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George Washington 

First President of the United States jy8g-iyQ7 


Lecturer on American History 

With Supplementary Essay by 


And an Article by 


Of Vale University 

Together with 


Copyright, 1898. by The University Association 

Copyrieht. 1903, by H. G. Campbell Publishing Co. 

Copyright, 1913, by Wm. H. Lee 


TJ " 




Biography 5 

Journal of His Journey Over the Mountains 15 

Sketch by G. Mercer Adam 91 

Sketch by Prof. Henry Wade Eogers, Ph. D., of Yale 

University 122 

Anecdotes, Characteristics and Tributes 140 

The Birthday of Washington — The Value of Washing- 
ton 140 

His Majestic Eminence 142 

Byron 's Tribute 144 

Opinions of Washington 14G 

Girl's Account of Washington's Escape from the 

Indians 148 

The Story of George Washington for School or Club 

Program 151 

Washington 's Birthday 162 

Program for a Washington Afternoon 162 

Program for a Washington Evening 162 

Questions for Eeview 163 

Subjects for Special Study 164 

Chronological Events in the Life of Washington 165 

Bibliography 166 

Extract from Inaugural Address 167 

Extract from Farewell Address 168 

Washington 's Will 170 



Portrait and Autograph Frontispiece 

Washington as a Young Man 7 

Tomb of Washington's Mother, Fredericksburg, Va. ... 10 

Washington's Interview With His Mother 13 

Washington on His Journej'^ to Ohio 2^ 

Washington's First Interview With Mrs. Custis 33 

Martha Washington 35 

Home of Washington, Mount Vernon 38 

Alexander Hamilton .* 46 

General Charles Lee -17 

General Eichard Alontgomery 48 

Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh 53 

Washington Crossing the Delaware 57 

Washington at the Battle of Princeton 59 

General John Burgoyne 01 

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge G5 

Washington 's Headquarters at Valley Forge G7 

Battle of Camden and Death of DeKalb 73 

General Benedict Arnold 74 

An Incident at the Battle of Cowpens 75 

Washington Bidding Farewell to His Officers 79 

Washington and Family at Mount Vernon SI 

Washington's Eeception at Trenton (bronze panel) .... ^'4 

Washington's First Inauguration (bronze panel) 8G 

Washington 's Tomb at i\Iount Vernon, Va 89 

Greenough's Statue of Washington, Washington, D. C. . 141 

Washington Laying Cornerstone of the Capitol, 1793.. 147 

Benjamin Eush 148 

Statue of Washington, Statuary Hall, Old House of 

Eepresentatives, Washington, D. C 150 

Title Page of Washington's Journal 152 

Church Where Washington was ^larried 155 

Washington 's Camp Chest 15G 

Washington's Eetreat Through New Jersey 158 

Washington 's Sword and Staff 159 

Washington 's Book-Plate 161 

THE name and fame of Washington are immortal. 
When all due allowance is made for hero-worship, 
his is a superlative worth. To him rightly belongs the 
place of pre-eminence among colonial leaders. 

The colonies could, indeed, boast of many men of con- 
spicuous ability and unswerving patriotism, men of af- 
fairs, men of genius for finance and government, but none 
of them fulfilled the requirements of a popular hero as did 
Washington. His is an all-round greatness that none of 
his contemporaries had. 

There were other patriots of Washington's time who 
were truly great and noble, whose services to their coun- 
try are gratefully remembered, but his is an incompara- 
ble glory. His was a devotion to a sacred cause that 
counted not the cost, and his was an enthusiasm tem- 
pered by judgment. His is a character that stands the 
test of time. His was a moral grandeur, joined with 
practical wisdom, never surpassed among the most re- 
nowned figiires in the world's history. 

Washington was idolized in his day, and his memory 
has been cherished as a priceless possession by succeed- 


ing generations. And the good of other lands, lovers of 
liberty and friends of justice in the Old World, have paid 
spontaneous tribute to his exalted merit. 

By common consent, Washington is regarded as the 
best type of American that our country has yet produced. 
No other, unless it be Lincoln, is deemed worthy of a 
place beside him. He was not only the central figure 
among the founders of the American republic — he stands 
as the representative of western ideas as opposed to mon- 
archical views of government. Such is the verdict of 
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a verdict that 
the centuries to come will not reverse. 

It is not every man that has in him the making of a 
successful farmer, a wise legislator, a superb general, and 
an admirable president. Washington steadily rose in the 
world, higher and higher, by dint of his superior fitness. 
He was ambitious to rise and put forth strenuous, well- 
directed effort to better his condition. Though aided by 
favoring circumstances, the way was by no means easy. 
Success was his, because he won it and deserved it. He 
was prudent and energetic, painstaking and conscientious. 

In all of his official acts, as well as in the relations of 
private life, he was characterized by fidelity to duty and 
loyalty to principle. His were the qualities that com- 
mand respect and confidence, that lead to fortune and to 
positions of honor and responsibility. It was by no ac- 
cident or series of accidents that he reached the highest 
place in the nation. 

When but a mere stripling, George Washington was 
known far and wide in the Old Dominion, as Virginia 


was then called. Here was a youth who had forged to 
the front by force of will and native endowments. At 
the age of nineteen he was a person of prominence and 
influence. Thenceforth he was a public character, an 
actor in the chief events that make up the history of our 

Washington as a Young Man. 

country for nearly half a century. To write the story of 
his life is to write the history of his times. It is a thrill- 
ing and inspiring record, of which his countrymen may 
well feel proud. 

The Washingtons of Virginia were of English descent. 
Their ancestors were formerly of the yeomanry of York- 


shire, England; not Saxons, but of Danish blood. The 
founder of the Washington family in England, who lived 
in the eleventh century, is said to have been a descendant 
of the celebrated Odin. The two brothers, Laurence 
and John Washington, of whom not much is known, em- 
igrated to Virginia in 1659 and settled in Westmoreland 
County, near Bridges Creek, between the Potomac and 
Rappahannock rivers. Col. John Washington, a man 
evidently of some means and enterprise, was the great 
grandfather of George Washington. 

Augustine Washington (born in 1694) was married 
(1715) to Jane Butler, who died in 1728, leaving two sons 
— lyaurence (1728) and Augustine (1720)— and one 
daughter (who died in 1735). His second marriage took 
place March 6, 1731. Being a man of more than aver- 
age attractions, he had the good fortune to win the hand 
of a very estimable young lady. Miss Mary Ball. 
They had six children: George, born at Wakefield (as 
the Washington homestead was then called), Feb. 22, 
1732; Betty (1733-97), Samuel (1734-81); John (1736-87); 
Charles (1738-99); and Mildred (1739-40). 

The house where George was born, not far from Pope's 
Creek, burned down in 1735. Of Washington's birth- 
place one has written: 

"This house commanded a beautiful view over many 
miles of the Potomac, and opposite shore of Maryland; it 
contained four rooms on the ground floor, and others in 
the attic. Such was the birthplace of our great and loved 
Washington. Not a vestige more remains of it; only a 
stone placed there by a wife's grandson, George Wash- 


ington Parke Custis, marks the site of the 'old low-pitched 
farm house.' " 

The father then moved his family to his plantation 
near Fredericksburgh, where the childhood and youth of 
Washington was chiefly spent. 

The Father of his Country was blessed with excellent 
parents. His father was no ordinary man; his mother 
was no ordinary woman. 

Though a gentleman, Augustine Washington led the 
active life of a planter-frontierman. It was an indepen- 
dent, simple, honest sort of life, by no means easy and 
luxurious. There was not much leisure for books or 
sports. He died April 12, 1743. Being a large landed 
proprietor, he left farms to each of his children. He be- 
queathed the estate of Mount Vernon to his eldest son 
Laurence, while George inherited the house and lands 
on the Rappahannock. 

The elder Washington was not the type of man de- 
scribed in Weems' "Life of Washington." The hatchet 
story told in this remarkable book was long ago discred- 
ited, with some other "curious anecdotes" seriously re- 
lated by this extravagant but not over-trustworthy biog- 
rapher. Doubtless, the importance of truthfulness was 
emphasized by both father and mother. They laid the 
foundations of George Washington's reputation for verac- 
ity. The father's impress on his son was enduring, 
though he died when George was only eleven years old. 

The name of Mary Washington is universally revered 
and beloved. Upon her devolved the task of looking af- 
ter the wants of a large household, and she faithfully per- 


formed the arduous duties of a busy house-wife and mat- 
ron. She was deeply attached to her children, and con- 
sulted their welfare with earnest solicitude. She exacted 
obedience and regard from them, and allowed no famil- 
iarity. Her will was law, and servants and business 
agents knew it. There was a strain of Puritan sternness 

Tomb of Washington's Mother, Fredericksburg, Va. 

and strictness in her make-up, that showed itself in the 
son. "Honored Madam," he addressed her in his letters, 
even when a man . She was not, however, without ten- 
derness. She had been a beautiful girl, and as years 
went by, developed into a dignified woman of striking 


appearance, grave and reserved in manner. She died 
August 25, 1789, at the ripe age of eighty-two. George 
Washington owed a great debt to his mother. 

During his school days, which were over in his six- 
teenth year, the youthful George received what was then 
considered a good common-school education. Tradition 
has it that he soon acquired all that his first teacher 
knew, which was no more than the merest rudiments of 
the three R's. George was his brightest pupil. 

Later he went to an academy near his brother's home 
at Bridge's Creek. He early showed an aptitude for fig- 
ures and made marked progress in mathematics. It 
must be confessed that his knowledge of spelling and 
of grammar was exceedingly defective, judged by the 
standards of the present. In these days many a boy of 
twelve knows more of books and the world than Wash- 
ington did at sixteen. His reading was limited in boy- 
hood, as in later life. 

But the country lad who has his eyes open, learns a 
vast deal not written in books. In the fields and woods 
George had been observant and gained a fund of infor- 
mation that was afterward of incalculable value to him 
as a farmer and soldier. He was familiar with all the 
routine of a plantation of those times. He knew all 
about taking care of stock, breaking horses, mending fen- 
ces, etc. He was a good shot with the rifle, and was fond 
of hunting. Large and powerful for his age, he excelled 
in swimming, running, wrestling, and other manly exer- 
cises, that rounded his muscles and hardened his rugged 
frame. He tried his hand, too, at playing soldier, drill- 


ing a company of youngsters. He insisted on being cap. 
tain, and displayed the true spirit of a commander. 

The growing boy was an expert horseman, and had a 
local reputation for mastering fractious steeds. The story 
of his killing Sorrel, the finest colt on his mother's farm, 
though told with dramatic detail by Custis, is believed to 
be of doubtful authenticity. There are other suspicious 
narratives of his wonderful feats of strength and dexteri- 
ty in early manhood. They must have had some basis of 
fact, for he was a youth of mettle and daring, sturdy and 

Occasionally an English merchant-ship sailed up the 
Potomac, bringing supplies from London to the planters 
along the river, and bearing away the crop of tobacco to 
England. Naturally the sight of a trading ship or a 
man-of-war would impress a healthy boy and fill his 
mind with longing for a sea-life. At one time, it is re- 
lated, George Washington seriously thought of becoming 
a midshipman. He was then about fifteen and eager to 
enter upon the career of a seaman. When ready to leave 
home, he was dissuaded from going by his mother — a 
decision that entirely changed the course, it may be, of 
his after life. Her opinion was strengthened by a letter 
of advice from her brother in the old country, who 
thought his nephew's chances of rising in the King's 
Navy were very slight. 

After the death of his father, George was often at the 
home of his half-brother Laurence, whose influence over 
him was marked for good. The wife of Laurence Wash- 
ington was Annie Fairfax, the daughter of an English 


gentleman then living at Belvoir, not far away from the 
Washington homestead. Circumstances had brought 
hither Lord Fairfax, who owned immense estates in Vir- 
ginia. It was exceedingly fortunate for the youth to be- 
come acquainted with this Englishman of talent and cul- 
ture, who became interested in his education, and had 
much to do with launchiug Washington on the career 
of a surveyor. 

Having given up the idea of going to sea, George 
turned his attention to land-surveying, which promised 
to be a lucrative calling, one for which he was except- 
ionally fitted by his mental and physical qualifications. 
Having thoroughly studied the elements of geometry and 
trigonometry, he was well equipped for the work of sur- 
veying the lands of Lord Fairfax in theValley ofthe Vir-. 
ginia. In company with George Fairfax, a relative of 
the nobleman, he set out on his first expedition of the 
kind, in March, 1748. He was then only sixteen, yet he 
proved to be a capable surveyor and performed his diffi- 
cult task to the entire satisfaction of his employer. 

The Journal that Washington kept, while engaged in 
surveying the Shenandoah property of Lord Fairfax, 
mentions some interesting experiences that he had while 
roughing it in the wilderness, as much of the country 
then was. The document is also valuable as an index 
of his intellectual advancement. He wrote a neat hand 
and expressed himself fluently and naturally. A few ex- 
tracts from this diary (the earliest of his literary efforts) 
are given, copied literally, with the errors of spelling and 
punctuation. They help us in forming a picture of the 


real George Washington. As Dr. Toner has said: "The 
time has come when the people want to know intimately 
and without glamour or false coloring, the father of his 
country as he actually lived and labored, and to possess 
his writings, just as he left them, on every subject which 
engaged his attention." The memorandum of his surveys 
is entitled: 

"journal of my journey over the mountains. 

While surveying for Lord Thomas Fairfax, Baron of 
Cameron, in the Northern Neck of Virginia, beyond the 
Blue Ridge, in 1747-48. 

"Friday March nth 1747-8. Began my Journey in Company 
with George Fairfax, Esqr.; we travell'd this day 40 Miles to Mr. 
George Neavels in Prince William County. 

"Tuesday 15th We set out out early with Intent to Run round 
ye sd Land but being taken in a Rain & it Increasing very fast 
obliged us to return, it clearing about one o Clock & our time being 
too Precious to Loose we a second time ventured out & Worked 
hard till Night & then return'd to Penningtons we got our Suppers 
& was Lighted into a Room & I not being so good a Woodsman as 
ye rest of my Company striped myself very orderly & went in to ye 
Bed as they called it when to my Surprize I found it to be nothing 
but a Little Straw — Matted together without Sheets or anything else 
but only one thread Bear blanket with double its Weight of Vermin 
such as Lice Fleas &c I was glad to get up (as soon as y Light was 
carried from us) I put on my Cloths and Lays as my Companions. 
Had we not have been very tired I am sure we should not have 
slep'd much that night I made a Promise not to Sleep so from that 
time forward chusing rather to sleep in y. open air before a fire as 
will appear hereafter. 

"Wednesday 23d Rain'd till about two o Clock & Clear'd when 
we were agreeably surpris'd at y. sight of thirty odd Indians coming 
from War with only one Scalp. We had some Licjuor with us of 
which we gave them Part it elevating there Spirits put them in y. 
Humour of Dauncing of whom we had a War Daunce there manner 
of Dauncing is as follows Viz They clear a Large Circle & make a 
Great Fire in y. middle then seats themselves around it y. Speaker 
makes a grand Speech telling them in what Manner they are to 
Daunce after he has finish'd y. best Dauncer Jumps up as one 


awaked out of a Sleep & Runs & Jumps about y- Ring in a most 
cornicle Manner he is followed by y. Rest then begins there Musi- 
cians to play ye Musick is a Pot half of Water with a Deerskin 
streched over it as tight as it can & a goard with some Shott in it to 
Rattle & a Piece of an horses Tail tied to it to make it look fine y. 
one keeps Rattling and y. other Drumming all y. while y. others is 

"Saturday 26 Travelld up ye Creek to Solomon Hedges Esqr 
one of his Majestys Justices of ye Peace for ye County of Frederick 
where we camped when we came to Supper there was neither a Cloth 
upon ye Table nor a knife to eat with but as good luck would have it 
we had Knives of own. 

"Tuesday 29th This Morning went out & Survey'd five Hundred 
Acres of Land & went down to one Michael Stumps on ye So Fork 
of ye Branch on our way Shot two Wild Turkies. 

"Monday 4th this morning Mr. Fairfax left us with Intent to go 
down to ye Mouth of ye Branch we did two Lots & was attended by 
a great Company of People Men Women & Children that attended 
us through ye Woods as we went showing there Antick tricks I real- 
ly think they seem to be as Ignorant a Set of People as the Indians 
they would never speak English but when spoken to they speak all 
Dutch this day our Tent was blown down by ye Violentness of ye 

"Wednesday ye 13th of April 1748 Mr. Fairfax got safe home 
and I myself safe to my Brothers which concludes my Journal" 

It may be noted in passing, that Washington followed 
the practice of double dating, between January i, and 
March 25, as was the custom before the Gregorian calen- 
dar was adopted in England in 1752. By some, March 
25 was considered the beginning of the legal or civil 

This expedition of Washington's, in the employment 
of Lord Fairfax, was the beginning of his fortunes. The 
work was done so well that his services as a surveyor 
were wanted by others. The boy-surveyor made a name 
for himself, being unusually careful and accurate, as later 
surveys have shown. Thus he was engaged the next 
two and a half years. In the summer of 1 749, he was 


appointed county-surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia. 
In securing this position he was aided by the influence 
of his friend, Lord Fairfax, but his experience and per- 
sonal fitness were his best recommendation. 

An early sketch of Washington says he ' 'first set out 
in the world as surveyor of Orange Country, an appoint- 
ment of about half the value of a Virginia Rectory — i. 
e, perhaps 100 1. a year." 

This was a considerable income for a young man in 
those days, when money was scarce in the colonies. 
Washington was thrifty and prudent in his expeditures, 
and made shrewd investments of his earnings in real es- 
tate. Land was then more plentiful than money, and 
was frequently offered for sale at a low price. The work 
of surveying gave him an excellent opportunity to see 
the country, and he purchased several choice tracts of 
land for himself and for his brother Laurence. 

Thus Washington by industry, economy and foresight, 
laid the foundations for his after career of prosperity as 
a farmer and public man. But strenuous endeavor and 
business judgment do not account for the high degree of 
success that he obtained. He had given attention to 
character-building as something important as well as get- 
ting on in the world. 

When a boy in his teens he copied and studied with 
evident care a list of more than a hundred rules of con- 
duct. It is said that he found them in a book that fell 
into his hands, Mather's "Young Man's Companion." It 
shows how much thought he gave to the matter of de- 
portment. Here are a few of the precepts in his "rules 


of civility and decent behavior in company and conver- 
sation." They may well be pondered and followed by 
young people to-day. 

1. "Every action in company ought to be with some 
sign of respect to those present. 

2. "In the presence of others sing not to yourself with 
a humming noise, nor drum with your fingers or feet. 

3. "Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others 
stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk 
not when others stop. 

4. "Turn not your back to others, especially in speak- 
ing; jog not the table or desk on which another reads 
or writes; lean not on any one. 

5. "Be no flatterer; neither play with any one that de- 
lights not to be played with. 

6. "Read no letters, books, or papers in company; but 
when there is a necessity for doing it, you must ask leave. 
Come not near the books or writings of any one so as to 
read them, imless desired, nor give your opinion of them 
unasked; also, look not nigh when another is writing a 

7. "Let your countenance be pleasant, but in serious 
matters somewhat grave. 

8. "Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of anoth- 
er, though he were your enemy. 

9. "When you meet with one of greater quality than 
yourself, stop and retire, especially if it be at a door or 
any straight place, to give way for him to pass. 

10. "They that are in dignity, or in office, have in all 
places precedency; but whilst they are young they ouglU 


to respect those that are their equals in birth, or other 
qualities, though they have no public charge." 

Says Lodge: "The one thought that runs through all 
the sayings is to practice self-control, and no man ever 
displayed that most difficult of virtues to such a degree 
as George Washington." 

An important factor in the training of George Wash- 
ington was the influence of his oldest brother Laurence 
(sometimes spelled Lawrence), who had been educated in 
England and seen much of the world. He held the rank 
of captain in an expedition to the West Indies, 1740-2, 
and was a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia 
in 1748. His excellent character and his business abili- 
ties made him a popular and influential legislator. For 
centuries the Washingtons had been addicted to military 
affairs, and a liking for war ran in the blood. The ex- 
perience of Laurence as officer, and his leading position 
in the county, led to his appointment as one of the four 
Adjutant-Generals of Virginia, with the rank of major. 
Through his influence George was appointed Adjutant- 
General, with the rank of major, in 1751. His duties were 
"to inspect and exercise the militia," in preparation for 
an expected campaign against the French on the Ohio 
River. The salary was $750 a year. George at once 
set about to learn the art of war, and received instruction 
in tactics and fencing from two old soldiers. The work 
of surveying had come to an end, and he began his ca- 
reer as a commander. 

On account of failing health, Laurence Washington 
was advised to try the climate of the West Indies. As 


it was not thought prudent for him to take the trip alone, 
George accompanied him on the voyage to Barbadoes 
in the autumn of 1751. They remained on this island 
several months; and, being members of an old aristocrat- 
ic family, they were overwhelmed with attentions and 
courtesies shown by hospitable gentlemen of Barbadoes. 
George had the misfortune to be sick with the smallpox, 
and returned to Virginia in March, 1752. A little later 
Laurence came back to die at Mount Vernon, having 
found no relief in the West Indies. 

Washington's visit to Barbadoes forms an interesting 
chapter in his history, because of the journal that he 
kept. Though only nineteen, he ajipeared to have 
reached the maturity of a man, and was perfectly at 
home in the company of those older and more experi- 

Says Dr. Toner in his introduction to Washington's 
' 'Barbadoes Journal :' ' 

"Although he made no pretensions to having a fin- 
ished education, or to being an extensive reader of books, 
yet he was well informed in all the affairs of life, and his 
manners and address proclaimed him a gentleman, and 
clearly indicated that his associations were with men of 
character and culture. If we had no other means of 
knowing the fact, this Journal of itself, would show that 
Washington possessed strong and acute natural powers 
of observation, and that his mind was, for his years, 
unusually matured and well stored with practical knowl- 
edge and historical facts." 

Like Shakespeare, Washington had frequently come 


into contact with men of fine education, and he had 
picked up a considerable store of general information in 
conversation. He had profited by his intercourse with 
refined people, and was familiar with the usages of good 
society, although he had been living in the backwoods 
among hunters and farmers. 

This diary of the young Virginian shows marked im- 
provement over his earlier Journal, already referred to. 
In fact, it is a unique production. In its pages he "re- 
corded a wonderful amount of information about the 
island, its climate, the character of its soil, its product- 
ions, population, commerce, resources, government, de- 
fences, etc." 

Washington's family connections contributed much to 
his rapid rise in the Old Dominion. Acting the part of 
a wise counselor and fatherly friend, Laurence Wash- 
ington had brought his talented younger brother not on- 
ly to the notice of Lord Fairfax, but to the Governor of 
Virginia, who recognized the young man's abilities as 
useful to the colony, and chose him for a post of honor 
but of extreme difficulty. 

In the middle of the eighteenth century, the French 
and the English were both claimants of the country be- 
tween the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers. The French 
claimed it on the strength of the discoveries of La Salle 
in the seventeenth century, Laurence Washington had 
been one of the originators of the Ohio Company, orga^ 
nized about 1747, "to secure a share in the lucrative In- 
dian trade, and with the prospect of opening to settle- 
ment the lands on the upper waters of the Ohio." 


Says the historian Shea, who edited Washington's 
"Journal of a tour to the Ohio, in 1753:" 

"Affairs had reached a crisis. France had colonized 
Canada, Illinois, and Louisiana, and connected them by 
detached posts, but the possession of the Ohio, so neces- 
sary to the safety of her wide provincial power, was soon 
to fall into the hands of her rival by the rapid progress 
of English colonization. To set a barrier to its westward 
progress, France determined to run a line of forts from 
Niagara to the forks of the Ohio, and down that river. 
The Indians first took the alarm when the tidings reached 
the Ohio that a French force was on its way to erect this 
line of forts, and a council of the wandering tribes, Min- 
goes, Shawnees, and Delawares, meet at Logstown, and in 
April, 1753, dispatched an envoy to Niagara to protest 
against the action of the French. The protest was un- 

At this time Major Washington was a "person of dis- 
tinction," having charge of the militia in the northern 
district of Virginia. His frontier experience and ac- 
quaintance with the Indians, as well as his rare tact and 
physical endurance, fitted him for the public mission 
that he was called upon to undertake. 

In October, 1753, he was entrusted with a letter from 
Governor Dinwiddle to the French Commander, demand- 
ing the withdrawl of the French from the Ohio. He was 
instructed to note carefully the movements of the French, 
and to report. 

Washington set out on his journey the same day that 
he received his commission, Oct. 30. He engaged Jacob 

Washington on his Journey to Ohio. 
From Lhe Painting by A. Chappell. 


Van Braam, his old Dutch fencing- master, as a French 
interpreter, and Christopher Gist, a noted frontiersman? 
as a guide. Four others, Indian traders and servants, 
completed the company. The enterprise was attended 
by many dangers and hardships. 

Arriving at the junction of the Ohio River and the 
Monongahela, Washington was at once struck with the 
idea that "the land in the fork" was "extremely well sit- 
uated for a fort." It was a much better site than that 
selected by the Ohio Company for its settlement at 
McKee's Rocks, "a few miles below Pittsburgh." 

In the latter part of November, he met some French 
deserters who had been sent from New Orleans, and he 
inquired about the French forts on the Mississippi be- 
tween Illinois and New Orleans. 

Later, Washington interviewed the Seneca chief Half- 
King. He found the Indians exceedingly hard to man- 
age. They were suspicious of the English as well as of 
French. They looked on both as intruders, but were in- 
clined to cast their lot with the English as needed al- 
lies against the French. 

The French officers received Washington politely, and, 
when warmed with wine, explained freely the purpose of 
the French to take possession of the Ohio. A few days 
afterward, the commander told him that the country be- 
longed to the French; "that no Englishman had a right 
to trade upon those waters; and that he had orders to 
make every person prisoner who attempted it on the 
Ohio, or the waters of it." 

An extraordinary importance attaches to Washington's 


diary that lie kept while on this expedition. This is the 
entry for Dec. 16-22: 

"The French were not slack in their inventions to 
keep the Indians this day also: but as they were obli- 
gated, according to promise, to give the present, they 
then endeavored to try the power of liquor, which I doubt 
not would have prevailed at any other time than this; 
but I urged and insisted with the king so closely upon 
his word, that he refrained, and set off with us as he had 

"We had a tedious and very fatiguing passage down the 
creek. Several times we had liked to have been staved 
against rocks; and many times we obliged all hands to 
get out and remain in the water half an hour or more 
getting over the shoals. At one place the ice had lodged 
and made it impossible by water; therefore we were 
obliged to carry our canoe across a neck of land, a quar- 
ter of a mile over. We did not reach Venango, till the 
2 2d, where we met with our horses. * * * 

"The horses were now so weak and feeble, and the 
baggage so heavy (as we were obliged to provide all the 
necessaries which the journey w^ould require) that we 
doubted much their performing it; therefore myself and 
others (except the drivers, who were obliged to ride) gave 
up our horses for packs, to assist along with the baggage. 
I put myself in an Indian walking dress, and continued 
with them three days, till I found there was no probabil- 
ity of their getting home in any reasonable time. The 
horses grew less able to travel every day; the cold in- 
creased very fast; and the roads were becoming much 


worse by a deep snow, continually freezing: Therefore as 
I was uneasy to get back to make a report of my pro- 
ceedings to his honour, the governor, I determined to 
prosecute my journey the nearest way through the 
woods on foot. * * * * 

"The day following, [Dec. 27] just after we passed a 
place called the murdering town (where we intended .o 
quit the path and steer across the country for Shanna- 
pins Town) we fell in with a party of French Indians, 
who had lain in wait for us. One of them fired at Mr. 
Gist or me, not fifteen steps off, but fortunately missed. 
We took this fellow in custody, and kept him till about 
9 o'clock at night, then let him go, and walked all the 
remainder part of the night without making any stop, 
that we 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. The next day we continued travelling till quite 
dark, and got to the river, about two miles above Shan- 
napins. We expected to have found the river frozen, 
but it was not, only about fifty yards from each shore. 
The ice, I suppose, had broken up above, for it was driv- 
ing in vast quantities. 

"There was no way for getting over 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. 
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 to sink, and ourselves to perish. 
I put out my setting pole to try to stop the raft, that the 


ice might pass by: when the rapidity of the stream threw 
it with so much violence against the pole, that it jerked 
me out into ten feet water; but I fortunately saved myself 
by catching hold of one of the raft logs. Notwithstand- 
ing all our efforts, we could not get the raft to either 
shore; but were obliged, as we were near an island, to 
quit our raft and make to it. 

"The cold was so extremely severe, that Mr. Gist had 
all his fingers, and some of his toes frozen; but the water 
was shut up so hard, that we found no difficulty in get- 
ting off the island on the ice, in the morning. * * 

"On the nth of Jan. 1754, I got to Belvoir, where I 
stopped one day to take necessary rest; and then set out, 
and arrived in Williamsburgh the i6th, when I waited 
upon his honour, the Governor, with the letter I had 
brought from the French Commandant, and to give an 
account of the success of my proceedings." 

Washington's Journal was published immediately after 
his return. It was read widely in the colonies, and made 
his name known and respected in England. It is a terse, 
simple narrative, without rhetorical flourishes. He was 
modest in referring to his own deeds and adventures. 
He accomplished the purpose for which he had been 
sent; his success as a diplomat and his prowess as a 
woodsman called forth general admiration and praise. 

The designs of the French were now known to all, 
and the leading men of the colonies realized that armed 
resistance was necessary to repel them. The common 
people, however, were not stirred with martial enthusi- 
asm at the prospect of war over the French-English 


claims to the lands of the Ohio. The Virginians were 
most interested, yet they were reluctant to take the field. 
To stimulate enlistments, Governor Dinwiddie, promised 
as a bounty to the officers and soldiers of the expedition, 
200,000 acres of what is now called West Virginia. Two 
companies of one hundred men each were raised at once, 
and one hundred and fifty men later. A company of 
frontiersmen, under Captain Trent, were to finish the fort 
(partly built by the Ohio Company)" on the site that 
Washington had selected for its strategical value, at the 
junction of the two rivers. 

Washington, in command of another company, was 
instructed to act on the defensive, and to prevent French 
encroachments by force, if necessary. War was not yet 
declared, yet this was really the beginning of a long ser- 
ies of conflicts between France and England. 

The campaign to the Ohio in the spring of 1754, end- 
ed in inevitable failure, but not through the fault of 
Washington, whose management of the expedition was 
in the main admirable. There was not much fighting. 
In a skirmish near Great Meadows (May 28), Washing- 
ton surprised and attacked a detachment of the French, 
taking twenty-one prisoners. The killing of the French 
leader, Jumonville, and ten of his men, was an act not 
altogether justifiable. The French called it assassination, 
a term that Americans resent. 

Washington retired before a superior force of French 
and Indians, probably a thousand or more. The coloni- 
al troops numbered less than four hundred, including a 
company of Carolinians under Captain MacKaye. Their 


supplies and ammunition were nearly gone, a heavy rain 
wet their powder, and matters reached a desperate pass 
at Fort Necessity. They surrendered (July 3) with hon- 
ors of war, being allowed to march back with their arms. 

