of gov- 
ernment is effected by the executives of the 
several States, that a separate department for 
internal affairs was not thought necessary. 
The navy too was at this time so small, as not 
to require a distmct department. It was main« 
ly in the charge of the secretary of war. 





of the Exeo«tire DepwtniMti appointed. — Jadiciuy 
System organixed. — Waahington't Opinion of the Supreme 
Court. — Hit Rule in Appointments to Office.—- His Journej 
tlvovgb the Eastern Stttes.- System of Fteiding the PnUio 
Debts. —Place for the permanent Seat of Government agreed 

The requisite laws being passed, it next de- 
volved on the President to select proper per* 
sons to fill the several offices. In regard to the 
executive departments, this was of very great 
importance, inasmuch as the secretaries were 
not only to discharge the duties assigned tc 
them by the constitution and laws, but were 
to be his cabinet, or council of state. On the 
wisdom of his choice, therefore, would in a 
great degree depend the character and success 
of his administration. So much time had 
elapsed in the session of congress, that he had 
been able to take a full survey of the subject, 
and to decide with deliberation. 

Long experience in public affairs, a high po- 
litical standing, and acknowledged talents, 
pointed out Thomas Jefferson as eminently 
qualified for the state department. He was 
about to return from France, where he had 
filled the office of minister plenipotentiary, as 



successor to Dr. Franklin, with much credit to 
himself and his country. Alexander Hamil- 
ton was appointed to the head of the treasury. 
His transcendent abilities, integrity, firmness, 
and patriotism were well known to Washing- 
ion, after a thorough trial and familiar acquaint- 
ance in the Revolution ; and they were scnroe- 
1y less known or less appreciated by his coun- 
trymen at large. In the convention, Hamilton 
disapproved and opposed aome of the principal 
articles, of the constitution ; and the mom 
pnise is doe to him, that, after it was carried 
by a majority, and was proved to be the best 
that could be hoped for in Uie circumstances 
of .the times, he gave up his predilections, 
joined heartily with its friends, and put into 
'their scale the whole weight of his great 
powers of eloquence and argument, both in 
debate and by the use of his pen. Henry 
Knox was continued secretary of war, which 
station he had held under the confederation. 
As an officer, a man, and a friend, he was es- 
teemed by Washington ; and his steady prin- 
•ciples and public services had gained for him 
a general confidence. The post of attorney- 
general was conferred on Edmund Randolph, 
a gentleman distinguished by success in his 
profession at the bar, and by having been gov- 
ernor of Virginia, and a conspicuous mea^ber 



of the eonirmitioQ that framed the conatitutioDj 
Such were the heads of the executive depart-* 
mentB, and such the compositioQ of the coan«» 
eil, on which the President was mainly to lely 
for advice and support. 

For administering justice, in die execution of 
the laws for national purposes, th^ constitution 
had provided, that there should be a supreme 
court, and' such inferior courts as Congress 
should establish. In organizing the judiciary 
eystain, it was decided that the supreme court 
should consist of a chief justice and five asso* 
ciate justices, and that there should be district 
courts, with one judge in each State. An as* 
sociate justice and a district judge constituted 
a ciratiit court Washington's opinion of the 
importance of the supreme court is foicibly 
deseribed in his own language. '' Impressed 
with a conriction," said he, " that the due ad- 
ministration of justice is the firmest pillar of 
good government, I have considered the first 
arrang^Mnent of the judicial department as es«^ 
sential to the ha{q>ines8 of the country, and to 
the stability of its political system. Hence 
the selection of the fittest characters to ex- 
pound the laws, and dispense justice, has been 
an invariable object of my anxious concern." 
And again, in giving notice to Mr. Jay of his 
appointment as chief justice ; '' I have a full 

VOL. II. *' 

242 X-IFE or WA8HIKGTOH. {»BBk 

confidence that the love vhich yon bear to 
our country, and a desire to promote the gen- 
eral happiness, will not suffer you to hesitate a 
moment to bring into action the talents, knowl- 
edge, and integrity, which are so necessary to 
be exercised at the head of that department, 
which must be considered the keystone of oar 
political fabric." 

These views of the judiciary department, 
as forming a most essential branch of the gov- 
ernment, and as claiming the highest ccynid- 
eration, he always entertained; and in the 
appointment of justices, and judges of the 
district courts, he was extremely solicttous to 
secure the services of those, who were eminent 
for judicial knowledge, talents, personal worth, 
and experience. In placing John Jay at the 
head of the supreme court, he consulted alike 
the public good, the dignity of the court, and 
bis own feelings. No man in the nation poa* 
sessed a larger share of confidenoe, whether in 
regard to his ability or his legal attainments ; 
none was more valued for the services he hal 
rendered to his country, none more esteemed 
for his private virtues. The choice of his as- 
sociates was also fortunate, and the court as- 
sumed a respectability and weight suited to the 
rank conferred upcm it by the constitution. 

No part of the President's duties gave him 



more anxiety, than that of distributiiig the offi- 
ces in bis gift. Applications innQmeraUe flow- 
ed in upon him e^en before he left Monui 
Ternon,many of them from his personal friends, 
and others supported by the recommendations 
of his friends ; nor did they cease as long as 
any vacancies remained. He early prescribed 
to himself a rule, however, from which he 
never swerved, which was to give no pledges 
or encouragement to any applicant. He ai^ 
sweved them all civilly, but avowed his detor- 
minatioQ to suspend a decision till the time of 
making the appointments should arrive, and 
then, without favorer bias, to select such indi- 
viduals as in his judgment were best qualified 
to execute with faithfulness and ability the 
trust reposed in them. His sentiments and 
motives are well explained in a letter written 
to a gentleman, who had solicited an office £or 
another person. 

<' From the moment when the necessity had 
become more ajqMurent," said he, '< and as it 
were inevitable, I anticipated, with a heart 
filled wi^h distress, the ten thousand embar- 
rassments, perplexities, and troubles, to which 
I must again be exposed in the evening of a 
life already nearly consumed in public cares. 
Among all these anxieties, I will not conceal 
from you, I anticipated none greater, than those 

&44 X*IFE or WASHUKSTOn. fl789. 

that were likely to be produced by applications 
fmr appointments to the different offices, whieb 
would be created nnder the new gorernmeoL 
Mor will I conceal, that my apprehensions have 
already been but too well jostified. Soareely 
a day passes, in which applications of due kind 
or another do not arrive ; issofnach that, had 
I not early adopted somei general principles, I 
•should UMbre this time haire been wiioUy i)Q- 
-cttpied in this business. As it is, I bsTC found 
the number of answers, whidh I hft^e been 
necessitated to give in my own hand, an almost 
insupportable burden to me. 

^< The points in which all liiese answers 
have agreed in substance are, that, should it 
be my lot to go again into public office, I 
would go without being under any possible 
engagements of any nature whatsoever ; that, 
'83 fiff as I knew my own heart, I would not 
be in the remotest degree influenced, in mak- 
ing nominations, by motives arisii^; from the 
ties of family or blood; and that, on tbe 
other hand, three things, in my opiniiMi, ought 
principally to be regarded, namely, t;^ fitness 
of characters to fill offices, the comparative 
claims from the former merits and sufferings 
in service of the diflferent candidates, and the 
distribution <tf appointments in as equal a pio- 
- portion as might be to persons belonging to the 


dilbreiit States in the Union. Without pie- 
cautions of this kind, I clearly foresaw the 
endless jealousies, and possibly the iatal con« 
sequences, to which a government, depending 
altogether on the good-will of the people for 
its establishment, would certainly be exposed 
in its early stages. Besides, I thought, what* 
ever the effect might be in pleasing or die* 
pleadng any individuals at the present momenti 
a due concern for my own reputation, not less 
decisively than a sacred regard to the interestf 
of the community, required, that I should hold 
myself absolutely at liberty to act, while in 
office, with a sole reference to justice and the 
public good." 

In pmctice he verified these declarations, 
acting in every case with perfect independence^ 
looking first to the national interests, and next 
to the best means of promoting them, and adr 
mitting no other ground of preference between 
candidates, whose pretensions we^e in other 
respects equal, than that of former efforts or 
sacrifices in serving their country. 

For some time it had been the President's 
intention in the recess of Congress to make a 
tour through the eastern States, as well for the 
reestablishment of his health, as for observing 
the condition of the people, and the general 
disposition m regard to the new form of gov- 



emment. He anticipated fdeaflore also in re« 
yiewing the scenes of his first military cam* 
paign as Commander-in-chief, and in meeting 
the associates, who had contributed to lessen 
his toils and invigorate his spirit in times of 
peril and despondency. About the middle of 
October he left New York, accompanied by his 
two secretaries, Mr. Lear and Mr. Jackson, and 
he was absent a month. He travelled in his 
own carriage, and proceeded by way of New 
Haven, Hartford, Worcester, Boston, Salem, 
and Newburyport, as far as Portsmouth in New 
Hampshire. He returned by a different route 
through the interior of the country to Hartfordi 
and thence to New York. 

Such was the enthusiasm, which was now 
felt by all classes of the community in regard 
to Washington, an enthusiasm inspired by his 
virtues and his fame, that it was impossible for 
him to move in any direction, without drawing 
around him thousands of spectators, eager to 
gratify their eyes with a sight of his person, 
to greet him with acclamations of joy, and to 
exhibit testimonies of their respect and vene- 
ration. Men, women, and children, people of 
all ranks, ages, and occupations, assembled 
from far and near at the crossings of the roads 
and other public places, where it was known 
he would pass. Military escorts attended him 

At.57.] LIFE^OF WASHmCTUN. 247 

on the way^ and at the principal towns he 
was received and entertained by the civil 
authorities. Addresses were as usual present- 
ed to him by corporate bodies, reUgious socie- 
ties, and literary institutions, to which he re- 
turned appropriate answers. 

This journey was in all respects satisfactory 
to him, not more as furnishing proofs of the 
strong attachment of the people, than as cour 
yincing him of the growing prosperity of the 
country, and of the favor which the constitu- 
tion and the administration of government 
were gaining in the public mind. He was 
happy to see, that the effects of the war had 
almost disappeared, that agriculture was pur- 
sued with activity, that the harvests were 
abundant, manufactures increasing, the towns 
flourishing, and commerce becoming daily 
more extended and profitable. The condition 
of society, the progress of improvements, the 
success of industrious enterprise, all gave to- 
kens of order, peace, and contentment, and a 
most cheering promise for the future. 

The time for the adjournment of Congress 
having expired, the two houses reassembled 
in the first week of January. The President 
met them in the senate-chamber, and delivered 
bis speech at the opening of the session. Such 
was the custom during Washington's admin- 


Istration ; bat it was aflervaircU changed^ a»d 
the Pifesident comnraiiioatdd with Ckmg^nm 
only by written messageB. This was like- 
wise Washington's ptactice, except at the be^ 
ginning of a session, when he addressed the 
two houses in person. These addresses weia 
ciBiUed sfMecheSf and other communk^tions 
were designated as messages. At this timei 
after congratulating Congress oii« the prosper- 
ous condition of the country, and the fa^or 
with which their previous doings had been 
received, he recommended several subjects aa 
-claiming their attention, particularly a pto^ 
vision for the common defence ; laws for nat- 
uralizing foreigners ; a uniformity in the cur^ 
rency, weights, and metasures ; the ^^noourager 
ment of agriculture, commerce, and BM^mfiicr 
tures ; the protikotion of science and literature^ 
and an effective system for tbe support of 
public credit. 

To the difficulties involved in this last sub- 
ject may indeed be traced the primary causes 
of the constitution, and it had already attract 
ed the notice of the national legislature. The 
former session had necessarily been consumed 
in framing laws for putting the new govern- 
ment in operation ; but, a few days before its 
close, a resolution was passed by Hie House 
of Representatives, in which it was declared 


dtr.m.] LIFE Of WASHINGTON. 349' 

that an adequate piovision for the support of 
public credit was essential to the national hoo- 
or and pro^rity, and the Secretary ef the 
Treasury was directed Co prepare a plan for. 
tfbe purpose, and repofct it to the House at the 
next session. The national debt had its origin 
chiefly in the Revolmtion. It was of two 
kinds, foreign and domestic. The foreign 
debt amounted to nearly twelve milliens of 
dollars, and was dne to France, the Holland- 
ers, and a very small part to Spain. The do- 
mestic debt, doe to individuals in the United 
States for loans to the government and sup* 
plies furnished to the army, was about forty- 
two millions. These debts had been oea- 
tracted by Congress, and weits acknowledged 
to be a national charge. Theie was anotbec 
description of debts, amowating by estimate to 
about twenty-five milltoas of doUws, which 
tested on a different footing. The States in- 
dividually had constructed works of defence 
witfani their respective limits, advanced pay 
and bounties to Continental troops and militiai 
and supplied provisions, olothiag, and muni- 
tions of war. The secretary proposed, that 
all the domestic debts, including those of the 
particular States, should be funded, and that 
the nation should become responsible for their 
payment to the full amount. 



The report was able, perspicaoafl, and com- 
prehensive, embracing a complete view of the 
subject, and containing argnmenUi of great 
cogency in support of the plan suggested. 
As to the foreign debt, there was no questioot 
in the mind of any one, that it ought to be 
discharged according to the strict letter of 
the contracts, but in regard to the domestic 
debts a difference of opinion prevailed. The 
secretary endeavored to prove, that no distinc* 
tion should be admitted, that the expenditurea 
had all been made for national objects, and 
that in equity the public faith was 8ol«nnly 
pledged for their reimbursement The obli- 
gation was increased by their being '' the price 
of liberty," without which the nation itself 
could never have attained an independent ex* 
istence. He argued that the policy of the 
measure was not less obvious than its justice^ 
that public credit was essential to the support 
of government under any form, and that this 
could be maintained only by good faiA in all 
transactions, and by honorably fulfilling eiH 
gagements. Who would confide in a govern- 
ment, that had refused to pay its debts, or re- 
spect a nation that had shown a disregard to 
the principles, which constitute the cement of 
every well ordered c<Mnmunity ? 

When the report was considered in Con* 


grass, it ghve riae to wanii and protracted de- 
bates. The opponents of the secretary's plan 
ilirere not without plausible reasons. As to the 
debt contracted by Congress, it was said that 
the usual maxims could not properly be ap- 
plied. The evidences of this debt conttsted 
in a paper currency and certificates, which, as 
there was no gold or silver, the creditors were 
from the necessity of the case obliged to take* 
This paper had in most cases passed through 
many hands, and was immensely depreciated 
below its nominal value. The original cred- 
itors, therefore, and the subsequent holders, 
had lost in proportion to the scale of depreeia- 
lion. Hence the proposal to assume the whole 
debt, as it stood on the face of the paper, and 
pay it to the present holders, was said to be 
inequitable, inasmuch as these had purchased 
it at the depreciated value, and had no claifli; 
to be remunerated for the losses of the previ- 
ous holders. 

Mr. Madison proposed a discrimination, by 
which the purchasers should be paid a certain 
portion, and the original holders the remain- 
der. This was objected to as unjust and im- 
practicable. By the form and tenor of the 
certificates, the debt was made payable to the 
original creditor or bearer. On these terms 
they had been sold, and the sellers had relin- 


qqished all* Ifaeilr daims to the pusehaaers £» 
what was deemed an equiFalent. When the^ 
transfers were made, it was undeielood by 
both parties to be on this princii^e, and the 
purchaser took the risk of eventual payment. 
It was dear, also^ that it wonld be impossibie 
to make the discrimination, esQept to a lim- 
ited extent and in a partial manner, sinee the- 
numerous transfers of the original creditors^ 
could not be ascertained and enmined ; aad* 
even at best no provision was offered for thsr 
losses of the int^mediate holders by tiie gradual 
deprooiation. After a iMg debate in the House' 
of Representatives this sofaesoe was rejected. 

Next came up the Stale debts; md the 
proposition to assume them created stall great* 
er divisions and heals in CoBgress, and muob 
excitement abroad. Il brought into aotion aU 
the local prejudices, and high-toned doctrinea 
of Slate rights and Sliite sovereignty, whict^ 
had been so heavy a stumblingbleck in tbe. 
way of union and concord from the beginning 
of the Revolution. The debts of the rpqieo-^ 
tive States wefe very unequal in amount. 
This led to an investigation of the servicea 
rendered by eschj and to invidious compari* 
sons. The project was opposed as uoeonsti* 
tutional and uajust. Congress, it was said^ 
had no power to take this burden upon the 



nation. Such an assumption of po^er was 
moreover an encroachment uf)on the sofc- 
reignty of the States, tending to diminish 
their importance, and lead to a consolidation 
destractiFe of the republican system. Each 
State was responsible for the debts it bad con-? 
tracted, and there was no reason for taxing 
those States, which owed little, to pay a por- 
tion of the large debt of others. 