This was the best that Washington could do in the 
face of adverse circumstances. He returned home as 
Col. Washington, and received the thanks of the Virgin- 
ia Legislature for his heroic efforts to save Fort Necessi- 
ty. He had learned some valuable lessons, concerning 
border warfare, and his conduct was such as to deserve 
high praise. He was courageous, even to rashness, and 
declared that he loved to hear the whistling of the bul- 

Meanwhile, the French built Fort Duquesne, and con- 
tinued their depredations. The spot that they chose for 
a stronghold was the very place which the English had 
been forced to abandon. The city of Pittsburgh now 
stands on this historic site. 

At last the English Government was roused to action, 
and sent two regiments of regulars to America. The de- 
tails of Braddock's expedition, and defeat in 1755, are 
familiar to every school boy who has dipped into history. 
There is no need to repeat them here. The French and 
Indians, under cover of trees, made a sudden attack on 
the English forces in a narrow way. A terrible slaughter 
followed, the regulars not being used to such fighting. 

Washington, who was one of Braddock's aids, greatly 
distinguished himself on that fatal field. With coolness 
and entire self-command, he fearlessly rode here and there 
trying in vain to rally his fleeing troops. Braddock and 


most of his officers were killed, but Washington bore a 
charmed life. Writing of the rout and his extreme per- 
il to his brother, he says: 

"By the all powerful dispensation of providence, I 
have been protected beyond all human probability or ex- 
pectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and 
two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, though 
death was levelling my companions on every side of me. 
We have been most scandalously beaten by a trifling 
body of men. A feeble state of health obliges me to 
halt here for two or three days to recover a little strength 
that I may thereby be enabled to proceed homeward with 
more ease." 

There may be some truth in the story that Custis tells 
of the effect of Washington's reckless daring on the Ifi- 
dians who fought on the side of the French in that bloody 
battle. It is in the chapter of "Recollections of Wash- 
ington" on "The Indian Prophecy." When Col. Wash- 
ington and some woodsmen were locating the lands of 
Kanawha in 1770, they were visited by a party of Indi- 
ans. One of them was a grand sachem, who had been 
present in the battle of Monongahela. He remembered 
Washington well, and thus addressed him: 

"I am a chief, and the ruler over many tribes. My 
influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to 
the far blue mountains. I have travelled a long and 
weary path, that I might see the young warrior of the 
great battle. It was on the day, when the white man's 
blood mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first 
beheld this chief: I called to my young men and said, 


mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red- 
coat tribe — he hath an Indian's wisdom, and his warri- 
ors fight as we do — himself is alone exposed. Quick, 
let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were 
levelled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss 
— 'twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shield- 
ed him from harm. He cannot die in battle. I am old, 
and soon shall be gathered to the great council-fire of my 
fathers, in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is a 
something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. List- 
en ! The great spirit protects that man, and guides his 
destinies — he will become the chief of nations, and a peo- 
ple yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty 

In his report of the battle to the Governor, Washing- 
ton wrote: 

"We continued our march from Fort Cumberland to 
Frazer's (which is within seven miles from Duquesne) 
without meeting any extraordinary event, having only a 
straggler or two picked up by the French Indians. 
When we came to this place we were attacked (very un- 
expectedly) by about three hundred French and Indians. 
Our numbers consisted of about thirteen hundred well- 
armed men, chiefly regulars, who were immediately struck 
with such an inconceivable panic that nothing but con- 
fusion and disobedience of orders prevailed among them. 
The officers in general behaved with incomparable brav- 
ery, for which they greatly suffered, there being nearly 
sixty killed and wounded, a large proportiou of the num- 
ber we had. 


"The Virginia Companies behaved like men, and died 
like soldiers; for, I believe, out of three Companies that 
were on the ground that day, scarce thirty were left 

Washington returned to Mount Vernon disheartened, 
and suffering from broken health. He had served his 
country at a considerable personal sacrifice, and he was 
averse to accept this proffered command of the Virginia 
Regiment raised soon afterward. But he practically had 
no choice in the matter; the people looked to him as a 
leader and would have no other. Besides he had the 
soldier spirit in him, and the attractions of a military ca- 
reer were too great to resist. "My inclinations are strong- 
ly bent to arms," he wrote in a letter (Nov. 15, 1754.) 

He felt it his duty, too, to form plans to protect the 
frontier settlements from the robberies and attacks of the 
French and Indians. So three years passed in active 
military service. 

In 1758, Washington, as commander-in-chief of the 
Virginia Volunteers, took part in an expedition against 
Fort Duquesne, led by General Forbes. The fort was 
abandoned and burned (Nov. 24), before the English 
reached the Ohio. On its site they built Fort Pitt, named 
in honor of the great Prime Minister. 

War, however, did not occupy all of Washington's 
time and thoughts. He was a cavalier and lover, as well 
as a soldier. From drafts of letters still extant, written 
in his seventeenth year, it appears that the young sur- 
veyor was a susceptible youth. His passion sometimes 
found expression in rather poor verse. It is said that he 



was once attached to Sally Gary, who became the wife 
of his friend, George William Fairfax (brother of Mrs. 
Laurence Washington). Later, when commander of the 
Virginia forces, he was favored with the acquaintance of 
many charming women, and he was involved in more 

Washington's First Interview with Mrs. Custis. 
From Schroeder's "Life of Washington." 

than one affair of the heart. There is a story to the ef- 
fect that he greatly admired Miss Mary Philipse of New 
York, but the wooing of this lady was interrupted; his 
duty as an officer called him to the front, and another 
won her. 

In May, 1758, Washington was called to Williams- 
burgh to confer with the Governor in regard to the con- 
dition of the Virginia troops. While riding thither on 


horseback with his servant, he stopped for dinner one 
day at the mansion of a hospitable planter. Here he 
was introduced to a lovely young widow, whose manners 
and conversation were so pleasing that he stayed all the 
afternoon. The next day he rode away, a captive to the 
fascinations of Mrs. Martha Custis, whom he courted and 
married (Jan. 6, 1759). She was the widow of Col. Dan- 
iel Parke Custis, a wealthy gentleman who left forty-five 
thousand pounds sterling in money and large estates; 
she had two small children, Martha and John. "The 
marriage was celebrated in the good old hospitable Vir- 
ginia style, amid a joyous assemblage of relatives and 
friends. " 

The union proved to be a very happy one. Washing- 
ton was fondly attached to his wife, and through life 
wore on his bosom a miniature portrait of her. Martha 
Washington was tenderly devoted to her husband, for 
whom she felt the highest admiration. She adorned his 
household at Mount Vernon, accompanied him on some 
of his campaigns in the Revolution, and presided with 
grace and dignity over his home at the Capital as the 
first lady of the land. She died May 22, 1802, aged sev- 
enty. No children were born to them, but Washington 
exercised the closest care over the Custis children, and 
adopted Mrs. Washington's grandchildren — Eleanor 
Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis. 

After his marriage, George Washington was the wealth- 
iest man in the Old Dominion, if not in the colonies. 
In those days there were no millionaires in America. It 
is hard to say what was the value of his possessions be- 


Martha Washington. 

<From the Painting by John Woolaston. Courtesy of D. Appleion & Co.) 


fore the War for Independence. The estate of Mount 
Vernon (consisting of 2500 acres) became his property in 
1753 by the will of Laurence Washington, who be- 
queathed it to "his beloved brother George" — after his 
daughter Sarah, who died whdn an infant. Besides oth- 
er estates in Virginia, he owned extensive tracts of land 
(more than 30,000 acres) in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and 
on the Ohio. At the time of his death, his lands, slaves, 
stock, etc. were worth more than half a million dollars. 

Washington at thirty and later was a man of imposing 
appearance. Perhaps the earliest portraiture of the man 
is that by Captain George Mercer of Virginia, one who 
knew him intimately: 

"He may be described as being as straight as any In- 
dian, measuring six feet two inches in his stockings, and 
weighing 175 pounds when he took his seat in the House 
of Burgesses in 1759. His frame is padded with well- 
developed muscles, indicating great strength. His bones 
and joints are large, as are his feet and hands. He is 
wide shouldered, but has not a deep or round chest; is 
neat wristed, but is broad across the hips, and has rather 
long legs and arms. His head is well shaped though 
not large, but is gracefully poised on a superb neck. A 
large and straight rather than a prominent nose; blue- 
gray penetrating eyes, which are widely separated and 
overhung by a heavy brow. His face is long rather than 
broad, with high round cheek bones, and terminates in a 
good firm chin. He has a clear though rather a color- 
less skin, which burns with the sun. A pleasing, be- 
nevolent, though a commanding countenance, dark 


brown hair, which he wears in a cue. His mouth is 
large and generally firmly closed, but which from time 
to time discloses some defective teeth. His features are 
regular and placid, with all the muscles of his face un- 
der perfect control, though flexible and expressive of deep 
feeling when moved by emotions. In conversation he 
looks you full in the face, is deliberate, deferential and 
engaging. His voice is agreeable rather than strong. 
His demeanor at all times is composed and dignified. 
His movements and gestures are graceful, his walk ma- 
jestic, and he is a splendid horseman." 

After the capture of Quebec by Wolfe, in 1759, French 
domination was at an end in the disputed territory of the 
Ohio, and the land was at peace. Washington was pre- 
eminently a man of peace, and was glad to return to pri- 
vate life and took his bride to Mount Vernon, a home 
that he loved. He thus describes it in a letter written 
about this time: 

"No estate in United America is more pleasantly situ- 
ated. In a high and healthy country; in a latitude be- 
tween the extremes of heat and cold; on one of the finest 
rivers in the world — a river well stocked with various 
kinds offish at all seasons of the year, and in the spring 
with shad, herring, bass, carp, sturgeon, &c. , in great 
abundance. The borders of the estate are washed by 
more than ten miles tide-water; several valuable fisheries 
appertain to it; the whole shore, in fact, is one fishery." 

Washington was always a hard worker. He rose ear- 
ly and got through an amazing amount of business dur- 
ing the day. He was in his saddle much of the time. 



riding about his farms and directing affairs personally. 
He was a flourishing farmer. He took a special pride in 
having everything on his farms first-class. He did much 
to improve the somewhat rude and primitive methods of 
agriculture of his day. He was fond of the chase, and 

Home of Washington. Mt. Vernon. 

delighted in riding after hounds with a party of friends. 
For more than fifteen years (1759-75), Washington 
was a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 
He was a model legislator, concerned for the public wel- 
fare. He was not a man of many words, but he was al- 
ways heard with respect, and the opinions of no other 
man in the assembly had more weight. He was con- 


stantly serving on committees, in which his sound sense 
and wide knowledge of affairs were utilized in shaping 
the important measures of the colony. 

In the first Continental Congress (1774), to which he 
was a delegate, he gained a reputation for practical wis- 
dom, not surpassed by any other man in that illustrious 

American history cannot be intelligently read without 
constant reference to English history. The colonists 
came honestly by their love of freedom. They had in- 
herited from their Saxon ancestors the disposition to re- 
volt against unjust and oppressive authority. The strug- 
gle for constitutional liberty in England in the seven- 
teenth century had its bearing on the struggle for inde- 
pendence in America in the eighteenth century. George 
the Third's governmental policy or theory of monarchy 
was substantially that of Charles I. The principles of 
Magna Charta were violated by the Stamp Act and the 
Tea Tax. Injustice was done the colonists by the Nav- 
igation Laws, and other measures were passed by Parlia- 
ment that were calculated to irritate and lead to conflict. 
The stupidity and obstinacy of George III made concili- 
ation- out of the question. 

Washington's attitude toward the mother country was 
one of affectionate regard. He shrank from the thought 
of separation from England. The ties that bound the 
colonies to the Old World were not to be lightly broken. 
He appreciated the service that the British Government 
had rendered the provincials in the French and Indian 
Wars. He advised patience, until patience ceased to be 


a virtue. There was a limit to forbearance, and he 
thought it was reached in 1774. Further submission 
seemed like folly. The colonists had to fight for their 
rights, or basely yield and lose their self-respect. The 
final plunge was taken and a new nation was born, a na- 
tion founded on the idea of democratic equality. 

In the exciting events leading up to the Revolution, 
Washington took no insignificant part. It was not so 
much the part of the orator as of a counselor. He was 
no noisy agitator or impractical dreamer. He made few 
speeches in the Virginia Assembly, and in the Continen- 
tal Congress, but what he said was to the point and care- 
fully weighed. He was slow to make up his mind; he 
long hoped for peaceful adjustment of this quarrel be- 
tween America and Britain. Once having determined 
on the right course to take, he never thought of giving 

The years 1775-80, were years of testing, and some of 
the revolutionists were tried and found wanting. Wash- 
ington was made of different stuff. He had the qualities 
of a great leader, but his inspiring example, as well as 
his leadership, carried the day. There were moments of 
fearful anxiety, and dark hours when failure stared them 
in the face. Though many despaired, Washington nev- 
er lost courage. He never wavered in his confidence of 
the ultimate success of the colonists' cause. If the worst 
came and they should be driven from their homes on the 
sea-coast, he knew that they could retire to the interior 
of the continent and found an empire in the west, where 
they would be safe from British interference. 


July 4, 1776, must always be regarded as one of the 
principal dates in the world's history. It was the begin- 
ning of a new era in the annals of mankind. Americans 
do well to celebrate the day when the Declaration of In- 
dependence was signed. 

National independence was not won in a single day, 
nor was it the work of one man. The country then stood 
in need of all its patriots, heroes, and sages. The con- 
summation of their hopes required the talents and exer- 
tions of an untold number: Franklin's shrewdness, 
Henry's eloquence, Jefferson's learning, and the impas- 
sioned logic of Samuel Adams were needed, as well as 
the sagacity and generalship of Washington. 

The gifts of all were needed and utilized. To extol 
the part of Washington in the long and hard-fought 
struggle for independence is not to depreciate the share 
of the other colonial generals and statesmen. Nor should 
the deeds of valor and the patient sacrifices of the rank 
and file be forgotten; and praise is due to the loyal work- 
ers at home, who supplied the sinews of war, and helped 
achieve the victories of the armies in the field. The co- 
operation of foreign nations, too, must be remembered, 
for they contributed much to the success of American 
arms. Yet, when all this is borne in mind, it is not too 
much to say that Washington was the presiding spirit 
without whom all might have failed. 

In May, 1775, the second Continental Congress met 
at Philadelphia. The time for petitions had passed. 
Preparations for war were to be made, for blood had al- 
ready been shed at Lexington, where the New England 


militia met the fire of British Regulars. On June 15, 
Col. George Washington, one of the delegates from Vir- 
ginia, was unanimously elected commander of the colon- 
ial army. This was Washington's reply to the President 
of Congress, who announced his appointment as "Gener- 
al in chief of all the American forces:' ' 

"Though I am truly sensible of the high honor done me in this ap- 
pointment, yet, I feel great disfress from a consciousness, that my 
abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive 
and important trust. However, as the congress desire it, I will enter 
upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their 
service and for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept 
my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their ap- 

"Bat, lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my 
reputation, 1 beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the 
room, that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think 
myself equal to the command I am honored with. 

"As to pay, sir, I beg leave to assure the congress, that as no pe- 
cuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous 
employment, at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do 
not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of 
my expenses. Those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all 
I desire." 

In keeping with this modest and characteristic state- 
ment of a truly disinterested man is the earnest remark 
in a letter to his wife, written about this time: "As it 
has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me upon this 
service, I shall hope that my undertaking of it is designed 
to answer some good purpose." 

It may be well to quote here the testimony of one of 
Washington's contemporaries, John Bell, of Maryland, 
writing in 1779: 

"With one common voice he was called forth to the 
defense of his country; and it is, perhaps, his peculiar 
glory, that there was not a single inhabitant of these 


itates, except himself, who did not approve the choice 
and place the firmest confidence in his integrity and 

There were not many battles fought in the American 
Revolution. The opportunity in war does not often 
come for a "decisive stroke." Perhaps there were only 
three important engagements — at Brooklyn, Saratoga, 
and Yorktown. Washington failed in military opera- 
tions around New York in the summer of 1776; the de- 
feat of the Anglo-German army at Saratoga in 1777 was 
the result of his planning, though he was not present; 
with the help of the French army and fleet, he caused 
the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. 

Washington's successes may be quickly enumerated — 
at Boston (March 17,1776), Trenton (December 26, 1776), 
Princeton (January 3, 1777), and Yorktown (October 19, 
1 781). The indecisive engagement at Monmouth (June 
28, 1778) might also be included. The battles that 
Washington lost were fought at Brooklyn (August 27, 
1776), White Plains (October 28, 1776), Brandywine 
(September II, 1777), and Germantown (Oct. 4, 1777). 

This seems at first sight a rather poor showing. But, 
when the circumstances are taken into account, the won- 
der is that Washington accomplished so much with the 
means at his disposal. With so many emergencies to 
meet, it was a herculean undertaking to keep things mov- 
ing. There were other obstacles to overcome besides 
hostile armies. 

He had few men, and they were poorly fed and clothed. 
The colonial troops were undisciplined, and the task of 


drilling and organizing them into an effective array was 
no light one. The colonies lacked the money requisite 
to hire and keep a standing army. The terms of enlist- 
ment were short, and after a campaign or two they re- 
turned home to the plow and the anvil. Then a fresh 
lot of raw recruits had to be drilled and transformed into 
seasoned warriors. Writing to his brother (February 24, 
1777), Washington refers in his characteristic manner to 
the militia, "whose ways, like the ways of Providence, 
are almost inscrutable, who are here to-day and gone to- 

A depreciated currency was partly responsible for this 
deplorable state of affairs. At the beginning of the strug- 
gle, coin was scarce — besides four or five million dollars 
in specie in the treasury, there was perhaps fifteen mill- 
ion in specie in circulation (less than $5 per capita). As 
the volume of paper money increased, its value declined. 
In September, 1778, $1 in specie would exchange for $4 
in continental currency; in September, 1779, for $18; in 
March, 1780, for $40, and later for hundreds. 

Again, the equipment of the colonial army was pain- 
fully inadequate. There was little powder in the coun- 
try, and a scarcity of guns and artillery. Supplies were 
slow in coming. In a word, the colonies were not ready 
for war on a large scale. Without the moral support 
and financial assistance of the Dutch (who loaned the 
new nation four million dollars) and the help of 
France and Spain, they would have been reduced to a 
desperate extremity, and the outcome might have been 


The people too, were not a unit on tlie subject of re- 
sistance. There were many Royalist Americans — Tories 
they were called — who sympathized with the English 
and aided them in a thousand ways. Some of them were 
high officials and persons of wealth. This crippled the 
fighting resources of the country. 

In the army itself there was too often friction and lack 
of harmony, instead of the sinking of personal prefer- 
ences for the common good. There were rivalries and 
dissensions among the officers — to say nothing about 
treason — which greatly annoyed and embarrassed the 
chief. Sectional quarrels and disturbances were frequent 
in the ranks. 

During the first three or four years of the war, Wash- 
ington had a world of trouble with congress; he was 
hampered in carrying out his plans by meddlesome pol- 
iticians. Finally congress gained enough confidence in 
the head of the army to let him use his own judgment. 

Place-hunters were then as importunate as now. The 
commander was beset by a horde of "hungry adventur- 
ers" from Europe, eager for commissions in the colonial 
army. These could not be accommodated when there 
was better fighting material among the Provincials. 
While it is true that Lafayette, Steuben, Pulaski, Kosci- 
usko, and other foreigners rendered valuable service in 
the Revolution, they were the exception. Most of the 
would-be officers from abroad were of no account as sol- 

In no one thing was Washington's judgment more 
manifest than in the selection of his assistants, who were 



in the main faithful and efficient public servants. Among 
the scores of Major-Generals and Brigadiers who served 
under him were several able commanders — Greene, Ward, 
Schuyler, Arnold, Knox, Marion, Hamilton, and others. 
Of these, perhaps Greene made the best military record. 
The intrigues of the Conway cabal form the details of 

a disgraceful chapter 
of Revolutionary his- 
tory. General Wash- 
ington, however, was 
too firmly entrenched 
in the affections and 
the regard of the peo- 
ple to be thrown aside 
for one less worthy. 
He was easily first, 
and there was no sec- 
ond. Faction spent 
itself in vain, trying 
to deprive him of his rightful supremacy. The tribute of 
Lodge is not exaggerated: "The soldiers and the people, 
high and low, rich and poor, gave him an unstinted 

The army of which General Washington assumed com- 
mand at Cambridge, Mass. (July 3, 1775), consisted of 
about 14,500 troops from New England. These were 
stationed to good advantage about Boston — Major-Gen- 
eral Artemas Ward, commanding the right wing on the 
heights of Roxbury, Major-General Charles Lee, the left 
wing on Winter and Prospect Hills, and Major-General 

Alexander Hamilton, Washington's Secretary 
during the early period of the Revolution. 


Israel Putnam, the center at Cambridge. During the 
summer, several companies of riflemen were raised in 
Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, and marched to 
Cambridge. At first "confusion and discord reigned," to 
use Washington's own words, but gradually he brought 
order out of chaos. 

Early in August the 
alarming discovery was 
made that there was less 
than ten thousand pounds 
of powder in camp, Wash- 
ington was thunderstruck 
with astonishment. Had 
Gage, the British General 
in command at Boston, 
attacked them then, he 
could have inflicted ter- 
rible punishment. The 
danger was concealed, and disaster averted by piling up 
barrels of sand labelled powder. After innumerable de- 
lays, supplies of ammunition and ordnance were ob- 

In September an expedition was got ready to march 
through Maine into Canada, and thence to Quebec and 
Montreal. One detachment of eleven hundred men was 
led by Col. Benedict Arnold; the other by General Rich- 
ard Montgomery. The campaign was well planned and 
almost succeeded. The soldiers suffered intensely from 
cold and hunger. Montreal was taken, but the assault 
on Quebec (Dec. 31) failed. 

^. ,,_. if >.^ 

Gen. Charles Lee. 
Bom 1731. Died 1782. 


In the autumn several cruisers were fitted out to prey 
on British commerce, and to intercept supplies on the 
way for the British army at Boston. They succeeded in 
doing considerable damage to English shipping and cap- 
tured some valuable store-ships. 

In the winter the American troops were actively en- 
gaged on the fortifications near 
Boston, and preparations were 
begun for the defense of Rhode 
Island, New York, and other 
exposed points. 

In December Mrs. Washing- 
ton arrived at Cambridge and 
her presence brightened camp- 
life for the General. The so- 
ber New Englanders being im- 
used to showy equipages, her 
coming in the family coach 
drawn by four horses, attended by colored servants in 
livery, made a sensation in the sleepy town. 

Meanwhile a new army was raised, the first Continen- 
tal army enlisted for 1776. On January i, "the Union 
Flag, composed of thirteen alternate red and white 
stripes," was first displayed. 

A few weeks later Col. Henry Knox reached the camp 
with a train of artillery, cannons and mortars, captured 
from the enemy at Ticonderoga. The new soldiers were 
ill-supplied with arms. "There are near 2000 men now 
in camp without firelocks, " writes Washington (Febru- 
ary 9). Unprepared as they were, he was in favor of an 

Gen. Richard Montgomery. 
Born 1736. Died 1775. 


attack on the British lines in Boston, but was overruled 
by a council of war. 

At last, supplied with powder and cannon, Washing- 
ton improved the long-looked-for opportunity to strike. 
During the night of March 4, a furious cannonade was 
kept up. Under cover of darkness the American troops 
seized Dorchester Heights, which commanded the city, 
and threw up entrenchments. The men worked with a 
will and planted cannon the next day, while the Eng- 
lish waited. The indolent Howe, who had succeeded 
Gage, was disposed to take things easy. Finding his 
position in Boston untenable without a conflict, he speed- 
ily departed (March 1 7), embarking all of his forces and 
leaving behind a large quantity of arms and baggage. 

This success of Washington's was an occasion of much 
rejoicing to the Bostonians and greatly encouraged the 
whole country. As Howe had a well-equipped army of 
experienced soldiers and a strong fleet, he might have 
made an effective resistance. His inefficiency called 
forth the sarcastic remark, that "any other General in 
the world would have beaten General Washington; and 
any other General in the world than General Washing- 
ton would have beaten General Howe." 

This rather grudging praise does not give Washing- 
ton his full share of credit. The victory was the result 
of wise foresight and careful planning, of persistent and 
untiring effort during the months of the preceding 
autumn and winter. Washington had now a good army, 
fairly well equipped. "Method and exactness are the 
fort of his character," writes one of his contemporaries. 


and he carried these qualities into the conduct of the 
war. The difficulties that he had to contend against 
were enormous, and he set about industriously to over- 
come them with business-like sagacity. 

Washington was a strict disciplinarian, yet he had the 
power of attaching soldiers to him and of securing their 
hearty co-operation. Says an Ar^erican gentleman liv- 
ing in London (i'779)* 

"He punishes neglect of duty with great severity, but 
is ver}' tender and indulgent to recruits until they learn 

the articles of war and their exercise perfectly He 

has made the art of war his particular study; his plans 
are in general good and well digested; he is particularly 
careful of securing a retreat, but his chief qualifications 
are steadiness, perseverance and secrecy; any act of 
bravery he is sure to reward, and make a short eulogium 
on the occasion to the person and his fellow soldiers (if 
it be a soldier in the ranks)." 

One secret of Washington's success as a commander 
was the force of his personality, which impressed officers 
and men alike. It was not only his soldierly bearing 
and his stately figure, his strong will and passionate na- 
ture made him respected as a leader. Underneath a 
placid exterior was a fiery temper, usually well con- 
trolled, whose occasional outbursts of anger they dread- 
ed. Here was a man not to be trifled with, one who 
insisted on obedience to orders. Soldiering under Wash- 
ington was not play. 

As it was expected that New York would be the next 
objective point of attack by the English army and fleet, 


the work of preparing defenses went on expeditiously, 
and early in April the colonial army marched thither. 
There was a delay on the part of General Howe, whose 
fleet remained at Halifax a few months to await re- 
enforcements from England. 

The movement against New York was made in the 
summer, and British troops landed on Staten Island 
(July 3). Later they were re-enforced by others. Wash- 
ington writes (July 22) that "the enemy's numbers will 
amount at least to twenty-five thousand men ; ours to 
about fifteen thousand." He underestimated the strength 
of the British, whose combined forces were 31,625 (Au- 
gust i), while less than 11,000 of his own men were on 

A battle was expected, and Washington essayed to 
nerve his troops with resolution and hope. These man- 
ly words appear in the Orderly Book for August 23 : 

"The Enemy have now landed on Long Island, and the 
hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Suc- 
cess of this Army and the Safety of our Bleeding Coun- 
try will depend. Remember, officers and soldiers, that 
you are freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty, 
that Slavery will be your portion, and that of your pos- 
terity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men." 

General Howe debarked 15,000 troops on Long Island 
(August 22), and another division was landed (August 
25). In the battle of Long Island (August 27), the 
Americans (four or five thousand) were commanded by 
General John Sullivan, owing to the illness of General 
Nathaniel Greene, who had prepared the lines of de- 


fense. Not knowing the ground well, he was taken by 
surprise and his division hemmed in by a superior force 
(eight or nine thousand), under Sir Henry Clinton. 
They suffered a heavy loss of men killed and captured. 
With a long line of posts to guard, Washington was 
powerless to aid them ; from a hill in Brooklyn he 
watched the battle and saw with anguish the rout and 
surrender of Lord Stirling's division of Maryland bat- 

The next day in a council of war it was determined 
"to give up Long Island, and not, by dividing the force, 
be unable to resist the enemy in any one point of at- 
tack." The victor, feeling sure of his prey, failed to 
follow up his advantage at once, as a great general would 
have done. A little skirmishing took place on August 
28, but the assault on the works was postponed. The 
dilatory tactics of Howe enabled Washington to slip out 
of his grasp. 

Boats were obtained, and on the following night the 
American forces (nine thousand) embarked and escaped, 
unobserved by the British, in the rain and mist. Refer- 
ring to their passage across East River, Washington 
wrote: "For forty-eight hours preceding that, I had hard- 
ly been off my horse, and never closed my eyes." This 
retreat, as Lodge truly observes, "was a feat of arms as 
great as most victories." 

There being no prospect of holding New York, Wash- 
ington marched northward (September 13), leaving the 
city in possession of the enemy. There were occasional 
skirmishes, the most notable at Harlem, but not much 



fighting before the battle near White Plains (about 
twenty-six miles northeast of New York). On October 
28 a detachment of fifteen or sixteen hundred troops, un- 
der General Alexander McDougall, was defeated on Chat- 
terton Hill by five thousand of the British. Howe was 
deterred from attacking the main body of Washington's 

Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh. 

army, two miles away, by a very formidable-looking, 
but rather unsubstantial, embankment of corn-stalks 
with the roots turned outward. Not availing themselves 
of the slight advantage gained, the English broke up 
camp and withdrew southward. 

Washington followed with his army and arrived at 


Fort Lee (November 13). On November 16, the English 
took by storm Fort Washington on Manhattan Island, 
not far from Fort Lee. It was bravely defended by a 
garrison of nearly three thousand men under Col. Magaw, 
who was forced to surrender. The place had been held 
against Washington's advice, and he felt the loss most 
keenly, because unnecessary. "This," he wrote (Nov. 
19), "is a most unfortunate affair, and has given me great: 
mortification; as we have lost not only two thousand men 
that were there, but a good deal of artillery, and some of 
the best arms we had. And what adds to my mortifica- 
tion is, that this post, after the last ships went past it, 
was held contrary to my wishes and opinion, as I con- 
ceived it to be a hazardous one." 

Thus ended for a while "the struggle for the Hudson." 
An Anglo-Hessian army of 6,000 approached Fort Lee 
(November 20), and the stronghold was abandoned in a 
hurry. The Continental army of a few thousand retreat- 
ed to Newark, New Jersey; the enemy following close, 
"often the music of the pursued and the pursuers would 
be heard by each other, yet no action occurred." Wash- 
ington obstructed the advance of the enemy as much as 
possible by destroying bridges and provisions on the 
way. At Newark he made a short stand, but avoided 
fighting, as his army was dwindling away. 

From Newark he retreated to Brunswick (November 
26). Here two brigades quit the army, their terms of 
service having expired. "The loss of these troops," 
writes General Greene, "at this critical time reduced his 
Excellency to the necessity to order a retreat again. 


When we left Brunswick, we had not 3,000 men." Un- 
der discouraging circumstances they pressed on to Prince- 
ton (December 2), and then to Trenton. 

"These are the times that try men's souls," wrote 
Thomas Paine in the American Crisis (December, 1776). 
Beneath his heavy load of cares and burdens, Washington 
bore up with wonderful fortitude. His resources were 
not yet exhausted. Again it was necessary to give way 
before the advancing enemy, and the little army crossed 
the Delaware on the morning of December 8, A few 
hours later "the British came marching down to the riv- 
er, expecting to cross, but no boats were within reach, 
all having been collected and secured on the west bank." 
Once more the American leader had eluded an over- 
whelming force. 