It was argued in reply, that, as th0 ezpen- 
diiures had all baen for the coQunon causes of 
the nation, they came strictly within the le- 
gitimate control of Congress ; and alao, as the. 
constitution had transferred to the national 
legislature the entire power of raising funds- 
fsom duties on imports and the sales of public 
lands, the principal sources of revenue, it was- 
just that the debts should be paid out of these^ 
funds. The States could pay them only by 
excise duties, or direct taxes, which would be 
odious to the people and difficult to collect. 
In any event there must be long delays^ 
and much uncertainty as to the result. The. 
creditors had a right to claim more prompt 
payment, and better security from the nation. 

At last the secretary's plan for funding all 
the domestic debts was carried by a small 
majority in both houses of Congress. In re* 
gard to the State debts, howoFer, the original 


proposition was modified. The specific sam 
of twenty-one millions and a half of dollars 
was assumed, and apportioned among the 
Slates in a proximate ratio to the amount of 
the debts of each. An act was passed by 
which the whole of the domestic debt became 
a loan to* the nation. It was made redeema«> 
bie at various times, and at various rates of 

One of the principal arguments for funding 
the debt, in addition to that of its equity, was 
the advantage that would be derived from it 
as an active capital for immediate use. Sus- 
tained by the credit of the nation, bearing in- 
terest and redeemable at certain times, the 
paper securities of the government would have 
a permanent vdiie in the market, and thus be 
a spur to enterprise, and increase the prosper- 
ity of the country in its agriculture, manufiK>- 
tures, and commerce. All that was anticipat- 
ed from the funding system, in these respects, 
was realized. Politically considered, how^ 
ever, it had an unhappy influence. It widened 
the breach of parties, produced irritations, and 
excited animosities. Nor was it to be expect- 
ed that the adversaries of the plan, and these 
a large minority, would readily change their 
opinion after the strenuous opposition they 
had shown, or cease from their hostility. The 



President expressed do sentiments on the sab- 
ject while it was under debate in Congress, 
but he approved the act for funding the public 
debt, and was undoubtedly, from conviction, 
a decided friend to the measure. 

Another important point, upon which Con- 
gress under the old Confederation bad been 
for a long time divided, was settled in the 
course of this session. Liocal interests, and 
other considerations, made it difficult to agree 
on the place for the permanent seat of gov- 
ernment. It was at length determined, that 
it should be removed for ten years to Phila* 
delphia, and then be established at some place 
on the Potomac River. Ultimately the posi- 
tion was selected, which has since been called 
the District of Columbia; and the territory 
was surveyed, the city planned, and the pub- 
lic buildings commenced under the direction 
of Washington, this duty devolving on him 
as President. For three or four years it oc- 
cupied a great deal of his attention ; and, in 
compliance with the laws, he appointed com- 
missioners for mans^ng the business, with 
whom he carried on a voluminous correspond- 
ence, giving personal directions, and requiring 
exact accounts of all proceedings. 



Th« Preitdent visits Rhode Island and Moant Venov. — Foreign 
Relations of the United States. — France, England, Spain. — > 
Indian War. — Washington's Policy respecting the Indians. — > 
Congress meets at Philadelphia.— A National Bank estabUsbed. 
—Tax on distilled Spirits. — The President's Tour through the 
Southern States. — Apportionment Bill. — Parties and their 
Causes. — Dissensions between the Seoretaiy of State and thn 
Secietary of the Traasoiy. — Washington's Attempts lo reooii- 
cile them. 

Rhode Island having adopted the constita- 
tion, and acceded to the Union, the President 
made a visit to that State immediately after 
the session of Congress. In his eastern tour 
he had avoided going to Rhode Island, because 
it had not then joined the Union under the 
new government. 

Another severe disease, and constant appli- 
cation to business, had much impaired his 
health ; and he determined to take advantage 
of the recess of Congress, throw off for a brief 
space the burden of public cares, and seek re- 
pose and recreation in his own quiet home at 
Mount Vernon. He always returned to that 
spot with delight ; and it was now doubly 
dear to him, as it promised rest from labor, re- 
freshment to his weary spirit and debilitated 
body, and a few days of leisure to ride over 

^Et.58.] life of WASHINGTON. 267 

his farms, view his gardens, orchards, and 
fields, and observe the progress of his agricul* 
tural operations. 

The foreign relations of the United States, 
at the beginning of the new government, 
though not complicated, were nevertheless in 
an unsettled condition. With France there 
was a good understanding, the treaties of alli- 
ance and commerce having been scrupulously 
fulfilled on both sides. The revolutionary dis- 
orders, however, soon broke out, and produced 
disagreements, alienation, and trouble* 

With Morocco a sort of informal treaty ex- 
isted, and Washington wrote two letters to the 
Emperor, who had received American vessels 
into his ports, and promised his aid to concili- 
ate the Barbary powers. This promise was 
unavailing. The Algerines had seized vessels 
belonging to citizens of the United States, and 
held the officers and sailors in bondage for sev- 
eral years. 

The government stood in a more delicate 
relation to England, than to any other power. 
The old feuds and bitter feelings of the war 
subsided slowly. All attempts to bring about 
a treaty of commerce betweeji the two coun- 
tries had failed. The British cabinet, probably 
distrusting the stability of the Union under 
the old Confederation had shown no disposi- 

VOL. II, y 


t tion to enter into a treaty of this sort, and had 

f never sent a minister to the United States. 

I The military posts on the frontiers bad not 

heen given up, as was stipulated in the treaty 
of peace. The reason assigned, that some of 
the States had refused to pay the debts due to 
British subjects, -which they were Ukewise 
bound to do by the treaty, was plausible, and 
perhaps well founded. Congress had but a 
limited power to enforce a compliance with 
treaties ; and it was natural in such a casoi 
that other nations should be tardy in making 
them. This state of things being altered by 
the constitution. President Washington thought 
it desirable to ascertain the views and inten- 
tions of the British government, in regard to 
complying with the treaty of peace, and to fu- 
ture intercourse. To attain this end he com- 
missioned Gouvemeur Morris as a private agent 
to hold conversations with the British minis- 
ters, deeming it of great importance, as he 
said, that errors should be avoided in the sys- 
tem of policy respecting Great Britain. 

Affairs with Spain were yet more unpromis- 
ing. At the outset of the Revolution, his 
Catholic Majesty, yielding to the solicitations 
of France, seemed to abet the American cause ; 
but he soon changed his mind, refused to join 
with France in acknowledging the indepen- 


dence of the United States, even when he de- 
clared war against England, and gave his 
sanction to the treaty of peace with no good 
will. He feared the elBEect, and not withoul 
reason, which the example of the northern re* 
publicans might have upon his colonies in 
South America. A negotiation had been go- 
ing on, tedious as it was unprofitable, down to 
the time of Washington's election to the Pres- 
idency, but no apparent progress had been 
made.. The Floridas and Louisiana belonged 
to Spain. The navigation of the Mississippi 
was the great point of controversy. This was 
essential to the settlers in the West, and was 
becoming every day more and more so on ac- 
count of the rapid increase of the populatioiL 
Spain persisted in withholding all rights and 
privileges in that navigation from citizens of 
the United States. There were various grounds 
of policy for this refusal, but probably the most 
operative was a secret hope, that the western 
inhabitants, weary of these obstacles to their 
commerce, and dissatisfied with the national 
government for not removing them, ought 
sooner or later dissever themselves from the 
Union, and form a separate republic, which 
would easily fall under the control of Spain. 

Other circumstances, growing out of the re- 
lations with England and Spain, were extreme- 


ly injurious to the interests of the country. 
During the war, the Indians on the borders of 
the United States had almost everywhere been 
allied with the enemy. When peace came, it 
found them in the attitude of hostility, their 
savage spirit roused, and their vindictive tem- 
pers eager for slaughter and revenge ; and the 
United States were left to appease and concili- 
ate them as they could. In any case this would 
have been an arduous task, but the dilBcuKy 
was soon perceived to be increased by a foreign 
influence, keeping alive their enmity, and stim- 
ulating them to acts of outrage. British agents 
and traders on the northern frontier furnished 
the Indians with arms, ammunition, and cloth- 
ing. In Florida the Spaniards tampered with 
the Creeks and other Southern Indians, and 
kept them at variance with their white neigh- 
bors. These acts were not acknowledged, 
possibly not authorized, by the English and 
Spanish governments, but they were certainly 
not restrained, and they were repeated long 
after full representations had been made. 

The eflfect was a protracted and expensive 
war. Washington's policy in regard to the 
Indians was always pacific and humane. He 
considered them as children, who should be 
treated with tenderness and forbearance. He 
aimed to conciliate them by good usage, to ob ' 

iBT..53.] L1F£ OF WASIIINGTaN. 261 

lain their lands by fair purchase and punctual 
payments, to make treaties with them on terms 
of equity and reciprocal advantage, and strictly 
to redeem every pledge. In these respects he 
looked upon the Indian tribes as holding the 
same rank and the same rights as civilized na- 
tions. But their faithlessness, ravages, and 
murders were not to be tolerated, from what- 
ever causes they arose. After failing in every 
attempt at a pacification, he was convinced 
that war was the only alternative. It contin- 
ued four or five years, with many vicissitudes 
of misfortune and disaster, the defeats of Har- 
mar and St. Clair, unsuccessful campaigns, 
and much waste of blood and treasure, till 
General Wayne put an end to it, first by a bat- 
tle, and then by a treaty of peace. This war 
lasted through a large part of Washington's 
administration. It was a source of regret and 
pain to him, on account both of its cause, the 
necessity of subduing by force the turbulence 
of an ignorant and deluded race of men, and 
of the heavy charge it imposed on the nation 
for maintaining an army. 

Congress commenced their third session at 
Philadelphia, and the President returned from 
Mount Vernon to that city, where he after- 
wards resided till the term of his office expired. 
The debates of this session were scarcely le^s 


vehement, or less deeply tinged witl ^kOij an- 
tipathies, than those of the preceding. Two 
important measures were brought forward, dis- 
cussed, and adopted ; a national bank, and a 
tax on ardent spirits distilled in the United 

The Secretary of the Treasury had previ- 
ously recommended a national bank, as of 
great utility in administering the finances of 
the country, and facilitating the operations for 
the support of public credit. He now called 
the attention of Congress to the subject by a 
special report, in which his views were ex- 
plained with the same perspicuity and vigor 
of argument, which marked every thing that 
came from his pen. The project met with a 
strong opposition. It was attacked chiefly 
on the ground of its being unconstitutional. 
Much was said of the express, incidental, and 
implied powers conferred on Congress by the 
constitution ; and it was averred, that none of 
these, nor all of them together, authorized the 
incorporating of a bank. Its policy was ques- 
tioned, and the utility of banking s}rstems de* 
nied. To this it was answered, that such in* 
cidental powers must necessarily belong to 
every form of government, as will enable it to 
carry into effect the positive ana vested powers, 
and to employ all the usual means for that 

JSt.69.] life of WASHII9GT0N. 263 

purpose ; and that a constnictioti of the con*- 
stitution according to this fundamental princi- 
ple fairly included the means afforded by a 
bank, to which almost all commercial nations 
had resorted, and the advantages of which had 
been proved by long experience. 

The arguments were somewhat metaphys*- 
ical and attenuated on both sides ; and indeed 
the attempt to define what is intended or im^ 
plied by a written instrument, on points about 
which it says nothing, must natnraily lead to 
abstractions little suited to enlighten or con- 
vince. No other rule of interpretation would 
seem to be applicable in practice, than that a 
jproposed measure shall contribute to the public 
good, and not contravene any express power. 
The contest ended in the establishment of a 
bank, with a capital of ten millions of dollars, 
of which eight millions were to be held by 
individuals, and the residue by the govern- 

On this subject the cabinet was divided, 
Jeflerson and Randolph being opposed to the 
oank as unconstitutional, and Hamilton and 
Knox of a contrary opinion. The President 
requested from each a statement of his rea- 
sons in writing, and be is imderstood to have 
reflected deeply, and deliberated even with 


more than his iisaal caution, before he aiBzed 
his signature to the act. 

The object of the tax on distilled spirits 
was to provide a fund for paying the inteiest 
on a portion of the domestic debt. The duties 
on imports were said to be strained as far as 
they would bear, without injury to commerce, 
and perhaps to the revenue by holding out a 
temptation to smuggling ; and, as a new tax 
must be laid somewhere, the Secretary of the 
Treasury thought it could fall on no commodi- 
ty less objectionable than ardent spirits distilled 
in the country. The tax was opposed as im- 
politic and unequal in its application. It was 
branded as an odious excise, hostile to liberty, 
the collecting of which would inflame the 
people, and lead to evasions and perhaps to re- 
sistance. It was unequal, because distilling 
was practised mostly in the West, and a few 
limited districts in other parts. This argu- 
ment was more specious than sound, since the 
consumers would actually pay the tax ; but it 
was vehemently u^ed by some of the repre- 
sentatives. The bill was carried, and was 
more remarkable for its consequences, than for 
its characteristics as a legislative act, in what- 
ever light it may be viewed. 

The President had fixed on the next recess 
of Congress for a tour through the southern 


States. He set olSf about the middle of Marchi 
and was gone three monthsi performing ia 
that time a journey of eighteen hundred and 
eighty-seven miles with the same horses. His 
route was through Richmond, Wilmington, 
and Charleston, as far as Savannah ; whence 
he returned by way of Augusta, Columbia, 
and the interior of North Carolina and Virginia. 
Before leaving home, he had ascertained with 
great accuracy the distances between one place 
and another, settled the precise day upon 
which he should arrive at each, and the length 
of time he should stop. Not a single accident 
occurred ; and with such exactness and meth- 
od had his calculations been made, that his 
original plan was executed in every particular, 
except that he stayed one day more in one 
place than he intended, and one day less in 
another. He everywhere received the same 
proofs of respect and attachment, which had 
been manifested in his travels through the 
middle and eastern States. 

The principal laws passed at the next ses« 
sion were those for apportioning the represen- 
tatives, establishing a uniform militia system, 
and increasing the army. The constitution had 
prescribed, that the representatives in the na- 
tional legislature shopld be apportioned among 
the several States according to the respective 


nombers of their population, but that the whole 
number of representatives should not exceed 
one for every thirty thousand. When the new 
apportionment bill was proposed, it was found 
that no ratio could be chosen, which would 
not leave large fractions to some of the States. 
For instance, if thirty thousand were taken as 
the ratio, there would be an unrepresented sur* 
plus of fifteen or twenty thousand, more or 
less, in some of the States. To remedy this 
imperfection, a bill was introduced and passed, 
which fixed the ratio at thirty thousand. The 
total population was divided by this ratiO| 
which gave one hundred and twenty as the 
whole number of representatives. But this 
included the sum of all the fractions ; and, af«> 
ter apportioning to each State one representa- 
tive fer every thirty thousand, the residuary 
members, to make the whole number of one 
hundred and twenty, were distributed taiong 
the States in which the fractions were the 
largest. The President decided, that this bill 
did not conform to the constitution, it being 
obvious that the ratio was meant to apply to 
the States individually, and not to the aggre- 
gate amount of population in them all. He 
therefore returned the bill to Congress, with 
his reasons for not affixing his signature. A 
new bill was then framed and approved^ fijdng 


the latio at thirty-three thMAaad, and thiow- 
ing out the fractiooa. 

The sabject derived an importance from the 
spirit of party, and local jeatooaies, which en- 
tered into the discussion. Many of the mem- 
bers were strenuous for a& large a representa- 
tion as possible, by which the rights of the 
States would be better preserved, and a check 
afforded to the undue increase of executive 
power. The bill for the increase of the army 
was opposed on the same grounds. It would 
enlarge the executive patronage, which might 
ultimately be adverse to liberty, and a greater 
evil than the Indian war, for the prosecution 
of which the army was wanted. 

It became evident, indeed, from many incE- 
cations, both in Omgress and abroad, that the 
advocates for different measures were fast ar- 
ranging themselves into two distinct parties, 
the administration and its friends on one side, 
and its opponents on the ether. In the first 
place, they who had opposed the constitution 
would natundly have their prejudices arrayed 
against it when put in practice, and be ready 
to find fault with any system by which this 
was effected. Again, all those who had watch- 
ed with solicitude over the rights of the States, 
and believed these in danger, would be pre- 
pared to see the falfilment of their predictions 


ia the acts of the general governmeDt, however 
administered. If to these we add the bias of 
personal feelingSi the influence of the peasions, 
an unlimited freedom of speech, and the ten- 
dency of opposition to beget opposition, we 
shall have abundant materials for creating par- 
ties and aliment for their support. And, as 
parties gain strength by union, it was easy for 
these elements, at first discordant, gradually to 
assimilate. Nor need we question the motives 
of any individual or class of men. It is fair 
to presume, that, at this stage of our political 
progress, there was as much patriotism and 
sincerity on both sides as at any other period. 
It is true, that, when a man gives himself up 
to a party, he is apt to forget his country ; yet 
in all free communities there must be parties, 
and every man must belong to one or another, 
so that his motives should be judged by his 
conduct and character, rather than by the side 
he takes. The necessity of parties is not 
identical with their abuse. The former is the 
safeguard of liberty, the latter its bane. If the 
people would enjoy the one, they must be en- 
lightened enough to perceive and virtuous 
enough to conrect the other. 