As the enemy were moving in the direction of Phila- 
delphia, steps were now taken to fortify the city. F'rom 
his headquarters at the Keith farm-house, Washington 
wrote to his brother John Augustine (December 18): 

"Since I came on this side, I have been joined by 
about two thousand of the city militia, and I understood 
that some of the country militia (from the back coun- 
ties) are on the way. But we are in a very disaffected 
part of the Province; and, between you and me, I think 
our affairs are in a very bad situation 

"You can form no idea of the perplexity of my situa- 
tion. No man, I believe, ever had a greater choice of 
difhculties, and less means to extricate himself from 
them. However, under a full persuasion of the justice 
of our cause, I cannot entertain an idea, that it will 


finally sink, tliough it may remain for some time under 
a cloud." 

Two days later his heart was cheered by the arrival at 
his camp above Trenton Falls of General Gates, Sulli- 
van, and Cadwalader, with several regiments of regulars 
and militiamen. These additions increased his fighting 
force to nearly eleven thousand. 

Now the time had come to act on the aggressive, while 
the British army' was scattered. Howe having retired to 
New York, thinking there would be no further hostilities 
during the winter, Washington planned a bold attack on 
Christmas night, an hour before dawn. The enterprise 
succeeded. It was a cold stormy night and the river 
full of ice, yet he crossed the Delaware with his own di- 
vision of 2,400 men and marched nine miles to Trenton. 
Here he surprised the Hessians at daybreak and defeat- 
ed them, taking nearly a thousand prisoners with their 
arms and cannon. The engagement lasted less than an 
hour. This brilliant victory revived the drooping cour- 
age of the army and alarmed the enemy. 

When the news reached New York, Cornwallis hast- 
ened forth with 8,000 men to punish him. Meanwhile 
Washington was not idle. He again crossed the Dela- 
ware (December 30); the passage was exceedingly diffi- 
cult and perilous on account of the floating ice. At 
Trenton he was joined by the divisions under Generals 
Mifflin and Cadwalader, some 3,800 men. He was not 
strong enough, however, for a pitched battle with the en- 
tire Anglo-Hessian army. By good fortune and strategy 
he saved himself from disaster and dealt the enemy anoth- 


er stunning blow. With the main body of his army, 
Lord Cornwallis marched from Princeton, (January 
2, 1777), leaving three regiments under Col. Maw- 
hood. He reached the neighborhood of Trenton late 
in the afternoon and had the best of the Americans 
in the skirmishing that ensued. Here he rested from 
combat at nightfall. Washington was at his mercy, 
if he had pressed his advantage at dark. He halted 
near Washington's camp, and in the morning the 
Americans were gone. Leaving their fires burning 
brightly to deceive the enemy, they stole silently away 
at midnight, and by a round-about march arrived at 
Princeton about sunrise. Here Washington won a com- 
plete victory and gained possession of the town with 
small loss. One hundred of the enemy were killed, be- 
sides four hundred prisoners and wounded. It is hardly 
too much to say that these two unlooked-for successes 
"saved the Revolution." They were a revelation of 
Washington's military ability. They not only exhila- 
rated the spirits of the colonists, but extorted praise and 
admiration from the foe. *'His march through our lines 
is allowed to have been a prodigy of generalship," wrote 
Horace Walpole. Washington was now accorded a place 
among the greatest captains of the time. 

During the winter months of 1777 there was a cessa- 
tion of hostilities. Washington's feelings of elation over 
British reverses were mingled with disappointment and 
alarm as he saw his army suddenly melt away. He 
wrote to the governors of the New England States and 
to the members of Congress, dwelling on the imperative 

Washington at the Battle of Princeton. 


necessity of establishing a permanent army upon which 
he could depend at all times. 

He would have been almost helpless, if the enemy had 
attacked him at this time. In the circular-letter to the 
Governors, Washington wrote (January 24): 

"Nothing but their ignorance of our numbers protects 
us at this very time, when, on the contrary, had we six 
or eight thousand regular troops, or could the militia, 
who were with me a few days ago, have been prevailed 
upon to stay, we could have struck such a stroke, as 
would have inevitably ruined the army of the enemy, in 
their divided state." 

The winter wore gloomily away. Fortunately Gener- 
al Howe remained inactive. Washington had only four 
thousand men, and many of these were sick and starv- 
ing. The commander put forth renewed efforts to im- 
prove the character of the soldiers by prohibiting gam- 
ing, swearing, and other vices. Mindful of the value of 
religion as a moral force, he arranged later for the chap- 
lains to hold services on Sunday, wherever practicable, 
and enjoined attendance on the part of the men. 

In May, Washington fixed his headquarters at Middle- 
brook, New Jersey, having under his immediate com- 
mand seven thousand men. Howe had ten thousand or 
more with him. Each commander was carefully noting 
the movements of the other, and neither was desirous of 
bringing on a drawn battle. After some skirmishing, 
Howe withdrew to Staten Island with his entire army 
(June 30). 

Anticipating that Howe would proceed into Central 



New York to co-operate with Burgoyne, Washington 
marched northward. He was much chagrined by the in- 
telligence of the evacuation of Ticonderoga (July 6). 
An intercepted letter from Howe to Burgoyne fell into 
his hands, and it convinced 
him that Philadelphia was 
Howe's real destination. 

Washington then directed 
the march of the army to- 
ward Philadelphia and ar- 
rived at this city himself in 
advance of the troops (August 
2). Here he first met Lafay- 
ette, who had just been com- 
missioned a Major - General, 
having volunteered his ser- 
vices without pay. It was 

the beginning of a lifelong friendship between the two 
men. A few days afterward the Marquis witnessed a re- 
view of the army, "about eleven thousand men, ill-armed, 
and still worse clothed." The gifted young Frenchman 
was favorably impressed with the troops, notwithstand- 
ing their motley attire and indifferent tactics. "In spite 
of these disadvantages, " he says in his Memoirs, 'the 
soldiers were fine, and the officers zealous; virtue stood 
in place of science, and each day added both to experi- 
ence and discipline." 

Later, Washington was gratified to hear of victories in 
the North, at Oriskany and Bennington. He was still in 
the dark as to Howe's movements, but supposed that 

Gen. John Burgoyne. 
Born 1722. Died 1792. 


Charleston was the point where the British fleet would 
strike. News came at length that it was in Chesapeake 
Bay. The Continental army at once marched southward 
through Philadelphia (August 24), to a point near Wil- 

The next day the English army of 18,000 men landed 
at the head of the Bay and proceeded northward. On 
August 27, Howe issued another "Declaration," promis- 
ing security to peaceful citizens and pardon to rebels who 
would surrender and renew allegiance to the king. 
There was no stampede of colonists flocking to his stand- 

On the morning of September 3, the British troops 
won in a smart skirmish not far from the village of New- 
port, Delaware. Leaving Newport (September 9), the 
Americans crossed Brandywine Creek at Chad's Ford, 
and not far away the battle of Brandywine was fought 
(September 11). Cornwallis, an able general, led 7,000 
British troops, aided by General Knyphausen with 7,000 
mercenaries. The main body of Washington's army 
was stationed at Chad's Ford to guard the passage. On 
the opposite bank the Hessian Commander made a feint 
of attempting to cross, while Cornwallis moved north- 
ward and crossed at the upper fords, three miles distant. 
Washington, misled by false reports concerning the en- 
emy's movements, was outgeneraled and dislodged from 
his position. He had fewer men (11,000), yet he had the 
advantage over Cornwallis, who won a decisive victory. 
Through an oversight Sullivan had not guarded the fords 
where the British had crossed. It was a fatal blunder. 


riie American loss was 1,000 killed, wounded, and cap- 
tured, that of the British nearly 600. Cornwallis did 
not pursue. 

By rapid and fatiguing marches the Continental army 
moved northward, hindered by bad weather, sometimes 
wading through streams waist deep. They arrived at 
Pottsgrove (September 22), in a pitiable plight. "At 
least one thousand men are bare-footed, and have per- 
formed the marches in that condition," wrote Washing- 
ton to the President of Congress. 

After a short rest he moved his forces toward Phila- 
delphia (September 26), and the same day Cornwallis 
with his battalions entered the city unopposed. 

An effort was made to supply the needs of the suffer- 
ing men. At this time they were cheered by the report 
of a successful engagement at Stillwater, New York, be- 
tween the armies of Gates and Burgoyne (September 19). 

Washington's army now consisted of about 8,000 Con- 
tinentals and 3,000 militiamen. With this force he 
marched against the enemy at Germantown, October 4, 
where success in the morning was turned later in the day 
into defeat, through a series of deplorable mistakes and 
unfortunate circumstances. The fog and smoke caused 
confusion and panic. The Americans, not downcast over 
the result, were eager for another action. Re-enforce- 
ments came from Virginia, and not long afterward en- 
couraging messages of the second victory of Gates over 
Burgoyne (October 7). 

Then the desponding hearts of all were gladdened by 
a dispatch conveying the welcome information of the sur- 


render of BVirgoyne and his entire army (6,000) at Sara 
toga (October 14.) The significance of this event can 
scarcely be over-estimated. Lodge sums up the situation 
tersely and justly: "The Revolution had been saved at 
Trenton ; it was established at Saratoga. In the one case 
it was the direct, in the other the indirect work of Wash- 
ington. " 

Another cause of congratulation was the repulse of the 
Hessians at Fort Mercer (October 22). The next day 
there was a spirited naval encounter on the Delaware, 
near Fort IVIiffiin, which resulted in the loss of two Brit- 
ish gun-boats. In the meantime Howe had evacuated 
Germantown and retired to Philadelphia with an army 
reduced to ten thousand, while Washington had a body 
of men estimated at more than eleven thousand. The 
Americans were now on such a good war footing that an 
attack on the enemy's camp at Philadelphia w^as consid- 
ered (November 24), but not undertaken on account of 
the strong fortifications. 

The season for military operations having closed, the 
army went into winter quarters at Valley Forge on the 
west bank of the Schuylkill River. Here Washington 
was in a favorable position to defend himself and to ob- 
serve the actions of the British army. 

The surrounding country had been pretty thoroughly 
foraged by the enemy, and at times the American sol- 
diers w^ere entirely destitute of bread and meat. There 
was lack of other necessaries, such as clothes and blank- 
ets. Log-huts were built for the men, who were many 
of them ill and half naked. The haidships and priva- 


tions of this severe winter were long remembered by the 
patriotic troops and their loyal commander, who did all 
in his power to make them comfortable. There is a pa- 
thetic description in Lafayette's Memoirs of their terrible 
distress and their heroic endurance. Baron Steuben, a 
Prussian officer, visited the camp (February 23, 1778) 
with his secretary, who thus stated his impression of 
the Commander-in-chief: 

"I could not keep my eyes from that imposing coun- 
tenance — ^grave, yet not severe; affable, without familit 
arity. Its predominant expression was calm dignity, 
through which you could trace the strong feelings of the 
patriot, and discern the father as well as the commander 
of his soldiers." 

The winter of 1778 was one that Washington had oc- 
casion to remember for another reason. It was then 
that a base plot was laid to displace him and make Gen- 
eral Gates commander. The conspiracy was headed by 
General Conway, whose name is handed down in history 
as the chief ringleader of the "Conway Cabal." Other 
officers were implicated in the affair. Never did Wash- 
ington's character appear to better advantage than when 
he was passing through this, the severest ordeal of his 
life. With dignity and self-restraint he bore up under 
this grievous trial, although sorely disturbed by the com- 
plaints and criticisms of his opponents. In addition to 
his other burdens, he found it a heavy load to carry. 
The scheme failed and reacted upon its authors, while 
Washington found himself growing in public esteem and 



When the spring finally came, death and desertion had 
thinned the ranks of the Continentals at Valley Forge. 
It seemed the part of wisdom to strengthen and disci- 
pline the army, and be ready to strike the enemy as op- 
portunity might occur. 

In April copies of Lord North's "Conciliatory Bills" 

Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge. 

reached headquarters, and soon afterward peace commis- 
sioners from England arrived at Philadelphia. "Noth- 
ing short of independence," wrote Washington at this 
time. "A peace on other terms would, if I may be al- 
lowed the expression, be a peace of war." His views 
were echoed and applauded by patriots throughout the 
colonies, and the commissioners returned home, their 
mission a failure. Their promises were distrusted and 
their bribes spurned. Rejecting their tempting offers, 
Joseph Reed said: ''I am not worth purchasing, but, such 


as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to 
do it." 

Henceforth every officer in the American army was re- 
quired to take the oath affirming "the United States of 
America to be free, independent and sovereign states," 
and renouncing allegiance to the King of Great Britain. 

Meanwhile treaties of commerce and alliance with 
France had been negotiated and signed. By foreign na- 
tions the American Government was looked upon as per- 
manently established. In this view George III did not 
concur, and the thought of the separation of the colonies 
from the old country was still opposed by the English 
people. So the war went on. Says an English his- 

"The honor of England seemed at stake; even those 
who had been against the war before, now thought that 
it must be carried on boldly. Thus Chatham, in the 
House of Lords, declared he would never consent to 'an 
ignominious surrender of the rights of the Empire.' 
'Shall we now,' he said, 'fall prostrate before the House 
of Bourbon?' And his death in May, 1778, put an end 
to the last hope of reconciliation with America." 

In June General Clinton's army of 12,000 evacuated 
Philadelphia and marched toward Trenton, Washington, 
hearing of it, moved his army to the Delaware and crossed 
into New Jersey (June 22). He determined to attack at 
once, his force being then slightly superior to Clinton's. 
Lee, the senior Major-General had command of the ad- 
vanced divisions in the battle of Monmouth (June 28); 
he had opposed the attack (being secretly attached to the 


English cause), and ordered a retreat at the beginning of 
the engagement. Washington, hurrying to the spot, in- 
stantly stopped the retreating column and furiously de- 
nounced Lee for his unsoldierly conduct. Having ral- 
lied the demoralized troops, by a gallant and determined 
charge he forced the English army from the field. In 
the night they hastily departed. Washington with his 
ragged Continentals had saved the day, though with the 
loss of more than two hundred men killed and wounded. 
The British loss was over four hundred, besides numer- 
ous deserters on the retreat. 

The coming of Count d'Estaing with the French fleet 
in July meant a strong addition to the American side, 
whose navy was weak. One result of his co-operation 
was the destruction of six British frigates and other ves- 
sels off Newport, R. I., in August, 

The enemy was now obliged to act on the defensive. 
"With an army so much diminished at New York, noth- 
ing important can be done," wrote Sir Henry Clinton in 
October. The autumn passed, and Washington went in- 
to winter quarters at Middlebrook, New Jersey. No fur- 
ther military operations were undertaken, except to re- 
pel the ravages of bands of Indians and Tories on the 
frontier. Winter campaigning in the North being out of 
the question, the British invaded Georgia and seized Sa- 

Although the army was in much better condition than 
in the previous winter, colonial affairs were anything but 
flourishing. There were party dissensions and personal 
quarrels that vexed the soul of the commander, who 


viewed with dismay the absence of spirit and the want 
of united effort. Habits of extravagance prevailed among 
the more opulent classes, and speculation was rife. These 
causes together with the interruption of many lines of 
business left the country's finances in bad shape. Pub- 
lic credit was impaired, and a depreciated currency was 
the result. 

A gentleman who saw General Washington at his 
headquarters at Middlebrook in February, 1779, thus de- 
scribes his personal appearance: 

"It is natural to view with keen attention the counte- 
nance of an illustrious man, with a secret hope of dis- 
covering in his features some peculiar traces of excel- 
lence, which distinguish him above his fellow mortals. 
These expectations are realized in a peculiar manner, in 
viewing the person of General Washington. His tall 
and noble stature and just proportions, his fine, cheerful, 
open countenance, simple and modest deportment, are 
all calculated to interest every beholder in his favor, and 
to command veneration and respect. He is feared even 
when silent, and beloved even while we are unconscious 

of the motive In conversation, his Excellency's 

expressive countenance is peculiarly interesting and 

For the most part, only a defensive kind of warfare 
could be waged against the enemy in the spring and sum- 
mer of 1779. There were two successful expeditions 
against the hostile savages of Pennsylvania and Western 
New York, The British raided some New England 
towns, burning houses and destroying other property. 


The port of Stony Point was taken by General Wayne 
(July 16), and abandoned two days later. There were 
other small successes. For several months (July-Novem- 
ber) Washington's headquarters were at West Point, 
where he was compelled to remain in comparative inac- 
tivity, owing to a lack of funds necessary for a vigorous 
prosecution of the war. Meanwhile the place was strong- 
ly fortified. 

The army wintered at INIorristown, New Jersey, and 
nearly perished from cold and hunger — there being a fre- 
quent dearth of provisions. An attempt was planned in 
midwinter to surprise and attack the enemy's post on 
Staten Island. The British learned of the expedition in 
time and saved themselves. A quantity of stores and a 
few prisoners were secured. 

In this dreary winter of 1779-80, when the fortunes of 
the colonies seemed to be at the lowest ebb, their cause 
was pleaded effectually at the French court by Lafayette 
and succor was obtained. Already Spain had formed an 
alliance with France to fight England and advanced 
$2,000,000 to the Americans; the close of 1780 found 
Holland in arms against Britain. 

In the spring a fleet with six thousand men under 
Count de Rochambeau set sail from France and arrived 
at Newport (July 10). Never was help more timely, and 
the United States honors the name of the gifted and gen- 
erous young Frenchman who befriended the nation in 
its extremity — Marquis de Lafayette. 

The only sensible course open to Washington this 
summer was to harass the enemy and thwart intended 


attacks. To be slow and sure and watchful for oppor- 
tunities to strike — this seems to have been the Fabian 
policy that he had adopted. His maneuvers had the 
desired result. Not much was accomplished by the Brit- 
ish after the capture of Charleston (May 24) until the dis- 
astrous defeat of General Gates by Lord Cornwallis at 
Camden, S. C. (August 16), which ended that General's 
military career in disgrace. 

"We are now drawing an inactive campaign to a close," 
wrote Washington (October 5), disappointed at the little 
progress that they had made. The war had been pro- 
longed beyond his expectations, and yet the end seemed 
far oif. He had hoped much from the co-operation of 
their French allies, but the second fleet was blocked up 
in Brest by English ships. In the meantime he stood 
in great need of the powder and arms expected from 
France. Thus his plans for the campaign had to be 
changed. ' 'A foreign loan is indispensably necessary to 
the continuance of the war," he wrote to General Sulli- 
van (November 20). 

Washington's "Fabian policy," though necessary, was 
unpopular with many, who wished to annihilate the en- 
emy in short order. Given the requisite munitions of 
war, and his course would have been different. Without 
these, the record of splendid achievements could not be 

A dramatic episode of the war this year was the at- 
tempted betrayal of the fortress of West Point to the 
British by the traitor, Benedict Arnold. By the taking 
of Major Andre, the spy, with Arnold's letter in his pos- 






session, the plan was frustrated. Arnold fled in time to 
save his life (September 25), and as an officer in the Brit- 
ish army, he engaged in a sort of predatory warfare in 
Virginia and Connecticut (1780-81). He received a large 
reward (about ;!^6,30o) for his treachery, but was univer- 
sally detested thereafter. Andre, 
the British officer who arranged 
the affair with Arnold, was hanged 
as a spy. 

Washington's winter quarters 
were at New Windsor, New York; 
part of the army were stationed 
at West Point, and one brigade 
near Albany. So distressing was 
the condition of Pennsylvania 
troops at ]\Iorristown, New Jersey, 
that they mutinied early in Janu- 
ary, 1781. Some of the New Jersey troops also revolted. 
A crisis was narrowly averted. Extraordinary <!xertions 
had to be made to provide for them. The ladies of 
Philadelphia collected a considerable fund (more than 
three hundred thousand dollars), for the relief of the sol- 
diers. The noble Lafayette contributed one hundred 

Meanwhile, the war in the South was progressing sat- 
isfactorily under the command of General Greene, who 
succeeded Gates. The encouraging report came of Gen- 
eral Daniel Morgan's victory at Cowpens, S. C. (Jan. 17). 
For the first time Washington's birthday was publicly 
celebrated in February, 1781, the French officers and 

Gen. Benedict Arnold. 
Born 1741. Died 1801. 



troops at Newport beginning the custom of observing it 
as a holiday. Already the epithet had been applied to 
him of "Father of the Country." From this time to his 
death he was the recipient of many flattering attentions 
and highly prized honors. Notwithstanding his some- 

An Incident at the Battle of Cowpens. 

what cold, imperious manner, he was the most popular 
man in the country. 

In March, 1781, Maryland ratified the "Articles of Con- 
federation," adopted by Congress, November 15, 1777, all 
the other States having previously done so. A better or- 
ganization of the government was now possible. To fa- 
cilitate the transaction of public business, different de- 
partments were established. There being no executive, 


the duties of administration fell largely on these officials: 
Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance; General Alf 
exander Mc Dougall, Secretary of Marine; Robert R. 
Livingston, Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and General 
Benjamin Lincoln, Secretary of War. This was the be- 
ginning of the Cabinet of later times. 

In the spring news came of the battle of Guilford 
Court-House, N. C. (March 15). It was a defeat for the 
Americans under Greene, but not without disadvantages 
to the winning side. Boasting of his victory, Cornwallis 
prepared for his fatal march into Virginia. 

Washington was depressed, though not discouraged at 
the prospect of an indefinite duration of the war, because 
of the lack of funds to equip and maintain a first-class 
army. The people were poverty stricken and slow 
to respond to his appeals. 

In May he heard that Count de Grasse was on the way 
with a squadron and supplies. Prospects brightened. 
The commander set out for Weathersfield, Conn. , for a 
conference with Count de Rochambeau "to settle a defi- 
nitive plan of the campaign." A few days later he re- 
ceived a letter from the U. S. Minister at the Court of 
Versailles, informing him of the donation of $1,200,000 
from France to this country,to buy arms, clothes, etc., for 
the American army. The beginning of the end was al- 
most in sight. 

By the junction of the French and American troops in 
New York (July, 1781), it became necessary for the ene- 
my to strengthen their lines in the North, and to recall 
the army from the South. Washington's purpose having 


been accomplislied, the proposed attack on New York 
was abandoned. Late in August, with high hopes, he 
set out on the expedition against Lord Cornwallis, then 
in Virginia. 

Early in September, Washington writes: "Received 
the agreeable news of the safe arrival of the Count de 
Grasse in the Bay of Chesapeake with 28 sail of the line 
and four frigates, with 3000 land troops which were to 
be immediately debarked at Jamestown and form a junct- 
ion with the American army under the command of the 
Marquis de la Fayette." 

Once more Washington was in his native State, and 
able to spend a few days at Mount Vernon, the first visit 
in six years. Soon he was with the army on the mem- 
orable march to Yorktown, which was invested on all 
sides by the allied forces, numbering some sixteen thous- 
and (September 30). 

Here took place the culminating event of six years of 
fighting — the surrender of the British army under Corn- 
wallis (October 19). The number of prisoners was 7, 247. 
This telling blow was the result of clever planning, and 
the skillful combination of both land and naval forces. 
To overcome the difficulties in the way, and achieve a 
masterly triumph was the work of a great general. 

Although the conflict seemed to be terminated by this 
crushing defeat, the war was not ended for two years 
more. British armies in the North and the South did 
little more than act on the defensive. But so long as they 
remained in the country and occupied some of the chief 
cities, there was need for sleepless vigilance and for 


instant readiness to fight. The Revohitionists now felt 
the temptation to relax their efforts, success being assured. 
Washington saw danger in such a course and sought to 
impress on the tired colonists the urgency of further pre- 
parations to repel the enemy. It was hard for them to 
realize the peril of inaction. 

At last the British king saw the folly of continuing 
the struggle, and with reluctance permitted negotiations 
looking toward peace, granting the colonies complete in- 
dependence. The menacing attitude of European na- 
tions influenced him to take this step. The war had al- 
ready cost the British Government ^100,000,000, and it 
seemed like a foolish waste of treasure to go on. The 
final treaty of peace was signed (September 3, 1783) and 
the troops were recalled home; New York was evacuated 
in November. 

Washington had entered the conflict with the deter- 
mination to fight it out to a successful conclusion. In- 
dependence having been won, he was ready to lay aside 
the sword, and become a man of peace. Meeting the offi- 
cers of the Continental army, for the last time in Fraunce's 
tavern. New York, he took a final and affectionate leave 
of his comrades (December 4). He resigned his com- 
mission at Annapolis (December 23), having seen eight 
and a half years of service as commander-in-chief. 

When Washington retired to private life, passed fifty, 
his boyish dream had come true — he had "achieved the 
reputation of the first soldier of his time." The best judg- 
es in Europe admitted this. Even England recognized 
his superiority to her own generals. Greene's noble tri- 


bute to tlie greatness of Washington's character, and his 
military genius is well known, and need not be repeated 
here. The estimate of another English historian may be 

"Washington had commanded the Virginia militia 
with great success in the wars against the French, and 
had attained to the rank of Colonel. The success of the 
American Revolution was mainly due to his appoint- 
ment to the chief command. Only a man of his skill, 
firmness, patience and judgment, could overcome the 
jealousies of the various States, the want of discipline of 
the soldiers, the lack of money and stores, all of which, 
on several occasions, threatened the collapse of the revolt. 
He was always hopeful in the greatest difficulties, and 
cautious in every undertaking. He was known, besides, 
as a man of the highest integrity, whose truth and honor 
were never called in question." 

There is no need to dwell on the details of Washing- 
ton's life during the years of retirement after the Revo- 
lution. It was the life of a country gentleman. Being 
a man of large business interests, he was fully occupied 
with the care of his property. On horseback, he made 
the rounds of his plantations, superintending the work of 
tree-planting, gardening, harvesting, and other employ- 
ments connected with crops. He embarked in enter- 
prises for the public good, such as the improvement of 
navigation in the James and Potomac rivers. Occasion- 
ally he rode with hounds, fox-hunting. 

There was a constant stream of visitors to Mount Ver- 
non, and he was solicitous for their comfort and happi- 


ness. It was rare for him to dine alone with Mrs. Wash- 
ington. Dinner was never kept more than five minutes 
for expected guests; that delay he allowed because of 
difference in timepieces. He was plain and abstemi- 
ous in his habits of eating, and drinking. Though usu- 

WuBliingtoh aiid Family at Mt. Vernon. 

ally grave in the presence of strangers, he could unbend, 
and be genial in the company of intimate friends. 

Those who met him in these years say he was more 
cheerful than he was during the war. Washington was 
easy, affable, and dignified in conversation. He w^as a 
busy man when at home, having a voluminous correspon- 
dence, yet he was indulgent in granting sittings to por- 
trait-painters, and sculptors. 


As was the custom in those times on the plantations 
of Virginia, George Washington kept slaves. There 
were two or three hundred negroes living on his various 
estates, and he looked carefully after their wants and 
health. He was not indifferent to their condition, being 
an tmusally kind master. As years went by he became 
more and more convinced of the wrong of slavery, and 
resolved never to obtain another bondsman by purchase- 
"it being among my first wishes," he wrote in 1786, "to 
see some plan adopted, by which slavery in this country 
may be abolished by law." In his will he provided for 
the release of all his slaves. 

Washington, it may be said, w^as a genuinely religious 
man during all his public life. He regularly obserx'ed 
Lord's Day by attendance on divine services at Pohick 
Church, of which he was a vestryman for a number of 
years. He was a valued member of this church, which 
was situated five miles from Mount Vernon; his pew is 
still pointed out to sight-seers. 

Washington was a friend, too, of education, and left a 
bequest for the founding of a National University in th-e 
District of Columbia. His wish was never carried out 
according to the terms of his will. One of the weighti- 
est utterances of his Farewell Address lays stress on the 
value of "institutions for the general diffusion of knowl- 

The years following the Revolution to the establish- 
ment of the Union in 1789 have been called "the critical 
period of American history," because there was then no 
general government with sovereign powers in this coun- 


try, but a confederacy of thirteen republics. Some sort 
of working system of government was provided for by 
the Articles of Confederation, but it proved to be defect- 
ive and unsatisfactory. Meanwhile, plans for a national 
constitution were discussed, and a convention of dele- 
gates from the different States met in Philadelphia to 
frame one. 

Washington, as one of the delegates from Virginia, 
attended the first meeting of the Federal Convention 
in May, 1787; and the first act of this assembly of 
fifty-five men, the ablest and foremost citizens of the 
land, was to choose him as President of the Convention. 
Their deliberations were secret and lasted several months. 
The instrument that they produced, while not perfect, 
was a masterpiece of statesmanship. It was at once sub- 
mitted to Congress, which referred it to the State Legis- 
latures to be ratified or rejected. Nearly a year passed 
before its acceptance by a majority of the States. 

After much opposition the new National Constitution 
went into effect as the basis of our Government. The 
authors of the "Federalist," Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, 
did much to make the contents of the Constitution 
known and acceptable to the people. Washington, with 
his pen and voice, urged its adoption, for he saw in it a 
remedy for the ills from which the colonies suffered dur- 
ing the Revolution. He had learned from experience 
the weakness of the Continental Congress, which could 
only advise. He appreciated, as few others did then, 
the advantage of having a strong central government. 
He held that ' 'an indissoluble union of all the States un- 



der one federal head' ' was essential for their stability and 
well-being. His influence was far-reaching and decisive. 

He spoke little, but 

f * *j . .- . r *. •:! ' u\Jl^l^S« ^y^(^ ^j^g effect of his 

letters on public opin- 
ion can scarcely be 
over-estimated. Oth- 
er prominent men of 
the States held the 
same views and con- 
tributed to the re- 

At the first Presi- 
dential Election (Jan- 
uary 7, 1789), George 
Wa shington was 
unanimously elected 
President of theUnit- 
ed States. Years be- 
fore he had indig- 
nantly rejected the 
idea of being King 
of the western mon- 
archy, suggested to 

Washington's Reception at Trenton when on the ^^ ^^ ^7°^, DUt Ue 
way to his Inauguration as First President, 1789. '^n(=^^r\f^r\ fr> f1ip> mani 
One of the Panels of the Bronze Door of the yiciucu LU lijc iiidiii- 
Senate, Capitol. Washington. f^^^ ^.|i ^f ^j^^ ^^^^^^ 

to become the chief executive of a republic. His jour- 
ney to New York in April was a triumphal progress. 


Here the ceremonies of the first inauguration took place 
(April 30); John Adams, the second choice of the Elec- 
toral College for president, became vice-president. 

In a sense it may be said that Washington's first Ad- 
ministration marks a turning point of our political his- 
tory, the beginning of our national life. First the colon- 
ies had become states; then the states became parts of a 
confederacy; now they were welded together in one unit- 
ed whole. The new government was to be administered 
according to the provisions laid down in the constitution 
recently framed and adopted. It was an experiment, and 
many were in doubt as to its chances of success. Time has 
demonstrated the wisdom of the founders of our nation. 
The citizen of to-day owes a debt of gratitude not only 
to the patriots who won independence, but to the states- 
men who elaborated a successful working plan for the 
operations of the new republican government. 

Washington entered upon the duties of his high office 
with diffidence, but with the determination faithfully to 
meet the obligations resting upon him. To one of his 
friends he wrote: "A combination of circumstances and 
events seems to have rendered my embarking again on 
the ocean of public affairs inevitable. How opposite this 
is to my own desires and inclinations, I need not say." 