But this is not the place to examine into the 
origin or principles of the two great partiec^ 
which at that time began to divide the country 


Mt.efi.] LIF£ OF WASHINGTON. 269 

and which have continued ever since, with such 
modifications as have sprung from events and 
circumstances. It needs only to be said, that 
they were viewed with deep regret by Wash- 
ington, and with a painful apprehension of their 
effects. Conscious of acting with the single 
aim of administering the government for the 
best interests and happiness of the people, he 
was mortified to find his endeavors thwarted 
at every step by party discords and personal 
enmities among those, who controlled public 
opinion by their standing and talents, and on 
whose aid he relied. It was not in (yongreas 
alone, that these jarrings occurred. They 
crept into the cabinet, disturbing its harmony, 
and dividing its counsels. 

He had for some time been aware of a radi- 
cal difference of opinion between the Secretary 
of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, on 
some of the most important measures of the 
administration. The causes were deeply seat- 
ed. Hamilton regarded the constitution as af- 
fording inadequate powers to the general gov- 
ernment, and believed its weakness to be its 
greatest defect. Hence he thought its success 
could be hoped for only by construing and ad- 
ministering it in such a manner, as would add 
the greatest degree of strength to the execu- 
tive. Jefferson's sentiments and fears ran in 


an opposite direction. To bim it appeared, 
that there was too much power in the head, 
that the exercise of the ejcecative authority 
ought to be restrained, and that the rights of 
States and the liberty of the people were in 
jeopardy. The funding systenii the assump* 
tion of the State debts^ the bank, and the tax 
on domestic spirits, were all at Tariance with 
his principles. 

These measures originated with Hamihoo, 
and constituted the prominent features of the 
administration. The ability with which they 
had been planned, and their snccess, contrib- 
uted to elerate their author in the publie esti- 
mation, which, to say the least, could not be 
supposed to gratify the feelings of his colleague, 
especially as he looked upon the measures 
themselves to be wrong and fraught with mis- 
chief; nor could it be expected, that the two 
secretaries would harmonize in devising the 
means of carrying them into execution. It 
should be stated, nevertheless, that Jefferson 
discharged the duties df his office to tto entire 
satisfaction of the President. Though differ- 
ing in opinion from the majority of the cid>i- 
net, he did not allow his private views to in- 
fluence his conduct as a number of that coou- 
cil, or as holding a responsible station in the 
government. Nothing more, perhaps, couki 


reasonably be required of him, nnder the cir- 
cumstances in which he was placed ; yet, as it 
regarded the saccess of the administration, a 
reluctant performance of duty was far from 
being the same thing as the cordial and vigor- 
ous support of a willing mind. In all respects, 
therefore, these disagreements were tinpropi* 
tious, embarrassing to the President, and inju- 
rious to the public welfare. 

The deep anxiety he felt on this subject, 
his ardent desire to heal the breach, and th ) 
means he took to accomplish it, will appear in 
the following extract from a letter, which he 
wrote to Jefferson. 

"How unfortunate, and how much to be 
regretted is it, that, while we are encompassed 
on all sides with avowed enemies and insidi- 
ous friends, internal dissensions should be har- 
rowing and tearing our vitals. The latter, to 
me, is the most serious, the most alarming, and 
the most afflicting of the two ; and, without 
ttore charity for the opinions and acts of one 
crother in governmental matters, or some more 
itifallible criterion by which the truth of spec- 
ulative opinions, before they have undergone 
the test of experience, are to be forejudged, 
than has yet fallen to the lot of fallibility, I 
believe it will be difficult, if not impracticable, 
to manage the reins of government, or to keep 


the parts of it together ; for if, instead of lay- 
ing our shoulders to the machine after meas- 
ures are decided on, one pulls this way and 
another that, before the utility of the thing is 
fairly tried, it must inevitably be torn asunder; 
and in my opinion the fairest prospect of hap- 
piness and prosperity, that ever was presented 
to man, will be lost perhaps for ever. 

''My earnest wish and my fondest hope, 
therefore, is, that, instead of wounding su8{H- 
cions and irritating charges, there may be lib- 
eral allowances, mutual forbearances, and tem- 
porizing yieldings on all sides. Under the 
exercise of these, matters will go on smoothly, 
and, if possible, more prosperously. Without 
them, every thing must rub ; the wheels of 
government will clog; our enemies will tri- 
umph, and, by throwmg their weight into the 
disaffected scale, may accomplish the ruin of 
the goodly fabric we have been erecting. 

"I do not mean to apply this advice, or 
these observations, to any particular person or 
character. I have given them in the same 
general terms to other officers of the govern 
ment ; because the disagreements, which have 
arisen from difference of opinions, and the at- 
tacks, which have been made upon almost all 
the measures of government, and most of its 
executive officers, have tor a long time past 



filled me with painful sensations, and cannot 
failf I Xhink, ot producing unhappy consequen- 
ces at home and abroad." 

He wrote likewise to Hamiltony nearly at 
the same time and Almost in the same words, 
and added ; " Differences in political opinions 
are as unaFoidable, as, to a certain point, they 
may perhaps be necessary ; but it is exceed- 
ingly to be regretted, that subjects cannot be 
discussed with temper on the one hand, or de- 
cisions submitted to without hairing the mo- 
tives, which led to them, improperly implicated 
on the other ; and this regret borders on cha- 
grin, when we find that men of abilities, zeal- 
ous patriots, having the same general objects 
in view, and the same upright intentions to 
prosecute them, will not exercise more charity 
in deciding on the opinions and actions of one 
another. W^en matters get to such lengths, 
the natural inference is, that both sides have 
strained the cords beyond their bearing, and 
Chat a middle course would be found the best, 
until experience shall have decided on the 
right way, or (which is not be expected, be- 
cause it is denied to mortals,) there shall be 
some infallible rule by which we could fore- 
judge events." 

In another letter to Jefferson, after again 
recommending mutual forbearance and con- 

VOL. IL ^^ 



dliation, he said; <'A measure of fbis sort 
would produce harmtmj and consequent good 
in our public councils. The contrary will in- 
evitably introduce confusion and serious mis- 
chiefs ; and for what ? Because mankind can- 
not think alike, but would adopt different 
means to attain the same ends. For I will 
frankly and solemnly declare, that I believe 
the views of both of you to be pure and well 
meant, and that experience only will decide, 
with respect to the salutariness of the meas- 
ures, which are the subjects of dispute. Whyi 
then, when some of the best citizens in the 
United States, men of discernment, uniform 
and tried patriots, who have no sinister views i 

to promote, but are chaste in their ways of I 

thinking and acting, are to be found, some on 
one side and some on the other of the ques* i 

tions, which have caused these agitations, I 

should either of you be so tenacious of your 
opinions, as to make no allowances for those 
of the other ? I could, and indeed was about 
to add more on this interesting subject, but wUl 
forbear, at least for the present, after expressing 
a wish, that the cup, which has been presented 
to us, may not be snatched from our lips by a 
discordance of action, when I am persuaded 
there is no discordance in your views. I have 
a great, a sincere esteem and regard for you | 


ABr.flP.] LIFE or WASHlNGTOn. 97 S 

both, and ardently wish that some line may 
be marked oat by which both of you could 

Unhappily this line was never found. The 
two secretaries continued to diverge from each 
other, both in their political course and their 
private feelings, till their dilSTerences settled 
into a personal enmity, which neither the ad- 
vice of friends could modify, nor time eradi- 
cate. This was the more lamented by Wash- 
ington, as, according to bis own deolamtion 
and the whole tenor of his intercourse, he had 
a sincere attachment to both of them and con- 
fidence in their patriotic intentions, and as he 
foresaw the fisital consequences, which might 
result from a heated strife between men whose 
talents and political consideration gave them 
80 conmmnding an influence over the publio 



Washington Is elected President for a Second Term. — Takes 
the Oath of Office.— Relations between the Untied SUtea and 
Fnuce. — Opirjona of the Cabinet. — Proclamation of Meo- 
trality. — Party Diviaions and Excitements. — Gen^t received 
as Minister from France. — His extnordinary Conduct. — 
Meeting of Congress. — The President recommends Meamra* 
of Defence. — CommerciiU Affairs. — Mr. Madison's Commer- 
cial Resolutions. — Mr. Jay appointed EnToy Extraordinary to 
BOgoliato a Tieatj with England. — MUitaijr PreuaiatioM 

When the President's term of office, as pre- 
scribed by the Constitution, was drawing to a 
close, no little anxiety was felt and expressed, 
as to his willingness again to receive the suf> 
frages of the people. The relactance with 
which he had consented to the first election 
was so great, that it was feared he could not 
be prevailed upon to remain' longer in public 
life. From his friends in different parts of 
the country he received early communications 
on the subject, urging him not to decide hasti- 
ly, and, if possible, to reconcile himself to a 
second election. Three members of the cab- 
inet, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Randolph, each 
wrote to him a long letter, containing reasons 
why it was of the utmost importance to his 
own reputation and to the pul^lic interest.<t| 


that, for the present at least, he should not 

Each of these gentlemen drew a picture of 
the condition of the country, its future pros- 
pects, and the state of parties; and, although 
they differed radically concerning some of the 
principal measures of the administration, they 
agreed in opinion, that the character, influence, 
and steady hand of Washington were neces- 
sary to secure the stability of government, if 
not to preserve the nation from anarchy. 

These sentiments, uttered by his confiden- 
tial advisers, whose political opinions he knew 
were at variance with each other, could not 
fail to make a deep impression, and the more 
so" as they were reiterated from every quar^ 
ter. He seems to have resolved at one time 
to follow his inclination, and retire at the 
end of his first term of service. This is evi- 
dent from his having prepared a farewell ad- 
dress to the people, designed for the occasion 
of his taking leave of them. But he never 
made a public declaration to that effect, and 
he was finally chosen for a second period of 
four years by the unanimous vote of the elec- 
tors. On the 4th of March, 1793, he took the 
oath of office in the senate-chamber, in pres- 
ence of the members of the cabinet, various 


public offieen, foreign miaistersi and sueh 
other persons as could be accommodated. 

in addition to the Indian war, the contests 
of parties, and other internal troubles with 
which the administration was embanrassedi 
the foreign relations of the United States were 
every day becoming peculiarly delicate and 
inauspicious. Scarcely had the President en* 
tered upon his new term of office, when tbs 
intelligence was received, that France had 
declared war against England and Hollandi. 
The French revolution, in its earliest stages, 
was hailed by almost every^ ne in the Umled 
States as a joyful event, and as affording • 
presage of the happiest results to the cause of 
freedom and the welfare of mankind. Such 
would naturally be the first impulse of • 
peopk, who had recently been engaged in • 
similar struggle, encouraged by the good wish-* 
es and strengthened by the assistance of the 
French nation. Washington partook of this 
general sentiment. 

The sanguinary acts that followed, and the 
ferocious temper shown by the leaders, left 
but little ground for hope; yet there were 
causes still, which induced many to ding to 
the interests of France, and approve the revo** 
iution, although they looked with horror upon 
the means employed to carry it forward. It LIFE OF WASHINGTON 279 

was belieted to be a warfare of the oppreaaed 
against their oppressors, in which justice was 
asserting her rights, and rescuing from thral- 
dom the victims, who had been so long borne 
down by the yoke of bondage, and scourged 
by the rod of despotism. A new era was sup- 
posed to hare arisen, when liberty was about 
to go forth successful in conquest, breaking 
down the strong*holds of tyranny, and build- 
ing up her temples of peace and concord on 
their ruins. Ardent minds were easily ca]>- 
tirated by this illusion, espeeially when il 
harmonized with their opinions on other sub« 
jects. Their impressions also derived force 
from the prejudices against England, deeply 
footed and of long standing, which the con- 
duct of the British cabinet since the peace had 
not contributed to remove. 

Gouvemeur Morris had been sent to France 
as minister plenipotentiary from the United 
States. A friendly intercourse had been kept 
up between the two countries, on the basis of 
the treaties of alliance and commerce ; but, 
after the downfall of the King, and amidst the 
distractions succeeding that event, the minis- 
ter's situation was embarrassing. It was the 
opinion of Washington, in which his cabinet 
agreed with him, that every nation had a right 
to govern itself as it chose, and that other 

t8& U»S OF WA9HINGTOK, 1179$. 

iaiioiis weie boaiid to recegnwe and vsq^eei 
Ihe existiDg authority, whatover forio it mighl 
at0ume. Mr, Morris waa furnished with iiH 
structions aecordiog to this view of the wb- 
jjeet. But the difficulty for a time eon9i6led 
ia ascertauuDg whether there was aoy actual 
goveraueat resting eiu the will of the natioo. 
His prudence in this respect, aEMl hk cautioo 
not to commit his couQUry rashly, gare uaah 
hcage to the nominal rulers, or lalber the leadr< 
ers of the eoQtendiag bctioiia, irho oonsplaia<« 
ed, and expressed dissatisfaction, that the Unil* 
ed States nwnifesCed so little aymfMilhy witll 
their earUesC friends and allies, the viAdicatoni 
of liberty and the rights of man. Such waA 
the state of things when war waa declared 
against Bngland. 

It was perceived, that this aqpect of afiSuni 
would hetvls a direct influence on the fiareign 
felations of the United States, aad thai it 
would require the greatest circumspection to 
prevent the country from being embroiled 
with the belligefeat powers, particularly £ng* 
land and France. When the President first 
heard the news o( the declaration of war, he 
wais at Mount Vernon ; and he wrote innhe* 
diately to the Secretary of State, avowing hie 
determination to maintain a strici neutrelity 
between the hostile parties. Yessela in tte 


g pattB of the United States wiere understood tv 

h be already designated as privateers, and he 

^ desired that measures to put a stop to all sucb 

^ prooeedings should be adopted without delay. 

I On his return to Philadelphia, he summoned 

,1 a meeting of the cabinet, submitting to each 

^ member at the same time a series of questions^ 

I whkfa he requested might be eonsidered as 

^ pmpantfory to the meeting. The substance 

of these questions was, whether a proclama^ 
tiofi of nentrality should be issued ; whether 
a minister firom the French republic should 
^ be received, and, if so, whether it should bo 

absolutely or with qualifications ; whether, in 
the present condition of France, the United 
States were bound by good iaith to execute 
the treaties between the two nations, or wheih'* 
er these ought to be suq)ended till the gov-* 
emment should be establidied ; and wbetbet 
tlie guarantee in the treaty of alliance was 
applicable to a defensive war only, or to a war 
either defensive or oflensive. These points 
involved very important oonsiderations. If 
the treaty was binding in the case of an offen- 
sive war, then a state of neutrality could not 
be assumed in regard to France ; and, if it 
was applicable to a defensive war only, th^ 
intricate question was still to be settled, 
Whether the war on the part of the French 


was offensiTe or defensive, or of a mixed and 
equivocal character, and how far the guaiaotee 
ought to be applied under such circumstances. 

The cabinet decided unanimoudy, that a 
proclamation should be issued, ^^ forbidding 
the citizens of the United States to take part 
in any hostilities on the seas, eith^ with or 
against the belligerent powers, and warning 
them against carrying to any such pow<»8 any 
of those articles deem^ contraband aoeoiding 
to the modem usages of nations, and enjoio* 
ing them from all acts and proceedings incon- 
sistent with the duties of a fiiendly nation 
towards those at war." It was also agreed^ 
with the same unanimity, that a minister from 
the French republic should be received. On 
the subject of qualifying his reception, the 
members of the cabinet were divided in opin- 
ion, JejBTerson and Randolph being opposed to 
any qualification implying that the relations 
between the two countries were changed, and 
Hamilton and Knox being in favor of it, be- 
cause they believed there was in reality no 
fixed government in France, and they feared 
that a recognition of the existing authority 
might involve the United States in difficulties 
with that nation and with other powers* 

As to the question of guarantee, the two 
former thought it not necesscury to eome to 


any fonnal decision, while the two latter ar* 
gued that the treaty of alliance was plainly 
defensive^ and that the guarantee could not 
ap^y to a war, which had been begun by 
France. The President required the opinions 
and arguments of each member of the cabinet 
m writing; and, after deliberately weighing 
theesBj he decided, that a minister should bo 
received on the same terms as formerly, and 
that the obligations of the treaties ought to ren 
main in full force, leaving the subject of guar* 
antee for future consideration, aided by a better 
knowledge of the condition and prospects of 

The proclamation of neutrality was signed 
an the 22d of April, and immediately publish-^ 
ad. This measure, in regard both to its char- 
acter and its consequences, was one of the most 
important of Washington's administration. It 
was the basis of a system, by which the inter** 
course with foreign nations was regulated, and 
which was rigidly adhered to. In fact it was 
the only step, that could have saved the United 
States from being drawn into the vortex of the 
European wars, which raged with so much vi- 
olence for a long time afterwards. Its wisdom 
and its good effects are now so obvious, on a 
ealm review of past events, that one is aston- 
ished at the onposition it met with, and the 

384 LITE or WASHIHQTOll. . Cl«l 

alrifcs it enkindled, even after malciilg due al- 
lowaoce for the paBsions and prejudiceay which 
had hitherto been at work in pcoducing diaooid 
and dirisions. 