In his Inaugural Address he disclaimed having any de- 
sire for pecuniary emoluments, and asked that he should 
receive no compensation beyond "actual expenditures as 
the public good may be thought to require." Four years 
later congress fixed the payment of twenty-five thousand 
dollars per annum as the salary of the president for his 



second term of office. Mo change was made in the 
running of the executive departments of the govern- 
ment until Sep- 
tember, 1789. 
Then Thomas 
Jefferson was 
appointed Sec- 
retary of State. 
General Henry 
Knox contin- 
ued to act as 
War. Alexan- 
der Hamilton 
became Secreta- 
ry of the Treas- 
ury. Edmund 
Randolph was 
appointed At- 
and Samuel Os- 
good, Postmas- 

At this time 
there was only 
one political 
party in the 
United States, the Federalist party. There were, how- 
ever, two rival political camps. One set of theorists stood 
for a strong centralized government, and the other for 

First Inauguration of Washington, 1789. 
One of the Panels of the Bronze Door to the Senate 
Capitol, Washington, D. C. ' 


individual and State rights. In the Federalist party the 
dominant idea was that the Nation is paramount, the 
State subordinate. The logical outcome of Federalist 
doctrine is a paternal government. It means a larger 
measure of power in the hands of the executive, exercised 
for the common good, and at times the sacrifice of indi- 
vidual and local interests for the sake of society and the 
maintenance of the body politic. The leaders of the Fed- 
eralist party were Washington and Hamilton. 

As years went by the old Republican party came into 
being. It represented the opposite position or tendency: 
the liberty and importance of the individual and the sov- 
ereign rights of the States; the province of the general 
government is to carry out the people's will. Its position 
was substantially that of the Democratic party of later 
times and its leaders were Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. 

Alexander Hamilton was the one great statesman of 
this period, and had more to do than any other man in 
organizing the new government. He tried to obviate the 
evils resulting from the lack of federal authority and ad- 
vocated a strong national government. As the first Sec- 
retary of the Treasury he put the finances of the country 
on a sound footing, restoring confidence at home and 
abroad. He has been justly called "the founder of the 
U. S. Bank and restorer of public credit." He so adjusted 
the scale of duties on imported articles that a sufficient 
revenue was secured for the expenses of the government. 
He found the condition of the United States truly deplor- 
able — chaos, internal strife, business prostration, and pov- 
erty on every hand. He recommended a protective tar- 


iff that relieved financial distress, stimulated industry, and 
promoted prosperity. He believed in fostering home 
manufactures. Withal he was eminently practical. It 
is, perhaps, not too much to say that no other statesman, 
not even Clay or Webster, ever did so much for our coun- 


In striking contrast with the views of Hamilton was 
the political policy of Jefferson, who favored popular sov- 
ereignty, universal suffrage, democratic simplicity, and 
the education of the common people. While he was a 
member of Washington's Cabinet, he was constantly pit- 
ted against Hamilton. The two men could not agree, 
and the president had a hard time of it to keep the peace 
between them. As their ideas could not be harmonized, 
Jefferson finally resigned the position of Secretary of 
State (December 31, 1793). 

During these years two more States were admitted in- 
to the Union — Vermont and Kentucky. The second 
Presidential Election resulted in the unanimous choice 
of Washington for President. There was no other Amer- 
ican who stood so high in popular estimation. Under 
his administration our country had grown in wealth and 
in the esteem of foreign powers. He had met the re- 
quirements of his exalted station with unfailing good 
sense and with dignity. He had shown profound judg- 
ment in avoiding entanglements with the affairs of Euro- 
pean nations. It seemed to him the part of wisdom to 
hold aloof and not intermeddle during the French Revo- 
lution. This neutral course he maintained in his second 
term of office, and in his Farewell Address (September, 



T796), he re-stated his policy of non-interference, an in- 
vakiable legacy of advice that Americans may yet pon- 
der well and safely follow. Washington's non-imperial- 
istic ideas have not become antiquated. His observa- 
tions on our foreign relations have more than a tempor- 
ary application. 

Refusing a third election, Washington relinquished 

Tomb of Washington at Mt. Vcriion, Va. 

his position as the Executive of the Republic, and re- 
turned to Mount Vernon to spend his remaining days in 
peace and retirement, amid the plaudits and affectionate 
demonstrations of an admiring people. Again he dis- 
pensed liberal hospitality at his home and occupied him- 


self with rural pursuits, not neglecting matters of public 

He was once more called upon to accept office. When 
our nation bristled up with martial spirit at the insult to 
our honor from France, he was again appointed Com- 
mander of the armies to defend the United States. The 
war-cloud happily blew over, and his short term of mili- 
tary service ended. His was the type of Americanism 
that he was ready to defend with the sword. 

Again Washington w^as free to devote himself to the 
management of his farms, and lived the active, out-of- 
door life of a farmer to the last. On December 12, 
1799, he was in his saddle and made his accustomed 
rounds in falling snow, hail and rain. A severe cold 
resulted from this exposure. He neglected to apply rem- 
edies at first, saying it could go as it came. Later it de- 
veloped into an attack of quinsy, from which he died in 
the evening of December 14. He passed away in peace, 
at the age of sixty seven, leaving to his countrymen the 
precious memory of his deeds and words — an indestruct- 
ible heritage.^ He was biiried at Mount Vernon, to "the 
mourning of a mighty nation." "His tomb is the Mecca 
of America." 


By G. Merceh Adam.* 

IN the closing year but one of the eighteenth century there 
passed to his reward in the other world the hero com- 
mander-in-chief of the armies of the Revolution and the 
illustrious Founder of his Country. In the march of events 
on this continent, thronged with many memories, it is grati- 
fying to note that the Republic which Washington did so 
much enduringly to found, turns every now and then, with 
the fervor of gratitude and patriotism, to the nation's first 
great ideal, with the view of paying further and higher 
honor to an immortal memory. Despite contemporary ob- 
loquy in some rancorous quarters, and occasional efforts 
at detraction in the years since his era, Washington con- 
tinues deservedly to fill the illustrious niche in the temple 
of Fame which his admiring countrymen have erected in 
his own and the young nation's honor. Since his day, it is 
true, we have added largely to the national pantheon of men 
of high name whom we do well to preserve record of for 
the country's emulation and as a reminder of their noble, 
patriotic services. But though this is the case, we have not 
suffered ourselves to forget, or in aught to diminish the 
importance of the national indebtedness to the early fathers 

•Historian, Biographer, and EsBaylet, Author of a "Precis of English His- 
tory," a "Continuation of Grecian History," etc., and for many years Editor 
of Self-Culture Magazine. — The Publishers. 


of the Republic for all they toiled for and achieved, amid 
so many hardships and tribulations, or the reverence that 
is due them for their staunch devotion to duty and their 
loyalty to and faith in the high cause of Liberty and Free- 
dom. Not, certainly, in Washington's case, have we for- 
gotten that debt and obligation which his revered name 
recalls, more especially since public veneration of his mem- 
ory and vivid remembrance of him who was at once the soul 
and stay of one of the most notable revolutions in history, 
are, as it has been said, "the precious fruit of the most se- 
vere examination of his conduct." Distinguished alike for 
lofty patriotism, for high courage on the battlefield, for 
unfaltering fidelity to duty, as well as for firmness and for- 
titude in trial, and for humble dependence on Divine wisdom 
and guidance, Washington appeals to all as a providential 
man raised up for his era, equal to its great emergency, and 
highly furnished with those qualities and characterictics 
which admirably fitted him for his eminent duties. He, 
moreover, was richly endowed with those moral qualities 
which justify implicit confidence, coupled with integrity, 
and a single and fixed purpose to adhere to the true and the 
right ; while possessed of a character singularly pure and ele- 
vated, disinterested and patriotic, and personally noted for 
his commanding dignity and genuine unafifected simplicity. 
Gifted with a majestic, inspiring presence, of imposing 
stature, and with phenomenal powers of physical endurance, 
Washington had also the invaluable characteristics of a 
great commander — resource in planning and directing the 
tactics of the battlefield, courage as well as placidity in the 
hour of danger, and the ability to bear reverses with equa- 


nimity when overpowered by superior forces arrayed against 
him, or when the weakness and occasional pusillanimity of 
his own troops brought discomfiture and failure. Though 
grave in manner, and strict in the exaction of duty in those 
— officers as well as men — under him, and with a habitual 
reserve, at times mistaken for coldness and inappreciation, 
he was, however, ever urbane and even engaging in personal 
intercourse, though never relaxing to the point of familiarity 
or permitting that freedom of approach towards him of 
excessive good-fellowship which might compromise his own 
native dignity. His countenance always bore the trace of 
thoughtfulness, manifestly induced by reflection on the grave 
aspects and occasional untoward events of his time, as well 
as, later in life, by the cares and responsibilities of high 
office, and by the distractions of the country ere it settled 
down to some measure of peace and unity, with the be- 
ginnings of progressive national development. This is the 
type of man who became the nation's first chief magistrate, 
and who, despite occasional manifestations of temper, due 
to his extreme sensibility and earnestness shown both as 
soldier and president, was the while a man of exemplary 
and exalted character — free at once from the vices and 
frivolities of his age — and possessed of the rare gift of 
uniting in himself the superior talents called for in the 
founder of a new-born and prospectively mighty State. His 
also was a lofty, ideal of patriotism, while he had the per- 
sonal refinements of a man of high station, was imbued, in 
a remarkable degree, with the spirit of justice, possessed a 
fine sense of honor and had a genial habit of kindness 
toward and consideration for the people. As a contem- 


porary (John Bell, of Maryland) has set down, Washington 
was, moreover, "an afifectionate husband, a faithful friend, 
a father to the deserving soldier; gentle in his manners, 
in temper rather reserved ; a total stranger to religious pre- 
judices; in his morals irreproachable; and he was never 
known to exceed the bounds of the most rigid temperance." 
In a word, his friends and acquaintances universally allow 
that rarely has a man united in his own person a more 
perfect alliance of the virtues of a philosopher with the 
talents of a general and the sagacity of a statesman. 
\ "Candor, sincerity, affability and simplicity seemed to be the 
striking features of his character, till an occasion offers of 
displaying the most determined bravery and independence 
of spirit." 

W Another and pleasing testimony to the fine social quali- 
ties of the first President is that furnished by Elkanah 
Watson, after a visit to Mr. Washington in the historic 
home at Mount Vernon in the year 1785. In that gentleman's 
"Memoirs," published not until 1856, the visitor observes 
that he found the President at table with Mrs. Washington 
and his private family, "and was received in the native dig- 
nity and with that urbanity so peculiarly combined in the 
character of a soldier and eminent private gentleman. He 
(Mr. Washington) soon put me at ease by unbending in a 
free and afifable conversation, 

"The cautious reserve which, wisdom and policy dictated, 
whilst engaged in rearing the glorious fabric of our inde- 
pendence, was evidently the result of consummate prudence, 
and not characteristic of his nature. I observed a peculiarity 
in his smile which seemed to illuminate his eye; his whole 


countenance beamed with intelligence, while it commanded 
confidence and respect. 

''I remained alone in the society of Washington for two 
of the richest days in my life. To have communed with 
such a man in the bosom of his family, I shall always regard 
as one of the highest privileges and most cherished inci- 
dents of my life. I found him kind and benignant in the 
domestic circle, revered and beloved by all around him ; 
agreeably social, without ostentation ; delighting in anecdote 
and adventures, without assumption. His domestic arrange- 
ments were at once harmonious and systematic ; while smil- 
ing content animated and beamed on every countenance in 
his presence." 

But it is time to see the great man as events in the outer 
world made him, and to note, in brief, the chief circumstan- 
ces that brought him into prominence at an early and criti- 
cal stage in the national annals. The notable facts in his 
personal history have already and clearly been dealt with 
by Mr. Eugene Parsons, in the earlier pages of the present 
volume, and need not therefore be further dwelt upon. It 
may be well here, however, to epitomize the leading facts 
in Washington's life in early manhood as far as the era 
of the Revolution, when he comes actively and prominently 
on the scene in connection with the events that resulted in 
the severance of British connection and the formation of 
the American Union. With the successive facts freshly be- 
fore us in his career up to the age of forty-two, when he had 
become a member of the Continental Congress and was ap- 
pointed commander-in-chief of its forces, we shall be better 
able to follow the incidents in his after-life history and trace 


in it the gifts and qualities that distinguished him in the 
years of earlier labor and toil and disclose in the man the 
robust vigor and steel-like fibre of his character. 

The father of the future president having died when his 
subsequently famed son was but twelve years of age, the 
latter had a scant, unambitious education, though physically 
he trained himself in the healthful, invigorating sports of the 
era. When he had reached his fifteenth year a commission 
was offered him as a midshipman in the Royal navy, through 
the instrumentality of Admiral \"ernon, of Porto Bello fame ; 
but his acceptance of this was opposed by the lad's mother, 
and he turned to surveying as a profession, in which he spent 
three years of arduous toil in active field-work. While 
yet a youth, though one of resource, combined with con- 
siderable experience as a woodsman and a leader of men, 
he was given the post of adjutant-general, with the rank of 
major, in a body of Virginia troops ; and in 1753, though 
he had barely attained his majority, he was appointed by 
Lt. -Governor Dinwiddle commander of the northern mili- 
tary district of his own colony. Before this he had made 
a voyage to Barbadoes with his invalid brother, Lawrence, 
who had been ordered to proceed to a v/arm climate in the 
hope of invigorating his weak constitution. This hope, how- 
ever, proved delusive, for Lawrence ere long returned to 
Virginia and died, leaving to his favorite brother George 
the care of his extensive estates, with the reversion of the 
family home of Mount Vernon on the death of Lawrence's 
young daughter, which presently came about. 

The winter months of 1753-4 Washington spent in the 
Ohio wilderness country, whither he had been sent on a 


commission by the English colonial authorities of Virginia 
politely to warn the French to take themselves out of the 
Ohio valley, of which they had aggressively taken possession, 
and, enlisting the Indians of the region, had been commit- 
ting sundry depredations. The region had begun to be 
settled by the Ohio Company under grant from \'irginia, 
in which Lawrence Washington had been largely interested, 
and the commission to his brother George had a delicate 
task to perform in remonstrating with the French authori- 
ties in Ohio against their intrusion and incidentally seeking 
to know their designs in relation to the future of the terri- 
tory. The tact displayed by the young commander and 
the report made on his return to Governor Dinwiddle, 
brought young Washington into notice, and, with his later 
management of a hostile military expedition into the same 
region, laid the foundation of his subsequent fame. The 
military expedition, it is true, was not altogether a success, 
in spite of the affair at the Great Meadows, clouded by the 
after-discomfiture and surrender at Fort Necessity, on the 
same site. Washington, now a colonel, received, however, 
for his services in Ohio the thanks of the Virginia House 
of Burgesses ; and presently we find him taking part as aide- 
de-camp to General Braddock in operations in the West, 
and sharing with that unfortunate British ofl^icer defeat at 
the battle (July 9, 1755) near Pittsburg, on the banks of 
the Monongahela. Despite the death of Braddock and other 
loss of life in this engagement with the French and Indians, 
Washington, nevertheless, succeeding in bearing off to their 
homes the remainder of the Virginia contingent. 

In these varied expeditions, and in that of 1758, in v/hich 


Fort Duquesne was captured and rechristened by Washing- 
ton Fort Pitt, the future general gained not a Httle experi- 
ence, not only of actual fighting, but of the character and 
needs of the Colonial troops whom he led and shared vicis- 
situdes with, as well as of the hampering conditions of wood- 
land and Indian warfare. He had also some experience 
of the fighting qualities of English troops, against which 
he was later on to be pitted in the deadly, eventful struggle, 
now not far distant, with the Mother Country. He saw also 
something of the racial and international complications be- 
tween the French and the English, in the struggle then 
going on to decide the question which race should be su- 
preme on the American continent. Interest was given to the 
conflict by affairs then transpiring in Europe, where the 
motherland had drifted into the Seven Years' War, and by 
the issues now soon to be decided on this continent between 
France and England by the conquest of Quebec, and in the 
supplanting throughout Canada and the New World of the 
emblem of France by the red-cross banner of Britain. 

In the development of Washington's great career, we now 
come to the era of Revolution, in which he took so prominent 
and heroic a part, and to its momentous consequences to 
the New World as well as to the motherland. To a writer 
who looks dispassionately upon that era, of transcendent in- 
terest to the people of the United States, especially to-day 
when the two kindred nations, in their now friendly and 
most cordial relations, have forgotten the bitterness of early 
coercion and separation which long rankled in the breasts of 
both mother and child, a brief review of the events of the 
time in connection with Washington's imperishable services 


must be of the highest interest and importance ; while, famil- 
iar though it is, it must also be so to the unprejudiced Am- 
erican reader. To deal with the period fairly, one, of 
course, should see facts in their true light, and not fail, es- 
pecially, to do justice to those great Englishmen of the time 
who not only had a genuine sympathy for the revolution- 
ary side, but held and fearlessly expressed an honest con- 
viction that George III and his truculent Tory ministers 
were wrong in their attitude toward and particularly harsh 
in their treatment of the Colonies. In looking thus fairly 
and dispassionately upon the crisis of the time, there is, of 
course, no call to glorify unduly rebellion per se, or to make 
the mistake of deeming all the virtues on the side of our 
own actors in the drama of the Revolution that brought 
about the great schism of the race. There are to-day few, 
even of English writers, who reject the idea that separation 
in the colonial days was sure to come, though such doubt- 
less regret, as we do, that it came about as it did. Time, 
we know, brought a change of view to not a few British 
politicians before the arbitrament of arms was resorted to on 
this side. Concession, indeed, had already been wrung 
from the king and the ministers, and there is little reason 
to doubt that after a while there would have been many 
modifications of the imposts against which the Colonies 
protested and a cancelling of the more serious grievances. 
But precipitation on this side meantime did its work, and 
while minds were inflamed by angry appeals to prejudice; 
while the attitude of many royalists in the Colonies were 
often so overbearing that independence and the spirit of 


liberty which the New World fostered took increasing ex- 
ception to the continued sovereignty of the motherland. 

How determinedly Fox and other liberty-lovers in Eng- 
land opposed the King and "the King's friends" in their 
oppression of the North American colonies the political 
history of the time has of course long since told us. But 
we need a special insight into Fox's career, and a clear un- 
derstanding of his attitude and that of liberal statesmen 
of his day, to enable us to realize how vigorous and per- 
sistent were his and their resistance to the policy of the 
King and his government, and to note with what trench- 
ant force he and his colleagues denounced the irritating 
schemes of colonial taxation. Like Chatham, Fox was a 
staunch supporter of the Colonial cause and a vehement 
opponent of Lord North's government, whose arbitrary 
measures he eloquently denounced in Parliament. But such 
was the obstinacy of the King that Fox's scathing denuncia- 
tions only made him more bitter and provoked the stubborn- 
ness that led finally and inevitably to estrangement. Nor 
under George the Third's system of personal government 
could any ameliorating influence be looked for from his 
ministers. By the more independent of them, so long as 
they were suffered to hold place, the King was repeatedly 
warned that a coercive policy toward the Colonies would 
end disastrously. Where conciliation had been attempted, 
the King intrigued to defeat it, and, as historians relate, 
shamefully thwarted every effort to placate the Colonies, 
and treated such attempts on the part of his ministers as 
"inexpiable disloyalty to the Crown." Pacification was thus 
out of the question, and England's administration of the 


Colonies, in consequence, fell to the nadir of tyranny, of im- 
policy, and, so far as the government rather than the English 
people were concerned, of dishonor. 

On the other hand, despite what was averred in the Col- 
onies, that up to the year 1774 there was no thought of in- 
dependence, the blame of the rupture does not lie wholly 
on the English side. There were agitators in New Eng- 
land and the Virginias who fomented the quarrel, and trad- 
ers whose selfishness saw personal advantage in separation. 
Nor has our American oratory nothing to charge itself with 
in widening the breach, as we see in the extravagant speeches 
of leaders like Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry. Hard 
as some modern English historians are on the obdurate 
King, and on English statesmen such as Lord North, Gren- 
ville, and Townshend, one of them (Sir George O. Treve- 
lyan) has little else than smooth words for the influential 
men in the Colonies, who, instead of instilling resentment, 
might, by urging patience and reasonable submission, have 
averted the rupture by violence. When Trevelyan indulges 
in censure of the Colonists, it is of a mild type, in sharp con- 
trast to the severe strictures he passes on the corrupt Eng- 
lish ministers and the venal parliamentary majority which 
harassed and distressed the Colonies. This is what he has 
to say of the m.oral effect of the Revolution upon America : 

"The Revolutionary War, like all civil wars, changed many things, 
and troubled many waters. It must be accounted a misfortune 
.that American society and the American character were not allowed 
to develop themselves in a natural and unbroken growth from the 
point which they had reached at the close of the first century and a 
half of their history," 


And again, looking to the effect of the same disturbing 
influence on the South, the author observes : 

"The mutual hatred felt and the barbarities inflicted and suf- 
fered by partisans of either side in Georgia and the Carolinas be- 
twen 1776 and 1782 left behind them in those regions habits of 
violence and lawlessness, evil traces of which lasted into our life- 
time. As for the Northern States, it was a pity that the wholesome 
and happy conditions of existence prevailing there before the strug- 
gle for independence were ever disturbed, for no change was likely 
to improve them." 

The passages recall similar indications of evil consequen- 
ces flowing from revolution and dismemberment which Prof. 
Goldwin Smith thoughtfully traces in his "Political History 
of the United States," in dealing with the era of Independ- 
ence. Says the distinguished Professor: 

"The Colonists by their emancipation won commercial as well 
as fiscal freedom, and the still more precious freedom of develop- 
ment, political, social, and spiritual. They were fairly launched on 
the course of their own destiny, which diverged widely from that of 
a monarchical and aristocratic realm of the Old World. But their 
liberty was baptized in civil blood, it was cradled in confiscation and 
massacre, its natal hour was the hour of exile for thousands of 
worthy citizens whose conservatism, though its ascendency was not 
desirable, might, as all true liberals will allow, have usefully leav- 
ened the republican mass. A fallacious ideal of political character 
was set up. Patriotism was identified with rebellion, and the young 
republic received a revolutionary bias, of the opposite of which it 
stood in need. The sequel of the Boston Tea Party was the firing 
on Fort Sumter." 

Sir George Trevelyan's work, it may be added for those 
readers likely to be interested in his instructive and enter- 
taining history, chronicles the appointment of Washington 


to the chief command of the Colonial levies, and gives, in 
an earlier chapter, an admirable pen-picture of the com- 

The latter in 1759 had happily married Martha, the rich 
widow of Daniel Parke Custis, a lady of estimable charac- 
ter, and with her he settled at Mount Vernon, the property 
he had inherited after the death of his half-brother, Law- 
rence, and the latter's daughter, also now deceased. Here 
for a number of years, Washington lived the life of a hard- 
working Virginia planter, usefully employed in the oversight 
of his own large estates, draining lands and laying out roads, 
and taking the while a lively interest in the troubled rela- 
tions of the Colonies with the Mother Country. Like others 
of the dominant caste in Virginia, he was meanwhile repeat- 
edly elected to the State Legislature, but he is not known 
to have made any set speeches in that body. He took, how- 
ever, a leading, if a silent, part in the contentions of the 
House of Burgesses with Lord Dunmore, the last royal gov- 
ernor of Virginia, whose royalist proclivities had led him 
into some ruthless partisan proceedings. 

By this time American resistance to 'taxation without 
representation,' manifested in opposition to the Stamp 
Act (1765), had taken place, and, though the meas- 
ure was repealed, its levy had led Pitt, in the English Parlia- 
ment, to question the Mother Country's right to lay direct 
internal taxes on the Colonies, and to rejoice that America 
had resisted their enforcement. At this period, Franklin, 

* "The American Revolution." Part I. 1766-1776. By the Right 
Hon. Sir George Otto Trevelyan, Baronet. London and New 
York: Longmans, Green & Go., 1899. 


the London agent for some of the Colonies, by answering 
the summons of ParHament to be interrogated as to the Am- 
erican crisis, had been instrumental in influencing English 
Parliamentary and official opinion, which led to the repeal 
of the obnoxious Stamp Act and the partial repeal of the 
Townshcnd duties. Though this relief had been gained, 
the situation on this side of the Atlantic had become graver, 
partly in consequence of the Boston massacre (1770) and 
the attitude of the people of the New England capital in 
seeking the removal of the English soldiery, and especially 
in the throwing overboard of a cargo of tea, which was sub- 
ject to the Townshend Colonial duty, from a ship in the har- 
bor. Shortly after this, in 1774, the first Continental Con- 
gress met at Philadelphia and adopted the famous Declara- 
tion of Rights. To this body Washington had been ap- 
pointed a delegate by the Virginia convention, and its chief 
concern was naturally to care for the menaced liberties of 
the country and the founding of an association, the object of 
which was to further the policy of non-importation and 
non-consumption of English taxed articles until the griev- 
ances of the Colonies should be redressed. 

Meanwhile, Massachusetts had drifted into a critical, per- 
turbed state, provoked by the British General Gage, and by 
the defensive attitude of a local Committee of Safety, which 
was forced by the officious acts of the English commander- 
in-chief to assume administrative functions and prepare for 
the coming strife. At Lexington and Concord armed bodies 
of Colonial militia came into collision with Gage's troops 
sent to sci^e concealed arms and stores at Concord and drove 
the liliiKlish Iroops back to Charlestown, to the protection 


ihere afforded them by the English men-of-war in the har- 
bor. Soon after this occurred the scigc or hemming-in of 
the Enghsh army at Boston and the action at Bunker Hill, 
with its disastrous loss of life on both sides — in numbers 
close, it is said, to 2,000 men. The battle, though it went 
against the American army, roused the entire country against 
England, led to the replacing of Gage by General Howe 
in the supreme command of the English troops, and to the 
appointment by the Second Continental Congress of Colonel 
George Washington, of Virginia, to the chief command of 
the American forces in the war now actively begun. 

Though deprecating the resort to arms and seeking, if 
possible, reconciliation with England, Washington, at the 
call of his country, nevertheless rallied to the defense of the 
young nation's liberties in jeopardy. With becoming mod- 
esty, the commander-in-chief owned to a doubt in his own 
mind as to his ability and experience in taking upon himself 
the duties of his great trust, but pledged such capacity and 
intelligence as he possessed, under Providence, to do effect- 
ively what was required of him, while patriotically declining 
all pay for his services. 

At the age of forty-three Washington began his career 
as general of the American forces in the war of the Revo- 
lution, arriving at Cambridge, Mass., on the 2d of July, 
1775, about a fortnight after the affair at Bunker Hill. So 
far, the opening of the drama had not been propitious to 
American arms; while the task before Washington was no 
light one, apart from the discouragment of the recent de- 
feat of the untried and undisciplined militia under Prescott, 
Putnam, and Stark. He, however, vigorously set himself 


the task of bringing order out of confusion, and saw to 
the supply of arms, uniforms, and other necessaries for the 
troops under him, besides arranging for a permanent com- 
misary department. The lack of ammunition was at this 
juncture a perplexing one; while the brief terms of enlist- 
ment of the men, their want of confidence in themselves and 
their cause, their lack of discipline, as well as of food and 
clothing, the insubordination of the rank and file to their 
officers, and dissensions among the latter, were among the 
other important matters claiming instant attention. Luck- 
ily, the resort to privateers at sea secured the much-needed 
supplies ; while Knox, as colonel of artillery, had been able 
to bring to the slender force the invaluable aid of some 
heavy cannon, together with ammunition. 

Washington's headquarters were at Cambridge, with the' 
troops of the centre under Putnam and Heath ; stationed on 
the right, at Roxbury, were the men under General Artemas 
Ward ; while those on the left were under Brigadier-General 
Charles Lee, who afterwards came near wrecking the Ameri- 
can cause, and the men under Brigadiers Sullivan and 
Greene. Opposed to Washington's combined force were the 
British troops, some 15,000 strong, under Sir William 
Howe, whose situation at Boston was becoming embarrass- 
ing, in consequence of the investment on the land side by 
Washington, while the coming of his supply ships was un- 
certain, with American privateers prowling in the vicinity 
at sea. At length, after some eight months' preparation, 
Washington felt strong enough to attack Howe and he 
seized the heights at Boston commanding the British posi- 
tion ; but the latter divining the movement put in execu- 


tion the project he had for some time entertained — of evacu- 
ating Boston — which he did March 17, 1776, taking to his 
ships with the whole British force, with the design of reach- 
ing Halifax, there to meet his brother. Admiral Howe, with 
reinforcements for New York. 

With New England now and finally freed from English 
troops, Washington received the thanks of Congress, and 
turned with his command toward New York for its protec- 
tion, only, however, to find there additional discouragements 
— in the confusion that reigned there, with raw, undisciplin- 
ed troops, a population, partly Tory, riven by racial and sec- 
tional jealousies, and even conspiring to capture him or 
shorten his life. Despite these adverse circumstances, Wash- 
ington entrenched his troops on Manhattan Island, and took 
up and fortified a position on Long Island ; for by this time 
(June, 1776) Sir William Howe had arrived in New York 
harbor and landed a large force on Staten Island ; while his 
brother the Admiral soon followed with the British fleet 
and took possession of the Lower Bay. With the two 
Howes had come a total, approximately, of 35,000 veteran 
English troops, including about half that number of Hes- 
sian and other German mercenaries, which England had 
hired to aid her in the struggle. Washington, on the other 
hand, had all told only a little over half the English and 
foreign strength in the way of serviceable American troops, 
rcekoning among them about 5,000 raw militia. 

This then was the position of affairs, in the month of July, 
1776, which confronted Washington at the era of the im- 
mortal Declaration of American Independence, the adoption 
and passage of which, by the Continental Congress at Phil- 


adelphia, was eagerly proclaimed by him to his troops, amid 
the plaudits and rejoicings of the men and the now free na- 
tion. MeanwhilCj however, clouds began to lower over 
Washington, for the British general. Sir Henry Clinton, 
who had taken part in the affair of Bunker Hill, and had 
just been driven from Fort Moultrie, in Charleston harbor, 
had now arrived and joined Howe in the neighborhood, 
while Washington's force on the western extremity of 
Long Island, under Sullivan, Stirling, and Putnam, had been 
overpowered by Howe in a battle, fought August 27, and 
the continued occupation of New York was thereby deemed 
so untenable as to compel the American withdrawal from 
it. When the latter was seen clearly, especially after Howe 
had sent some English ships, passed the batteries of New 
York up the Hudson, with adroit rapidity Washington, who 
had withdrawn his force from Long Island, seized the op- 
portunity of escape from New York and made his way 
up to Harlem Heights, where he temporarily entrenched 
himself at King's Bridge. 