Washington for a time was alkwed to keep 
aloof from the cooteet His chaiactery revered 
hj the people^ shielded by their affectaonsyand 
equally above reproach and suqpidon, was too 
elevated a mark for the shafts ef malevolence. 
But a crisis had now arrived, when the aaeied- 
ness of vhrtne, and the services of a life spent 
in promoting the poblic weal, conld no longer 
secure him from the assanlts of party animosa* 
ty. The enemies of the administration per* 
ceived, that the attempt to execute Iheir plans 
would be vain, unless they could &nt weakea 
his inineoce by dinodniehing his popularity* 
The teak was hard and reppUing ; and k mtcf 
leasonaUy be presumed, that a eupposed polit* 
ical necessity, rather that cordial good wiU, led 
them to engage in ao ungrateful a work. It 
was pursued with a perseverance, and aomov 
times with an acrimony, for which the best of 
causes could hardly* afford an apology ; but, 
however much it might disturb his repoee ot 
embarrass his public measures, it couU neither 
shake his firmness, nor turn him from his 
steady purpose of saorifioing ev«ry other .eoft* 
aideration to the interests of bis country. 

I Mft.ih] LIFE OP WA»HmGTO]«. 988 

i In the midst of these ferments, M. Qen^ 

i eame to the United States as minister from th^ 

i French republic. He landed at Charleston, ia 

South Carolina, and travelled thence throngb 
, the country to Philadelphia. He was received 

everywhere with such enthniiasm and extmv** 
aganc marks of attention, as to deceive him in* 
to a belief, that the great body of the Ameri^ 
can people heartily espoused the cause of the 
French revolution, and was ready to join the 
eitiiens of the new republic in carrying the 
banner of liberty and equality to the ends of 
the earth. Being <^ an ardent temperament, 
and emboldened by these indications, the citi«- 
sen minister, as he was called, at once comi- 
ttMnoed a career, as unjustifiable as it was exh 
iraordinary. Even before he left Charleston 
he gave orders for fitting out and arming ve»- 
eels in that port to cruise as privateers, and 
commit hostilities on the commerce of nations 
at peace with the United States. Notwith- 
standing this act of presumption and rashness, 
which was known before he reached Philadel- 
phia, he was received by the President with 
frankness, and with all the respect due to the 
representative of a foreign power. 

Gen^t declared, that his government was 
strongly attached to the United States, and 
bad no desire to engage them in the war ; bot 


his seciet instructions, which he afterwards 
published, were of a different com^fezioni and 
proved very clearly, that the designs of his 
employers were contrary to the professions of 
their minister. Indeed his whole conduct, 
firom beginning to end, could have no other 
tendency, than to bring the United States into 
an immediate conflict with all the powers at 
war with France* The privateers commis* 
sioned by him came into the American ports 
with prizes. This produced remonstrances 
firom the British minister, and a demand of 
restitution. The subject accordingly came 
before the cabinet. In regard to the lawful- 
ness of the seizures, there was but one opinion. 
It was decided, that, since every nation had 
exclusive jurisdiction within its own territory, 
4he act of fitting out armed vessels under the 
authority of a foreign power was an encroach- 
ment on national sovereignty, and a violation 
of neutral rights, which the government was 
bound to prevent. 

A declaration was accordingly made, that 
no privateers, fitted out in this manner, should 
find an asylum in the ports of the United 
States ; and the customhouse officers were iiH 
structed to keep a careful watch, and report 
every vessel which contravened the laws of 
neutrality. The question of restitution involr- 

[9 iCiT.61.] LIFE OF WASHINGTON. 287 

i ed intricate points of maritime law, and opin- 

li' ions on this subject varied. It was unanimous- 

li \y agreed, however, that the original owners 

i might justly claim mdemnification, and that, 

m^ if the property was not restored by the captors, 

if the value of it ought to be paid by the govern- 

§ ment 

I The French minister protested against these 

j^ decisions, became angry and violent, wrote of- 

I fensive letters to the Secretary of State, and 

seemed to forget alike the dignity of his sta- 
i tion and his character as a man. He still con- 
g tinued to encourage armed vessels to sail from. 
^ American ports under the French flag. By 
^ the firmness of the executive a check was put 

1 to this effrontery. Measures were taken to 
^ prevent by force the departure of such vessels. 
I The madness of the minister was increased. by 

the obstacles he encountered. Finding him- 
i itelf baffled in all his schemes, he resorted to 

I menaces, accused the President of having 

usurped the powers of Congress, and more 
[ than insinuated that he would appeal to the 

I people for redress. This insult, aggravated by 

I his previous conduct, could neither be tolefated 

nor passed over in silence. It was obvious, 
I indeed, that nothing could be hoped from any 

further intercourse with so wrongheaded a man. 

A statement of the particulars was drawn up^ 


288 i-n^& ojr Washington. ivm 

imd forwarded to die French gareromenty with 
B request tfiat he might be recalled. A mote 
remarkable chapter can hardly be fouad in the 
history of diplomacy, than might be fumMied 
from the reecH'ds of this misstoa of €ren6t. Il 
is a memorable instance of die infatuation to 
which a man of respectable talents and prurala 
character may be driven by political frensy. 

When Congress assembled, the state of af» 
fairs, both external and internal, was knrgely 
explained in the President's speech, and in a 
separate message accompanied with many doc«- 
uments. In these were comprised the reasona 
for the course he had pursued, xeq[)eQtiBg for- 
eign powers, and suggestions for addttiDnaA 
legislative enactments to protect the rights of 
American citizens, and maintain the digni- 
ty of the country. While he sought peacq, 
and urged a faithful discharge of every duty 
towards others, he reoommended, tbat prompi 
measures should be tak«i,.not only for defence, 
but for enforcing just claims. '' There is a 
rank due to the United States among nations,'' 
said he, ** which will be withheld, if net abeo* 
lutely lost, by the reputation of wvealcness. If 
we desire to avoid insult^ we must be able to 
repel it ; if we desire to secure peace, one of 
the most powerful instruments of our prosperi- 
ty, ii must be known, that we aU timee 



^ ready for war.'' These communications were 

^ well received by the two houses. Indeed 

^ both parties in Congress found so much to 

^ condemn in the conduct of the belligerent 

I powers towards neutrals, that on this point 

p they seemed for a moment to forget their dis- 

g sensions; and, although the proclamation of 

neutrality continued to be made a theme of 
1 declamation and abuse by violent partisans 

1^ and the presses hostile to the administration, 

it met with no marks of disapprobation from 

Near the beginning of the session an impor- 
tant report was made by the Secretary of 
State, respecting the commercial intercourse 
of the United States with other nations, par- 
ticularly in regard to its privileges and restric- 
tions, and the means for improving commerce 
And navigation. The report was able, elab^ 
orate, and comprehensive, presenting a view 
of the trade between the United States and 
the'principal countries of Europe. 

Two methods were suggested by the sec- 
retary for modifying or removing restrictions ; 
first, by amicable arrangements with foreign 
powers ; secondly, by countervailing acts of 
the legislature. He preferred the former, if 
it should be found practicable, and gave his* 
reasons. The subject of navigation was also 
VOL. n. 


discussed, and a system of maritime defence 

Shortly after making this report, Mr. Jeffer-* 
son retired from the office of Secretary of 
State, in conformity with an intimation he 
bad given some months before ; having been 
prevailed upon by the President, apparently 
against his own inclination, to remain till the 
end of the year. He was succeeded by Ed 
mund Randolph, whose place as Attorney- 
General was supplied by William Bradford of 

The secretary's report gave rise to Hr. Mad-* 
ison's celebrated commercial resolutions, which 
were long debated in the House of Repre- 
sentatives with a degree of animation, and 
even of asperity, that had not been exceeded 
since the adoption of the funding system. 
These resolutions embraced the general prin- 
ciples of the report, but they aimed at a dis- 
crimination in the commercial intercourse with 
foreign countries, which was viewed in very 
different lights by the two parties in Congress. 
They imposed restrictions and additionaJ du- 
ties on the manufactures and navigation of 
nations, which had no commercial treaties 
with the United States, and a reduction of. 
duties on die tonnage of vessels belonging to 
nations with which such treaties existed. la 


this scheme Uie friends of the administiatioo 
saw, or imagined they saw, hostility to Eng* 

g, land and undue favor to France, neither war-^ 

1 ranted by policy, nor consistent with neutral- 
I ity; while the other party regarded it as 
I equitable in itself, and as absolutely necessary 
^ to protect the commerce of the country frpm 
I insulting aggression and plunder. Mr. Madi- 
I son's plan was modified in its piogress ; but a 
p resolntioni retaining the principle of commer- 
( eial restrictions, finally passed the House of 

Representatives. It was rejected in the Sen- 
ate by the casting vote of the Yice-President. 

^ While these discussions were going on with 

much heat in Congress, a measure was resort- 

I ed to by the President, which produced con- 

I siderable eflfect on the results. Advices from 

the American minister in London rendered it 
probable, Aat the British cabinet were dis- 
posed to settle the dilSerences between the 
two countries on amicable terms. At all 
events the indications were such, that Wash- 
ington, firm to his purpose of neutrality and 
peace, resolved to make the experiment. Ac- 
cordingly, on the IGth of April, he nominated 
Ifr. Jay to the Senate, as an envoy extraordir 
nary to the court of Gbeat Britwi. '^Hy 
objects are," said he, in. a letter to the Secre* 

' tary of State, '^to prevent a war, if justice 

393 MFE or WASHIKCTOn.* flT^ 

(Mtn be obtained by fiar and strong lepraaentar 
tions of the injuries, which this eoontry has 
Boataioed from Chreat Britain in various ways^ 
to put it in a complete state of military de-* 
fence, and to provide erentnally for the exe- 
ontion of soch measuYes as seem to be now- 
pending in Congress, if oegotiatioii in a rea- 
sonable time proves unsuccessfcd*" The n(»a* 
ination was confrmed in the Senito by a 
majority of more than two to one ; bat it was 
strenuously opposed by the principal monbers 
of the democratic party, particidarly Mr. Hon* 
roe, and was disapproved by the same party ia 
the Houas ef Representatives. 

As a war seemed inevitable, if Mr. Jay's 
mission should terminate unfavorably, Con- 
gress passed acts for putting the oonntry in a 
state of defence. The principal harbors wars 
to be fortified, and eighty thousand militia to 
be held in readiness for immediate service. 
The importatioQ of anoa was permitted free 
ef duty, and the President was authorized to 
puxchfsie galleys, and lay an emba^o, if he 
riiould think the public interest required it. 
Additional taxes were levied to meet the ex* 

Congress adjourned, after, a long and bois- 
terous session, which had contributed not a 
little to increase the aerimooy of parties, inuL> 

Mf.m.] LIPli: OF WA9HINQT0N. 39S 

liply the causes of dissension, and inflame the 
minds of the people. The administration, 
howeTer, stood firm } and xieither the policy 
nor the opinions of Washington were in any 
degree changed. In fact, having no personal 
obfects to gain, Uiinking and acting only for 
bis country, divested of partiality and prejti<« 
dice aa far as it was possible for any man to 
be, and invariably taking counsel of his con- 
science and judgment, be stood aloof from 
the commotions of party and the contagious 
influence of paxty spirit. Justice to all na- 
tioits, peace with all, and a prepafation for war 
as the best safeguard of peace, were the rales 
of his polioy, and bis constant aim. 

394 LIFE or WASHIlfOTON. intfc 


forarrectioii in Pennsylnmia. — Measoret adopted by the Preii 
dent for Np|iraniBg it ~ Plan for radeemiag the Pablie Dtfbt. 
— The BntUh Treaty ratified by the Senate. — Popalar £■• 
citement reapecting it. — The Treaty confirmed by the Sigaa- 
tore of the Preaideat — Reaignatioa of Mr. Raadolph. — Cir* 
evoMtaiicea aUendiag it. 

Ik the connse of the preceding winter^ M. 
Fauchet arrived in the United States as min- 
ister from France. At the request of the 
French government, Mr. Morris was recdled, 
and James Monroe was appointed as bis sue* 
cesser. This selection afforded a strong proof 
of the impartiality of the President, and of 
his ardent desire to conciliate differences at 
home, and preserve amity with foreign nations. 
Mr. Monroe, being a leader among the oppo* 
nents to the administration, had shown him-* 
self a zealous advocate for France. 

Soon after Congress adjourned, the IVesi* 
dent's attention was called to another subject, 
of very serious import, both as it regarded 
the authority of the laws, and the stability of 
the union. The act of Congress imposing a 
tax on distilled spirits had, from its first oper- 
ation excited much uneasiness in various parts 


of the eouDtr7, and in some districts it had 
been evaded and openly resisted. The in* 
spectors of the rerenue appointed by the gor- 
ernment were insulted, threatened, and even 
prevented by force from discharging their du- 
ty. To so great a length bad these outrages 
gone in some places, as early as Septemberi 
1792, that a proclamation was published by 
the President, admonishing all persons to re- 
frain from combinations and proceedings, which 
obstructed the execution of the laws, and re- 
quiring the magistrates and courts to exert the* 
powers Tested in them for bringing to justice 
the offenders. Bills of indictment were found 
against some of these persons, and the marshal 
attempted to serve the processes issued by the 
court. He was met by a body of armed men, 
seised, detained, and harshly treated. The 
malecontents proceeded from one degree of 
excess to another, holding seditious meetings, 
arming themselves, abusing the officers of the 
government, and bidding defiance to the laws, 
till they assumed the attitude of insurrection, 
and prepared for an oi^anized resistance. 

The moderation and forbearance, which, 
according to his usual practice, the President 
had exercised towards these deluded people 
for more than two years, served only to in* 
crease their violence, and encourage their de« 

306 Lire or WASrHiHGToa.. p79*. 

termiaed spirit of kostility^ He cauU no. 
longer hesitate, as to the comse he ought lo. 
panme. He resolved to em|iioy the means 
intrusted to him by the laws, and aippcess 
the insurrection by a military fbice^ As a 
preparatory step^ he issued a proclamation^ 
dated on the 7th of August, in whtch, after 
briefly narrating the criminal transactions of 
the insnisgents, and what had been done by 
the gevernment to allay their discontents sad 
torn them from their treasonable practices^ hn 
dedased his determination to execute the lawa 
by calling the militia to bis aid, and com- 
manded the insurgents and all persons coo- 
oerned in abetting their acts to disperse and 
retire peaesably to their abodes before the ficsi 
day of September. 

Having seat out Ibis prodamation, as i^ 
preliminary measure exacted by the laws, he 
next nuide a requisition for militia on the gov- 
ernors of New Jersey, Pennsylvaniay Mary- 
land, and Virginia. The iasurgents chiefly 
resided in the western counties of INsnnsylva* 
nia. It was supposed there were among them 
about sixteen thousand men capable of bear- 
ing arms, and that they could bring at least 
seven thousand into active service. The nuni* 
ber of militia at first ordered out was twelve 
thousand, and it was subsequently increaeed 

«y.C|.] LIFE OF WASHlVCTOn. 307 

to fift#0Q thowand* Tlw Govemoni of Ptaa* 
sylvania and New Jersey took the field at th^ 
head of the troops from their respective States, 
and th4 ocmouuid of the whde was conferred' 
OB OoYemor Lee of Tiigiiiia. The pieee of 
r^idezTous for the Pennsylyania and New 
Jeney troops was Bedford. Those from Tir* 
ginia and Ifiarylaiid assembled at Oamberiaiidy 
the site of Old Fovt Oumberland, ac the jmifr- 
tion of Will's Creek with the Potomac Biver. 
From erery quarter the militia cans forwasA 
with alacrity, and the best disposition wa» 
shown by officers and privates to execute tha 
orders of the government. 

The President, accompanied by the Seero^ 
iMury ^ War, inspected the army at tlie twd 
places of ssndearoQs. He went, by way d 
Harrisburg and Carlisle, first to CwnfaMland^ 
and thence to Bedfofd, these places being 
about thirty miles iq»rt. He gave dieecticMM 
for each division to march across the AUegany 
Mountains, meet on the other side, and ael 
against the insurgents as circumstances should 
require. Ascertaining from personal examina- 
tion that every thing was in readiness, and 
leaving written instructions with General Lee, 
he returned to Plnladelphia. Congress was 
soon to meet, and it was important for him to 

Lire OF WASHiHGToxi. frm, 

be there at that time. He was absent four 

When he left home he intended to cross 
the mountains and lead the army in person,, 
if this shonld seem expedient ; but the intelli- 
gence be receiyed on the way, and the sjpint 
which animated the 'troops, convinced him 
that the insurgents would mdke no formidable, 
resistance to such a force, and that his furthw 
attondauee on the expedition was not neces- 
sary^ The Secretary of War went en with 
the army to Pittsbuj^. The result was erea 
more fortunate than coidd have been expect- 
ed. No resistance was attemptedi and no blood 
was ribed. To preserve quiet, and secure what 
had been gained, a body of troops continued 
for some time in the disaffected country, imdei 
the command of General Morgan. 