The English were now in possession of New York, and 
Fort Washington having fallen to them, Fort Lee on the 
New Jersey side had to be evacuated, while the affair at 
White Plains, N. Y., was adverse. Washington, now hard 
pressed by Howe, made a masterly retreat into New Jersey, 
and there began the winter campaign in that region. Gen- 
eral Charles Lee, meanwhile acting contrary to Washing- 
ton's instructions as to the disposition of the force under 
him, had been captured by the enemy, the situation thus grew 
grave for the cause of Liberty and the young nation, particu- 
larly as the American forces in the field were now reduced 


to about 6,000 men. With much pluck and his accustomed 
energy, the American commander-in-chief nevertheless de- 
termined still to assume the offensive, and, crossing the 
frozen Delaware, sought to strike a blow at Trenton. The 
result of this movement, which was successful, revived the 
heart of the hero, and Washington recrossed the river with 
about a thousand prisoners. By way of retaliation, General 
Cornwallis was sent from New York to Princeton, where 
Washington, by an early morning attack, led in person, won 
a substantial victory, inflicting a loss on the English of 
over 500 men in killed, wounded, and taken prisoners. The 
English thereafter withdrew to New York, and Washing- 
ton's winter operations did much to revive and incite to new 
successes in the approaching spring of 1777. 

Washington, by this time entrenched at Morristown, N. J., 
and keeping his eye on the entire field of that province, 
scanned the future, seeking light on the situation of affairs, 
and wondering what would come in the way of success in the 
new campaign now about to open. The English King and 
government, with characteristic obduracy, persisted in con- 
tinuing the war; and with that design ordered General 
Burgoyne to invade New York province by way of Canada 
and Lake Champlain, and, descending the Hudson, to join 
forces with Howe in New York City, and thus cut off New 
England from the remainder of the country. To checkmate 
this, Congress sought to increase the army and give to 
Washington its full control and direction. The first move- 
ment was to dispatch Benedict Arnold, aided by Generals 
Schuyler and Gates, to the region, with the further design 
of protecting West Point, in jeopardy on the Hudson. 


Washington himself, meantime, hastened to the protection 
of Philadelphia and the seat of Congress, now threatened 
by Howe — a diversion and ruse on the part of that general 
for a while embarrassing to Washington, and subsequently 
fatal to the success of Burgoyne's project in the North. 

At this period, Washington and the young Republic, 
though still anxious about the ultimate issues of the war, 
were nevertheless encouraged by many favorable circum- 
stances. The assertion by the Nation of Independence had 
had its effect in Europe, particularly after the visit of Lafay- 
ette, which took place about this time, as it induced France 
to come to the aid of America ; while the mistake made by 
Howe, in his diversion in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, 
proved fatally adverse to Burgoyne's operations in the North, 
following his success in taking Ticonderoga, on Lake Cham- 
plain, and his later defeat at Stillwater. On the other hand, 
Howe, after landing his forces below Philadelphia, brought 
on the battles near the Brandywinc and at Germantown, 
both of which he won (Sept. and Oct., 1777) and then oc- 
cupied Philadelphia. These English successes were, how- 
ever, more than compensated by the operations in the North, 
where Burgoyne, harassed by the Vermont and New Hamp- 
shire militia and by Morgan and his Virginia riflemen sent 
forward by Washington, as well as by the forces under 
General Gates, was surrounded and compelled to surrender 
with his army of nearly six thousand men, October 17, 1777. 
The moral effect of this English surrender was to the Ameri- 
can cause no less important than its military success : it 
brought, as we know, French intervention, and made it pos- 
sible for Congress to raise money, which at this juncture was 


pressingly needed for clothing, as well as food and other 
necessaries, for the troops. 

To Washington, especially, the discomfiture of Bur- 
goyne and his surrender with his army at Saratoga were 
naturally most cheering, for besides his own defeat at the 
hand of Howe, and the sufferings of the force under him, 
now in dire straits in their winter quarters at Valley Forge, 
he had to endure the jealousy and despicable intrigues of 
General Gates, who sought to supplant him as commander- 
in-Chief. Even this was brightened, however, by his own 
hopefulness of ultimate success for his loved country and its 
acknowledged independence by the world ; while the visits of 
the chivalrous Lafayette and the Prussian officer. Baron 
Steuben, who afterwards became inspector-general of the 
American army, relieved the stress of the situation at this, 
perhaps the most trying, period of his career as patriot and 

At the opening of the year 1778, France intervened prac- 
tically in the affairs of America and made treaties of alli- 
ance and commerce with her, besides tacitly acknowledging 
her independence. Even England made concilatory over- 
tures and sent a commission to offer them to the Continen- 
tal Congress ; but the day for halfway measures was past 
and nothing came of the proposals. French aid, for the 
present, came in the way of a squadron, sent out under the 
Count d' Estaing, though beyond exciting British apprehen- 
sion for the safety of the English fleet in American waters 
and a diversion at Newport, which led to the withdrawal of 
the English troops from Rhode Island to New York, no 
practical assistance was given, while its presence doubtless 


influenced Howe's, or rather his successor Sir Henry CHn- 
ton's evacuation of the Quaker City, in June, 1778, and the 
withdrawal of the Enghsh to New York. On the march 
thither, CHnton was pursued by Washington, his advance 
force being under General Charles Lee, who overtook the 
English at Monmouth, N. J. (June 28), and gave battle to 
them. In the engagement, this officer (Lee), suspected of 
treachery to the Colonial cause he had embraced, affected to 
lose control of his men and caused a retreat to be sounded. 
Washington, coming up at this juncture, rallied the retreat- 
ing men and saved the day, Clinton meanwhile hurrying 
from the field on his march New Yorkwards. Lee was 
hotly denounced by Washington for his conduct, and after- 
wards was tried by court-martial for his treachery and dis- 
missed from the army. The only other incidents of note 
during the year 1778 were the resumption of the sessions 
of Congress at Philadelphia, the repression of Indian dis- 
affection and Tory instigations to tribal marauding, and, 
late in the year, the English intrusion into Georgia and cap- 
ture of Savannah. Meanwhile, Washington wintered m 
camp at Middlebrook, N. J. 

After the battle of Monmouth, little of active fightir^g 
occurred during the next two years that connects itself 
either with the career of Washington or with the war- 
history of the period. Beyond predatory raids and some 
miscellaneous skirmishing, virtual inaction on both sides 
was the rule, if we except the English movements in Georgia 
and the Carolinas, and the spiritecl re-capture (July 16, 
1779) of Stony Point, on the west bank of the Hudson, by 
an American force under General Anthony Wayne. At sea, 


occurred also the surrender in the North Sea (Sept. 2^) of 
the English warship Serapis to the naval adventurer, John 
Paul Jones, in command of the Bonhomme Richard, and the 
subsequent sinking of the latter ship. The latter was one of 
a small fleet which the French Government had fitted out, 
on Franklin's advice, to prey on British commerce, and Paul 
Jones had been put in command. The year 1780 was mark- 
ed by the notable defection of an able and distinguished 
American general, Benedict ArnOild, of later unsavory mem- 
ory, in seeking by secret correspondence with the English 
general, Clinton, at New York, to dehver the American 
stronghold of West Point on the Hudson into the enemy's 
hands. The story, so well-known, need not detain us fur- 
ther than to record the failure of the dastardly project, 
through the capture of the English officer. Major Andre, 
with implicating correspondence on his person, which led 
to the exposure of Arnold's treachery and the saving of the 
stronghold, though, unfortunately, at the cost of Andre's 
life, who was speedily tried by court-martial and hanged as 
a spy. Arnold escaped punishment by taking to flight, and 
afterwards bemeaned himself by accepting from the Eng- 
lish the reward of his baseness, and actually turned traitor 
enough to fight against his country. The compassion of 
England for the unfortunate Andre, on the other hand, sub- 
sequently led to the erection, in the famed Westminster 
Abbey, of a monument to his memory. 

With the lassitude and inactivity which now marked the 
conduct of the war by the mother country, England should 
at this juncture have ended the strife, and, extending to 
America the olive branch of peace, ought to have recognized 


the well-earned independence of the country. But such, 
unhappily, was not the case — due to the continued infatua- 
tion and obstinacy of the English king and his ministers. 
For another year the conflict went on, during which a French 
army under Rochambeau came to American aid^ together 
with a French fleet from the West Indies under De Grasse. 
With the help of both, Washington longed and hoped for an 
attack on New York and the wresting of that important 
point from the enemy. But in this he was disappointed, in 
consequence of the French fleet fearing to cross the bar in 
New York harbor. Instead, it reached the Chesapeake, 
where it came into collision with the English fleet and com- 
pelled it to return to New York. In the summer of 1780, 
Charleston, S. C, was withdrawn from, and Gates met de- 
feat at Camden, through incompetence, and was relieved, 
his command falling to Nathanael Greene, who superseded 
him. In January, 1781, a happy victory by Morgan fell to 
American prowess at Cowpens, S. C, to the grave em- 
barrassment of Cornwallis, and forced him and his army 
northward into Virginia, where the Continental troops un- 
der the noble Lafayette did good service and enabled Gen- 
eral Greene, despite the latter's defeat at Guilford Court 
House, N. C, in March, and at Eutaw Springs, S. C, in 
September, 1781, to expel the enemy from the South. 

But the English did not escape misfortune, even in the 
South, for their commander failing to receive hoped-for re- 
inforcements from Clinton at New York, and the American 
troops being now aided by the personal presence and co- 
operation of Washington, with his Northern command 
brought down the Chesapeake in transports, Cornwallis was 


forced to tarry in \'irginia, and was there hemmed in the 
Yorktown peninsula by the combined French and Ameri- 
can armies. Soon now came the final and supreme strug- 
gle, which virtually was to bring the Revolutionary War to 
a close. By the end of September (1781), Yorktown was 
invested, and though, on October 16, Comwallis attempted 
a sortie, it was unsuccessful, and two days later the hope- 
lessness of his situation became manifest, and he surren- 
dered (Oct. 19) with his entire army, in numbers close upon 
8,000 men ! The capitulation and surrender of this large 
English force was a crowning disaster, for in two years it 
brought final peace, by the treaty of Versailles (Sept. 3, 
1783), and the recognition by Britain of the Independence of 
the United States of America. 

The surrender at Yorktown. like that four years earlier 
at Saratoga, was a crowning disaster to the English, though 
there was this difference between them, that Cornwallis's 
capitulation practically ended the war, of which the English 
people, though not the Crown, had now grown utterly weary. 
In England, moreover, it brought about the fall of Lord 
North's ministry and put a check upon the autocratic per- 
sonal rule of George III. On this side, though peace did 
not officially come for two years yet, until the definitive 
treaty with the motherland was signed, Sept. 3, 1783, the ces- 
sation of strife was hailed with an immense rehef. Peace 
found the country not so prostrate or desolated as might 
have been expected, though at first there was no little con- 
fusion and a noisy but natural grumbling among the troops 
at the neglect or rather the inability of Congress to grant 
them their arrears of pay. This was a mortification to 


Washington, considering his interest and affection for the 
men of his various commands, as well as his anxious con- 
cern for the welfare and good name of the nation. Succes- 
ful, finally, in getting justice done to the army in this re- 
spect, now disbanding after the preliminary Peace Treaty, 
he bade farewell (Dec. '83) to his assembled officers, and, 
resigning his commission to Congress, returned to domes- 
tic life and its placidities at Mount Vernon. 

Just before this, the English evacuated New York, and 
the American authorities took possession, while the red- 
coats afterwards retired from the occupation of Long Is- 
land. The United States, at the same time, assumed entire 
jurisdiction over the national domain, now extended by the 
cession to the young nation of the territory between the 
Alleghanies and the Mississippi.. At the outset, there was 
much dispute and difficulty in adjusting the territorial claims 
of the several old colonies, arising from the independent 
government, with unsettled areas, of each before the Revo- 
lution, and only partially settled by the Ordinance of 1787, 
as well as by the provisional character of the Articles of Con- 
federation, up to the era when inter-state conflicts were 
practically adjusted under the Constitution. In these varied 
matters, Washington took a lively interest, and in a letter 
addressed by him, in June, 1783, to the governors of the 
several States, he showed the extent and depth of that inter ^ 
est and his concern for the essential, collective well-being 
of all, by urging the creation of "an indivisible union of the 
States under one Federal head.'' The importance of this 
wise counsel was presently seen, in the critical period fol- 
lowing the war and the settling of the country into a nation 


when the old confederation, on its existing basis, was found 
impossible of maintenance, unless otherwise altered and 
broadened, and likely to provoke civil strife. Fortunately, 
what was wanted to give solidity, union, and permanence 
to the nation, it soon now obtained, in a National Consti- 
tution and an executive Federal head. When the Federal 
Convention met at Philadelphia in 1787 to frame the Con- 
stitution, Washington was present as a delegate from Vir- 
ginia, and an unanimous vote made him its presiding officer. 
Beyond a few suggestive hints, he took, it appears, little 
part in the debates, but he approved the Constitution which 
was ultimately devised, believing it, as he said, to be the best 
obtainable at the period. All his influence was exerted to 
secure its ratification, and it obviously proved decisive. 
When the scheme of government provided by the Constitu- 
tion went into operation, he was unanimously chosen, as 
all know, first United States President — an honor conferred 
alike upon the country and upon its revered and worthy 

In assuming, at the bidding of his country, the duties of 
his eminent and responsible post, Washington brought to the 
young nation those qualities which further commended 
and endeared him to the people, and enabled him, with high 
credit to himself, to steer wisely the new ship of State. In 
this task, he was assisted by some of the foremost men of 
the time, viz., by Thomas Jefiferson, late minister to France, 
who was given the Secretaryship of State ; by Alexander 
Hamilton, once the commander-in-chief's aide-de-camp, now 
made Secretary of the Treasury ; by Henry Knox, late artil- 
lery-general in the war, now appointed Secretary of War; 


and by Edmund Randolph, late governor of Virginia, now 
installed as Attorney-General. The orator-defender of na- 
tional rights, the eloquent John Adams, filled the office of 
Vice-President ; the chief-justiceship fell to John Jay ; while 
James Madison became administration leader in the House 
of Representatives. By this time, the first inauguration 
had taken place, a simple but impressive ceremony, made 
notable by the delivery at New York (April 30, 1789) of 
the President's first Inaugural, an address characteristically 
thoughtful and eminently appropriate to the occasion. In 
this respect, it finds worthy place in the national literature 
alongside the second Inaugural, delivered four years later 
on the occasion of Washington's re-election to the presi- 
dency, and alongside his 'amed 'Farewell Address," issued 
Sept. 19, 1796, on his wi^h-iawal from the Nation's cares 
and duties, and in which "the idol of the people'^ exhorts 
them to continued union and harmony. This latter docu- 
ment, it has been well said, "is filled with noble sentiments 
for the meditation of all future generations." 

In bringing our narrative to a close, we may add that 
Washington continued patriotically to the last to take in- 
telligent, yet conservative, interest in the affairs of the 
new Nation ; and at this era both he and his administration 
had much to engross their minds, and not a little also to 
contend with, in settling or giving peaceful form and direc- 
tion to the perplexities of the time. Of these, shortly after 
Peace came to the country, there was the problem, already 
hinted at, of the quiet disbanding of the discontented army, 
and what to do for the Loyalists or partisans of the British 
cause during the Revolution ; then came the organization 


of parties, the early anti-slavery agitation, the Indian 
troubles in the West, the vast and irksome matter of the 
State debts and the condition of the national finances, with 
the founding of the United States Bank and the selection of 
the capital-seat of the Republic. Outside of the country, 
there were also perplexities to be faced later on in the loom- 
ing up of trouble with France, especially in maintaining 
neutrality, when that nation had become involved in war 
with England and her Continental allies. To the consider- 
ation of these and other questions of the hour, it need hardly 
be added that Washington brought the lucidity of a calm, 
clear mind, the sanity of a prudent course and an unbiassed 
judgment — in short, all the qualities that throughout a long 
and faithful career eminently distinguished him, and that 
gave him undying place in the affectionate remembrance 
and veneration of his country. Retiring from the Presi- 
dency in 1797, he resumed the planter's life he loved, 
though in the following year he was appointed commander- 
in-chief of the provisional army raised in anticipation of a 
war with France. In the midst of military preparations, 
Washington was calamitously seized with a sudden and 
fatal illness, and, on Dec. 14, 1799, he died on his estate 
at Mount Vernon. Two days later, amid the mourning 
of the nation, he was quietly and unostentatiously buried u 
the family vault at his loved home. 

Of this noble and patriotic man, whom the nation still 
reveres, Lord Brougham, the English lord-chancellor, 
wrote a fitting and admiring eulogy. As it is cornparatively 
little known, we venture with it to close our own modest 
narrative and appraisement of Washington's character and 


career. "If profound sagacity" — says Brougham — "steadi- 
ness of purpose, the entire subjugation of all the passions 
which carry havoc through ordinary minds, and oftentimes 
lay waste the fairest prospect of greatness — nay, the disci- 
pline of those feelings which are wont to lull or seduce 
genius, and to mar and cloud over the aspect of virtue it- 
self — joined with, or rather leading to, the most absolute 
self-denial ; the most habitual and exclusive devotion to 
principle — if these things can constitute a great character, 
without either quickness of apprehension, or resources of 
information, or inventive power, or any brilliant quali.^y 
that might dazzle the vulgar — then surely Washington was 
the greatest man that ever lived in the world, uninspired 
by Divine wisdom, and unsustained by supernatural virtue. 
"His courage, whether in battle or in council, was as 
perfect as might be expected from his pure and steady tem- 
per of soul. A perfectly just man, with a thoroughly firm 
resolution never to be misled by others any more than to 
be by others overawed ; never to be seduced or betrayed, 
or hurried away by his own weakness or self-delusion any 
more than by other men's arts ; nor ever to be disheartened 
by the most complicated difificulties any more than to be 
spoilt in the giddy heights of fortune — such was this great 
man, great, pre-eminently great, whether we regard him as 
sustaining alone the whole weight of campaigns, all but des- 
perate, or gloriously terminating a just warfare by his 
resources and his courage — presiding over the jarring ele- 
ments of his political council, alike deaf to the storm of all 
extremes, or directing the formation of a new government 
for a great people, the first time that so vast an experiment 


had ever been tried by man — or finally retiring from the su- 
preme power to which his virtues had raised him over the 
nation he had created, and whose destinies he had guided 
as long as his aid was required — retiring with the venera- 
tion of all parties, of all nations, of all mankind, in order 
that the rights of men might be conserved, and that his ex- 
ample might never be appealed to by vulgar tyrants. This 
is the consummate glory of Washington — a triumphant war- 
rior where the most sanguine had a right to despair ; a suc- 
cessful ruler in all the difficulties of a course wholly un- 
tried, but a warrior whose sword only left its sheath when 
the first law of our nature commanded it to be drawn, and 
a ruler, who, having tasted of supreme power, quietly and 
unostentatiously desired that the cup might pass from him, 
nor would suffer more to wet his lips than the most solemn 
and most sacred duty to his country and his God required.'' 


By Prof. Hbnry Wade Rogers, Ph. D. 
Yale University. 

On the twenty-second day of February, in the year 1732, 
George Washington was born. One hundred years ago, 
in December, the fourteenth day, he died, declaring "I die 
hard, but I am not afraid to go." At Mount Vernon in 
December of this year,t the centenary of his death is to be 
observed, historical addresses are to be delivered, and it is 
proposed that a naval vessel stationed in the Potomac shall 
fire salutes, as on the day of his funeral minute-guns were 
fired from a vessel in the river. Never in our history have 
we celebrated the centenary of an American's death. Of all 
our great men, this man's name is venerated as that of the 
most illustrious. He served his country long and well; 
led the colonists to victory in the War for Independence ; 
helped to frame the Constitution of the United States and 
to secure its adoption by the people ; and then, as the first 
President, set the machinery of the new government in mo- 
tion, and so directed its operations as to insure the safety of 
the infant nation. Then, when he died, the good mourned 
because a great man, one of the greatest of men, was gone. 
In England great honor was paid to his memory, for, when 
the news came that he was dead, the ships of the British 
fleet lowered the flags half-mast ; and in France, Bonaparte 
directed black crape to be suspended from all the standards 

•By ParmisBion, from "Self Culture Magazine" lor February, 1899. 
tWritten in Jannary , 1899. 


throughout the army and from the flags throughout the ser- 
vice. From the day of his death, and before, this man has 
been, in the pubHc estimation, "first in war, first in peace, 
and first in the hearts of his countrymen." His place in 
history is unique. Talleyrand, in his official report as Min- 
ister of Foreign Afl:airs for France, alluding to his death, 
declared it "an event which deprives the world of one of its 
brightest ornaments, and removes to the realm of history 
one of the noblest lives that ever honored the human race." 
He goes on to say, that France should depart from estab- 
lished usages and do honor to one "whose fame is beyond 
comparison with that of others." Even China has asked : 
"Can any man of ancient or modern times fail to pronounce 
Washington peerless ?" 

For a long time the popular conception of the man was 
based upon the story of his life as portrayed by Weems, 
whose book passed through some fifty editions. To that 
writer we owe the myth about the cherry tree, and numer- 
ous others, equally without foundation. Weems claimed 
to have been the rector of Mount Vernon parish, and to 
have lived on terms of intimacy with Washington. But 
his pretentions were wholly void of truth. Lodge describes 
him as "a preacher by profession and an adventurer by 
nature," and he adds that he wrote "popular" books, ped- 
dling them himself as he travelled about the country. His 
mendacity is now quite well understood, and the unrelia- 
bility of his book is thoroughly recognized. One writer 
remarks that "possibly Washington could not tell a lie, but 
Weems was not thus handicapped." A wrong impression 
was also created by Jared Sparks, who, in 1825, began 


the work of collecting and editing the writings of Washing- 
ton. The first volume appeared in 1837, and contained the 
"Life." That Sparks was a hero-worshipper, and gave a 
"distorted" idea of the man whose life he was depicting, 
is now quite generally known. Mr. Ford, the editor of the 
Putnam edition of the "Writings of Washington," which ap- 
peared in 1889, states that Mr. Sparks not only omitted 
"sentences, words, proper names, and even paragraphs, 
without notice to the reader, but he materially altered the 
sense and application of important portions of the letters." 
It was certainly a mistaken judgment that led Sparks to 
adopt the policy he pursued. The later publication, which 
omitted nothing from the record, has not detracted from 
the greatness of W^ashington, and has enabled us the better 
to understand what manner oi man he really was. Since 
the publication of Mr. Ford's work, there appeared, in 1896, 
a "Life of Washington" by Henry Cabot Lodge, in two 
volumes, and in the same year "The True George Washing- 
ton," by Paul Leicester Ford, a brother of the editor of the 
"Writings"; and, in 1897, another "Life" by Woodrow Wil- 
son. These books have very much enlarged our knowledge 
of the man, and served to bring us into closer touch with 
him. A few years ago. Prof. McMaster, the writer of a 
"History of the United States," said: "General Washing- 
ton is known to us, and President Washington, but George 
Washington is an unknown man." That this was largely 
the case at the time it was written is quite true. It is true 
no longer, and, as a recent writer remarks, "we know 
W^ashington as well as it is possible to know any man." He 
stands revealed to us as he really was. In the glare of all 


the light that has been flashed upon him, he appears to have 
been human, like other men, but the greatness of the man 
stands forth as conspicuous as before. 

Washington was certainly intended for great things. 
Nature began by giving him, as he declared, "one of the 
best of constitutions." He was a man of fine figure, stood 
six feet and three inches tall, weighed two hundred and ten 
pounds, and is described as having about him "a, remark- 
able air of dignity." We are told that his eyes were blue, 
his hair brown, and his face bore some of the marks of the 
smallpox with which he had been stricken in the Bahamas, 
whither he went in 175 1, to look after his brother Lawrence, 
who had gone there in the vain hope that in a milder cli- 
mate he might escape dying from consumption. It seems 
to be agreed that Washington was a man of high temper, 
which he usually was able to keep under good control. John 
Marshall tells us that "there was a quickness in his sensi- 
bility to anything apparently offensive, which experience 
had taught him to watch and to correct." There was a cer- 
tain reserve about him that made familiarity with him im- 
possible, even on the part of those who were on terms of 
intimacy with him. He had remarkable personal courage, 
and, in the opinion of Jefferson, was a man incapable of 
fear. The men who foug'ht under him in battle complained 
because his fearlessness of danger led him to take little care 
of himself in action. He was distinguished more for the 
solidity of his judgment and his practical good sense than 
for the brilliancy of his genius. It is generally agreed that 
Washington's strong traits of character were derived from 
his mother, who is nevertheless described to us as one who 


scolded and grumbled to the day of her death, and who 
sought solace by smoking a pipe. 

Mr. Weems informs us that the last teacher Washington 
studied under was famous "at reading, spelling, English 
grammar, arithmetic, surveying, bookkeeping, and geogra- 
phy." Then he adds : ''And in these useful arts, 'tis said 
he often boasted that he had made George Washington as 
great a scholar as himself." Poor Weems! No one who 
knows anything about the matter, except the mendacious 
Weems, has ever pretended that Washington was a scholar. 
His school-days ended when he was fourteen. To the last 
he was an atrocious speller and a worse grammarian. The 
following examples of his spelling must suffice : "immag- 
ine." "glew," "oppertunity," "extravagence," and '"winder." 
He greatly lamented his deficiencies in this -respect, and al- 
lusions to the subject are found in his letters. We are in- 
formed that he regarded education with "an almost pathetic 
reverence;" and that when, late in life, he was made Chan- 
cellor of the College of William and Mary, he was more 
deeply pleased than by any other honor ever conferred upon 

Washington never had the benefit of Carlyle's disquisi- 
tion on the Philosophy of Clothes, yet it is quite evident that 
if he had read Professor Teufelsdrockh's assertion that "So- 
ciety is founded upon Cloth." there was a time when he 
would not seriously have called it in question. He was always 
particular about his dress, and in his earlier years was re- 
garded as considerable of a dandy. The following descrip- 
tion is given of his dress at his public receptions while he 
was President : he was "clad in black velvet ; his hair in ful' 


dress, powdered and gathered behind in a large silk bag; 
yellow gloves on his hands; holding a cocked hat with a 
cockade in it, and the edges adorned with a black feather 
about an inch deep. He wore knee and shoe buckles, and 
a long sword, with a finely wrought and polished steel hilt, 
which appeared at the left hip, the coat worn over the sword, 
so that the hilt, and the part below the coat behind, were in 
view. The scabbard was white polished leather." 

In 1783, however, we find him writing to his favorite 
nephew, Bushrod Washington, afterwards an associate jus- 
tice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and saying: 
"Do not conceive that fine clothes make fine men any more 
than fine feathers make fine birds. A plain genteel dress 
is more admired, and obtains more credit than lace and em- 
broidery, in the eyes of the judicious and sensible." He 
advises him to be very choice in his companions, telling 
him that it is easy to make acquaintances, but very difficult 
to shake them off, however irksome and unprofitable they 
are found. "The last thing which I shall mention," he adds, 
"is first in importance, and that is, to avoid gaming. This 
is a vice which is productive of every possible evil ; equally 
injurious to the morals and health of its votaries." On his 
social side, Washington was very like the men of his day 
and generation. He was fond of cards, and, notwithstand- 
ing the excellent advice contained in the letter referred to, 
seems to have played for stakes, though not for large ones. 
He appears also to have had a fondness for billiards, as well 
as for theatres, and even attended cockfights and the circus. 
Outdoor sports strongly attracted him. His fondness for 
horsemanship amounted to a passion, and Jefferson de- 


clared him to be the best horseman of his age, and the most 
graceful figure that could be seen on horseback. He was 
a bold horseman, rode to the hounds, leaping the highest 
fences with great dexterity. He regarded dancing as an 
agreeable and innocent amusement, and frequently indulged 
in it. Social life had very strong attractions for him, and 
he always dispensed a lavish hospitality. In the presence of 
strangers, he was very reserved, and was inclined to be taci- 
turn in general society. According to Madison he was not 
fluent or ready in conversation. But Jefferson states that 
among his friends he took "a free share in conversation." 
Indeed, one who had the opportunity of knowing said that 
among his intimate friends he laughed and talked a good 
deal. In this respect there was a strong resemblance be- 
tween Washington and Grant. He had no patience with 
the duel, and although the men of his time felt bound to 
satisfy their '"honor" in that way, it was well understood 
^hat he would neither send nor accept a challenge. "From 
his earliest manhood," so wrote one of his friends, "I have 
heard him express his contempt of the man who sends and 
the man who accepts a challenge, for he regards such acts 
as no proof of moral courage; and the practice he abhors 
as the relic of old barbarisms, repugnant alike to sound 
morality and Christian enlightenment." 

Chief-Justice Marshall opens his "Life of Washington" 
with the statement that, as "his patrimonial estate was by 
no means considerable, his youth was employed in useful 
industry." Washington's father was a man of large posses- 
sions, and when he died, in 1743, left his children well pro- 
vided for. But they were rich in land. They had littu 


ready income, and were .obliged, therefore, to cultivate the 
virtues of industry and frugality. In the end, George Wash- 
ington became a rich man, the property he received from his 
father having been much augmented by what he received on 
the death of his brother Lawrence, which occurred in 1752. 
Washington's marriage with Mrs. Custis was also of ma- 
terial benefit to him, Mr. Custis having left an estate of 
more than one hundred thousand dollars. Washington 
became one of the richest men in Virginia, and therefore one 
of the wealthiest men in America. If some Li Hung Chang 
had propounded the inquiry, "How much are you worth?" 
the question need not have occasioned the slightest em.- 
barrassment. That Washington was a very sagacious man 
of business, giving attention to every detail and exceedingly 
shrewd at a bargain, is well known. He was a close 
student of agriculture, and ever ready to take advantage of 
improvements in farming implements and the manner of 
working his land. He wished to be thought the first farmer 
in America. 

At the time of his death he was supposed to be the largest 
landholder in the country, being possessed of fifty-one thou- 
sand three hundred and ninety-five acres, exclusive of the 
Mount Vernon estate, his town properties, and the real estate 
of his wife. The value of his property at his death, again 
excluding the Mount Vernon estate and the property of his 
wife, was estimated at five hundred and thirty thousand 
dollars. The estate at Mount Vernon included eight thou- 
sand acres. In Ford's "Washington" an account is given of 
the stock on the Mount Vernon property. It appears that 
in 1793 Washington had fifty-four draught horses on the 


estate, three hundred and seventeen head of cattle, six hun- 
dred and thirty-four sheep, and "many'' hogs. The Hve 
stock was vahied at his death at thirty-five thousand dollars. 
In addition to the draught horses already mentioned, he 
had in 1799 "'two covering jacks and three young ones, ten 
she asses, forty-two working mules, and fifteen younger 
ones." Mount Vernon was a community in itself, including 
some three hundred persons. Washington had his own 
blacksmith shop, his own brickmaker and masons, his car- 
penters, shoemaker, and weavers. We can readily under- 
stand how it was that while he was President he was con- 
tinually thinking of Mount Vernon. 