In the President's speech to Congress, aft« 
mentioning somewhat, in detail the course ha 
had taken to suppress the insurrection, he 
leeommended further provisions for defence, 
particularly a reform of the militia system, 
and also advised that some plan should be 
adopted for redeeming the public debt, which 
now amounted to about seventy-six millions 
of dollars. YThile this last subject was under 
discussion in Congress, the Secretary of the 
Treasury reported a scheme, which he had 

Jtr,m.] LIFfi OF WASfflNQTON. 

tnatnred on the basis of the laws pnYWOsly 
enacted for regulating the fiscal operations of 
the government. A sinking fund had already 
been established by setting apart for that por« 
pose a portion of certain specified taxes ; and 
he proposed that this fund should be enlarged 
by increasing the duties on imports, tonnage, 
and distilled spirits, by the money accruing 
flrom the sales of public lands, the diyidenda 
on bank stock, and the surplus revenue re- 
maining after the annual appropriations had 
been expended, and that the flmd, thus in- 
creased, should be applied to the redemptioa 
of the' debt. This report occasicmed much 
debate, but the secretary's plan was substan* 
tially approved, and an act conformable to U 
was passed. 

- Before the end of the session, Hamilton r^ 
signed the office of Secretary of the Treasury. 
The vacancy was filled by Oliver Wdcott; 
who was strongly recommended by Hamilton, 
and whose character was well known and 
highly respected by the President. Geneial 
Knox likewise retired from the war depart-* 
ment, and was succeeded by Timothy Pick* 
ering, at that time Postmaster-general, whose 
services in the Revolution had qualified him 
in an eminent degree for executing the duties 
of Secretary of War. 

800 LIFE- or WASHIHGTCm. Vim 

The tieaty nirith Greal BHtato, Be^otioled' 
by Mr. Jay, arrived al the wat of gevenuneat 
in March, shortly after the session of Crongresa 
wtm elosed. The Comtitutibft had proFided, 
tiiat all treaties should be ratified by the Sen* 
ate, and the Pkesident summoned that body ta 
meet in June, for the pnrpose of considerifig ic 

In the interval^ he etxamined and studied 
die tieaty with the dosest attentien. It wae 
net altogether snoh as he wished, perhaps 
■ot sooh as he had hoped. Potntti wece Idk 
QBtoucbed, which he would gladly ham aeed 
tetrodnoed and definitiTely settled ; others 
were so arranged, that he feared they'wonld 
net prove a snfficient guard ligainst fntom 
difficulties between die two nations. Bat he 
had perfect confidence in the ability, knowt^ 
edge, and patriotism of Mr. JiCy. Be was eon- 
viaeed, that mere fltvomble terms could not 
be obtained, and that the only aheroative was 
this treaty or none. Some valuable privileges 
were aemired, nothing had been sacrificed, the 
national honor was aaaintained, and a pledge 
of amity was held out If the treaty was 
rejected, a war wotald certainly foUow, the 
oalaraitite of which, in the acluKl state of 
Eofope, would be incalenlable, and no one 
eould predict when they wohid end, or to 
what they would lead. Deeply impressed 


vith thase sMlinmifs, und l)eliavnig peaee 
the greal^t blessing bis oou&lry could poeaera, 
lia resolved, in case the tMity should be ap 
proved by the Se^iale, to affix to it his aigna^ 

The Senate aesembled in June, aiid, after 
two weeks? discussion, advised the ratifieation. 
One article, however, was excepted. By this 
article it was sttpukLted, that a diiect trade be* 
tween the United States aAd the BMtish WesI 
India Islands sboald be allowed to AiDezioa» 
Yosaels nol exceedifig the bUrdeo of aeventy 
tsoS) laden with the prodnes of the States ot 
of the Islands ; btit that molasses, soger, tci^ 
£M) cocoa, and cetlon dionld net be tmnsperf* 
ed in Aniertcan vessels, either from the United 
States or the Islatidjs, to any pbrt of the workL 
As cotton was then beooming a product of 
BttBch importance in the aonthem States, and 
had begun to be ezpbrted, this restriction was 
deemed inadmissible ; and the ratification of 
the Senate was to be valid only on conditiosi 
that ati article should be introdiicedicaneelUng 
the one ir which the restriction was contained^ 
Nor was there a unanimity even with this lim- 
itation. A bate cctastitutional majority, thai 
is, exactly two thirds of the members, voted 
in favor of the treaty. 

As this was a noviel case, the President was 


«mii6what at a lots to detenniiie how to doB* 
pose of it. Whether the act of the Setiaie 
coald be regarded as a ratification of the 
treaty, before this new article should be ap* 
proved by the British govemment, and wheth- 
er his signature could properly be affixed to it 
previoosly to that event, were questions which 
he took time to consider. A new obstacle was 
thrown in the way by intelligoioe from Eu* 
rope, that the British cabinet had renewed the 
order fiir seizing provisions in vessels bound to 
French ports. As this order might imply a 
construction of the treaty, which could never 
be admitted in the United States, it was neces* 
sary still further to suspend his decision. View- 
ing the subject in all its relations, however, 
be inclined to the opinion, that it was best to 
ratiry the treaty with the condition prescribed 
by the Senate, and at the same time to accom- 
pany it with a memorial or remonstrance to 
the British government against the proviaioo 

Meantime the treaty was published. At 
first an imperfect abstract only appeared ; but 
a complete copy was soon after furnished by a 
member of the Senate to the editor of a news- 
paper. It thus came clandestinely before the 
public, without the authority of the executive, 
and without any of the official documents and 


eorrespondenoe, by which the objects and rea- 
sons of the negotiators could be explained. It 
was dissected, criticized, and condemned, in a 
tone of passionate and violent declamation, 
which could scarcely have been exceeded, if 
the instrument had reduced the United States 
to their former colonial dependence on Eng* 
land. The merits of the treaty were studi* 
ously kept out of sight, and all its objection* 
ible parts were thrust forward, exaggeratedi 
•ind censured as disgraceful and humiliating to 
the nation. It was impossible that a clamor so 
loud and so universal should not produce a 
strong impression upon every class of the com* 
munity. The friends of the administration 
ildlied in its defence, but they used the weap- 
ons of reason and argument ; they talked of 
moderation and peace, of consistency and good 
faith. They found few patient listeners, and 
fewer impartial judges. The torrent was nei- 
ther to be stemmed, nor diverted from its 
course. Public meetings were held ; and res- 
olutions and addresses condemning the treaty, 
and designed to have a popular effect, and to 
intimidate the executive, were voted, publish- 
ed, and widely circulated among the people. 

The first resolves of this sort proceeded 
from a meeting in Boston. They were for- 
warded by an express to the President, with a 

804 LIFE or WASHXNOToii. (im. 

letter from the selectmen of the town. He 
receiFed them at Baltimore, while on hia way 
to Mount Yemon. Ten days afterwarda, hav^ 
ing carefully reviewed the aubjecty and ascer- 
tained the eentiments of the cabinet, he an*> 
swered the letter. It had been his aim, he 
said, in every act of his administntion, to sedt 
the happiness of his fellow citizens, to discard 
personal, local, and partial considerations, lo 
look upon the United States as one nation, and 
CO consult only their substantial and permanent 
interests. ^Without a predilection fcft my 
own judgment," he added, ^' I have weighed 
with attention every argument, which has at 
any time been brought into view. But the 
Constitution is the guide, which I never can 
abandon. It has assigned to the President the 
power of making treaties, with the advice and 
consent of the Senate. It was doubtless sup- 
posed, that these two branches of government 
would combine, without passion, and with the 
best means of information, those facts and 
principles, upon which the success of our for 
6Tgn relations will always depend ; that they 
ought not to substitute for their own convic- 
tion the opinions of others, or to seek truth 
through any channel but that of a temperate 
and well informed investigation. Under this 
persuasion, I have resolved on the manner of 


executing the duty before me. To the high 
leeponsibility attached to it, I freely submit ; 
and you, Gentlemen, are at liberty to make 
these sentiments known as the grounds of my 
procedure. While I feel the most lively grat- 
itude for the many instances of approbation 
from my country, I can no otherwise deserve 
it, than by obeying the dictates of my con- 
science.'' To these sentiments he steadily 
adhered, and he answered many of the ad- 
dresses sent to him in nearly the same lan- 

From the excitement taat prevailed, how- 
ever, and from the resolves of meetings in all 
parts of the country, he soon perceived, that a 
formidable attempt was making to stir up the 
people, with a view of operating on the exec- 
utive. To defeat this purpose, and to put an 
end to the disorders hourly increasing by the 
combined action of overheated zeal, artifice, 
and party spirit, he returned to Philadelphia, 
summoned the cabinet, and submitted the 
proposition for immediately ratifying the treaty. 
It was approved by all the members except the 
Secretary of State, who, although he had be- 
fore been in favor of it^ now thought the step 
premature, till the provision order should be 
revoked, and the war between England and 
Prance should cease. This opinion had no 



effect on the President. He signed the treaty, 
the order was in due time repealed, and Ifae 
ratification, on the terms advised by the Sen* 
ate, was reciprocated by the British govern- 

It would be impossible, within the limits 
of the present narrative, to sketeh even an 
outline of the transactions relating to this 
treaty. No more can be said, than that the 
controversy, occasioned by it, increased the vi- 
olence of party discord to almost an incredible 
extent ; and that even the motives and charac- 
ter of Washington did not escape a fuU meas- 
ure of the abuse, which was poured out upon 
all, who approved the acts of the administra- 
tion. Regardless of truth and decorum, his 
detractors assailed him with a license and ma- 
lignity, which showed an utter despair of ac- 
complishing their ends by honorable means. 
But however they might excite his commise- 
ration, they could not disturb his peace of 
mind. ^' I have long since resolved," said he, 
writing to the governor of Maryland, *' for the 
present time at least, to let my calumniators 
proceed without any notice being taken of 
their invectives by myself, or by any others 
with my participation or knowledge. Their 
views, I dare say, are readily perceived by aA 
the enlightened and well disposed part of the 


community ; and by the records of my admin- 
istration, and not by the voice of faction, 1 
expect to be acquitted or condemned here- 

In relation to the treaty, time disappointed 
its enemies, and more than fulfilled the expec- 
tations of its friends. It saved the country 
from a war, improved its commerce, and served 
in no small degree to lay the foundation of its 
durable prosperity. The great points, which 
were said to be sacrificed or neglected, the im- 
pressment of seamen, neutral rights, and colo- 
nial trade, have never yet been settled, and are 
never likely to be settled satisfactorily, while 
England maintains the ascendency she now 
holds on the ocean. 

The day following that on which the Presi- 
dent affixed his name to the treaty, Mr. Ran 
dolph resigned the office of Secretary of State. 
The circumstances are these. While Wash- 
ington was at Mount Yemon, the British min- 
ister, Mr. Hammond, put into the hands of 
the Secretary of the Treasury a letter from 
M. Fauchet to the French government, which 
had been intercepted at sea, whence it found 
its way to the British cabinet, and was for- 
warded to Mr. Hammond. The letter was 
translated by Mr. Pickering, and shown to the 
Preadent when he arrived in Philadelphia. Icp 

308 LIFE OP washiuqton. [179& 

contents were each, as to excite suspicions of 
Mr. Randolph's conduct It appeared that his 
political relations with the French minister 
had been more intimate and confidential, than 
was compatible with the office he held in the 
administration. At all events, it seemed a fair 
inference from the language of the letter, that 
M. Fauchet valued his services as having been 
useful to the French interests, and calculated 
on them for the future. 

In the presence of the other members of the 
cabinet, the President handed this letter to 
Mr. Randolph and asked an ezplanation. He 
had not before heard of it ; and, although he 
read it without emotion, he expressed much 
displeasure at the President's manner ctf hring* 
ing it to his notice, and complained that he 
did not first converse with him on the subject 
privately. He said that he wished more leis* 
me to examine the letter, before making any 
detailed remarks on its contents, but added, 
that, considering the treatment he had received, 
he coidd not think of remaining in his office a 
moment longer. Accordingly he sent in his 
resignation the same day. 

Mr. Randolph published a pamphlet vindicate 
ing his conduct, and explaining such parts of 
the intercepted letter as related to him. From 
M. Fauchet, who was then on the point of 


learing the country, he also obtained a certifi- 
eate, in which that minister declared, that in 
his letter he had no intention to say any thing 
to the disadvantage of Mr. Randolph's charac- 
ter. The statements presented by Mr. Ran* 
dolph, in proof of his innocence, were not such 
as to produce entire conriction ; bat the nature 
of his task rendered it difficult, if not impossi* 
ble, for him to adduce positive evidence. Ho 
moreover allowed himself to be betrayed into 
a warmth of temper, and bitterness of feeling, 
not altogether favorable to his candor. After 
all that has been made known, the particulars 
of Ids conversations with Fauchet, and his de« 
signs, are still mattes of conjecture. 

One fact connected with this affair should 
be mentioned, as being highly creditable to 
Washington. In preparing his vindication, 
Mr. Randolph applied for a certain letter, and 
intimated that papers were withheld. Wash- 
mgton said, in reply ; ^' That you may have 
no cause to complain of the withholding of 
any paper, however private and confidential, 
which you shall think necessary in a case of 
so serious a nature, I have directed that you 
should have the inspection of my letter agree- 
ably to your request, and you are at full liber- 
ty to publish without reserve any and every 
private and confidential letter I ever wrote to 


you ; nay, more, every word I ever uttered to 
you, or in your hearing, from whence you can 
derive any advantage in your vindication/' 
When it is remembered, that Mr. Randolph 
had been in the cabinet from the beginning of 
the administration, the liberty here given af- 
fords a striking proof of the consciousness felt 
by Washington of the perfect rectitude of his 
own proceedings. 

Mr. Pickering was transferred from the war 
department to the office of Secretary of State 
and James M'Henry of Maryland was appoint- 
ed Secretary of War. Mr. Bradford, the At- 
tomey-geneml, had recently died. He was 
succeeded by Charles Lee of Yii^inia. 

.14.] Lire OF WASHINGTON. 311 


The President xefeMt to fiinilih Pftpera to the Hoom of Repre 
■eotatiyet in relation to the British Treaty. — Captivity of La 
fayetto, and Means used by Washington to procure his Libert- 
tioB.^I>iAc«lt&es with France in regard to the British Treaty. 
^Recall of Mr. Monroe. — Washington's Farewell Address. 
— His last Speech to Congress. — Inaaguntion of his Suc- 
cessor. ~ Testimony of Respect shown to him by the Citiiene 
of Philadelphia. — He retires to Mount Vernon. ^ Reyiew of 
his Administration. 

Thb foreign relations of the United States 
had begun to put on a more favorable aspect 
Treaties were negotiated with Spain and Al- 
giers, by which the prisoners who had been in 
bondage for many years under the latter power, 
were released, and the difficulties with the 
former, respecting boundaries and the naviga- 
tion of the Mississippi, were amicably adjusted 
The victory of General Wayne had also 
smoothed the way to a treaty with the Indians. 
On this state of affairs the President congratu- 
lated both houses of Congress, when he met 
them at the opening of the session. 

But the British treaty was destined to be a 
cause of still further agitation. Great exer- 
tions had been made throughout the country 
to obtain signatures to petitions against it, 

which were to be presented to the House of 


Representatives. And, when the treaty waa 
submitted to Congress, as having been ratified 
by his Britannic Majesty, the members opposed 
to it indicated a determined purpose to defeat 
its operation by refusing to pass the laws 
necessary for carrying it into effect. The 
warfare was commenced by a resolution, Co 
which a large majority assented, requesting the 
President to lay before the House the iostruc* 
tions to Mr. Jay, and the correspondence and 
other documents relating to the negotiation. 

This request imposed a delicate task on the 
President. In his opinion, the power to form 
treaties rested wholly with the chief magit- 
trate and the Senate, and he befiered that the 
House of Representatives had no right to make 
a demand, which would imply an enereachr 
ment on this power, nor in any manner to in- 
terfere with the negotiation of treaties. Yet, 
in the present excited state of public feeling, 
a refusal of the request would expose him to 
the chaise of showing disre^)ect to the lepiei- 
sentattves of the people, raise suspicions of his 
motives, and probably fkurnish a pretext for in* 
sinnations, that he had personal reasons for 

From the line of duty, however, be was 
never known to deviate ; and in this case it 
was too plain to be mistaken. In bis answer 


to the commtiBieation from the house, he re- 
fused a compliance with the rsquest, and gave 
his reasons* He said it was clear to his mind, 
that the power of making treaties was vested 
by the Constitution exclusively in the Presi* 
dent, with the advice and consent of the Sen- 
ate ; that, having been a member of the con* 
vention, he knew this was the imderstandint; 
of the fratners of the Constitution ; that the 
subject was fully discussed ; that there were 
reasons for believing the State conventions nn-- 
derstood it in the same way; that this con- 
struction had hitherto been acquiesced in by 
the House of Representatives ; and that a just 
regard to the Constitution, and to the duty of 
bis office, required him to resist the principle 
contended for by the house. If allowed to be 
put in practice, it would destroy the confi- 
dence of foreign powers in the executive, de- 
range the government, and lead to the most 
mischievous consequences, when it would be 
too late to apply a remedy. 