The manner in which farming was carried on in Vir- 
ginia was very unsatisfactory to Washington, and he did 
what he could to improve it. In one of his letters, written 
in 1787, he says: "I must observe that there is, perhaps, 
scarcely any part of America where farming has been less 
attended to than in this State (Virginia). The cultivation of 
tobacco has been almost the sole object with men of landed 
property, and consequently a regular course of crops have 
never been in view." He goes on to say that there are sev- 
eral farmers, himself among the number, who are adopting 
the English system of rotation of crops. In 1785, he was 
writing Lord Fairfax to make inquiry in England "whether 
a thorough-bred, practical English farmer, from a part of 
England where husbandry seems to be best understood, 
and is most advantageously practiced, could not be obtained, 
and upon what terms ?" He adds that he has no doubt that 
such a man might be had for very Iiigh wages, "as money 
we know will fetch anything and command the service of 


any man," and he is very careful to say "but with the former 
I do not abound." Tliat was a time when he was feeling 
land poor, as he did not infrequently, being sometimes 
compelled to borrow, and at others to sell, some of his land- 
holdings. He also appears to have experienced difificulty 
at times in getting proper returns, and many a farmer to- 
day will sympathize with Washington when he wrote to one 
of his farm managers, in 1799, as follows : "It is hoped and 
will be expected that more effectual measures will be pur- 
sued to make butter another year ; for it is almost beyond 
belief that, from one hundred and one cows actually reported 
on a late enumeration of the cattle, I am obliged to buy 
butter for the use of my family." This reads very much 
like some of the results achieved by Henry Ward Beecher 
and Horace Greeley in their attempts at farming. Wash- 
ington cultivated his farms, however, with much foresight, 
and the instructions which he issued to his managers would 
constitute even now a valuable farm manual. These in- 
structions show his great familiarity with all the processes 
of farming and stock-raising. 

Washington is preeminent, among the public men this 
country has produced, for his sense of civic duty. After 
his retirement from the presidency, he served as a member 
of a grand jury, and on several occasions as a petit juror. 
He was particular in the discharge of all the duties of citi- 
zenship, invariably voting at the elections, although this nec- 
essitated his riding a distance of ten miles from Mount Ver- 
non to the polling-place. We are accustomed at the present 
day to see public men bring all possible influence to bear 
to reach public station. In the case of Washington the ©f' 


fice sought the man, and was by him rehictantly accepted. 
His tastes inclined him to the Hfe of a private citizen, and 
he had no longing for the duties and honors of public life, 
but much preferred the retirement of a country gentleman. 
He loved retirement, and when Virginia insisted on sending 
him to the convention that was to frame the Constitution 
of the United States, he hesitated long before consenting 
to accept the place. He pleaded age and ill-health, and 
as late as the February preceding the assembling of the con- 
vention, which occurred in May, he wrote that his private 
intention was not to attend. Again, as late as the last of 
March, he wrote the governor to have some one appointed 
in his place. At last, he ccnsented to attend, fearing that 
his non-attendance would be regarded as "a dereliction of 
republicanism." After the Constitution was adopted and 
the people demanded that he should accept the presidency, 
we find him reluctant as before: again he pleaded old age, 
and declared that his acceptance would be attended with 
more diffidence and reluctance than he ever experienced 
before in his life. He doubted his capacity for civil affairs. 
As he was about leaving Mount Vernon to assume the of- 
fice, he wrote to Knox : "In confidence I tell you that my 
movements to the chair of government will be accompanied 
by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the 
place of execution.*' These were the feelings, and this the 
distrust, of the man who had been unanimously elected 
to the office of President of the United States. As his 
first term was coming to an end, he announced to his friends 
his desire to retire from of^ce. Madison was taken into his 
confidence, and informed by Washington that the fatigues 


and clisagreeableness of the office were scarcely tolerable to 
him, that his inclinations lead him to his farm, and that he 
preferred to take his spade in hand and work for his 
bread than remain in his then situation. He spoke in the 
same strain to Jefferson, telling him that tranquillity and re- 
tirement had become an irresistible passion. 

It was only after a long and painful conflict in his own 
breast, to use his own words, that he finally made up his 
mind to give up what had been his "fixed determination" 
to retire, and consented to accept the office for a second term. 
That he could have been elected for a third time is conceded, 
but he would not listen to such a suggestion. He longed 
for privacy and rest above all things, and gladly laid down 
his great office. To make use of his own expression, he 
"panted" for retirement. But earnestly as he wished to end 
his days in quiet, he was ready to respond when once con- 
vinced that his duty to his country demanded his service. 
So it happened that, two years after his retirement, and one 
year before his death, when President Adams appointed him 
Lieutenant-General and Commander-in-Chief of all the 
armies, and war with France seemed probable, we find him 
consenting to take the place. He writes to John Adams: 
"Feeling how incumbent it is upon every person of every de- 
scription to contribute at all times to his country's welfare, 
and especially in a moment like the present, when everything 
we hold dear is so seriously *^hreatened, I have finally deter- 
mined to accept the commis; ion of Commander-in-Chief of 
the armies of the United States." And in the last year of 
his life he writes to Lord Fairfax : "I hold myself in readi- 
ness to gird on the sword, if the emergency shall require it." 


Ill his inaugural address as President, announcement was 
made by Washington of his purpose to receive no compensa- 
tion for his services. "When I was first honored with a call 
into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous 
struggle for its liberties," he declared, "the light in which I 
contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every 
pecuniary compensation. From this resolution I have in no 
instance departed. And being still under the impressions 
which produced it, I must decline, as inapplicable to my- 
self, any share in the personal emoluments which may be in- 
dispensably included in a permanent provision for the execu- 
tive department." He thus made it a matter of principle to 
accept no salary from the Government, and would never 
consent to more than a reimbursement for actual expendi- 
tures. At the same time, he recognized that sound public 
policy required suitable compensation to be provided for 
the officials of the Government. In his last annual message 
to Congress he advised a legislative revision of official sal- 
aries, and added : "The consequences of a defective pro- 
vision are of serious import to the Government. If private 
wealth is to supply the defect of public contribution, it will 
greatly contract the sphere within which the selection of 
character for office is to be made, and will proportionally 
diminish the probability of a choice of men able as well as 
upright. Besides that, it would be repugnant to the vital 
principles of our Government virtually to exclude from pub- 
lic trust, talents and virtues uiless accompanied by wealth." 
There is a wisdom in this upon which it would be well for 
the country to-day to reflect. The fact is well known that 
many of the leading officials of the Government of the 


United States are so inadequately compensated that a poor 
man is practically disqualified from taking office. The Secre- 
tary of State is obliged, for example, to entertain more than 
the President, and yet the salary attached to the office is only 
sufficient to pay the rent of a house suitable for one in his 
position to occupy. An ambassador of the United States 
at Paris has been known to expend his entire salary in a 
similar manner. These are simple examples of what is true 
of other officials, and it is altogether wrong that such a con- 
dition should exist. 

On becoming President it became necessary for Wash- 
ington to make known the rules by which official intercourse 
was to be carried on. He determined to return no visits, 
appointed certain days on which visits would be received, 
and decided that his entertaining should be confined to pub- 
lic officials. All this was made the subject of not a little 
animadversion, and was said to be an imitation of the prac- 
tices of crowned heads. A great deal of the President's 
time is necessarily occupied in determining upon appoint- 
ments to office, and this Washington found the most irk- 
some part of the executive trust. His correspondence shows 
him again and again referring to the subject, and declaring 
that he found it to be the most delicate and difficult task he 
had to perform. It annoyed him greatly, as it has each of 
his successors in the office, that applicants for appointments 
persisted in coming to the seat of government, and in spend- 
ing considerable time there, in an effort to influence the ac- 
tion of the executive. As early as May, 1789, we find him 
writing: "I only wish, so far as my agency in this busi- 
ness is concerned, that candidates for offices would save 


themselves the trouble and consequent expense of personal 
attendance. AH that I require is the name and such testi- 
monials, with respect to abilities, integrity, and fitness, as it 
may be in the power of the several applicants to produce." 
While he held the office he made it an invariable rule never 
to promise an appointment in advance, but to remain to the 
last moment free and unengaged. 

In making appointments Washington was governed by 
three considerations: i. The fitness of the person to fill 
the office. 2. The comparative merits and "sufferings in 
service" of the respective candidates. 3. A regard for the 
geographical distribution of offices, to the end that there 
might be a distribution of appointments in as equal a pro- 
portion as might be to persons belonging in the different 
States. In 1795, he stated in a letter to Timothy Pickering: 
'T shall not, whilst I have the honor to administer the gov- 
ernment, bring a man into any office of consequence know- 
ingly whose political tenets are adverse to the measures 
which the general government are pursuing, for this, in my 
opinion, would be a sort of political suicide." At the same 
time no man has ever regarded political parties as more 
perilous to the country, and his warning, in the Farewell Ad- 
dress, against the spirit of party, would do credit to the most 
pronounced Mugwump of modern times. In 1796 he writes : 
'T have never made an appointment from a desire to serve 
a friend or relation." Again, in the same year, he declares : 
"I can defy malignancy itself to ascribe partiality, or inter- 
ested motives, to any of my nominations." So determined 
was he that no act of his should give occasion for calling in 
question the disinterestedness of his motives, that he laid it 


down as a rule of conduct never to give an appointment to 
a relative. His successor, John Adams, protested against 
what he styled Washington's "hyper-superlative public vir- 
tue" in this matter. In the opinion of Mr. Adams, a Presi- 
dent should not be influenced for or against a candidate by 
any consideration of his relationship. Jefferson adopted the 
principle laid down by Washington, and wrote: "Mr. 
Adams degraded himself infinitely by his conduct on this 
subject, as General Washington had done himself the great- 
est honor." Alost of our Presidents, it can be said to their 
credit, have followed the illustrious example set by Wash- 
ington. The conduct of General Grant in this particular 
occasioned a vast amount of criticism, which was by no 
means confined to the party of the opposition. 

Gift-taking on the part of public men Washington could 
not countenance. At a time when he was in private life, two 
years after laying down his commission as commander of the 
army, and four years before he entered upon the presidency, 
the State of \'irginia, by the unanimous vote of its Assembly, 
proposed to present him with certain valuable shares of 
stock. It was a time when he found it necessary to prac- 
tice economy, as his finances had suffered by neglect during 
the war. But he never for a moment, as he wrote Jeffer- 
son, entertained an idea of accepting it. In alluding to the 
matter in a letter to a friend, he writes: "How would this 
matter be viewed by the eye of the world, and what would 
be the opinion of it, when it comes to be related that George 
Washington has received twenty thousand dollars and five 
thousand pounds sterling of the public money as an interest ? 
. . . Under whatever pretense, and however customar- 


ily these gratuitous gifts are made in other countries, should 
I not thenceforward be considered as a dependent ?" When 
he became President he would receive no favors of any 
kind. A large house was provided for him in Philadelphia, 
when the seat of government was in that city, on grounds 
now occupied by the University of Pennsylvania, which he 
declined to accept. Unfortunately, some of those who have 
succeeded to his office have not inherited the same conscien- 
tious; scruples by which he was distinguished. 

Posterity has been so much impressed by his purity of 
motive and lofty character, as well as by the eminent ser- 
vices he rendered, that it is very difficult for us to realize 
that Washington was about the most abused man of his 
time. No strong man can fill public office, and conscien- 
tiously discharge its duties, without making enemies. And 
it is quite the case that a man is to be as much judged by 
the enemies, as by the friends, he makes. The country has 
not forgotten how, in a convention that nominated Mr. 
Cleveland for the presidency, that body was electrified by the 
remark: "We love him for the enemies he has made." 
During the Revolution Washington was continually subject- 
ed to annoying criticism, and there were not a few who 
sought to displace him as commander of the forces. Some 
of those who professed friendship were guilty of treachery, 
and entered into a conspiracy against him. One of his gen- 
erals called him "most damnably deficient" and a blunderer. 
He was called "the American Fabius," and all sorts of dis- 
asters were predicted if he continued in command of the 
army. One of these criticisms ran as follows : "Such fee- 
bleness and want of authority, such confusion and want of 


discipline, such waste, such destruction, would exhaust the 
wealth of both the Indies and annihilate the armies of all 
Europe and Asia." The worst of it was that this kind of 
criticism was not confined to men of base purposes and sel- 
fish motives, but was indulged in by men of high character, 
who were not actuated by improper considerations. When 
he became President he was charged with "want of merit," 
"insignificance," "ostentatious professions of piety," "ineffi- 
ciency," "falsehood," and "pusillanimity." Thomas Paine 
published a pamphlet against him, in which he concluded as 
follows: "and, as to you, sir, treacherous in private friend- 
ship, and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled 
to decide whether you are apostate or an impostor ; whether 
you have abandoned good principles, or whether yoii ever 
had any." Every public man must expect to be abused, 
maligned, and misrepresented. The people in the end come 
to understand the animus by which all such attacks are in- 
spired, and the man who does his duty knows that sooner or 
later justice will be done him. Washington had the good 
sense to ignore all this abuse, and no reply to it ever came 
from him. His name is, and forever will remain, the price- 
less heritage of all Americans. He was the Father of his 
Country, and had that loftiness of character, that purity of 
purpose, that solidity of judgment, which command the ad- 
miration of the world. But one other name, that of Lincoln, 
is linked with his in the affections of his countrymen. 




The birthday of the "Father of his Country"! May it 
ever be freshly remembered by American hearts! May 
it ever reawaken in them a filial veneration for his mem- 
ory; ever rekindle the fires oi patriotic regard to the coun- 
try which he loved so well; to which he gave his youth- 
ful vigor, and his youthful energy during the perilous 
period of the early Indian warfare; to which he devoted 
his life, in the maturity of his powers, in the field; to 
which again he offered the counsels of his wisdom and 
his experience as president of the convention; which he 
guided and directed while in the chair of state, and for 
which the last prayer of his earthly supplication was 
offered up when it came the moment for him so well, and 
so grandly, and so calmly to die! He was the first man 
of the time in which he grew. His memory is first and 
most sacred in our love; and ever hereafter, till the last 
drop of blood shall freeze in the last American heart, his 
name shall be a spell of power and might. — Riifus Choate. 


The value of Washington to his country transcends 



that of any other man to any land. Take him from the 
Revolution, and all the fervor of the Sons of Liberty 
would seem to have been a wasted flame. Take him 
from the constitutional epoch, and the essential condition 

Greenough's Statue of Washington, Washington. D. C. 

The Inscriptions are from Henry Lee's Oration on the death of Washington, 

delivered before both Houses of Congress, Dec. 16, 1799. 

of union, personal confidence in a leader, would have 
been wanting. 

Franklin, when the work of the constitutional con- 
vention was completed, said that until then he had 
not been sure whether the sun depicted above the 
president's chair was a rising or a setting sun, but 
now his doubt was solved. Yet it was not the symbolic 
figure above the chair, it was the man within it, which 


should have forecast the great result to that sagacious 

From the moment that independence was secured, no 
man in America saw more clearly the necessity of na- 
tional union, or defined more wisely and distinctly the 
reasons for it. He is the chief illustration in a popular 
government of a great leader who was not also a great 

Perhaps that fact gave a solid force to his influence 
by depriving all his expressions of a rhetorical char- 
acter, and preserving in them throughout a simplicity 
and moderation which deepened the impression of his 
comprehensive sagacity. He was felt as both an inspir- 
ing and a sustaining power in the preliminary movement 
for union, and by natural selection he was both president 
of the convention and the head of the government which 
it instituted. —^ Geor£-e IVtlliam Curtis. 


"Westward the course of empire takes its way; 

The first four acts already past, 
A fifth shall close the drama with the day, 

Time's noblest offspring is the last," 

As the human race has moved along down the centur- 
ies the vigorous and ambitious, the dissenters from blind 
obedience and the original thinkers, the colonists and 
state-builders have broken camp with the morning and 
followed the sun until the close of day. They have tar- 
ried for ages in fertile valleys and beside great streams; 
they have been retarded by barriers of mountains and 
seas beyond their present resources to overcome; but as 


the family grew into the tribe, the tribe into the nation, 
and equal authority into the despotism of courts and 
creeds those who possessed the indomitable and uncon- 
querable spirit of freedom have seen the promise flashed 
from the clouds in the glorious rays of the sinking orb of 
day, and first with despair and courage, and then with 
courage and hope, and lastly with faith and prayer, they 
have marched westward. 

In the purification and trials of wandering and settle- 
ment they have left behind narrow and degrading laws, 
traditions, customs, and castes, and now, as the Occident 
faces the orient across the Pacific, and the globe is cir- 
cled, at the last stop and in their permanent home, the 
individual is the basis of government and all men are 
equal before th? law. The glorious example of the tri- 
umphant success of the people governing themselves fans 
the feeble spirit of the effete and exhausted Asiatic with 
the possibilities of the replanting of the garden of Eden 
and of the restoration of the historic grandeur of the 
birthplace of mankind. It is putting behind ever}' bay. 
onet which is carried at the order of Bismarck or the czar, 
men who, in doing their own thinking, will one day de- 
cide for themselves the problems of peace and war. It 
will penetrate the breeding-places of anarchy and social- 
ism, and cleanse and purify them. 

The scenes of the fifth act of the grand drama are 
changing, with the world as its stage and all races and 
tongues the audience. And yet, as it culminates in pow- 
er and grandeur and absorbing interest, the attention re- 
mains riveted upon one majestic character. He stands 


the noblest leader who was ever intrusted with his coun- 
try's life. His patience under provocation, his calmness 
in danger and lofty courage when all others despaired, 
his prudent delays when the Continental Congress was 
imperative and the staff almost insubordinate, and his 
quick and resistless blows when action was possible, his 
magnanimity to his defamers and generosity to his foes, 
his ambition for his country and unselfishness for him- 
self, his sole desire the freedom and independence for 
America, and his only wish to return after victory to pri- 
vate life and the peaceful pursuits and pleasures of home, 
have all combined to make him, by the unanimous judg- 
ment of the world, the foremost figure in history. Not 
so abnormally developed in any direction as to be called 
a genius, yet he was the strongest because the best bal- 
anced, the fullest rounded, the most even and most self- 
masterful of men — the incarnation of common sense and 
m.oral purity, of action and repose. 

The republic will live so long as it reveres the memo- 
ry and emulates the virtues of George Washington. — 
Chauncey M. Depew. 


Mr. Gladstone was not the only great Englishman who 
had given Washington the first place in history for purity 
of character and elevation of aim in war and statesman- 
ship. Byron pays homage to Washington repeatedly in 
his poems, and wrote of him in his diary that "To be the 
first man {not the Dictator), not the Scylla, but the 
Washington, or Aristides, the leader in talent and truth, 



is to be next to the Divinity." The last stanza in his 
"Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte" is the following well 
known tribute: 

"Where may the wearied eye repose 

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

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

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

In the fourth canto of "Childe Harold" occurs the fol- 

"Can tyrants but by tyrants conquered be. 
And Freedom find no champion and no child, 

Such as Columbia saw arise when she 
Sprung forth a Pallas, armed and undefiled? 
Or must such minds be nourished in the wild, 
Deep in the unpruned forest, 'midst the roar 

Of cataracts, where nursing Nature smiled 
On infant Washington? Has earth no more 
Such seeds within her breast, or Europe no such store?" 

In "The Age of Bronze" is the following couplet: 

"While Washington's a watchward such as ne'er 
Shall sink while there's an echo left to air." 

Byron calls all wars murder, except those for freedom, 
and contrasts the ambitious conquerer with the patriot in 
"Don Juan," Canto VIII, 5: 

"Not so Leonidas and Washington, 
Whose every battle-field is holy ground. 

Which breathes of Nations saved, not world's undone, 
How sweetly on the ear such echoes sound! 

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


In Canto IX of "Don Juan" is another allusion; 

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


"This great man fought against tyranny; he established 
the liberty of his country. His memory will always be 
dear to the French people, as it will be to all freemen of 
the two worlds." — Napoleon Bonaparte^ February g^iSoo. 

"He did the two greatest things which, in politics, man 
can have the privilege of attempting. He maintained, by 
peace, that independence of his country which he had ac- 
quired by war. He founded a free government in the 
name of the principles of order, and by reestablishing 
their sway." — M. Giiizot. 

"I have often been told by Col. Ben Temple, of King 
Williams county, Virginia, who was one of his aids in the 
French and Indian w^ars .... that, on sudden 
and unexpected visits into his marquee, he has more than 
once found Washington on his knees at his devotions." 
— Rev. C. L. IVeenis, 1808. 

"The commander-in-chief of the American armies was 
observed (at Valley Forge) constantly to retire for the 
purpose of secret devotion. The Father of his Country 
went alone, and sought strength and guidance from the 
God of armies, and of light. The independence of our 
country was laid, not only in valor, patriotism and wis- 
dom, but in prayer." — Albert Barnes.^ D. D. 

"On Sundays, unless the weather was uncommonly 
severe, the President and Mrs. W^ashington attended di- 



vine service at Christ Cliurcli (Philadelphia), and in the 
evenings the president read to Mrs. Washington in her 
chamber a sermon, or some portion from the sacred writ- 
ings. No vis- 
itors, with 
the exception 
of ]\Ir. Speak- 
er Trumbull, 
were admit- 
ted on Sun- 
days." — Geo. 
W. P. Custis. 
Said Wash- 
ington's mo- 
ther of her 
son: "I am 
not surprised 
at what 
George has 
done, for he 
was always a 
good boy." 

ton served us 

Washington Laying the Corner Stone of the Capitol, Sept.18, ^^l^^^Y ^y niS 
1793. One of the Panels on the Bronze Door of the cnVili-mo *nrvt- 

Senate, Washington. SUDUme mor- 

al qualities. 
To him belonged the proud distinction of being 
the leader in a revolution, without awakening one doubt 
or solicitude, as to the spotless purity of his purpose. 


His was the glory of being the brightest manifestation 
of the spirit which reigned in this country, and in this 
way he became a source of energy, a bond of 
union, the center of an enlightened people's confidence. 

By an instinct which is unerring, we call Washington, 
with grateful reverence, the Fath- 
er of his Country, but not its Sa- 
vior. A people which wants a 
savior, which does not possess an 
earnest, and pledge of freedom in 
its own heart, is not yet ready to 
be free. — William E. Channing. 

An Indian's testimony: 

"The Pale Faces came, and 
they said, *you fought with us, you 

° ' ^ Benjamin Rush, a Signer of the 

have forfeited your right to this Declaration of independence. 

land and must go away,' but General Washington said, 
'Come back, and remain in your land, and make your 
homes with us.' Then the prophet said, 'The white 
men are bad, and cannot dwell in the region of the Great 
Spirit, except General Washington.' " — Peter Wilson^ a 
native Iroqiwis^ before the New York Historical Socie- 
ty, 1847. 



"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 fellow- 
called me by my Indian name, and pretended to be glad 
to see me. He asked us several questions, as, how we 
came to travel on foot, when we left Venango, where we 
parted with our horses, and when they would be there. 
Major Washington insisted on travelling by the nearest 
way to the Forks of the Alleghany. 

"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 with us; upon which we set out, and the In- 
dian took the Major's pack. We travelled very brisk 
for eight or ten miles, when the Major's feet grew very 
sore, and he very weary, and the Indian steered too 
much northeastwardly. 

"The Major desired to encamp; upon which the Indian 
asked to carry his gun, but he refused; and then the In- 
dian grew churlish, 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 mis- 
trusted him as much as I did. The Indian said he could 
hear a gun from his cabin, and steered us more north- 
wardly. 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; but, before we came to water, we came to a 
clear meadow. It was very light, and snow was on the 



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 load- 
ing his gun, but 
we were soon 
with him. I 
would have 
killed him, but 
the Major would 
not suffer me. 
We let h i m 
charge his gun. 
We found he 
put in a ball; 
then we took 
care of h i m. 
Either the Ma- 
jor 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 

Statue of Washington (first at right), Statuary Hall, 
Old House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 


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 list- 
ened, 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." 



Each numbered paragraph is to be given to a pupil or 
member to read, or to recite, in a clear, distinct tone. 

If the school or club is small, each person may take 
three or four paragraphs, but should not be required to 
recite them in succession. 

1. George Washington was born at Pope's Creek, near Bridge's 
Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia, February 22, 1732. 

2. His family was of ancient English descent, William De Hert- 
burn, a Norman Knight, was the ancestor of the Washingtons. 

3" His name was changed with a change of estate to that of De- 
Wessyngton. Later members of the family bore the names of Wesh- 
ington and Weschington, which in course of time was <-ransformed into 

4. At the head of one of the branches of the family was John 
Washington of Warton, in Lancashire, whose son, Lawrence Wash- 
ington was for some years Mayor of Northampton. 

5. One of the descendants of Lawrence Washington was Sir Wil- 
liam Washington who fought loyally for King Charles the the 
Civil War. 




Major George Wajbtngton^ 


Hon. ROBERT DlNWlDDtE, Efq* 
Hi» Majciiy s Lieutenant-Governor, anci 
Commander in Chief of ^ I RG ^ N lA^ 



O P T H 1 


O N 






PHfltedby WILLIAM HUNTER. 175* 

Reduced Fac-Similc of the Title Page of Washington s Journal. 


6. His son, Sir Henry Washington, fought with great gallantry 
under Prince Rupert, and held the city of Worcester against the Par- 
liamentary Army until ordered by the king whom he was serving, to 

7. Many of the royalists were afterwards compelled to flee to 
America from the wrath of Cromwell. They found congenial homes 
in "the loyal colony" of Virginia, 

8. Among these were John and Andrew Washington, uncles of 
the gallant Sir Henry, and great grandsons of Lawrence Washington. 

q. They reached Virginia in 1637, and "purchased land 'in the 
northern neck,' between the Potomac and the Rappahannock rivers." 

10. John Washington became an extensive planter in Westmore- 
land County, and marrying Miss Anne Pope, built him a residence at 
Pope's Creek. He became in due course of time a County Magistrate, 
and a member of the House of Burgesses. 

11. He distinguished himself also, as a colonel of the Virginia 
forces in driving off a band of Seneca Indians who were ravaging the 
neighboring settlements. In honor of his public and private charac- 
ter, the parish in which he resided was called W^ashington." 

12. In 1694 Augustine Washington, the grandson of Colonel John 
Washington was born. He was a man of uncommon height and no- 
ble appearance. He was possessed of wonderful muscular powers, 
and of a strong, earnest character. 

13. Augustine Washington was twice married. By his first wife 
he had four children. Two of them died young, but two sons, Lau- 
rence and Augustine, survived their mother who died in 1728. 

14. He married for his second wife on March 6, 1730, Mary Ball, 
the daughter of Colonel Ball, a young and beautiful girl, known as "the 
belie of Northern Neck." 

15. George Washington was her first child. Few sons ever had 
a more lovely and devoted mother, and no mother a more dutiful and 
affectionate son." 

16. The direct influence of this gifted Christian mother upon the 
life of George cannot be overestimated. To her we owe the precepts 
and example that governed his whole career. We cannot wonder that 
with such an ancestry behind him, and with such a mother to guide 

him, Washington became one of the foremost men of the world. 

17. When George was seven years of age, his father removed 
to an estate in Stafford County, opposite the town of Fredericksburg. 

18. Augustine Washington was not able to give all of his sons 
the advantages of education, enjoyed by Laurence the oldest. He 
being sent to England at the age of fifteen to complete his studies, and 
returned at the age twenty-three to take his place as the head of the 


19. George was educated at a country school by Hobby, the 
sexton of the parish, who was his teacher. His education was of the 
simplest character. He was taught reading, writing and arithmetic, 
with a little geometry and surveying. 

20. The letters of his brother Laurence fired his soul with stir- 
ring descriptions of the martial scenes, he was witnessing. These let- 
ters awoke the military spirit in the boy, who made soldiers of his 
schoolmates, and as their commander-in-chief conducted their mimic 
parades, reviews and sham fights. 

21. The father of George died on April 12, 1743, when the boy 
was but eleven years of age. Soon after his father's death he was 
sent to reside with his elder half-brother Augustine, to whom the 
Westmoreland estate had been left. Here George attended an acad- 
emy kept by a Mr. Williams, who gave him a plain and practical 
education to fit him for the ordinary business of life. 

22. All his school-boy manuscripts bear witness of industry and 
order. He took extreme care in cultivating a neat, clear and elegant 

23. He was noted for his truthfulness, his courage and his gen- 
erosity, and for his proficiency in athletic exercises. Running, leap- 
ing and wrestling were among his favorite pastimes. He was a fear- 
less rider and a good hunter. 

24. At the age of fourteen his brother Laurence obtained for 
George a midshipman's warrant. But when he was just about to en- 
ter the English naval service, the earnest remonstrance of his mother 
prevailed, and he reluctantly abandoned the project. 

25. A month after he was sixteen, he became a surveyor of lands 
belonging to Lord Fairfax. In the discharge of his duties he en- 
countered m.any hardships and personal dangers, which he met with 
fortitude and cheerfulness. 

26. "At the age of nineteen he was appointed Adjutant General, 
with the rank of Major, to inspect and exercise the militia in one of 
the districts in which Virginia was divided." 'He proved himself 
thoroughly efficient in this post of duty. 

27. In 1753 he was sent on a delicate and dangerous mission by 
Governor Dinwiddle. He was to travel on a journey of nearly 600 
miles — "a great part of it over lofty and rugged mountains, and 
through the heart of a wilderness." 

28. He was to ascertain from the officer commanding the French 
forces on the banks of the Ohio, by what authority he was invading 
the King's dominions. 

2g. A volume could be written of the great perils and the mar- 
velous and providential escapes from treachery, assassination, vio- 
lence of savages, cold and drowning, which marked this eventful ex- 



30. The varied talents and striking characteristics Washington 
displayed, made him on his return, as Irving says, "the rising hope of 

31. Soon after his return, he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel 
of a regiment of which Joshua Fry was Colonel. Upon the sudden 
death of Colonel Fry the expedition designed against the French de- 
volved upon the young Lieutenant-Colonel. Although the expedi- 
tion was unsuccessful, Washington received the thanks of the Gener- 
al Assembly of Virginia. 

St. Peters Church, where Washington was Married. 

32. He accompanied General Braddock on his ill-fated cam- 
paign, behaving "with the greatest courage and resolution." 

33. The Rev. Samuel Davis in a sermon to one of the military 
companies, afterwards organized, used these prophetic words: "I may 
point out to the public that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom 
I cannot but hope, providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a 
manner, for some important service to his country." 

34. Having been appointed in 1756 to the chief command of a 
force of 2,000 men, he was engaged in the arduous work of protecting 
the Virginia frontier. 



35. On November 25, 1758, he planted the British flag on the 
smoking ruins of Fort Duquesne, which was to be known henceforth 
as Fort Pitt. 

36. On Jan 6, 1759, he married a charming young widow, Martha 
Custis, daughter of Mr. John Dandridge. She is known in history as 
Martha Washington. 

37. He now resigned his commission as a colonial officer, and at- 
tended the Virginia House of Burgesses, to which he had been elect- 
ed while absent on his iast campaign. 

38. As soon as he made 
his appearance, the speaker 
in accordance with a previ- 
ous vote of the Assembly, 
presented thiir thanks in 
the name of the colony, for 
his distinguished military ser- 
vices. He also gave expres- 
sion to words of compliment 
and praise. 

39. Washington was so 
embarrassed that he could 
not utter a single sentence 
in reply. The speaker with 
great address said, "Sit down, 
Mr. Washington, your mod- 
esty equals your valor, and 
that surpasses the power of 
any language I possess." 

40. He spent nearly fifteen years in the quiet of his peaceful and 
happy home, engaged in agricultural pursuits and performing many 
acts of kindness for his friends. 

41. Then at the age of forty three years, he was called to begin 
his career of honor and glory, and render those inestimable services 
to his country, and to mankind, which have made his name immortal. 

42. He was elected delegate to the first Continental Congress 
which met at Philadelphia, in 1774, and took an important part in its 
memorable discussions. 

43. "When Patrick Henry returned home from the meeting and 
was asked whom he considered the greatest man in that Congress, he 

44. "If you speak of eloquence, Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, 
is by far the greatest orator; but if you speak of solid information, and 
sound judgment, Col. Washington is unquestionably the greatest man 
on that floor." 

45. He was a delegate to the second Continental Congress May 10, 

Wiishiiiffton s c imj) Chest oow in the 
Ndt oiidl Museum VVatilnnglon 


1775, and through the efforts of Samuel and John Adams, and others, 
he was unanimously elected Commander-in-chief of all the Conti- 
nental forces. 

46 On July 2, 1775, he established his headquarters in the build- 
ing at Cambridge, Mass., since known as the residence of the poet 

47. On the next day he took formal command of the army draw- 
ing his sword under an ancient tree known as Washington's elm 

48. He drove the British from Boston on March 17. 1775, for 
which signal service. Congress voted him a splendid gold medal now 
preserved in the Boston Public Library. 

49. Then followed the disastrous battle of Long Island and 
Washington's rrasterly retreat through New Jersey. 

50. Then with heroic fortitude, with unwavering confidence and 
unsparing self-devotion, he continued to lead the American cause in 
the face of almost insurmountable obstacles. 

51. Monmouth, Brandywine, Germantown and Valley Forge tell 
the thrilling and fascinating story of his glorious deeds, which were con- 
summated in the supreme triumph at Yorktown on the nineteerth 
day of October, 1781. 

52. Two years afterwards the Treaty of Peace was signed and 
the war with England was ended, a war which Washington so much 
deplored at first, and which he strove so earnestly to avert. 

53. With the ending of the war came the question of the pay- 
ment of the soldiers which had been delayed by Congress. 

54. Quite a number of the officers "began to distrust the effi- 
ciency of the government and of all republican institutions. One of 
them, a Colonel of the army, of a highly respected character, and 
somewhat advanced in life," sharing these sentiments, presented them 
to Washington and suggested for him the title of King. 

55. Washington made a reply from Newburgh on May 22, 1782. 
In it he expressed his "abhorrence" of such a suggestion and reproved 
the writer with great severity for daring to make it." 

56. When the representatives of the army met afterwards at 
Newburgh to rouse the soldiers to resentment against the inaction of 
Congress, Washington appeared at the gathering. 

57. After apologizing for his coming, and begging the indulgence 
of those present, he paused to put on his spectacles. In doing so he 
said casually but very touchingly: 

58. "I have grown gray in the service of my country and am 
now growing blind." 

59. The dignified and yet most forcible addresses which he de- 
livered, regarding the supreme loyalty that was due from all to the 
country, so won over those present, that they concurred entirely in the 
policy he had proposed. 




60. On April 19, 1783, the anniversary of the battle of Lexing- 
ton, Washington announced the proclamation for the cessation of hos 
tilities which had been issued by Congress. 

61. In his general orders he said, "The chaplains of the several 
brigades will render thanks to almighty God for all his mercies, par- 
ticularly for his overruling the wrath of man to his own glory, and 

causing the rage of war to cease among the na- 

62. He took a final leave of the army Novem- 
ber 2, 1783, by general orders, and had an affection- 
ate farewell interview with his principal officers 
on December 4. On December 23 in that year he 
resigned his commission to Congress then assem- 
bled in Annapolis, Maryland. 

6}. He then retired to private life at the 'age 
of fifty-two, to resume his favorite occupations of 
farmer and planter at Mount Vernon. 

64. Frederick the Great, some years after 
this, sent him a portrait of himself accompanied 
witli the remarkable words, "from the oldest Gen- 
eral in Europe to the greatest General in the 

65. But Washington was not to be permitted 
thus to live a secluded life. The country which 
seemed, in his own words, to be "fast verging to- 
wards anarchy and confusion," through its inade 
quate government, needed his services. 

66. He went as the head of the Virginia dele- 
gates to the convention in Philadelphia on May 
!4, 1787, and of that famous historical body he was 
elected President. 

67. On April 6,1789, in the presence of the two 
Houses, Washington, having received every vote 
from the ten states that took part in the election, 
was declared President of the United States. 

68. On April 30, 1789, he was inaugurated 
President in New York city, the oath of office be- 
ing administered by Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of the State 
of New York, on a balcony in front of the Senate Chamber, in the 
presence of an immense multitude. 

69. After delivering his inaugural address, the whole assemblage 
headed by the President, proceeded on foot to St. Paul's Church, 
where appropriate religious services were held by the Rt. Rev. Dr. 
Prevost, the Episcopal Bishop of New York. 

70. The President and his family always strictly observed the 

Sword and Staff. 


Sabbath. They attended church in the morning and passed the af- 
ternoon in retirement. 

71. On the 25th of August, 1789, the mother of Washington end- 
ed her long and useful life. When the sad intelligence was commun- 
icated to him, although it was not unexpected, he was deeply moved 
by it. 

72. The Cabinet of Washington was not harmonious, which 
caused the President great concern and trouble. Jefferson and Ham- 
ilton differed seriously in their views. Two parties were formed in 
consequence. Hamilton's party was known as the Federalist, and 
Jefferson's as the Republican. 

73. Washington was glad when his term as President had expired 
and looked with pleasure to a retirement again at Mount Vernon. 
But on the repeated entreaties of his friends, after a long and painful 
hesitation, he consented to be a candidate for re-election. 

74. He received the unanimous vote of the electors, reflecting 
the popular vote, and entered upon his second term of office on March 
4th, 1793. 

75. He saved the country from a new and most disastrous war 
with Great Britain, which it was its duty as well as its interest to 
avoid, when a new alliance was urged by many with France which had 
declared war against England. 

76. Genet, the Minister of the French Republic, succeeded for a 
while in causing a storm against Washington for his action. The par- 
tisans of Genet traduced the personal motives of Washington, and 
misrepresented and shamefully abused him. But better sentiments 
ultimately prevailed. 

77. By the vigorous action of the President, the famous "whisky 
insurrection" in Pennsylvania came to an end in 1792. 

78. The treaty with Great Britain obtained by John Jay, the for- 
mer Chief Justice, gave great offense to the enemies of the adminis- 
tration. The President and his supporters were fiercely denounced 
for approving it. But it was the best that could be secured, and it 
brought peace for many years to the country at a critical period of its 

79. On no consideration would Washington yield to the great 
anxiety that he should serve a third term. He issued a Farewell Ad- 
dress to the people of the United States full of wise counsels and ad-, 

80. The partisan hostility which had been marked by unsparing 
denunciations of his policy, and by bitter,rancorous hostility,now entire- 
ly ceased. The gratitude of the nation was displayed in an over- 
whelming manifestation. 

81. "Both Houses of Congress adopted replies to the Farewell 
Address, expressing their unshaken confidence in the wisdom and in- 



tegrity of Washington. During the winter of 1796-97 nearly all the 
State Legislatures adopted similar resolutions." 

82. But the quiet of his life at Mount Vernon was disturbed by 
the prospect of a war with the aggressive French Republic. With 
great reluctance he yielded to the universal desire of the American 
people as voiced by President Adams, and because the Lieutenant- 
General and Commander-in-chief of all the armies raised or to be 
raised for the defense of the country. 

83. His last public act was performed on the morning of the 
P2th of December, 1799. He wrote to Hamilton who was the senior 
Major-General under him, cordially approving of the establishment 

of a Military Academy, which Ham- 
ilton had submitted to the Secre- 
tary of war. 

84. On the evening of Decem- 
ber 14, 1799, Washington breathed 
his last at Mount Vernon in the 
presence of his wife and some in- 
timate friends. 

85. He died, as 6^<?«<?rrt/ Wash- 
ington, for he was still at the time 
of his demise the Commander-in- 
chief of the American army, 

86. On the i8th of December 
he was laid away to rest at Mount 
Vernon. The news of his death 
was received with expressions of 
profoundest sorrow not only from 
the people of the United States, 
but from those in other lands. 

87. "Napoleon, then first con- 
sul of France, announced the death, 
of Washington to the French army 

in a masterly order or the day and caused the standards of the 
troops to be shrouded in crape for ten days." 

88. "Lord Bridport, commanding the Channel Fleet of England, 
on receipt of the news, immediately lowered his flag at half mast, and 
his example was followed by every ship in the fleet." 

89. The grandest tributes ever paid to mortal man have been ren- 
dered by England's most illustrious representatives, to the memory of 
Washington, and have been echoed by the most eminent men in ev- 
ery other civilized land. 

90. But the proudest tribute of all, is the never-ceasing and ever- 
increasing love, with which Americans,whether native born or adopt- 
ed citizens, cherish for the splendid character and immortal deeds of 

The Book-Plate of Washington. 



The spirit of patriotism should be freely cultivated in the hearts^ 
of our younger citizens, and one of the best methods of doing this^ is 
by the celebration of the birthdays of American Heroes. The historic 
events pertaining to the stirring times wherein our nation was born, 
should be familiar to every child, as well as every man and woman in 
this broad and beautiful land. Washington's birthday is a national 
holiday and should be celebrated in every school aud club. 

We give herewith, a few suggestions to the makers of programmes 
for these occasions. 


1. Vocal Music — "America." 

2. Essay — "Washington as a Surveyor." (Twenty Minutes.) 

3. General Discussion — "Washington as a General." (Thirty Min- 

4. Instrumental Music — "Yankee Doodle." 

5. Declamation — "Washington's Inaugural Address." (Twenty 

6. Essay — "Washington's First Cabinet." (Twenty Minutes.) 

7. Anecdotes of Washington — (Thirty Minutes, all participat- 


Vocal Music — "The Star Spangled Banner." 


1. Vocal Music — "Columbia." 

2. Essay — "Washington as President." (Twenty Minutes.) 

3. Solo — "The Sword of Bunker Hill." 

4. Essay — "Washington's First Cabinet." (Twenty Minutes.) 

5. Instrumental Music — "Washington Post March." 

6. Paper or Recitation — "Valley Forge." 

7. Essay — "Washington's Second Administration."(Twenty Min- 

8. Declamation — "Washington's Farewell Address" (Portions of 
it — Twenty Minutes.) 

9. Tributes to Washington — "All participating. (Twenty Min- 

10. Vocal Music — "Rally Round the Flag." 



What is said of ll'as/iington' s fame, greatness, devotion, etc.? 
Of his type of character? Of his winning success? Of his early 
vrominejtce? Of his descent and ancestors? Of his brothers? 
Of Washington s birthplace, etc.? Of his parents? Of the hatchet 
story? Of Mary Washington? Of the education of Washington? Of 
Ids practical knowledge? Of his athletic development? 

Of his desire for the sea? Of his land surveying? Of his 
experiences as given in his journal? Of the demafid for his services 
as surveyor? Of his acquisitions of land? What are the rules of con- 
duct he copied and studied? What does Lodge say ? What is said of 
Laurence Washingto/t? Of George *Washingto7i s appointment as 
Major? Of the voyage to Barbadoes? By Dr. Toner? Of the i>n- 
provetnent manifested by his later journal? Of his new post of honor? 
By the historian, Shea? 

]Vhat measures did France adopt to stay the progress of the 
English? What was the action of the Ljidians? What is said of 
Washington s qualifications, etc.? Of his instructions? Of his jour- 
neyings? Of his reception by the Lndians? By the French? 

What is written in his diary? Of the effect of his journal 7ipon 
the public? Of the action of Dinwiddle? Of the campaign to the 
Ohio? Of the surrender of Washington? Of the rousing to action by 
the British governjnejit? Of Braddock's defeat? Of Washington's 
account of his peril? Of the story told by Curtis? \Miat was Wash- 
ington s report of the battle? Of his return to Mount Vernon? Of 
the expeditio7i to Fort Duquesne? Of Washington s love affairs? 
Of his meeting Mrs. Martha Custis? Of his marriage, etc.? Of 
Washington s wealth? Ot his personal appearatice? 

IVhat is said of the ar7ny? Of Congress? Of place hvnters? 
Of Washington s judgment? Of the Conway Cabal ? Of the army, 
its members and cojnmafiders? Of the want of powder? Of the expe- 
ditioti to Montreal and Quebec? 

Of the cruisers? Of Mrs. Washingtofi? Of the Union Flag? 
Of Col. Henry Knox? Of the attack on Boston? Of its success? Of 
General LLowe? Of the credit due Washi7igto7i? Of lVashi7igto7i's 
discipline ? Of the secret of Washingto7i's success, etc. ? Of the 77iove- 
77ie7it against New York? Of the words /;/ the '■'Orderly Book?" 

Of the battle of Long Island? Of Washingto7i's retreat? Of the 
various ski r/nishes of Fo7-t JVashington? 

What description is giveji of Washingto7i as to height and 
weight? As to eyes, face, ski/i a7id cou7ite7tance? As to 7na7iners 
gestures, etc.? 

What descriptio7i does Washingto7i give of MountVer7ion? What 
is said of Washingt07i as a worker, far7ner, etc. ? As a legislator? As 
a 7/ie77iber of the Continental Congress? Of E7iglish a7id yit/ierica7i 
histo/y? Of lVashingto7i's attitude toward Engla7id, etc.? Of his 
a7ite-revolutionary events ? 

Of Washi7igto7i's fidelity and co7tfide7tcef Offuly4,iyy6? Of 


the characteristics of the principal fiatriots? Of Washington's rela- 
tion to them and others? Of the reply of Washington zvhcn appointed 
Coin»iander-i)i-Chief? \ Vhat didfohn Bell say ? Of the important iiiili- 
taty engagements? Of JVashington's successes? Of the difficulties he 
had to meet in men and means ? Of a depreciated currency? Of the 
equipment of the army? Of the help of the Dutch, etc. ? Of the want 
of unity? 

Of the retreat of the Continental Army ? Of the retreat to Bruns- 
ivick, etc.? What does Washington write to his brother fohn? HVtat 
is said of the coming of his Generals? Of crossing the Delaware? Of 
the movements of Cornwallis? Of the battle of Princeton? Of the 
winter vionths of lyy-/? What did the circular letter of Washitigton 
say? IVhat is said of the battle of Brandywine? Of the battle at Ger- 
mantown ? Of the surrender of Burgoyne? Of siccceeding encounters? 
Of ] 'alley Forge? What were Baron Steuben s i)npressions? What 
is said of the "Conway Cabal?'' Of North's Conciliato?y Bills? Of 
foseph Reed? Of Treaties of Co7nmerce and Alliance? Of George 
J II? IVhat did Chatham say? What is said of Washiiigton and 
Lee? Of Co7(nt d' Estaing? Of colonial affairs? Of the personal ap- 
pearance of Washington ? 

What is said of British raids? Of wintering at JMorristown? 
Of succor by Lafayette? Of Washington s Fabian policy? Of Bene- 
dict Arnold? Of the condition of the troops? Of Jl 'ashington's birth- 
day? Of the ratif cation of the Articles of Confederation, etc.? Of 
Washington' s feelings ? Of brightening prospects ? 

Of the expedition against Lord Cornwallis? Of the surrender of 
Cornwallis ? Of the period of inaction? Of negotiations for peace? 
Of Washington and slavery ? 

What is said of Washington s religio7is life? Of his regard for 
education? Of the years following the Lievolution? Of the Federal 
Convention? Of the new National Constitution, etc.? Of Washing- 
ton's relation to it? Of his election as President? Of Ids inauguration ? 

Of Washington' s first administration? Of Washiitgtoti s feelings 
tepon assuming office? What did he write? What is said of his in- 
augural address, etc.? JVhen and how did Washingtoji die? 


The Boyhood of M'asJiington. 

The Ohio Company. 

IVashington as an Envoy to the Comma?tder of the French. 

The Story of Fort A'ecessity. 

Braddock' s Campaign and Defeat. 

Martha 1 1 'ashi)igton. 

The Story of Fort Duquesne. 

The First Continental Congress. 

The Second Continental Congress. 

The appointment of IVashington as Commander-in-Chief. 



1732 Born, Bridge's Creek, Stafford County, Virginia, Feb. 22. 

1748 Appointed surveyor by Lord Fairfax. 

1751 Appointed Major in colonial forces. 

1753 Sent by Governor Dinvviddie as envoy to Commander of French 
forces on the Ohio, October 30. 

1754. Appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the Virginia troops, March, 
Capitulation of Fort Necessity, July 4. 

1755 Defeat of General Braddock July 9. Appointed Commander- 
in-chief of the Virginia forces, 

1757 Defended the Virginia frontier 

1758 Occupation of Fort Duquesne, changed to Fort Pitt, Nov. 25. 

1759 Married to Mrs. Martha Custis. January 6. Took his seat as 

member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. 
1770 Located lands on the Ohio for the Virginia troojis. 

1774 Member of the first Virginia Convention, August i. Took his 

seat as member of the Continental Congress, Philadelphia, 
September 5. 

1775 Member of the second Virginia Convention, March. Member 

of the second Continental Congress, Philadelphia May 10. 
Appomted Commander-in-chief of the American army, June 
13. Took formal command of the army at Cambridge, July 3. 
r776 Entered Boston at the head of his army, March 17. Declaration 
of Independendence, July 4. Battle of Brooklyn, Long Island, 
August 26. Battle of Harlem Plains, New York, September 
16. Battle of White Plains, New York, October 28. Battle of 
Trenton, New Jersey, December 26. 

1777 Battle of Princeton, New Jersey, January 3. Battle of Brandy- 

w^ine. Pa., September II. Battle of Germantown, Pa., Octo- 
ber 4. Valley 1* orge. 

1778 Battle of Monmouth, New jersey, June 28. 

1779 Battle of Stony Point, New York, July 16. 

1780 Execution of Major Andre as a spy, October 2. 

1781 Battle of Yorktown, Virginia, and surrender of Cornwallis. 

1782 Refused to be considered as a King, May. 

1783 Persuaded the officers of the army to be patient with Congress, 

March 15. Cessation of hostilities, April 19. The army dis- 
banded by order of Congress, November 2. Took leave of 
his officers, December 4. Resigned his commission to Con- 
gress, December 23. 

1784 Crossed the Alleghenies and visited the lands beyond, on horse- 


1786 Shay's Rebellion, December. 

1787 Elected Piesident of the Constitutional Convention, Philadel- 

phia, May 25. 
^780 Elected President of the United States, January. Inaugurated 
President in New York, April 30. 


i7gT Removal of the General Government from New York. 

1793 Re-elected for a second term as President, taking oath of office 

March 4. 
1799 Performed last public act Dec. 12. Died on the evening of 

Dec. 14. Buried at Mt. Vernon Dec. 18. 


The older biographies of Washington, by Sparks, Irving, and oth- 
ers, are no longer satisfactory. The reader is advised to consuh the 
following works: 
"George Washington." By H. C. Lodge. 2 vols. Houghton, MifHin 

& Co., Boston, 1889. 
"George Washington." By Woodward Wilson. Harper & Brothers, 

New York, 1897. 
"The Life of George Washington Studied Anew." By E. E. Hale. 

G. P. Putnam's Son's, New York, 1888. 
"History of the Washington Family." By Albert Welles. New York 

Society Library, 1879. 
"Recollections of Washington." By G. W. Custis. Derby and Jack- 
son, New York, i860. 
"Ear'y Sketches of George Washington." Reprinted with notes by 

W. S. Baker. J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1894. 
"Itinerary of General Washington," 1775-1783. By W. S. Baker. J 

B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1892. 
"Washington after the Revolution," 1784-1799. By W. S. Baker. J 

B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1898. 
"Washington's Journal," 1747-8. Edited by J, M. Toner, M. D., AI 

bany, N.,Y. Joel Munsell's Sons, 1892. 
"Washington's Journal," 1751-2. Edited by J. M. Toner, M. D., AI 

bany, N. Y. Joel Munsell's Sons, 1892. 
"Washington's Journal," 1754. FMited by J. M. Toner, M. D., Albany, 

N. Y. Joel Munsell's Sons, 1893. 
"The Writings of George Washington." Edited by W. C. Ford. 1\ 

vols, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1889-1893. 
"Old South Leaflets," Nos. i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10. 
"Narrative and Critical History of America." Edited by Justin Win- 

sor. Vols, v., VI. Houghton, Mifflin & Co , Boston, 1888. 
"The Critical Period of American History," 1783-1789. By John Fiske 

Houghton, Mififlin & Co., Boston, 1888. 
"The Story of the Revolution." By H. C. Lodge. 2 vols. Charleii 

Scribners Sons, New York, 1898. 
"Genera. Washington." By Ik J. Johnson. New York, 1894. 
**The True George Washington." By P. L. Ford, Philadelphia, 1896 



"Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representa- 

"Among the viccissitudes incident to life, no event could have 
filled me with greater anxieties, than that of which the notification 
was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of this 
month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose 
voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat 
which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering 
hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining 
years; a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary and 
more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of fre- 
quent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on 
it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the 
trust, to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to 
awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrust- 
ful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with des- 
pondency one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature, and 
unpracticed in the duties of civil administration, ought 16 be peculiar- 
ly conscious of his own deficiencies. 

"In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver is, that it has been my 
faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every cir- 
cumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is, that, if 
in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful re- 
membrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to 
this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens; and 
have thence too little consulted my capacity, as well as disinclination 
for the weighty and untried cares before me; my error will be pallia- 
ted by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged 
by my country with some share of the partiality in which they origi- 

"Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to 
the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be pe- 
culiarly improper to omit, in the first official act, my fervent supplica- 
tions to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who pre- 
sides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can sup- 
ply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the 
liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a govern- 
ment instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may 
enable every instrument employed in its execute with 
success the functions allotted to his charge. 

"In tendering this homage to the great Author of every public and 
private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not 
less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than 
either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the In- 
visible Hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people 
of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to 


the character of an independent Nation, seems to have been distin- 
guished by some token of providential agency. 

"And, in the important revolution just accomplished in the system 
of their united government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary 
consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has re- 
sulted, can not be compared with the means by which most govern- 
ments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude 
along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the 
past seems to presage. 

"These reflections, rising out of the present crisis, have forced 
themselves upon my mind too strongly to be suppressed. You will 
join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none, under the influ- 
ence of which,the proceedings of anew and free government can more 
auspiciously begin." 


"The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is 
also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edi- 
fice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at 
home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that 
very Liberty, which you so highly prize." * * * * 

"For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. 
Citizens, by birth and choice, of a common country, that country has 
a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which 
belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just 
pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local dis- 
criminations. With slight shades of difference; you have the same 
religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a 
common cause, fought and triumphed together; the Independence and 
Liberty you possess are the work of joint co msels, and joint efforts, 
of common dangers, sufferings, and successes. 

"But these considerations, however powerfully they address them- 
selves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those, which ap- 
ply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our 
country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding 
and preserving the Union of the whole. 

"The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, pro- 
tected by the equal laws of a common government, finds, in the pro- 
ductions of the latter great additional resources of maratime and com- 
mercial enterprise, and precious materials of manufacturing industry. 

"The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of 
the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turn- 
ing partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its 
particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in differ- 
ent ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national 
navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength: 
to which itself is unequally adapted. 


"The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and 
in the progressive improvement of interior communications, by land 
and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodi- 
ties which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. 

"The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth 
and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must 
of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its 
own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maratime 
strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble 
community of interest as one nation. 

"Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential ad- 
vantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an 
apostate and unnatural connexion with any foreign power, must be in- 
trinsically precarious." * * * * 

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political pros- 
perity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain 
would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to 
subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of 
the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with 
the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could 
not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. 

"Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for 
reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation <^^j'^r/the oaths, 
which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And 
let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be main- 
tained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence 
of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and ex- 
perience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail 
in exclusion of religious principle. 

"It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary" 
spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more 
or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sin- 
cere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake 
the foundation of the fabric? 

"Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions 
for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the struct- 
ure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that 
public opinion should be enlightened." * * * * 

"Though in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am 
unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of any 
defects not to think it probable that I have committed many errors. 
Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or 
mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I also carry in me the 
hope that my country shall never cease to view them with indulgence; 
and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with 
an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned 
Ni "^blivion. as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest." 




I, George Washington, of !Moimt Vernon, a citizen of the United 
States, and lately President of the same, do make, ordain, and de- 
clare this instrument, which is written with my own hand, and every 
page thereof subscribed with my name,* to be my last Will and 
Testament, revoking all others. 

Imprimis. — All my debts, of which there are but few, and none 
of magnitude, are to be punctually and speedily paid, and the legac- 
ies, hereinafter bequeathed, are to be discharged as soon as circum- 
stances will permit, and in the manner directed. 

Item. — To my dearly beloved wife, Martha Washingto7i, I give and 
bequeath the use, profit, and benefit, of my whole estate real and 
personal, for the term of her natural life, except such parts thereof 
as are specially disposed of hereafter. My improved lot in the town 
of Alexandria, situated on Pitt and Cameron streets, I give to her 
and her heirs forever ; as I also do my liousehold and kitchen furni- 
ture of every sort and kind, with the liquors and groceries which 
may be on hand at the time of my decease, to be used and disposed 
of as she may think proper. 

Item. — Upon the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire that 
all the slaves whom I hold in my oun riffht shall receive their free- 
dom. To emancipate them during her life would, though earnestly 
wished by me, be attended with such insuperable difficulties, on ac- 
count of their intermixture by marriage with the dower negroes, 
as to excite the most painful sensations, if not disagreeable conse- 
quences to the latter, wliile both descriptions are in the occupancy 
of the same proprietor; it not being in my power, under the tenure 
by which tlie dower negroes are lield to manumit them. And where- 
as, among those who will receive freedom according this device, there 
may be some, who. from old age. or bodily infirmities, and others, 
who, on account of their infancy, will be unable to support them- 
selves, it is my will and desire, that all. who come under the first 
and second description, shall be comfortably clothed and fed by ray 
heirs while they live; and that such of tlie latter description as" have 
no parents living, or, if living, are unable or unwilling to provide 
for them, shall be bound by the court until they shall arrive at the 
age of twenty-five years; and, in cases where no record can be pro- 
duced, whereby their ages can be ascertained, the judgment of the 
court, upon its own view of the subject, shall be adequate and final. 

*Tn the original maniisoript, George W.\.shington's name was written 
at the bottom of every page. 


rhe negroes thus bound, are (by their masters and mistresses) to 
be taught to read and write, and to be brought up to some useful 
occupation, agreeably to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 
providing for the support of orphan and other poor children. And 
I do hereby expressly forbid the sale or transportation out of the 
said Commonwealth, of any slave I may die possessed of, under any 
pretense whatsoever. And I do, moreover, most pointedly and most 
solemnly enjoin it upon my executors hereafter named, or the sur- 
vivors of them, to see that this clause respecting slaves, and every 
part thereof, be religiously fulfilled at the epoch at which it is di- 
rected to take place, without evasion, neglect, or delay, after the 
crops which may then be on the ground are harvested, particularly 
as it respects the aged and infirm; seeing that a regular and perma- 
nent fund be established for tlieir support, as long as there are sub- 
'jeets requiring it; not trusting to the uncertain provision to be 
made by individuals. And to my mulatto man, William, calling 
himself William Lcc, I give immediate freedom, or, if he should pre- 
fer it, (on account of the accidents which have befallen him, and 
which have rendered him incapable of walking, or of any active 
employment.) to remain in the situation he now is, it shall be 
optional in him to do so; in cither case, however, I allow him an 
annuity of thirty dollars, during his natural life, which shall be 
independent of the victuals and clothes he has been accustomed to 
receive, if he chooses the last alternative; but in full with his free- 
dom, if he prefers the first; and this I give him as a testimony of 
nxy sense of his attachment to me, and for his faithful services dur- 
ing the Revolutionary War. 

Item. — To the trustees (governors, or by whatsoever other name 
they may be designated) of the Academy in the town of Alexandria, 
I give and bequeatli. in trust, four thousand dollars, or in other 
words, twenty of the shares which I hold in the Bank of Alexandria, 
towards the support of a free school, established at and annexed to, 
the said Academy, for the ])urpose of educating such orphan children, 
or the children of such other poor and indigent persons, who are 
unable to accomplish it witli their own means, and who, in the 
judgment of the trustees of the said seminary, are best entitled to 
the benefit of this donation. The aforesaid twenty shares I give and 
bequeath in perpetuity; the dividends only of which are to be drawn 
for and applied, by the said trustees for the time being, for the 
uses above mentioned ; the stock to remain entire and untouched, 
unless indications of failure of the said bank should be so apparent, 
or a discontinuance thereof, should render a removal of this fund 
necessary. In either of these cases, the amount of the stock here 
devised is to be vested in some other bank or public institution, 
whereby the interest may with regularity and certainty be drawn 
and applied as above. And to prevent misconception, my meaning 
is, and is hereby declared to be. that these twenty shares are in lieu 
of, and not in "addition to, the thousand pounds given by a missive 


letter some years ago, in consequence wliereof an annuity of fifty 
pounds lias since been paid towards the support of this institution. 

Item'. — Whereas by law of the Conunonwealth of Virginia, enacted 
in the year 1785, the legislature thereof was pleased, as an evidence 
of its approbation of the services 1 had rendered the public during 
the Revolution, and partly, I believe, in consideration of my having 
suggested the vast advantages which the community would derive 
f'lOm the extension of its inland navigation under legislative patron- 
age, to present me with one hundred shares, of one hundred dollars 
each, in the incorporated Company, established for the purpose of 
extending the navigation of James River from the tide water to the 
mountains; and also with fifty shares, of £100 sterling each, in the 
corporation of another company, likewise established for the similar 
purpose of opening the navigation of the River Potomac from the 
tide water to Fort Cumberland; the acceptance of which, although 
the offer was highly honorable and grateful to my feelings, was 
refused, as inconsistent with a principle which I had adopted and 
had never departed from, viz., not to receive pecuniary compensation 
for any services I could render my country in its arduous struggle 
with Great Britain for its rights, and because I had evaded similar 
propositions from other States in the Union; Adding to this refusal, 
however, an intimation, that, if it should be the pleasure of the 
legislature to permit me to appropriate the said shares to public 
uses, I would receive them on those terms with due sensibility; and 
this it having consented to, in flattering terms, as will appear by a 
subsequent law, and sundry resolutions, in the most ample and hon- 
orable manner; I proceed after this recital, for the more correct un- 
derstanding of the case, to declare; that, as it has always been 
a source of serious regret Avith me, to see the youth of these 
United States sent to foreign countries for the purpose of edu- 
cation, often before their minds were formed, or they had imbibed 
any adequate ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting too 
frequently, not only habits of dissipation and extravagance, but prin- 
ciples unfriendly to republican government, and to the true and genu- 
ine liberties of mankind, Avhich thereafter are rarely overcome; for 
these reasons it has been my ardent wish to see a plan devised on a 
liberal scale, which would have a tendency to spread systematic ideas 
through all parts of this rising empire, thereby to do away local 
attachments and State prejudices, as far as the nature of things 
would, or indeed ought to admit, from our national councils. Look- 
ing anxiously forward to the accomplishment of so desirable an ob- 
ject as this is (in my estimation), my mind has not been able to 
contemplate any plan more likely to effect the measure, than the 
establishment of a University in a central part of the United States, 
to which the youths of fortune and talents from all parts thereof 
may be sent for the completion of their education, in all the branches 
of polite litoratui'e, in arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge in 
the princijiles of politics and good government, and, as a matter of 


Infinite importance in my judgment, by associating with each other 
and forming friendships in juvenile years, be enabled to free them- 
selves in a proper degree from those local prejudices and habitual 
jealousies which have just been mentioned, and whicli, when carried 
to excess, are never-failing sources of disquietude to the public mind, 
and pregnant of mischevious consequences to this country. Under 
these impressions, so fully dilated. 