The members, who voted for the resdution, 
were not prepared for this refusal ; nor did 
they conceal their disappointment and dissatis- 
faction. The message gave rise to a debate, 
which continued for many days, and in which 
the merits of the treaty, and the constitutionid 
powers of the several departments of the gov- 


i\\ LIFE or WASHINGTOjr. [119b. 

ernmenty were elaborately diacnsaed. Paaaion, 
party zeal, eloquence, and argument were all 
brought to bear on the subject ; and the 
speeches show, that both sides of the question 
were maintained with unusual ability and 
force of reascming. In the end, a majority of 
the members who were oiq)06ed to the treaty 
yielded to the exigency of the case, and, prob- 
ably more from expediency than convictioni 
united in passing the laws necessary for its 

Among the events, which contributed to 
harass the mind and weigh upon the spirits of 
Washington, none affected him more keenly 
than the captivity of Lafayette. Gmtitude for 
the services rendered by Lafayette to the 
United States in times of distress and peril, a 
respect for his character, founded on a long and 
intimate acquaintance, and a knowledge of his 
pure and disinterested princii^es, had created 
an ardent attachment, of which many proofs 
have been exhibited in this narrative, and 
many others might be added. In proportion 
to the strength of this attachment was his 
affliction at the sufferings of his friend. 

After receiving the intelligence of his cap- 
ture, Washington wrote letters to the Mar- 
chioness de La&yette, expressive of his sym- 
pathy, and affording all the consolation in his LIFE OF WASHINGTON. 310 

power. His regret was the greater^ because, 
being at the head of the nation, the family of 
Lafayette, and the friends of humanity in 
Europe, expected much from his aid ; while 
in reality he could do nothing more, except by 
his personal influence, than any other individ- 
ual. Lafayette was a prisoner, first in the 
Prassiu dominions, and next in the Austrian. 
There was no diplomatic intercourse between 
those countries and the United States. Hence 
the American government, without authority 
to make a demand or power to enforce it, 
either directly or through the agency of other 
governments, could take no decisive steps for 
his release. 

Instructions were sent, and often repeated, 
to the American ministers at foreign courts, 
directing them to use all their efforts in his 
favor. These instructions were faithfully 
obeyed. Nothing more could be done. The 
mediation of the British cabinet was sought, 
but not obtained. That he might leave no 
means untried, Washington at last wrote a 
letter to the Emperor of Germany, stating his 
friendship for Lafayette, suggesting in delicate 
-terms that his sufferings had pertiaps been as 
great as the nature of his case demanded, and 
requesting that he might be permitted to come 
to the United States under such restrictions 


316 L,IVK or WASHINGTON. fl19^ 

as his Majesty, the Emperor, might thiok it 
expedient to prescribe. What influeoee this 
letter may have had on the mind of the Em- 
peror, oar on the fate of Lafayette, is not known. 
When restored to liberty, he was delivered 
oyer, by order of the Austrian government, to 
the American consul at Hambu^. 

When the wife and daughters of Lafayette 
left France, to join bim in the prison of Ol- 
mutz, his son, Gteoi^e Washington Lafityette, 
eame to the United States. He was affeo* 
tionately received into the family of President 
Washington, where he resided nearly two 
years, tttl he returned to Europe on hearing ot 
the liberation of his father. 

Not long after the treaty was conditionally 
ratified by the Senate, a copy of it was fur- 
nished to the French minister, M. Adet, the 
successor of M. Fanchet. He objected to some 
parts of it, as at variance with the treaty sub- 
aisting between France and the United States. 
His objections were answered by the Secra* 
tary of Stale, and sach explanations were 
given as showed, that the tisaty could in no 
degree injure the interests ci F^rance, and that 
die government of the United States was re^ 
solved faithfully to fulfil their compact with 
that nation, according to the strict principles 
of neutrality, which it was bound to observe 


in regard to the belligerent powers of Europe. 
But the rulers of the French republic had 
viewed with jealousy Mr. Jay's negoCiation, 
as diminishing their hope of a war betweea 
Great Britain and the United States ; and it is 
not surprising, that they should be quick to 
find out points in the treaty, which, by their 
construction, might be tnrned to the disadvan- 
tage of Franco. Foreseeing this result, and 
anxious to remove every ground of dissatis* 
faction, Washington caused very full instruc- 
tions to be sent to Mr. Monroe, that he might 
be able to explain the articles of the treaty, as 
understood by the American government, and 
also their designs and conduct in making it. 

From the tenor of Mr. Monroe's letters, and 
from the proceedings of the French Directory, 
die President was led to believe, that the min* 
ister had been backward in using his instrae^ 
tions, and in furnishing the required explana* 
iions. It was known, likewise, that he was 
hostile to the treaty ; and of course, with the 
best disposition to do his duty, he coold hardly 
enter into the views of the goTemment with 
the zeal, and represent them with the force of 
conviction, which the importance of the occa* 
sion demanded. The only remedy was to 
send out another minister. It was resolvedi 
therefore, to recall Mr. Monroe, and make a 

318 LIFE or WASHINGTOH. [vm^ 

new appointment. This resolntion was inan- 
imousiy approved by the cabinet. Mr. Mon« 
roe was accordingly recalled, and Charles 
Cotesworth Pinckney was sent to supply his 

Some months previously, Mr. Thomas Pinck- 
ney had been permitted to return home, hav-> 
ing discha^ed the duties of his eiOSce in Eng- 
land, and on a mission for negotiating a treaty 
at Madrid, to the entire satisfaction of the ex- 
ecutive and of his country. Rufus King, who 
had been a senator from the beginning of the 
new government, was appointed as his succes- 
sor at the court of Great Britain. 

When the second period of four years, for 
which Washington had been elected to the 
Presidency, was approaching its termination, 
many of his friends, concerned at the present 
state of the country, and fearing the conse- 
quences of the heats and divisions that would 
arise in choosing his successor, pressed him 
earnestly to make a still further sacrifice of his 
inclination to the public good. But his pur- 
pose was fixed, and not to be changed. He 
believed that he had done enoi^h, and that 
he might now, without any dereliction of 
duty, resign the helm of government into oth- 
er hands. Having determined to retire, he 
thought proper to make this determination 

\At.$4.] life of WASHINGTON 319 

known in a formal manner, and at so early a 
* day, as to enable his fellow citizens to turn 
their thoughts to other candidates, and prepare 
for a new election. 

Accordingly his Farewell Address to the 
people of the United States was published on 
the 15th of September, nearly six months be- 
fore his term of office expired. In this paper 
are embodied the results of his long experience 
in public affairs, and a system of policy, which 
in his opinion was the best suited to insure to 
his country the blessings of union, peace, and 
prosperity, and the respect of other nations. 
For the vigor of its language, tbe soundness 
of its maxims, the wisdom of its counsels, and 
its pure and elevated sentiments, this perform- 
ance is unrivalled; and the lapse of forty 
years has rather increased than diminished the 
admiration with which it was universally re- 
ceived. The sensation, which it produced in 
every class of the community, was as strong 
as it has been permanent. Even the fierce 
spirit of party could not resist the impulse, nor 
weaken its force. The State legislatures, 
when they assembled, and other public bod* 
ies, voted addresses and thanks to the Presi«* 
dent, expressing a cordial approbation of his 
conduct during the eight years in which he 
had filled the office of chief magistrate, and 



their deep regret that the nation was to be 
deprived of his services. In some of 4he* 
States, the Farewell Address was printed and 
pablished with the laws, by order of the legis- 
latures, as an evidence of the value they at* 
tached to its political precepts, and of their 
affection for its author. 

The two bouses of Congress came tc^ether 
in December, and Washington met them for 
the last time. As he had usually done in his 
former speeches, he first presented a clear and 
comprehensive view of the condition of the 
country, and the executive proceedings within 
the last year, and then recommended to their 
consideration certain measures, which be deem* 
ed important. Among these were the gradual 
increase of the navy, a provision for ibo en- 
couragement of agricultore and manu&ctniesi 
the establishment of a national university, and 
the institution of a military academy. The 
relations with France were made the subject 
of a separate message. At the end of his 
speech he said ; 

^* The situation in which I now stand, for 
the last time, in the midst of the representa- 
tives of the people of the United States, nat- 
urally recalls the period when the administra* 
tion of the present form of government ^om^ 
menced ; and I cannot omit the occaaon to 

jBt.61] LrF£ OF WASHINGTON. 321 

ooDgratulate you and my c<miitry, on the sue- 
0688 of the ezperiment, nor to repeat my fer* 
vent supplications to the Supreme Ruler of 
the Universe and Sovereign Arbiter of Na;* 
tioDc, that his providential care may still be 
extended to the United StatjBS ; that the virtue 
and happiness of the people may be preserved ; 
and that the government, which they have in- 
stituted for the protection of their liberties^ 
may be perpetual." 

Little was d<me during the session. Public 
attention was engrossed with the pending 
election. The votes of the electors were re* 
turned to Congress, and in Febrnary they 
were opened and counted in the i»resence of 
both bouses. It appeared that John Adams 
was chosen President, and Thomas Jefierson 
Vice-President, the foimer having the highest 
number of votes, and the latter the next high* 
est. The strength of the parties was tried ia 
this contest. Mr. Adams was supported by 
the friends of the administration, or the federal 
party, and Mr. Jefferson by its opponents, or 
the democratic party. 

On the 4th of March the President elect 
took the oath of office and assumed its duties.' 
The ceremony was performed in the hall of 
the House of Representatives, and in the same 
manner as bad been practised on former occ»- 




sions. Washington was present as a specta- 
tor, happy in resigning the burden of his of- 
fice, and gratified to see it confided to one, 
whose long and patriotic services in the cause 
of his country rendered him worthy of so high 
a trust. 

The citizens of Philadelphia celebrated the 
day by a testimony of respect for the maa^ 
whom they, in common with the whole nar 
tion, loved and revered. A splendid enter- 
tainment was prepared, which was designed 
for him as the principal guest, and to which 
were invited foreign ministers, the heads of 
the departments, officers of rank, and other 
distinguished persons. A spacious rotunda 
was fitted up for the occasion, in which were 
elegant decorations, emblematical paintingSi 
fanciful devices, and a landscape representing 
Mount Yernon and the scenery around it, all 
conspiring to revive associations connected 
with the life of Washington. 

The following anecdote was communicated 
by the late Bishop White. ^' On the day be- 
fore President Washington retired from ofiice, 
a large company dined with him. Among 
them were the foreign ministers and their la* 
dies, Mr. and Mrs. Adams, Mr. Jefiforson, and 
other conspicuous persons of both sexes. Dur- 
ing the dinner much hilarity prevailed ; but^ 


on the removal of the cloth, it was put an end 
to by the President, certainly without design. 
Having filled his glass, he addressed the com* 
pany, with a smile, as nearly as can be recol- 
lected in the following words; 'Ladies and 
gentlemen, this is the last time I shall drink 
your health as a public man. I do it with 
sincerity, wishing you all possible happiness.' 
There was an end of all pleasantry. He, who 
gives this relation, accidentally directed his 
eye to the lady of the British minister, Mr& 
Listen, and tears were running down her 

Being once more a private citizen, and hav- 
ing already made preparation for his departure, 
be proceeded immediately with his family to 
Mount Yemon. In passing along the road he 
was welcomed with the same hearty demon- 
strations of attachment, as when clothed with 
the dignity and power of office. Before he 
reached Baltimore, he was met by a military 
escort and a large concourse of the inhabitants, 
who accompanied him into the city; and it 
was not till he had actually arrived at his own 
mansion, in the tranquil retreat of Mount Ver- 
non, that he could say he was no longer a 
public roan. 

In reviewing the administration of Wash- 
ington, now that the effervescence of party is 


subsided, and in tracing its effects on the for* 
mation and progress of the government, there 
can hardly be a difference of opinion. No one 
can doubt its wisdom or its success. Whether 
another system, more confcMinable to the views 
of those who opposed his principal measures, 
might not have operated equally well, is not a 
question which needs to be discussed. Whea 
a great and permanent good has been done, 
with the purest motives on the part of the 
actor, it is not necessary, in fomiing a jusl 
estimate of this good, to inquire by what other 
means the same end might have been attained. 
Notwithstanding the innumemble embarrass- 
ments, which attended the first operations of 
the new government, the nation was never 
more prosperous than while Washington was 
at its head. Credit was restored, and estab* 
lished on a sound basis ; the puUic debt was 
secured, and its ultimate payment provided 
for; commerce bad increased beyond any 
former example; the amount of tonnage in 
the ports of the United States had nearly 
doubled; the imports and exports had aug* 
mented in a considerably larger ratio ; and the 
revenue was much more abundant than had 
been expected. The war with the Indians 
was conducted to a successful issue ;• and a 
peace was concluded, which promised quiet to] LIFE OF WASHINGTON. 329 

the frontier inhabitants, and advantages to the 
uncivilized tribes. Treaties had been made 
with foreign powers, in which long standing 
disputes were amicably settled, contending 
claims adjusted, and important privileges gain- 
ed to the United States. The relations with 
France alone remained in a state of incerti- 
tude and perplexity ; and this was owing to 
the condition of affairs in Europe, and not to 
any thing that had grown out of the acts or 
policy of the Amerkan gavernmMit 



Washington deyotes himself to his priTste AfTatra. — Troablet 
between Frtnce end the United States. — Preperatione Ibi 
War. •— Washington appointed CominaBder-in-chief of th* 
Provisional Armj of the United Sutes. — Organisation and 
Arrangement of the Armj. — Disputes with France a4ittsted.— 
Bm last lUoess eiid Death. — His Chancter. 

Being estaUished again at Mount YemoDi 
and freed from public toils and cares. Wash* 
ington returned to the same habits of lite, and 
the same pursuits, which he had always prac- 
tised at that place. It required neither time 
nor new incitements to revive a taste for occi:h 
pations, which had ever afforded him more 
real enjoyment than any others. Although he 
had been able to exercise a partial supervision 
over his private affairs, yet he found, that, 
after an absence of eight years, much was to 
be done to repair his houses, restore his farms 
to the condition m which he had left them, 
and complete his favorite system of agricul- 
ture. To these employments he devoted him- 
self with as lively an interest, as if nothing 
had occurred to interrupt them. 

In writing to a friend, a few weeks after he 
arrived at Mount Yernon, he said that he be- 


^n Kis daily course with the rising of the 
ilun, and fi^t made preparations for the busi- 
ness of the day. "By the time I have ac- 
complished these matters," he adds, "break- 
fast is ready. This being over, 1 mount my 
horse and ride roimd my farms, which em-^ 
ployi me until it is time to dress for dinner, 
at which I rarely miss to see strange faces 
cotiie as fhey say out of respect to me. And 
how (different is this from having a few social 
fnends at a cheerful board. The usual time 
6( sitting at table, a walk, and tea, bring me 
wfthih the dawn o^ candlelight ; previous to 
which, if hot prevented by company, I re- 
solve, that, ao soon as the glimmering taper 
supplies the place of the great luminary, I 
win retire to my writing-table, and acknowl- 
edge the letters I have received. Having 
given you this history of a day, it will serve 
for a year.*^ And in this manner a year passed 
away, and with no other variety than that of 
the change of visiters, who came from all 
parts to pay their respects or gratify their ca- 

But, in the midst of these scenes, it once 
more became his duty to yield to the claim 
of his country. The French Directory had 
rejected the overtures for a reconciliation, and 
committed outrages and insults again$t the 


United States, which no independent nation 
could bear. Mr. Pinckneyi the Americaa 
plenipotentiary, had been treated with indig- 
nity, first by a refusal to receive him as min- 
ister, and next by an order to leave the terri- 
tories of the Republic. At the same timoi 
depredations were made upon American com- 
merce by French cruisers, in violation of the 
treaty which had subsisted between the two 
nations. President Adams summoned Coin 
gress, submitted the subgect to them, and rec- 
ommended preparations for military defence. 
That no method might be left unattempted 
for bringing about a reconciliation and insur- 
ing peace, two envoys extraordinary, John 
Marshall and Elbridge Gerry, were sent out 
to join Mr. Pinckney. The three envoys pro* 
ceeded to Paris, but their mission was unsuc- 

It seems that the rulers of France had been 
deceived into a belief, that the people of the 
United States would not sustain their govern- 
ment in a war against that country. The 
opposition shown to the British treaty had 
contributed to foster this delusion ; and in- 
deed the coiKiuct of the French ministers in 
the United States, from the time Genet arrived 
at Charleston, had clearly indicated a design 
to separate the people from the government 


Such was the confidence of the E;Eecotive 
Directory in this hope, and such their igno-* 
ranee of the American character, that they 
had the efirontery- to demand money of the 
envoys as a preliminary to any negotiation for 
settling the differences between the two na- 
tions. This demand was made under the pre- 
tence of a redress of grievances, in conse- 
quence, as it was alleged, of the unfavorable 
operation of the British treaty, and of the sys- 
tem of neutrality adopted by the American 
government. So degrading a proposal could 
not of course be regarded in any other light 
than as an insult. 