Item. — I give and bequeath, in perpetuity, the fifty shares which 
I hold in the Potomac company (under the aforesaid acts of the 
Legislature of Virginia,) towards the endowment of a University, to 
be established within the limits of the District of Columbia, under 
the auspices of the general government, if that government should 
incline to extend a fostering hand towards it; and, until such semi- 
nary is established, and the funds arising on these shares shall be 
required for its support, my further will and desire is, that the 
profit accruing therefrom shall, whenever the dividends are made, 
be laid out in purchasing stock in the bank of Columbia, or some 
other bank, at tlie discretion of my executors, or by the Treasurer of 
the United States for the time being under the direction of Con- 
gress, provided that honorable body should patronize the meas- 
ure; and the dividends proceeding from the purchase of such stock 
are to be vested in more stock, and so on, until a sum adequate to 
the accomplishment of the object is obtained, of which I have not 
the smallest doubt, before many years pass away, even if no aid or 
encouragement is given by the legislative authority, or from any 
other source. 

Item. — The hundred shares which I hold in the James River Com- 
pany, I have given and now confirm in perpetuity, to and for the 
use and benefit of Liberty Hall Academy, in the County of Rock- 
bridge in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

Item. — I release, exonerate, and discharge the estate of my de- 
ceased brother, tiamuel Washington, from the payment of the money 
which is due to me for the land I sold to Philip Pendleton (lying in 
the county of Berkeley), who assigned the same to him, the said 
Samuel, who by agreement was to pay me therefor. And whereas, 
by some contract (the purport of which was never communicated to 
me) between the said Sumucl and his son, Thornton Washington, the 
latter became possessed of the aforesaid land, without any conveyance 
having passed from me, either to the said Pendleton, the said Sam- 
uel or the said Thornton, and without any consideration having been 
made, by which neglect neither the legal nor equitable title has been 
alienated ; it rests therefore with me to declare my intentions con- 
cerning the premises, and these are, to give and bequeath the said 
land to whomsoever the said Thornton Washington (who is also 
dead) devised the same, or to his heirs forever, if he died intestate; 
exonerating the estate of the said Thornton, equally with that of the 
said Samuel, from payment of the purchase money, which, with inter- 
est, agreeably to the original contract with the said Pendleton, 


would amount to more than a thousand pounds. And whereas two 
other sons of my said deceased brother Soiiiticl, nanudy, (Irorge titep- 
toe Washington and Lairrcncv An<jii.sti)iv Washington, were, by 
the decease of tliose to whose care they were committed, brought 
under my protection, and, in consequence, have occasioned advances 
on my part for tlieir education at college and other schools, for their 
board, clothing, and other incidental expenses, to the amount of near 
five thousand dollars, over and above the sums furnished by their 
estate, which sum it may be inconvenient for them or their fathers's 
estate to refund; I do for these reasons acquit them and the said 
estate from the payment thereof, my intention being that all ac- 
counts between them and me, and their father's estate and me, shall 
st.ind balanced. 

Item. — Tlie balance due to me from the estate of Bartholomeio 
Dandridge, deceased (my wife's brother), and which amounted on the 
first day of October, 1795, to four hundred and twenty-five pounds 
(as will appear by the account rendered by his deceased son, John 
Dandridge, who was the acting executor of his father's will), I re- 
lease and acquit from the payment thereof. And the negroes, then 
thirty-three in number, formerly belonging to tlie said estate, who 
were taken in execution, sold, and purchased in on my account, in 
the year [blank], and ever since have remained in the possession and 
to the use of Mary, widow of the said Bartholomew Dandridge, with 
their increase, it is my will and desire sliall continue and be in her 
possession, without paying hire, or making compensation for the 
same for tlie time past, or to come, during her natural life; at 
the expiration of which, I direct that all of them who are forty 
years old and upwards shall receive their freedom, and all under that 
age and above sixteen shall serve seven years and no longer, and 
all under sixteen years shall serve until they are twenty-five years 
of age, and then be free. And, to avoid disputes respecting the ages 
of any of these negroes, they are to be taken into the court of the 
county in which they reside, and the judgment thereof, in this rela- 
tion, shall be final and record thereof made, which may be adduced 
as evidence at any time thereafter if disi)utes should arise concerning 
the same. And I further direct, that the heirs of the said Bartholo- 
meio Dandridge sliall equally share the benefits arising from the 
services of the said negroes according to the tenor of this devise, 
upon the decease of their mother. 

Itemi. — If Charles Garter, who intermarried with my niece Betty 
Letris, is not sufficiently secured in the title to the lots he had ot 
me in the town of Fredericksburg, it is my will and desire that my 
executors shall make such conveyances of them as the law requires 
to render it perfect. 

Item. — To my nephew, William Angnstine Washington, and hi? 
heirs, (if he should conceive them to be objects worth prosecuting), 
a lot in the town of Manchester, (opposite to Richmond,) No. 265 
drawn on my sole account, and also the tenth of one or two hun- 


dred acre lots, and two or three half-acre lots, in the city and vicin- 
ity of Ricliniond, drawn in partnershij) with nine others, all in the 
lottery of the deceased William Byrd, are given; as is also a lot 
which I purchased of John Hood, conveyed by William Willie and 
Samuel Gordon, trustees of the said Johti Hood, nvimbered 129, in 
the town of Edinburgh, in the County of Prince George, State of 

Item. — To my nephew, Btishrod Washington,* I give and bequeath 
all the papers in my possession which relate to my civil and military 
administration of the affairs of this country. 

I leave to him also such of my private papers as are worth pre- 
serving; and at the decease of my wife, and before, if she is not in- 
clined to retain them, I give and bequeath my library of books and 
pamphlets of every kind. 

Item. — Having sold lands which I possessed in the State of Penn- 
sylvania and part of a tract held in equal right with George Clinton, 
late governor of New York, in the State of New York, my share 
of land and interest in the Great Dismal Swamp, and a tract of 
land which I owned in the county of Gloucester, — withholding the 
legal titles thereto, until the consideration money should be paid — 
and having moreover leased and conditionally sold (as will appear 
by the tenor of the said lease) all my lands upon the Great Kenhawa, 
and a tract upon Difficult Run, in the County of Loiuloun, it is my 
will and direction, that whensoever the contracts are fully and re- 
spectively complied with, according to the spirit, true intent, and 
meaning thereof, on the part of the purchasers, their heirs or as- 
signs, that then, and in that case, conveyances are to be made, agree- 
ably to the terms of the said contracts, and the money arising 
therefrom, when paid, to be vested in bank stock; the dividends 
whereof, as of that also which is already vested therein, are to 
inure to my said wife during her life; but the stock itself is to 
remain and be subject to the general distribution hereafter directed. 

Item.- — To the Earl of Buchan I recommit the "Box made of the 
Oak that sheltered the great Sir William W^allace, after the battle 
of Falkirk," presented to me by his Lordship, in terms too flattering 
for me to repeat, with a request "to pass it, on the event of my de- 
cease, to the man in my country, who should appear to merit it best, 
upon the same conditions that have induced him to send it to me." 
Whether easy or not to select the man, who might comport with his 
Lordship's opinion in this respect, is not for me to say; but, con- 
ceiving that no disposition of this valuable curiosity can be more 
eligible than the recommitment of it to his own cabinet, agreeably to 
the original design of the Goldsmiths' Company of Edinburgh, who 
presented it to him, and, at his request, consented that it should be 

•As General Washington never had any children, he gave the larger 
part of his propert.v to his nephews and nieces, and the children of Mrs. 

,TT__, .__^._,^ — ... , — ^..^^ -"-ge. The principal heir t>„„i,„^» 

Augustine Washington. 

part or his propert.v to his nephews anu ^^„, „„„ — ^ ^_ -- 

Washington's son hy her first marriage. The principal heir was Bushrod 
Washington, son of his brother, John Ai 


transferred to nie, I do give and bequeatli the same to his Lordship; 
and, in case of his decease, to his heir, witli my grateful thanks for 
the distinguished honor of presenting it to me, and more especially 
for the favorable sentiments with wliicli he accompanied it. 

Item. — To my brother, Charles Washington, I give and bequeath 
the gold-headed cane left me by Dr. Franklin in his will. I add 
nothing to it because of the ample provision I have made for his 
issue. To the acquaintances and friends of my juvenile years, 
Lawrence Washington and Rohert Washington, of Chotanck, I give 
my other two gold-headed canes, having my arms engraved on them; 
and to each, as they will be useful where they live, I leave one of 
the spyglasses, which constituted part of my equipage during the 
late war. To my compatriot in arms and old and intimate friend. 
Dr. Craik, I give my bureau (or, as the cabinet-makers call it, tam- 
bour secretary) and the circular chair, an appendage of my study. 
To Dr. David Stewart I give my large shaving and dressing table, 
and my telescope. To the Kevcrend, now Bryan, Lord Fairfax, 1 
give a Bible, in three large folio volumes, with notes, presented to 
me by the Right Reverend Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and To General de Lafayette I give a pair of finely-wrought steel 
piitols, taken from the enemy in the Revolutionary War. To my 
sisters-in-law Hannah Washington, and Mildred Washington, to my 
friends, Eleanor Htuart, Hannah Washington, of Fairfield, and 
Elizabeth Washington, of Hayfield, I give each a mourning ring, of 
the value of one hundred dollars. Tliese bequests are not made 
for the intrinsic value of them, but as mementoes of my esteem 
and regard. To Tobias Lear I give the use of the farm, which he 
now holds in virtue of a lease from me to him and his deceased 
wife, (for and during their natural lives.) free from rent during 
liis life; at the expiration of which, it is to be disposed of as is 
hereinafter directed. To Sally B. Haynie, (a distant relation of 
mine,) I give and bequeath three hundred dollars. To Sarah Green, 
daughter of the deceased Thomas Bishop, and to Ann Walker, daugh- 
ter of John Alton, also deceased, I give each one hundred dollars, in 
consideration of the attachment of their fathers to me: each of whom 
having lived nearly forty years in my family. To each of my 
nephews William Augustine Washinton, George Lewis, George Step- 
toe Washington, Bushrod Washington, and Samuel Washington, I 
give one of the swords or couteaux, of which I may die possessed; 
and they are to choose in the order they are named. These swords 
are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheath them for the 
purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self-defense or in defense 
of their country and its rights; and in the latter case, to keep them 
unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands to the re- 
linquishment thereof. 

And now, having gone through these specific devises, with ex- 
pl# nations for the more correct understanding of the meaning and 


design of thSm, I proceed to the distribution of the more important 
part of my estate, in manner following: — 

FiKST. — To my nephew, Buslirod Washington, and his heirs, (part- 
ly in consideration of an intimation to his deceased father, while 
we were bachelors, and he had kindly undertaken to superintend my 
estate during my military services in the former war between Great 
Britain -and France, that, if I should fall therein Mount Vernon, 
then less extensive in domain than at present, should become his 
property,) I give and bequeath all that part thereof, which is com- 
prehended within the following limits, viz. Beginning at the ford of 
Dogue Run, near my Mill, and extending along the road, and bounded 
thereby, as it now goes, and ever has gone, since my recollection of 
it, to the ford of Little Hunting Creek, at the Gum Spring, until it 
comes to a knoll opposite to an old road, which formerly passed 
through the lower field of Muddy-Hole Farm; at which, on the north 
side of the said road, are three red or Spanish oaks, marked as a 
corner, and a stone placed ; thence by a line of trees, to be marked 
rectangular, to the back line or outer boundary of the tract between 
Thompson Mason and myself; thence with that line easterly (now 
double ditching, with a post-and-rail fence thereon) to the run of 
Little Hunting Creek; thence with that run, which is the boundary 
between the lands of the late Humphrey Peake and me, to the tide 
water of the said creek; thence by that water to Potomac River; 
thence with the river to the mouth of Dogue Creek; and thence with 
tlie said Dogue Creek to the place of beginning at the aforesaid 
ford ; containing upwards of four thousand acres, be the same more 
or less, together with the mansion-house, and all other buildings and 
improvements thereon. 

Second. — In consideration of the consanguinity between them and 
my wife, being as nearly related to her as to myself, as on account 
of the affection I had for, and the obligation I was under to, their 
father when living, who from his youth had attached himself to my 
person, and followed my fortunes through the vicissitudes of the 
late Revolution, afterwards devoting his time to the superintend- 
ence of my private concerns for many years, whilst my public em- 
ployments rendered it impracticable for me to do it myself, thereby 
affording me essential services, and always performing them in a 
manner the most filial and respectful; for these reasons, I say, I 
give and bequeath to George Payette Washington and Lawrence 
Augustine Washington and their heirs, my estate east of Little Hunt- 
ing Creek, lying on the River Potomac, including the farm of three 
hundred and sixty acres, leased to Tobias Lear, as noticed before, 
and containing in the whole, by deed, two thousand and twenty- 
seven acres, be it more or less; which said estate it is my will and 
desire should be equitably and advantageously divided between them, 
according to quantity, quality, and other circumstances, when the 
youngest shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years, by three 
judicious and disinterested men; one to be chosen by each of the 


brothers, and the third by these two. In the meantime, if the ter- 
mination of my wife's interest therein should have ceased, the profits 
arising therefrom are to be apjilied for tlieir joint uses and benefit. 

Third. — And wliereas it has always been my intention, since my 
expectation of having issue has ceased, to consider the grandchildren 
of my wife in the same light as I do my own relations, and to act a 
friendly part by them ; more especially by the two whom we have 
raised from their earliest infancy, namely, Eleanor Parke Ciistis and 
George Washington Parke Ciistis; and whereas the former of these 
hath lately intermarried with Laicre)ice Lewis, a son of my deceased 
sister, Betty Leicis, by which the inducement to provide for them 
both has been increased ; wherefore, I give and bequeath to the said 
Laiorence Lewis, and Eleanor Parke Leicis, his wife, and their 
heirs, the residue of my Mount Vernon estate, not already devised to 
my nephew Bushrod Washington, comprehended within the following 
description, viz. All the land north of tlie road leading from the 
ford of Dogue Run to the Gum Spring as described in the devise 
of the other part of the tract to Bushrod Washington, until it comes 
to the stone and three red or Spanish oaks on the knoll; thence with 
tae rectangular line to the back line (between Mr. Mason and me) ; 
thence with tliat line westerly along the new double ditch to Dogue 
Run, by the tumbling dam of my Mill; thence with the said run 
to the ford aforementioned. To which I add all the land I possess 
west of the said Dogue Run and Dogue Creek, bounded easterly and 
southerly thereby ; together with the mill, distillery, and all other 
houses and improvements on tlie premises, making together about 
two thousand acres, be it more or less. 

Fourth. — Actuated by the principle already mentioned, I give 
and bequeath to George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of 
my wife, and my ward, and to his heirs, tlie tract I hold on Four 
Mile Run, in the vicinity of Alexandria, containing one thousand 
two hundred acres, more or less, and my entire square. No. 21, in 
the city of Washington. 

Fifth. — All the rest and residue of my estate real and personal, 
not disposed of in manner aforesaid, in whatsoever consisting, 
wheresoever lying, and whensoever found, (a schedule of which, as 
far as is recollected, with a reasonable estimate of its value, is here- 
unto annexed,) I desire may be sold by my executors at such times, 
in such manner, and on such credits, (if an equal, valid, and satis- 
factory distribution of the specific property cannot be made without,) 
as in their judgment shall be most conducive to the interests of the 
parties concerned ; and the moneys arising therefrom to be divided 
into twenty-three equal parts, and applied as follows, viz. To Wil- 
liam Augustine Washington, Elizabeth Spotswood, Jane Thorhton, 
and the heirs of A7in Ashtmt, sons and daughters of my deceased 
brother, Augustine Washington, I give and bequeath four parts; 
that is, one part to each of them. To Fielding Lewis, George Letvis, 
Robert Leicis, Hoioell Lewis, and Betty Carter, sons and daughters 



of my decpased sister, Betiy Lewis, T give and bequeath five other 
parts; one to each of them. To George Steptoc Wa shingi on, Law- 
rence Augustine Washington, Harriet Parks, and the heirs of Thorn- 
ton Washington, sons and daughters of my deceased brother, S,amucl 
Washington, I give and bequeath other four parts one to each of 
them. To Corhin Washington, and the heirs of Jane Washington, 
son and daughter of my deceased brother, John Augustine Washing- 
ton, I give and bequeatli two parts; one to each of them. To Hamuel 
Washington, Francis Ball, and Mildred Hammond, son and daughters 
oi my brotlier, Charles Washington, I give and bequeatli three parts; 
nna to each of them. And to George Fayette Washington, Charles 
Augustine Washington, and Maria Washington, sons, and daughter 
of my deceased nephew, George Aiigustine Washington, I give one 
other part: that is, to each a third of that part. To Elizabeth Parke 
Laio, Martha Parke Peter, and Eleanor Parke Lewis, I give and 
bequeath three other parts; that is, a part to eacli of them. And 
to my nephews, Bushrod Washington, and Lawrence Leicis, and to 
my ward, tlie grandson of my wife, I give and bequeath one other 
part; that is, a third thereof to each of them. And, if it should 
so happen that any of the persons whose names are here enumerated 
(unknown to me) should now oe dead, or should die before me, that 
in either of tVse cases, the heir of such deceased person shall, not- 
withstanding, derive all the benefits of the bequest in the same 
manner as if he or she was actually living at the time. And, by 
way of advice. I recommend it to my executors not to be precipitate 
in disposing of the landed property, (herein directed to be sold,) if 
from temporary causes the sale thereof should be dull; experience 
having fully evinced that the price of land, especially above the falls 
of the river and on the western Avaters, has been progressively ris- 
ing, and cannot be long checked in its increasing value. And I par- 
ticularly recommend it to such of the legatees (under this clause of 
my will), as can make it convenient, to take each a share of my 
stock in the Potomac Company in preference to the amount of what 
it might sell for; being thoroughly convinced myself that no uses 
to which the money can be applied, will be so productive as the 
tolls arising from this navigation when in full operation, (and thus, 
from the nature of things, it must be, ere long,) and more especially 
if that of the Shenandoah is added thereto. 

The family vault at Moiint Vernon requiring repairs, and being 
improperly situated besides, I desire that a new one of brick, and 
upon a larger scale, may be built at the foot of what is commonly 
called the Vineyard Enclosure, on the ground which is marked out; 
in which my remains, with those of my deceased relations (now in 
the old vault) and such others of my family as may choose to be 
entombed there, may be deposited. And it is my express desire, 
that my corpse may be interred in a private manner, without parade 
or funeral oration. 


Lastly, I constitute and appoint iny dearly beloved wife, Martha 
Washinyton, my nephews, Willioin Augustine Wasliiiujton, Bushrod 
Washington, George Sleploc Wusliington, Humiicl Washingtoiv and 
Laivrence Lewis, and my ward, George Washington I'arke Custis, 
(when he shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years,) exe- 
cutrix and executors of this my will and testament; in the con- 
struction of which it will be readily perceived, that no professional 
character has been consvilted, or has liad any agency in the draft; 
and that, although it has occupied many of my leisure hours to di- 
gest, and to throw it into its present form, it may, notwithstanding, 
appear cruae and incorrect; but having endeavored to be plain and 
explicit in all the devises, even at the expense of prolixity, perhaps 
of tautology, I hope and trust that no disputes will arise concern- 
ing them. But if, contrary to expectation, the case should be 
otherwise from the want of legal expressions, or the usual technical 
terms, or because too much or too little has been said on any of the 
devises to be consonant with law, my will and direction expressly 
is, that all disputes (if luihappily any should arise) shall be de- 
cided by three impartial and intelligent men, known for their probity 
and good understanding, two to be chosen by the disputants, each 
having the choice of one, and the third by those two; which three 
men, thus chosen, shall, unfettered by law or legal constructions, 
declare their sense of the testator's intention; and such decision is, 
to all intents and purposes, to be as binding on the parties as if it 
had been given in tlie Supreme Court of the United States. 
In witness of all and of each of the things herein contained I have 

set my hand and seal, this ninth day of July, in the year one 

thousand seven hundred and ninety,* and' of the Independence of 

the United States the twenty-fourth. 


*It appears that thf testator omitted the word "nine." 



A granite shaft, set] with solemn ceremony by representatives 
of the government of the United States, now stands where stood 
the house in which George Washington was born 181 years ago. 
Around this monument is an iron picket fence and clustering against 
this fence, both from within and without, are fig bushes, which 
bear fruit and which are descendants of the fig bushes that grew in 
the Washington garden. 

Over the surrounding field, now a pasture dotted with grazing 
cows and imbedded in the turf, and, no doubt, buried under the 
grassy mat, are broken bricks and rock fragments that were once 
a part of the foundations and chimneys of the Washington house. 
The field in which the simple shaft stands, though long a grazing 
ground for cattle, is billowed with old corn furrows, for these marks 
of tillage are wonderfully persistent, and sometimes in that coun- 
try the trace of the plow may be seen in land that has grown to 
forest since the last crop was gathered. 

Springing up, green and straight in this monument field, are 
cedar trees, and probably before many more Washington anniver- 
saries swing round the monument will be inclosed and shaded by 
a dense copse of this somber evergreen, and making what Ameri- 
cans may come to regard as a sacred grove. 

To the east, the northeast and the southeast the prospect from 
the bluff on which the early Washingtons lived sweeps across and 
up and down the Potomac River, which at this point in Westmore- 
land county, Virginia, is eight miles wide — so wide that the tree- 
grown hills of Maryland, even when the sun shines, are never more 
than blue and purple haze beyond the glittering water. Up and 
down the river the eye catches no glimpse of land excepting dim 
snatches of distant shore line. 

At night beams from the lighthouse on Blackstone island, ten 
miles eastward, and that at Lower Cedar Point, ten miles north- 
ward, come over the black .stretch of salt water. The flashing of 
the beacon at Church Point, three miles west by north, tended by 
Daniel Wirt, a kinsman of George Washington and William Wirt, 
a great attorney-general of the United States, glows red and ominous. 

Looking southward from the monument is a romantic breadth 
of quiet water called for nearly 300 years Pope's Creek. It is called 
so for Col. Nathaniel Pope, from whom John Washington, the immi- 
grant, bought this farm about 1652, and whose daughter, Anne 
Pope, he married, thereby adding to his acres. Pope's Creek is not 

*By permission, from the Washington "Star" for February 22, 1913. 


a paltry stream. Near its channel to the Potomac River it forms 
a bay, shoal, but broader than the busy harbor of many great cities. 
The part of the stream navigable for small sailing vessels reaches 
inland between tree shaded banks that are steep and high, and the 
unnavigable part extends back through wood and pineland to the 
watershed which guides the course of branches into the Potomac 
or the Rappahannock. 

Washington's birthhouse was burned in the long ago, but exactly 
when is a matter of conjecture. By some it is believed that when 
George Washington's father, Augustine Washington, removed from 
this place, since called "Wakefield," with his family to the farm in 
Stafford county, opposite Fredericksburg, in 1735, or when George 
Washington was 3 years old, it was because the Pope's Creek home- 
stead had been destroyed. 

By others it is believed that George Washington's brother, Augus- 
tine Washington, lived in the Pope's Creek house, and that it was 
destroyed in the lifetime of his son, William A. Washington. There 
are numerous bits of evidence to support this theory. But, at any 
rate, the ruined chimneys of the Pope's Creek home are within the 
memory of man. 

About one mile northwest of the Washington birthplace flows 
a little stream called Bridges Creek. In some parts of its course 
it is narrow and in others it turns forests of sweet gum trees into 
marshland. It is a jungle where the boys of the vicinage resort 
mainly for coon hunting. At the time of the building of the birth- 
j)lace monument the government built a long pier far out into 
the Potomac at the point where Bridges Creek enters that river. 
The idea was to facilitate pilgrimage to Wakefield. The pier is in 
decay. No boats ever stop there except the sailing craft that load 
cordwood, cut from the near-by woods, for Washington, D. C, or 
Alexandria, Va. The rules formulated by the government for 
landing there and the river steamboat men could not agree, and few 
landings were made. It is believed that the house of the first Ameri- 
can Washington, John, stood near this creek and not on the site of 
the house in which George Washington was born. 

There is much conjecture about this. There is a strong presump- 
tion that George Washington was not born in the house in which 
the immigrant, John, made his home. Washington's birthplace 
is variously written of as being on Bridges Creek and Pope's Creek. 
One would incline to think that these were two names for a single 
stream. Bridges Creek lies a mile and a half to the northwest of 
Pope's Creek. The Washington burial ground and family vault 
are on high ground above Bridges Creek. The George Washington 
birthplace, as has been said, stood near the bank of Pope's Creek. 
The house marker and the family burial ground are more than a 
mile apart. Such a situation was very unusual in early colonial 

The private burial ground was, as a rule, not far from the family 
dwelling, and in the vast majority of instances was but a few yards 


away. Not far from the Washington cemetery and on rising ground 
overlooking Bridges Creek is a spot on which long ago was human 
habitation. The richness of the soil and the character of the vege- 
tation prove this; besides, there have been unearthed by the plow 
fragments of brick, glass and pottery. It is believed that the first 
Washington made his home here. It may be that later he built 
the house overlooking Pope's Creek, or that house may have been 
built by his son, Capt. Lawrence Washington. But there can be 
no certainty as to this. 

All the present day accounts of George Washington give his birth- 
' place as "Wakefield, Westmoreland county, Va." The origin and 
significance of the name Wakefield is obscure. George Washing- 
ton never knew this old home-place as Wakefield. In his time, 
and in the time of the Washingtons before him, it was known as 
"Pope's Creek" or "the farm on Pope's Creek" or "the farm at 
Pope's Creek" or "the home on Pope's Creek." In the writings of 
Washington he notes a visit to his brother, John A. Washington, at 
Nomini (about fifteen miles from Pope's Creek), to the widow of his 
brother Augustine at Pope's Creek and to his brother Samuel at 
Chotank (near Mathias Point in King George county). 

There is never any mention of "Wakefield." It is believed that 
the name Wakefield was given the place by William AugustineWash- 
ington, who was George Washington's nephew, being the son of 
Washington's brother, Augustine, who inherited the Pope's Creek 
farm. In the will of this William Augustine Washington he bequeaths 
"Wakefield to his son George Corbin Washington." This is the 
first reference of record of "Wakefield." 

The birthplace of George Washington, as well as thousands of 
acres of old Washington and Pope lands, are to-day owned and 
tilled by collateral descendants of George Washington, who are 
numerous in that historic region as well as in King George county, 
which is the county north of Westmoreland. Vast tracts of these 
lands have never been out of the possession of the Washingtons, 
though the birthplace has seen many changes of ownership. 

This farm, from the time of its purchase by the immigrant, ■ 
remained in the family for a number of generations. First, there 
was the immigrant John. He left it to his son, Capt. Lawrence 
Washington. He left it to his son, Augustine Washington, the 
father of George Washington. Augustine Washington died April 
12, 1743. To his son Lawrence he left a farm on the Potomac 
River between Hunting Creek and Dogue Run, which Lawrence 
later called Mount Vernon. To his son, Augustine Washington, 
he left the Pope's Creek homestead. To George Washington when 
he should come of age he bequeathed the farm on the Rappahan- 
nock, directly across from Fredericksburg. All the other children 
were well provided for. 

At the death of George's brother, Augustine, the Pope's Creek 
farm passed to his son, William Augustine Washington, and then 
to his son, George Corbin Washington. In 1813 George Corbin 


Washington sold the farm to John Gray of Stafford county, 
Virginia, who gave it to his son, Atchison Gray. It was next sold 
to Daniel Payne, who did not want the place, but took it in 
connection with some other property and owed a balance on it of 
$15,000. He sold the farm, subject to this debt, to Harry T. 
Garnett, who moved away to Alabama. 

Garnett sold it to Charles C. Jett, who did not lift the mortgage 
on it. Daniel Payne dying, the place was sold at trustees' sale, 
the executors of Payne buying it in and making it a part of the Payne 
estate. Payne's heiress, Betty Payne, became the wife in 1845 of 
Dr. William Wirt, son of W^ilHam Wirt, who was attorney-general 
\inder President Jackson. The year after her marriage Wakefield 
was sold to John F. Wilson of Anne Arundel county, Maryland, and 
he settled his son, John E. Wilson, on the farm. This John E. 
Wilson married Betty Washington, granddaughter of W^illiam Augus- 
tine Washington, and the farm at Pope's Creek came back to the 
Washington family. 

John E. Wilson lived to a ripe old age, a splendid example of the 
gentleman, and died two or three years ago. His widow, who was 
Betty Washington^ lives on the farm to-day. Among the children 
of Mrs. Betty Washington-Wilson are Latney Wilson, William, 
Lawrence, Augustine, James, Janet and Bessie. Another daughter, 
Miss Susan, married an Episcopal clergyman, who had charge of the 
little church at Oak Grove, Westmoreland county. 

Through all this broad, fertile but isolated country live many 
Washingtons, Wirts, Paynes, Wilsons and others having in their 
veins the same blood that was in the father of his country. The 
nearest steamboat landing to the Washington land is Wirt's Wharf, 
in Maddox Creek. This wharf has been W'irt property for a cen- 
tury and is now owned by Daniel Wirt. He has a large tract of 
land, but tenants work it for him, while he watches over the beacon 
that has been put on Church Point bar — a bar that runs out a mile 
across the mouth of Maddox Creek. His home and farm are called 
Bleak Hall, and it belonged to the Butler family — the family of Jane 
Butler, first wife of George Washington's father. 

A mile beyond the wharf toward Wakefield was the old home- 
stead, Laurel Grove, where dwelt until last year Goerge Washing- 
ton, his wife, Agnes Wirt Washington; their daughters, Elizabeth 
Wirt Washington and Frances Wirt Washington, and their young 
son, Lee Swanson Wirt Washington. That was a year ago. To-day 
George Washington and little Lee sleep in the quiet churchyard at 
Oak Grove, two miles away, and Laurel Grove is a mound of brick 
and ashes, having burned down a few months ago. 

Mrs. Washington, with Elizabeth and Frances, are living in a 
new little bungalow on Church Point, a mile away and on the river, 
surrounded by many of the old family servants. 

Mrs. Washington is farming part of the thousand acre tract she 
owns. Her farm is stocked with horses, cattle, hogs and sheep, and 
Mrs. Washington raises ducks and chickens by the hundred and some 
turkeys and geese. 

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