Nothing now remained to be done but to 
prepare for war. Congre3S authorized the 
President to enlist ten thousand men, as a 
provisional army, and to call them into actual 
service, if war should be declared against the 
United States, or whenever in his opinion 
there should be danger of an invasion. 

As soon as it was foreseen, that a resort to 
arms might be necessary, all eyes were turned 
upon Washington as the individual to be plac- 
ed at the head of the army. The weight of 
his name was of the utmost importance to 
produce unanimity in the leaders, and secure 
the confidence and support of the people. 
*' You ought to be aware," said Hamilton, in 


writing to him, ''that, in the event of an opea 
rupture with France, the puUio voice will 
again eall yon to command the armies of yow 
coimtry ; and, though all who are attached to 
you will from attachment, as weU as pnblic 
considerations, deplore an occasion, which 
should once more tear yon from that repose 
to which you have so good a righf , yet it it 
the opinion of all those with whom I con- 
verse, that you will be compelled to make the 
sacrifice. All your past labors may demand, 
to give them efficacy, this fnrther, this vary 
great sacrificed' The President dso wrote to 
him ; " We must have your name, if yon wiQ 
permit us to use it. There will be more effi- 
cacy in it than in many an army." This let- 
ter was written before any appointments had 
been made. The following is an eztiact ftooa 
Washington's reply. 

** From a view of the past and the pvesenl, 
and from the prospect of that which seems to 
be expected, it is not easy for me to decide 
satisfactorily on the part it might best become 
me to act. In case of actual invasion by a 
formidable force, I certainly should not kt^ 
trench myself under the cover of age and re- 
tirement, if my services should be required by 
my country to assist in repelling it. And, if 
there be good cause, which must be better 


known to the gor^rnmeiit than to prirate ci(- 
izeni, to expect such an eyent, delay in {Mre- 
paring for it might be dang^!OuS| ittipceper, and 
not to be justified by prudence. The uncer* 
tainty, however, of the event, in my mind, 
creates my embarrassment ; for I cannot fmrly 
bring it to believe, regardless as the French 
are of treaties and of the laws of nations^ and 
ciqMd>le as I conceive them to be ef any spe* 
cies of deq)otism and injustice, thai they will 
attempt to invade this country, after such a 
uniform and unequivocal expression of the 
sense of the people in all parts to oppose them 
with their lives and fortunes.'' 

Before receiving this reply, the President had 
nomiimted him to the Senate as Commander-in- 
chief of the armies of the United States. The 
nomination was unanimously confirmed on the * 
3d of July, the day after it was made. The 
Secretary of War was despatched in person to 
Mount Yernon, as the bearer of the commis* 
sion. Washington accepted the appointment; 
with two reservations ; first, that the principal 
officers should be such as he approved ; sec- 
ondly, that he should not be called into the 
field, till the army was in a condition to re- 
quire his presence, or till it became necessary 
by the urgency of circumstances. He added, 
however, that he did not mean to withho 4 


any assistance he could afford in arranging and 
organizing the army ; and, in conformity with 
the rule he had always followed, he declined 
receiving any part of the emoluments imnezed 
to his appointment, until he should be in a sit- 
uation to incur expense. 

There was much embarrassment in afq[)oint- 
ing the principal officers. Some of those, who 
had senred in the Revolution, were prominent 
candidates for appointments in the new army. 
It became a question, whether their former 
rank should be taken into account. If this 
were decided in the affirmative, it would de- 
prive the army of the services of men, whose 
talents, activity, and influence were of the 
greatest moment, but who would not accept 
subordinate places. It was the opinion of 
^Washington, that, since the old army had long 
been disbanded, and a new one was now to be 
formed upon different principles and for a dif- 
ferent object, no regard ought to be paid to 
former rank, but that the best men should be 
selected, and so arranged as most effectually to 
promote the public good. This opinion pre- 

The inspector-general was to be the second 
in command, and there were to be likewise 
two major-genemls. For these offices Wash* 
ington proposed Alexander Hamilton, Charles 

JEt.66.] life of WASHINGTON. 333 

Cotesworth Pinckney, and Henry Knox, who 
were to rank in the order in which their names 
here stand. They were thus appointed. The 
President was not satisfied with the arrange- 
ment. His choice for the inspector-general 
rested upon Knox, but he acquiesced in the 
decision of Washington. Unfortunately Gen^ 
eral Knox was displeased with the arrange- 
ment, and declined accepting his commission. 
He believed that his former services gave him 
higher claims, than could be advanced for the 
two younger officers who were placed over 

From this time to the end of his life a great 
part of Washington's attention was taken up 
with the affairs of the new army. His corre- 
spondence with the Secretary of War, the 
major-generals, and other officers, was unre- 
mitted and very full, entering into details and 
communicating instructions, which derived 
value from his long experience and perfect 
knowledge of the subject. His letters during 
this period, if not the most interesting to many 
readers, will ever be regarded as models of 
their kind, and as affording evidence that the 
vigor and fertility of his mind had not de- 
creased with declining years. He passed a 
month at Philadelphia, where he was assidu* 
ously employed with Generals Hamiltoa and 

334 UFE OF nrASBINGTOH. £1799. 

Pinckney in making arrangements for raiauig 
and organizing the army. After the plan was 
finished, he applied himself, with all the ardor 
of his younger days, to effect its execution. 

He never seriously belie ved, th^t the French 
would go to the extremity of invading the 
United States. But it had always been a max- 
im with him, that a timely prepar^ti^ for war 
afforded the surest means of preserving peace ; 
^nd on this occasion he acted with as much 
promptitude and energyi as if the invaders 
bad been actually qa the coast. His opinion 
proved to be correct, and his prediction was 
verified. When it was discovered^ tfiat a ifar 
with the United States would not be ag^ns( 
the government alone, but thfit the x^hole peo« 
pie would rise to resist aggression and maintain 
their rights and dignity as a nation, tl^e French 
rulers relaxed into a more paiQi$<^ t^qap^r. In- 
timations were given by them of a willingness 
to cooperate in effecting a frieudly and equita- 
ble adjustment of existing differences. Lis- 
tening to these overtures^ the President again 
appointed three envoys extraordinary, and in- 
vested them with full powers to negotiate with 
the French government. When they arrived 
in Paris, they found Bonaparte at ti^e bead of 
aflkirs, who, having taken no part in the pre 
ceding disputes, and perceiving no advantage 


ill continuing them) readily assented to an ac- 
commodation. No event was mcure desired hy 
Washington, bnt he did not live to participate 
ia the joy with which the intelligence was re- 
ceived by his oouutrymen. 

Since bis retirement firom the Presidency, 
bis health bad been remarkably good; and, 
although age had not come without its infir- 
mities, yet he was able to endure fatigue and 
make exertions of body and mind with scarce- 
ly less ease and activity, than he had done in 
the prime of his strength. On the 12th oi 
Oeeomb^ he spent several hours oa hearse* 
back, riding to his farms, and giving directions 
to his manners. He returned late in the af- 
tetnoon, wel imd chilled with the rain and 
sleet, to which he bad been exposed while 
riding horais. Tbe water had penetrated to 
bi& neck, and sAow was lodged in tlie locks 
of. his hair. A heavy fcU of snow the next 
day prevented his going abiwd, except for a 
shoit time near his house* A sore throat and 
hoarasnsss convinced him^ that he had taken 
coM ; biit he seemed tt) apprehend no dangei 
from h. He passed the evening with the fasa* 
Hy, tead the newspapers, and e<mversed cheer- 
fully tiH Ilia usual hoilr Ibr going to rest. 

In tihe night be had an ague, and before the 
dawn of day the next motubgi. which was 



Saturday, the 14th, the soreness in his throat 
had become so severe, that he breathed and 
spoke with difficulty. At his request he was 
bled by one of his overseers, and in the mean 
time a messenger went for Dr. Graik, who 
lived nine miles off, at Alexandria. As no re- 
lief was obtained by bleeding, and the symp* 
toms were such as to alarm the family, another 
messenger was despatched for Dr. Brown, who 
resided nearer Mount Yernon. These physi- 
cians arrived in the morning, and Dr. Dick in 
the course of the day. All the remedies, which 
their united counsel could devise, were used 
without effect. 

His suffering was acute and unabated 
through the day, but he bore it with perfect 
composure and resignation. Towards evening 
he said to Dr. Craik ; '^ I die hard, but I am 
not afraid to die. I believed from my first at- 
tack, that I should not survive it. My breath 
cannot last long." From that time he said 
little, except to thank the physicians for their 
kindness, and request they would give them- 
selves no more trouble, but let him die quietly. 
Nothing further was done, and he sank gradu* 
ally till between ten and eleven o'clock at 
night, when he expired, in the sixty-eighth 
year of his age, and in the full possession of 
his mental faculties ; exhibiting in this shorl 


and painful illness, and in his death, the same 
example of patience, fortitude, and submission 
to the Divine will, which he had shown in all 
the acts of his life. On Wednesday, the 18th 
of December, his remains were deposited in 
the family tomb at Mount Yemon. 

Congress was at this time in session at Phil- 
adelphia ; and, when the news of the melan- 
choly event arrived at the seat of government, 
both houses immediately adjourned for the re- 
mainder of the day. The next morning, as 
soon as the House of Representatives had con- 
vened, Mr. Marshall, afterwards Chief Justice, 
rose in his place, and addressed the Speaker 
in an eloquent and pathetic speech, briefly 
recounting the public acts of Washington. 
He then offered three resolutions^ previously 
prepared by General Henry Lee, which were 
accepted. By these it was proposed, that the 
house should in a body wait on the President 
to express their condolence ; that the Speaker's 
chair should be shrouded in black, and the 
members and officers of the house be dressed 
in black, during the session ; and that a com- 
mittee, in conjunction with a committee from 
the Senate, should be appointed " to consider 
on the most suitable manner of paying honor 
to the memory of the man, first in war, first 

VOL. If. *^^ 



in peace, and first jd^ tlie ^earte of his fellow 

The Senate testified their respect and ser^ 
row by similar prqqeed^ngs. A joints com- 
mittee of the, two houses wa^i appoiatedj usho 
reported resolutions recommending, that a mar- 
ble moQupent sliould be erected to commemo- 
rate the great events in the military and polit- 
ical life of Wast)i^ton ; that an ora^OQ, suited 
to the occasion^ shoqld be pronounced iu the 
presence of both houses of Congress ; that the 
people of the United States, should wear crape 
on the left arm thirty days as a bad^e of mourn- 
ing ; and that the President, in the napi^ of 
Congress^ should be requeued to write a letter 
of condoleq^e to Mrs. Washington. Theaoi 
resolutions were unanimously adopted. The 
funeral ceremonies were appropriate aixd aolr 
ema. A discourse was delivered on the o^* 
casion by Gener^il h^^ thei^ 9, repr^entative 
in Congress. 

Bui no formal aqt of the national legislature 
was required to stir up the hearty of the peo- 
ple, or to remind them of the loss they bad 
sustained in thp d^th of a man, whom thoy 
had so long been accustptned to loyQ SiOd x^ 
vere, and the remembrance, of whos^ deedit 
and virtues wa^ sp closely connected with ihi# 
of their former perils, and of the ca^i^ses of 

Ap.eT.] LIP& or WAI^BINGTON. 3S^ 

tfafiir preflont pfosperuy cMvl bappiii69&t TM 
n^ooraii^ WM qDiven»l. It was manifefted 
by every t6kea, whk^b coi;ild in^iciite the. pub" 
lie eentimeot m4 fet^I^Pg- Qratooi, diviqi^ 
jeuroaliata, mid writ^rf of 0very cl499, re^ 
eponded Iq ttate general voice in all P9?te of the 
conntryy and employed ib^u tci^iU? to aoleoit- 
nise the event, wd tQ hoim the memory of 
him, wh^, more tbao wy otheir mWa of an*^. 
cieot or modefa renpwHj mi^y elam tP be 
called Tax FatS^K: ov ^la Counrssr. 

The peraoQ of Wae^i^gtofi vr«9 commiuid«> 
ing, gracefuli and fitly ppoportioiied $ hia 8tat<- 
ure iftx feel, hiq chest broad wpd fuUj his limbs, 
long and somewhat slender, but well shaped 
and m^Mulan Qis ftatofeai weie regqlar and 
symmetrical, hip eyes of a light blue color, avtdt 
his whole eomiteowce, in its qpiet oiete, was^ 
grave, pltfctd, and be^ignmit. Whan alope, or, 
not ^kigi«;ed in eonvefsatioi>, he egpipeared 80^ 
date and thou^tful ; but, when iua attention 
was excited, his ey^ kindled quiKiQkly and Ha 
face betmsed with a^ipu^ion and intelligence^ 
He was uot flqwt in speech^ bK\% what, he siud 
was apposite, end listened to with the mor^ 
interest 9$ being known to come from tbq 
heart. He seldrai attempted sallies of wit ox 
humor, \n^% no man received more plessuri) 
from en fiSMEl^itiaa of them by others ; and. 

^ \ 


dthoQgh conteDted in seelusion, he songht his 
chief happiness in society, and participaled 
with delight in all its rational and innocent 
amusements. Without austerity on the one 
hand, or an appearance of condescending &• 
miliarity on the other, he was aikble, courte- 
ous, and cheerful ; but it has often been re- 
marked, that there was a dignity in his person 
and manner, not easy to be defined, which im- 
pressed every one that saw him for the fiist 
time with an instinctive deference and awe. 
This may have arisen in part from a convic- 
tion of his superiority, as well as from the 
effect produced by his external form and de- 

The character of his mind was unfolded in 
the public and private acts of his life; and 
the proofs of his greatness are seen almost as 
much in the one as the other ^ The same 
qualities, which raised him to the ascendency 
he possessed over the will of a nation as the 
commander of armies and chief magistrate, 
caused him to be loved and respected as an 
individual. Wisdom, judgment, prudence, and 
firmness were his predominant traits. No man 
ever saw more clearly the relative importance 
of things and actions, or divested himself mora 
entirely of the bias of personal interest, par- 
tiality, and prejudice, in discriminating be- 


tvreen the true and the false, the right and 
, the wrong, in all questions and subjects that 
were presented to him. He deliberated slowly, 
but decided surely ; and, when his decision 
was once formed,^ he seldom reversed it, and 
never relaxed from the execution of a meas- 
ure till it was completed. Courage, physical 
and moral, was a part of his nature; and, 
whether in battle or in the midst of popular 
excitement, he was fearless of danger and re- 
gardless of consequences to himself. 

His ambition was of that noble kind, which 
aims to excel in whatever it undertakes, and 
to acquire a power over the hearts of men by 
promoting their hap{An^« and winning their 
affections. Sensitive lO the approbation of 
others and solicitous to deserve it, he made no 
concessions to gain their applause, either by 
flattering their vanity or yielding to their ca- 
prices. Cautious without timidity, bold with- 
out rashness, cool in counsel, deliberate but 
firm in action, clear in foresight, patient under 
reverses, steady, persevering, and self-possess- 
ed, he met and conquered every obstacle that 
obstructed his path to honor, renown, and suc- 
cess. More confident in the uprightness of 
his intentions, than in his resources, he sought 
> knowledge and advice from other men. H« 
chose his counsellors with unerring sagacity ; 


312 LIF£ or WAl^HIlfGTON^ [t1» 

and faia quick porceplien of tke 8Qundiieis«of 
aa opiQiM, and of the strong points in an ar- 
gmnent, aoaUod binai to draw to hia aid the 
bett fmita of ibeir talants, and tfars ligbt of 
their colloolfd wisdom. 

Hia moral qniiUli#a wers ip perfect bannony 
wijkh tbosQ of hia inteUeet. Duty wae the 
ruftiQg prinoiplaof bis oonduct; and the rare 
eodowfl^ents of bis undefstaofdiag were not 
more coaatandy tasked to deviae the best 
methods of effoeliiig aa ol^tj thao they were 
to gtard the aanotity of cooecienoe. No in- 
stance can be addueedi in which be was actu- 
ated by a skiialer wfotivo) or eiMleaarored to 
attain an end by unworthy meaw. Truth, 
integrity^ and justice were deeply footed in hia 
mind ; and noiluiig eould rou^e bis iodignatioa 
8Q soon, or so utterly destroy bis confidence, 
aa the disoetpery of the want of these virtues 
in any one wfaoit^ he bad trusted. Weaknesa* 
oi, foBies, iadiscretiona^ he could fojigive.; but 
aublcafage and disheoiesty he never forgot, 
ranly pudoiied. He was candid and sincere, 
tnie to faia frieodsi ak»d futhful to all^ neither 
pmotisiag dissiomlalieda^ descending: to artifice,. 
liior holding out expeotations which he did not^ 
iiiteod should be lealised. His passiona wersi 
allonge and aDmetim^s they bvoke out with . 
ye hfflUBttc e^ but he blid the power of checkuog] LIFE or WASHINGTOJf. 3^ 

them in an instant Perhaps $klf-^oDtfol waa 
the most remarkable trait of his eharacton It 
tras' in part the eflEeet of discipline ; ye( be 
seems by nature to hare possessed this fo^et 
to a degree which has been denied to other 

A Christian in fkith and practic&i he was 
habitually devout. His leverenee for religion 
is seen in his exanipls, his public communica* 
tions, and his private writings. He uuiformly 
ascribed his successes to the beneficent agency 
of the Supreme Being. Charitable and hu- 
mane, he was liberal to the poor, and kind to 
those in distress. As a husband, soq, aud 
brother, he was tender ismd affBctiooate* With* 
out vanity, ostentation, or pride, he never 
spoke of himself or his actions, unless le^ 
quired by circumstances which concerned the 
public interests. As he was free Cram epvy^ 
so he had the good fortune to esbape the envy 
of others, by standing on an elevation whiQh 
none could hope to attain. If he had one pas* 
sfon more strong than another, it was lore of 
his country. The purity and ardor of his 
patriotism were commensurate with the greats 
ness of its object. Love of country in him 
was invested with the sacred obligation of a 
duty ; and from the fidthful discharge of this 
duty he never swerved lor a moment, either in 

344 LIFE OF WASHINGTOl?. 11799U 

thought Of deed, through the whole period of 
his eventful career. 

Such, are some of the traits in the character 
of Washington, which have acquired for him 
the love and veneration of mankind. If they 
are not marked with the brilliancy, extrava* 
gance, and eccentricity, which in other men 
have excited the astonishment of the world, so 
neither are they tarnished by the follies nor 
disgraced by the crimes of those men. It is 
the happy combination of rare talents and 
qualities, the harmonious union of the intel- 
lectual and moral powers, rather than the daz- 
zling splendor of any one trait, which consti- 
tute the grandeur of his character. If the 
title of great man ought to be reserved for 
him, who cannot be charged with an indiscre- 
tion or a vice, who spent his life in establish- 
ing the independence, the glory, and durable 
prosperity of his country, who succeeded in 
all that he undertook, and whose successes 
were never won at the expense of honor, jus- 
tice, integrity, or by the sacrifice of a single 
principle, this title will not be denied to 

rax KHD. 



**Bnt them are deeds 'vbfch sboald not pass awaj, 
And names which should not wither.^ 

One Volume, 428 pp. 12mo., Steel Portrait, Mnslin, Price tt,25 

While the yonth of America ahonld imitate his noble qualities, they 
in«7 take oourage from bis career, and note the high proof it affords that, nnder onr 
Moal institntions, the avennes of bon »r are open to all. Mr. CJay niae by tJi« force of 
bu own genlu^ unadled by power, pationaire, or wealth. At an age wlien onr vonnz 
mm are nsnalt^ adTonced to the hlfrtier ncbonls of leamingr, prt»rlded only with the rn- 
dimentB of an Enirlisb education, he turned bis steps to the West, and, amidst tlie rude 
oolllsions of a bonier life, matured a chAra4:t«ir whose bi^best exhibitions were destined 
to mark ems in bis country s blstorr. Befrinning on the frontiers of American civiliza- 
tion, the orphan boy. supported only by the consciousness of bis own powen«, and by 
Che conftdenoe of the (»eo|>!e, surmuunce<l ail the barriers of adverse fortime, and won a 
slorions name In the annals of bis country. Let the «mnerons youth. flre<l witli honora- 
ble ambition, remeuiU'T that the Amerioun system of government offers on every band 
bimnties to merit Ii; like Clay, orphanage, obscurity, poverty, shall oppress him ; yet. 
If. like Clay, he fuels the PrtMnethean spark within, let him remember that bis <M>untry, 
lilce a generous mother, extends her arms to weloitme and to cherish every o *r k^^ 
children whuM genius and worth msjr promote her prosperity or increase her reno^nk 



steel Fortnit, 838 |p. 8vo., Xndin, $2 00 ; Xorooeo, IbuMe Sa«e, 92 50. 

**Tbe rush of native eloquence, rtwistless as Niagara, 
Tlie keen demand, the clear reply, the fine poetic image, 
The nice analofry, tlie clennh1n« fact, the metaphor, bold and ftwt. 
The grasp of ci>ncentra(e<l Intellect, wrteldlng the omnipotence of truth. 
Upon whose lips the mystic bee hath dropped the honey of persuasion." 

As a leader in a deliberative body, Mr. Clay had no equal in Amer* 
tea. In bim, intelleet, person, eloquence anil courage, united to form a eharaeter fit to 
oummand. He lired with his own enthusiasm, and controlled by bis araaaing will, indi- 
viduals and uiaases. No reverse oould crush his spirit, nor defeat roduce him to des- 
pair. Equally erect and dauntless in prot^rity and adversitv, when snooessftil, bo 
moved to the aee4»mpli«hment of his purposes witii severe reeolutlon ; when defeated« 
be rallied bis broken bands around him, and flrom his eagle^ye shot along their ranka 
the contagion uf lilit own courage. I>««tined fi»r a leader, be ererywhere asserted hi* 
destiny. In bis lone and eventAil life, be came In contact with men of all ranks and pro- 
fessions, but he never Utli that he was In the presence of a man superior to himseit la 
ihe assemblies of the people, at the bar, in the Senate— everywhere within tlie cirala 
mNiIs psnonal praeenoe. he aaaumed and maintained a potitloa of pi«-«minano«k 




f |t Stailt ef (Drltans. 



«teel Portrait, 221 pp. ISdiOm MusUb. Price U C€bIs« 

We here present a popular life of the woHd-renowned Maid or 0». 
UAN8 — the great military ** Heroine of History." Her peouliftr siory 
cannot fail to attract lively attention, and be read with the deeiM^ 
aatareat *^ 

NoUcea of the Preee— Brief Exfrmcta. 

It is written and oompilcMl In Bertiett^s peeullw an4 popular ntylo, and « a pMn -,« 
•atbcntio hlHUiry of tho nfe of the hemtne of l>>«noa— cVmnaoMcnrf Oni^m, 

The view wliloh the pr«cnt bli>gnipher takes of her, shows herln a nmt attraeCiTe 
tfgbtk and the volume is eiiiineDtljr interesting throaghoau— ^yrocaas £9t^ CVmiMa 

It iMMsesses all the attracUon of a rotnanoi^, whUe it is a reiltabla and waU ^>«— 
Ueated bigUvf.—ChH^Uan Ambamtdor. 

Tkis volume wiU bawki with Interast and profit Tlie atey ef Jeaa of An am 
never ba tnibftilly told without XntereA—Aubum DaUy Advmtiui. 

Mr. Bardett, thotigh stlU a yiHing man, has alnadj atgnaiised himself In tba Hae «f 
anthonhtp. Uls style is easy and gnoiAil, and ho nevar attaiopiB to glU the qq^Otkm 
9t his heroes at Uie expense of truth ^Chrigtian Seortiary. 

The life and adreotai^ of the greatest harolne of history ai« grwhle^r wiflla^-. 

«v*iy thing vriatmg to Joan of An Isof int«r«st,andMr. BarOetthaaf^rBtabadateak 
which will be eagerly sought for, and whiob will prove a rare treat to Uie nadar - 
ffa Chiff 

It contains an admirably written htetory of the Franeh heroin^ tba Ikjts havliig beaa 
aaieAiUy cnllated from numerous authorltlea.— ZJ^^'s lAUrary JTtMmwt. 

The history bt»fore us 1^ one of thrilling interest; and so much so that we eo«)d Ml 
My aalda the b».ik, nnUl we bad read it tlironch.~AsU^io«a HeralA, lHuiJord, CI 

We thank our neighbor BartleU for ta«Ting given so good a book to the laadte pal^ 
k win be oseAxi as well as entcrtaining.~>i/ar(^brcl (SmrahL 


SC Park Row^ Nsw Toss, and 107 Oan«*e«4t, Avsuu 





In One Volume, 5298 pp. 16mo. Price 75 Cento. 

Few women bave erer lived whose unforttinate hiatoiy 
hfts mora deeply enlisted the aympathiea of the world than that of 
Ladj Jane Grey* Th^ beauty of her person, the aetiTity of her mind, 
the tweetness of her temper, and the purity of her eharaoter, were 
alike rabjecte of nnivenal praise. That one so brilliant, so lovely, and 
•o pfffeb ihoQld have hSkA by 1b« ax of the exeevtioner, exeiteSp eyen 
at this day, in all readers^ % thriU of horror. Her history is peculiarly 
interesting, and embodies the story of one of the most eharming hero- 
ines ef hlfliiery. 

Her mehmeboly fite wiH erer constitate one of the most 
atrilcing inuetrations of the <iruelty, the madness and folly of religiout 
bigotry and persecution, and of the recklessness of unscrupulous politi- 
eal ambition. 


▲ Wflit wtildk win be eagerlj sought^ ibr tbe rMder has la this T^Iams oat of the 
flMrt InteNittag iMrttoM of BagllA lilrtoi7.---aiyii^ OM^ 

▲ judieloiisMogniphyof oaeoT tbe mort ekannlnc hu^lam «f Uikatf.-^S'm Kf* 
/>«% Tfmtt, 

Tbls to s chsnnlBg book. We here read It with the meet thrillliif interest— AaU^ioM 

lir. Berflett tlwt]rs WTftei wen, sad be SQstelasbto high npwtidlOB Inthta w«^ 
Is wdl setoff bf the pvbUahen.—JMe* OUm JNMdk 

▲ rtry reedeble book.— AMtfbftI Cbmrant 

We ooald wtoh that thto Tolnme might find s phMO in eroiy yoong Isdy^ Ubraxy, to 
the dtopleeement of lone of the penldoiu norels of the dej.— jil5<M|r Omtrier. 
Yeiy wett wHtIn, snd eettstalj worthy of beoomlng wlddj tavwm.-'-^rtkm't Mtrnt 

Hto ohepten sad •entenow ere fTiniBetriooUjr oaoilnieted, while hto leedj pereepUoa 
•pproprletee eU the points of intereet la his rabjeel^ and r^Jeets that whioh to irreleTaBt 
•r not anthentiaL— Jfart^brtf Timet. 

An ea^, gneefol writer, he ieUom ftOs ta sM latMSl to flie safest sa wIMi hs 
mitm—ChritUan Stordarf, 

MILLER, OinON h MLUGAS,' PublUhen, 

96 Pm& B«ir, Kiir Tone, aad lOf Q wn Met fc, Avbmni. 









In Omm Volwume, 466 pp. tSat*.* Fwrtalt. Price 91 8C 

Ko work Kas appeared from Uie American pr«M^ within tbe pMi §&w 
yean, better calculated to interest the oommnnity at large^ tliaa Colo* 
nel J. C. Fremont** Narrative of his Exploring Expedition to the Rotikj 
Mountains, Oregon, and North California, undertaken by the orden <^ 
the United States GoYernment 

CoL Fremont ia one of the 'meet enterprising and adTentarona ol 
American trayelers. His accounts are always interesting and minute. 
The country he explored is daily making deeper and more abiding im- 
pressions upon the minds of the people, and information ia eagerly 
sought in regard to its natural resources, its climate inhabitants, pro- 
duction^ aod adaptation for supplying the wants and proTiding flie 
comforts for a dense population. The day is not far distant when that 
territory, hitherto so little known, will be intersected by railroad^ its 
waters naTigated, and its. fertile portions peopled by an aetive and in- 
telligent population. 

He who would know more of this rich and rare land before eoBmt»> 
oing his pilgrimage to its golden bosom, will find, in the last pari of 
this new edition of a most deservedly popular work, a succinct yet eoav> 
prebensiye account of its inexhaustible riches and its transcendent 
loYeliness, and a fund of information much needed in regard to tha 
•4»Taral routes which lead to its inviting. borderSi 


S6 P*rk Row, Kiw You, aad Itfi G«neM«-rt, Aamut 





f is fife anlr §xmi Sywt|w. 

BY B. F. TEFFT, O. D., LL. D. 
Steel Fertrmit, Twe Telnmei^ 1082 pp. IZmo* Fxioe, te M» 


1. The Webster Famflj. 

9. Webeter the Boy and Yoath. 

8. Webster the Stuilent 

4. Webster the Lawyer. 

& Webeter In hlaDomestie BeUttofU. 

e. Webstartbe LegMafcor. 

7. Webster the GitUen. 

8. Webster the Senator. 

9. Webster the Orator. 

la Webster the Execntire Oflloer. 


1. Argomrat In the Dartmoiith College 

S. FlyiDouth Oration— FIrat Settlement of 

New £nglan<1. 
8. Speech on the Greek Bevolatfon. 
4. Bunker Ulll Monament Oration. 
0. Funeral Oration— Adams and Jefferson. 
A. Lecture before Mechanic's Institution, 


7. The Gharaeter of Washington. 

& Speeoh atMlblo's Oardeo, New York. 

9. Letter on Impressment. 

10. Ke|>ly to Hayne on Foot's BesolntJon. 

11. Constitution not a Compaet— Keply t« 

19. OonstltaUon and the Union— ■7th of 
March Speech. 

We receive these Tolnmes with espedftl satlsfhctlon. Dr. Tefffs book, we donbt not» 
-will be a popular onei It has that brilliancy of touch and that Tivadty of style whkta 
•re always popular with the great body of readers.— wAostpn Trander, 

Such a life of the great statesman was needed. There Is no other 9B cheap yet elegsot 
form In which Webster's great efforts are to be found. They will sell well, we donbt not 
The more of them there are distributed, the better it is for our lnteU%enoe^ our politteal 
Tfatne and Uie public weal— ^ T. Tlmett 

Dr. Teflthas displayed much Industry. TersatlUty and discrimination In his blngraphj, 
and good ta^te in tlie selection of Mr. Webster's efforts, and these Tolnmes cannot but 
meet with a fhvorahle reception from the public.— JSiosfoA iltfas. 

There is no doubt but the book will be very generallr sought and read by an appre- 
ciating pi.blia It must be regarded as a valuable addition to the standard literary works 
of the times. The author Is exof edingly happy In his use of htngnage. There is nothing 
laborious, dull or dilBcult in the perusal ; but on the contrary, It poasoeeee an aflkbK 
eongenial spirit which Is entirely winning. We have been peenliarly Interested wtth 
the description of Mr. Webster's chamcter contained in the last chapter of the biogmpby. 
The author enters into the subject with his whole soul, delineating faithftilly thoea tralin 
peculiar to the man, expanding upon those qualities of mind which consUtuted his great* 
Bess. The work Is handsomely got up, and Is fit to adorn any library.— ihf^to Rep. 

We doubt whether a better biography will ever meet the eyes of the student, or en* 
rich the library of the man of l«tten. The style is polished, olear, and int««stlng Id % 
lilgh d<^;r«e. — BotAon 2^ OaaetU. 

The best life or Webster that has erer appeutd.— Af^Uo J>mocraqf, 


26 Park Row, N«w Yom, and 107 Geneaee-»t, Aububx. 



With StMl »*rti«dtt aM pv. ieai*H IKa«Uii. Prte* •! SC 


*Tb« ngbtning mfty Hub and the loud thunder TrntOSy 
He heedft not, he hewe not, he'e free fh»m «H pain' ; 

He has slept hto 1a«t sleep, b« has fought bis last battl^ 
Ho Bonnd oan nwake Um to gloiy again." 

He was the greatest actor the world has known since the tiioe 
of Cssab Hd eported with crownt and soeptrot as the baahlea of « 
child. He rode triumphantly to power over the ruios of the thrones 
with which he stfewed his pathway. Yast armies melted away like 
wax before him. He moyed over the earth as a meteor trarersea th« 
sky, astonishing and startling all by the suddenness and briUianey of 
his career. Here was his greatness. The earth will feel his powar 
till its last cycle shall have been run. 



iixsi Mitt flf %Kifslmx. 


iritti steel Portrait, 388 FP*) 19m*«, IHualln. Priee fl tS« 

••Like the IHy, 
That onee was mistress of the fleld and flowen btr^ 
rU hang my head and perish.** 

Josephine, fbr the thnes in whidi dhe lived, was a model of ^ 
female character ; and if this Tolume shall make the study of it mors ^ 
ffeneral, it will so far extend the admiration of the pure and beantifal, y* 
in contrast with all the forms of corruption humanity could present ia ^ 
a period of bloody Revolution, ^e Empress' was a greater personage \^ 
than Napoleoir in the elements of moral ffrandeur, and retained Eer 
sovereignty in the hearU of the people^ wmle he ruled by the oniv 
valed splendor of his genius* 


flU6 2 3 t954